Fear is a Liar! : A Short Story

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“Do it!” He whispered in her ear, as his unseen hand cupped hers, guiding the razor to her forearm. “This is your only way out.”

Her hand trembled and her vision blurred from the tears as she held the razor between her fingers. Cutting herself use to bring momentary relief from the pain inside of her, the warm, crimson red, flow of her own blood was a drain to the sickness inside of her. The pain of each cut was just enough to dull the despair. But this time she would cut deep enough to kill the pain forever.

Daily living drained her of strength. She no longer had energy to maintain the facade of normalcy. To get out of bed in the mornings brought increasing anxiety. She was constantly exhausted and the effort to keep breathing was an uphill battle. She had no where to turn; every bridge burnt in disappointment, rejection, and failure. Though she sought solace through relationships, alcohol, and every other substitute, it was no where to be found.

He felt her waiver and he knew if he allowed her to stall then she would change her mind. He mustn’t let that happen again. The other demons did an outstanding job separating her from help, it was his job to finish her, and there would be hell to be pay if he failed.

“Push her or get out of the way!” The other demons jeered.

“Silence!” He stood to his full height. “This takes cunning and precision.”

“Here, let me help you. She just needs a little reminding.” Another demon pushed his way through the others to join the rollicking. Shame enjoyed tagging along with the others. Though he was never the first demon to attack, he was an excellent grubber, and he didn’t mind feeding on the entails. It was Shames job to keep her in place, and to stay her from moving forward, by reminding her how worthless and hopeless she is.

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“There is no help for you, if ever there was, because people would find out who you really are and what you have really done.” Shame echoed in her mind. “You stink, you’re worthless, and a total screw-up! Who would want you if they knew you? No one, that’s who!”

Memories of every relationship she gave herself to made her feel sick to her stomach. She closed her eyes tight to fight off the memories of the shameful and degrading acts. Shame reminded her of every piece of herself she gave away in each promiscuous act, until the purity of love was buried beyond recognition.

“Excellent work, Libertine!” Shame patted the lustful demon on the back. “I appreciate that you make my job easy.”

“You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me, you little imp!” Lust bellowed.

“Your own father didn’t even want you.” Rejection taunted her with memories of the abuse she endured at the hand of her father. “You were a terrible daughter! Everyone knew it was your fault!”

“You call yourself a Christian? Why look at you!” Religion pointed his finger at her, poking her with each word for emphasis. “You cry and God doesn’t hear you, because you are weak!”

“No one wants you!” Another demon chimed in. “Go ahead and off yourself, you won’t even be missed.”

Confusion stepped in and led the others in an orchestra of accusations, while Murdertiedup gripped her hand on the razor. “Kill yourself! Do it! You are worthless! No one loves you! No one wants you! No one cares! God will never forgive you! If there was a God why does your life suck? You are a whore! You are stupid! You are ugly! There is no hope for you! Everything you touch is cursed! Die! Die! Die!…” Accusations and taunts circled around her head, confusing her, making her dizzy.

Her hand trembled, her tears fell, and though she wanted it all to end, there was a small voice…

Come to Me.” The small voice softly beckoned. “I am your Healer and Deliverer.”

“Jesus?” Her voice was barely audible.

“What did she say?!” The demons stepped back just enough to loosen the grip on her. Although they could barely hear her words, they sensed a power coming forth, though it was faint they knew even a sliver of faith in what she spoke would send them flying.

“Call on Me.” The soft clear voice broke through the confusion and spoke directly to her heart. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. Come.”

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“God, help me.” She cried.

The lesser demons began to flee, they knew they were no match for this war. They could feel the change in the atmosphere and their shadow began to fade.

“Stop her!” Murder screamed. But it was too late…

Jesus save me.” The sound of the Name she spoke came through as thunder, throwing the demons off her.

