BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 2: Revelation 4:1-8

Summary of passage:  John was invited into heaven for a glimpse.  He was in the Spirit.  Before him was a throne.  Sitting on the throne was one who appeared jasper and carnelian and a rainbow and 24 other thrones with elders surrounded the main throne.  Seven lamps or spirits of God shone before the throne.  Thunder came from the throne. Four creatures surrounded the throne:  a lion, ox, one like a man, and an eagle.  Each creature had 6 wings with eyes everywhere and were singing God’s praises constantly.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God.  Appeared like jasper and carnelian.  God is to be worshipped constantly.

4a)  24 elders.  Elders could be angels or man–most likely man. White represents righteousness and glory.  Angels are sometimes presented in white robes or garments (Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10), but saints also have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14) for righteousness (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:5-18). We never see angels crowned but believers will be (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).  This shows man as heirs with Christ and reigning with Him (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12). (See End Notes for full explanation and interpretations).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal.  Crown of life (James).  Crown of glory that will never fade  away (Peter).  Crown of righteousness (Timothy).  Crown that will last forever (Corinthians).  To be honest, on this day, a Saturday at 6:25 am, it doesn’t encourage me.  Not one bit.

Conclusions:  Being far from encouraged today and being tired of being asked about how I am encouraged in this study when truthfully I’m pretty down-in-the-dumps, I decided to count how many times we are asked this (so far).

Lesson 1:  We are asked what hope, comfort, and/or confidence we receive 3 times

Lesson 2:  We are asked what gives us alarm, hope, and/or help 3 times

Lesson 3:  We are asked what helps, strengthens, and comforts 2 times and encourages 2 times.

Lesson 4:  Hope 1 time.

Lesson 5:  Encouragement 2 times, comfort 1 time

Lesson 6:  Confidence 1 time

Lesson 7:  None.  Mainly factual lesson.

Lesson 8:  Encourage 2 times.  Hope and confidence 2 times.

Totals:  Encourage 6 times.  Hope, help, comfort, confidence 13 times.

Being that the definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.” (we talked about it in Lesson 8 Day 5) has the words “hope” and “help” and “hearten” which means confidence, we can probably add all of these together for a grand total of 19 times.

Maybe I’m being petty or cynical or what-have-you (and I’m sure you all will let me know if I am).

The book of Revelation does not intimidate me.  It does not scare me (check out my poll in the sidebar.  Half of you aren’t scared by the End Times either).  It is like any other book of the Bible–given by God for us to discover a bit more about Him and His desires for us.  It is no harder than say Matthew to study or any other book.  I don’t understand why Christians shy away from it (my church included. In the 11 years I have been attending it has NEVER done a series on Revelation which is a travesty in my opinion).

I think this is why people are intimidated–no one talks about it.  Plus, with all the doomsayers out there, putting out movies (which are fiction) and writing novels (fiction as well) about Revelation, people can’t separate fact from fiction.  It’s simple:  Bible is fact.  Everything else fiction.  Believers have nothing to worry about.  Nonbelievers do.

Point of my rant:  Knowing I have an eternal future doesn’t encourage me when the bank is calling and I’m late on my mortgage and it doesn’t encourage me the day I file for bankruptcy, hold my baby close, and cry, knowing I’m leaving the house all my children were born in.  Daniel’s story doesn’t encourage me when my husband loses his job.  It doesn’t encourage me when my husband is passed over for promotions because he lives out God’s words in his deeds.  Knowing there is a kingdom awaiting me doesn’t give me hope in my daily life at times when loved ones are in car accidents, my dogs die in my arms, or cancer strikes friends and relatives.

(Note to prevent emails:  All of this stuff has happened to me, some of which I have written about here.  I’m actually in a really good place right now.  Just goes to show you whether your down in life or up hope and encouragement can still be far away.  The main thing weighing on my heart right now and is probably the root cause in all of my down-in-the-dumps attitude is my inability to get a book published–my life long dream and God’s will for my life I believe.  When doing God’s will for your life ends up perpetually at a dead-end road, discouragement, disappointment, and heartache reign and skew your vision of life–be it daily life and eternal life.  I’m working to pull myself up but am not there yet).

At the end of the day, God does give me encouragement when I pause to listen and pray.  But every day?  No.  It just doesn’t.

I mentioned in Lesson 8 Day 5 I have become numb to most of the world’s happenings in order to maintain my sanity.  I think the same is try for God’s encouragement and hope.  Yes, I should be encouraged and filled with joy that there is more for me besides the daily grind.  But do I believe it and live it out every single second of the day?  No.  Will I?  Perhaps.  Am I getting closer each day?  I’d like to think so.  I recognize it though.  That’s the first step to changing it.

