The heartbreak continues as Eve's firstborn, Cain, takes the life of her second born, Abel. Cain was jealous because his brother's sacrifice was accepted by the Lord, and His was rejected. God punished Abel for his sin by making the ground even more difficult for him to plow. He also must wander the earth leaving his family behind. In the midst of His discipline, God places a hedge of protection around Cain and even gives him a distinguishing mark that will stop people from hurting him. God's grace literally shows up in the midst of His discipline. I believe it provides a beautiful picture for parents. It reminds us that we must be consistent, "5 days is 5 days," or "no friends over" means absolutely no friends coming to the house. In the midst of our consistency, we must also show grace to our kids. They should still get fed on a daily basis. They should have clothes to wear, and they should have a bed to sleep on. Grace in the midst of discipline. It is also important to note that Cain got married and had children. He did not have to wander the earth alone; instead he was given the joy of love and children. Do any of us deserve that? We do not; they are a gift of grace. Will you willingly to lay aside your anger at God just long enough to see His grace in the midst of punishment? I know without question that you will see it if you look deep enough. His grace is more than sufficient to meet all our needs even when we are being disciplined.

Help me, Lord, to find Your grace in the midst of Your punishment for my sin. Help me be consistent with my children and still show them Your amazing grace!