Prayer Requests for Week of November 22nd, 2015

Hey all!

Please post your requests and/or praises below or email them to me at

We’d love to hear them and pray for you.

Mine: protection over husband’s job and results for our new diet.

Have a blessed week!

My Dog and Cat Died Because of Me

When God created the universe, death did not exist.  Life abounded.  There were not predators and no prey.  All lived in the Garden of Eden with every need provided:  food, water, and shelter.  Life was perfect.

Then man sinned.  He ate of the forbidden tree, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  God cursed man, banishing him from the Garden, bringing death to all.  Hence, all creation suffers because of man’s sin.

When I held my dying dogs in my arms, I blamed myself for their pain, suffering, and death.  I look at my cats, all of whom are aging rapidly, and think, “They are gonna die because of me”.  All innocent creatures who live in the moment that God gave us to care for and we are completely incapable of caring for them.  I feel like I let them down when they die.

My kids and I have been reading a lot of books about animals.  Extinct animals and endangered animals come up a lot.  For example, the tiger.  One of the most magnificent animals God has created and we kill them for their coats and gall bladders.  So few left…



I just read on line how only three northern white rhinos are in existence today–all killed by man for their horns.  Their horns!  It would be like killing humans for their hair.

Extinct animals:  the Dodo bird, the Passenger pigeon, the Tasmanian tiger, the Great Auk, the Baiji White Dolphin, Steller’s Sea Cow, the West African Black Rhino, the Pinta Island Tortoise–all at the hands of man.

Almost extinct animals:  The Javan Rhinoceros, Hawaiian Monk Seal, the Mountain Gorilla, the Island Fox, the Bactrian Camel, Philippine Eagle, California Condor, Amur Leopard, Sumatran Rhino, Vaquita, Kakapo, Iberian Lynx, Siamese Crocodile, and so many, many more.

Yet in the midst of this I see God.  I see how God created us and everything to reflect Him and His greatness.  No where is this more miraculous than in the birth of a newborn baby–human or animal.  This is all despite our sin.

This makes me yearn for heaven and Jesus to come again–to end the pain and the suffering and the sin of man who cannot stop sinning without Jesus.

Death is the hardest part of life in my opinion.  Not necessarily my own death because once I’m gone it doesn’t affect me.  Death of those around us since we have to go on living…

My Cats

My Cats

I pray to enjoy those around me while I can.  To not take one moment for granted.  To hold my kitties a little tighter.  To kiss my kids more.  To spend more time with my family.  To do what I can to stop the death of endangered species (by not buying their products number one) and supporting those capable of lending aid.  And yes, for Jesus to come again–the ultimate end to this Fallen World.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 5: Revelation 6:12-17


Summary of passage:  When Jesus opened the sixth seal, an earthquake happened, the sun turned black, the moon red, the stars fell out of the sky, the sky receded, and every mountain and island moved.  Everyone hid and asked the rocks to hide them from God and Jesus.


12a)  Exodus 19:18:  “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire.  The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently.”  Both have earthquakes.

Isaiah 34:4: “All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall.”  Both times the stars fall out of the sky and the sky recedes like a scroll, rolling up.

Jeremiah 4:23-26:  The earth was empty and the light was gone from the heavens.  The mountains trembled and the hills swayed.  Everything was gone.  Both have earthquakes and no light in the heavens without stars.  Every landform was either moved around or trembled.

Joel 2:30-31:  Blood, fire, and billows of smoke will appear in the heavens.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood.  Both have the sun blackened and the moon red.

Zechariah 14:3-5:  The Mount of Olives will be split in two.  Both have mountains moving.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There will be clear physical signs when God/judgment comes.

13a)  Caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  God’s refuge.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  God is our refuge and strength and He is with us in our troubles.  We are not to fear for God controls all.  God.

14)  Personal question.  My answer:  Again, God is in control.  It is for our good.  Jesus has arrived to fulfill God’s promises to His people and judge nations.

