By Still Waters I

Murder: What It Is and Why We Do It

The gun is raised, the trigger is pulled. The knife flashes and is plunged into the flesh. The fist is clenched and the blow fatally applied. Death by murder. What is murder? And why do we do it? Should we ban the instruments of murder? Remove from our society all things used in murder? The gun, the knife, the fist? Careful. Just as Adam and Eve in the garden pointed the finger at others for what they themselves did, so we can point to others and to things, for blame.


A man lies dead in a field. Murdered. Another man walks away, thinking no one saw him kill his brother. Yes, his brother. The first murder occurred, tragically, between brothers. What did Cain use to kill his brother? The Bible does not tell us, but we can be sure that it was not any modern device. Perhaps it was a stone, a large stick, a knife, or his bare hands. But can we be sure that the only instrument Cain used was a tangible one? Listen to what the Bible says about this first murder, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

It is perhaps significant that the Bible does not relay to us what physical instrument Cain used to murder his brother, but it rather stresses the condition of Cain’s heart toward God. Cain was wrathful toward God. He was angry. And he took his anger toward God out on his brother.

The Word of God tells us that the instrument used in murder is not of great significance. What is significant is the heart. Jesus tells us: “ For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Matthew 15:19. I think that we can all assent to that. We may say it in different ways, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are going to come up with the conclusion that physical murder starts in the heart. It doesn’t start with a gun, knife, a fist, etc. Banning items used in murder is not practical or logical. If we are going to ban all items that folks use to murder others, we are going to have to ban not just fire arms, but knives, cars, alcohol, ropes, etc. That still leaves fists, hands, feet, and yes, the heart. Even if we could ban the heart, if the heart wants to murder, it finds a way.

But have we addressed fully what murder is? Murders are brought to our attention in the news. Some murders do not receive this media attention. Regardless, murders happen every day. Though this is true, we usually do not dwell on them unless the media does, or unless, tragically, someone we love has been murdered. I would be remiss if I did not bring up the murders of babies through abortion. Just like Abel’s blood, their blood cries out from the ground. To further complete the picture, we also need to mention the murders committed through genocide that happen throughout the world.


But still, is that all there is? Is the picture truly complete? Have we completely fleshed out what murder is? No. We came close to it when we said that murder starts in the heart. But is murder always physical? Again, the answer is no. The Word of God says that when we have hatred in our hearts toward others, we are murderers. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15. So just because we have not broken the sixth commandment – Thou shalt not kill (Greek, apokteino, meaning “murder”) in a physical way, Jesus says that when we are unjustly angry toward someone, we are in danger of being judged by this commandment as a murderer, “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:” Matthew 5:21, 22.

Sometimes this anger toward others plays out in physical murder, as in the case of Cain and in the case of many others throughout all time, and sometimes it produces the hidden murder of the heart. We are all guilty of at least the second scenario.

Physical murders in society should be addressed. Some are addressed properly in this world, and some are not. Some are not addressed at all. In any case, the blood of the victims cry out from the ground, and God hears it and will address physical murders in His own time and way.

God also hears the murder in our hearts. If we listen very carefully, we can hear it, too. We should tremble when we realize that simply the thoughts of our hearts condemn us. God, the judge, looks not on the outside, but on the inside, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Yes, we can point the finger at the young man who sinfully pulls the trigger, at the drunk who abuses his wife, at the bully who beats up the small kid, and at those who murder their babies through abortion, but we must stop pointing to the instruments of death (guns, alcohol, knives) as the culprit, but rather point to the heart of those who wield these instruments. Furthermore, we must point to our own hearts, as we are guilty as well. Who or what can change our hearts? Can regulations and laws? As Paul, the apostle, cries out: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24


A man hangs dying on the cross, the victim of hearts of hatred. The instrument was the cross, but the source of hatred was the heart – the hearts of those who cried out for him to be crucified and the hearts of all of us, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Acts 7:15

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, our nature is to hate God and His ways. Just as Cain took out his wrath toward God on his brother, so, too, we took out our hatred toward God on His Son. Is there deliverance for this heart of hatred toward God and His Son? Yes. It is in the death of His Son, foreordained by God, that we find life and forgiveness. We meant His death for evil, and God meant it for Good. God does indeed work all things together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. The sin that dwells within us was crucified with Jesus on the cross. Jesus took these sins upon Himself, paying the penalty that we owed to God for our sins. We are no longer guilty for our sins, and are re-born into a new life through His resurrection. We are washed and made clean and given a new heart, one that desires to love God and walk in His ways.

