BSF Genesis: Week 15, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.

a. She took the position that lack of a child was because of a problem with her. She gave her slave to Abram as a wife

b. 15:4 son who is your own flesh and blood

c. Believed God could give Abram a son. Did not believe His plan was to do that through Sarai, since she had not had children.

4.

a. 16:3-4 Abram took Hagar to be his wife, slept with her and she conceived; 16:4 Hagar despised Sarai; 16:6 Abram disowned Hagar, Sarai mistreated her, she fled; 16:10-12 Lord’s promise to her about Ishmael ch20 Isaac born, Hagar/Ishmael sent away – According to tradition, Ishmael is the father of Islam

b.  Each time that we trust more in our own thoughts and actions and plans rather than rely with patience on God. Each time we rely on what is acceptable as cultural norms, rather than acceptable in God’s eyes. Each time we focus on what is “wrong with me” or “my faults” rather than the power of God.

c.  Stress. I spent twice the amount of time calling on God to bail me out of the mess than I would have spent praying to Him for guidance and timing

My Daily Journal:

I was convicted by Sarai’s self focus and self blame.  So often we think of self focus as “it’s all about me”, egotistical, narcissistic.  But that sword also cuts the other way.  How often when we see problems, especially those being faced by loved ones, do we internalize the blame or cause to be something about us?  If I had been a better __________, then they would not be facing this problem.

Our lesson talked about “unbelief” today in the discussion of Abram and Sarai and their decision to bring Hagar into the picture.  Clearly, there was some “under-belief” in not seeing the full power of God, but I think that stemmed more from focus than heart.  Sarai’s focus became one of what am I doing wrong?  How are my “faults” hindering my loved ones?  And she took action to take herself out of the picture, to stop being the roadblock that she had convinced herself that she was to her husband and to God.

I can relate to that internal dialogue.  The lesson for me is, for better or for worse, it really is not about me.  I am not big enough to be a roadblock to God.  I am not perfect in my thoughts, words and deeds, but I am forgiven and blameless in the eyes of God.  I can do better, but the first thing I need to do is change the focus of my eyes, head and heart from a focus on my faults to a focus on God’s power.

BSF Genesis: Week 13, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
He had 318 trained men that were able to go into battle and he was allied with Mamre, Eshkol and Aner

6.
a.
He fought a battle of righteousness before God. To those on God’s side, it was a pleasant site, to the enemy it was death. His household took a stand, but their armament was God provided

b.
Not the weapons of this world, but weapons of divine power. They battle strongholds of argument and pretense and wrong knowledge and wrong thought

c.
The sword of the Spirit. All else is defensive, but God’s spirit strikes the enemy

7.
It is both a challenge and comfort. I am not equal to the task of bearing the burden for whether a person lives or dies for all eternity. Comforting to know that the scripture recognizes my inadequacy and that it is only by carrying Christ in spirit that it comes to pass.

My Daily Journal:

In the lesson today I changed perspectives and looked at the battle and victory through Lot’s eyes.  At this point, Lot has been chained as a slave in captivity.  He has been marched off from his home, all of his possessions taken away, his family enslaved, he is helpless, with only one hope: Abram.

I can relate to Lot.  I am enslaved by sin.  I fight it off, but by my own strength I have no hope of staying free.  But, also like Lot’s relationship with Abram, I too have I have a family member, a savior who has elected to call me brother, who will pursue me, fight the evil ones that hold me in bondage and set me free.  Like Abram, Christ has an army of trained soldiers at the ready, clothed in the spiritual battlement.  They come, without reservation or condition, to rescue any of us that call on His name.  They do not expect us to free ourselves.  They do not hold back with thoughts that we have received no more than we have earned.  They just come and fight and vanquish.

I understand that I, too, am called to dress in the armor of God.  I am pleased to be called to serve.  But I am even more thankful for all the times in my life that Christ has sent soldiers in, whether fellow christians, angels or the holy spirit, to fight for me and to rescue me.

BSF Genesis: Week 10, Day 2

Today’s Scripture

Questions:

3.
a.
All of man’s needs, wants and desires were provided by God, focused on community – Not good to for man to be alone so God created companionship and community

b.
God’s first words following the fall of man was a promise of the coming of Christ to defeat Satan
4.
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. The ancients were commended for it. Faith in the person of Jesus is the equal to faith and trust in God’s love for His creation from His word for all time

5
a.
Gave first and best. Gave sacrificially. Lord looked on Abel and his offering with favor. Revealed a trust and love of God

b.
Heb 11:5 – By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death

c.
Walk with God daily. Trust in him. Have faith. Give sacrificially (not holding back). Open your heart for God to see (He knows what is in it anyway)

My Daily Journal:

At first I was trying to figure out where BSF was going with the lesson this week.  But I think the overarching point that is being looked at is the character of these great men of the bible that we have studied so far.  Abel and Enoch.  And, most importantly within it, that their character was built squarely on faith.

For me the image that stuck with me came in the last answer.  I’ve prayed many times for an open heart to receive God’s word.  I’ve prayed it for myself, for my kids and family, for my church, for the children in Sunday school and BSF.  And, every time I’ve prayed it I had the image of an open vessel, something to catch what God wanted to pour out on me or them.

That is not a bad image, but I saw a different one today.  Today I thought about the fact that the scriptures say God looked at Abel and his offering.  It isn’t that God just looked at the offering, but first and foremost, he looked at Abel and what the offering was saying about him.  The visual idea that came to me was the image of pulling out my wallet and opening it up wide, allowing whoever is with me to take whatever they choose.  From a monetary standpoint it is saying, here is everything that I have, no secrets, no hidden pockets, full disclosure, you see everything as much or little as there is and I am offering it to you to take freely, please.  When I read that about Abel, that is the image I saw of him with his heart to God.

That’s what Abel and Enoch did.  They opened their hearts to God like that open wallet.  This is all that I have, not bragging, not shame, just full open disclosure in complete trust, eyes closed, no caveats, just trust.

But here is the interesting thing.  God already knows what is in our heart (and wallet for that matter).  So the act of opening it up is for us, not for God.

So why hide it?  Well, shame, lack of trust, wrongful pride, holding back — you name the sin condition.  And how does that work out?  Well Cain held back, that didn’t go so well, and if that isn’t clear enough there is the story about Ananias and Sapphira.

That’s convicting enough for me.  When I now think of opening my heart – I’m planning to open it wide.