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.

02.4 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.