Conclusions:  Started out strong and then petered out.  Good point about people taking refuge in the wrong place.  How true is that for you?

End Notes:  God’s wrath has come loud and clear here.  Some scholars say this passage is describing judgment on Jerusalem as seen in Isaiah 2:19-21 and Hosea 10:7-8.  Jesus spoke of this in Luke 23:26-31 and Matthew 24:29.  The first century Christians would have been familiar with these descriptions.  What Jesus once said on earth he now says from heaven.  However, all the earth is to observe and learn from Jerusalem’s judgment.  It makes sense to say judgment starts with Jerusalem and then spreads to the rest of the world from there; hence, all are judged and need to take heed.

Some scholars say the earthquake itself causes the sun to turn black (dust and dirt) and sun to turn red (volcanic eruptions).  Earthquakes are results of divine visitation (Exodus 19:18; Isaiah 2:19).  Stars falling is like meteors hitting the earth.

One thing is clear:  celestial disturbances in the bible signal the coming of the Messiah.  Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah and Jesus Himself all describe similar natural phenomena occurring.

These images were rampant in apocalyptic writings of the time.  The members of the seven churches of Asia hearing these words would have grasped the meaning immediately.

Sinners dread most God’s face not death.

These 6 seals is a description of the judgment that will occur before the Great Tribulation and the coming of Jesus Christ.  The first seal is the Antichrist and the seventh seal will be God (Revelation 8).

Fun Fact:  This is the only time “the wrath of the Lamb” is used in Revelation, referring to the calamities that will come.  The first century Christians still see God as the harbinger of wrath.  They have yet to fully grasp the meaning of Jesus.  Most have probably not heard the New Testament writings.

The wrath of God, or God’s holy response to unrepented sin is a huge theme in the Bible and Revelation has much to say about it. (6:17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15)  The people have experienced God’s wrath in the past.  His wrath is present (Romans 1:18) and future as well.  The Old Testament prophesises it as well (Zephaniah 1:14-18)

Are the seal judgment conditions right before the Great Tribulation or general conditions occurring over a span of time?  Opinions differ and either could be true.  We see these events happening now with war and famine.  However, these will intensify closer to the time of the Tribulation.

Conclusions to Lesson 12:  “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  This is actually a quote from Malachi 3:2.   Answer: Well, in Revelation 6 it seems no one can stand amidst God’s wrath, judgment we all deserve.  But the true answer:  Believers justified through the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus bore our wrath with God and paid the price for us.  Unbelievers will face His judgment alone.  We will see the white robes more fully explained in Chapter 7 of Revelation and see those who will be standing (those with God) when God’s wrath strikes in Revelation 7.

This concludes the judgments known as the seal judgments which occur when Jesus opens the seals.  Two more waves of judgment are coming, each worse than the previous.  Great connections made here with other parts of the Bible.  Overall, I think we all left this week with a greater understanding of the judgments to come.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 4: Revelation 6:9-11

Summary of passage:  When Jesus opened the fifth seal, John saw those who had been slain because of their faith.  They asked God how much longer until He judges the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.  They were given a white robe and told to wait until those who would die for their faith had been completed.


9a)  Those who had been killed because of their faith and they wanted to know how much longer until God judged the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s not really something I desire.  I know God will do it, so I don’t worry about it or give it much thought.  I’d much rather focus on His work for me than His judgment on others.  It’s between them and God anyways.  I’m sure I’d feel different if some travesty occurred against me or my family, but it hasn’t.

10a)  To wait until the rest who would die for their faith had joined them.  God is waiting for all to come to Him in repentance before final judgment.  He is patient beyond words.

b)  Righteousness and salvation before God.

