13.5 BSF Matthew Week 13, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There was a beauty in the interpretation of the “field” in this parable.  In one part, it clearly was an individual, their own personal heart/faith.  In another it was the church or body of all believers, producing a harvest together.  We may think of this as a duality, a use of the same illustration for two different purposes.  But I don’t think that is accurate.

Instead, I think it reflects how Jesus views us.  We are simultaneously individuals and the collective body.  We are personal and unified.  We are one and many.  We are a heart and body.  Just as Jesus is a man, He is also unified with the Father and Holy Spirit as God.

And then the lesson within it.  We fixate.  We see one stain and we can’t let it go, we see one weed and we can’t wait to yank it out.  But it isn’t our job.  God has it covered.  He knows exactly what to do and when to do it.  We do not need to concern ourselves with pointing out every wrong in others to weed them out.  We need to sow more seeds and produce more fruit.  It has always been this way, it always will.

The church is full of sinners.  My life is still filled with rocks and weeds and I trip and fall.  God doesn’t require purity for admission, He requires admission of Himself into our hearts so that He can create purity in them.  Psalm 51: create in me a clean heart!

My Answers:

12.
a.
Son of Man – The devil

b.
The Sons of the Kingdom

c.
the world

d.
The sons of the evil one

e.
The end of the age

f.
Angels

13.
a.
Deceitful – conniving

b.
While pulling the weeds you uproot the wheat with them – let both grow together til the harvest

c.
those who wish to bring harm to Christianity populate themselves within the midst of the church

14.
The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father

13.4 BSF Matthew Week 13, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

How do you get a callous?

You don’t get callouses on your hands from laziness or avoiding use.  You don’t get callouses on your hands from wearing well-fitting protective gloves.  You get callouses from friction, wear, pressure and irritation.

They didn’t get a calloused heart because they refused to give their heart to Jesus.  They had a calloused heart because they had already given their heart, many different times, over and over again to things that did not fit and they only caused friction, pressure and irritation in their life.

This is as true today.  A calloused heart today doesn’t start with a rejection of God. Normally, it starts with joining of your heart to the wrong things: idols such as self, money, fame, power.  It isn’t that people aren’t asking and seeking, it is that they are too quick (impatient/disobedient) and give their heart promiscuously to every and anything that promises (lies) to provide peace, contentment and fulfillment.  They are busy calling evil good and good evil, they lose the ability to discern light from darkness.  As the country song put it, “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

When I renewed the license for my car I received a sticker and it provided instructions to apply on a clean, dry surface.  The problem was not that Jesus did not offer them a permit, a nametag, a license for a mansion in heaven.  The problem was that they no longer had any clean surfaces left on their heart and they refused, out of their callousness, to yoke themselves to Jesus and allow Him to work with them to clean even one small area of their hard heart.

The Word of God is powerful.  If Jesus had not elected to cloak his message in parables, the power of the truth would have been too powerful and even the most calloused hearted would have bent to their knees.  You can only stand so close to the fire and continue to deny the heat.  But Jesus did not desire to brute force them into believing.  God has always given man free will to accept a gift that makes no sense to reject, but that is the true message of real love.

My Answers:

9.
a.
Though seeing they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand

b.
Many, who were not His disciples, had come for entertainment but did not repent, change or follow Him

c.
16. but blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

d.
Many prophets and righteous people longed to see/hear what they/I see/hear

10.
whoever has, given more; does not, taken – careful: with measure you use it measured to you

11.
a.
this people’s heart has become calloused, Is 5:20, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness

b.
Try to make their evil acceptable and called good, even though it is still evil

13.3 BSF Matthew Week 13, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Thinking and praying about the question regarding “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” set me back on my heels today (no praying pun intended).

I realized that while there are worries and elements of seeking “more” that related to desires I have for security and to be able to provide better/more for my family, there was also a strong element within it for the desire to be more generous.  I realized that part of the reason I wanted to receive more was to be able to give more.  And, while, on first blush that may not sound like a bad thing, I realized that I wanted to give more without it impacting my way of life.

As I read and study the bible, I realize I have that backward.  Being obedient and faithful in small things leads to being able to be the same with more.  But, shouldn’t we take the first step in the water out of faith, not only after God has parted the water?

I think the net message to me was that God doesn’t want more monetary generosity from me.  He wants more of me.  If my idea is to give more without giving more of me, my weeds and thorns grow in direct proportion to the crops.  My field is in no better shape and I am no closer to God.  But if I give more of myself each day to God, then then confidence in Him is returned which kills the weeds and thorns in the field of my life.

My Answers:

7.
Through lies – spreading confusing messages and mistruths, spreading a philosophy of self-indulgence

8.
a.
What is enough?  self imposed pressure to “succeed/provide”.  The desire to be more generous without it impacting my life.

b.
Where is my heart? (Matt 6:21)
Who am I turning to? (Prov 3:5-6)

c.
My heart is good soil, prepared well by the work of the Holy Spirit, but I’ve allowed the enemy to plan many weeds and thorns which interfere with the production of fruit

13.2 BSF Matthew Week 13, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I got caught up in Matthew 13:23 today.  “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

There are three responses we are called to make:

  1. Hear
  2. Understand
  3. Produce

But responses to what?  This took me back to Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

  1. Ask
  2. Seek
  3. Knock

I thought it was interesting how these parallel each other.  When we ask, our required response is to hear.  When we seek, our required action is to understand and when we knock on the door and it is open, our job is not done – we are called to produce fruit.

But how often are we like the religious leaders of this time.  They asked lots of questions.  Every week of our study we see then asking more challenging questions, but they did not hear – they already made up their mind.  In the same way, we cry out to God for direction, for a sign, for His intervention in our lives, but then we don’t read the book He gave us and we fight His calling if it doesn’t match our wants and desires.

The religious leaders sought wisdom, they sought approval from God by obeying His laws (and additional ones), they sought a Messiah, but when all of this was in their face, they didn’t understand.  Their mind and hearts were closed off.  How often do we do the same – asking God to answer a prayer, but only in a specific way that suits our thinking about what is best?

Finally, the shepherds of the time were more interested in beating their flocks into submission than in producing fruit.  When the door is open to help bring someone closer to the Lord, do we step through and do the hard work required?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Earthly story with a heavenly meaning

b.
Yes, Matt 11:25 – Jesus praised God “because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

c.
The word of God (Luke)  The good news of salvation, the origin of faith

4.
These phrases are in Luke only:
were coming to Jesus from town after town,
His disciples asked him
The knowledge of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.”
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

5.
a.
He, Jesus, is the farmer (or more appropriately, the seed company – the producer of the seed)

b.
path; hears does not understand (devil snatches away); rocky ground: hears, receives w/joy, no root, at trouble fall away; thorns: hears, worry and wickedness choke it; good soil: hears, understnd, produce

6.
14: If you love me, keep my commands (love/obedience)
15: I am the voice; you are the branches, remain in me, bear fruit (God’s strength)
5: Peter & apostles, “we must obey God rather than human beings” (obedience)
2: work out salvation w/fear/trembling, God who works in you: His good purposes (by God/for God)