Bible Study

Genesis part XXIV: A lesson in repentance and salvation

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

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Jacob sends his sons to buy corn in Egypt

Scripture in focus: Genesis 42

42:1 > ”Why do you look at one another?” Jacob noticed that perhaps at the mention of the word “Egypt”, the brothers looked at one another in a strange way. He wanted to know why, but they couldn’t tell him that they sold Joseph to Egypt; they lived with this terrible secret and guilt for 20 years. 

42:2 > The famine was not letting up and the only way for Jacob’s family to obtain food was to go into Egypt and buy it. 

42:3-4 > Ten of the eleven brothers obeyed their father’s order and immediately set out for Egypt. Benjamin was the youngest and Jacob’s favorite and he didn’t want anything to happen to him so he kept him away from the world.

42:5-8 > Prophesy of a young Joseph’s dreams are fulfilled from verses 9 and 37:5-11 when his brothers paid respect by bowing down to him. Joseph was now a mature adult and Egyptian in appearance and mannerism therefore, his brothers didn’t recognize him. Joseph knew them, though, and he was about to put them through a series of tests.

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42:9 > Joseph remembers the dreams he had when he was young. This was God’s doing. He recalled the dreams to Joseph’s memory to guide him accordingly. He was to be used as an instrument for the correction and restoration of the brothers (blueletterbible.org) and therefore, he had to keep his true identity under wraps for now… like a secret agent! He knew his brothers weren’t spies, but he didn’t want to break his role as ruler, so he accused them of being such to hear what they’ll say.

42:10-11 > The brothers replied that they all had the same father and therefore not likely spies.

42:12-13 > Still in character, Joseph accuses the brothers of espionage. The brothers knew they didn’t deserve this rough treatment. After all, they only wanted to obtain food and return home to their waiting father. Feeling the pressure to defend themselves, they told Joseph that they were 12 brothers, but “the youngest is this day with our father” (Benjamin) and “one is not” for they thought Joseph to be dead by now. If they only knew!

42:14-16 > If Joseph’s heart soared (after hearing that his father and youngest brother was still alive) and broke a little (hearing that his own brothers pronounced him to be dead), he did not show any emotion in front of them. He sticks to the spy accusation. Besides, he didn’t trust his brothers’ words when it came to Benjamin. He had to see Benjamin with his own eyes to make sure that they didn’t do something similar to Benjamin as they did to him. One of the brothers had to be elected to go back to Jacob’s house to bring Benjamin down into Egypt to make sure that they were telling the truth. 

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42:17 > Joseph gives the brothers a taste of the suffering he endured when he was brought into Egypt as a slave by putting them in prison. There, they’ll consult which brother will go up again to Canaan and bring Benjamin. Three days in prison (Joseph spent 3 years) was also enough to humble them and so, they were willing to do whatever Joseph demanded. 

42:18-20 > Joseph visits his brothers on the 3rd day to give orders. He feared God meaning that he did not want his brothers to fear him; he wanted them to trust him. If they were really honest men as they said they were, then they’ll do as he says. 

42:21 > The guilt returns tenfold! The brothers confer that they were guilty of the sin concerning their brother Joseph. After selling Joseph, they probably never talked of it again, but being imprisoned in Egypt for three days made them realized the error of their sin and it took twenty-two long years.

They’ve reached the first step to salvation by being convicted of their sins. Before we even ask forgiveness, we must identify our sins. 

42:22 > Reuben reminds his brothers that he told them not to lay a wicked hand on Joseph (37:21-22). They hearken unto him by not killing Joseph and although the Word does not say, it does seem probable that Reuben went out of sight from his brothers for a little while. Perhaps he took a stroll to try to figure how to get Joseph out of the pit and back home again when his brothers took Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the passing Ishmaelites.

42:23 > The brothers spoke freely thinking that Joseph was an Egyptian hence the reason he was using an interpreter, but Joseph understood every word which tumbled from their lips. See, in order for the relationship between the brothers to be restored, God had to work on their hearts so they can repent, be forgiven, heal, and move on. It probably grieved Joseph, but he had to let God have His way. 

42:24 > Overcome with emotion, Joseph wept. He knew this was God’s doing after hearing his brothers confess their sins and especially Reuben’s concern for him. After he composed himself, he returned to speak with his brothers. Simeon was kept as a hostage.

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42:25-28 > Joseph’s commands are carried out by a steward or deputy and the brothers – except Simeon – was sent on their way to Canaan. It was only when they stopped to take care of their beasts, that one of them opened his sack only to find his money restored. The money that he paid for the grain! Something was not right and their guilty conscience returned when they pondered “What is this that God has done to us?” 