11a)  We are called to suffer since Jesus suffered.  Paul says in Romans to rejoice in our sufferings for suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.  We are blessed in suffering and it’s better to suffer for doing good than evil says Peter.  Suffering is a privilege and a way to participate in God’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-16) so rejoice in it.  We should commit to God and continue to do good (1 Peter 5:19).  After suffering in this life, we will be restored and made strong, firm and steadfast.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God listens; God answers.  God is full of grace, holy and true, and sovereign over all.  I trust in Him that He has a purpose I cannot see and He will pull me through.  For God is in control.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and persecution as a Christian is part of our life and our calling.  Encourage those in the midst of suffering with the grace of God, of His omniscient will, and His power to turn suffering into good.

Conclusions:  Good transition into suffering since John is talking about Christian martyrs.  Excellent!

I am amazed at my Bible knowledge and I don’t mean that in any pompous way.  When I think back to when I first started BSF five years ago, I had no clue where any of the books of the Bible were, which were in the New Testament and the Old Testament, and what they contained.  Now, when I’m asked a question here by BSF I often know the answer without looking it up.

I am telling you all this as an encouragement to those new to the Bible or still seeking Jesus.  Keep coming to class.  Keep doing your homework.  Keep attending lectures as much as possible.  Keep seeking Him.  Even if you feel inadequate and hopeless hang in there.  You will be rewarded.  By a greater knowledge of Him and His word and a greater heart for Jesus and His people.

Nothing in this world is free and nothing in this world is gained without hard work.  Knowing God is hard work.  Is there any other work more important?

End Notes:  “Under the altar” channels Leviticus 4:7; 17:11 and emphasizes their blood sacrifice for God.

“Testimony” comes from the Greek word martyria, meaning “witness.”  Since Christians were often killed for being faithful witnesses of the testimony Christ had given them, they came to be called martyrs.  These are the true believers in God being persecuted as Jesus warned would happen (Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-18; Matthew 24:9; John 16:2).

Crying out for vengeance is asking God to do what He promises to do which is administer justice.  People in the Bible have been doing this for ages (Genesis 4:10; Numbers 35:33; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 47:6; Zechariah 1:12; Luke 18:1-8).  David asked this question repeatedly (Psalm 13:1; 35:17; 74:9; 79:5; 80:4; 89:46).  “My soul is in anguish.  How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3).  Habakkuk asked: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2).

This is a call for judgment on the world, a necessary step for righteousness.

White we know is a symbol or purity, faithfulness, blessedness, and victory.  It is also a picture of the redeemed and justified (Revelation 7:11-14).

More are going to die for God.  In the first century, the persecutors are mainly the Jews, the synagogue of Satan.  Later, it will be the Romans.  Today it is extremist Islam and non-believers.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 3: Revelation 6:1-8

Summary of passage: Jesus opened the first seal and a white horse with a rider appeared. The rider was given a crown and rode off. The second seal was opened and a red horse appeared. Its rider was given power to take peace from earth and to make men kill each other. He was given a sword. The third seal unleashed a black horse and its rider held a pair of scales, used to measure out food as payment for a day’s wages.  The fourth seal released a pale horse whose rider was named Death and Hades. They were given power to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts a fourth of the earth.


6)  The rider of the black horse was holding a pair of scales.  The voice of the living creatures said, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages and do not damage the oil and the wine.”  The scales the Black Rider holds shows the approaching famine and economic downturn. Food will be rationed. The prices mentioned here are astronomical: one day’s wages for the ingredients of bread essentially. Yet, the rich will still have oil and wine.

7)  Hades was the Greek god of the underworld (Romans called him Pluto) where souls went when they died. Hades today refers to hell.  Here, it represents the grave and he is gathering up his victims of death, famine, and destruction.

8a)  Both passages have colored horses.  In Revelation, the colors are significant.  In Zechariah they’re not.  Zechariah calls the horses “the four spirits of heaven” and are sent out into the world with no effect. In Revelation, the release of the horses bring disasters upon the earth.  In Zechariah the horses are important as they patrol the earth; in Revelation the riders are more important.

