02 Moses

02.5 Moses 2, Day 5

God has already laid the foundation

I have a good friend and brother in Christ who is a builder.  Throughout the summer we met once a week for a bible study at a local coffee shop.  One morning we were having coffee and discussing the roadwork going on outside the restaurant.  I was commenting, in frustration, about how long it seemed to be taking.  He explained to me the need for concrete to cure.  He said that when his crews pour a driveway it takes about a week for the concrete to dry and cure all the way through.  The concrete the road crew was using was about 18″ thick and he explained it would take 4 full weeks for it to cure properly.  Like baking bread, the outside will harden first, but it takes time for the center to be finished as well.  Allowing traffic on it too soon, especially heavy trucks, could ruin it and they would have to tear it out and start over.

I was reminded of this as we read about the Hebrews calling out to God in their slavery.  Like my ability to see the road, they saw God and knew his promises, but their patience was thin.  But 80 years prior, God had poured the foundation of salvation for the hebrews in Egypt.  At the marriage of Amram and Jochebed, God had dug the footings and began to lay in the reinforcement iron.  At the birth of Moses, the path was poured.  80 years would be required for Moses to grow solid throughout and become the prophet God had designed him to be.

In the same way, when Jesus was born into this world, the foundation of salvation for us was poured.  Jesus is our “highway to heaven”.  We will and should groan out to God in our bondage to sin, but Jesus’ payment has set us free.  One day the waiting will be over and Jesus will come again.  One day, the hazard cones and detours will all be removed and we, either still living or asleep in the grave, will rise up and go out to meet his triumphant return.  One glad morning…

In the mean time, God does not forget.  When it says God remembered, it doesn’t mean He had forgotten and needed the Hebrews to remind Him.  It means, they called on Him to remember and He did, He had and He always would.  God does not forget His people.  God does not forget His promises.  God remembered then and He remembers now!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
king of Egypt died, Israelites continued to be oppressed in slavery

b.
groaned in their slavery and cried out to God

11.
a.
Heard, Remembered, Looked on, was Concerned about

b.
Loving, engaged, true, consistent

c.
Yes, absolutely – IF I pray and wait for God, I have that assurance.  If I take it on my own and then run and hide, God waits for me.

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01 Moses

01.2 Moses 1, Day 2

King’s plans, God’s plans

The Israelites arrived in Egypt when Joseph was in the midst of saving that world from a devastating famine.  Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a plan.  His plan was to reward Joseph by honoring his family.  He gave them land and work.  He allowed them to continue to live as a separate people and worship God.

But that Pharaoh died.  Joseph died.  Time passed and the plans of Pharaoh changed.  I love the way it is worded in the NIV in Exodus 1:10, “come we must deal shrewdly”.  What an interesting choice.

Shrews are animals that live throughout the world.  Very small, the size of a mouse, a shrew is closely related to a mole.  They have very poor vision.  They are extremely territorial driving away all rivals.  They live their lives mostly in hiding in leaf litter and deep vegetation.  They have voracious appetites consuming 80-90% of their body weight each day.

The contrast between the plans of earthly men of power, the earthly pharaohs and kings, and God, the King of Kings, is drastic.  God doesn’t die.  God’s plans do not change. God is large, bigger than the universe.  God is all seeing and all knowing.  God is welcoming and inviting, desiring to bring all into His house.  God not only lives in the light, He is the light.  God provides for us all that we need.

Nothing against shrews, but, I think, as we continue to study the bible, we are called to live our lives becoming more holy each day rather than more shrewdly.

My Answers:

3. They had been welcomed guests during the great famine because of the way God, through Joseph, had saved Egypt

4.
a. They were numerous, if war breaks out they will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country
b. Oppress them with forced labor
c. (1) The more oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread (2) The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly
d. Birth control: Hebrew midwives commanded to kill all boy babies born, letting only the girls live

5.
a. Death and the wrath of the king of Egypt, punishment for themselves and family.  They feared God
b. Protected them from Pharaoh and  was kind to them, the people increased and He gave the midwives families of their own

 

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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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27 BSF Matthew Week 27

27.4 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Restitution: recompense for injury or loss.

Recompense: make amends to (someone) for loss or harm suffered; compensate.

In our common understanding, for justice to exist there must be restitution and recompense for wrongs committed against another.  For example, if I break your window, it is only just that I pay to have the window repaired or replaced.  Anything less is unfair and unjust.  Even when there is an act of forgiveness, the need for repair doesn’t just vanish, it shifts to someone else (most commonly the one giving forgiveness) to pay the price.  Again, for there to be resolution, the broken window can’t stay broken forever.

