23 BSF Matthew Week 23, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

This discussion reminds me so much of my golf game. 

The religious leaders were trying to pull Jesus off into the weeds to trip Him up.  Everything they asked Him about was on the far fringes of the course of life.  That is where they played, going from patch of weeds to patch of weeds.

Jesus wasn’t afraid of the weeds, but His response was always the same.  The solution is not to go from weed-patch to weed-patch, but to get the game back on the fairway.  Return to the scriptures.  Return to the power of God.  Return to right thinking and right living.

No where is that more evident than in Matthew 22:42.  The leaders are gathered.  They had plotted and planned and asked questions, all attempting to get Jesus into their weeds.  And now, Jesus asks them a question.  But Jesus question isn’t in the weeds.  It isn’t on the fringe.  It is at the very heart of the green.  What do you think about the Messiah?

That is the core question, isn’t it?  That is the question all of religion hinges on.  We know we need a savior.  What do you think about the Messiah?  In the game of life, that is the hole-in-one shot, that is where we should play.

My Answers:

8.
a.
What do you think about the Messiah?  Whose son is he?

b.
Shows that while He was a descendent of David, he was Lord, the son of the Living God

c.
To address Him as my Lord and Master, not only in word but in action

9.
a.
what the teachers and Pharisees who sit in Moses’ seat say to do

b.
Do not do what they do

c.
done for people to see

d.
To be humble and ensure the honor and glory are God’s alone

10.
To be humble, to not take on titles belonging to God (Rabbi, father, instructor)

 

 

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23 BSF Matthew Week 23, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I was really struck by how I, like the lawyer who asked the question of Jesus about which is the most important commandment, sell myself short.

We prioritize.  We are taught to identify which are the big rocks, the most important tasks, and put them first.  Eat that frog, don’t sweat the small stuff.  I’ve read the books and I understand how that approach can help navigate the pressures of life on this earth.

If I do my lesson each day and spend some quiet time in prayer, I think I’m doing pretty good.  But I’m not “holy”.  That approach would not qualify me to be a “treasured possession” of God.  God wants “All”.

All my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength.  Not just 20 minutes of my heart and mind, but all.  Yes, we trip and fall and veer off path – we sin.

The lawyer asking the question of Jesus was on this path.  I can’t keep all the commandments all the time, so which one or ones are the most important and I’ll prioritize those first.  What is the minimum passing grade, Jesus?  What is the least I have to do?

But God says, you will sin, but then repent and give it all back to me.  If you fall down, that does not mean you have reached the final destination, you just tripped.  Get up and keep going.

What would a day look like if every calorie I burned reflected God’s strength.  What if every thought was directed to His glory?  What if my heart and soul fully reflected His love for 1440 minutes in a row?  That would be holiness.  I am not capable of that but God is capable of that.  Ask and He can move mountains.  Why do we settle for “doing pretty good” when we are created to be so much more?

My Answers:

6.
a.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind (and strength)

b.
Look out for yourself first, charity begins at home,

c.
We protect our own life – we feed and clothe ourselves and see to our needs of comfort and security.  These same basic instincts, through love, should extend to others.

d.
Why would someone do this without a belief in God, how would anyone understand true love?

7.
a.
Heart:   Having no love that you put before God, that you would not give up for Him
Soul: Pledging not just this life but eternity to Him, we are souls with a body, not bodies with a soul.
Mind: To think first of God, even above self, to trust in Him above reason
Strength: Physical ability – not just philosophical or spiritual, but real

b.
Start my day with God.  End my day with God.  Take better care of my heart, soul, mind, strength.  They belong to God, I am just the steward, the renter.

c.
made holy by God, chosen, treasured possession, based on love and commitment of God

17 BSF Matthew Week 17, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

This may be hard.  It may not be what you or I want to hear, but the fact of the matter is: What I want doesn’t really matter.

It didn’t matter when Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the garden.  It didn’t matter when Satan tempted Peter.

Being a Christ-Follower means that I follow Christ.  I don’t give Him my advice on how He should do things, like I somehow have a better plan than He does.  He leads, I follow.  That’s the deal.

