10.4 BSF Matthew Week 10, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

“While He was saying this…”  Be careful as you read the passage this week that you don’t miss those 5 opening words.

What was He saying?  “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

What does that have to do with this synagogue leader showing up with this request?

Let’s compare/contrast the actions of this leader/father with his dying/dead child and that of another biblical leader/father and his dying/dead child.  Let’s turn back to 2 Samuel 12:14-24.

David is only a man.  He was a faithful man and loved by God, but he was only a man.  Jesus is the “son of David.”  Later in Matthew we will hear him called this by the blind men.  It is a true statement and important for fulfillment of prophecies.  But Jesus does not stand on David.  He is not a reincarnation of that king.  He is not an add-on, a patch, an addition to what has come before.  He is something new (but also something eternal).  He is King Jesus from the authority of sitting at the throne of God, not from sitting at the throne of David.  His power and authority do not end at death.

What an amazing comfort for all who have lost loved ones.  They are not dead.  In God’s eyes and power, they are only asleep.  With a single calling from His lips they will rise to life again, none worse for having experienced the sleep of death.

My Answers:

10.
a.
25-26 woman, 12 years, bleeding, uncured, Docs, broke, 27 touched, 28 “if touch be healed” 29 healed
30 Jesus asked who? L45, Denial L46, Power Mrk33, Confession, 22. “your faith has healed you” Mrk 34 “go in peace and be free from suffering”

b.
She had been bleeding for 12 years.  Long suffering afflictions are simply waiting on God’s timing

11.
a.
Synagogue leader

b.
She was on death’s door.  None of his discussion was about Jesus it was about his daughter.  He must have held out hope that Jesus could save her, but, is that faith or desparation?

c.
He did not judge Darius and his faith (or lack there of), instead He took on the love of this father for His child

06.2 BSF Matthew, Week 6, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

In our discussion this week about moral law, ceremonial law and prophecies foretold I did some digging into the old testament prophecies and found these two great resources:

The first is a side by side list of over 350 old testament prophecies and the corresponding new testament references demonstrating Christ’s fulfillment: 351 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

The second is a “school house rock” style video that demonstrates the probability of any of this just being “chance.”

In particular, today, I was struck by the question about the bible becoming living to me.  When I mechanically do my study, I get the mechanics of the scriptures.  I see the words.  I see the do’s and don’ts and the blessings and the warnings.  But that is all I see.  However, when I pray first and really put my mind and spirit in a time of openness to God’s revelation, I experience God’s word in such a deeper way. For example, in Sunday School recently we discussed Isaac and the blessings to Jacob and Esau (Genesis 26).  Through that study I was struck by the fact that Isaac didn’t just “take back” the blessing that Jacob received and it made me realize none of us can ever truly “take back” words that we speak.  They carry forward with a life of their own.  We can try to explain them, soften them, translate them, but once spoken we can’t unspeak them.  Then, tie that Old Testament lesson to the New Testament lesson this week about knowing the old testament teachings and speaking the truth always.

It brought to mind a good steak.  The old testament is the breed of the animal, the feed that went into it, the aging process, the marinade used, the perfect temperature of the flame, the hand of the experienced chef.  Sure, with out any of that, the steak (new testament) could still be nourishment and something for me to chew on.  But without the old testament I lose the flavor and the full experience that God intended.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Respect and honor.  He did not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  They are to be practiced and taught.

b.
Through BSF and Sunday School teaching, my love of the old testament has grown in the past few years.  I have too often viewed it as out-dated and difficult – as a rule book that doesn’t apply now.

c.
Begin with prayer.  Ask for Jesus’ help through the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart to how these ancient words point to Jesus and how they apply to my life today.

d.
Study of Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau – I am too casual with words, treating them like something I can take back or erase, but that isn’t the case.  Once words are spoken they take on a life of their own and carry weight.

