27 July 2016

In His care

Theme: God provides for His people

Know: God arranged events that promoted Joseph to a prominent position in Egypt to provide a way for Israel and his descendants to survive the famine.
Think: Be constantly aware that God provides for His people on His terms, sometimes in ways we would never expect.
Do: Do what you know is good and right, and expect God to provide the rest.

Scriptures: Genesis 45:1-28

Notes and questions:
  1. What's happened since Joseph was sold as a slave?
    1. Joseph interprets various dreams--Genesis 40
    2. Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams--Genesis 41
    3. Joseph's brothers go to Egypt and return the first time--Genesis 42
    4. Joseph's brothers go to Egypt with Benjamin and have a feast with Joseph,--Genesis 43
    5. Joseph's keeps Benjamin from returning to Israel and Judah's plea to Joseph for Benjamin's release,--Genesis 44
    6. Joseph would have been about 32 years old at the time of Genesis 45. See Genesis 41:46 and Genesis 45:6.
    7. Joseph had spent about 13 years as a slave.
  2. What happens in Genesis 45?
    1. Joseph reveals to his brother who he is--Genesis 45:1-2
    2. Joseph explains what has happened, how his being in Egypt is good, and that Israel must come to Egypt--Genesis 45:3-15
    3. Pharaoh hears of Joseph's brothers--Genesis 45:16-20
    4. Joseph does as Pharaoh instructs and gives gifts and instructions to Joseph's brothers--Genesis 45:21-24
    5. The brothers tell Israel all that has happened to them--Genesis 45:25-28
  3. Up until Genesis 45 what would Israel and Joseph's brothers think happened to Joseph?
  4. Why did Joseph hide his identity from his brothers?
  5. Could God have kept Israel's family alive by other means that Joseph being sold as a slave?
  6. Genesis 45:1, why did Joseph send everyone out of his presence except for his brothers?
  7. Genesis 45:3, what was the response of Joseph's brothers to his true identify? Can truth be shocking?
  8. This passage speaks of deliverance. Who are all those who are being delivered?
  9. What is the worst bondage of all? (Sin. And having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. (Romans 6:18 EMTV).
  10. What is the best slavery there is? (Righteousness)
  11. Who is our deliverer?
  12. If we find ourselves as a slave, what should be our attitude? (To be the best slave ever).
  13. Joseph had worked for Pharaoh about 2 years at the time of this story. Why didn't he leave to visit his father?
  14. Genesis 45:9, who made Joseph lord (prime minister under Pharaoh) over all Egypt? Who has the ultimate authority? How does this authority affect our lives?
  15. Genesis 45:13, is Joseph bragging, boasting?
  16. Genesis 45:17-20, does Joseph obey Pharaoh?
  17. Genesis 45:24, why did Joseph tell his brothers not to argue?
  18. Genesis 45:36, it would have been enough to tell Israel that Joseph was still alive, but what do you think was going through Israel's mind when told Joseph was ruler?
  19. What is the difference between what the world gives and what God gives?
  20. God has restored our relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ's Gospel. In what ways are we to restore fellowship with others?
  21. Does God always provide the life we want? What are some ways, that if we are willing, God's way is best?
  22. In our Christian life how does God provide deliverance, sustenance, and restoration?

26 July 2016

What we can learn from the story of Joseph

Part of a sermon by delivered August 20, 1893, by J. W. McGarvey. Originally published by the Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, in McGarvey’s Sermons. 

"You go, as Joseph did, but you fail to find them. While you search you meet a stranger who tells you they are gone to Dothan, fourteen or fifteen miles farther away. With this news Joseph continued his journey, and how his heart leaped at last to see his brothers again! How glad a welcome he expected from them and inquiries about home, and father, and all. But when he came up, he saw a scowl upon every face. Instead of welcoming, they seized him, and with rough hands stripped the coat from his back, dragged him to the mouth of a dry cistern, and let him down in it. “Now we will see what will become of his dreams.”