Sorry for the information dump.  Sometimes when BSF asks questions about hope and encouragement and comfort and I don’t feel any it can be depressing.  (I have mentioned this before in other studies).  But I shouldn’t feel guilty about it (and neither should you if you are in my boat).  Because God will comfort and encourage and give us hope when we need it.  Not necessarily when we are asked the question.  Not everything has to encourage.  In fact, it can be the opposite.

Note:  We were asked about the crown as well with the exact same reference Bible passages in Lesson 6 Day 3 for Revelation 3.

End Notes:  We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where scholars break it up) with the words “After this”.  We are going to study Revelation 4-5 which begins John’s visions when he was taken up to heaven and then take another break and jump to Joel who prophesied about the Day of the Lord.  Here we’ll see a heavenly perspective and how God metes out judgment on earth and its people.  This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduces the rest of Revelation.  The number 7 will be prominent here.  A separate post on the significance of numbers in the book of Revelation will follow this lesson.

After Jesus finishes speaking to the 7 churches, John is called up to heaven to see events that will take place –leading up to Jesus’ return to earth.  This echoes Moses’ call up to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19.  Many see this as symbolic of the rapture as John is taken to heaven before the judgement.  Chapter 6 will describe the wrath.  As noted before, the word “church” is not used from Revelation 4-19.  This will bring in the debate about the Tribulation but we’ll save that for later on.

John immediately sees a throne in heaven whereupon sits God.  Note he doesn’t describe God as a figure but as emanations–colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red).  Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13).  Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man (Genesis 9:13-16).  God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us.  This is a reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace for us.

The 24 elders are either human or angels.  Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24).  Most think they are human in glory (the white).  Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).  Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14).  Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Lightning, rumblings, thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him.  In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

7 lamps are the Holy Spirit.  7 Spirits of God are completeness again (Revelation 1:4).

Sea of glass–scholars are divided whether it is literal or figurative.  The “Sea” in the Old Testament is the basin of water priests would wash in before administering in the temple (1 Kings 7:23-26).  See also Exodus 30:17-21.  This was before we were made clean with the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5).  Hence, it may symbolize our righteousness before God.

Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22).  The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord.  Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10).  The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus.  Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics.  Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle.  All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness.

Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8).  Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8)  Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how He is fully God always.

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33 comments on “BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 2: Revelation 4:1-8

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for your very real description of how you feel about all the “How do you feel? ” BSF questions at times. I wondered if I was the only one that gets tired of being so queried. Obviously, I am not. Good study but annoyingly unhelpful or poor questions at times.

  2. Karen & Chuck Miller says:

    I am encouraged by this post! I have not been encouraged by the BSF revelation study! Thank you for your time and effort. It has been 30 years since I studied Revelation and I don’t think that BSF alone is giving me much help understanding or remembering all the symbolism.

    I have an idea (that may not be good)… Have you considered something like GoFundMe to self-publish your book? Although I am not able to give a chunk of money, If all your eager readers pitched in a little, you might be covered. With any gift over $100 you could promise to send a copy of the book once it is published. I really don’t know how this works, but I know my bachelor brother funds lots of stuff on GoFundMe that is much less worthy than a book. Blessing to your and your family. Karen

    • atozmom says:

      I’ve looked into self-publishing but once you self-publish a book, most traditional publishers will not take on your project. It happens (50 Shades of Gray is an example) but they are few and far between and I’ve decided I really want to go the traditional route.

      Thanks for your advice and everyone else’s advice! Very helpful and much appreciated!

  3. Rita says:

    You are such a precious vessel.
    Your trancesperacy is so refreshing !
    As for your writing skills they have HIS anointing all over them.
    This blog alone is just as fruitful as any published book…
    God will continue to go before you and open the doors HE has assigned for you.

    You are about to burst with song…
    Psalm 30:12

    Your sister in Christ

  4. lawrence stirtz says:

    Grieving is a natural process and healthy it should be experienced not avoided but if it lasts too long can be harmful.

  5. Lissette says:

    If I may give my 2 cents about the book you are trying to write. I know that it means a lot to you as an accomplishment and financially. What you are doing here is so above anything else you can do. You are reaching thousands of people every day. God is using you. How many people can say that? Look at the big picture, what you are doing here is huge.

    As far as having bad days we all go through that and you more than anyone. Why? Because you are serving God. The devil is still alive and will do anything to destroy what you are doing. I have seen it so many times, including my own experience. The moment you start doing anything for God he will find a way to discourage you.

    You are so right when you say that God will comfort us, but in His timing which I know sometimes seems like it will never happen, but happen it will.