Murder. It is heavy business. It weighs on the heart and controls our actions, and puts us in hell. Jesus says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


May you flee to Jesus for relief of your heavy sin burden. He is faithful and just to forgive those who come to them seeking His mercy. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

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Murder: What It Is and Why We Do It

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By Still Waters I

Let Nothing You Dismay

When I was a very young girl, my family at Christmas time would gather ‘round our piano under the big mirror in the living room and sing Christmas carols. One carol in particular made an impression on me. It was not a good impression. The carol was “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” I didn’t know what the words meant, but they seemed to me to be dark words, and the tune seemed just as dark. Perhaps this was because hearing it invoked a depressing visual image of carolers sadly (it seemed to me) singing this carol on a dark and dreary wintery street in the old version of the Charles Dickens’ movie, “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas” (Yes, that is the full name.) But God, after saving me, gave me eyes to see and a heart to love the words (and the fitting tune) of this old Christmas carol. Ponder these powerful and beautiful words: “God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day. To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.” Here is good news for those who know their burden of sin. Here is safety for those who have been in the grip of Satan. Here, the answer to the greatest need of men is presented in beautiful words. And, indeed, for those who have this comfort and joy, there truly is nothing to dismay. Praise God, the Savior!

 

Image by Dean Morrissey

Let Nothing You Dismay

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Uncategorized

Announcing New Greeting Card Series:  Trees

Stocking stuffers perhaps?      ♥     The gift that encourages giving!!!

Order a set for yourself – and for a friend (or two)!!

Please click below to see samples and for ordering instructions.

 

 

 

Trees Series Samplers

Mosaics Series Sampler

A Rose is a Rose Sampler

Ruby Beach Series Sampler

Happiness Series Sampler

How to Order

 

Stocking Stuffers. The Gift That Encourages Giving

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In Settings of Silver Greeting Cards

New Release of Greeting Cards!!

Stocking stuffers perhaps?      ♥     The gift that encourages giving!!!

Order a set for yourself – and for a friend (or two)!!

Please click below to see samples and for ordering instructions.

 

Trees Series Samplers

Mosaics Series Sampler

A Rose is a Rose Sampler

Ruby Beach Series Sampler

Happiness Series Sampler

How to Order

 

New Release of Greeting Cards

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By Still Waters I

Fighting

A dear friend of mine is fighting. She has been fighting all her life. She is not a stranger to war. Weapons are daily raised up by her against formidable foes. Her strategies are often the pulling down of that which is offensive and dangerous to her. Some of her battles are so intense, they are hand-to-hand combat. Someone always gets hurt. Her battles are not reported on in the media. No one posts them on Facebook, inviting heated and often hurtful debates. There are no tweets provoking angry responses and self-righteous reactions. No one would label her battles current events. Special interest groups don’t eye them as potential political vehicles. In fact, most of her fighting is done in secret. Even her closest loved ones and friends only see the fringes of her battles.

My friend is fighting the good fight of faith. Her enemies? They are three-fold: Her sinful self, the devil, and worldly temptations. Her weapon? “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) How intense have been her battles? Only she really knows. But does several miscarriages, a daughter’s battle with cancer, a grandchild lost to cancer, a daughter-in-law lost to cancer, and a fast-approaching death – her own – by cancer, sound like someone who is intimately familiar with battlefield warfare? And these trials, in and of themselves, have not been the objects of her fierce retaliation. Rather, she has aimed her Weapon at her sinful nature that demands a rebellious allegiance and approach to her trials. Where are her battles fought? My friend’s battles are fought within her. Who then gets hurt? Her old nature. Her old nature that, from her youngest years, and in all her trials, both small and great, has lied to her just as Satan lied to Eve in the garden. The lies sound like this: “God doesn’t love you. God cannot be trusted. You know better than God.” Her old nature constantly demands worship and ownership of these lies. Oh, this battle is fierce. It makes world wars look tame, and the clamoring, violent crowds of current events seem foolish. And no one sees this fierce conflict.

