25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There will be no extension.  There are no excuses.  The end time will not come until “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt 24:14).  But when it comes, the time has ended.  For some, the time to repent and accept the gift of salvation may have come only moments before.  For some, especially those already in the grave on that day, their opportunity will have passed with their last breath.  But there is a door and it will close.

To some that may seem cruel.  But I am taken by how honoring it really is.  Jesus is honoring the choice we make.  We are given every opportunity to choose wisely.  The bar is so low it is almost ridiculous – accept my gift and love me.  That’s it.  But we have been given free will to choose.  For Jesus to honor that choice is an act of honor and respect.  For those who have made the choice to reject God, their choice is honored for all eternity.  Can you imagine the pain they would feel otherwise, to stand unworthy and unforgiven for all eternity in the presence of the Creator who gave everything out of love?  Or to be forced to accept a gift they chose to reject?  Hell was not created for people – it was created for satan and his angels – but still some choose it over the gift of a loving God.

When the end time comes, when judgment day arrives, it no longer is a choice to recognize and accept Jesus for who He truly is and so it can no longer be free will or love.  When something is so obvious that there is no other possible choice – it is no longer a choice.  When Jesus arrives and is seated on His glorious throne over all the nations – there just aren’t going to be any other viable options other than to recognize Him for who He is.  At that point, it is too late to choose.

But, today, Jesus has already made it so plain and so simple – accept the gift and love me.  Judgment, eternal life, preparation, stewardship, sheep and goats… It is all about Love.  Love is not forced or manipulated.  Love must be freely offered or it is not love, it is just obligation.  Love the Lord your God.  Love your neighbor.  Jesus is that neighbor – when you love your neighbor in Jesus’ name you are loving Jesus.  One of the few places in the bible that we are given a clear definition of WHY God does what He does is in John 3:16:  For God so loved the world…

And the response is so simple.  Any amount of oil would have been honored.  Any return on investment would have been cherished.  Any act of kindness done in His name.  Any lamb DNA at all would have been recognized as a child of the lamb.

None of this is a question of “if”.  The only thing we don’t know is when.  To not take action is utter foolishness, it is living a life of delusion and denial.

My Answers:

13.
a.
they are truly eternal – for ever

b.
10 – bridegroom will arrive and door will shut
21,23 – share in master’s happiness – rewards for faithfulness, put in charge of much
34 – blessed by God, take your inheritance – the kingdom prepared since creation

c.
12 – separation from God – “I don’t know you”30 – thrown outside into the darkness – weeping and gnashing of teeth
41 – depart from me – cursed, eternal fire prepared for devil and his angels

14
a.
There is a time, but it has a fixed ending at which point you are either welcomed or shut out – there are no extensions!  No oil, no ROI, not sheep

b.
His true justice.  His willingness to honor mans’ choices even through the pain it causes Him

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

A call to action.  It is used in advertising and sales.  It is used in motivation and investing.  It is a big part of being a responsible, successful result.  If you want something, if you believe something, then take action – do something.  An idea is nothing.  An idea put into action can change the world.

Faith is no different.  If your faith is alive it is on fire in you.  It cannot be contained or constrained.  It is producing heat and steam and it needs to vent out in service to others and praise to God.  But these works are not done as a tally or score.  They don’t earn points.  They aren’t done out of guilt or obligation.  Truly glorious, honorable works are done out of love for God.

And Christ’s expectation of us is so reasonable.  Note what he says of the goats.  They did NONE of these things.  It isn’t a list of all the things they needed to do.  They did nothing.  They sought only themselves.  They knew of the gift of Jesus, laying down His life, but couldn’t be bothered to offer a drink to someone they considered below themselves.

Might they have fed and given drinks to others?  It is possible, but for what purpose?  Was it to win favor with a higher up, a potential client?  Was it to be seen as a “good person”?  Did they need the tax deduction? Then they had already received their reward.  But the acts done for the love of Christ, those are the acts of one who follows the lamb.

My Answers:

10.
a.
On His glorious throne above all nations

b.
All nations, all people of all time – everyone

11.
a.
gave food when hungry, drink when thirsty, invited in stranger, clothed, cared for when sick, visited in prison

b.
Did no do any of these things

12.
a.
When did we see you…?

b.
Romans: seek glory, honor and immortality (seek God) and will have eternal life – do good
James: faith by itself, not accompanied by action, is dead – don’t earn salvation but true faith demands actions
1John: Jesus laid down life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for others – not love with words but with action

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.

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

The greek word used for lamp in this parable is lampas.  That is important because it isn’t lychnos.  The distinction is that lampas is more of a torch than a candle or desk lamp.  This is the same word used when the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus carrying torches.  It is like the difference between hi-beam headlights and a penlight.  The word that is translated as trimmed their lamps is Kosmeo which means to assemble.

I bring this up because when we think of the virgins with lamps we think of them holding small lamps about the size of their palms, not torches.  We can easily think about someone not having enough oil.

But that is not what the scriptures explain.  Matthew 25 says they brought NO oil.  This would be like someone bringing a lightbulb, a spotlight case, but no battery.  When it came time to assemble the parts, they were blatantly unprepared.

We needn’t worry if we have enough oil.  We don’t need to be concerned if our faith is sufficient or we have enough indwelling of the spirit.  The quantity is not the point.  The fact that we have any is sufficient.  The fact that we cared enough to bring some oil shows our preparation.  Once the torches were prepared, the groom arrived and they were escorted in.

But we need our own oil.  We will not receive salvation and forgiveness because we have christian friends or belong to a christian organization.  We don’t get a pass because our parents or spouse was a believer.  When the our comes, we will have either cared enough to prepare ourselves or we will have missed the time.  After that it will be too late.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
All remained virgins, all invited, all showed up, all brought torches and wicks

b.
people who call themselves christians, wise were filled with spirit and the word, foolish were “in name only”

4.
a.
Matt 7: avoid broad gate, enter the narrow gate to life even though only few will find it
Matt 7: build on solid foundation
Matt 24: don’t be deceived by false messiahs, keep watch, be ready
John 1: Receive Him and become children of God
1 Thes: Live in light, don’t be afraid
1 Thes, May god sanctify you – be kept blameless

b.
John 3: cannot enter heaven unless born of water and spirit, flesh to flesh but spirit to spirit
Rom 8: If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ
Eph 1: Marked with a seal, the promise of the H/S, deposit guaranteeing inheritance

5.
The spirit testifies for us, Christ knows His sheep and they know Him – have no concern of being “shut out” – I know His voice and follow