Prayer Requests for Week of November 16th, 2014

Hey all!

Please leave any prayer requests or praises below as a comment or email them to me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com and I’ll post them.

Mine:  Strength in my husband’s job.  To be the best wife and mother I can be.

God bless and have a wonderful week!

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Read Lesson 10 Notes!!

Unlike Lesson 9 Notes where there was not a lot to glean, Lesson 10 Notes will inspire you and motivate you to improve something in your life whether it be prayer, work for God and His enabling, or the belief that you are holy, etc.  Great job by BSF in capturing the essence of Exodus 25-31 that is hard for most of us to get because it is buried in such legalism.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 5: Exodus 34:10-35

Summary of passage:  God renews the covenant with Moses and His people, repeating the same stipulations as before, promising to make them into an amazing people as long as they obey His commands and not make treaties with neighboring peoples or worship any other god.  Don’t intermarry either because the foreigners will only lead you astray.

God reminds them to make no idols, observe His feasts of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Ingathering and give Him the firstborn.  Observe the Sabbath.  Moses stayed on Mount Sinai another 40 days and nights without eating or drinking and he wrote down God’s commands on the tablets.

Moses descended Mount Sinai and his face was radiant from speaking with God.  The people were afraid at first but then Moses veiled his face except when speaking with the Lord.  He would relay the commands of God and his radiant face proved he had spoken to God.

Questions:

10a)  The people had just been told God would not accompany them and had been threatened to be killed by God.  To know they were back in God’s favor would renew their faith in Him and His grace.

b)  God said He is making a covenant with the people and He would do wonders never before done in all the world so the people whom they live among will know He is God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope in my faith, my giving, my living out His commands and following Him, my prayers, my good deeds, and my love for Him and all.

11a)  God, being the One, True God must guard this position.  He must preserve His honor and supremacy.  And as the One, True God He demands of His people exclusive worship and devotion.  Hence, He is jealous when Israel turned from Him with the golden calf.

God wants everyone to obey Him.  He wants the best for us.  He wants to protect what is precious to Him (us).  God is jealous because He is sovereign over all.  He has to protect that which is His (us and Israel in the Old Testament).  Note God is jealous when the people are worshipping other idols because then they are not His.  God wants us completely and when He doesn’t have it, He is jealous.

This all comes down to the meaning of the word “jealous”.  God’s jealous is different than what we normally think of as “jealous”.  Hence, it confuses us.  In essence, God is jealous when someone gives to another what rightly belongs to Him.  In the case of the Israelites, their worship.  [See End Notes for wonderful links on this topic].

b)  To reassure the people who have just sinned against Him and almost paid the ultimate price. Obviously, the people need a reminder of just who God is and what He desires from them.  They aren’t understanding yet how they are His treasure.  He is trying to get them to understand their uniqueness and reveal in that and in Him.

12a)  This is a ‘DUH!’ question.  He was with God.  Anything is possible with God.  God sustained Moses.  He is enough.

b)  His face was radiant because he had spoken with God and some of God’s glory had been passed on to Moses.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  These are always hard ones because it is those around us who notice the changes more so than we do because the changes are usually so subtle every day that we absorb them and they go unnoticed.  It’s only when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while that the changes are noticeable.  It’s like when you lose weight and someone comments on it even though you never noticed it (this has happened to me a bunch of times in my life).

Anyways, this question is hard because we rely on others who sometimes don’t tell us when they notice changes in us for whatever reasons.  Honestly, none.  I haven’t heard anything from others.  No one has commented.  So it makes me wonder if I have changed or I’m still the same hard-hearted, selfish, conceited person.

Conclusions:  Loved the jealousy question as we as Christians need to understand why God is jealous and get the “envy” definition out of our minds in order to understand God more fully.  This is one of the hardest attributes of God to grasp and I am still trying to grasp it–how the Almighty Lord could so love me that He is jealous of me.  It is my prayer to have this penetrate deep into my soul.

