01 Moses

01.3 Moses 1, Day 3

Annihilation (a-NILE-ation)

When pharaoh’s plans were unsuccessful he didn’t turn back and change; he made things worse.  He forced the Israelite parents to kill their own children by throwing them into the Nile.

The people cried out to God.  They cried out to the torment and pain they felt.  They cried out for the innocent lives.  But they did not cry out in despair, they cried out to God in hope.

That is what separates the people of God from all others.  That is the special blessing of the prayers of Christians today.  As in those days, wicked people today do wicked things and force others to perform unthinkable cruelties.  We are right to recognize that wickedness for what it is.  We should not turn a blind eye to it or leave it to others to deal with just because it isn’t immediately affecting our daily lives.  But our focus must not be only on the problems, we must seek to look beyond to God’s ultimate promises.  We should cry out to God, the one in charge, the only one truly with the power to make lasting peace, eternal peace with Him.

But we must cry out in hope and confidence, not in despair.  Faith is in the difference in that approach.  Faith is knowing that God will keep all His promises and, while it may not be in the timing we would want, His plans to bring His people to Him will prevail.

I love the way Paul stated it in his letter to the church of Corinth as they were suffering in persecution: we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My Answers:

6.
a. Order that all born Hebrew boys must be thrown in the Nile
b. Wife’s stomach problems have not been resolved and continue to hurt her

7.
Gen: Prophecy, 400 yrs enslaved, nation they serve will be punished and they come out great possessns
Is: God is Israel’s savior, they will pass through waters, rivers, fir, but enemies will pay, because love you
John: Have peace.  In the world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world
2Cor: He comforts us so we can comfort others, rcv death sentence but taught to rely only on God

8.
a. There was an end, a positive outcome.  They cried out to God in hope not just despair.  God was, is and will be in control.
b. 2 Cor 4:18 – look not at the problems all around you – they are temporary but the good things to come are eternal

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06 BSF Matthew Week 6

06.2 BSF Matthew, Week 6, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

In our discussion this week about moral law, ceremonial law and prophecies foretold I did some digging into the old testament prophecies and found these two great resources:

The first is a side by side list of over 350 old testament prophecies and the corresponding new testament references demonstrating Christ’s fulfillment: 351 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

The second is a “school house rock” style video that demonstrates the probability of any of this just being “chance.”

In particular, today, I was struck by the question about the bible becoming living to me.  When I mechanically do my study, I get the mechanics of the scriptures.  I see the words.  I see the do’s and don’ts and the blessings and the warnings.  But that is all I see.  However, when I pray first and really put my mind and spirit in a time of openness to God’s revelation, I experience God’s word in such a deeper way. For example, in Sunday School recently we discussed Isaac and the blessings to Jacob and Esau (Genesis 26).  Through that study I was struck by the fact that Isaac didn’t just “take back” the blessing that Jacob received and it made me realize none of us can ever truly “take back” words that we speak.  They carry forward with a life of their own.  We can try to explain them, soften them, translate them, but once spoken we can’t unspeak them.  Then, tie that Old Testament lesson to the New Testament lesson this week about knowing the old testament teachings and speaking the truth always.

It brought to mind a good steak.  The old testament is the breed of the animal, the feed that went into it, the aging process, the marinade used, the perfect temperature of the flame, the hand of the experienced chef.  Sure, with out any of that, the steak (new testament) could still be nourishment and something for me to chew on.  But without the old testament I lose the flavor and the full experience that God intended.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Respect and honor.  He did not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  They are to be practiced and taught.

b.
Through BSF and Sunday School teaching, my love of the old testament has grown in the past few years.  I have too often viewed it as out-dated and difficult – as a rule book that doesn’t apply now.

c.
Begin with prayer.  Ask for Jesus’ help through the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart to how these ancient words point to Jesus and how they apply to my life today.

d.
Study of Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau – I am too casual with words, treating them like something I can take back or erase, but that isn’t the case.  Once words are spoken they take on a life of their own and carry weight.

4.
a.
Heb 9:27 die once and then face judgment.  Ephesians 2:9 Not by works, so that no one can boast.  Luke 18:18-27 “you know the commandments…” and “then come follow me.”

b.
Heb 8:7-13 (quoting Jeremiah 31) Jesus is the new covenant, the old is obsolete.  For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified” (Rom 10:4), Mark 12: 28-34 – Love God and Neighbor more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices

c.
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7).
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
“…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44)

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02 BSF Matthew Week 2

02.2 BSF Matthew: Lesson 2, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Imagine the shock the Magi must have experienced.  They came from afar to worship the newly born King of the Jews.  They came to the logical place, the seat of power for the Jewish nation, to the royal palace – this is where you would expect the long awaited King to be, right?  But instead they found – disturbed people!  Why wasn’t everyone worshiping this King?  They knew who the Magi were talking about.  Herod himself called together the priests and teachers and asked them “where the Messiah was to be born.”  He knew exactly who the Magi sought.

