Ten Commandments #8

September 29, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week, we’ll be looking at the eighth commandment. This commandment is simple:

 

Exo 20:15  “You shall not steal.

 

Lev 19:11  ‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.

 

Obviously, God says that stealing is something that His people do not do.  So, what is theft? If you asked many people (although it seems to be less than it used to be), they would tell you that theft is taking something that belongs to someone else without their permission. The size of the item taken is irrelevant. The time that has elapsed between the present and the time of the act is also irrelevant.  Theft can also be the withholding of something. If you promise something and don’t provide it all, you are stealing (Ananias and Sapphira).

 

But, why do people steal from others? The main reason that people steal is greed. They see things that they want and will do whatever they need to do to get those things. It is greed that caused the debacle at Enron. It is greed that caused two teenage girls to steal money from a girl scout. Not everyone steals for greed though. Some people steal for the thrill of it. They love the “rush” they get from taking something and knowing that they may get caught. Others steal because they think that they deserve the things that they’ve taken from others, and they often think that the victims of their theft don’t deserve them. Still others steal because they think that they won’t get caught. They often delude themselves into thinking that they are smart enough to have planned for everything. What those people don’t realize is that even if man never solves the caper, God knows what they’ve done.

 

Theft has been happening for a long time. Examples of theft in scripture include: Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright and blessing (Genesis 25:31/Genesis 27), Rachel stealing the idols from her father’s house (Genesis 31:19), Achan stealing some of the things under the ban in Ai (Joshua 7:1), Ananias and Sapphira holding back some of the money from land they sold, even though they promised all of it (Acts 5).

 

Whether people rob a bank or “skim off the top” and change the books, theft is still happening today. People steal everything they can get their hands on. Money, cars, jewels, and even identities are being stolen on a daily basis. The news stations in cities around the world broadcast instances of theft almost everyday. The sad thing is that theft and other sins have become so commonplace that we often turn a blind eye to it and don’t give it a second thought. It seems that many people who steal today, don’t care or don’t know about the results that will occur when they steal. The civil consequences for stealing could be anything from community service to jail time, depending on the severity of the crime and the extenuating circumstances. The problem is that while most people realize that there are consequences, they don’t seem to understand that there are spiritual and eternal consequences that result from theft.

 

In the Old Testament, we see God making it clear what He thinks of theft:

 

Deu 24:7  “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.

 

Pro 29:24  He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing.

 

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1Co 6:10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

The Bible says that thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. It doesn’t differentiate between someone who steals a piece of candy and someone who steals a car. They are both thieves and will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they repent and put their trust in Jesus. So how do we stop thievery? The first thing that we need to do is to teach our kids that it is wrong, even when it is something small. We need to teach them what the scripture says about not only stealing, but also about all sin. We need to tell everyone about the truth of sin and what will happen if they commit sin. We need to stand up and be examples of the truth of scripture so that others will understand clearly and have no excuse. We cannot coddle those who are unsaved. We have to tell them the truth (that is love!) and help them understand. If they understand the truth, they will be open to the gospel and can receive the gift of salvation offered by Jesus.

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Design of the Week – 09/24/08 – Holier Than Thou

September 24, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called Holier Than Thou. It is a simple text design but I think that it’s very important. The idea for the design came from something that I’ve been studying and thinking about a lot lately.

 

As Christians, those who believe in and obey Christ, we are called to be holy (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16). To be holy means the same as being consecrated or set apart. We are to be different. We are to look, act, and think differently than the world. We don’t live like others. From the beginning, God set man apart. When man fell and rebelled against God, he and his descendants separated themselves from Him. God judged the world with a global flood because of man’s wickedness. He spared one family because of their righteousness. From this man, the entire world was repopulated.

 

As mankind grew in number, they again rebelled against His command to fill the earth. Instead, they got together to build a tower to heaven. God came down to confuse the languages of the people so that they couldn’t complete the task, forcing them to spread across the earth. From these people, God selected a people to be His. They were to be set apart as an example. These people were the Hebrews.

 

Today, the church is called to be holy. Unfortunately, it looks like most of the church has no idea what that means and even less concern about whether or not they are really living that way. In today’s church, the main focus seems to be love. It seems that if anyone speaks out in favor of scripture and it goes against popular culture, that’s intolerant. If someone speaks about being holy and it makes others uncomfortable, then that’s not fair.