The 2 Corinthians passage made it seem like Moses’ veil was a selfish thing because the glory faded.  I see it as for the people’s benefit who were afraid of Moses’s radiance.  Furthermore, because the glory faded, the people might begin to believe that the Lord faded from Moses as well and be afraid that God had abandoned them.  The veil was for the people; not for Moses.

Also, note how Moses’s shining face reflects the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant wasn’t powerful enough to give glory forever.  Only the New Covenant.  Hence, we can shine for all of eternity.

The personal questions are the same:  how do people see God in you?  Great question but unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to it.

End Notes:  We must remember that the covenant is all for God’s glory and Israel was the nation God chose to receive His blessing and grace.

Everything spoken here by God is repetition from before:  same laws, same stipulations, same requirements, same blessings.

Three times a year Israelites are to appear before God are Pentecost, Passover, and the Feast of the Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14-17).

Leaven or yeast frequently represents sin the Bible.  Hence, it is outlawed here with the blood sacrifice.

No one in the Bible has ever gone 40 days or nights without water except in this instance.  Great illustration of how we are to live on the Word of God alone.

The remarkable thing about Moses’s face shining is that he had no clue he shone.  He was humble, not a bit of pride or superiority to be found.  Awesome!

Great reads on a jealous God:  https://bible.org/seriespage/jealous-god

http://www.gotquestions.org/jealous-God.html

Fun Fact:  Only two men in the Bible have faces that shone:  Moses and Stephen (Acts 6:15).

Cool Mistranslation Fact:  The verb “shone” in Hebrew has two meanings:  “shot forth light” and “having horns”. Hence, when monks first began to translate the Bible into Latin in the Middle Ages, Moses was thought to have horns so you often see depicted Moses with horns on his head in medieval paintings and drawings.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 4: Exodus 34:1-9

Summary of passage:  God gives Moses another set of identical tablets that Moses broke in his anger at seeing the golden calf.  Moses chiseled out the tablets and went up on Mount Sinai so that God could re-engrave them.  Here, God proclaimed His name to Moses in a cloud, saying He is compassionate and gracious and loving but punishes the guilty.  Moses bowed down and once again asked for the Lord’s forgiveness of the people.

Questions:

8 )  God knew the importance of having written laws for the people’s sake so graciously made another set once Moses broke the first set.  He forgave the people their sin and continued on with His plans for them.

9a)  Compassionate:  Inspires me to be more compassionate as God is/was

Gracious:  Inspires me to extend grace to those who don’t deserve it

Slow to anger:  Inspires me to exercise more self-control

Abounding in love:  Inspires me to open up more and love more

Abounding in faithfulness:  Inspires me to keep my word and be more faithful to Him

Maintaining love to thousands:  Inspires me to care for others

Forgiving wickness:  Inspires me to forgive the evils of this world and those done to me

Forgiving rebellions:  Inspires me to forgive myself when I rebel inside

Forgiving sin: Inspires me to forgive myself of my sins and forgive others sins.

Punishes the guilty:  Inspires me to let things go for I know God is the mete of justice.

b)  Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped and asked for forgiveness and for God’s presence.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s goodness and faithfulness and grace.

Conclusions:  Liked the questions.  Not for sure they went deep enough.

End Notes:  This description of God became the cornerstone for the Jews as the most profound statement  of God’s nature.

As Christians, knowing God as Moses knew God–His character–should be our highest striving.

Fun Fact:  Exodus 34:6-7 is the most alluded to passage in the Old Testament.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 3: Exodus 33:12-23

Summary of passage:  Moses is speaking with God and beseeches to know Him better.  God says His Presence will go with Moses on his journey.  Moses says if God’s Presence doesn’t accompany them, then he doesn’t want to go and nothing will distinguish God’s people if God doesn’t.  God grants Moses request and when Moses asks God to show him His glory God says His goodness will pass in front of Moses for no one living can see God’s face.