"How did the boy then feel? I have thought that perhaps he said to himself, “My brothers are only trying to scare me. They are just playing a cruel joke on me, and don’t mean to leave me here to perish.” But perhaps he had begun to think they were in earnest, when he heard footsteps above, and voices. He sees one of their faces looking down, and a rope let down to draw him up, and he thinks the cruel joke is over. But when he is drawn up and sees those strangers there, and hears words about the sale of the boy, and his hands are tied behind him, and he is delivered into their hands, and they start off with him, what would you have thought or felt then? If the thought had come into his mind that it was another joke, he might have watched as the merchants passed down the road, on every rising piece of ground he might have looked back to see if his brothers were coming to buy him back again, and to get through with this terrible joke; but when the whole day’s journey was passed, and they went into camp at night, and the same the next day, no brothers have overtaken him, what must have been his feelings? When he thought, “I am a slave, and I am being carried away into a foreign land to spend the rest of my life as a slave, never to see father and home again,” who can imagine his feelings? So he was brought down into Egypt and sold.

"But it seems to me that Joseph must have had one thought to bear him up, at least for a time. “My father loves me. He loves me more than he does all my brothers. He is a rich man. When he hears that I have been sold into Egypt, he will send one hundred men, if need be, to hunt me up; he will load them with money to buy me back. I trust in my father for deliverance yet. But he is sold into the house of Pharaoh, and years pass by. He is cruelly cast into prison, and years pass by, until thirteen long years of darkness and gloom and sorrow and pain have gone, and he has never heard of his father sending for him. He could have done it. It would have been easy to do, And now, how does he feel toward his brothers and toward his father? Would you have wanted to see those brothers again? And when he found his father had never sent for him, knowing, perhaps, how penurious and avaricious his father had been in his younger days, may he not have said, “The old avaricious spirit of my father has come back on him in his declining years, and he loves his money more than he loves his boy?” And when that feeling took possession of him, did he want to see his father anymore? Or any of them? Could he bear the thought of ever seeing those brothers again? And could he at last bear the thought of seeing that father who had allowed him to perish, as it were, without stretching out a hand to help him? The way he did feel is seen in one little circumstance. When he was married and his first-born son was placed before him, he named him Manasseh, “forgetfulness,” “Because,” he says, “God has enabled me to forget my father’s house.” The remembrance of home and brothers and father had been a source of constant pain to him; he never could think of them without agony of heart; but now, “Thank God, I have forgotten them.” Oh, brethren, what a terrible experience a boy must have before he feels a sense of relief and gladness that he has been enabled to forget all about his father and his brothers in his early home! That is the way Joseph felt when Manasseh was born. And would not you have felt so, too?

"Everything was going on more pleasantly than he thought it ever could, with him—riches, honor, wife, children: everything that could delight the heart of a wise and good man—when suddenly, one day his steward comes in and tells him that there are ten foreigners who desire to buy some grain. He had a rule that all foreigners must be brought before him before they were allowed to buy grain. Bring them in. They were brought in, and behold, there are his brothers! There are his brothers! And as they approach, they bow down before him. Of course, they could not recognize him, dressed in the Egyptian style—governor of Egypt. Even if he had looked like Joseph, it would only have been a strange thing with them to say, He resembles our brother Joseph. There they are. It was a surprising sight to him and a painful one. He instantly determines to treat them in such a way that they will never come back to Egypt again. He says, “Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.” “No,” they say, “we are come to buy food; we are all the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. We are twelve brothers. The youngest is with our father, and one is not.”

"That remark about the youngest awakened a new thought in Joseph. Oh how it brought back the sad hour when his own mother, dying on the way that they were journeying, left that little Benjamin, his only full brother, in the hands of the weeping father! And how it reminded him, that when he was sold, Benjamin was a little lad at home. He is my own mother’s child. Instantly he resolves that Benjamin shall be here with him in Egypt, and that these others shall be scared away, so that they will never come back again; so he says, “Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, that your words may be proved, or else by the life of Pharaoh ye are spies.” He cast them all into prison; but on the third day he went to them and said: “I fear God; if ye be true men let one of you be bound in prison, and let the others go and carry food for your houses; and bring your youngest brother to me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” When he said that, they began to confess to one another their belief about the providential cause of this distress, when Reuben made a speech that brought a revelation to Joseph, He said to his brethren, “Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear. Therefore, behold his blood is required.” Joseph learns for the first time that Reuben had befriended him, and this so touched his heart that he turned aside to weep. He passes by Reuben and takes the next to the oldest for the prisoner.

