17 BSF Matthew Week 17, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

The crowd can (and often is) wrong.  Many of us have a bias to popular opinion.  The majority rules.  The individual people has a say in the direction of things.

I believe this comes not so much in the faith of the populace, but in a lack of faith and trust in tyrannical rulers.  But, in the same way that we can yield too much to power in the hands of a few, we can also yield too much power to the many.

There is a growing trend in churches to want to be “culturally relevant.”  We need to be more accepting.  We need to open the church up to a dialogue and allow people to shape what works for them.  We need to be accepting of popular opinion.

But that is not how Christianity works.  Jesus tells Peter, you didn’t get your statement of faith from a book or from listening to the crowd.  You got your faith from God.  That is where faith in Jesus comes from.  “No one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus Christ is a rock, not a willow tree.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He doesn’t yield to who people want Him to be or who they would like for Him to be, He is who He is: The Messiah, The Son of the living God.

Emphasis is on the word “the”.  There is only one Messiah, there is only one Son, there is only one living God.  Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  Again.,  THE.  The only way, the only truth, the only life.  There are no other paths.

Some may look at that and say, “how arrogant.  Every other path is wrong and Jesus is the only way?”  It is not a boast.  It is a fact.  If there is only one path, shouldn’t we tell people that are heading the wrong direction.  That isn’t condemning them.  It  isn’t judging them or putting them down.  It isn’t excluding them.  It is trying to love them and save them.

Don’t pay attention to my words.  I could be wrong.  Don’t pay attention to the words of our culture, to popular opinion.  It is normally wrong. Pay attention to what the bible says.  It is never wrong.

 

My Answers:

4.
a.
Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah

b.
the Messiah, the Son of the living God

c.
Both

d.
Yes – affects everything

5.
a.
by my Father in heaven

b.
John: children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God
1 Cor 2: not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words
1:Cor 12: no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

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BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
Hand on neck of enemies, brothers praise you, relatives bow down, Lion, scepter will not depart, ruler’s staff…until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, whom all nations will honor

6.
a.
all bow to him, victorious against his prey, holds the scepter and ruler’s staff for they belong to him, from the line of Judah,  the one whom all nations will honor

b.
1 Cr 15:54, Death has been swallowed up in victory; Rom 6:9 Death no longer has mastery over him; Luke 22:69 The Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God; Heb 1:2 by His Son whom he appointed heir of all things; Heb 1:8 about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter…, Matt 27:18 Christ was dressed in a crimson robe (crimson would be the color of a robe died in the blood of grapes, it was also the color representing sin, e.g., the crimson sash hung outside the window by Rahab.)

c.
He is victorious over death so I need not fear the grave.  He is at the right hand of God and holds the scepter of heaven, so I can trust in His rule.

7.
His region was beside the sea of Galilee and included Capernaum.  Many gentiles (ships) lived there and were saved (safe harbor)

8.
The tribe of Issachar were to be farmers.  We know from the time of Adam that farming would be hard work and toil, but we know also from Eccles 3:12-13 that toil is a gift from God.  God encourages us to work and do good hard work which yields benefits to us now and eternally

9.
Samson – Judges 13-18 – killed many Philistines who ruled over Israel at the time

My Daily Journal:

Many of us know the story of Samson and his incredible strength when the spirit would come upon him in strength.  But as I reread the story I was struck by his parents.

Manoah, who was from the tribe of Dan, lived in the land unjustly ruled by the Philistines.  The Israelites had been turned over to the Philistines because of their sin.  Manoah was married to a woman who was childless.  The angel of the Lord came to her and told her she would give birth to a son who would be a Nazirite and he will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

The part that came next is what really struck me in relation to our lesson this week.  In Judges 13:18, “Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.””

In our scripture this week Jacob has assembled and is speaking truth about the future to his sons, including many things they either don’t understand or, in some instances, things they don’t want to hear.  This made me think about what I should do if God delivered news about my future to me.  What if he told me something about my health, my finances, my children, my church?  Should I worry about it?  Should I jump into action? Should I just take the news and do nothing? Should I use my own intellect to “figure things out”?

But, the example we learn from Manoah is the right response.  Given revelation about the future, my first step should be to drop to my knees and humbly pray to God to come into my life and teach me how to do what He wants with this revelation.  To teach me how to honor Him and be true in my work in the future to His calling for my life.

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Lecture

We established at our beginning of the study of Genesis that the bible is God’s Word put in place as the means that God reveals Himself to us so that we can have a right relationship with Him, one of love, respect, worship and praise, comfort, peace and joy, eternally.

One of the things I thought about this week, that our teaching leader mentioned in his lecture, was the point that the development of my relationship with God is different than developing any other relationship on this earth.  Normally, when we are entering into a new relationship, whether work, friend, neighbor, romantic, or casual, there is an gradual revealing that occurs as each party learns about the other and each party opens up to tell about themselves.  But with God, He already knows everything there is to know about us and He has put everything about Him down in writing.  The depth of my relationship with God is directly tied to my dedication in increasing my knowledge of Him and moving closer to His unmoving rock of salvation.