    No, we should not feel guilty about feeling depressed. It is part of life. Thank God that this life is so temporary compared to the eternity that awaits us.

  6. Carol says:

    It is hard to wait through disappointments and completing tasks that God has given us to do. A verse that has helped me tremendously in this area is Proverbs 13:12. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

  7. Susan says:

    Take a break and listen to the Casting Crowns song “Just Be Held.”

  8. Darlene says:

    I am so deeply disappointed in this BSF study. I was looking forward to a much more in depth, scholarly approach to this fascinating book of the Bible. I know there are many differing opinions and interpretations in various areas and I was hoping to learn more about all of them. Doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Did BSF not know how to approach this study? It seems they went to great lengths to avoid digging in to this book. A whole week on Acts and the day of Pentecost? And if I have to answer one more personal question about hope for the future I am going to throw my lesson across the room! This feels like a milk diet and I was so hungry for meat! Just had to vent. Thanks for all the additional information and interesting links you provide. I have been coming to your blog to get what the BSF study is missing.

    • atozmom says:

      Get ready to huck your lesson then cause more of those questions are on the horizon.

      I feel exactly the same. There is so much BSF is not exploring especially as we get to the throne of God, the 144,000 sealed, the two witnesses to name just a few. It’s as if BSF does not want to offend anyone so they don’t mention any possibilities of what John may be saying here–which is missing the whole point and doing a huge injustice to those who came to this study with that anticipation–of someone explaining all of this!

      Present all of the ideas to us and let us decide but please don’t ignore the interpretations no matter how complicated.

      It is a very superficial study. Tons of questions on literal meanings (like who is in what scene and what are they doing or carrying) instead of who are the 144,000.

      Anyways, my two cents. In my opinion, a fluff lesson is better than no lesson and it is getting believers to think about the End Times no matter how in depth they choose to go–something God wants for all believers to understand. Hence, this study is good despite our complaints.

      • Gene says:

        I haven’t seen the notes for this lesson, but they generally give more insight than the lesson questions. You are generally a week ahead so you have probably seen the notes and stil seem disappointed.,

  9. Jo says:

    I am also disappointed in this study. It seems that they are wearing us out with personal questions and opinions rather than getting into some deep studying of scripture. I am already tired of the repetitious questions about how I think and feel. These questions do not lend themselves well to our discussion groups as rarely does anyone have anything to share. I hope it gets better or it will be a very long year.

  10. Mede says:

    I was so ‘encouraged’ 😉 seeing other believers encourage you instead of chastise you for how you really feel. I have not been answering the how do you feel type questions…I thought something must be wrong with me for not feeling particularly encouraged by some passages.
    As for your book…I believe you will be blessed as you have blessed so many with your blog. Of course when your book deal comes you cannot stop your BSF posts. 🙂

  11. CMCS says:

    Thanks for your honesty. Sometimes it frustrates me when I am with *Stepford* Christians.
    I skipped this question, then I look to see what you (and others) have answered.
    I have a *system* with my lessons: I type them on my computer, your answers are formatted differently and I never answer with your answer, but want it there for the future.
    But.. If I have a personal answer that I don’t want to say, but remember my thoughts.. I use a small, gray font. This was my answer for this question:
    Hmm.. how does this encourage me? Do I believe for the reward, the crown? Do I believe for eternal life?
    Or do I believe out of love? What if nothing was promised? Would it make a difference? Do I strive to be righteous and have glory?
    I have enjoyed this year, not so much for the questions, but for my group. I have a tender, sensitive, leader and a great mix of ages. The sharing has been awesome. No, the study has not been in depth, but I’ve experienced better studies and group despair!
    Praying for you.

  12. CMCS says:

    I also have seen a change in the BSF *rules*. They are much more relaxed and I think they are intentionally trying to reach the young, busy moms. No more 11 pg notes, challenge questions, etc. One recent leader told our group you didn’t have to have the lesson done to participate. That was a basic rule when I started years ago. Some of that is for the good, some not.
    I think they are trying to throw out their net wider and as this study is attracting a lot of new people, they may have went for the easier way. Just my thoughts.