But what about when the wrong is something that cannot be set right again?  That is the situation that we find with Peter and Judas.

Peter knew who Jesus was.  He had professed it through the power of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 16:16.  But during the time that he should have been praying, having been warned that Satan had asked to sift him as wheat, he slept.  Not once, but 3 times.

When temptation came through a young girl, but really through his own fear, he faltered and denied that he knew Jesus.  Not once, but 3 times.

He had no way of taking back that he slept.  You can’t “unsleep”.  He couldn’t stay awake at a different time to make up for it.  He had no way of taking back the words that he said.  Acknowledging Jesus in the future wouldn’t change his denial.

The same with Judas.  He tried to give back the 30 coins.  He spoke aloud of Jesus as an innocent man.  But his action was not so easily reversed.

Neither man had the capacity to “make things right” nor could they ever have that capacity on their own.  It was a dead end road that led off the side of a cliff.

Both men felt regret and sorrow, but only one man made a U-Turn.  Only one man would run to the empty tomb.  Only one man would profess his love to the one who paid the price for his wrong.

Jesus’ prayer for Peter wasn’t that he would live in a bubble and avoid all temptation. Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Turning back is the critical component.

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
1. profession: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Mt16:16, 2. temptation: Satan asked to sift you as wheat, L22:31, 3. Jesus prophecies, L22, 4. Jesus Prays for Peter, 5. Peter in denial (die before), 6. Prophecy fulfilled – temptation 7. stronger

b.
when I am tempted and attempt to rely on my own strength instead of Christ’s

9.
a.
denial not betrayal. repent not regret, strengthen others not suicide

b.
Acts 2:14, Peter addresses the crowd and converts 3000

c.
regret is a bad or sad feeling. repentance acknowledges sin against God and requests His forgiveness then change

d.
premeditated (30 silver Mt26:14-16 ). Free choice (Jesus predicts and offers bread to Judas, Judas took bread) J13:27

10.
Annas to Jesus about disciples and teaching: All in the open ask anyone, nothing wrong; servant girl to Peter, you a disciple? No. Peter asked if he was with Jesus, no threat, no injury, no abuse, no bonds, just questions from simple people. Jesus accused by powerful foes who want to kill him

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26 BSF Matthew Week 26

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Jesus made the choice to be killed on the cross.  It wasn’t forced on Him.  It wasn’t a surprise.  He made the choice to yield completely to His Father’s will.  And the fulfillment of that will was for His death and resurrection.

But that did not mean Jesus ran blindly into the fray.  He worked incredibly hard to ensure He stayed firmly in the will of Abba, Father.  He prayed intensely.  Not trying to change God.  Not trying to make a deal or to get out of something.  He prayed to completely and clearly understand God’s timing.

The scriptures imply that He prayed for approximately an hour at a time, with 3 trips.  Each time He asked a question and He listened, intensely.  I don’t have any issue asking God questions, but I struggle to listen.  My mind wanders, my stomach grows, my knees ache, and I get distracted.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

How can we follow Christ’s example?  We can bring a friend for support.  We can find a quiet place away from the normal situations of life.  We can be focused and keep it simple.  We can not negotiate but concentrate on being fully in God’s will.

There is peace in prayer, a peace that comes not from our own understanding, but comes from submission to God’s design.

 

My Answers:

11.
a.
joy, life, self-determination/will, justice, reputation, Enough!

b.
watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Still sleeping? The hour has com

c.
distress, despair, a branch bending completely to the will of the Father but not breaking

12.
Abba, everything is possible with you, “couldn’t you keep watch 1 hour?” withdrew about a stone’s throw, knelt down, angel appeared and strengthened Him, prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling, exhausted from sorrow

13.
a.
Abba, everything is possible with you, “couldn’t you keep watch 1 hour?” withdrew about a stone’s throw, knelt down, angel appeared and strengthened Him, prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling, exhausted from sorrow

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26 BSF Matthew Week 26

26 BSF Matthew Week 26, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I love Peter because I can see my own dimwitted self reflected in his approach to things.  I have no doubt of his immense love and admiration for Jesus.  I have no doubt that he recognized, through the power of the holy spirit, who Christ was, just as it is written in the scriptures.  But he gets in his own way.

Basically he says, I know you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Creator of all, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Eternal, but, uh, you’re wrong.  I know better than you do.

