07.5 BSF Matthew Week 7, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

“Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  This line from Matt 6:34 made me laugh out loud because it is so true and so ridiculously shows my approach to life.  I worry.  I get stressed about the balls I’m dropping, the things I’m leaving undone.  I worry about the things I have forgotten or not done fully.

But it is like looking at the calendar and going, “Oh, a week from Tuesday, hmmmm, it doesn’t look there is going to be enough trouble on that day… I should probably find something to worry about so I can add some much needed stress and trouble to that day.”   I know, ridiculous, right?  But that is what I’m doing when I worry.  And, what does my worry gain – not a single positive thing.  Lot’s of negative things (health, hair, happiness), but nothing positive.

The lessons over the past couple of weeks have been very convicting to me.  Let me use an analogy to explain.  My kids participate in the county fair and take a number of entries, particularly in the foods category.  In the baked goods area there are basically two types of entries, decorated cakes and then things like breads and pies and cookies.  Cake decorating is all about the outside appearance: icing, fondant, piping, decorating.  When a loaf of bread comes in, however, one of the first things the judge does is to take a knife and cut it right down the middle.  They are looking for consistency, doneness, texture, smell, etc.  While I would prefer to be a decorated cake, in God’s judgment, I am a loaf of bread.  The way I live and act among other believers at Church and BSF, how much I pray or listen to Christian radio, all of that is icing.  The pharisees and hypocrites were masters at icing.  We try to use icing to cover up flaws over here and redirect attention over there.  But God slices right down the middle and his expectation is that my faith permeates my life consistently.  If my interactions with co-workers or my family or difficult people (other drivers on the road) doesn’t reflect His mercy and bring honor to Him, then I have opportunity for improvement.  The answer isn’t more icing.  The answer is to continue to ask the Holy Spirit to permeate every minute of my day.  When I hold back things from Him, when I continue to think I need to come up with the answer and/or do it on my own, I show that I don’t trust Him with that part of my life.  That is a ridiculous thing to do.  Am I not more valuable than a bird.  Do I not have more worth to God than a flower in the field.  Put righteousness first, not just at church and bsf, but in everything.

My Answers:

12.
a.
life, what you will eat or drink, about your body, what you will wear

b.
26: birds eat, you are more valuable, 28-30 clothing = flower, 31-33 eat, drink, wear – trust God and put righteousness first and all will be provided 25 is not life more than food, body more than clothes, 27 life: can worry add 1 more hour?

c.
All of them.  Not so much for self but for loved ones.

07.4 BSF Matthew Week 7, Day 4

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

I wouldn’t call it a treasure, but it is definitely something people hold on to, sometimes even to the grave.  Call it righteous indignation, personal justice, the need to get even, to get back, to set the record straight.  It is ugly, but it is also very, very human.

I know “christians” who have said of a family member, “I will never forgive them.  What they did was beyond forgiveness.”  But Jesus teaches that our forgiveness is conditional.  We are forgiven as we forgive.  And if we do not forgive others, then we will not be forgiven.  We may try to justify it and claim what they did was worse than what we do.  But, I don’t see that covered in these words of our Lord.  Either forgive or forfeit your own forgiveness.  It is another of those “free choices” we get to make.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning their behavior.  It doesn’t even necessarily mean reconciliation.  It simply means that we no longer hold their transgression against them and, I believe, pray that God turn them back to Him.  This is hard.

It brings to mind the book, Amish Grace, How Forgiveness Transcends Tragedy.  If you haven’t read it, here is the synopsis from Amazon:

On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In front of twenty-five horrified pupils, thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts ordered the boys and the teacher to leave. After tying the legs of the ten remaining girls, Roberts prepared to shoot them execution style with an automatic rifle and four hundred rounds of ammunition that he brought for the task. The oldest hostage, a thirteen-year-old, begged Roberts to “shoot me first and let the little ones go.” Refusing her offer, he opened fire on all of them, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. He then shot himself as police stormed the building. His motivation? “I’m angry at God for taking my little daughter,” he told the children before the massacre.

The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media in the United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning some fifty television crews had clogged the small village of Nickel Mines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed were buried. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor when Amish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children.

The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could be offered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds of media queries that the authors received about the shooting, questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact, eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting the world’s attention.

Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a central theme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBC Nightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah, and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish. From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australian television, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness. Three weeks after the shooting, “Amish forgiveness” had appeared in 2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.

Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their own children, grieving Amish families accounted for half of the seventy-five people who attended the killer’s burial. Roberts’ widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greeted her and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk and graveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for the shooter’s family.

This is the light and salt we are called to be as Christians.  Impossibly difficult? Without God’s help it would be impossible.

