11.05 BSF Matthew Week 11, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I was listening to a story on the radio this week about a pastor who was in hot water with the church because he intentionally disobeyed specific church doctrine by performing a same-sex marriage ceremony between his son and another man through his office in the church.

His justification was to quote Matthew 22:39b, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

His interpretation, and the one that is commonly used of that verse, is that it means we all just need to get along and let everyone have their own way and believe whatever they want to believe.  Compromise.  Coexist.

Jesus did state the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.  And, we are, undoubtedly, called to demonstrate that love.  But, if a person is in grave and eternal danger, it is not love to encourage them to stay on that path.  If a sheep has gone astray, the shepherd does not simply encourage them to have a good journey and support them in their self-professed sheep freedom.  The good shepherd tries to rescue them.

Matthew 10:34 states it clearly in Jesus’ own words, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Ephesians 6:17 calls the sword, “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”

I believe in a God of love and compassion.  I believe in eternal peace with Him.  I also believe in the truth that there is something called sin and whether we want our acts to be considered sin or not is not up to us, it is up to the word of God.

I am not stating this to judge or to be judgmental.  But I think that cafeteria christians, who pick and choose which verses they like as if the bible were a buffet line, are like false teachers and shepherds who are not caring for their sheep.

The love for Jesus and His Word and His Spirit and His Truth must come above all other love.  Above love for neighbor.  Above love for mother and father.  Above love for self.  The truth is divisive.  You must pick a side.  Do you chose truth or compromise?  Do you choose to follow the one true God, or just coexist?

Hebrews 4:12 states it well: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

My Answers:

11.
a.
Acknowledge Him before others.  Love Christ above all (family, peace) Take up cross and follow Him.

b.
Be a prophet so those who welcome me will be blessed.  Be a righteous person so those who receive me will receive the reward or righteousness

12.
a.
Christ came for truth not compromise.  People with free choice will choose and some will choose unwisely.  Those who do, those of this world (sin and death) will hate those not of this world (light and life), but never more than they hate Jesus

b.
The church is twisted by those who seek to use Jesus words for their agenda not His.  They pick and choose the message they want, ignoring truth to justify their sin

13.
Understand the cost – do not begin if cannot commit all – Jesus requires all.  You cannot continue your old life and old ways and be a new life and follower of Christ – that is a lie

14.
welcomes you, welcomes me, welcomes the own who sent me.  Do unto the least is the path to truly give unto God.

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11.04 BSF Matthew Week 11, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal

My wife has enrolled this semester in a college class.  She is taking it to develop her own skills so that she, in turn, can help coach and develop those skills in our children.  I love and admire not only her passion for learning, but also her willingness and diligence to serve our family.

At this point, her class is well into the semester.  There are a few students who are working very hard in the class.  They show up every class period.  They complete the assignments with their best efforts.  They do the homework, ask questions, stay after for extra work and coaching.  There are also others who are not.  These students skip class repeatedly or show up late or leave early.  They habitually turn in assignments late or not at all and spend their class time distracted and doing other things.

Given the cost of the college course, this at first amazed my wife.  Then she learned that some of the students were on grant programs so they did not have to pay for the class.

I’m not raising this as a commentary about grants or welfare programs.  But, simply, the recognition that when you have paid a significant cost you are dedicated and invested in the journey.

Jesus tells us that there will be costs that we will have to pay to follow Him.  Let’s be clear, Jesus is God and with a word, He could remove all of those costs.  It is not because He does not have the power.

Jesus wants more than our hands or voice.  He wants our hearts.  He doesn’t want a worker who runs away at the first sign of danger, He wants shepherds who follow in His image.

Think of the most powerful testimonies you have heard.  They don’t come from believers with perfect, care-free lives.  They come from believers who have experienced pain and hardship.  They come from people who have survived events that they could not possibly survive by their own strength.

Acts 5:41: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

My Answers:

8.
a.
handed over, flogged, witness to gentiles, arrest, brother betray brother to death, father child, hated because of Me.
Acts 12:1-2 James martyred, Acts 7 Stephen martyred

b.
After resurrection and ascension

c.
Even unto the second coming, there will still be Jews (God’s chosen people) who do not truly know and/or have heard the good news of Jesus Christ

9.
a.
handed over, flogged, witness to gentiles, arrest, brother betray brother to death, father child, hated because of Me

b.
Internationally, everywhere – families torn apart when members deny the power of the Lord

c.
Even those who persecute the church are not beyond the reach of the Spirit of God (Saul/Paul martyrdom of Stephen)

10.
a.
26. nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  28. kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Nothing outside of Father’s care. Hairs of head are all numbered!

b.
all revealed on judgment day, life hidden in death but revealed in resurrection, light to the house not hidden, more to say that you can now bear to hear

c.
life is only hidden in death, not over – looking forward to reunion with loved ones in Christ who have died.