  13. J J Zavada says:

    It has been my experience that when God sends us troubles like you are now experiencing, they are meant to test our worthiness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. They are not from God, but from Satan the Accuser whose role seems to be roaming around the earth seeking to persecute those who love God only for the blessings He has bestowed on them. “Take them away” he tells God, “and he/she will turn away from you” So we need to remember that although God allows Satan to torment us this way, God also has set limits on how far Satan can go. He also gives Satan’s victims the weapons to fight him off. Faith in God’s Word is the most powerful weapon. With that enduring faith, it will all be OK in the end. So if it is not OK today, you know it is not the end.
    Regarding your efforts to get the book published: seems like there is some self will operating there. You want the book published hoping it will earn the money you need to get out of financial difficulties. Nothing wrong with that except that may not be what God wants for you. The book may appeal to hundreds of readers and earn some money, but that sounds like you are placing trust in material things instead of storing treasure in heaven. There is a saying among some Believers that God’s answer to prayer is never NO! Rather it is YES. or NOT NOW or I HAVE SOMETHING BETTER IN MIND. In your case, I think it is the third answer.
    This Blog may not bring in any money but I am sure it is helping a lot of people find God in their lives who might never have sought Him if it were not for you. Your humble sharing of how difficult it sometimes is to take up and carry our cross is more powerful than any biblical knowledge we get from BSF.
    May you dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of your life!

  14. Vicki says:

    I wonder if all the questions about “how does this encourage you” is just trying to spur discussion in our groups. Its good to be honest and transparent in our discussion groups, but no need to bash BSF.

  15. Dani Owens says:

    I agree in the “superficial” BSF study. This is my first one with BSF and it is leaving me lacking. I just stumbled across you’re blog and am so grateful! Thank you. I also struggle with encouragement with all the challenges that life throws in our direction. Sometimes the joy that awaits us is the only encouragement that I AM looking forward to as the struggles seem overwhelming sometimes.
    Anyway, thank you for your honesty in sharing and I appreciate your depth of knowledge.

  16. ray says:

    As an unbeliever who occasionally reads your BSF posts, I often find nuggets in your posts that I would otherwise never actualize on my own since I do not have that Divine Helper. I am encouraged by your attitude despite the personal trials. Please pray for me as the 18 inch journey from head to heart continues to elude me.

    • Sweet Mama says:

      Praying for you, Ray…that the 18 inch journey from head to heart no longer eludes you and that the wisdom of life supplants the wisdom of the world.

    • atozmom says:

      Praying and will continue to pray…God will keep knocking until you answer the door.

    • J J Zavada says:

      Ray,
      Your comment that you “…do not have that Divine Helper” brought to mind a scene from Stephen King’s THE STAND.
      A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

      The unlikely candidate chosen by God to defeat the Dark Man is Nick Andros, a 22-year-old deaf-mute drifter, presented to Mother Abagail by Nick’s friend and sign interpreter Tom Cullen. When Mother Abagail informs the deaf mute of his mission, there is a flurry of hand motions between the interpreter and the mute. Then the Interpreter informs Mother A. that her chosen one does not believe in God. Undaunted, she simply replies “That don’t make no never mind. God exists and He has chosen you.”

  17. keg says:

    have you ever considered self publishing

  18. Jdub says:

    I so appreciate this blog! Please don’t stop, at least not until this study for Revelation is over.

    My heart just broke as I read your broken heart being poured out. I don’t like to give any credit to the enemy but it seems to me that because you are in ministry, your husband is doing the Biblical thing, that you are completely in a spiritual warfare. Hang in there, young lady. The LORD is using you, so don’t get discouraged with that. Any time you are in a ministry, bad things happen, and they are hard. They aren’t your typical mishaps.

    You are on the front the line and we as Christians need to be praying for you and your husband more ferverently since we are being blessed by your blog.

    You wrestle with the LORD; ask Him what you are to do. Remind Him that (not that He needs reminding but you’re showing Him how you know His Word) “he who honors Him will be honored.” Pray Scripture. You just never, ever let go of your faith. Not at any cost!

    It’s not about the crowns. It’s about Him and only Him. Since you have all our emails, reach out to one of us (I would love it if you reached out to me). I’d be happy to pray with you personally, to listen to you complain, scream, cry, whatever you need to be heard.

    Thanks for your obedience in doing this study for us. You have given me a different perspective on what BSF is asking in their questions. I do think their older studies were better. I agree that they are trying very hard not to offend anyone. In last week’s notes the very mention of “appreciate diversity,” was alarming to me. They explained what they meant but those words today have a different meaning. If read improperly, a nominal or non-Christian would say we are to embrace everyone (with sin that they feel doesn’t look like sin). It’s just who they are and that there are many paths into heaven.

    Sorry for going on. Feel free to contact me personally. Please know I am going to be praying that the LORD does amazing things for you and your family as only HE can do.

