09.5 BSF Matthew Week 9, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Pop-Quiz Time for the Apostles.

Let’s review.

They heard the sermon on the mount where Jesus told them not to worry.

They heard Him teach them how to pray.  They also heard the promise that God will answer those prayers.

They heard Him speak with authority, above that of any one in the temple.

They heard Him speak of coming to fulfill prophecy.

They saw His authority over all forms of infirmities and His ability to heal.

They heard Him say to leave your old life behind, don’t rely on what you used to know and do but follow Him first and only.

So, here comes the pop-quiz.  Where should you test a bunch of fishermen?  How about, on a boat?!?

How should the test be conducted?  How about a storm?  Something along the lines of, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat…” (see Matthew 7:25)  What, oh what, would a wise man do???

What did they do?  Pray or panic?  They panicked.  Oh, you of little faith.  C- grade at best!  (get it? “below “c” level”…sorry, bad storm on the sea pun!)

I don’t mean to be hard on the apostles.  How often do we do the same thing?  How often do I?  I hear the words, I understand them and I want to apply them, but when storms come up, I go blank, I rely on myself, I show my “little faith.”

But, like the apostles, Jesus saves me.  And, let’s be clear, this must have been a major storm… these were guys who made their living on the water… they knew a deadly storm.  But, Jesus tells us we don’t need to fear even the deadly storms.

We don’t even need to fear the demon possessed.

I thought it interesting that the demons are aware of their ultimate outcome.  “Did you come to torture us before the appointed time?”  They know what is ahead.  They know who is in control and who is the judge, the administrator of justice.

But how often do we fail the test, too?  Do we put worry about livelihood over faith in eternal life?  Do we put profit concerns over prophecy fulfilled.  What is eternal life and salvation worth?  2000 pigs?  I would hope so.

Finally, when we are called to follow Jesus, we are also appointed a place for that calling.  The demon possessed man wanted to get out of town.  He wanted to start anew.  But Jesus had a special mission field for him and it was in his own backyard.  This may have been the hardest mission field imaginable – but he obeyed.  What an amazing transformation.  From living in the tombs of the dead to being the one inviting others to eternal life!

My Answers:

12.
a.
Jesus was sleeping, he got up and rebuked the storm

b.
Authority over nature

c.
They had heard Him call Himself Lord, they had seen others put their faith in Him – would he then die in a storm?  Did they trust the power of the storm over the power of God

d.
Heart issues – Ezek 36:26

13.
a.
lived in the tombs – so violent that no one could pass that way

b.
The demons identified Jesus for whom He is, the Son of God.  They identified that there was an appointed time at which the demons would be tortured

c.
Asked to come with Jesus but Jeses did not let him and told him to stay and witness

d.
To leave – they loved their livelihood more than their lives.  Swines over Salvation.  Profit over Prophecy Fulfilled.

e.
“keep faith under wraps – it may offend someone and lose a sale”  We don’t want our faith to interfere with our livelihood

06.5 BSF Matthew Week 6, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I don’t think Christians are called to be ignorant pansies that are constantly taken advantage of, bullied and abused.  We are not called to be a doormat for others to simply wipe their feet on.

We are called to follow our mission.  If we are following it fully, if we are truly committed to that mission then it and it alone is critical in everything we do and every decision we make.  When you are a soldier in battle you don’t decide to ignore the mission because you don’t want to get your uniform dirty.  When you are a surgeon with a patient on the table you don’t decide to operate of some other part because it is easier and quicker.  You stick with the mission – it is what it is all about.

Our mission is simple.  We heard it last week.  Be salt and light to the world.  Take the strength and word and light of God and use it to witness, heal, baptize and save.  Period.  That is the mission.

If walking a mile accomplishes that – walk the mile.  If giving up a shirt accomplishes that, give up the shirt.  But, in all of it, stay true to the mission.  If giving someone your shirt does not bring them closer to God, then the mission is not to give shirts – it is to figure out what brings them closer to God.

One of my friends talked about an interaction with a homeless person this week at a coffee shop.  The man asked my friend, “can you help me?” and he gave him a few dollars.  But that weighed heavy on his heart.  There is nothing wrong with giving the money, and God can use that, but what if he had, instead, invited the man to sit down with him and bought him food that they shared together.  How much more could the investment of 10 minutes meant in the mission my brother carried?

I can get so focused on “what is rightfully mine” that I fall back into the trap of justice = revenge or getting even.  But this is based on a mindset of finite resources.  For me to get even I have to take it back from the person who wronged me.  But I am the child of an infinite God and creator.  There is so much more.  God honors that which honors Him!

My Answers:

12.
a.
If your yes is yes and your no is no, then there is no “qualification” to speaking the truth, you just always do.  There is no provision for falsehood

b.
“To be honest with you…”  These words imply that at other times you are not honest or don’t mean it.  Hard to tell when is when and what is what

c.
Know the truth and stick to it.  No “white lies”.

13.
a.
Fear and Concern over being a doormat keeps me out of ministry opportunities and witnessing to others.  I need to keep in mind what is truly important (bringing others to Christ).  If being slapped or giving a shirt or walking a mile helps with that, then, by all means, that is what I should be doing

b.
God will honor that which honors Him.

14.
Gal: walk with the spirt not gratify the desires of the fleshEph: Put off old self and deceitful desires, new in attitude, righteousness and holiness like God
Phil: Obey, work out with God and allow Him to act in my to fulfill His good purpose
Phil: think about: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy

04.2 BSF Matthew Week 4 Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I loved the idea of the Holy Spirit as personal trainer.  Faith is a muscle.  Temptation and testing is nothing but dead weight.  Sure, we need to be careful to not drop it on our foot, but facing and overcoming temptation is a tool to building strength when done with the right discipline and trainer.

We were told last week that the Spirit remained with Jesus.  The spirit worked with and in Jesus to prepare and strengthen Him for His calling, His mission.  His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him.  His refuge was in the Spirit.  He was training, preparing, growing stronger every hour and minute.

Part of any fighter’s training is time in the ring.  A good trainer is a good ring man, with the fighter, in their head, in their corner, coaching, encouraging.  The Spirit did this with Jesus.  For 40 days and nights They (the Trinity) spent time alone in the wilderness in preparation.  As Jesus battled the demands of his human nature and its yearnings to be fed, His spirit grew in strength and fortitude.  When Satan saw Jesus at His weakest, He was strong – not in his own human strength but in the power of the word of God.  Satan didn’t go in the ring with kid gloves, he went in swinging, but there are no new temptations and nothing as powerful as the Word.

The downside of this analogy is that every time I’ve thought about the Spirit of God this week, I keep picturing Mickey from the Rocky movies.

My Answers:

3.
a.
In the wilderness.  Led there by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil

b.
Faith is a muscle, strengthened through proper use.  Temptation is not punishment or even that we have done wrong/strayed, it is just dead weight.

4.
a.
Jesus did not add to or take from God’s word.  He also trusted it whole-heartedly in full obedience to what it says

b.
D. Satan addressed Eve with a question, Jesus with an accusation
D. Eve relied on her own eyes
D. Eve yielded to temptation and sinned
S. Satan spoke
S. Satan was crafty
S. Satan desired sin