It isn’t that Christ doesn’t care about what we want and the desires of our heart.  He wants those things for us.  He wants us to bring them to Him and lay them at His feet.  But He also wants/expects us to trust Him, not argue with Him.

There are huge blessings in that trust.  As Jesus points out when we follow and trust in Him, we see Him in His full glory.  We experience His full power.  We don’t even have to wait until after the grave to begin living in the Kingdom, it starts now… today.

My Answers:

10.
a.
He argues with Jesus (just like the saducees) telling Him He is wrong.  Jesus says get behind me.

b.
Because of love – he did not want Him to die.

c.
When I don’t like the message that God has for me.  When I am unsure or uncomfortable with my own ability, but not relying on Him

d.
Satan

11.
a.
Christ bore our sins in His body on the cross so that sin is dead in us and we live in righteousness.  By His wounds you have been healed

b.
denial of earthly things – we will suffer on earth but see the glory of God first hand

c.
It is a choice.  We can choose to milk everything we can out of the meager minutes we have in this life or we can set that aside and focus on an everlasting life with Him.

d.
Whoever loses their life for Jesus and the gospel will save it.  To see the kingdom of God

e
What do I put above God?  What am I not willing to lay down?  By definition, that thing I put above the Lord.

12.
Some look to the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple as the rise of the new world order and the rise of Christianity.  I think this refers to the vision of Stephen to see Christ standing at the altar of God and John seeing heaven in Revelation.

12.5 BSF Matthew Week 12, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Now we are getting somewhere.  The pharisees and religious leaders recognize that Jesus has super-natural power.  Literally.  Natural power is power related to nature, to the physical world.  But they have taken a huge step forward and proclaimed that Jesus has power that is greater than that.  It is from out-of-the world,  super-natural, it is from the spirit world.

There are only two possible sources for the power: heaven or hell.  Having acknowledged that Jesus was more than man, they then had to decide from where He and His power originates.

They chose wrong.  All of scripture, every prophecy, every law, every sacrifice, every word that they studied and taught every day pointed to and was being fulfilled in this man Jesus.  While they had dedicated their life to this teaching – they wanted more.  They weren’t satisfied with the relationship God had provided, they wanted something else.  They wanted to commit adultery against the scripture.

Jesus spoke to them very clearly.  He said the only sign they would receive was one from scripture.  He said, you have correctly deduced the situation – heaven or hell.  But, since hell and the devil makes no sense and can be eliminated, then you must acknowledge Jesus is from Heaven.  To not do so is to choose hell themselves.

Do you acknowledge that Jesus was more than a man?  If so, He is super-natural and every sign, every word, every prophecy tells which uniform he wears: a white robe dipped in blood and emblazoned with the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

My Answers:

11.
a.
His power and authority over demons

b.
Prince of this world (John 12:31) will be driven out also John 14:30.  Baal-zebub 2 Kings 1 Philistine god, Satan, the adversary, devil (James 4:7), the god of this age (2 Cor 4:).  This house is the earth

12.
The H/S teaches and convicts me of my sin.  If I had rejected the H/S fully, then I would not face such warning or conviction, but instead I would appoint myself as judge and judge my sin to be right and acceptable

13.
I use too few words that proclaim the glory of Christ.  I miss opportunities to have serious engagement by joking.

14.
a.
Every sign and prophecy of the old testament pointed to Christ and was being fulfilled, in their presence, by Him.  But they wanted something outside of all of those teachings, some other sign

b.
The sign of Jonah.  Jesus’ death and resurrection

c.
We are not to be empty shells.  The goal of salvation is not to empty us of evil and impurity but to fill us with the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

15.
In love and giving to brothers and sisters in Christ.  In coming alongside missionaries and pastors and teachers.  By walking that road myself and with my family

08.2 BSF Matthew Week 8, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

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Flickr Creative Commons: stockmonkeys.com

1. Measure for Measure:  This reminded me of the days of the gold rush.  Miners would pan for gold and, hopefully, find nuggets.  They would then bring these in to town where someone would purchase them.,  The price was based on weight and the purchaser of the nuggets owned the scale.  It was often a simple balance and they used counter weights to determine the weight of an ounce of gold.  If their counter weight was a bit heavy, say 1.5 ounce or 2 ounces instead of 1 ounce, then when they put the gold on the other end of the scale, they would get that much extra for the price they paid.  But Jesus explains that this manipulation is all for nothing, because the same set of weights, the measure, they use for others will be the same set of weights used to evaluate their worth.  In this situation the only thing that makes sense for fairness to abound is to use weights that are true and accurate.  The only source of that measure that is true is the Word of God.

