03.3 BSF Matthew: Week 3, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

My son has recently collected my father-in-law’s faceting equipment with the hope and plan of learning how to cut gemstones.  The process of cutting gemstones really does not involve any “cutting”.  It is much more a process of careful a careful and precise grinding down with finer and finer grits to the point of polishing.

On a microscopic (or at least magnified) view, a rough stone consists entirely of valleys and mountains and rough places.  In the grandness of the universe the scale of our actual mountains is not much different.

Through confession we acknowledge the roughness in our own life.  Through repentance, we allow the work of our Master to grind that roughness away and wash it out of our life.  It is this repeated process African Garnetof confession and repentance – acknowledgement, submission and work of a changed outlook and structure, through which we are transformed.

The beauty in a perfectly faceted gemstone is not the stone itself.  It is the fact that each side and each angle is polished to a perfectly smooth and reflective surface so the light that enters is magnified and reflected back.  In the same way, the work of confession and repentance transforms us into a reflection of the master stone cutter.

My Answers:

4.
a.
Parents both of priestly line, Father served in temple, observed all commands and were blameless, prayed, prophesized by Angel that John would be a Nazarite.  His parents were also obedient (naming him John).  Sent as the prophet to turn hearts

b.
I grew up in a Christian household centered in service.  My mom spent countless time in the nursery carrying for the “smallest of these”  My dad taught bible study, served on councils and committees and always attended and gave joyfully

5.
a.
He called people to repent and change – to live a just life.  He extolled them not to rely on their birthright but to be servants to God.  He rebuked any, including Herod, and was locked in prison

b.
Do not rely on history, be fruitful today.  Be generous and compassionate.  Be fair and honest.  Be just and content.

6.
a.
Baptized with water for repentance, confession of sins, salvation from coming wrath

b.
Confess: to acknowledge wrong deeds, not just mistakes, but insults to God because of disobedience

Repent: to commit to change and living a new/different life

7.
a.
Confession and repentance are are equalizers of people, we all sin and rely on God’s saving work.  Works glorifying to God (charity and honesty and justice and contentment) remove human hierarchies

b.
At times I see myself as more than I am.  At other times my self view is lower than what God sees in me.  I’m a rough stone.  But as God smooths my rough edges through confession and repentance and His grace, I become polished and reflective.

Photo credit: Richard W. Wise, G.G.
Author:  Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur’s Guide To Precious Gemstones

03.2 BSF Matthew: Week 3, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Perfect Practice.  There is an old saying that practice makes perfect.  But as any coach or personal trainer will tell you, this is not true.  Practicing the wrong golf swing over and over and over again will not make that a perfect golf swing, it will just make you really comfortable with doing it incorrectly.  Practicing playing a piece on the piano with the wrong note over and over makes you really good at playing the wrong note.  It takes perfect practice to lead to perfect.

Perfect practice isn’t exciting.  It doesn’t have lots of conflict or drama.  It is the daily drill and practice of the Armed Forces.  It is the miles trekked by a cross-country runner.  It is hard work.  It is discipline.  But it isn’t much to write about.

This is the life Jesus led.  Every day he faced temptation; temptations that are faced at every age and stage of life.  He was not hidden away, he lived with family, he attended feasts, he interacted with others.  But He did it all without sin.

Jesus’ perfect practice was a practice of perfection.

My Answers:

3.
a.
He grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and grace.  He knew His Father and did His work.  He was obedient, grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man

b.
i. perfected through suffering, made high priest to Abraham’s kids
ii. High priest, tempted in every way, yet did not sin
iii. prayed: cries and tears.  Obedient in suffering, perfect, source

c.
He is not a distant, unattached being – He was fully human, a son of Abraham, who was tempted, but did not yield to sin.  His death was not the payment of His sin, it was for ours – Fully obedient to pay the price of disobedience

d.
He was a child, a son, a man.  He had the wisdom and spirit of God, but he had the body fully of a man, suffering temptation, pain, tears,  separation, but always obedient.

02.5 BSF Matthew: Week 2, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I looked up the word, refuge.  I had thought of a refuge as a physical structure – some sort of stronghold or fort.  But that is incorrect.  According to the definition, a refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.  It is a condition, a state of being.