 

But, what if some people are holier than us? What if we aren’t living your life like we’re supposed to be? If someone else is more obedient to scripture than we are, then who should we be upset with? We are called to be holy according to God’s standard, not our own. If we aren’t living up to that standard, then we have ourselves to blame. Living up to God’s standard will not save us, but God has made it clear that if we are truly Christian, then our lives will bear certain fruit and there are other things that will not be in our lives. If we don’t consistently bear that fruit, then we have to make a reality check. If we constantly have things in our lives that God has said shouldn’t be there, then we need to make a reality check. We need to be honest with ourselves and be willing to admit that we aren’t holy. We need to understand that we are supposed to be holy. We are supposed to be set apart. If we’re not, then we mock the cross and make it harder for others to come to Christ.

 

I encourage you to look at your life and compare it to God’s standard. If the two don’t line up, then don’t change God’s standard, search the Bible to find out if you are saved. If you are, then see what scripture says you need to do to grow in holiness. We need to be holy, not only for ourselves, but for those who are lost.

Ten Commandments #7

September 22, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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If you’ve been keeping track and reading along (thank you both of you), then you know what we’ll be talking about this week. This week’s blog focuses on the seventh commandment:

 

Exo 20:14  “You shall not commit adultery.

 

This is dealt with all throughout the bible. It begins in Exodus 20 and can be found in Leviticus 18:20, 20:10, Prov. 6:29, Matthew 5:27-28, 15:19, and James 1:14-15. The penalty for adultery was death of both participants. In case you don’t know, adultery is sex outside of marriage between a married person and someone else’s spouse or a single person.

 

Sadly, this sin is not only rampant in our society it is promoted. TV shows like “Desperate Housewives” and others like them promote this kind of activity as “natural” and ok. As we looked at last week, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered to try and cover it up. We see this happening more often. We see it put before us on talk shows and chances are we know someone that has been through this. Our politicians and “leaders” commit adultery and they are still put into office. They mock the Lord and set a horrible example of what men and women should act like. We see this happen with swingers and office flings. We see it taking place as men and women seek “more” from others on the Internet. Unfortunately, we also see it in the church. Pastors, elders, deacons, and churchgoers commit adultery and act like there is nothing wrong. Often, they leave their spouse for the other person and break their covenant. Then, many of them try to justify it by using David as an example. They say that even though David committed adultery, he was still a man after God’s own heart. How stupid! Like that somehow condones sin….

 

Why does it happen? Why do people commit adultery? I think that one of the reasons is that people convince themselves that they aren’t happy with their spouse. They focus on the things that are “wrong” in their spouse and completely ignore the covenant that they made with their “significant other”. Because they are dissatisfied, they look for someone that will “fulfill their needs” (I’m rolling my eyes now…). Adultery also takes place because mankind is just lustful. They have no control and allow their lusts to rule them and our society promotes it and feeds that lust. They also have no fear of God or respect for His Word or for other people. They put themselves and their selfish desires above God and others. Adultery also happens because people are being deceived. They delude themselves into thinking that they are doing nothing wrong.

 

The problem is, adultery isn’t just about the act itself. Jesus said that it is deeper than what we think. According to Jesus, if someone even looks with lust at another person, that is the same as committing adultery with them. Sadly, this has become nothing today. Porn is rampant in and out of the church. One statistic I heard said that the highest incidence of porn rental at hotels coincides with the times that Christian conferences are in town. Television, magazines, and advertising emphasize the bodies of men and women wearing as little as possible. These types of things help to sow doubt into the mind of those looking. Women see the ads with models that are wafer-thin and feel that they are ugly. Guys deal with this too. They see these women (many of whom have been digitally altered!) and compare them to their wives and the dissatisfaction increases. There are also things like plastic surgery where most of the operations are used to beautify or draw attention to certain areas.

 

So how do we fight this tragic sin? One of the first things that we need to have is an understanding of the scriptures. We have to understand what it means to make a covenant and be committed to keeping it. If you are married, then you need to understand the marriage covenant to help protect and nourish your marriage. If you aren’t married, you need to understand the marriage covenant and give it A LOT of thought before you make the decision. We can fight against adultery if we reject the influence of the world. We can also help non-Christians understand the truth of marriage by working diligently to live a godly marriage before them. Marriage is one of the first things that was put into place by God. It is vital that Christians live in respect to God’s view of marriage, not only for the marriage itself, but to properly reflect Christ and the church.