2. I just finished reading a book called Allegiant, and one of the lines in the book really stuck in my mind in regard to our lesson this week.  “Everyone has some evil (sin/fault) inside of them and the first step to loving anyone else is to recognize the same evil (sin/fault) in ourselves, so we are able to forgive them.”  We have spent 4 weeks on the Sermon on the Mount and it is easy sometimes to compartmentalize the lesson of three weeks ago and this week, but they are all the same sermon.  In Matt 5, Jesus explained this principle in the extreme.  You may not have murdered someone else, but have you been angry or thought of another as being a fool?  If so, it is the same thing, the same sin, the same evil, with the same just punishment (the fires of hell 5:22).  To minister, to love, to forgive another; we cannot do it from a position of superiority because that is a lie.  You cannot speak truth and lie at the same time.  It starts by seeing our own need for forgiveness.

3. Pearls to Swine: When thinking of unbelievers we often think of the Gospel as mad tasting medicine.  They don’t want it but it is good for them and they really should take it.  We know what is best for them.  Take your medicine and be grateful.  But, we forget or neglect the tremendous value and worth of the Word of God.  It is not something to be pushed on other people.  Would you force another against their will to take gold from you?  Would you force them to eat from an amazing banquet of the finest food?  Of course not.  You would recognize that as ridiculous.  You may invite them, offer, encourage, teach, prepare them for the gift, but if they don’t choose to take your gold, you wouldn’t force them.  But how much more valuable and precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit than gold or silver.  How much more nourishing is the Word of God than earthly food.  When we treat it as bad tasting medicine, we dishonor its true worth and value.

My Answers:

3.
a.
To put yourself in the position of being over another person, particularly a fellow believer, for the purpose of demeaning or disparaging them.  i.e., don’t have a “holier than thou” attitude

b.
same way judge others will be judged, measure for measure.  Focus on the plank in your own eye over the speck of sawdust in another (judge yourself first and foremost and right the situation).  Do not give dogs what is sacred, don’t throw pearls to swine

c.
forgive and you will be forgiven, give and it will be given to you (blessing of measure).  Can the blind lead the blind, will they not both fall into a pit, Student is not above the teacher, but everyone fully trained will be like their teacher

4.
a.
Matt: brother or sister within the church, but as a brother/sister, a confidant, friend
Gal 1: Preachers (people or angels) – that they stay true to the word of God
Gal 6:Someone who has been caught in a sin.  Also, yourself (test your own actions)
2 John: Deceivers, antichrist, false teachers

b.
Take the glaring sin out of your own life first ( hidden can be glaring).  Point out their sin to them with compassion and nurturing.  If ignore, join with 1-2 in the body privately to intervene, expand to church, remove from fellowship.

5.
Each of us is given our own free will and choice.  No one can force or coerce another into accepting the gift of salvation or force them to truly repent.  They must choose.  If they fail to choose or choose the wrong path, leave them be (although you can continue to pray for them). “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Prov 23:9

06.4 BSF Matthew Week 6, Day 4

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

When we were new parents, my wife and I learned quickly that it was not enough to tell our children what not to do, we needed to teach them what to do instead.  In addition to saying, don’t touch that or you will get cut/burned, we would instruct them where to put their hands and how to hold the item correctly.  In addition to saying pick up the floor in your room, we remind them of the rule of thumb that only things that have legs belong on the floor.

Throughout scriptures, but in particular in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking as the voice of the Father in this same way.  He started it with the 8 characteristics we are to do and keep.  “Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great”.  “First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  “Settle matters quickly”.  Over and over again, it isn’t just “don’t do that”, but it is teaching on what to do instead.

