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

About these ads

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

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

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.

24 BSF Matthew Week 24, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal

The tipping point.  Like when water is cooling and it reaches 32F/0C.  Everything changes.  Like when the maximum weight a bridge can carry is exceeded. Everything changes.  So it will be.

As christians living in a fallen world, we see a study decline around us.  Today the gospel, the good news, is still being preached.  Today missionaries are reaching out to people across the world and here at home who have never had the opportunity to truly hear and understand the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ.  But while that is going on, we also see an increasing moral decline.  We see blatant sin becoming not only the norm but something people celebrate and endorse.  We see a slow slide.

But Jesus explains it will only be a slow slide to a point, and then it will tip.  There will be a tipping point, an abomination that causes desolation.  A time when the last vestige of hope for a better existence on this world is extinguished.

The bible is filled with “do not fears.”  Over an over again in both new and old testaments believers are told “do not be afraid.”  But when that event occurs that tips the boat, Jesus tells all those still in Judea to get out, don’t look back, don’t return.  As in the days of Lot, but this time instead of a redeeming storm on a sinful city, the storm is one of increased sin and dread.

New and expectant mothers always hope for a better life for their children, but in those days, that hope is gone.

But even within this time of dread, God has not given up or relinquished control.  And as bad as things will get, the time will be cut short by the triumphant return of the promised one.  There will be no mistaking the real deal, no need to seek Him out in a room or in the wilderness.  When Christ comes again every one know.

My Answers:

6.
a.
‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel

b.
flee to the mountains, do not return

c.
Daniel, Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11

7.
a.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

b.
Because they will be cut short for the sake of the elect

21 BSF Matthew Week 21, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

It is often helpful to put ourselves into the biblical story.  By immersing ourselves into character, we not only get a deeper sense of the message but we are better able to see how we should apply the truth and change our daily walk.

In the story of the land owner and workers found in Matthew 20, our first inclination is to put ourselves in the position of the worker and Jesus as the land owner.

But, let’s take a different view point.  What if you take on the character of the landowner.  This isn’t a stretch.  Romans 8 says we are heirs with Christ.  Jesus himself refers to his followers as stewards.  What if we are the stewards of this land?  What is the message to us?

I see several:

1. Be relentless in calling others into the harvest.  Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  How much of that is because we aren’t repeatedly showing up to find people waiting to be called?

2. Give each worker a full measure of God’s word and grace.  Some of the workers were doing a lot of different things with their life before they were convicted to show up at the street corner.  How often do we tend to hold that against them?  The landowner gave the first workers a full measure.  He did not give the later workers any less.

3. Don’t negotiate.  The bible says what the bible says.  How often are we tempted to water it down to fit the views and opinions of others.  We fall into a trap of the world’s view of “fair”.  God is just and He doesn’t hold back His grace.

4. Expect persecution but watch for the joy.  What did the landowner hear about when he passed out the wages?  Did he hear the joy of those called late in the day?  Maybe a little, but it was mostly drowned out by the grumbles of those called early.  It is easy to focus on the grumbling, the persecutions in life, so much so that we sometimes miss the joy.

My Answers:

7.
a.
Eternal life is the denarius – but it isn’t earned nor is more earned by longer work or greater deeds

b.
He calls the workers.  He has the work and the pay.  He provides grace and love and complete reward

c.
They have an entitlement attitude.  They judge themselves based on other men (not a sign of humility) and find themselves more deserving then are upset at rewards given to those who have worked less

d.
At any point I am called to work it is a blessing – Thankful for the reward I am given, not jealous or self-righteous, but be humble

e.
That He would work so hard to call us to work – He doesn’t need us, we need Him, but He pursues us over and over again.

21 BSF Matthew Week 21, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Blindness:

I recently finished reading the book Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young.  Many of you may know Young as the author of The Shack.

One of the things the book reminded me of is that God is always present.  When we don’t see God it isn’t because God isn’t there, God is everywhere, OmniPresent.  Instead it is because our vision is veiled by our own sin.

The past few weeks lessons have been lessons in what it means to be a Christ Follower.  We are called to be humble, unselfish, compassionate and serving others.  The opposites of those, prideful, selfish, uncaring and either self-serving or desiring to be served by others are all too “natural” characteristics in a fallen world.  Each of these things in our lives is like a blindfold causing us to fail to see God in His full presence and glory.