The demons stood in the background, eyes narrowed, poison salivating from their lips with each exhale, waiting and watching. They trembled and covered their eyes when He entered the room, unable to look upon His glory. To the girl He was Love unconditional, to the demons He was a consuming fire. Not even the largest demon was fool enough to think of staying in His presence.

Immediately confusion was replaced with peace. She laid the razor down and wept.

Oh, God, forgive me.” She wept. “I have sinned and turned so far away from You.”

In her brokenness, she laid down and confessed her sins and asked God to forgive her. “Jesus, if You are willing, You can heal me.” She cried.

“I am willing, be healed. You are forgiven.”

jesusHer tears of sorrow soon turned into tears of joy as Gods Holy Spirit ministered love to her. Where rejection once resided, she now found acceptance. Where hatred once fanned the flames of unforgiveness, she found release and forgiveness. Where there was no hope, she found hope. And her weakness was now made strong, through the Name she called upon, Jesus, her Redeemer.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the demons never tried to come back. But I can tell you that when they did, they found no place in her, the door to them was forever closed, as she continued to cling to Jesus and trust Him. This is her story, this is her testimony, though she was lost, she was found. What the devil meant to use to destroy her, God used for her good and for His glory. As we read the words of her story, we can be reminded, we are never so low or too far gone, that God can’t reach us. We have an Advocate, through Jesus, to God the Father. We are sealed with His Spirit and He is forever with us.

What is your story? Let it become your testimony of Gods redeeming love.

Fear is a liar!

Call on Jesus.

Be Free & Stay Free

The Most Unusual Place: a short story

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Her reflection in the mirror showed a tired woman. Her skin was blotchy, pale and discolored with dark circles under her eyes; dull brown hair replaced a once thick and glowing crown. She looked at herself as if looking at a stranger. There was barely any resemblance to the woman she was in her youth. She pulled the wiry strings of hair into a single braid, splashed water onto her face and paused for a moment to savor the coolness of her hands on her brow.

“What are you doing, woman?” She cringed at the gruff sound of Ben’s voice. “Quit looking at yourself and come back to bed.”

“I have to go to the well and get some water.” She couldn’t look at him when she answered.

“It is too early for that!” He reached over and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back into bed. “Satisfy me first, woman.”

“Ben, I need to go before the other women get there, or I will have to wait until this afternoon when the heat will be unbearable.”

“You talk too much!” He gruffed. “Always talking when you should be listening.”

Ignoring her protest, he forced her legs apart to lay on her. She closed her eyes against his stale breath as he used her body. She hated this act because she despised him. She let her body go limp and her mind go numb. He was not deterred by her lack of participation. She remained still until he finished and rolled off her.

“Laying with you is like laying with a dead fish!” He pushed her out of bed. “Make me something to eat and then go get me some water.”

Her eyes stung with the tears she refused to let fall. The wretch in her stomach made her want to vomit. The feel of her own skin was more than she could bare. She felt used up like garbage wrapped in dying flesh.

Her life was not suppose to be like this. She was the oldest of three daughters. Even though sons were the pride, her parents loved her and her sisters. Her childhood was filled listening to stories by her father. Sitting on his lap and tugging at his beard, singing, “Tell me another story, Poppa.” He would laugh and say, “OK,Galilah, one more before you sleep.”

Her childhood came to an end when her father fell ill and was buried beside his brothers. Her mother, doing what she thought best, married her off to Lameck. “He will be able to provide for you,” her mother cried on her wedding day. “I cannot feed four bellies.”

At fourteen, she was the sacrificial bride to a man old enough to be her father. True, Lameck was able to provide for her, but what the marriage was supposed to provide for him was a son, yet she could not conceive. He lost his patience with her after a year and took another wife. When the second wife conceived Galilah was forced out of the house and given to another man.

After five marriages, tossed aside by four and widowed by one, she did what she had to do to provide for herself. Shamefully she shared her bed with men passing through. Prostituting herself kept just enough bread in her belly and a shelter over her head. This is how she met Ben; he came and didn’t leave. With Ben, she released one shame to pick up another.