That is why I really liked the question about practical steps.  Battling temptation isn’t just a “don’t do that” – it is a do this instead.  For example, taking just a moment to pause and try to see others around us (either in real life or in pictures or movies) through the eyes of their mother and father and grandmother and grandfather quickly and amazing changes temptation and better embodies the eyes of God.  If I am feeling angry or jealous and picture a mirror of how those emotions reflect not only on me but on my father (both earthly and heavenly), my perspective and emotions quickly change.

Satan has no new tricks.  There are no temptations that I will face that people have faced throughout the ages.  There is no temptation that the power of God has not already helped someone else defeat.

My Answers:

9.
“Think about instead…”  If covet, think about how God is providing all my needs and joy.  If lustful eyes, envision their mother and father and grandparents and see them through those eyes.  If angry, think about my wrongs and the wrath I deserve.  Fill days with prayer and study of word.  Play christian music.

10.
1 Cor 10:13 – there are no new temptations, same old same old – God is in control
Psalm 18:2,3  The Lord is my Rock… I called upon the Lord… and have been saved from my enemies
also: 1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:2-3, Phil 4:8; Heb 4:15 (included in the Today’s Scripture link above)

11.
a.
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
Matt 19:8, Mark 10:5

b.
Only in the case of infidelity

03.3 BSF Matthew: Week 3, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

My son has recently collected my father-in-law’s faceting equipment with the hope and plan of learning how to cut gemstones.  The process of cutting gemstones really does not involve any “cutting”.  It is much more a process of careful a careful and precise grinding down with finer and finer grits to the point of polishing.

On a microscopic (or at least magnified) view, a rough stone consists entirely of valleys and mountains and rough places.  In the grandness of the universe the scale of our actual mountains is not much different.

Through confession we acknowledge the roughness in our own life.  Through repentance, we allow the work of our Master to grind that roughness away and wash it out of our life.  It is this repeated process African Garnetof confession and repentance – acknowledgement, submission and work of a changed outlook and structure, through which we are transformed.

The beauty in a perfectly faceted gemstone is not the stone itself.  It is the fact that each side and each angle is polished to a perfectly smooth and reflective surface so the light that enters is magnified and reflected back.  In the same way, the work of confession and repentance transforms us into a reflection of the master stone cutter.

My Answers:

4.
a.
Parents both of priestly line, Father served in temple, observed all commands and were blameless, prayed, prophesized by Angel that John would be a Nazarite.  His parents were also obedient (naming him John).  Sent as the prophet to turn hearts

b.
I grew up in a Christian household centered in service.  My mom spent countless time in the nursery carrying for the “smallest of these”  My dad taught bible study, served on councils and committees and always attended and gave joyfully

5.
a.
He called people to repent and change – to live a just life.  He extolled them not to rely on their birthright but to be servants to God.  He rebuked any, including Herod, and was locked in prison

b.
Do not rely on history, be fruitful today.  Be generous and compassionate.  Be fair and honest.  Be just and content.

6.
a.
Baptized with water for repentance, confession of sins, salvation from coming wrath

b.
Confess: to acknowledge wrong deeds, not just mistakes, but insults to God because of disobedience

Repent: to commit to change and living a new/different life

7.
a.
Confession and repentance are are equalizers of people, we all sin and rely on God’s saving work.  Works glorifying to God (charity and honesty and justice and contentment) remove human hierarchies

b.
At times I see myself as more than I am.  At other times my self view is lower than what God sees in me.  I’m a rough stone.  But as God smooths my rough edges through confession and repentance and His grace, I become polished and reflective.

Photo credit: Richard W. Wise, G.G.
Author:  Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur’s Guide To Precious Gemstones

02.5 BSF Matthew: Week 2, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I looked up the word, refuge.  I had thought of a refuge as a physical structure – some sort of stronghold or fort.  But that is incorrect.  According to the definition, a refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.  It is a condition, a state of being.

So, who needs a refuge?  By definition, a refugee needs a refuge.  A refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of origin or habitual residence because they have suffered (or fear) persecution.

In 1 Peter 1:17, this is what we are called to be: “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”

Do I live as a refugee?  Do I seek refuge from the One who can provide it in this upside down world?  Do I call on the Most High to be my refuge and my strength or do I bend to conform to this world?

