Dear Ann Landers: A few years ago, I committed a crime (a misdemeanor).  I was arrested and charged.  Since I had never been in trouble before, my lawyer had my record expunged.  Will this show up on a police background check?  I’m looking for a job and want to be sure my prospective employers won’t […]

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God promised Abraham

The book of Genesis is commonly known as the book of beginnings.  In part, that is because of the beginning of the world with Creation and the name of the book in the Hebrew Bible, which is taken from the first word, “In the beginning” (which is one word in Hebrew). And another beginning in […]

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The first two sins

The first sins recorded in Scripture — Adam and Eve’s rebellion (Gen. 3) and Cain’s murder of Abel (Gen. 4) — provide two distinct examples of the way temptation and sin work in an individual’s life.  They are a reminder that not every temptation is the same; sin and its origins are multifaceted and insidious.  […]

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Reading the Pentateuch

This year our church is following an Old Testament reading plan — reading through the entire Old Testament chronologically, along with two of the Gospels. So these first months of the year, we are in the first five books of the Old Testament — the Pentateuch.  For many books of the Bible, I have put […]

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Necessities of life

What we deem to be necessary for our lives and what God deems to be necessary for us are often in conflict.  We idolize simplicity and solitude and ease.  God desires our sanctification and Christlikeness.  And sanctification rarely happens in ease and leisure. So God — decreeing what is necessary for us (1 Peter 1:6) […]

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Sometimes, the smallest and seemingly most insignificant words in a verse carry the biggest implication. So it is in a verse of Scripture that we read this morning. The word “meanwhile” in Genesis 37:36 in Hebrew is actually the word “and.”  It is generally translated as a simple connective or as a contrastive (like “but”) […]

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Alone – with God

Jacob was where you and I may have been on occasion — alone (not only from friends, but from any form of hospitality), running from trouble, and the recipient of bad counsel (twice, and from his mother both times!). When he put down his head on a rock to sleep (a fitting demonstration not only […]

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Bible reading reflections

In our weekly Bible reading plan, today is a day of reflection. As I think back over the passages we’ve read in the past week (Genesis 1-17; Ps. 1-6), it is sobering how rapidly the story of sin progresses.  Just think through the major narrative stories in these first chapters in Genesis: Genesis 3 — […]

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