In Matthew 24, Christ warns of the Anti-Christ, which is the white horse rider in Revelation.  Jesus says there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes and death (Matthew 24:9).  The red, black, and pale riders are war, famine, and death.  [Side Note:  The rest of Matthew 24 parallels Revelation 6 as well.]

This is important since all passages are a warning to us about what is to come.  It shows us how God is Lord of history and how the prophesies here will come true.  It increases our faith.

b)  Same answer as above:  Christ warns of the Antichrist, wars, famines, earthquakes, death, and destruction to mankind.

Conclusions:  In reading about Revelation 6, I read all about Matthew 24 and Zechariah 6 and I’m surprised BSF chose to bring both of those in because I wasn’t going to go in depth in my analysis.  Good job by simplifying the comparisons and bringing out what’s important here because the interpretations can be heavy.  God is amazing in all his connectivity and fluidity.  Awesome!

End Notes:  See yesterday’s lesson HERE since both days cover the same passage.

Homework Tip:  Revelation is becoming harder as more and more symbols and interpretations appear.  Spend the time to understand the meanings here.  On today’s lesson and yesterday’s I did them together, flipping back and forth as a question was asked and something else was jogged in my mind.  I read the passage, answer the questions, read commentary, then go back and re-do my questions.  Sometimes I change an answer or add to it.  Sometimes I don’t.  But whatever the case, I definitely get more out of the questions the second time around.

Set aside the time to do these lessons.  God will reward you immensely if you do.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 2: Revelation 6:1-8

Summary of passage:  Jesus opened the first seal and a white horse with a rider appeared.  The rider was given a crown and rode off.  The second seal was opened and a red horse appeared.  Its rider was given power to take peace from earth and to make men kill each other.  He was given a sword.  The third seal unleashed a black horse and its rider held a pair of scales, used to measure out food as payment for a day’s wages. The fourth seal released a pale horse whose rider was named Death and Hades.  They were given power to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts a fourth of the earth.


3a)  Three said,”Come!”.  The third one said, “A part of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

b)  A horse and rider.  The horse changed colors:  White, red, black, and pale.  Each rider was given something different or held something different:  a crown and a bow, a sword and power to take peace and make war, scales, power to kill by sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts.

4)  The white horse’s rider held a bow and was given a crown and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.  He depicts judgment or justice meted out by God which includes destruction and death.  He might be the Anti-Christ (see End Notes for much more detail).

5a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  The rider of the red horse was given the power to take peace from earth and have men kill each other.  He represents war, slaughter, and bloodshed.  Our wars today.

b)  Man’s desires, sin, and the devil.  Solution:  Submit yourselves to God, draw near to Him, and resist the devil and sin and purify your hearts.

Conclusions:  Question 5b was out of left field and not in the passage.  So much symbolism here it’s ridiculous.  See End Notes.

End Notes:  Continuing from 2 weeks ago in Revelation 5, we learned the Lamb was Jesus, the only one with the right credentials to open the scrolls, and the scrolls are the future history of man.

Chapter 6 to Chapter 19 will detail the Tribulation, God’s judgment of man in the last 7 years before the Second Coming.  We will see 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls.  The Tribulation‘s purpose:  To bring Israel back to God, to bring unbelievers to God, and to create the remnant Jesus will rule.

Scholars say the events on the scrolls will happen BEFORE the culmination of history detailed in Revelation 19.

Each seal has a different living creature.  We see thunder as God revealing something important to His people.

Note:  only the seals are being broken.  The contents of the scroll are not being revealed yet.  The scroll won’t be opened until we hear the 7 trumpets.

The rider on the white horse is NOT Jesus who appears on a white horse in Revelation 19.  This is the anti-Christ unleashed upon the world who is impersonating Jesus.  We know this because he brings war and carries a bow (Jesus carries a sword).  He wears one crown; Jesus wears many.  He is given authority to execute judgment on the earth.  The white horse is one Jesus will ride.  Those of the historical view of Revelation will say this is Jesus or the Romans or the apostles.