Jesus didn’t ask them, he told them what would happen.  But instead of accepting this and using this knowledge as strength, Peter jumps into denial.  In his journal down the river of denial he and the other apostles miss the promise of a risen Lord to meet with them in Galilee.  They want to take up arms to prevent this from happening.  While they think they will raise up arms to be standing for Jesus, they in fact are standing in direct opposition to the words and promise he has just made.  This is not a surprise to Jesus.  He is not a victim.  He knows who, what, when, where, why and how.  There is no mystery.  There is simply a gift.

How often do I argue with God?  Every time I insist on doing things my way first, I tell Him I know better.  Every time I rely on myself more than on Him, I yield to temptation.

But, there is one other amazing part in these verses and that is Jesus prayer for Peter in Luke 22:32 – “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Temptation and testing is not something to just be endured and survived, it is something that strengthens us so that we can strengthen others.  Like exercise, it may tear us down and wear us out temporarily, but when we heal, we heal stronger.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Contradicted Jesus – Convicting that I will never fall away while simultaneously doubting Jesus’ word

b.
33. Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will

c.
Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you (other disciples agreed)

9.
a.
i.
There are no surprises – Satan is only allowed to tempt/test God’s people as God allows

ii.
Self confidence will not prevail, only trust in the Lord

iii.
Prays for us and directs us to use strength given through trials

b.
Reluctance to be a cheerful giver has given me insight into understanding the traps of “wealth management”

10.
a.
you will all fall away on account of me

b.
After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee

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25 BSF Matthew Week 25

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What do your actions say about what you truly believe?  I found it interesting the steward who had been given one talent very interesting.  He said he believed one thing, but the returning master looked not only at his statement but at his actions.

This steward had a very negative view of the master.  He paid no attention to the master’s investment, his work, his land, his seed, his housing room and board, his servants, his provision.  He couldn’t see beyond the reach of his own hands.  ‘You are not out in the fields sowing or scattering the seed, yet you expect part of the harvest.’  To this steward, his self dialogue was that the master was a “hard man”, someone to fear.  But the master called him on that.  If that is what he truly believed, then he would have at least taken steps to put the money in the bank.  This steward’s statement of belief was a lie.  It had nothing to do with the master and everything to do with his self justification.  The man was simply wicked and lazy.  But it is easier and more satisfying to blame the master than to take ownership of his own character.

How many do the same today?  I can’t believe in a God who…  If that is what God is then…  But this truly has nothing to do with God, no more than the third steward’s statement had to do with the master.  It is simply a way of shifting responsibility, avoiding accountability.  It didn’t work then and I have a feeling it isn’t going to work any better when we face Jesus.

Turning to the other stewards (5 and 2), I found their lack of negotiation and commission very telling of their view of the master.  Both had earned a 100% ROI.  Although the master was away for a long time, that is still a huge profit margin.  But when the master returned, every penny was turned over to the master.  No negotiation, no reimbursement of fees and expenses.

This tells me of their complete faith and trust in the provision of the master.  The best thing they could do was hand it all back to the master.  They didn’t try for “what is fair”, they trusted that the joy and blessing of the master would far outweigh “fair”.  And, at the end of each tale, that is exactly what we see.  Both receive promotions.  Both are invited to share fully in the master’s happiness.  This happiness was far greater than the sums of money, it was in the value of finding a faithful servant.  Anyone who has worked in management knows the value of a faithful employee is far greater than the return on any one investment they may have managed.  I think the trust of these servants speaks volumes to the true nature and character of the master!

My Answers:

6.
a.
Prov 3: wisdom to gain understanding, nothing physical is more preciousMatt 13: teacher of law who is a disciple brings out treasure both new and old
Matt 28: go make disciples, baptizing, teaching
John 1: Himself, His son, His light, to receive Him and become children of God
John 13: an example – do as He has done for me
John 21: Love Him and work to do; care for and feed His sheep
2 Tim Scripture: teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

b.
Gift of BSF, bible, church, story telling, children to lead and teach and a blog with a readership that compares to some of the largest churches

7.
5 Talent: According to his ability – went at once and put money to work, gained 5 more, brought all 10 to master, received praise and shared in joy

2 Talent: Same as 5 – faithful with few, put in charge of many, come and share in master’s happiness

1 Talent: Resentment of master, reap where don’t sow, “afraid”, the 1 take from him, sent out, gnashing of teeth

8.
a.
wicked heart – resentful

b.
repaid for times of hardship with plenty

c.
My past few years in BSF and church – the joy of seeing the bounty in our children

9.
Whoever has will be given more – whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken.  If you value you, you must invest it.

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