Design of the Week 09/17/08 – Crossover – Ninja

September 17, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week, I’m going to be starting something new in the Design of the Week category. I have gotten together with a few other designers to start a crossover blog. What we’ll be doing is taking one Wednesday a month to share something about other uplifting and/or family friendly designs.

 

The design that I’ve chosen for this week is “Don’t Make Me Go All Ninja On You!” This design was created by BeShirtHappy designs. Ninjas have become a popular figure in literature and history. They are known for their stealth and their weapons, but most of all they’re known for their martial arts skills.

 

This design is a great design that is simple but not poorly done. One reason that I love it is because I can relate to it. I had to laugh when I saw it because there are times when I feel like “going ninja” but I don’t. Even as a Christian, you can find yourself easily getting angry when you are under stress.

 

If you get a chance, check out BeShirtHappy’s shop and the ninja design.

 

This blog post is a part of a crossover blog. Other participants in this crossover blog are:

 

https://ateasetees.wordpress.com/                    http://www.blogbydonna.com/ http://mindinfestation.blogspot.com                 http://getyergoat-goatgifts.blogspot.com http://shagtees.blogspot.com                          http://www.nanwrightart.com

http://randomshirts.blogspot.com/                  http://skeetzteez.blogspot.com/ http://idesignbrian.wordpress.com/                 http://www.shopkeeperdesigns.com                        

 

Ten Commandments #6

September 15, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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We continue our look at the Ten Commandments this week with commandment number six:

 

Exo 20:13  “You shall not murder.

 

This one seems pretty easy for us, but as we’ll see, there is more to it than what most people realize.

 

Murder was one of the first sins recorded in the Bible. In Genesis 4, we see the history of Cain and Abel. In the course of time, Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord. Cain, because he was a farmer, brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. Abel, as a shepherd, brought from the firstlings of the flock and their fat portions. The Bible says that God had regard for Abel’s offering and not for Cain’s. There is always discussion about why this was so. The following is what I see from scripture.

 

Abel gave his offering by faith (Hebrews 11:4) and received righteousness for it. Scripture makes a contrast between the offerings and, therefore, I feel it would be safe to say that Cain did not. When God clothed Adam and Eve after their sin, He shed the blood of animals to do it (Gen. 3:21). Abel’s offering required the shedding of blood while Cain’s didn’t. Scripture also seems to imply that Cain knew what an acceptable offering was. When God is speaking to Cain, He says, “if you do well, your countenance will be lifted up”. Cain must have already known what it meant to “do well”. God then tells Cain what will happen if he does not “do well”. Cain is “very angry” because God had regard for Abel’s sacrifice and not his own. One of the most interesting verses in this passage of scripture comes next. It is something that I’ve basically glossed over every time that I’ve read this story. In Genesis 4:8a, it says, “Cain told Abel his brother”. What did he tell him? The only thing that he could have told him was what went on between he and God. The Bible then says that Cain rose up against Abel and killed him. When this happens, it’s almost a repeat of the Garden. God comes down and asks Cain where his brother is. This is not because God doesn’t know but, like in the garden, God is giving Cain a chance to repent. I can’t help but wonder what could have happened if Cain had been honest about it all…

 

We see another instance of outright murder in 2 Samuel 11. Here, we see the history of David and Bathsheba. Reading the text, we see that it was the time when kings went off to battle, and yet, we find David still in Jerusalem. One evening, while walking on the rooftop of the palace, David sees Bathsheba bathing. Many people somehow blame Bathsheba for what follows, but it’s the king’s fault. If he had been doing what he was supposed to do, this would never have happened. When David saw Bathsheba was “very beautiful in appearance” he inquired about her. The servants told the king that it was Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was known as one of David’s mighty men, one of the valiant men who did amazing things for the man who would be king. Even after David knew who it was and whose wife she was he still sent messengers to her. The scriptures say that he took her and lay with her. All of this took place while Uriah was in the heat of battle. Not long after David’s adultery, Bathsheba sent word to him that she was pregnant. When David found this out, he sent to Joab (his commander who was leading the battle) and had him send Uriah back from the battle. When Uriah came back to Jerusalem, David spent some time asking about the war. He then sent him to go and spend time with his wife (hoping to cover his sin) even sending a present after him. Unfortunately for David, Uriah wouldn’t do it. Instead, his thoughts were on his brethren out there fighting. Because of this, Uriah spent the night sleeping where the king’s servants slept. David ate with Uriah the next evening and got him drunk so that he would lay with his wife, but Uriah still wouldn’t do it. In the morning, David sent a letter to Joab by the hand of Uriah. The letter said that Joab should put Uriah at the toughest point of the battle and then retreat, leaving him on his own to be killed. This is exactly what happened. Bathsheba spent time mourning over her husband’s death and when that time was done, she became the wife of the king and bore him a son. David’s actions were “evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27).