"He now gave the directions to his steward to sell them the grain; and why did he order the money to be tied up in the mouth of every man’s sack? “They were once so mean and avaricious that they sold me for fifteen petty pieces of silver. I will put their silver in the mouths of their sacks, and I will see if they are as dishonest as they were then. If they are, I will never hear of that money again.” Not many merchants in these days, if you go in and buy ten dollars’ worth of goods, will wrap the ten dollars in the bundle to see if it will come back. “I will see,” thought Joseph, “if they are honest.”

"Time went on—a good deal more than Joseph expected, on account of the unwillingness of Jacob to let Benjamin make the journey. But finally the news is brought that these ten Canaanites have returned. They are brought once more into his presence, and there is Benjamin. They still call him the “little one” and “the lad”; just as I have had mothers to introduce me to “the baby,” and the baby would be a strapping fellow six feet high. There he is. “Is this your youngest brother of whom you spoke?” He waits not for an answer, but exclaims, “God be gracious unto thee, my son.” He slips away into another room to weep. How near he is now to carrying out his plan—to having that dear brother, who had never harmed him, to enjoy his honors and riches and glory, and get rid of the others. He has them to dine in his house. That scared them. To dine with the governor! They could not conceive what it meant. Joseph knew. He had his plan formed. He wanted them there to give them a chance to steal something out of the dining-room. They enjoyed the dinner. They had never seen before so rich a table. He says to the steward, “Fill the men’s sacks with food; put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth, and put my silver cup in the sack’s mouth of the youngest.” It was done, and at daylight next morning they were on their journey home. They were not far on the way when the steward overtook them, with the demand, “Why have ye rewarded evil for good? Is it not this in which my Lord drinketh, and wherewith he divineth? Ye have done evil in so doing.” They answered, “God forbid that thy servants should do such a thing. Search, and if it be found with any one of us, let him die, and the rest of us will be your bondmen.” “No,” says the steward, “he with whom it is found shall be my bondman, and ye shall be blameless.” He begins his search with Reuben’s sack. It is not there. Then one by one he takes down the sacks of the others, until he reaches Benjamin’s. There is the cup! They all rend their clothes; and when the steward starts back with Benjamin, they follow him. They are frightened almost to death, but the steward can not get rid of them. Joseph was on the lookout for the steward and Benjamin. Yonder they come, but behind them are all the ten. What shall now be done? They come in and fall down before him once more, and say, “We are thy bondmen. God has found out our iniquity.” “No,” he says, “the man in whose hand the cup is found shall be my bondman; but as for you, get you up in peace to your father.”