Questions:

5a)  To know Him better.  To learn more about God so he can better lead and have more confidence.  To be closer to God.  To know God approves of him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be honest, I’ve never really asked God to know Him better.  But I just did!

c)  That God remember that these people are His people, that they are distinct from the rest of the world because of God’s favor upon them, and thus God had to go with them so that all others will know these are God’s people.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I pray more and more for others but never really thought of it as leading to my personal growth.  Sounds a bit selfish to me if that’s the only reason you are praying is to grow personally.  Others first, then you.  Like Jesus did.

6)  Confidence in their course, freedom from worry, desire to help others and do what’s right in God’s mind, an inner peace in their lives, compassion on others, living God’s way not the world’s.

7a)  God Himself, but I’m not for sure Moses knew exactly what he expected.  After all, it is God and God’s ways are not ours.  Moses just wanted to be close to God so badly that he asked to see God and I believe Moses didn’t really care here if he saw God or not.  He only wanted to be as close to God as humanly possible and I think Moses achieved that more than any other person besides Jesus while on Earth.

b)  “Do the very thing you [Moses] have asked”, which is to go personally with the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land because God had said in Exodus 33:3 that He wouldn’t due to His anger over the golden calf.  He also promised to show Moses His goodness and proclaim His name in front of Moses.  He will have compassion on who He has compassion and mercy on whom He will have mercy on.  He will cover Moses until His glory has passed and Moses will see God’s back but not His face.

c)  No one can see God’s face and live.

Conclusions:  I do need to ask God to know Him more, and I need to pray for others not for me but for them as they need mercy more than I do.  I would like to be seen as someone who knows God, but I fear when people look at me, they don’t see God but me.  Something to pray about.

End Notes:  What makes the Promised Land special is God.  Without God, the land is nothing.  Hence, Moses begs God to go with them.  The word “know” is repeated here.  We need to know God and desire to know God like Moses did.

Moses was bold here, pressing God and using grace as his reasoning.  God responds.  Great example for us as well.  Delicate balance of Godly-fear with the right heart.

Moses wanted more and more and kept asking.  God granted.  So must we.

God’s glory lies in His goodness.  That is the first thing we must know about God–that He is good.  To understand God, we must understand His goodness.  This is the essence behind God’s glory.

Elijah may have met God in this exact same rock cleft (1 Kings 19:8-18).

Here we see the hymn Rock of Ages:  Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.

I would expect to sing this hymn when we do this lesson in BSF.

Take away:  If you seek Him, you will be rewarded beyond your imaginings.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 2: Exodus 33:7-11

Summary of passage:  The tent of meeting was pitched outside the Israelites’ camp.  Whoever wanted to inquire of the Lord would go here.  Moses would go inside the tent and the pillar of cloud (God) would descend and the Lord would speak to Moses as if with a friend and all the people would worship when Moses was with God.  Joshua stayed behind at the tent.

Questions:

3a)  The Israelites had lost their privilege of having God amongst them when they formed the golden calf.  God punished them by removing Himself.  Hence, God had to remain separate since He is holy and the people are not.

b)  They worshipped whenever God was present.

4a)  Moses didn’t see the face of God, but God’s presence descended and Moses spoke with God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we ask Him to.  When we come to Him in prayer.  When we beseech Him.  Whenever we want, God will speak to us.  We only have to be willing.

Conclusions:  I jumped up and down at this lesson!  Short and sweet!  Emphasized how we all can approach God and be with Him if we are only willing.  Great lesson on choosing God and Him meeting us when we do so.  Yay, BSF!

End Notes:  In the ancient world, places of worship were built outside of towns.  God had desired to change this until the sin of the golden calf.  Furthermore, by placing the tabernacle outside of the city, those who truly wanted to meet God had to go out of their way to do so.  It was an act of separation.  God’s people had to be separate.  They had to choose Him.  We can assume some of the Israelites did not do so.

Moses set a strong example for the people.  When he worshipped, so did they.  This is what leaders do.

Moses had a special relationship with God.  He didn’t see God’s face for John tells us no one has (1 John 4:12), but Moses heard God clearly and “sees the form of the Lord” (Numbers 12:8).  It is clear Moses is special.  What an amazing honor!