The Preterist view sees the four horsemen as happening in the first century AD only.

The rider will lead men in rebellion against God.  We see this in Genesis 10:8-14 in Nimrod.

The 70th week in Daniel 9 and the tribulation begin when this rider arrives.

Peace is a gift from God to men.  Men’s natural state is war.  Hence, the red rider removes peace and ushers in war.  God granted this rider the authority to do so.  Part of this is fulfilled since war has existed on this planet since the Fall of Man.  Here, every nation will be at war.

The Greek word is stronger than slay (verse 4).  It means butcher or slaughter.

The scales the Black Rider holds shows the approaching famine and economic downturn, which were used to measure food.  Food will be rationed.  The prices mentioned here are astronomical:  one day’s wages for the ingredients of bread essentially.  Yet, the rich will still have oil and wine.  There are limits to what the black rider will accomplish.

The fourth horseman brings death in 4 ways.  These are common tools of God’s judgement (Ezekiel 14:21) and the way God promised He would destroy Jerusalem (Leviticus 16:18-33).

The Greek word used here is chloros, which is where we get our English word ‘chlorine’.  It is used elsewhere in Revelation (8:7; 9:4) to refer to pale-green grass.  It’s used here to refer to the hue of the skin upon death.

Hades was the Greek god of the underworld (Romans called him Pluto) where souls went when they died.  Hades today refers to hell.

Some scholars say the red, black, and pale rider are tools for the Anti-Christ and not separate people per se.  The colors are symbolic:  white is conquest, red is bloodshed or war, black is famine, and pale is death.  Some say the four horsemen are merely man’s judgment upon himself which sin has brought forth.

Other scholars say the “Four horsemen of the apocalypse” are merely judgment and not the anti-Christ or people at all.  They point to Zechariah 1 for this interpretation.

In my mind, we know the Anti-Christ is coming in the Tribulation so I’m leaning towards the Anti-Christ interpretation here.

Four is the number of creation, stemming from the 4th day of creation when the physical world was complete.  We  have 4 seasons, 4 corners of the earth (directions north, south, east, and west), 4 elements, 4 angels (Rev 7), 4 living creatures, 4 gospels, 4 horsemen with 4 judgments.  It represents universality, including everyone.

Verse 8:  The word “by” is confusing.  It is more correctly translated “under” from the Greek, giving the sword, famine, and plague subordination to the beasts.  “Wild beasts” is an incorrect translation as well.  The word in Greek is “therion” and means beast.  This word is used 39 times in the book of Revelation and 38 times is refers to either the Antichrist, the false prophet, or a beast.  Attempting to differentiate the word in the context here threw in the word wild–the only time it is not translated “beast” in Revelation.

REMEMBER:  God is giving all this power to the Anti-Christ.  God is the one in control.  Jesus’s servants, the four creatures, call forth the horsemen.  They must have permission to enter the world.

This description of the End Times closely follows Jesus’s description in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

The seals are God’s judgment on earth.  Details will emerge in Revelation 8-11.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 5: 2 Peter 3

Summary of passage:  In the last days scoffers will come with evil desires and the earth will be judged.  God’s days are not our days and He is patient, waiting for all to repent and come to Him.  But the day of the Lord will come and the earth will be laid bare.  So live godly lives and look forward to the new heaven and earth.  Make every effort to be spotless and at peace with him and be on your guard for lawless men.


13a)  To live holy and godly lives and look forward to the day of God and the new heaven and new earth.  Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.  Be on your guard so you may not be carried away by the lawless men and fall.

b)  Destruction and hell.

c)  That God’s word created the heavens and the earth out of water.  That God flooded the earth to destroy mankind in judgment.  In the same way the day of the Lord will come just as God says it will.

14)  That God’s time is not our time.  God is waiting for all to come to Him and repent and gain eternal life and not perish.