She held the memories of her first fourteen years close to her heart. She would not be robbed of her identity. She may not be who she could have been for the years have taken their toll, but she always believed there was a greater purpose for her.

It was too late to go to the well now, the other women would be there. She hated their idle chatter and their judgmental attitude. Sometimes she envied them, sometimes she pitied them, but mostly she despised them. Given a choice she would have never chosen the life that was handed to her, but she did learn something with each abuse; she learned to listen. The men would talk and disregard her as an ignorant woman, but she listened and she learned.

When the sun was high in the sky, Galilah picked up the water jar and began her walk to the well. The heat was almost unbearable as sweat trickled down her brow. Although her face was shaded by her veil and her robe shielded her from the sun it did not offer much reprieve from the heat.

She could see a solitary figure sitting by the well. As she approached, she pulled the veil closer to her face, squinting into the sun to identify who it may be. It was a man, sitting peacefully, he was alone. Perhaps he was a foreigner passing through?

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There was nothing particularly handsome about the man as he sat and patiently waited for her to approach. She made brief eye contact with him; his eyes were warm and reflected the sun. There was something about his eyes which made her feel as though He was looking into the depth of her, not in a judgmental or seductive way, but as if He knew her. She quickly looked down.

She did not feel threatened by his presence, but her experience had taught her hostility and disdain for men. Yet, in the few brief moments of assessing him she could sense he was not like other men.

“Give Me a drink.” He broke the silence. His request was not a demand, but matter-of-factly spoken.

“How is it that you ask me for water?” She said, pausing at the well. “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

“If you knew the gift of God, and who says to you, ‘give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” He answered.

She looked around Him with some exaggeration and saw that He had no jar with Him. “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.” She motioned to the well. “Where then do You get that living water?”

He remained seated, He did not flinch at her words. She felt the need to keep talking, divert His attention. She sensed there was greater meaning behind what He said, but she did not want to appear ignorant. She straightened her back with feigned dignity.

“Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

“Whoever drinks of this well will thirst again,” He gave a gesture to the well. “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst. The water I give will become a fountain of water, springing up into everlasting life.”

“Well then, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst or come here to draw.” She wanted the water He spoke of, especially if it meant she would never have to come to this well in her shame again. Her thirst went deeper than this well and even if she were able to drink this well dry it would not be enough.

“Go, call your husband and come here.” He answered.

She felt a sting from His request and in the answer she would have to give. She didn’t have a husband. No man wanted her. No one that cared for her, covered her, or protected her.

“I have no husband.” She felt no need to lie. She allowed the truth to fall from her lips. What would He say to this? Would He mock her, too? Would the conversation cease here? Would He regard her unworthy for the water He spoke of? She braced herself for His response, expecting it to be the same as everyone else.

He smiled at her. He knew her confession and He felt her shame, but He looked past it and He saw her. She was His appointment. She was worthy. His heart broke for her and He saw what had been done against her. He saw her strength and her weakness, her hurt and her healing; He was moved with compassion for her.

“You have spoke the truth,” He said. “You have no husband. You have had five husbands and the man you are with now is not your husband.”

She looked at Him. How could He know this unless God revealed it? He must be a prophet. She fought the apprehension stirring in her. A respectful man would walk away from her and not want to be seen talking to her. She did not want Him to leave. She sensed there was more to Him than met the eye. Perhaps if she changed the subject?

“Our fathers worshipped on this mountain.” She said. Perhaps her intellect would shift the attention from her sin and the shame she felt. “You Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” He spoke with confident authority. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him.” Pausing, the man stood, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

She felt her heart quicken within her and her spirit lept. She was captivated. She listened to his words, watched his mouth speak and although He spoke as a man of authority she did not feel condemnation.

“I know the Messiah is coming.” She said. “When He comes, He will teach us all things.”

