05.5 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

These 4 verses could be an entire lesson on their own.  They have been the topic of many a sermon and we could go in lots of directions in discussing them.

We take them for granted today.  Salt is so plentiful we use it by the truckload on our streets.  Light is as easy as flipping a switch.  But that has not always been the case.  Salt was so difficult to mine and so important for food preservation that wars have been fought over it and soldiers were paid with it (our word salary comes from the word salt).  Light was fire which required fuel.

But one of the critical elements is salt and light are simple concepts.  This is direction for the common man.  This is accessible to all of us.  This isn’t a breast plate of jewels, an ephod or tassles.  This is salt and light.  This is stuff everyone uses every day.

And that is part of the message.  This is for every day, not just days of special events or festivals.  This is a daily walk, a daily meal, a daily task.

But it is also not only for us.  In my lesson, I am using the illustration of a lighthouse.  Picture you are a lighthouse operator.  Shining your light attracts bugs (persecution) and it takes energy and effort to keep it burning.  It is tempting to give it a rest – to turn it off every now and then.  But you have no idea what ships at sea are seeing your light and navigating their path through your light.  In the same way, we often don’t see or even know how our reflection of the gospel in our lives is influencing others.  So, which day is the critical day to shine your light?  Every single day!

If we are salt – how can we be salt in the world?  How do we get out of the salt shaker?  The important thing to keep in mind is that we are not called to do this on our own.  We are just salt.  But Christ is the Master Chef.  It is by putting ourselves in His hands that we are used to perfection as a flavoring to the world. Not too much, not too little, just perfectly.  It is by being at His command and use that we preserve and purify.  When He reaches for the salt, we should be at hand and ready.  We should be pure and not diluted.  When He calls your name the correct response is “here I am.”

My Answers:

As a preservative, payment, purifier and flavor enhancer

By staying pure and true to God’s calling.  By not becoming diluted, but showing the good news of the gospel message in words and acts.

Work with children through church in teaching about new bibles, Sunday School, passover/Easter teaching with kids, BSF

It is the difference between being on the bench and being in the game.  It is the difference of sitting in the dark and being in the hands of the master cook.

Light is life, it overcomes darkness, it lights a path, it is a warning, it shows the way home, it warms and comforts, it provides a necessary element to work

Protecting eyes.  Allowing light that is in us to shine to others (not hidden)

transformation through submission.  We are reshaped/remade into

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven

To show me how I’m hiding the light He has given me and giving me the opportunity and courage to let it shine.


05.4 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I am a firm believer in the art of management by catching people doing things right.  I believe that recognizes and rewarding the positives is far more valuable than a constant focus of the opposite.

A few years ago I was a children’s leader for level 2 which would be 3rd and 4th graders.  I had brought stickers and while my co-leader was given the lecture/lesson I was wondering through the children.  As I saw kid’s focused and paying attention I very quietly leaned over and gave them a sticker for their nametag and a quick “thank you for paying such great attention.”

I was doing this and one little guy noticed and immediately stopped shuffling around and started paying attention to my co-leader.  After a few moments I gave him a sticker.  Almost immediately after which he went back to being distracted and a bit of a distraction to others.  Instead of addressing him, I continued what I was doing and soon gave a young lady sitting next to him a second sticker with another thank you because she was continuing to stay focused.  The little boy immediately snapped his face up and me and said, “wait… we can get more than one?”

I think we often approach the rewards of God the same way.  We are saved and confident of our place in heaven so we can go back to the distractions of this world.  But God’s rewards are infinite and not limited to “just one.”

Do you think you will receive God’s reward should not be a yes/no question.  How much treasure do you want to store up in heaven to be able to lay at the feet of the One who gave it all to you?  How trusted do you want to be?  How much do you want to stand in fellowship with the saints and prophets?

My Answers:

5:12 Rejoice & be glad heaven reward same as prophets

6:3 Do not seek return on acts from men, lose heavenly reward

6:22 Hatred of men, exclusion & insult, rewarded in heaven b/c doing right

19:11 Trustworthy in little things, rewarded with great things

3:8 according to own labor

3:23 according to dilligence

10:35 Confident in heavenly reward

11:6 Faith alone is pleasing to God

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This isn’t a black/white, on/off.  I am trustworthy, but could be more trustworthy, I’m confident, but could be moreso, I have faith and every day that I read and pray and spend time with God, it grows

05.3 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 3

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

We live upside down lives in an upside down and inside out world.  In so many ways our ways and thoughts are different that God’s.  We think of the bible message as standing the world on its head, but it is the opposite, we are already inverted and pointed the wrong direction from birth – the good news is that God wants to right things and put us back on solid footing.