 

After Nathan the prophet exposed David’s sin to him, he repented and had to deal with the death of his son. Unfortunately, murder has become commonplace in today’s society. It is no longer something that is horrible and offensive. We are helped in this by television and movies that glorify killers and murderers. We see death so many times in the entertainment industry that it’s nothing to us anymore. Not only that, our nation now considers the murder of unborn children a “right of choice” in hopes that Americans will have their consciences seared and become hard-hearted toward the killing of children. The problem is that this is more than just a murder issue. We can see that from the beginning with Cain and Abel and then clarified by Jesus and confirmed by John. God said that if Cain did well, his countenance would be lifted up and if not, sin was at his door waiting to devour him. Jesus said that if you are unjustly angry with someone you are in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:22). Then, John said in his first letter that if you hate your brother you are a murderer! (1 John 3:15) So have you ever hated someone? According to scripture, you’re a murderer. Is ending up in hell for eternity worth it?

 

So how do we stop this? The bottom line is that we need to teach our kids what scripture says. We need to discuss this with our kids when they are young enough to understand. We need to make it clear to all that we are going to abide by the Word of God regardless of what our society says and what popular opinion is. This is the only way to see this change. We need to speak out in righteousness against the lowness that our entertainment media has stooped to. This has to happen with Christians first before the world ever realizes that the truth that we stand for is the absolute truth.

Design of the Week 09/10/08 – Peace

September 10, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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The featured design this week is called Peace. It is one of the Virtue style designs. It is based on a number of scriptures that extol the peace of God being a part of the life of a true Christian. It is also based on the promise that the Holy Spirit would be our helper and bring us peace through trouble.

Peace is something that many people strive for. The hectic pace of our lives and the strife and situations that we live in every day make our lives breakdown. If our lives go on this way for long periods of time, they will eventually fall apart. The peace of God passes all comprehension (Phil. 4:7) and brings us to a place where we can go through the trials of our lives.

Today, many people look for peace through relationships, drugs, alcohol, money, work, etc. None of these things will bring lasting peace in our lives. To have lasting peace that will help you to walk closely to God while going through tribulation, you need to be a child of God and be walking in obedience to His Word. If you’re looking for peace today, consider your life and how it lines up to the commandments of God. If you have broken any of the commandments, you have committed sin and will be found guilty before God. Because you’re guilty, you will find yourself in hell. The good news is that you don’t have to stay where you are. If you will repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you can be made new through the power of God and know that you will go to heaven when you die. That is true, lasting peace.

Ten Commandments #5

September 8, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This week we will look at the fifth of the Ten Commandments. The fifth commandment says:

Exo 20:12

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

This commandment is the first commandment with a blessing. If we honor our parents, we will have prolonged days. Jesus emphasized this commandment during His life here when He reminded the Pharisees that they were to honor their father and mother or they could be put to death (Matt. 15:4). He condemned the Pharisees for their traditions and practices. The Pharisees would neglect the needs of their parents by saying that all that they had was given to God. Jesus made it clear that it was out of greed that they did this.

Paul also says that this is a commandment that should be followed by children. He said that children should obey their parents in the Lord. This means that if your parents ask you to do something that would be sin, it is not required for you to obey. If they ask you to do something that is ok with the Word and you don’t do it, you are breaking the law. While we have many examples of obedience to parents (for example, David/Jesse), the greatest example of honoring your parents is Jesus Himself. Jesus did everything that God told Him to do when He told Him to do it and never disobeyed.