So, who needs a refuge?  By definition, a refugee needs a refuge.  A refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of origin or habitual residence because they have suffered (or fear) persecution.

In 1 Peter 1:17, this is what we are called to be: “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”

Do I live as a refugee?  Do I seek refuge from the One who can provide it in this upside down world?  Do I call on the Most High to be my refuge and my strength or do I bend to conform to this world?

My Answers:

10.
a.
They put their trust and obedience fully in God.  Through that they were saved from death, protected, did not fear the terror of night.  They loved the Father and His (their) Son and were rescued

b.
1. dwells in the shelter of the Most High, 2. says: He is my refuge… in whom I trust 9. if you say the Lord is my refuge,  14, Because you love the Lord, he will rescue you and protect you, for you acknowledge his name.

c.
Everything I have comes from the Lord.  Every opportunity, every person in my life.  Why would I rely on my power in comparison to God’s?  Martin Luther said, God created the world out of nothing; so as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us.

11.
a.
Wisemen (Magi) watched for, saw and obeyed to worship, God honored and aided their obedience through the non-obedient, Pay attention to dreams from God – worked for Magi, worked for Joseph (go to Egypt), worked again for Joseph (go to Israel), and again (don’t go to Judea)

b.
I think God gave me life after surgery not because I had been obedient to Him, but because He had plans for me to become so.  2 weeks before my surgery I started in BSF and it was the first thing I returned to.  I have stayed every year since.

02.4 BSF Matthew: Week 2, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I was convicted by the obedience that Mary and Joseph demonstrated as parents.  There is an interested contrast in Adam and Eve and Joseph and Mary.  We see disobedience in the first leading to the fall of man, the first sin wasn’t an accident, it was an intentional act of disobedience of the one rule given in the garden.  But time and again we see the man and woman entrusted with the responsibility of raising the infant Son of the Living God with act after act of obedience.  Joseph gets direction in a dream and he obeys, even getting up in the middle of the night rousting his wife and child and setting off to a distant and foreign land.

We think about demonstrating strength and leadership as parents of our children.  We want to provide for them, educate them, lead them, help them.  None of these are bad or wrong, but listen to these inspired words in Matthew about the man and woman God chose for His only Son.  He doesn’t talk about any of those things – He talks about obedience.

I was also challenged with the question about Nathanael and his views of Nazareth.  (In the process of researching this I found this website about why people looked down on Nazareth) Like him, I am filled with preconceived notions about people.  These are prejudices, but not in the way we often use the word.  I clearly, however, pay more attention to a well dressed and monetarily successful, highly educated leader than I do to someone on the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum.  God reminds us it is the heart that counts – not what we can see on the outside, but what He puts on the inside, that really matters.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Angel said – he obeyed.  Joseph and Mary both demonstrate amazing obedience.  A lack of obedience afflicted Adam and Eve (1st parents), but Mary and Joseph model obedience as parents of the holy One.

b.
Herod’s son, Archelaus,  was now ruler.  Having been warned in a dream he withdrew to Galilee, Nazareth

9.
a.
Differences between Northerners and Southerners.  Race, dialect, prejudices, etc.  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/08/17/7-differences-between-galilee-and-judea-in-the-time-of-jesus/

b.
God turned everything upside down.  All our prejudices and ideas about how “we would do things” – He did the opposite.

c.
Beings of might and power, in human thought, do not sacrifice that, even unto death, for those without any power and might.  There is nothing in it for them.  But God loved the world.  Love is not human ration – it is divine.

02.3 BSF Matthew: Week 2, Day 3

Today’ Scripture

My Daily Journal:

I’ve often thought about the gifts the Magi presented to the Christ child.  I would think about how they presented these very expensive gifts not to receive anything in return – how could they, He was but a child.  While all of that is true, it isn’t the main thing.

I realized in this, they could have stayed home and sent gifts if it was about the gifts.  It wasn’t.  The gifts were nothing but an outward sign.  The important thing was showing up with a worshipful mindset.

This is what God did.  This is what we should do.  God planned this time from the beginning of the world, from the fall of man forward all prophecy pointed to this event.  But he didn’t send in a savior, He showed up and did it himself for His own glory.

Where do I need to show up and be fully present?  Where am I distracted and thinking about other worries, instead of trusting and obeying the one in control.  What am I holding on to instead of being fully present and engaged?