In my divisions I included the story of the 2 blind men in this section because I think the whole message of the entrance into Jerusalem was about Jesus coming to heal the blind and lame.

The blindfolds of blindness have different characteristics in the story.  Some are physically blind, but clearly see the character of Jesus.  Some see Jesus triumphant entry into the city, but are blind to His real mission and message of salvation,  Some see Him healing others but refuse to accept they themselves are blind.

Notice in both situations of Jesus healing physical blindness, there was another component.  In the temple He healed the blind and lame.  See, seeing is not enough, it is just the first part.  Getting up and following Him is the only proper response to having the blindfolds removed.

How is sin clouding your vision of God?  Are you asking for your blindness to be removed?  If you have seen the light, are you still lying on your mat?

My Answers:

11.
a.
Jesus wouldn’t steal, so it must have been arranged.  It wasn’t just that Jesus knew the owner, but that the owner knew Jesus!

b.
A very large crowd

c.
Pharisees Luke 19:39

d.
Zach 9:9 – See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Psalm 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

13.
a.
House of prayer

b.
John: Destroy temple and raise it up in 3 days
1 Cor: Bodies are temple of H/S
Eph 2: In him the whole building is raised, body of Christ = the church

c.
forgives sin, purifies us of all unrighteousness, thoroughly washed and renewed through Holy Spirit

20 BSF Matthew Week 20, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What does a christian look like?  When we think about it, our immediate thoughts turn to outward appearances and probably someone who looks a lot like us.

But Jesus looks at the heart.  A Christ-Follower is someone who has given their heart over to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

A christian may be male or female.  A christian may be married or single.  If someone is single, they don’t have to marry to be a christian nor does marrying make them more of a christian.  God is in control.  Being married is a gift.  But being single is also a gift.  They are different gifts, but one is not better than the other (OK, the Apostle Paul had a bias for being single, but you understand my point).  Both are gifts.  The key is to use the gift for the glory of God.

The same is true of age.  A christian may be young or old.  There is no minimum age for asking Jesus into your life.  Young christians (I’m talking age not maturity of faith) are amazing examples of unconditional love, both giving and receiving.  I am very proud to call these children, brothers and sisters in Christ.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Intimacy is a part of marriage.  Some can’t.  Some choose to forgo it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Those who can should accept it

b.
He saw a life of celibacy as a gift from God.  But for those who don’t have this gift to remain celibate/chaste, they should marry and for those who marry they should live as a married couple, sharing in intimacy with each other.

9.
a.
1 john 2:15-17… for all that is in the world, lust of flesh, eyes, pride of life, is not of the Father.  Rom 12:2, Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

b.
By demonstrating the love I have for my wife and model the respect and appreciation I have for her in ways that others can see

10.
a.
For Him to pray for them and for Him to place his hands on them

b.
They may have felt He had more important matters to attend.  They were operating as gatekeepers, only allowing through those “worthy” of an appointment

c.
Failure to acknowledge them as faithful followers, brothers and sisters.  Failure to address them at their level.  Failure to pray for them and bless them.  Failure to be humble.

d.
Be on their level and welcome them.  Encourage them.  Not talk down to them.  Show them the love of Christ – take time for them!

 

19 BSF Matthew Week 19, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I spend a lot of time with children and they are not always humble.  I see plenty of kids acting out to get attention.  I see many children who are very focused on themselves.  I see children who have no issue being disruptive if it brings them joy or raises their social standing.  I don’t read today’s verses with rose colored glasses.  And, I don’t think acting childish is what the Lord is trying to tell us.

But there are also some traits I see in the children I work with that I think are at the root of today’s scriptures.

The first is love.  Children are amazing at giving and accepting love.  They make friends without hesitation.  They show kindness and compassion for those around them.  I think this is in part because they readily accept love as well.  They don’t question the love of their parents and family and plug into that to have joy with others.

The second is innocence and acceptance.  I am constantly amazed at the conviction these young believers have.  Not because they have a depth of knowledge and study to prove something, but simply because they accept it as the truth.  They know that God loves them because He does, not because they read 16 commentaries that help them work it out in their head.