My Answers:

10.
a.
They put their trust and obedience fully in God.  Through that they were saved from death, protected, did not fear the terror of night.  They loved the Father and His (their) Son and were rescued

b.
1. dwells in the shelter of the Most High, 2. says: He is my refuge… in whom I trust 9. if you say the Lord is my refuge,  14, Because you love the Lord, he will rescue you and protect you, for you acknowledge his name.

c.
Everything I have comes from the Lord.  Every opportunity, every person in my life.  Why would I rely on my power in comparison to God’s?  Martin Luther said, God created the world out of nothing; so as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us.

11.
a.
Wisemen (Magi) watched for, saw and obeyed to worship, God honored and aided their obedience through the non-obedient, Pay attention to dreams from God – worked for Magi, worked for Joseph (go to Egypt), worked again for Joseph (go to Israel), and again (don’t go to Judea)

b.
I think God gave me life after surgery not because I had been obedient to Him, but because He had plans for me to become so.  2 weeks before my surgery I started in BSF and it was the first thing I returned to.  I have stayed every year since.

01.4 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 4

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

“I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”  What if we each prayed that prayer every day?  What if that was a guiding statement for our to do lists?  What if that was our heart’s true desire each day?

Such a simple statement.  But so challenging to live out by our own strength.  This is not how the world lives.  It is not how our neighbors or co-workers or fellow students live.  It is not how media tells us to live.  Frankly, we can’t live this way on our own strength – it is not in our human nature.

But it is in God’s power – and all we have to do is what Mary did, submit with our words and our hearts.  And then, what joy and what blessing.  Mary allowed God to use her fully as a completely empty vessel, laying down her own desires to be in charge of her own life and taking on a willingness to fully serve.  And what did God do, he filled her in a way that is completely unimaginable.  He gave her a gift not given to any other, ever.

“I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”

My Answers:

7.
a. do not be afraid, you have found favor with God, Conceive and give birth to a son, call him Jesus, 1. He will be great, 2. will be called the Son of the Most High, 3. Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 4. He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever, 5. His kingdom will never end.

b. Spirit of God.  Spirit of God is God, the creator, spirit gives birth to the spirit

8.
a. I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”  Submission, acceptance, serving spirit.

b. My place is not to second guess or argue with God’s direction, despite how much I don’t understand it or feel that I am the right vessel.  I need to accept and serve Him

01.3 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 3

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal

In church this past week we sang the song called “Meet with Me” that spoke to me as I did today’s study.  There is a line in the song that says, “What a joy it would be just for a moment to lay at the feet of the Lord.  Just to look deep in the face of the King who gave all, gave everything just to meet with me.”

That is what we are talking about when we talk about the name God gave for His Son.  Unlike Moses, we are not called to hide in the cleft of the mountain to catch a glimpse of God.  God presented Himself, through grace, in the form of a newborn child, completely dependent upon the love of His parents.  God chose to meet with us, by coming down to our level because we could not rise to His.

Not only that, but He did not come to give orders and edicts.  He did not come to rule with power and might.  He did not come to conquer.  (although He could have done all of those and would have been within full rights to have done so).  Instead, He came to save.  He came to pay the price that we cannot pay.

The wages we earn are death.  Only the perfect Son of Man could pay the restitution required to buy us out of bondage.

What a joy it will be to sit at the feet of the One… not for a moment, but for all eternity!

My Answers:

5.
a. Immanuel (23): God with Us, Jesus (21, 25) = Joshua= The Lord saves

b. Song “Meet with Me” What a joy it would be just for a moment to lay at the feet of the Lord.  Just to look deep in the face of the King who gave all, gave everything just to meet with me,  Call to love, honor and respect?

6.
a.
i. God did not send Son to condemn but to save the world
ii. If you do not believe that I am he you will die in your sins
iii. Good Shepherd, other sheep, one flock, one shepherd
iv. Salvation found in no one else, no other name to be saved
v. If believe Jesus is Lord, save
vi. by grace saved, made alive even when dead in transgression

b.+: Coast Guard, lost at sea, willingness to risk all to save, willingness to sacrifice life and resources.  -: my need for a savior, the fact that I put myself in a position of needing to be saved by my own recklessness and sin