My Answers:

9.
a.
money, possessions, friends, minions, praise, name…. None of these last past death.  Time spent teaching is never lost. Time spent loving others in God’s name survives all.

b.
Honor of God, Disciples brought to Him and/or trained.  Love invested in others for His sake.  Light and Salt.

c.
Psalm:Law from your mouth is more precious that silver and gold
Luke:Do not store up riches for yourself on earth, but store up riches in heaven
1 Cor:God’s preparations are greater than anything we have experienced or can imagine
2 Cor:What is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal
Phil:On knowing Christ, everything else is as garbage
1 Pete:inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade

10.
a.
It is their addiction.  What they put above everything else.  Our “talents” are minutes on this earth, given to us to invest.  Spending that time in meaningless self accumulation is not an investment

b.
I serve the Lord.  I seek to reflect His light in all aspects of my life.  I struggle and sin, but I put my trust in Him

c.
Fear.  I know I need to trust in Him unyielding in all aspects of my life, but I fear I am missing something or letting something drop, not living up to expectations, not doing enough

11.
Sin so often begins with where our eyes go.  Eve “saw that it was good”.  What we allow our eyes to see is then in us.  If we fill our senses with Godly things, then Godly things fill our life

07.3 BSF Matthew Week 7, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I’m really feeling for the Teaching Leaders this week and their closing prayer.  I’m guessing they will all be short and to the point with no “babbling”. 🙂

But with prayer and giving, I think we need to be careful not to get confused.  The emphasis is not on secrecy, it is on honoring and glorifying God.  Someone can give / donate secretively without it giving glory to God.  Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the secrecy that lessons are missed.  I think it is important for our children to learn the importance of tithing and to know their parents honor God that way.  They is not to bring glory to the parents, it is an example that is set that is in accordance with the scriptures.  I think it is also important that our children and spouses see us study the scriptures and pray.

I also don’t read this passage as an indictment against rote / memorized prayer.  Praying the scriptures can be a very important and meaningful method of praying and one Jesus modeled and taught us to use.  I don’t think chanting something makes it have magical powers.  But I think relying on the comfort of scripture-based prayers, either spoken or in song, can be an important way of conversing with and honoring the Lord.  David seemed to do a lot of this in the Psalms.

I also liked that the Luke passage was brought in.  We are not supposed to beg in prayer, just like we don’t want our children to give us puppy dog eyes and says “please, please, please, please, please…”  That is annoying and not honoring.  But it is appropriate that every time a thought or need ways on our mind and heart we turn that over to God.  If I am have fears or worries about something, I’m to trust God with that every time it comes into my consciousness.  There is nothing wrong with persistence.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
do not keep babbling like pagans, thinking they will be heard for their many words.  God knows what you need before you ask Him.

b.
no babbling.  Trust God and say what needs to be said, period.  But pray each time it comes to mind/heart

c.
More trust and conversation, less begging and whining

7.
God you are holy and above all.  I long for your rule over both heaven and earth.  Fulfill my daily needs, forgive my transgressions but hold me accountable to honor you in my thoughts and actions.  Protect me from temptation and evil and save me from sin

8.
a.
Prayer is a personal conversation with my Lord and King.  I need to be honoring and respectful and trusting and humble.  All is in His power and I need to trust all to Him.

b.
To be persistent but not begging.  To trust Him, but to also clearly and repeatedly ask for His intervention

c.
I talk with God in quiet ways and turn to Him in obedience, but I don’t journal the way I should or set a time of disciplined daily prayer

 

07.2 BSF Matthew Week 7, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Our instruction in the scriptures today reminded me of the Goofus and Gallant cartoons we would read in Highlight Magazine.  The cartoons always featured two young boys with a choice to make and Goofus always made the wrong choice.  The simple message was, don’t be a Goofus.GnG

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to us in the same way.  “You see the Hypocrites (Goofus)?  Don’t do that!”

But the message goes one step further because there is also a “because” in the message.  There is a reward.  Let’s face it, we are all motivated by rewards.  They can be sticks or carrots, i.e., avoidance of negative consequences or desire for receiving positive rewards.  They can be extrinsic or intrinsic, but it is a simple part of being human.  God doesn’t deny that for us, instead He provides it.  Jesus doesn’t say not to be a Goofus just because He says so.  But instead because we are going to miss out on the bigger reward.

There was a game show (I’m not remembering the name so someone might have to help me) where the contestants were allowed to pick between what was behind Door #1 and Door #2.  Door #1 is the things we can see in this world.  If we choose the rewards behind Door #1, we forfeit what is behind Door #2.  You don’t get both.  But here is the deal.  With God as the host, Door #2, the unseen rewards in heaven, is always better.  Always!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
“When you”, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”
“do not… like hypocrites”

b.
they have received their reward in full – reminds me of Goofus and Gallant in Highlights

4.
a.
serve, give, help, but do so humbly and to the honor of God

b.
trust, patience, honor

5.
a.
better than thou attitude.  Christian righteousness. Using religious symbols to further work (fish/cross)

b.
heavenly rewards.  Good gifts of honor and recognition

c.
by accepting worldly recognition, they do so at the forfeiture of heavenly recognition. Door #1

d.
Do things for God’s glory and trust God to honor what honors Him.  Focus on Righteousness