Few places is this more evident than in the beatitudes.  To demonstrate this, let’s look at each of them in reverse:

Do you want to receive the kingdom of heaven?  Then be poor in spirit.  Don’t hoard it, spend it, pour it out, it is not a collector’s item, it is seed to be planted and tended.

You want to be comforted?  Then mourn.  Come along side the sick, weak, poor, suffering.  Open your heart and compassion and mourn with them.

You want to inherit the earth, to be great among men?  Then be meek.  Serve don’t be served.  Humble yourself.

Do you want to be filled?  Then fast.  Go hungry and thirsty for the sake of righteousness.  Pass on the junk-food of this world for the amazing banquet of the Almighty.

Do you want to be shown mercy? Be merciful

Do you want to see God?  Purify your heart.  (Growing up we would recite Psalm 51:10-12 as part of confession prior to taking communion.)

Do you want to be called a child of God?  Then seek peace (not just the absence of war as in a stalemate or negotiated truce, but actual and lasting peace).  Be a peacemaker not a warrior or diplomat.

Do you really want the kingdom of heaven?  Then put yourself out there in this world for righteousness sake, with the knowledge that you are going to be persecuted.  Be bold.  Do not be ashamed of the gospel.

But all of this was and is the opposite of our thinking.  We think to receive the kingdom of heaven we need to lock ourselves away in study.  Self assurance makes a good leader, not meekness.  We look to avoid mourning and hunger.  We believe in the survival of the strongest; show no mercy; climbing the ladder no matter who gets stepped on.  Peace?  A strong offense is the best defense.

In other words, our ways are not God’s ways.  Our thinking is not God’s thinking.  And, FYI:  Ours is wrong.

My Answers:

The beatitudes are upside down/opposite to man’s thinking: Is 55:19 My ways higher than your, my thoughts that yours, 1 Cor 2:13 not the words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Ghost teaches, 1 Cor 3:19 the wisdom of the world is foolishnes with God 1 Cor 1:18 the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us it is the power of God

Strong, Content, Proud, Unrighteous, Unmerciful, Stronghearted (self-sufficient), Warriors, Persecutor

Meek, pure in heart, peacemaker – Gives me calling to serve and great joy in that service

05.2 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

I loved that the description of these that BSF used was “Eight Characteristics of True Christians.”  Let me contrast that with the description “situation.”

As humans we blame situations and “stuff” a lot.  Stuff happens.  Bad karma (cringe!).  That’s life.  People mourn because something bad has happened.  People are meek because they lack power or strength.  People go hungry because of poverty or strife.

But in this sermon, these are situations or events or s**t that happens.  These are choices.  The one who is poor in spirit is the one who pours out their spirit, spending it for the benefit of others.  The one who mourns is the one who cares and comes along side those in trouble and need.  The one who is meek is the one who willingly lays down their power and bragging rights for the opportunity to lift up others.  The one who hungers and thirst for righteousness puts righteousness above even the most basic level on our human hierarchy of needs. Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemaker – all choices.  Persecuted because of Righteousness is the choice we share with the prophets of old, to stand on the Word of God even knowing the human hardship it will bring.

This isn’t a list of “bad things happen to people but God makes everything right in the end”.  This is a list of characteristics.  This is a list of choices.  It is Christ describing His mission and what he is calling His followers to do in kind.  We don’t need to ask WWJD – here’s the playbook.

My Answers:

To receive something special, a gift.  To have some who looks after you and does good for you, as in a benefactor.  To be able to help or care for others with a willing and joyful heart

One whose own spirit is spent, depleted or who recognizes their own spirit as insufficient

Sad or broken hearted.  To be moved by loss or grievance to the point ot pain.  To recognize ones own grievances as such.

Humble, not boasting, not proud for owns sake

One who is permeated by the desire for righteousness: emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically

To put others before self.  To seek good for others over gain for self.

Pure in Heart:Committed to God and God alone.  To trust only in Him

Peace with God through reconciliation, to be ambassadors to others on His behalf and to not discriminate in that work.

One who is true to righteousness to point of suffering to maintain that position

Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

They are interlinked.  For me it is to hunger and thirst more for righteousness – there is so much wickedness surrounding us you begin to accept it as the way of the world instead of recognizing it as unrighteousness and offensive to God.