"Joseph thought that his plan was a success. They will be glad to go in peace. I will soon have it all right with Benjamin. They will hereafter send somebody else to buy their grain. But Judah arose, drew near, and begged the privilege of speaking a word. He recites the incidents of their first visit, and speaks of the difficulty with which they had induced their father to let Benjamin come. He quotes from his father these words: “Ye know that my wife bore me two sons; one of them went out from me, and I said surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since, If ye take this one also from me and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.” He closes with the proposal, “Let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brethren.” Here was a revelation to Joseph—two of them. First, I have been blaming my old father for these twenty-two years because he did not send down into Egypt and hunt me up, and buy me out, and take me home; and now I see I have been blaming him unjustly, for he thought I was dead—that some wild beast had torn me in pieces. O what self-reproach, and what a revival of love for his old father! And here, again, I have been trying to drive these brothers away from me, as unworthy of any countenance on my part, or even an acquaintance with them; but what a change has come over them! The very men that once sold me for fifteen paltry pieces of silver, are now willing to be slaves themselves, rather than see their youngest brother made a slave, even when he appears to be guilty of stealing. What a change! Immediately all of his old affection for them takes possession of him, and with these two revelations flashing upon him, it is not surprising that he broke out into loud weeping. He weeps, and falls upon his brothers’ necks, He says, “I am Joseph.” A thought flashes through his mind, never conceived before, and he says, “Be not grieved, or angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither.” He sees now God’s hand all through this strange, sad experience, and using a Hebraism, he says, “It was not you that sent me hither, but God; God did send me before to preserve life.” When he was a prisoner there in the prison, he did not see God’s hand. I suppose he thought that it was all of the devil; but now that he has gotten to the end of the vista and looks back, he sees it is God who has done it. He sees in part what we saw in the first part of this discourse. O, my friends, many times when you shall have passed through deep waters that almost overwhelm you, and shall have felt alienated from all the friends you had on earth, thinking that they had deserted you, wait a little longer, and you will look up and say it was God; it was the working of grand, glorious, and blessed purposes that He had in his mind concerning you.

"The last question we can dispose of now very quickly, because it has been almost entirely anticipated. Why did God select ten men to be the heads of ten tribes of his chosen people, who were so base as to sell their brother? O, my brethren, it was not the ten who sold their brother that God selected, but the ten who were willing to be slaves instead of their brother. These are the ten that he chose. If you and I shall get to heaven, why will God admit us there? Not because of what we once were, but because of what He shall have made out of us by His dealings with us. He had his mind on the outcome, and not on the beginning. If you and I had to be judged by what we were at one time, there would be no hope for us. I am glad to know that my chances for the approval of the Almighty are based on what I hope to be, and not on what I am. Thank God for that!

"And they were worthy. How many men who, when the youngest brother of the family was clearly guilty of stealing, and was about to be made a slave, would say, “Let me be the slave, and let him go home to his father”? Not many. And what had brought about the wondrous change which they had undergone? Ah, here we have the other illustration of God’s providential government to which I have alluded. When these men held up the bloody coat before their father, knowing that Joseph was not dead, as he supposed, but not able to tell him so because the truth would be still more distressing than the fiction, What father would not rather a thousand times over that one of his sons should be dead, than that one of them should be kidnapped and sold into foreign bondage by the others? If their father’s grief was inconsolable, their own remorse was intolerable. For twenty-two long years they writhed under it, and there is no wonder that then they should prefer foreign bondage themselves rather than to witness a renewal of their father’s anguish. The same chain of providence which brought them unexpectedly into Egypt, had fitted them for the high honors which were yet to crown their names.

"Is there a poor sinner here today, whom God has disciplined, whether less or more severely than He did those men, and brought to repentance? If so, the kind Redeemer whom you rejected, and sold, as it were, to strangers, stands ready to forgive you more completely and perfectly than Joseph forgave his brethren. He has found out your iniquity; he knows it all; but he died that he might be able to forgive you. Come in his appointed way; come guilty and trembling, as Joseph’s brothers came, and you will find His everlasting arms around you."

The wonder that God can change any situation if we are willing. Even if God does not want to change the situation He will give us grace to bear it. 2 Corinthians 12:7

20 July 2016

Never beyond His reach

Theme: God is in control


Know: Joseph faced death at the hands of his brothers and oppression as a slave in Egypt, but God spared his life and provided him favor and position with his master.
Think: Live with the awareness that this world can be full of danger and disappointment, but God can convert those distresses into His purpose for those He calls His children.
Do: Be confident and endure hardship with hope because God is in control and nothing is beyond His reach.