God was all in (fully man/fully God) – why should I think I should do any less than be fully present in serving and worshiping Him?

My Answers:

5.
a.
Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth at the threshing floor, Married and bore Obed, grandfather to David who was annointed by Samuel in Bethlehem

b.
Hosea 11:1 – out of Egypt I called my son
Jerimiah 31:15 weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more

6.
a.
Jews and Leaders, Romans, all plotted to kill Jesus and eventually did: Matthew 4:6; Luke 13:34; John 8:59; John 10:31; Matthew 12:14; Matthew 26:4; Mark 3:6; Mark 11:18; Mark 14:1; Luke 13:31; Luke 19:47; John 5:18; John 7:1; John 7:25; John 8:37; John 8:40

b.
Many have been persecuted and killed for their faith and work to lead others to Christ.  While in America, we suffer little persecutaion, in other countries people are threatened, persecuted and killed for loving Jesus

c.
My children have experienced more than I have in public school and particularly from teachers (often those in authority).  I feel we are all bombarded with temptation and the world.  Television is so distracting – Our family removed ours and have turned off cable TV all together.  It doesn’t bring glory to God!

7.
a.
To earnestly seek Him, regardless of cost.  To trust in God and study and follow His teaching and signs.  To listen to Him over any others.  When we do this we are rewarded with personal time with our Lord – an amazing gift.

b.

Today’ Scripture

My Daily Journal:

My Answers:

5.
a.
Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth at the threshing floor, Married and bore Obed, grandfather to David who was annointed by Samuel in Bethlehem

b.
Hosea 11:1 – out of Egypt I called my son
Jerimiah 31:15 weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more

6.
a.
Jews and Leaders, Romans, all plotted to kill Jesus and eventually did: Matthew 4:6; Luke 13:34; John 8:59; John 10:31; Matthew 12:14; Matthew 26:4; Mark 3:6; Mark 11:18; Mark 14:1; Luke 13:31; Luke 19:47; John 5:18; John 7:1; John 7:25; John 8:37; John 8:40

b.
Many have been persecuted and killed for their faith and work to lead others to Christ.  While in America, we suffer little persecutaion, in other countries people are threatened, persecuted and killed for loving Jesus

c.
My children have experienced more than I have in public school and particularly from teachers (often those in authority).  I feel we are all bombarded with temptation and the world.  Television is so distracting – Our family removed ours and have turned off cable TV all together.  It doesn’t bring glory to God!

7.
a.
To earnestly seek Him, regardless of cost.  To trust in God and study and follow His teaching and signs.  To listen to Him over any others.  When we do this we are rewarded with personal time with our Lord – an amazing gift.

b.
To be purposeful in prayer and study.

02.2 BSF Matthew: Lesson 2, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Imagine the shock the Magi must have experienced.  They came from afar to worship the newly born King of the Jews.  They came to the logical place, the seat of power for the Jewish nation, to the royal palace – this is where you would expect the long awaited King to be, right?  But instead they found – disturbed people!  Why wasn’t everyone worshiping this King?  They knew who the Magi were talking about.  Herod himself called together the priests and teachers and asked them “where the Messiah was to be born.”  He knew exactly who the Magi sought.

You would think after all these years of anticipation they would be falling over themselves to meet and worship the Messiah.  But that would have meant letting go of their anticipation.  They were comfortable in anticipation.  They understood it.  They had built entire structures and positions around it.  It was ingrained in their lives, meals, even their calendar.  The messiah showing up would mess all that up!

How we do the same!  We know the love God has for us and the calling He has on our life, but we are comfortable.  We pray for comfort and peace.  For the easy and comfortable path.  God calls us to be bold, to obey no matter what, and to trust that he not only has our back, but also our front and top and sides, inside and out.  But it is hard to let go.