15a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So vague it’s impossible to begin.  I could have learned I don’t like avocado.  I’m going with the assumption that this question refers to part a and what change in relation to resisting God’s truth of wrath and judgment do you need to make.  Since I’m not resisting, I need to make no changes.

Conclusions:  Great lesson up until Question 15.  BSF is assuming we are resisting the day of the Lord.  The question should have asked us if we are resisting His wrath, judgment, and the day of the Lord and IF SO how.  Not a good question.

I’m not sure how one could resist the day of the Lord besides worrying over it.  It’s something we can’t control.  And since the Bible says not to worry over anything (Philippians 4:6), pointless.  Many ignore God’s wrath and judgment by pretending it doesn’t exist, believing only that God is “my friend”, and continuing to sin because God will forgive you.  These people will face God’s judgment in the end (as we all will answer for our earthly lives) whether they believe it or not and it’s not something I worry about.  I got enough with just myself, my family, and my friends.

End Notes:  Peter emphasizes how the Old Testament is just as important as the New Testament.  Remember he is addressing the Jewish nation who have up until the last generation have only known the Old Testament.  For centuries it was the law of the land.  Now there is a new added law and a new covenant.  Peter is reminding them both need to be obeyed.  In essence, the apostles are equal to the prophets.

Remember we are in the last days (ever since Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection).  But as Peter says here, God’s days are not ours.

Peter quotes Psalm 90:4.  Since God is the great “I am”, there is no time, no space, no past, present, or future.  God has always been and will always be.  Time is a human concept.

Note the power of God’s word.  It created the universe.  It flooded the earth.  It will judge and change the earth once more.  If God’s word is that powerful, imagine the power we hold in our hands reading God’s word.  He empowers us no matter what happens in our lives.  All we have to do is read.

Note fire will be used, not water, in the final judgment.

Man will outlive the earth.

We can actually “speed its coming” (verse 12) by godly conduct, evangelism (Romans 11:25), prayer (Daniel 9 and Revelation 22:20).

Scripture can be “distorted” (verse 16).  Therefore, we must “examine the scriptures every day” (Acts 17:11) like the Bereans to see if what people say is true or not.  Our best defense against evil is God’s word.  Those who distort will face destruction.

As Peter says we are to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus.  We cannot be stagnant.  Grow with Jesus in a personal relationship with him.  Then we will not fall.

Fun Fact:  Amen was added to the end of this second letter of Peter’s.  Under the Old Covenant, Amen was only uttered after curses (Deuteronomy 27:14-26).  Under the New Covenant, Amen announces great blessings from God and praises to God.  Hence, the addition is appropriate here.

Meaning of Scriptures:  Scriptures is a term applied only to those writings which are divinely inspired or writings considered sacred or authoritative.  For Christians, that is the Bible.

Conclusions to Lesson 11:  BSF chose to take a break again from Revelation and focus on the prophecy of the Day of the Lord, which is what Revelation is all about.  I have two viewpoints here:  1)  Why waste time in other places of the Bible when Revelation could take a lifetime to study?  2)  Why study Joel and 2 Peter 3?

Personally, I enjoyed studying Joel.  It’s a small book in the Bible often overlooked and rarely preached upon by churches today.  It’s been years since I’ve read the book, and I learned a ton based off of my personal research and it was fun!

Does Joel have much to do with Revelation?  When compared to other parts of the OT, no.  Does studying Joel have value?  Yes!  Despite where you fall on the continuum, BSF always takes us to the Word and challenges us to go deeper with God, which is why many of us are here.  Everything in the Word has value and overall I believe we all learned something this go-around we didn’t know.

2 Peter 3 is all about the day of the Lord, so it makes sense to study it in a Revelation study.

I’m beginning to realize why all these filler lessons:  The book of Revelation only has 22 chapters (a relatively short book in the Bible) and for a 30 week study that’s a hard stretch.  I would have preferred to have done ALL of the book of Revelation first and then come back and see what the rest of the Bible says about the End Times.  Just my two cents for BSF headquarters.