Scripture: Genesis 37:1-36 and Genesis 39:1-5

Notes and questions:
B1 Define: favoritism"...the unfair practice of giving someone help or advantages that you do not give to other people. Provided by Macmillan Dictionary.
B2 Have you seen the effects of favoritism? Has it been good or bad?
B3 Genesis 37: 1 (picture)
B4 Genesis 37:2, how old is Joe? What is he doing with his brothers? What was this bad report? Was he being to picky, seeking revenge against his brothers, criticizing them so that he could get special favors from his father?
B5 Genesis 37:3, what is the reason Jacob (Israel) loved Joseph more than the other?
B6 Genesis 37:3, what is so special about this coat, that Joseph's brothers were jealous? (We don't know, except that Israel knew, the brothers knew, and Joseph knew that is was special and was given to Joseph alone. See Genesis 37:4).
B7 Genesis 37:5-7, why did this dream make the brothers so angry? See Genesis 37:8.
B8 Were the things that happened to Joseph of God, of man, of circumstance? (Bible doesn't say, but used it anyway).
B9 Were these dreams from God?
B10 Genesis 37:20, why did they want to kill Joseph? Did the brothers really think that they would be successful?
B11 Genesis 37:21, why did Reuben want to rescue Joseph?
B12 Genesis 37:26-27, what is the motive for wanting to sell Joseph into slavery? (Covetousness)
B13 How many brothers were present at the time of selling Joseph? (9. Joseph was sold, Benjamin was home, Reuben was gone for a short time).
B14 How much money would each of these receive for their "sale?" (A little over 2).
B15 Genesis 37:29, why was Reuben upset?
B16 Genesis 37:31-32, what sin is shown in this deception?
B17 Genesis 37:34-35, how could the brothers join in mourning for the "death" of Joseph and try to comfort Israel?
B18 Genesis 39:2, it is said that God was with Joseph, was God with the brothers, too?
B19 Genesis 39:5, why did the LORD bless Potiphar?
B20 Why do trouble and suffering come to Christians?
B21 Name some times in your life where God has turned something bad into good.
B22 How are we to act when we suffer for doing the right thing or suffering because of false accusation?
B23 Do we continue to do the right thing (in God's eyes), when we are accused falsely or suffer?
B24 Does showing favoritism ever result in good?

Next week "In His care"
God provides for His family.
Scripture: Genesis 45:1-28

19 July 2016

Can Abusers Change?

When dealing with narcissists, psychopaths, and various types of abusers, it is important to know truth. The false truth that they spout is to be recognized and resisted. The abused must leave. In this short piece, some good advice is given.

Can Abusers Change?

To say that abusers cannot change removes responsibility for sin. They can change, but the vast majority choose not to, which is what the experts state. When God punishes them, their punishment is just. Abusers have options for treatment and are accountable.
Once the marriage covenant is broken through abuse, the abused partner does not need to stay in the marriage waiting for the abuser to change. The abuser's recovery is a separate issue and his change is his own responsibility, not his wife's. This is the mistake most churches make. These churches have over-sentimentalized marriage and are legalists.
The article is short but to the point. The web site is Crying out for Justice.  They are on Facebook as well.

If you or a member of your family, or if you are in a church situation where the pastor or other leaders are abusers, this is a helpful site. Again one must leave abuse.

God bless.

15 July 2016

From Deceiver to Patriarch

Theme: God established a nation

Know: Jacob returned to Bethel where God had first met with him in a dream. This brought reassurance concerning God's plans to build a nation from his descendants.
Think: Live each day conscious of the fact that God will bring to pass every promise He has made in Scripture.
Do: Return to your spiritual roots for reassurance and recommitment.

Scripture: Genesis 35:1-29

Notes and questions:

B1 Four things happen in this chapter: Jacob and family go to Bethel, Rachel dies, the 12 sons of Jacob are listed, and the death of Isaac.

B2 Since Bethel, Jacob has gotten two wives, 12 (11 sons and 1 daughter) children, many servants, and livestock.

B3 Deborah (Rebekah's nurse) died.

B4 Benjamin was born near Bethlehem.

B5 Rachel dies in childbirth.

B6 Genesis 35:1, the right time to move.

B7 Genesis 35:2, do you think Jacob had any second thoughts about leaving and returning to Bethel?

B8 Genesis 35:2, what 3 things did Jacob tell his family to do? Why did they have to give up their ear rings? (Many people in those days used them for good luck. They were something dedicated to the "gods." Often they were stamped or engraven with "magic" words). What is the application for us?