In Genesis 1, we see this.  Last week we looked at this chapter and focused on better understanding “who” God is.  This week our focus shifts to “what” God did: He created everything.

So, again, let’s start at the beginning where God is in the beginning.  God’s first action into his new creation is to speak.  He said let there be light and there was light.  We could camp out right here and discuss the awesome power of God’s word.  We could talk about this intrinsic and everlasting light that goes on like a ray coming from the Trinity to shine for ever more.  And, with the richness of Genesis, if you are ever struggling for something to ponder and pray, pick any one verse in Genesis 1 and use it to see God’s glory and power.

God first divides the waters below and above and then He gathers the sea.  I love this visual image of how God’s voice could stretch out like arms across a table and draw in the waters of the sea to make dry ground.  And then God brings life to the planet.

He brings vegetation, plants, trees, to grow and bear fruit, each according to their kind.  And it was good.

He then speaks the sun, moon and stars into existence.  These are the vessels that hold the light that He created on day 1.

When I think of all of this, it reminds me of how parents-to-be prepare the nursery and their home for an expectant baby to arrive.  They paint the room, they prepare the furniture and bedding, they even put in a night light.  How much more so our heavenly Father, and the moon is a pretty amazing nightlight!

In your language about the nursery God prepared for us, do your comments express gratefulness or do they convey an attitude of a whiny child complaining about the heat or cold?  Do you reach out to your heavenly Father for comfort and joy or are you busy throwing a temper tantrum?

But let’s go a little deeper in looking at some of the days of creation in this chapter.  God didn’t just create these things but He actually gave them purpose.  Look at vs 11 and 12.  God didn’t just make plants, but he made plants to bear seeds and fruit.  In 14 and 15 He didn’t just make the lights in the sky, but He made them to be signs to mark sacred times and days and years.  In 20-23 He made creatures of the sea and sky and specifically blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth, each according to its kind.  Same for the land animals, each according to its kind.

God created not only objects, but He endowed them with both purpose and order.  That word “according” is an interesting one.  It reminds me of “a chord”, a musical harmony.  When man thinks of nature, particularly its origins, our minds see chaos and battle, survival of the fittest, struggle for life.  But in God’s design there is harmony, order and purpose.

In your day, are you striving to find God’s harmony, order and purpose or are you viewing it as a fight, dog-eat-dog battle?  How does your approach influence your outcome?  If all creation is a harmonious melody that sings praise to Him, are you putting in practice time for the musical every day?  As a challenge, look at the ways that God uses animals throughout the scriptures to reveal Himself to mankind (colt for palm sunday, dove, the fish for the multitudes, Jonah’s whale, Balaam’s donkey, just to name a few.)  They are more prevalent than we realize when we look for them.

Then, the 6th day.  God, the trinity, made man in His image, in His likeness.  God made us male and female.  He provided for us with food to eat and He gave us purpose and direction, one to preserve and maintain order.  He delegated rule to us as only a ruler could do.  He gave plants and fruit to us as only the owner of the fields of harvest could do.

Interesting that God gives us two specific tasks.  The first shows our kinship with all other living creatures of the earth, to be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth.  The second shows our kinship with the Almighty, to subdue the earth and rule over every living creature.  And, as we will study in the weeks to come, how we have done pretty good at the first directive, but almost immediately failed in the second when we let the ways of the earth and the temptations present rule over us instead of the other way around.

But, we will also learn that the game isn’t over.  Like a reset button in a video game, those of us who have accepted the saving work of Jesus Christ have the ability to start over.  When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and He will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Just like a reset button, we get a “do over” button through confession to God that lets us start executing our order, harmony and purpose all over again.  And each time we stumble and fall, His spirit helps move in us and with us, transforming us back into His image and likeness until the day we stand before Him for all eternity in the harmony and unity of heaven.

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8. a. God said, lvng creatures in water, let birds fly, accdng kinds, blessed them and said be fruitful, incrs in #, fill / land wild/lvstock

b. According to its kind. Created sea creatures then flying then land animals. Not sea which changed into land changed into flying, Each created uniquely.

9. a. The light of salvation and the spirit, the spring of living water. What I try to fill it with too often though is busy work and stress.

b. Drawn to the beauty and depth of His word to the truth that it contains and to the peace that comes from trusting and relying on Him. Also that all creation is good as God desires it to be, it is our sinful perceptions which turn it dark.

c. Increased prayer, reduced stress, increased trust, reduced calculation, increased view of God’s power, reduced view of worry for times of trial and tribulation either in my life or others. I’m sad they are going through it but no doubt of God’s strength.

My Daily Journal:

I like the discussion of the fulness of God.  Life is this incredible gift from God given to His creation.  It amazes how it obedient the creation has been in fulfilling His blessing and command.  There are few places on the planet where life does not exist.

I think it is also important to understand that God created each according to their kind.  This scripture has been misused to justify discrimination and racism.  I like to look at it more from the beauty that it communicates.  When I see all the different forms of life on this planet, in the sea, in the air, on the land, including humans, I can recognize that none are an accident, none a mistake, none better or worse than any other because all of each kind are of the same kind.