You would think after all these years of anticipation they would be falling over themselves to meet and worship the Messiah.  But that would have meant letting go of their anticipation.  They were comfortable in anticipation.  They understood it.  They had built entire structures and positions around it.  It was ingrained in their lives, meals, even their calendar.  The messiah showing up would mess all that up!

How we do the same!  We know the love God has for us and the calling He has on our life, but we are comfortable.  We pray for comfort and peace.  For the easy and comfortable path.  God calls us to be bold, to obey no matter what, and to trust that he not only has our back, but also our front and top and sides, inside and out.  But it is hard to let go.

I am praying this year for boldness and obedience.  I don’t know what God has in mind, but I know it is bigger and better than anything I can imagine.  I know there will be “Herod’s” along the way, but God is bigger.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Jesus (born), Magi (came to Jerusalem, asked, saw star, came to worship), Herod (disturbed), All Jerusalem (with Herod), Chief priest & teachers (knew promise of Messiah), Herod (secretive, found exact time of star, sent Magi to Bethlehem, ordered to report back to him, lied)

b.
Jesus is as He always was.  Some who are wise actively seek Him to show honor and praise.  Some, particularly those with power, seek only their own preservation of power, some who are followers, blindly follow the leaders.  Wise men seek the one true Lord.

c.
I am a wise man because I have heard and seen the calling of my Lord and God.  I was lost and blind and I still stumble and fall (way too often).  But, I “get up” and seek to be obedient in honoring my God

4.
a.
Origins from old, from ancient times

b.
come from Judah, from Bethlehem

c.
Ruler over Israel

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BSF Matthew

Getting Excited for Matthew

I am really excited to begin our study of Matthew this year.

I had a great summer and participated in a 10 week Precept In and Out study on Revelation Part 1 which covered the letters to the churches.  It was a great study and I’m both excited and nervous about studying the Book of Revelation in BSF in a couple of years.

There are so many new great things in BSF this year.  We had our first leaders’ meeting last weekend and I left very fired up in the spirit.  I don’t want to take away the thunder from your group so I’m trying to keep quiet on the changes, but there is one I have to praise: memory verses.  I’m a children’s leader and in the lower levels we really emphasis putting God’s word in your heart and memory each week.  Every week we have a specific memory verse that ties to our lesson and we spend the last 15 minutes of the night going over fun ways, such as songs, rhythms, pictures, and hand motions to memorize the verse and its address in scripture.  Starting with the new format of Matthew not only is a weekly memory verse front and center in the children’s lesson, but it is now also printed on everyone’s lesson!  I think this is such a great addition and I’m challenging everyone to take 15 minutes in your week and just memorize it.  At the end you will have 30 verses tucked away in your head and heart and you will be amazed at how often you use them in your daily language and discussions.

For the blog, I am making a few changes/improvements as well.  You may have already noticed a new visual theme (thanks WordPress!).  I picked this theme because it has a great mobile view and, as more and more people are doing their study on iPads, Kindle and other mobile devices, this is increasingly important.  It also is very clean and prints well.  I’m still including links to the scriptures, but I’m going to change the order of my posts and put my Daily Journal at the top and my answers to questions below.  With more personal applications questions in the study this year, I want to move the emphasis of writing to application of the Big God Story and less on my particular answer to question 7b.

I get to work with Level 1 this year, 1st and 2nd grade, and I am very excited.  The faith these young children have and their openness to diving deep into the Word of God always impresses and humbles me.  When God provides the instructors, our Children’s Administrator said we might split and form 2 Level 1 classes.  I know many BSF classes are struggling to fill all levels of their children’s program but it is so exciting to think we have so many Dads wanting to bring their young children that we may need 2 classes.  Praise the Lord.

I’m asking for more dialog this year on this blog, more comments, more questions, more sharing.  We are not trying to duplicate a BSF class, that is not the point.  But God is big and His church is big and we can learn from each other in many ways and through shared experiences.  Thanks for being part of the journey with us.

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BSF Genesis Week 20

BSF Genesis: Week 20, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

3.
He was obedient to his parents and to God.  He spent time alone with God and trusted in Him.  He was submissive to God’s will even when that will wasn’t immediately clear.