Salvation is a free gift for everyone. We cannot buy it or obtain it by material means.

42:29-35 > The brothers return home and relate all that had befallen them while in Egypt to their father. And lo and behold! When every brother opened their sack, the money they paid to the steward was restored. Again, salvation is a free gift. We cannot buy it. Restoration is a joyful affair for all involved. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit (Psalm 51:12).

With Simeon in prison and with the restored monies, the brothers must return to Egypt for they could be accused of thievery and Simeon could be hanged.

42:36 > Jacob thinks everything is against him. With Joseph presumed dead and Simeon in an Egyptian prison, he did not want to lose another son. Jacob indirectly blamed the other sons for Joseph’s death. Also, he was so overwhelmed, he only thought of himself and how his happiness and comfort was being ripped apart. As Christians, we were never meant to be comfortable. Joseph was certainly not comfortable when he was taken from the pit and sold into Egypt, but he approached the attitude differently. When bad things happen and our world is shaken up, instead of the “Woe is me” attitude, approach it as knowing the situation would work together for the good (Romans 8:28). Even if you cannot see it, trust God.

42:37 > As the eldest, Reuben spoke on behalf of his brothers. “Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee” he doesn’t mean that children should be killed, but he put the life of his two sons at stake to show his father that he would do everything in his will to make sure Benjamin returns home safe and sound. He takes responsibility for Benjamin’s safety.

42:38 > But Jacob refused to send his precious son into Egypt clinging to the fact (and blame) that Joseph was no more with him. His remark also showed that he didn’t care if Simeon spent the rest of his life in an Egyptian prison for he was not of Rachel. 

Up next: The return to Egypt

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love discovering little nuggets in God’s Word and this chapter in Genesis brings it home where it concerns salvation and restoration. Joseph showed that when power is used properly, it benefits everyone. 

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Activity/Discussion

Is it okay to tell a lie?

The lyrics of “Little Lies” by Fleetwood Mac comes to mind as I penned the title down. You know, that song where the singer begs to be told sweet little lies?

Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can’t disguise
(You can’t disguise, no you can’t disguise)

If love is unrequited, then why would you beg to be told that you’re loved when you’re not? Does being deceived makes you happy? Unfortunately, some of us just roll with it even though we know it’s wrong to hold onto false hopes.

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The Bible on lies:

In the Bible, we clearly see that lying is a sin and yes, very displeasing to God. In the Ten Commandments, we are warned to not bear false witness against our neighbors (Exodus 20:16) for lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22). If you go way back to when sin first entered the world, it was based on a lie told to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4). Ananias and Sapphira got called out for lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:3.

There are a few instances in the Bible where white lies are told to save lives (see Exodus 1:15-21 & Joshua 2:5), but nowhere in the Bible does God gave His approval of these lies.

Nowhere in the Bible praises lies for saving lives 

God expects His children to follow Him in truth (John 14:6) for He never lies (Titus 1:2) and liars will be among those judged at the end (Revelation 21:8). 

Putting away lies no matter how small they are cause us to have healthy and truthful relationships with our neighbors

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Some lies we hear every day:

* When you’re asked “Do you have any questions?” and you answer no when in fact you may have lots of questions. Don’t feign ignorant knowledge. Even if you have to ask the same question 3 times until you have the right answer or to know that you’re carrying out your work accordingly, do it. 

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When your friend invites you to a little get-together, and you lie about having something at church or at home. Own your truth. If you don’t feel like attending, say so.

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* When Youtubers tell you that they’re putting 1000 donuts in a pool when in reality, it’s like 800. Youtubers think it’s okay to exaggerate numbers, but it’s click bait and not to mention, a lie at the end of the day. If you’re going to put 1000 donuts in the pool, I want to see 1000 donuts.

* When someone gets caught in a lie and they try to justify it by asking you to stop hating and try to reason with their lie in the first place.

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I’ve told white lies over the years to cover my tracks, but in the end, I’ve come to realize that even little white lies are wrong, no matter how sweet they may taste.

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Remember, the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). We worship God in truth so it’s obvious that honestly is the best policy regardless of the situation.

***Dobre brothers GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XXII: Joseph interprets dreams

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

Let us continue to praise the holy name of our Lord. Let us sing hallelujah until He comes again. Let us lift up our voices to the sky and magnify our King! Jesus Christ is coming back again; never be afraid to let the world know.

