29 BSF Matthew Week 29

29.2 BSF Matthew Week 29, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

When I was growing up I would take trips with my Grandmother to visit her relatives that still lived in the farming community where she grew up.  One of the people we would always stop and visit with was Aunt Lea.  Aunt Lea would often start a story by asking my grandmother if she remembered a certain person from far back in the years.  “You know, Red,” the story would start.  “He lived down the tracks from Mary Jo.  Mary Jo had the brother who drove the red pickup.  He was the one who was injured in the war.”  On and on it would go, stretching into several minutes of tracing between houses and neighborhoods and years and events until my grandmother would finally say, “oh, sure, I remember Red.  What about him.”  To which, Aunt Lea would always reply, “him died.”  And that was the end of the story.

Except for the story of Jesus.  This is the pivotal event of Christianity:  That Jesus Christ, of His own divine power, without outside intervention, raised back to life after 3 days dead.  Without the resurrection, there is no risen Lord, there is no ascent into Heaven, there is no authority, there is no judgment day.  There is only life that ends in death.  Death wins.  But the power of the resurrection changes everything.  In science, a theory needs only be proven false once for it to be forever invalid.  Death was believed to be the end.  Death is not the end, therefore, there is more.

That more is the glory that we get to experience for all eternity.  This is the story we must tell because it is the truth.  Holding to a theory after it has been proven false is foolishness. “YOLO and then you die” is not the whole story, because, death is not the end.

I loved the last question about “how would you answer…”.  I think the best approach is to simply ask what they believe about the resurrection and on what facts do they base their belief.  There are only 2 paths: either you believe it did happen or you believe it did not.  Either path requires basis of fact to support the belief and “doubt” is not a basis of fact.

My Answers

3.
a.
3rd day – Sunday

b.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary

c.
A violent earthquake, an angel came from heaven, the angel rolled the stone away, the guards were shocked like dead

4.
a.
They had just had a conversation with angels, things were not as they were expecting them to be

b.
clasped his feet and worshiped him

c.
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

d.
He provides peace.  I can rely on His strength and power

5.
a.
friends: afraid yet filled with joy, ran to tell others, clasped Jesus and worshiped him
guards:shook became like dead, reported to chief priests, took bribe to lie and save self
leaders: colluded to bribe guards and deceive jews and roman leaders
people: did not understand, were confused, accepted the lie

b.
He appeared to many.  If they were inventing a story, they would make themselves heroes not slow-witted group who didn’t understand  and were rebuked for lack of faith and stubbornness

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23 BSF Matthew Week 23

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

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

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17 BSF Matthew Week 17

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.

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12 BSF Matthew Week 12

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

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08 BSF Matthew Week 8, Uncategorized

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

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06 BSF Matthew Week 6

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

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