4.
a.
humbly obedient, meek

b.

  • Moses was very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth
  • He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way
  • the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity
  • He crowns the humble with victory
  • Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth
  • Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, find rest
  • Beauty of inner self, unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit

c.
My own pride takes away from giving all the glory to God.  I also struggle with fears and worries because I am too proud and stiff necked to release it to God even though I know that is the right thing to do.

My Daily Journal:

The illustration today’s discussion about being meek and humble brought to my mind was that of a knighting ceremony.  Knights were normally highly trained, educated and equipped individuals, prepared to go into battle for their king.  But, becoming a knight was not something someone received by proxy.  It wasn’t a letter or phone call, it was a very personal and up close experience with the king.

In the knighting ceremony, the trained fighter kneels before their king.  The king then takes his sword, not a dull staff, but the sharp sword of the king, and places it on the shoulders of the knight, moving from one shoulder to another.

The knight cannot receive this honor in a stiff-necked posture (they would lose their head, literally).  They must approach the throne in a manner that displays humble obedience and meekness.  They then arose and took on the new garments of their order.

Isn’t this what we are called to as well, just as Isaac was humble and meek?  To receive the blessing of the Word of God, sharper than any two edged sword, we must appear before our King with a humble and meek heart.  To be clothed in the Holy Spirit, we must kneel in prayer and seek forgiveness and cleansing.

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BSF Genesis Study 2012-2013, BSF Genesis Week 7

BSF Genesis: Week 7, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.
God walked with him. spoke to him, revealed his plan, gave specific directions, waited for it to be accomplished, told them to enter ark, shut them in the ark, brought the flood, God remembered Noah, told him when to come out of the ark

b.
walked with him, talked with him, forewarned him (great motivation) and gave him specific instructions – also helped with the animals

c.
Gave me his word, allows me to talk to him daily (and even more frequently), guides my life and give me specific instructions and support through the bible, church, family.

10.
a.
Only Noah and his family knew and then not exact day until one week before it started to rain. In Noah’s day “all the people on earth had corrupted their way” in Matt warning to keep watch implies there is a means of salvation (Christ=Ark, we are invited in)

b.
The one important thing missing is communion with God. Only Noah found favor in God’s eyes. However, there is also no mention of work or service, just self-serving.  Basically, they were doing nothing other than self focus and self interest, nothing that other animals weren’t doing.

c.
Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come

d.
scoffers say everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation – forgetting judgment by flood that came and ignoring judgment by fire to come

Today’s Journal:

Then the Lord shut him in.

What an interesting sentence to focus on from Gen 7:16.  We often think of being shut in as a negative.  But when battles rage, the protection of a safe shelter is our desire.

Noah built the ark according to God’s design, but only God could seal the deal.  Only God knew the hearts of all other humans to be able to close Noah in and the others out when the rains began to fall.  What a blessing to Noah that it was not up to him, that he didn’t have to choose whether to open the door to allow others in. What a relief of any guilt or regret.

In our life God opens some doors and God closes others.  When we follow God’s will and wait on His timing it is never up to us to open or close the doors, only to seek the path He wants us to walk with Him and go through the doors He has provided.  But we like to plan.  We like to linger in the safe and secure.  We like to go back and relive things.

What doors in your life do you need God’s help in closing?

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BSF Genesis Study 2012-2013, BSF Genesis Week 6

BSF Genesis: Week 6, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
Enoch walked with God (gen 5:22, 24); Enoch pleased God (Heb 11:5); Enoch made faith in God the basis of his life (Heb 11:5-6); Enoch talked to others about the Lord’s command and warned them that God would judge the ungodly (Jude 14-15)

9.
He didn’t : Hebrews 11:5 “Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death”

10.
a.
All who believe will be lifted up and transformed, will not die (1 Cor 15:51 and 1 Thes 4:17)

b.
If alive, not die; Caught up in the cloud with Jesus; meet Christ F2F; New body; physically and spiritually with the Lord forever

c.
New body – so much of my time and energy is spent on this shell, I’m looking forward to trading up!

My Daily Journal:

Death is not inevitable.  Our existence is so much more than a fatalist “we live and then we die.”  We are ultimately not bound by laws of nature or time.  We are not constrained by our ancestry or the actions of our fathers.  But what truly makes a difference and what truly last are the choices we make.

It is not that all of those things don’t impact and influence us, they do.  But our choice of how we relate to God transcends that and enables us to unite with the divine.

Enoch chose to walk with God for eternity.

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