I don’t think it is an accident that these verses come directly on the heels of the encounter with the father of the demon possessed son whom the disciples could not heal.  I think this is the answer to his prayer to Jesus, “help me with my unbelief.”

The answer to that prayer is not going to come from some outside sign or proof or miracle (even though all of those things are present).  The answer to the prayer is to just accept belief as fact.  To be totally open to it, not because it is the only thing left standing after exhaustive examination (which it would be), but because it comes from God.  To a child this is easy.  Jesus loves me, this I know…

As maturing christians we sometimes make things so complicated.  We hold on to our doubts until they are proven wrong.  But, Jesus teaches us to simply let them go.  It is called faith and belief for a reason.

My Answers:

3.
a.
become like little children

b.
Matt: blessed: poor in spirit: kingdom of heaven, those who mourn: be comforted
John 1: those who receive him, believe, become children of God (born of God)
John 3: must be born again (nicodemus) born of water and spirit, flesh to flesh, spirit birth to spirit

4.
a.
Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all

b.
Humility and repentance

5.
a.
Not proud or concerned with “great matters”, Hidden things from wise and learned and revealed them to children, “My dear children, I write this to you…”   Those entering the faith – those seeking to believe and grow in Christ, humble

b.
Those who serve, those who pray, those who put others first, teachers, preachers, missionaries, the little children – I can teach, I can pray and I can humble myself to not rely on my own knowledge or skill but to rely fully on the Holy Spirit.  To be bold and step forward in the ways God is calling me that brings glory to him not gain for me.

c.
Jesus

18 BSF Matthew Week 18, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I am always amazed at the way that God chooses to provide for our needs.  This story of the sheckle and the fish is amazing in that regard.  First, let’s look at some other ways this could have happened:

1. Jesus could have used a coin from the money the apostles had.  It probably wasn’t much money, but we know from other scriptures that Judas was the keeper of their coins.

2. Peter could have been sent out fishing and harvested a number of fish to be sold for the money.

3. A coin could have appeared in Peter’s or Jesus’ hand or pocket.

I believe the way it did happen reveals much about God’s provision.

1. He does not take away from our work and focus on His ministry to answer our prayers.  Our God is not a God of limited resources, where one side of the ledger is debited for the other to be credited.  He provides out of His riches and plenty, not in a rob Peter to pay Paul fashion.

2. We are called to work, but God’s exceptional provision for our lives and His majesty is not wages for our work.  We, like Peter, have to cast the line into the water.  We have to take the step of faith and be a part, but we are not earning our provision.

3. God does not do magic tricks. Could the creator of everything, the one who multiplied the baskets of fish and bread, simply made a coin appear or adjusted the ledger to make it appear the payment was made?  Of course.  But that normally is not His approach.  He can heal with a touch or a word, but He more often provides healing more in keeping with this event.

I think one of the key messages is that God provided for this far in advance of our awareness of the need.  At some point God provided a coin to someone at the lake.  At some point that coin was dropped.  At some point a type of fish became native to that lake which gathers pebbles into its mouth to dig a safe breeding spot for its young.  At some point a fish was born who, at some point, gathered the coin into its mouth.  At some point that fish proceeded to the area where Peter cast his hook and, without dropping the coin, bit the hook and was reeled in.

More often than not, my experience of miracles in my life resemble this.  Far before I knew I would have the need, God set things in motion to provide for that need.  It is only by looking back, that I see the way He had been working for days, weeks, months and years, to bring what I needed, exactly in the portion needed, to me exactly when I needed it.

What comfort this should bring us.  When we pray to God, we aren’t asking Him to leap into action.  We aren’t asking Him to perform some magic.  We simply need to ask Him to show us where to cast the line to reel in the miracle that He started far before we asked.

 

My Answers:

12.
a.
The transfiguration.  The words and image of Moses and Elijah on the mountain

b.
they were filled with grief  -  they understood and accepted that He would die

c.
They were filled with grief – they did not understand and accept that He will be raised back to life on the 3rd day

13.
a.
Annual census tax.  1/2 sheckle = 2 drachma = “ransom for his life”

b.
His willingness to pay the price for life as a Jew, even though He was above the law (the son of the King) and He would give up His own life to pay the ransom for ours that we could not pay