Is this happening today? Not hardly. What we see to day is a generation of unruly children who run the household while the parents cower in fear of what the courts might do. They are suing their parents and are even able to disown them. They are spoiled rotten and get everything they want. They have no respect for parental authority or other forms of authority. I understand that this is not (nor will it be) true of every child in the generation; but it is becoming more and more common. They have a horrible conception of what is right or fair as well as what their place is and how much freedom they have. The sad thing is that this is just as bad in the church (if not worse) as it is in the world.

The solution to all of this comes from scripture. We need to raise our kids according to what the bible says. We need to teach them God’s law as well as the civil laws. We also need to discipline them, including spanking, when it is necessary in order to prevent them from going down a road that they don’t need to be traveling. We also need to start acting like their parents and not like their “friends”. We accomplish nothing by being their friends other than confusing them. We can be their parents and still have a good relationship with our kids. Something needs to happen if future generations are to be in a position to help our children defend their faith…

Design of the Week 090308 – Motee Born Again

September 3, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week, we’ll look at the Motee design called Born Again. The design comes from John 3 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus:

 

Joh 3:1  Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;

Joh 3:2  this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Joh 3:4  Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:6  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 3:7  “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Joh 3:8  “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 

Nicodemus was an important Pharisee and came to Jesus by night to prevent from being ridiculed and ostracized. Nicodemus compliments Jesus, and Jesus tells him that he needs to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus misunderstands Jesus and wants to know how a man could enter in his mother’s womb again. Jesus clarifies the term “born again” as being born of “water and the Spirit”. Being born of water is the natural birth. Being born of the Spirit is to be reconciled to God by receiving the gift of God found in Jesus Christ. Through His death and resurrection we can be born again.

 

If we are seeking the kingdom of God, we will be born again. We will do like the woman at the well and recognize that we are sinners. We will realize that our sin will keep us from heaven. We will acknowledge our sins and then recognize that Jesus is more than a man, a teacher, or a prophet. We will recognize that Jesus is the God-promised Messiah of the world. We will receive the gift of salvation through Christ and will be saved from our sins.

Ten Commandments #4

September 1, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The fourth commandment is what we will be looking at this week. It can be a point of contention at times, but it doesn’t have to be.

 

Exo 20:8  “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exo 20:9  “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,

Exo 20:10  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

Exo 20:11  “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

 

From the time that God instituted the Sabbath (Gen. 2:2), it was meant as a time of rest. For God, it was a time to stop creating. For man, it is a time spent in devotion to the Lord. It is also a sign of the covenant between God and Israel (Ex. 31:13-17). It was also a time of rest for the animals and servants to rest. Interestingly enough, our day is measured by the time it takes for the earth to make one rotation. Our month is based on the relationship of the earth and the moon. The measure for our year is based on the time it takes for the earth to go around the sun. The 7-day week has its basis in scripture and nowhere else.

 

The Sabbath was so important to God that disobedience meant death. It was something that God instituted for His people and it was to last for all generations. It was to affect everything including animals and even the land. The land was to have its Sabbaths. Israel neglected this fact for 490 years and found themselves in bondage for 70 years because of it. Sadly, by the time of Jesus, the Sabbath had become a burden to the people of Israel.

 

It had become more about the letter of the law than the spirit of the law. The original law said that no work could be done on the Sabbath. The religious leaders had expanded the rules of the law to the point that a person couldn’t carry their mat on the Sabbath (John 5:10). You also couldn’t pick grain (Matt. 12:2). This is because the Sabbath had been distorted from its original purpose. Jesus had a right understanding of the Sabbath and healed many on the Sabbath (Luke 13:13-14, 14:1-3//Matt. 12:10-13//John 7:23, 9:16).

 

The New Testament makes it clear that believers in Christ do not have to keep the Sabbath as it was laid out in the Old Testament.

 

Col 2:16  Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–

Col 2:17  things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

 

 

But the writer of Hebrews says that there remains a Sabbath rest for God’s people (Heb. 4:9). They also say that we should be diligent to enter that rest. The important reason for us to be diligent is so that no one falls through watching us and copying our examples. While, as Christians, we are not required to keep the Sabbath as in the Old Testament we do need to take a day to devote our time to God. We need to set aside all of the worries in our lives and completely focus on the Lord. By doing this, we can return to the things that we face with a biblical and Christian view. We can go back in knowing that God is aware of what is going on and has given us what we need through His Word. If we neglect to do this, we will only be hurting ourselves. We will also be slowly separated from God.

 


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