He looked her in the eye. “I who speak to you am He.”

Could this be? Yes, she could feel that He spoke the truth. She could feel the washing of His words come over her, like a welcomed shower. Just being in His presence lifted burdens from her shoulders. She began to realize she felt lighter, the sky was bluer, the air was clearer. She felt a calm she had not felt before. She also felt something rise in her she had not sensed since she was a child; hope.

Is this the Messiah that she heard about? Is this the man who they have waited for? Has he come? He didn’t look like she expected, but she had never experienced such compassion and kindness. She had never witnessed authority wrapped in gentleness. She believed Him. In just a few moments of conversation, in just a few moments in His presence she was changed. The hopelessness she felt, the shame; was gone.

Other men appeared at the well. They stood a few feet back and watched. She could see their curiosity of why He, the Messiah, would be talking to her. But, it did not seem to bother the man. He did not try to hide His talking with her. He just looked at her with a warmth of understanding and smiling eyes.

“Rabbi,” one of the men interrupted. “We have brought food to eat.”

She could not contain herself. She left the water jar, turned and hurried back to the city; she had to tell others. For the first time she felt clean; forgiven.

The men were gathered at the city. “Come!” She urged. “Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?!”

The men noticed there was something different about her, her countenance had changed and it gave cause for them to listen. “Is this the same woman?” They questioned. “She looks different.”

The men followed her back to the well. The man was sitting with His disciples.

“That’s Him!” Galilah said, picking up her pace to sit with Him.

“Come, join us.” The man welcomed them.

Time no longer existed as they listened to Him speak and teach as no one they have ever heard. Thirsty for more, they urged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days and many more believed because of His own word. He spoke and taught with great authority and compassion.

Through it all, Galilah sat at His feet, listening, bathing in His words, and her soul was dry no more. The shame and fear she carried for so many years fell to the ground. Her regrets were replaced with thankfulness, for she knew her redemption had come.
When it was time for Him to leave the city, Galilah wept.

“Do not weep, beloved.” He said comforting her. “I am not leaving you, you will see Me again. I am always with you. Do you believe?”

“Yes, I believe.” She looked into His eyes. “I believe.”

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After He and His disciples left the city and were no longer in sight, the people turned to the woman and for the first time they saw her differently. Could it be that she has changed? Or perhaps they have changed? Or maybe it was both? One thing is certain, Salvation came to the most unusual place.

“Now we believe.” They said to her. “Not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

 

 

The Fall: A Short Story

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His tactics are stealth and he is sly and shrewd. His jealousy withered away his majestic stature; but his mastery of deception lent him the ability to take on any form.  He speaks into the dreams of the unsuspecting and the minds of the weak. He prays on the souls of the mortal; pushing them ahead, only to set them back. It does not matter the age, the race, the sex, the political party, the wealth – or lack of. What matters to him is winning. Sure, he knows it will be his ultimate defeat, but that does not deter him from collecting trophies.

This is a battle that has been waged long before man walked the earth, before the water and earth separated and the mountains peaked. This war between the created and the Creator has been personal long before mans first name was spoken aloud.

I should have been the chosen one! I am better, stronger, and certainly more beautiful than the rest! I am the bright morning star!” He consoles himself into the blackness of hate and pride. “Pity, no one else recognizes my talents.”

Sure… he is not God, but he wants to be like him; maybe even better. But then God had to go and create this thing… this man;  in His own image no less. The smell of man makes him want to vomit. The very sight and sound of man infuriates him.

Man so innocent, walking around in his own personal garden, as if he owned the place, as if this creation was made just for him.

If he could have his way he would gut him right there. With just one blow he would wipe him away. But man is protected. He has to think of a more subtle way to eradicate him. A blow to man would be a blow to God and this is what he hungers for; to show them all what a mistake it was to throw him down from heaven.