4.
a.
Heb 9:27 die once and then face judgment.  Ephesians 2:9 Not by works, so that no one can boast.  Luke 18:18-27 “you know the commandments…” and “then come follow me.”

b.
Heb 8:7-13 (quoting Jeremiah 31) Jesus is the new covenant, the old is obsolete.  For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified” (Rom 10:4), Mark 12: 28-34 – Love God and Neighbor more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices

c.
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7).
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
“…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44)

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

BSF Genesis: Week 6, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
Began to call on the name of the Lord

b.
Pray daily and in many settings. Lead prayer and worship with my family and with others. Use God’s name throughout my speech in a positive and praising fashion

4.
a.
Extol at all times, praise always on lips, glory in the Lord letting others hear, done with others (exalt together), seek and He answers, delivers from all fears, look on him and become radiant, not covered with shame, poor man called and Lord heard, saved out of troubles, angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers

b.
Look on him and become radiant not covered in shame. We are shameful people. As a christian I am even more aware of my sin and shame. But when I look on the Lord, then others see him and not me.

My Daily Journal:

I liked the discussion of daily habits.  I was reading an book this week that pointed out that it is very rare that we, as humans, have the ability to just “let go” of something.  Instead we are much more successful at grabbing a hold of something else.  With that in mind, it makes me think less of what do I need to quit or remove from my life and more in terms of what new habits I need to form which will replace the bad.

Doing my study daily is a challenge for me (obviously), but that is in part because I haven’t made it a habit.  I don’t have a trigger at which point I do it (like brushing my teeth when I first get up).  I haven’t set a time of day or place.  When I quit smoking I reached out for something else to do with my hands and my mouth.  In my daytime hours I need to substitute other things to do with my mind and my lips.  I need to remove the time thinking about me and substitute it with thoughts about what God wants me to do.  I need to remove the words that give my credit and substitute it with words that praise God.

That can be true of so much of our walk with God.  We try to cram it in to an already packed schedule instead of finding a better balance and order by reaching for it instead.

BSF Genesis: Week 5, Lecture

Life is hard.  Ever since Adam and Eve choose sin, it has tried to jump out and harm us and attack us and draw us away from God over and over and over again.

The bible doesn’t teach us that if we follow God everything is smooth sailing.  Just the opposite.  God tells us to hold on.  But God allows us to choose what we hold on to.

In our lesson tonight we learn about Cain.  Cain decided to hold on to himself.  As we read the verses you can almost see him standing there, pouting with his arms crossed tightly across his chest.  Shut off, defiant, clinging only to himself.

What a dumb thing to hold onto when things get tough.  God says that he is our rock and foundation.  God invites us to let go and cling to him.  God says he never loses a member of his flock.

But let’s look at Cain and what he clings to and how that works for him.

In our first section we are introduced to Cain and Abel.  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a rancher or shepherd.  They were brothers and Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve.  We don’t know how old they were when our story picks up, but we know people lived for a long time in those days, hundreds of years, but we are brought into the story at a critical point – a point where Cain and Abel brought an offering to the Lord.

We see that both brought a portion of the product of their labor.  But it is also clear that the manner in which they brought it and the nature of the offering were different.  Cain brought “some”.  Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.

A key difference is in what they were willing to give up or sacrifice to God.  When Abel brought the best of what he had, first, he had to recognize that it was the best.  Second, he had to be willing to sacrifice it, to give it up.  In so doing, he opened the door for God to give him something even greater than what he had produced that had been his best.  And we see that God poured out his favor on Abel AND on his offering.

But that isn’t what happened with Cain.  Cain gave.  He may have given more than Abel, we don’t know.  His offering may have been worth more on the grain market, but there isn’t any indication that he gave the best.  It says he gave “Some”, but it does not say that he gave the best of what he produced.  Meaning, he held onto to that.  He kept what he considered to be best on his own little trophy case, rather than clearing room for the type of trophy God wanted him to have.

What happened?  Cain became very angry and downcast.  Pay attention to that last part.  If you are downcast, where is your focus?  Is it up and to God?  Is it forward and positive?  Remember what happened when Eve filled her vision with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Look at where Cain has his eyes.

God doesn’t need our stuff.  We need to let go.  God teaches us how to do this in his word and by his example.  What did He give?  In addition to everything that exists in the physical universe, He also gave His only Son.  Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice.

  • What are you doing in “half-hearted faith”?
  • Where do you need to give 100% of your heart?
  • What have you earned or achieved that you are having a hard time removing from your life because “it is so great”?