I am praying this year for boldness and obedience.  I don’t know what God has in mind, but I know it is bigger and better than anything I can imagine.  I know there will be “Herod’s” along the way, but God is bigger.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Jesus (born), Magi (came to Jerusalem, asked, saw star, came to worship), Herod (disturbed), All Jerusalem (with Herod), Chief priest & teachers (knew promise of Messiah), Herod (secretive, found exact time of star, sent Magi to Bethlehem, ordered to report back to him, lied)

b.
Jesus is as He always was.  Some who are wise actively seek Him to show honor and praise.  Some, particularly those with power, seek only their own preservation of power, some who are followers, blindly follow the leaders.  Wise men seek the one true Lord.

c.
I am a wise man because I have heard and seen the calling of my Lord and God.  I was lost and blind and I still stumble and fall (way too often).  But, I “get up” and seek to be obedient in honoring my God

4.
a.
Origins from old, from ancient times

b.
come from Judah, from Bethlehem

c.
Ruler over Israel

01.5 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 5

Today’s Scripture

My Journal

Honor and obedience.

We live in a culture that is so dishonorable and so disobedient that I don’t think we fully have a grasp of the situation and times of Mary and Joseph.

In their day and culture, honor was everything.  There was no corporate names to hide behind, no “spin”, no SBA loans or Government Backed loans.  Who you were and what your name stood equated to your ability to earn a living.  Without honor, you had no credit in the community.  Without credit and trust in the community you had no income, no food, no shelter, no life.

When Mary turned up pregnant, Joseph was within rights to have her publicly humiliated, even to have her stoned.  But being a righteous man he thought to divorce her quietly, so hopefully she could have some sort of life.  The thought of marrying her would have been unthinkable.

But, then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph.  And what does he do?  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded.  period.  No prenups, no discussion, nothing – he just obeyed.

Doing what I or those around me thinks is the right or best thing to do does not require obedience.  Joseph’s obedience was tested in a way we have a hard time imagining.  Again, he didn’t do it with his own will or might.  He didn’t do it with his own thought.  He just did it (sorry, Nike).

What if we woke each day with the obedience in mind to do what the Lord commands of us this day?  What could God do with me with that?

As I look back, the times of greatest joy have not been when I have gotten my way, but when I trusted and followed God into areas of obedience that I did not think I was “the right person” to do or that I didn’t have strengths or skillsets or sometimes even desire to do.  But waking up and doing what God commands is a really powerful and joyful trip!

My Answers

9.
a.
i. He will crush your head and you will strike His heel
ii. Sceptor will not depart from Judah nor ruler’s staff from between his feet
iii. You are my son, today I have become your father
iv. Sign: virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel
v. For to us a child is born…

b. Matt 1: 23 = Isaiah 7:14

10.
a.vs 24: When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded

b. Accepting call to be a Children’s Leader in BSF.  I did not have a passion for babysitting other’s children and thought I would be better with adults, but accepted the calling God had for me.  The blessings have been amazing!!

11.
a. This was huge – honor was everything in the community.  This was life or death for Mary.

b. They alone gained the honor of loving and caring for the Christ child and living with God every day.  Not since Adam and Eve had there been such intimacy with the Lord

c. Submission to take risks for the Lord always yields amazing rewards.  Disobedience never does.

01.4 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 4

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

“I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”  What if we each prayed that prayer every day?  What if that was a guiding statement for our to do lists?  What if that was our heart’s true desire each day?

Such a simple statement.  But so challenging to live out by our own strength.  This is not how the world lives.  It is not how our neighbors or co-workers or fellow students live.  It is not how media tells us to live.  Frankly, we can’t live this way on our own strength – it is not in our human nature.

But it is in God’s power – and all we have to do is what Mary did, submit with our words and our hearts.  And then, what joy and what blessing.  Mary allowed God to use her fully as a completely empty vessel, laying down her own desires to be in charge of her own life and taking on a willingness to fully serve.  And what did God do, he filled her in a way that is completely unimaginable.  He gave her a gift not given to any other, ever.

“I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”

My Answers:

7.
a. do not be afraid, you have found favor with God, Conceive and give birth to a son, call him Jesus, 1. He will be great, 2. will be called the Son of the Most High, 3. Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 4. He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever, 5. His kingdom will never end.

b. Spirit of God.  Spirit of God is God, the creator, spirit gives birth to the spirit

8.
a. I am the Lord’s servant.  May your word be fulfilled.”  Submission, acceptance, serving spirit.

b. My place is not to second guess or argue with God’s direction, despite how much I don’t understand it or feel that I am the right vessel.  I need to accept and serve Him

01.3 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 3

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal

In church this past week we sang the song called “Meet with Me” that spoke to me as I did today’s study.  There is a line in the song that says, “What a joy it would be just for a moment to lay at the feet of the Lord.  Just to look deep in the face of the King who gave all, gave everything just to meet with me.”