This same battle has been experienced by thousands and tens of thousands for over 6,000 years now. And by God’s great grace, each battle has ended ultimately in victory. Heaven is full of victorious soldiers – all of whom are casting down their crowns and giving glory to the One Who gave them the victory by His Own Triumph over sin and death.

Oh, the world is filled with battles and conflicts, riots and rebellion. People want this and people want that, and they make it clearly known by their angry fists, signs, policies, words and armies. Don’t be fooled. The real battles are being raged quietly all around you, in the hearts of those who are seeking to put to death the sin of their old nature, that they may be conformed more and more to image of God’s Son.

When my friend is finished with her last battle, and can lay down her sword, she will be able to say, by God’s grace, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7). And her quiet battle will be over.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 1 Corinthians 10:3-5

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12

Fighting

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By Still Waters I

New Morning Sonnet

Today the sun came up with sharp hellos.
My eyes, surprised, oh my, they looked away.
And then, with awe and sweet shy aglow
Within the room, behind the glass, I gazed.
Horizon dim, so far away, bespoke
Of fleeing night and coming day.
Across the field, all sleeping things awoke
As darkness lifted and flung itself away.
And now the life is at the sill for me
And enters in the cold and early room.
The sleep is gone but leaves no vacancy,
The birth of day so like the empty tomb.
I pondered newness that repeats itself,
Like Spring that shouts for praise unto Thyself.