In our next section, we see that Cain’s actions soon follow his eyes.  But, it is important to realize it did not have to be this way.  God loved Cain so much that he sat down and talked to him, one-on-one (maybe three on one with the whole trinity thing, but you get the point).  God offers him a do-over.  God warns him about the door he is so focused on, the one that follows his downcast gaze, i.e., the door that leads further down.  God tells him, sin is crouching at that door.  You have the power to rule over it, don’t let it pounce on you.  Now, if something is crouching right outside your door waiting to pounce, how are you going to keep it from pouncing on you?  Duh! Use a different door.  God is holding open the door back to him, but…

Soon, Cain commits premeditated murder.  He lures his brother out into a field and whacks him (in the literal sense).  It’s done.  The first recorded death of a human and it is committed by another human.

So God immediately rains down condemnation on Cain, right?  Actually, no.  God’s first action is to offer Cain an opportunity to confess and repent.  “Where is your brother, Abel?”

But Cain doesn’t confess or repent.  He doesn’t fall down and cry out to God.  He keeps going right through that door.  He follows murder with lies and denial and condescension.  “I don’t know.”  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God cries out to him to listen and see what he has done.  To recognize his action and change; to see the consequences and curse that he has brought onto himself from the very land that he relies on for a living as a farmer.

But, Cain chooses to close the door.  In verse 14 Cain says to God.  I will be hidden from your presence. Click.

  • What more could God have done to bring Cain back to him?  All he had to do was repent.  But lying and denying are like going the wrong way down the one way street that is supposed to lead back to God.  Should it be any wonder to us if we get hit by a bus?
  • What are you lying about or denying?
  • What are you trying to keep hidden in your life from God?  How is that working out?
  • Where do you complain that what you face is “too much” or “too hard” while at the same time contributing to making it even more, harder and worse?

Our third section gives us insight into the life of Cain.  Clearly, God still saw him, even if he chose not to see God (it is written down in the bible, right).

We see God continued to provide.  He gave gifts of music and carpentry and architecture and craftsmanship and arts.  And what did Cain’s children do?  They denied God.

Look at verses 17-24.  What’s not mentioned?  God.  I looked back starting in Genesis 1:1 and would encourage you to as well.  This is the longest number of verses so far with no mention of God.  In Genesis 1 it is hard to go a single verse without God.  But here, we go multiple generations.  What is the focus?  On accomplishments, on talents, on celebrity and commerce.  Add in a best dressed list and this could be daytime TV.

Not only is there no mention of God, but they quickly take the things that come from God and twist them and misuse them.  Think about it?  How did Cain get married?  Not just where did he find a wife, but actually, who married them?  How did they enter into a holy covenant without God?  Is it any wonder then that a few generations down that sacrament gets stretched further?  Why not marry 2 wives?  Why not kill someone and claim 11 times the protection for it that God offered to Cain?  Why not sing about it?  Wives… I’ve killed a man….

But what will all of this bring them?  All of these accomplishments without faith?  I don’t want to jump ahead, but come back and you learn about how they end up “all wet.”

  • What accomplishment are you holding onto as being yours instead of God’s?
  • Where do you focus on the performer or celebrity instead of the divine who gave the talent?
  • Are you spending your time reading People or reading God?

BSF Genesis: Week 4, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

7.

  • snatches away the seed sown in hearts of uneducated (seed along the path)
  • Sows weeds among the seeds
  • murderer from the beginning, no truth in him, he lies, native tongue is lies, the father of lies
  • the prince of this world who will be thrown out and condemned
  • god of this age, blinds the mind of unbelievers
  • ruler of the kingdom of the air, a spirit working in the disobedient

8.
a.
Because of us. We were told to rule this world, yet we don’t fight the prince who seeks to usurp and destroy the kingdom

b.
not omnipresent, not omniscient, only has what power God allows. Cannot stand up against the true word of scripture. he and his followers faces eternal torment.

9.