B9 Genesis 35:3, what testimony does Jacob give FOR God? How does God answer us today when we are in distress?

B10 Genesis 35:5, how did God protect them on their journey?

B11 Genesis 35:7, what is the purpose of people building altars in those days? (for sacrifice and worship. The sacrifice was to atone/appease for their sins. The worship was to pray, etc.).

B12 Genesis 35:10, why did God change Jacob's name to Israel? (Jacob means supplanter, which means to trip someone up, to overthrown, to usurp, cause a downfall, even destroy. Israel means from a range of possibilities God fights, God persists, God preserves, and God prevails. (Brown-Driver-Biggs and NAS dictionary. "And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:28 NKJV).

B13 Genesis 35:11, why does God say His name? How does that relate to the blessing?

B14 Genesis 35:18, why the name change? (Benoni means "son of sorrow," and Benjamin means "son of the right hand." From loss to hope).

B15 Genesis 35:22, the great disappointment of Israel. Have we ever a child who disappointed us? What is the solution? Have we ever been the child who disappointed? Reuben lost the birthright, which was given to the sons of Joseph. ("Unstable as water, you shall not excel [any longer], for you went up upon the bed of your father, then defiled [it]. You went up upon my couch!" (Genesis 49:4,LEB) Sin has consequences.

B16 Does God have any blessings for you? How has he blessed you?

B17 How does God work in OUR lives to change us? Why does He want to change us? How have you been changed by circumstances?

13 July 2016

Worship Feelings?

Worship Feelings?




What are these? How do we know?

The Bible

The Christian life

Christian worship

What are these? How do we know?

The Bible

This makes it simple. Christianity is defined by the teachings of Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament.

Consider this article about "modern Christian worship" written by Marsha West

"Worship is legitimate when it is done according to the instructions He has given us for it …

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

In our emotions-driven western culture, many Christians over-spiritualize this verse by incorrectly inferring the Lord is suggesting a mystical, experiential foundation to worship. Hardly.

To be “filled with the Spirit” is to be filled with His Word. The Word drives our faith and directs our worship. What we feel or don’t feel is thoroughly irrelevant to authentic worship. Warm fuzzies don’t mean you just really worshipped. It’s not about you

These Christians(?) do not know worship.

11 July 2016

My actions show my first love

"' And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. " (Mark 12:30, EMTV)
"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. " (Revelation 2:4, EMTV)

What is "first love?"


Let's see some examples to explain.

If food is my first love, guess what I'll probably be doing?
If money is my first love, you'll know what I'm doing?
If anger is my first love, then society will suffer from my actions.
If sex is my first love, porn will be paramount importance.
If heroin is my first love, I probably won't live long.
If politics and power are my first love, the country and the world will suffer.
If Jesus Christ is my first love, then I will want to obey. I will want to obey, just because I love Him
  and want to please Him. ""If you love Me, keep My commandments. " (John 14:15, EMTV) and "By this we know that we love the children of God, whenever we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, " (1 John 5:2-3, EMTV)

Our actions will determine what our first love is.

If I never or rarely go to church, what does that tell us?
If I never tell my wife that I love her, what does that tell her?
If I never help my wife, what does that say?
If I rarely or never read my Bible, what is wrong?
If I claim to be a Christian but am racist, or fighting, cursing, blaspheming, stealing, ect., can I really be a Christian?

08 July 2016

Never Alone

Theme: God is with us

Know: God had a plan for Jacob and was with him at every stage.
Think: Always be aware that God is accessible and involved in all aspects of our world. He can even cause the things I consider bad to work for His purposes.
Do: Trust God's promises, obey His Word, and worship Him for His goodness.

