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

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.

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.

BSF Matthew: Opening Night

My Daily Journal:

What an amazing night we had last night with the first and second graders!  These kids are so inspiring in their willingness to shout out the name Jesus, to confess their unwavering belief in Him as their personal savior and friend.  As part of the first night we passed out the questions and each child completed the first day including the question related to what they learned about the bible.  One little guy wrote, “Gses did 4 me” (Jesus died for me).

One of the things I love about spending time in bible study with young believers is that they don’t waste time and worry, they simply believe the word of God.  That was also something I really loved about the notes this week.  One of the ways the evil one attempts to cast doubt is to raise the question of whether the bible, particularly the New Testament, is reliable.  We see this teaching in organizations such as the Latter Day Saints or in popular fiction writers such as Dan Brown; an argument that the writings in the bible have been corrupted.  When we look at the world and see how mankind has corrupted everything else, it can cast doubt.  But God didn’t recite the bible word for word, he inspired 40 people to write it and He has inspired others to translate it.  God is alive and active.  God is the same and He is true and He uses human translators to give us His Holy Word in our language so we can learn about Him and use His Word to guide our life.  He does this with translators the same way He did with the original writers.  If God can use a man to write it with truth and accuracy, He can use another man to translate it in the exact same way.

I am really excited about the new format and tone of the notes this year.  I love the reference out to other books and materials (e.g., Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell).  I cut out the “Outline of Matthew’s Gospel” presented in the notes and laminated it and I’m keeping it in my bible this year as we go through the study.  If you are not in a study and getting the notes, it is really an important addition – the notes are good!

Getting Excited for Matthew

I am really excited to begin our study of Matthew this year.

I had a great summer and participated in a 10 week Precept In and Out study on Revelation Part 1 which covered the letters to the churches.  It was a great study and I’m both excited and nervous about studying the Book of Revelation in BSF in a couple of years.

There are so many new great things in BSF this year.  We had our first leaders’ meeting last weekend and I left very fired up in the spirit.  I don’t want to take away the thunder from your group so I’m trying to keep quiet on the changes, but there is one I have to praise: memory verses.  I’m a children’s leader and in the lower levels we really emphasis putting God’s word in your heart and memory each week.  Every week we have a specific memory verse that ties to our lesson and we spend the last 15 minutes of the night going over fun ways, such as songs, rhythms, pictures, and hand motions to memorize the verse and its address in scripture.  Starting with the new format of Matthew not only is a weekly memory verse front and center in the children’s lesson, but it is now also printed on everyone’s lesson!  I think this is such a great addition and I’m challenging everyone to take 15 minutes in your week and just memorize it.  At the end you will have 30 verses tucked away in your head and heart and you will be amazed at how often you use them in your daily language and discussions.

For the blog, I am making a few changes/improvements as well.  You may have already noticed a new visual theme (thanks WordPress!).  I picked this theme because it has a great mobile view and, as more and more people are doing their study on iPads, Kindle and other mobile devices, this is increasingly important.  It also is very clean and prints well.  I’m still including links to the scriptures, but I’m going to change the order of my posts and put my Daily Journal at the top and my answers to questions below.  With more personal applications questions in the study this year, I want to move the emphasis of writing to application of the Big God Story and less on my particular answer to question 7b.

I get to work with Level 1 this year, 1st and 2nd grade, and I am very excited.  The faith these young children have and their openness to diving deep into the Word of God always impresses and humbles me.  When God provides the instructors, our Children’s Administrator said we might split and form 2 Level 1 classes.  I know many BSF classes are struggling to fill all levels of their children’s program but it is so exciting to think we have so many Dads wanting to bring their young children that we may need 2 classes.  Praise the Lord.

I’m asking for more dialog this year on this blog, more comments, more questions, more sharing.  We are not trying to duplicate a BSF class, that is not the point.  But God is big and His church is big and we can learn from each other in many ways and through shared experiences.  Thanks for being part of the journey with us.