  • prayer and confession of sins, pray for each other
  • Fasting
  • armor of God, the sword of the word of God
  • Submission to God. Resist the devil and he will flee (torment from satan is always temporary)

My Daily Journal:

When I see pictures on the news of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc., I am always amazed to see how people find ways to live their daily lives in the midst of a war zone.  Children play among bombed out cars.  Mothers scurry to cross streets with their children for food and education.  They survive through vigilance.  They are not stronger than the men with guns, but they know where to find shelter and protection.  They are never complacent.  They are never blind to the battle being fought around them, nor do they forget whose side they are on.

Our lesson today reminded me of the fact that, as christians on the earth, we live in a war zone.  We were given the command to rule this earth, but we have allowed the prince of the air to usurp our authority and command in our stead.  We were called to be soldiers and equipped with the strongest shelter and most powerful weapons, yet we try to rely on our own man-made shelters for protection and our own wit for a weapon.  But mostly, we too often become unaware or even in denial that there is a battle going on.  If that occurred on the streets of a terrorist controlled village in the middle east we would consider the person insane or suicidal, but when we do it, we consider it normal, realistic and rational.

I am not advocating that we spend our lives in fear or in a constant focus on the forces of evil.  I believe our focus should remain on our supreme commander.  However, I am concerned that we go about our day forgetting or being too careless or complacent to wrap ourselves in prayer, fasting, submission to God and strengthening ourselves with His word.   Take the time to suit up – it is the rational thing to do.

BSF Genesis: Week 3, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
a.
The fruit that comes from and unites us with God, the divine. The fruit of the spirit and the tree of death (cross) conquered by Jesus to give us everlasting life.

b.
They were prevented from, not allowed to have the choice. To live forever without justice would be eternity apart from God.

c.
Yes, not only to eat of the fruit but believers have been “grafted to the vine”. John 15:5, and thus we also may bear fruit Gal 5:22, We also eat of the fruit of the divine through communion John 4:43

11.
Rom 6: 23: the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord; 1 Peter 2:24: He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed

My Daily Journal:

What does it mean to die?  As anyone who has spent any time pondering the question has concluded, there are things far worse than physical death.  We understand that the time we have on this earth is not even a dot on the timeline of eternity.  We know that our existence in the physical world is a dead end street.

However, we learn that (1) we weren’t created to end and go away and (2) we don’t have to stay on that path.  Yes, our cells and organs and flesh will cease to grow and will die, but we have been given the opportunity to eat and drink in the gift of salvation and to once again unite with our divine creator.  Jesus became man and paid the price of just punishment to buy us back from the choice man originally made and all men since have repeated.  And, he has offered to make us one with Him, for us to “remain in Him and for Him to remain in us (John 6:56).  He offers for us to become the branches of His vine and to live in Him for eternity.

But eternity doesn’t start after we draw our last breath.  In the same way someone turns off a dead end road as soon as they know it dead ends, so to are we given the opportunity to turn off the dead end road of mortal death and onto the path of eternal life.  Why wait to begin living until death – we are called to live in Him now with a well of living water flowing from us daily.

BSF Genesis: Week 3, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

6.
Iraq, parts of Turkey

7.
Trees, pleasing to eye and good for food; work and care of the garden; free to eat from any tree but one

8.
Free to eat from any tree buy not the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will die

9.
a.
Companionship, comfort, beauty of the plants and trees and flowers, great food, rewarding work and ministries

b.
Prov 3:5-6: I fail to trust in the Lord, I lean on my own understanding and I fail to acknowledge him – no wonder my paths zig zag and are so full of hills and valleys.

My Daily Journal

Just a couple of points to think and pray about today:

1. Interesting that it is a tree of knowledge of good and evil since one of the items I struggle with is to try to take control away from God and rely on what makes logical sense to me.  I struggle to try to figure things out on my own, using my knowledge and my judgment and then, too often, turn to God to bail me out.  We don’t consider it ignorance or naivete for a child to trust that their loving parent knows better; we call it wisdom.  Yet, even knowing that God is all knowing, I still convince myself that I should rely on my own limited knowledge first.

2.  I don’t know if it is just how it translates into English, but I had not before caught the wording in Genesis 2:17, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  It doesn’t say “if you eat from it”, but simply “when you eat from it.”  What amazing love God has for His creation that He would give us the ability to turn from Him even with His perfect knowledge.  It was never a question of “if” only of “when”.