I see two reasons for Joshua staying:  1)  To guard the tent.  2)  He was so moved by the Lord’s presence that he did not wish to depart.  He yearned for God and by staying at the tabernacle he was as close as humanly possible to God’s presence.  I believe we all have this yearning and why we are all drawn to church wherever we are–to be as close to our Maker as possible.

The Trumpet of the Swan

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

So after reading Little Women, which was a challenge, I picked an easier book, one I knew my son would enjoy:  The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.  Boy, was I glad I did!

We follow a young trumpeter swan named Louis who was born with a “defect”–no voice.  For trumpeter swans, this is serious indeed as swans court females with their voices.  So since Louis can’t speak he decides to learn to read and write.  Then he could communicate with other swans.  Here, he engages the help of his human friend, Sam Beaver.  Sam Beaver is a young boy of eleven who witnesses Louis’ birth on a small lake while he is camping with his father.  He becomes friends with Louis and his family.  So Louis goes with Sam to school.  When Louis returns, he falls for a young swan named Serena.  However, she ignores him because he cannot speak and she cannot read.

Concerned for Louis’s future and wanting to give him everything his heart desires, Louis’s father, known in the book as the cob which is the word for a male swan, steals a trumpet from a music store in Billings, Montana.  He gives it to Louis so that he may woo Serena.  However, knowing the trumpet has been stolen, Louis sets out to earn money to pay for it.  Once again he seeks out his friend, Sam Beaver.

Louis goes to camp with Sam where he works on playing the trumpet and learns songs to play to earn money.  He then goes to Boston and plays there for swan boats.  Then it’s off to the Philadelphia Zoo where Louis plays at a night club.  By the end of his gig, he has earned over $4600, more than enough to pay for the trumpet and the damage to the store when his father crashed through the window to steal the trumpet.  Louis gives the money to his father who takes the money to the store owner.

Now, Louis is debt free and is able to court Serena who falls in love with his trumpet playing.  Louis settles down to a private life, raising his cygnets (baby swans) and living quite happily.  He still sees Sam at the lake where they go camping and at the Philadelphia Zoo where Sam now works and where Louis visits.  Louis still plays his trumpet for his family.

The books ends with Louis settling in for the night, thinking of how “lucky he was to inhabit such a beautiful earth, how lucky he had been to solve his problems with music, and how pleasant it was to look forward to another night of sleep and another day tomorrow, and the fresh morning, and the light that returns with the day.”

Great story.  So many life lessons.  One, repaying debts owed.  Two, friendship.  Three, the simplicity of life.  Four, family obligations.  Five, keeping promises.  Six, following your dreams (Louis’s is to live in the wild, free–”we must all follow a dream”).  Seven, how defects or handicaps or disadvantages shouldn’t hold you back.  Eight, hard work pays off.

The cob tells Louis “There may even be some slight advantage in not being able to say anything.  It compels you to be a good listener.  The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens.  And I assure you you can pick up more information when you are listening than when you are talking.”

Another life lesson from Louis:  “He needed money badly, and when you need money, you are willing to put up with difficulties and uncertainties.”  Great lesson often forgotten today, especially among our young people.

We finished this book in four days it was so good.  Fast paced.  Funny, especially the cob who talks and talks and talks and his wife, known as the swan, who always puts him back on the right track.  Feel good.  Great story about finding your voice in this world where voices are more often thrust upon us than discovered.

I could go on and on.  Another one:  Louis achieves great fame and is in demand for his talents and skills; yet, he rejects it all for the life he desires.  He only earns enough for his debts and his needs and no more.  The rest will take care of itself.  Great example for us.

This books is personification at its best–totally believable that a swan could learn to read and write and earn money in such a way.  I recommend this book highly.  Younger kids will love the story.  Older kids will get more of the life lessons.  And us writers will be inspired to write.  And adults who aren’t writers will be left with a flutter in their hearts and a sense that life can be just as sweet.