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Joseph resists temptation; ends up in prison

Scripture in focus: Genesis 39

39:1 > So, the Ishmaelites brought Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh and captain of the guard (meaning that Potiphar was a highly trusted official in the Egyptian government).

39:2-3 > God was with Joseph. Even while he was a servant in Potiphar’s house, God blessed him tremendously. Although Potiphar might not have known Jehovah for he was a sun worshipper (Ra), he knew where the blessings came from. And just by seeing Joseph work honestly and diligently, Potiphar knew that Jehovah was real.

39:4-6 > Joseph now had favor with both God and man. Potiphar liked and trusted him so much that he made Joseph the head servant or steward of his house committing all his business to Joseph’s care. Remember, when Joseph first came to Egypt, it was foreign to him. He didn’t know any of the customs, the culture, or the language, so he had to rise early and stay up late to do his job and to also learn the ways of the Egyptian.  

All of this was setting the wheels in motion for something much bigger in Joseph’s future despite being a slave.

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39:7 > Joseph was said to be handsome in form and in appearance, so it was not long when he caught the roving eyes of Potiphar’s wife. “Lie with me,” said the predator to the prey. She tries to seduce Joseph into adultery, a sin God loathes. Some suggested that Potiphar was most likely a eunuch and the marriage was that of a ceremonial arrangement. But whether he was a eunuch or not, Egyptian women (in the ancient world) did not care for any code of morality. Even if they were married, they’ll seduce and sleep with whoever the eye desires.

39:8-9 > Joseph refuses her advances and tries to reason with her. He calls adultery a “great wickedness” and “a sin against God”. He told her that Potiphar has been nothing but good to him and he refused to partake in this wicked thing. He lets her know that although it might be alright with Potiphar, it wouldn’t be all right with God for a man should never share his wife.

We like to call sin by another enticing name, but Joseph calls it what it is: sin. 

39:10 > Potiphar’s wife persisted, though. Joseph’s reasoning went into her right ear and out her left. And as the days went by, she continues to make advances against him. But Joseph resisted the temptation. He had to tell her no EVERY DAY! proving that he was faithful to God in his actions. He knew that if he sinned, he would’ve sinned not only against Potiphar but also against God (Psalm 51:4). He also made sure to never be caught in her company alone as evidenced in the following verse.

Joseph was in the world (Egypt), but his faith and devotion in God helped him to stay on the right track and to kick temptation in the face.

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39:11-12 > “And it came to pass about this time” biblical scholars note that this could’ve been a year after the woman of the house began making her bold sexual advances towards Joseph. She made sure none of the men were in the house so she could trap Joseph when he came to do his business (inspect the accounts etc.). She ambushed Joseph, grabbing him by his garment, but he fled from the scene quickly leaving his garment behind. This is what we must do when faced with temptation: run as fast as we can away from the lust of the flesh! 

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When God provides a way of escape, take it. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

39:13-18 > Potiphar’s wife makes unjust sexual allegations against Joseph when she realized that Joseph had no intention in taking her up on her offer. Her lust turns to hatred and she eventually accuses Joseph of rape and Joseph has no way to defend himself for there wasn’t a witness present. This brings to mind Jesus’ silence before his accusers.

39:19-20 > Potiphar had no way of knowing that his wife was lying, but in his eyes, his wife was telling the truth for she had a piece of Joseph’s garment as “evidence”. He put Joseph in prison instead of killing him. Even throughout this “trial” God was protecting Joseph for he was innocent.

39:21-23 > Joseph prospers in prison because of God. He has been blessing Joseph throughout the trials he endured. The Lord was with him no matter what. As a slave in Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned the business side of things. While in prison, he gained insight into the administrative skills that would not only save his family one day but also the world. The work of the prisoners soon prospered because God was with Joseph.

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The butler and the baker

In this chapter, we see two dreams in one night by two men (the baker and the butler) while they’re in prison with Joseph who is 28 years at the time. But did you ever notice that dreams associated with Joseph came in pairs? Joseph dreamt 2 dreams, the butler and the baker’s dreams complemented each other and the Pharaoh had two dreams which also complemented each other.

Scripture in focus: Genesis 40

40:1-3 > Joseph meets the chief baker and the chief butler after they offended the Pharaoh. We’re not told what crimes they committed, but because of their occupations, we’ll have to go with food. And whether it was minor or major, the Pharaoh could care less. If he feels offended, he has the authority to throw anyone in prison.

40:4 > Although Joseph had a position of high ranking authority in prison he never misused his position, instead, using it to serve. Just as Jesus humbled Himself and served.