He stands back, hidden in the shadow as he watches man and God walk in the garden deviland talking as if they are friends. He sneers each time he hears them laugh as curses hiss under his breath. As close as man is with God it is going to be nearly impossible for him to get close enough to strike his blow. At least there is only one he has to contend with and the day will come. Just the thought of striking a blow to Gods heart fed his lascivious delusion.

As his hatred grew, his beauty began to wane, and the luster of his precious stones began to dim. He retreats back into the only shadow in the garden, his own. Wrapping his wings around his body to stay the smell and sound of the man; detest wafting around him like a putrid vapor, he watches and waits.

But, wait! What’s this? His ears perk to the sound of something unfamiliar and soft. A gift! God gave the man a gift. Rage boiled inside of him like a volcanic churning. It was an insult to injury.

How could God be so enraptured with these two creatures? Why, compared to him they were small!

Of course God is blessing them! Of course God says they are good! He created them.

Yea, yea, yea, go and multiply and subdue the earth.” He mocks in his own imitation of Gods voice.

He did have to admit the man and woman did have a beauty; perfectly formed. They flowed naturally with each other and with God; the three walking as one.

Three! There can be no more three!” He snarled. “The trinity must be crushed!”

How dare God give this man complete rule over the garden! After all, wasn’t it he that led worship before His throne?

It was me!” He mumbled under his breath. “I was the Cherub that worshipped before His throne. He didn’t even appreciate me. Even with all my beauty and the symphonies of my worship… I am Lucifer! I was the highest in rank! I was even greater than Michael and Gabriel.

Then a smile crosses his lips; he can barely contain himself when he sees his in. Yes!  God created another. Ha! He will have to strike fast.

At first, the thought of any seed coming from the two sickened him. But, then another thought flashes into his mind; he can use the woman to be the downfall to man and then God will not walk with him anymore. Yes! Let God throw man from the garden as easily as He threw him down.

He knows it is not going to be easy, but he will wait.  He will watch for the perfect moment and then he will strike the fatal blow with such precision they will not even know what hit them until it is too late. He waits, watches, and studies the man and woman. He makes note of every instruction God gives to man.

Foolish God!” He laughs. “Does He really believe man will follow orders? Even so, He should have told the woman too, instead of trusting man.

The realization of the free will God gave to man and woman burned within his stomach. The darkness of his heart crept to his mouth, releasing the stench of pride and hatred through his up-curved lips. This is almost too perfect. Why didn’t God protect man better? Surely He has to know his enemy is in the garden with an axe to grind. If He really wanted to protect them He wouldn’t have given them the choice; to obey or not to obey, to love and trust, or rebel.

His disdain for man was matched only by the delight he relished in the thought of getting woman alone. He knows he can’t touch them until they are disobedient because God wants obedience. But, if he could entice a third of the angels to follow him, then surely he can entrap this woman. He only needs to get her alone; temptation always wins in isolation.

“Rebellion works for me.” He laughs. “His creation will worship me and I will be the god of this world!”

At last, opportunity presented itself; woman strayed from man and was alone in the garden. Veiled in deceptive brightness, Lucifer showed himself to the woman as a serpent. Woman did not know fear, she has never tasted it, making it that much easier for him to approach her.

Can it really be true that God has said ‘you shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Lucifer said in his most matter of fact and innocent sounding voice. His pride fluffed with his own cleverness; casting a little doubt can go a long way.

We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden.” The woman answered. “God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die’.”

Ha! This is almost too easy. Lucifer knows exactly what God told man. This little embellishment from the woman to not touch it, is his in.

You certainly will not die!” Lucifer feigned surprise. “For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like Him and you will know the difference between good and evil. Die? You don’t really believe that you will die, do you? I mean, after all, do you think God would kill you?”

The woman looked at Lucifer and then looked at the tree.  It was delightful to look at and the fruit does look good, after all.  He touched her slightly and waited for desire to give birth. He must keep her captivated with the beauty of the tree and not let her become distracted. It was almost too easy.  Man silently watched the woman; his presence hardly noticeable.