Scriptures: Genesis 28:1-22

Notes and Questions:
B1 Ever been lonely?
B2 How did Jacob feel when he had to flee from home?
B3 Why did he leave home? What was the given reason? What was the real reason?
B4 What blessing is given in Genesis 28:3-4?
B5 How many people went with Jacob? See Genesis 28:11 and Genesis 32:10.
B6 Who was with him though unseen? (God).
B7 Where is Paddan-Aram? Somewhere in Syria and probably the same as Haran (see Genesis 27:43).
B8 What did Isaac's blessing in Genesis 28:3-4 entail?
  • C1 God's blessing
  • C2 Many descendants
  • C3 Inheriting the blessings of God given to Abraham
  • C4 An assembly of people
    • D1 This is not just a general term for a large population of physical descendants
    • D2 This also refers to the blessings of the land and ultimately Messiah who would be greatest blessing to Israel and to all the nations.
    • D3 College Press commentary on this verse has this: "This would seem to point forward to the tribes that were to spring from the loins of Jacob. By the words of Genesis 27:4, “Isaac conveys the most important part of the patriarchal blessing, the part relative to the Messiah, which he had not quite ventured to bestow previously when he still thought he was dealing with Esau. Sobered by the failure of his attempt and made wiser, he freely gives what he fully understands to have been divinely destined for Jacob. ‘The blessing of Abraham’ is fully as much as was promised to him but no more. Since previously (Genesis 27:27-29) Isaac also had not ventured to bestow the land of promise on the one who presumably was Esau, now he unmistakably bestows it on Jacob, that which is now a ‘land of sojourning’ where the patriarchs have as yet no permanent possession except a burial place. . . . God ‘gave’ this land to Abraham, of course, only by promise but none the less actually."
B9 Genesis 29:10, where did Jacob's journey start and where did it end?
B10 Did the stone pillow have any magic qualities? Should we find one of these so that we could receive visions, even Jacob said, "Surely God is in this place?" Was it a worship area that Jacob had inadvertently come to? What is the problem when people come to the conclusion that they need something to come in contact with God?
B11 Genesis 28:14, how will all the families of the earth be blessed?
  • C1 Through the life and productivity of the Jews. This has not happened fully yet as the Jews are rejecters of their Messiah.
  • C2 Through Messiah, the Jew, Jesus.
B12 Genesis 28:15, what great blessing and encouragement did Jacob receive? Did this happen? See Genesis 32:12, Galatians 3:26-29
B13 Why was God blessing a cheat? Jacob has taken the birthright and the blessing from Esau; is God just?
B14 Genesis 28:13-15, what were the main points in God's blessings of Jacob?
B15 Did things seem very likely to happen? Jacob was alone. For to him have an inheritance of this land seems impossible. Do the promises of God in the Bible sometimes seem impossible?
B16 Was Jacob afraid? Why?
B17 What was Jacob's vow? Why did he vow?
B18 Often, like Jacob, we feel all alone. Is this true?
B19 "Your way of life should be free from the love of money, being content with what you have, because He Himself has said: “I absolutely will not desert you; I most certainly will not abandon you.” So we can say with confidence: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” " (Hebrews 13:5-6, WPNT). What a wonderful blessing. We may FEEL alone, but we are NOT alone.

Addictions: Sin or Disease?

 On a FB group a question was asked if we consider addictions (gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc.) to be sin or disease. I answered: “We are all addicted to sin. As far as other addictions  
as gambling, porn, alcohol, etc., some people have a genetic weakness. Thus if someone has relatives who are addicts of some sort, there must be the conscious effort and choice to avoid, as in never start. Addictions bring physical pleasure, so the pressure builds to do the act again. Thus the choice is never to start, and if started to choose not do. The breaking of addictions must involve Bible reading/study, prayer, and support from the church. Most cannot break free without help of God and the church.”

I might mention some things that we should be addicted to:
  • Bible reading
  • Bible studying
  • Prayer
  • Living the Christian life
  • Being kind
  • Loving our spouse and children
  • and many more

Because speaking pompous words of emptiness they entice through fleshly lusts, through licentiousness, those who have actually escaped from those who are living in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the real knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter circumstances have become worse for them than the first ones. (2 Peter 2:18-20, WPNT).

"For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." (Genesis 32:12, NKJV). "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29, NKJV)