11.03 BSF Matthew Week 11, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

In Matt 10:16, Jesus is telling those He is calling into the mission field, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

What does it mean to be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves?

Shrewd means having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute.  It is awareness, perspective.

A snake has an amazing ability to perceive, particularly using their tongue.  When a snake flicks out its tongue it is catching chemical particles.  Very similar, but even more sensitive to the way we smell things.  When they draw back in their tongue, these particles are processed through the Jacobson’s organ to give the animal incredible awareness to their environment.  Because their tongue is forked, it even has the ability to overlay direction onto this perception providing the equivalent of a 3-D image of the minute smells and chemical properties around them.

Jesus tells His followers to be aware, to take in information about those around them, to see things from their perspective and listen and relate to them at that level.

Paul personified this in 1 Cor 9:20-22: To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

But Jesus also admonishes His followers to not become soiled in this endeavor.  It is one thing to be able to see and understand the sin and fallen nature of those we are to help bring to Christ, but it is another to sin along side them.  Touch them, heal them, help them.  See their perspective and be aware of the opportunities, but stay innocent and pure.

Jesus also called us to shake off the dust.  This is hard.  I don’t think I’m alone in my fault of reliving failures over and over again.  It think it is this fear, the fear of carrying this baggage around with us for years, that keeps some of us from being more bold with the spreading of the gospel.  In other words, it isn’t the fear of being rejected, it is the fear of having to live with that rejection and relive it over and over again in our mind.  But Jesus has a simple answer for this.  Shake it off.  It isn’t your dirt.  It isn’t your fault.  It doesn’t have anything to do with me or you.  There are no “what if’s” to carry around.  Those we talk with have the same free will that we do.  If they decide to accept the gift then they are our brothers and sisters.  If they decide not to, then that is their choice and their decision.  It is their dirt – shake it off.

My Answers:

5.
a.
to the lost sheep of Israel, not to the Gentiles or any town of the Samaritans

b.
Jhn: We worship what we know, salvation is from the Jews
Matt:Go, make disciples of all nationsActs:power… Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth
Rom:Not ashamed… 1st Jew then Gentile – does not show favoritism

6.
a.
Proclaim Kingdom of Heaven has come near, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse leprosy, drive out demons, do not take payment, no provisions, if not welcome, walk away

b.
Freely you have received, freely give

c.
challenged by family to be more generous, pray more, teach more, evangelize, love, lead, heal

d.
all believers, all who accept the call, all who accept the power

7.
a.
be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves

b.
It is not about me, ever.  It is all and only about Him.  I am only using His power and authority, not mine.  I am a witness, held accountable for my witness, not sales with a quota

11.02 BSF Matthew Week 11, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I think the harvest field is such a beautiful and fitting image of the calling of Christians.  When we plant crops, we turn them over to God.  He is the only one who can make something grow.  To take it from a seed to a plant producing fruit and seeds.  He provides the soil.  He provides the nutrients.  He provides the rain and sunshine.  There is work to be done, including the work of bringing in the harvest, but, as we learn this week, He even provides for that.  He doesn’t say go and hire people or go and beg people or go and threaten people or go and scare/guilt people into the work.  He says to pray and God will provide.

We often forget this and begin to think we (you and I) need to get busy making plans and recruiting.  We need to get out there and polish our sales pitch.  God does call us to get out of our “holy huddle”, but it also makes it abundantly clear that the workers, the work, the power, the authority and even the harvest all are from and for Him alone.  Anything we allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking comes from our own power is an insult to the One from whom the true power and authority belongs.

My Answers:

3.
a.
It is His nature.  They were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd

b.
Ps: The Lord is my shepherd
Is: We all like sheep (Lord laid on Him the iniquity of all) He bore our sins
Je: lost sheep, scattered flock, led astray by shepherds, wandering
Ez: cared for self rather than flock, I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable
Jo: I am the good shepherd, not a hired hand

c.
Those in churches which do not follow scripture, everyone believe what they want, not the truth of God

4.
a.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers

b.
authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness

c.
Authority of truth of His word.  Power:  the hope, the riches, His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1)