That is what we are talking about when we talk about the name God gave for His Son.  Unlike Moses, we are not called to hide in the cleft of the mountain to catch a glimpse of God.  God presented Himself, through grace, in the form of a newborn child, completely dependent upon the love of His parents.  God chose to meet with us, by coming down to our level because we could not rise to His.

Not only that, but He did not come to give orders and edicts.  He did not come to rule with power and might.  He did not come to conquer.  (although He could have done all of those and would have been within full rights to have done so).  Instead, He came to save.  He came to pay the price that we cannot pay.

The wages we earn are death.  Only the perfect Son of Man could pay the restitution required to buy us out of bondage.

What a joy it will be to sit at the feet of the One… not for a moment, but for all eternity!

My Answers:

5.
a. Immanuel (23): God with Us, Jesus (21, 25) = Joshua= The Lord saves

b. Song “Meet with Me” What a joy it would be just for a moment to lay at the feet of the Lord.  Just to look deep in the face of the King who gave all, gave everything just to meet with me,  Call to love, honor and respect?

6.
a.
i. God did not send Son to condemn but to save the world
ii. If you do not believe that I am he you will die in your sins
iii. Good Shepherd, other sheep, one flock, one shepherd
iv. Salvation found in no one else, no other name to be saved
v. If believe Jesus is Lord, save
vi. by grace saved, made alive even when dead in transgression

b.+: Coast Guard, lost at sea, willingness to risk all to save, willingness to sacrifice life and resources.  -: my need for a savior, the fact that I put myself in a position of needing to be saved by my own recklessness and sin

01.2 BSF Matthew: Week 1, Day 2

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

People often talk about the legacy they want to leave behind.  But I don’t think we are called to a legacy. I think that is too self centered and too much wanting what is left behind to be about us.  Instead, I believe we are called to be a witness.

Everyone in America knows the line that witnesses are sworn in by: do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?  Put a capital T on truth and that is supposed to be the life of a Christian – that is supposed to be my life.  Not to be perfect.  Not to be without sin or fault.  Not to walk some higher path of being better than others.  Instead, we are called to be a mirror shining the light through our testimony to those who do not yet know the Truth and to be a faithful voice backing those who do.

What is the Truth?  That God so loved the world (not just the jews, not just select few) that He gave His only Son to die for us, for my sins and yours, to pay the price through grace to redeem us back into unity with Him.

The genealogy in these first lines of Matthew outlines that God fulfills His promise of a King, but even more so, it shows and reminds us of how God has worked through very broken people (like you and me) who were willing to do one very important thing – turn their lives into being a witness of their faith in Him.

My Answers:

3.
a.
i. Er’s wife, him died, tricked Judah to father,  “more righteous than I”
ii. Prostitute, hid Jewish spies in promised land, oath of salvation, scarlet cord
iii. your people my people your God my God, Married Boaz Kinsman Redeemer
iv. Bathsheba, adultry with David, 1st died, mom of Solmn
v. Virgin, blessed among women

b. It is factual.  God created male and female (gen 1:27) and has a love for all (John 3:16), Jesus is fully human (not from a lineage of perfect people, male or female), Genealogy includes gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth)

c.All of them, but I have a heart for Ruth – She demonstrated such love and faithfulness to Naomi and God.  Ruth 1:16 Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.

d. While we are all called to live out our faith as a witness, my recent times have been calls to strengthen other believers.  I had a business lunch that evolved into a deep reinforcing discussion about living faith in the workplace this week.

4.
a. Abraham: Gen 22:18 all nations blessed through your see, Heb 2:16 took not nature of anges but the seed of Abrham Gal 3:16 Jesus is the one seed.  David: Isaiah 11 Branch from root of Jesse, 2 Samuel 7:12-14 set up seed, establish kingdom

b. 1. To Jews it was a pre-req.  Without proper genealogy, there was no basis for messiah. 2. for all, it emphasizes that God’s plan has never changed or altered course – From fall of man He planned to send His Son as the Savior.