40:5-7 > Joseph was all about the people as we see from these verses. He was concerned about the baker and the butler instead of feeling sorry for himself. This paints a picture of how kind-hearted Joseph was.

40:8 > The men revealed that they’re sad because there was no one to interpret their dreams. Ancient Egyptians practiced the interpreting of dreams in order to foretell the future (oneiromancy) and they had their own dream interpreters, but Joseph let the men know that interpretations – and any foretelling of the future for that matter – belonged to God. Seeing that the men were disturbed by their dreams, Joseph invites them to relate their dreams to him for he was confident God knew what the dreams were about. 

40:9-11 > The butler gives an account of his dream. With keywords such as “vine” and “branches”, this brings to mind John 15:1-17. Also, the 3 branches represented 3 days in this dream and it also foretold Jesus’ 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40).

40:12-15 > Joseph interprets the butler’s dream and it’s good. He requests the butler’s kindness, but the butler won’t remember him until the time was right which was God’s perfect timing: two years later.

40:16-19 > The baker is delighted with the interpretation and decides to tell his dream to Joseph also. His joy is shortlived, though. Now, imagine had the baker told Joseph his dream first and the butler decided not to tell his because of fear of bad news, how would he have known to mention Joseph’s name to the Pharaoh two years later? All things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

40:20-23 > Three days later, the Pharaoh celebrates his birthday by restoring the butler to his position and hanging the baker thus fulfilling Joseph’s interpretations. Also, this is one of two instances where birthdays are mentioned specifically in the Bible, the other being King Herod. Both kings made a feast and in both cases, a man was killed. The baker was hung and John the Baptist was beheaded.

Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name. 

Up next: Joseph’s rise to greatness

Additional Notes/Recap

^ It certainly took Joseph a while (11 years) to reach to the top. When he was sold into slavery, he was only 17 years old (37:2). When he was promoted by the Pharaoh, he was 30 (41:46); before that, he was in prison for 2 years (41:1).

^ Butler literally means “cupbearer of the king” and he would’ve been the one to serve Pharaoh his drinks. 

^ Unless Joseph was moved to another facility, but reading chapter 40, we see that he was still imprisoned (40:3), the prison was called “the house of the captain of the guard” (40:3), “his lord’s house” (40:7), and a “dungeon” (40:15).

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Devotional Nuggets

Devotional Nugget #3: The Sinning Christian

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

1 John 5:18

When we become a child of God, we’re expected to put away the old person for we’re altogether a new creation (Ephesians 4:22-24). Our thoughts should no longer be ours. Our old ways should no longer linger. Our hearts should no longer be deceitful. If we really and truly believe and belong to God, then why do we keep sinning? Some of us wilfully sin, but call it a “mistake”, a “flaw”, an “imperfection”! We can dress it up beautifully and call it whatever we want, but a sin is a sin.

We live in a world where temptation is always on the rise. We foolishly think that we have everything under control without relying on God only to be dragged back to our youthful lusts which God tells us to flee (2 Timothy 2:22). We all sin (Romans 3:23), but when we come to Christ by faith, He cleanses us of our sin thus we’re born again (John 3:3). God doesn’t make us righteous, He declares us righteous (Romans 5:1) for we’re still in the flesh and there’s always going to be a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. You’re going to lose some, you’re going to win some, but if we’re fully surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit, we’re going to win those battles constantly (Galatians 5:16-17). 

Jesus showed us the way out. When He was tempted, He “offered up prayers and supplications with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7). We have to continually submit to God allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us for the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) and He works in us to transform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

As long as you’re fighting and resisting the lust, you’re not sinning. It’s going to be a continuous battle for the Spirit of God and the flesh are at war.

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Today’s Reflection

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus wants us to strive for perfection as it is God’s standard for us. However, Jesus knew that in reality, we would fail that standard for we’re still in the flesh hence the reason why He died for our sins (Romans 5:8).

Bible Study

Genesis part IV: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

In case you missed it:

The Original Sin

The Making of mankind and the Sabbath

Genesis: in the beginning

We’re still studying the book of Genesis. I would’ve like to be at the end of the book heading into Exodus, but I don’t like rushing. However, I was talking to my friend Jonathan earlier this week and he said that he liked studying with me for it suits him best and I realize that I may have to start posting on a regular basis. I feel complete whenever I read/share/discuss His Word. 💙

The last time we were in the garden talking about our first parents’ fall. Today, we look at the first sons and an important genealogy.