You will be wise, just like God.” He whispered, nudging her, tapping the tree with his finger. “See, I touched it and I didn’t dieJust take a little bite, it won’t hurt anything.”

The woman tenderly plucked the fruit, holding it in her hand she turned it side to side. It did look delicious. “Maybe God didn’t really mean we would die if we ate this.” She reasoned. “I will just take a little taste.

Yesss, taste it.” Lucifer urged, glancing around to be sure God was not there. ”Just a little bite won’t hurt.

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The woman held it to her mouth and slowly bit. Lucifer could see the juice from the fruit touch her skin. He licked his own lips, the taste of his victory sweet in his mouth.

See, that’s not so bad, is it?” Lucifer chided.

She handed the fruit to the man.

Taste it.” She coerced. “The serpent is right, I didn’t die.

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The man took the fruit, looked at the woman and serpent, then held it to his lips and bit.

See! I told you you wouldn’t die!” Lucifer laughed.

Instantly shame covered them as they became aware of their nakedness. They hurried to tear leaves from the fig tree and covered themselves up.

Amused, Lucifer took a few steps back to watch, as man and woman were trying to cover themselves. This turned out better than he planned. He was going to have a front row seat to watch God’s heart break. Yes, goodbye man and woman, now they are going to see a different side of God. Let them feel His wrath as He turns against them!

Adam? Where are you?” They could hear God call.

A new feeling began to take hold of man and it caused him to tremble; fear and shame. The man and woman tried to hide, but it was of no use.

Over here, over here, Lucifer wanted to laugh. Your man and woman are over here. His satisfaction swelled knowing what just happened and what is to come.

Bring your angels, God! Tear them to pieces!”  Lucifer thought, but dared not say out loud.

I heard you walking through the garden.” Adam answered, his voice shaking. “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.

Who told you you were naked?” God said. “Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?”

It was the woman you gave me.” The man answered, slightly stepping away from the woman. “She gave me the fruit from the tree and I ate it.”

Lucifer withdrew behind a tree, he was not going to run, he would face God and glory in His fallen creation; but he would do it from a distance, of course.

Then God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

Is that sorrow Lucifer heard in His voice? He expected anger, lightening, or maybe some good ol’ fashion smiting; but sorrow? This is not fair, he pouted, I am far superior than these bones and flesh!

It was him!” The woman pointed at Lucifer. “The serpent tricked me.”

Immediately, Lucifer regretted wanting the front row seat. There is no sorrow in Gods voice towards him. Lucifer knew the smiting is going to strike him hard. He coward back and lowered his head, maybe if he took a submissive stance God will go easy on him. Yet, even with the fear, Lucifer could hardly contain the satisfaction of striking the first blow.

Because you have done this,” God said to the serpent, Lucifer, with lightening in His eyes. “You are cursed more than all the cattle and animals of the field. On your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between your seed and her Seed. He shall fatally bruise your head and you shall only bruise His heel.”

What seed? How dare God not strike the man and woman down! Why do they get another chance? No, this is not how it is suppose to go!

Then to the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will give birth to your children and your desire and longing will be for your husband and he will rule over you and be responsible for you.”

Then to the man He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree which I commanded you to not eat; the ground is now a curse because of you. In sorrow and toil you shall eat the fruit of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you’ You shall eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your face. You will eat bread until you return to the ground, for from it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Then God made clothes of animal skins for the man and woman and sent them away from the garden. God drove man out from the garden and then stationed a cherubim with a sword with a flashing blade which turned round and round in every direction to protect and guard the entrance to the tree of life.

Guard the entrance and do not let them return.” God said to the cherubim. “He must not eat from the tree of life as well, and live in this fallen sinful condition forever.

God knew from the beginning and He already set in motion the redemption of man. And Lucifer? Well, Lucifer will feel the fatal blow.

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Be Free & Stay Free