New Morning Sonnet

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Mrs. Agnew's Corner

A Run Away Story or A Day In The Life of A Busy Mom

While driving my youngest daughter to her soccer practice, I received a phone call. My daughter looked at the phone and said it was our vet. I told her to just let it ring because I figured I knew what they were calling about and that I wasn’t too happy with this vet anyway and that I was going to look around for a new one. The phone stopped ringing, and in a few minutes, we heard the message ding sound. The phone rang again, and it was the vet again. I sighed and told my daughter to give me the phone. I answered the phone, and the woman on the other end said that this was the vet’s office and that our dog, Holliday, had run away and was at a house near the next town. I said “What?” She said that a man called her and told her that Holliday was at his house and that the vet’s number was on his tag and that is how the vet’s office was able to contact us. I did not even realize that Holliday was gone! He rarely leaves the property, but we don’t always see him because he roams around our 35 acres or hangs out under one of our broken- down cars on the property. I did not see him when we left for soccer practice, but neither was I looking for him. I was so shocked. For Holliday to leave and go that far seemed incredible to me. I told the vet I was driving and could she please text me the contact information. She did, and I called up the gentlemen. He said, yes, the dog was there and had nipped at his mother when she came home. I asked him how Holliday had treated him, as Holliday does not like men, and he said that Holliday had also tried to be surly toward him when he came home, but that he made friends with Holliday and that everything was ok. I told him that Holliday had probably been trying to protect his own property from him. I asked him where Holliday was now, and he said that Holliday was on his front porch hanging out with his dogs. The gentlemen offered to drive Holliday home as he was going out anyway. We went over directions, and I discovered that he did not live near the next town really, but that his address had the name of the next town. Around here, the post office might give your address the city name of the closest city even though you are a several miles away from it. When we first moved here, the post office asked us which city we wanted for our address – the city to the south or the one to the north. I had chosen the one to the south as I figured that the post office to the south would be the one we would be most likely to drive past on our way home from errands and etc. Anyway, this gentleman’s address was for the city to the north, but he actually lives straight west of us behind the bluffs. So, Holliday did not travel as far as I thought. As it turns out, the gentleman is the nephew of another neighbor who also lives just over the bluff and with whom we have had other dog dealings. This uncle’s daughter owned a renegade black lab named Roscoe who, for a season, made his way over the bluffs quite frequently to visit Holliday. At first, we were enamored by Roscoe. But we soon discovered he was a pushy dog, literally, and a dog who would not go away. I took pity on him one cold night and let him stay in our garage, giving him supper that night and breakfast in the morning. That was his in, and thereafter, when Roscoe came trotting over the bluffs to visit, he would stay around for a while, and then he and Holliday would start off west toward the bluffs through our pasture to do who knows what and go who knows where. Then we would holler for Holliday to come back. He always did. We learned to put Holliday in the garage when we saw the black form of Roscoe trotting down from the bluffs toward our house. Occasionally, Roscoe brought a friend, then it was double trouble. We learned to keep Holliday in from these bad friends. After a while, Roscoe and company would get the hint that we were not letting Holliday out to play, and they would head back west again to do their mischief somewhere else. We had not seen Roscoe for many, many months, but when I heard that the gentleman who had Holliday was Roscoe’s owner’s nephew, the mystery of why Holliday would be across the bluffs made sense to me. But the gentleman said that he believed that Roscoe had passed some time ago. Well, perhaps it was his own dogs who were enticing Holliday? Who knew. The gentlemen said that Holliday had been there since morning. I was suspicious that perhaps he had been there all night, because, sometimes at night, I hear a dog barking in the distance and wondered if perhaps Holliday had wandered off toward that fellow dog sound in the dark. I apologized to the gentleman for any trouble caused by Holliday and thanked him for his trouble in getting Holliday back to us. I told him that I was not at home, but that my two sons would be there. We hung up, and I proceeded to call my eldest son, Tim, to tell him that a man was going to be coming to our property to drop off Holliday. Since none of us knew that Holliday was even gone, I felt that I should explain to Tim what would seem to be a very strange thing – here was a man whom Tim did not know, dropping off Holliday, whom Tim did not know was missing. I was also worried that the man would walk up to our house and ring the doorbell, because when Holliday hears the doorbell, no matter if he is in the house or outside, he goes crazy and has been known to bite the person ringing the doorbell even if the person who is ringing the doorbell is standing right next to him. Now, about a week ago, my eldest daughter had put her cell phone in the bottom of a bag she was using for church, and in that bag her water bottle was lying down sideways and leaked water all over everything, including her cell phone. We had tried all kinds of remedies to dry out the phone, including putting it in a container of rice, but to no avail. Since she needed a phone for her travels back and forth to work, she began to borrow her little sister’s phone. On the day we received the call regarding Holliday, I was, like I said, driving my daughter, who is this younger sister, to her soccer practice. Since during her soccer practice I needed to go the bank, I wanted her to have a phone, so she had borrowed her brother’s phone and left her ipod with him. Now her ipod can make and receive calls, but only via internet, which we have at the house, so that is why we took her brother’s phone and left her ipod with him. She had instructed him on how to use the phone before we left. So, when I tried to call him to let him know that a strange man was coming to drop off Holliday, I was frustrated that I couldn’t reach him. I tried and tried and tried, but to no avail. We were almost at soccer practice, and I was getting frantic because I knew that the gentlemen did not live that far away and would be at our house soon. My phone rang, and hoping it was my son, I was disappointed to see that it was not he, but a good friend of mine. Out of habit and stress, I picked up the call knowing that I really didn’t have time to talk to her. I hurriedly explained to her what was going on with Holliday. She knows Holliday and is a dog girl, so she completely understood. After I finished with my frantic story, I asked how she was doing, feeling bad, because I was wondering if she was calling me because of some trouble. She said that she was fine but that she was in the hospital with a friend who broke her wrist. I tried to focus on that situation enough to show that I cared, which I really did, but I had to get back to the Holliday problem. Jan was gracious and let me go. I phoned the gentlemen who was returning Holliday and was relieved that I had caught him just as he had gotten to our driveway. I told him to just let Holliday out and not to ring the doorbell because Holliday might bite him if he did. Whew. I think I covered all the bases. I dropped my daughter off at soccer and drove to the bank. On the way to the bank, my husband called me, and I told him I was on my way to the bank. He said he was calling me to see if I had remembered to go to the bank. Ha. I gave him a brief (unlike this account) rundown on Holliday. I was still pretty flustered when I arrived at the bank drive-through, and I know I said some things to the teller that made no sense at all, and when I thought about it later, I could almost see myself trying to explain to him about our crazy dog. Maybe he would have understood. After soccer, my daughter and I went grocery shopping. When we returned home, I discovered that Holliday had not stayed around after our neighbor had dropped him off, but had run away again, and that my son, indeed, never knew that Holliday had been gone in the first place, that Holliday had been brought back, and that he had run away again.

A Run Away Story or A Day In The Life of a Busy Mom

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