21 BSF Matthew Week 21, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal

How do others know you are a christian?

Is it the cross you wear?  Is it the fish sticker on your car?  Is it the bible you carry around?  Is it that you go to church on Sunday or that you hold office in the church?  Is it because of what you don’t do?

Mrs. Zebedee wanted others to know that her sons were fully aligned to Jesus.  We can be critical of her, but think about that for a moment.  Is that such a bad thing?

But when we raise ourselves or other humans up, we inadvertently lower Jesus down from His righteous place.  For James and John to sit at Jesus left and right would have filled up the seats at both sides.  But Jesus is seated at God the Father’s right hand.

So, how do we demonstrate that we have given our lives to the Lord?  By following His example and serving others.  John 13:35 says it best: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

My Answers:

8.
a.
Delivered over to the chief priests and teachers of the law, condemn to death, hand over to gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified and on the third day he will be raised to life

b.
They still did not understand the kingdom He would oversee and what it meant to rule there

c.
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

9.
a.
The cup of judgment, poured out on the wicked of the earth; The cup of righteous wrath against sin;

b.
He came to serve, to give His life as ransom; The Father’s will; To bear our sins

c.
James was martyred; John imprisoned and then died a prisoner on the island of Patmos because of the word of God

d.
The cup of His blood shed for our forgiveness

10.
Proclaim Christ boldly.  Receive His blessing to Follow Him.

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 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There is an old joke:

There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.

An angel hears his plea and appears to him. “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.

The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.

Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”

But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”

St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?!!!”
(thanks to ahajokes.com)

I thought it was so fitting that Jesus used the analogy of a camel.  A camel is a beast of burden.  But we don’t recognize that the things we carry around with us are truly burdens in the economy of heaven and the things we can see as burdens are true joy.  Wealth, prestige, pride, are all burdens that we can’t take with us.  They are not going to fit through the portal of the grave, the eye of the needle.  But the things I find myself grumbling about having the discipline to do every day, like praying, studying the word, testifying to others, teaching, leading, investing time in worship – these all carry through and bring everlasting joy.

My Answers:

3.
a.
People with wealth have a very difficult time putting God first in their lives.  There is so much energy required to maintain and build wealth.  Anything we are unwilling to give up is something we value more than God.

b.
Nothing is impossible for God – no matter how hard hearted, while it may seem impossible for them to change – don’t give up on God

4.
a.
100 times as much

b.
Eternal Life

5.
a.
homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions

b.
Rom: children=heirs with Christ, if share in suffering also share in His glory
2 Tim: Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus will be persecuted
1 Pete 2: Blessing is in unjust suffering, undeserved but endured for God
1 Pete 4: do not be surprise by “fiery ordeal”, rejoice in sufferings so overjoyed in His glory

6.
Through the joy of communing with other believers.  Through the work He gives us to do, such as bringing others to Christ.  Through the blessings of prayer, study, teaching, leading, worship

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