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Abel and Cain

Scripture in focus: Genesis 4 

So Adam knew his wife and Cain (A possession; a spear) was born. Abel (breath; a vanity) was the second born. Cain was a tiller of the ground (a farmer like his father Adam) while his brother was a keeper of sheep (4:2). And it came to pass when the brothers brought their offerings before God, Cain brought fruits (4:3) and Abel brought the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof (4:4).

God respects Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s (4:4-5). Why didn’t God respect Cain’s offering as well? Let’s look at Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith. Also look at Matthew 23:35 in which Jesus calls Abel righteous. 

Cain was angry, but God talked with him father to son, providing a solution to his problem (4:7), but Cain was stubborn and prideful and allowed sin to rule over him. Instead of humbling himself and becoming repentant, Cain allowed his anger and jealousy drive him to murder his own flesh and blood (4:8). When God asks Cain where is Abel, Cain is quick to reply that he does not know and asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (4:9). Two ironies here: Cain does know where his brother is; he murdered him. And as the older sibling, he is Abel’s keeper. Firstborns are naturally responsible for their younger siblings and they have authority. 

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God places a curse upon Cain and he worries that whoever finds him will kill him (4:11-14). Just as the Lord provided for Adam and Eve after banishing them from the garden, he set a mark upon Cain to protect him (4:15). So Cain has now lost his home and family and dwelled in the land of Nod (exile, wandering, unrest), east of Eden (4:16). He eventually has a son with his wife, named him Enoch and built a city after his son’s name (4:17). We do not know if Cain had any more children for the Bible do not say, but his great-great-great grandson Lamech becomes the world’s first polygamist by marrying two wives (4:19).

Lamech boasts about killing a man and a young man (teenager perhaps?) for wounding him and that he’ll avenge himself worse than Cain (4:23-24). Seth is born and later he has a son which he names Enos and it was about that time that people began to call upon the name of the Lord (4:25-26).

I want to look at Abel and how he was Christlike, but not today. I’ll devote an entire post to this topic soon.

Genealogy of the Patriarchs

Scripture in focus: Genesis 5

This chapter might just be a list of names of people making babies, but it’s the story of our historical ancestors. It begins with the summarization of mankind (5:1-2). I went looking for a table to include in this post and I found one over on an apologetics ministry site call Answers in Genesis so here it is:

Patriarch Age Bible reference
1 Adam 930 Genesis 5:4
2 Seth 912 Genesis 5:8
3 Enosh 905 Genesis 5:11
4 Cainan 910 Genesis 5:14
5 Mahalalel 895 Genesis 5:17
6 Jared 962 Genesis 5:20
7 Enoch 365 (translated) Genesis 5:23
8 Methuselah 969 Genesis 5:27
9 Lamech 777 Genesis 5:31
10 Noah 950 Genesis 9:29
11 Shem 600 Genesis 11:10–11
12 Arphaxad 438 Genesis 11:12–13
13 Shelah 433 Genesis 11:14–15
14 Eber 464 Genesis 11:16–17
15 Peleg 239 Genesis 11:18–19
16 Reu 239 Genesis 11:20–21
17 Serug 230 Genesis 11:22–23
18 Nahor 148 Genesis 11:24–25
19 Terah 205 Genesis 11:32
20 Abram (Abraham) 175 Genesis 25:7
21 Isaac 180 Genesis 35:28–29
22 Jacob (Israel)

Ages of the Patriarchs from Adam to Jacob

Adam was 130 years old when he had his first son (5:3). Cainan lived up to 910 years (5:14). Enoch was 65 when he had Methuselah (5:21) and he walked with God until God took him (5:24). Methuselah is the longest living human ever at 969 years (5:27). Noah was 500 years when he had Shem, Ham, and Japheth (5:32). I think this chapter is important, but it’s too bad churches tend to look it over.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The first murder involved jealousy.

^ Regarding Cain’s offering, I believe that God gave specific instructions regarding the offering although the Bible doesn’t say so. Remember, it was by faith that Abel brought a better offering and faith comes from hearing (Romans 10:17).

^ In a sense, we’re like Abel destined for death, but we’re also like Cain in which we’re subject to anger, pride, and stubbornness thus resulting in sinful impulses.

#amwriting ✍

The Urge Is Back

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The urge is back…

… to dance with my sins

to have that one drink

to watch that X-rated flick

To wrongly think of the ways

I can use my friend Nick.

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In keeping with this week’s backsliding theme. As I said on Sundaywe as newborn babes are still not perfect. We still need to guard our tongue, we’re still going to make mistakes, and we’re still going to be tempted to revert back to an old sin or two. This is not an excuse, though. Call on the mighty name of Jesus whenever you feel like you’re backsliding. It works all the time. 

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**GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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