    • Sweet Mama says:

      She is indeed on the front line and clearly is under attack. I agree on some levels about the study but I cannot let myself go there. As a group leader, I have to shepherd the women God has graciously placed in my care this year. It is requiring more of my time than ever and that is a challenge. Trusting God in His providence to provide all we need and that we worship and serve Him while we wait. I also agree that younger people are seeking and BSF is changing for those young ones who work two and three jobs and go to school and so on. I keep repeating, “It’s not about me. I know Christ. It’s for the lost and hurting.” That is why your ministry here is so important here for those who hunger for more. I have some so burdened and overwhelmed they can’t get the lesson done some weeks and I have some who are insatiable for Him and whose lives are arranged such that they can do the lesson this year, do homiletics with me, and they come here, too. It’s okay. God is raising up more leaders. Yes, those of us academically inclined were hoping for more head knowledge. I always have that war going on in my head that I have to wage battle against! It was so clear to me during the BSF Acts of the Apostles study. I didn’t like Saul/Paul. I never liked Saul as a child even after the Road to Damascus story. That picture of him standing in the background at the stoning of Stephen never left me. I was a good girl. Saul was a bad guy. That’s how I still saw myself decades later. Somewhere in the middle of the study it dawned on me, I was Saul, that good Jew, who knew the Holy Scriptures so well. Suddenly, I realized that I might have been on Team Pharisee, along with Saul/Paul, who was determined to winnow out every last follower of that troublemaker Jesus who was messing with the God I knew and had been raised to believe. There I was, a long time Christian, a so called born again believer, who finally after a life in church realized that Paul the sinner who was saved by grace greater than our human mind can wrap its feeble self around and that cannot begin to imagine a God so great, so good, so amazing that He would choose to save someone like me. I guess what I’m saying is this…a lot of us were wanting an academic study of Revelation but BSF is taking this to a heart level study…reconciling it with the Old Testament prophecies and reminding us…it’s about Jesus and His saving grace. I hope this helps a little. Also, I feel like when we start getting hungry like this…God is really calling us to leadership somewhere. Be ready. There are children who need to hear about Jesus. There are young adults who have never been to church in their lives. Thank you for sharing your heart and providing a safe place to share.

      • Pat says:

        Thank you Sweet Mama for your beautiful heartfelt response! I love your portrait of Saul/Paul….this is my first BSF study and I need the heart, not head knowledge that seems to come so easily to many believers. My stumbling of the study is the 45 minute lecture….I’m not an auditory learner and so I struggle with focusing. And, the constant flip flopping throughout the Bible, I’m mentally exhausted and have no peace with this study. Our Lead Teaching Pastor just announced our church is going to Study Revelations…..I believe the Lord is closing one door on this study and opening another one.

  19. Susan says:

    I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your blog because I am a new at studying the bible. At times it can be so overwhelming and difficult to understand. When I am answering the BSF questions I try to answer the questions myself, then I read the notes in my study bible and finally read your blog. Your blog is amazing and I am really, really impressed by your knowledge and thoughts! So many times your extra information or noted passages has me going all over the bible learning new things! Sometimes it even gets me off track and I have to stop and go back to the BSF questions that need completed.

    Listen, I am just a newbie at BSF but I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and your efforts each week. Please stay strong and I will be praying for you!

    Thank you and may God Bless You!

  20. brdybnch0401 says:

    Have you tried to get it published (probably stupid question).  Just wondering where.  There is a self publisher (I think that is the correct term)in Bloomington.  My mom has went thru them and written @ least 4 books.  I’d be happy to get the info for you if you are interested.

  21. toni323 says:

    I was new to BSF 5 years ago and felt like I received help from your blog when I was stuck on a question. I have grown through my study of the bible and now I just take a look sometimes to check what others have received from the study. I normally don’t comment on others thoughts but something told me I should comment here. You seem to be in a rut and need help yourself. Please don’t take anything I say as a negative comment about you personally because I assure you that I only wish the best for you.

    At the beginning of your conclusion you were making a count of how many times we have been asked certain questions. I believe that there is a rhyme and reason to everything BSF does. There are times when I don’t care for the wording of certain questions especially when asked to speculate. I feel that you however, are concentrating on the wrong thing. All of us have experienced bad times. I myself have been through the same financial issues you are facing and it is dreadful when you are in the midst of it. (Mine was divorce, bankruptcy, loss of house and car and becoming a single mom of 2 kids. Other stuff too but this isn’t about me. Just wanted you to know I have felt your pain.)

    I will just share with you some of the insights that I have gained from this weeks study and maybe along the way it can help you gain some of what you need.

    When asked what help I received from the notes, I wrote:
    “King Darius’ conversion because of Daniel’s faithfulness. This is a really beautiful example of how a well lived, faith filled Godly life can transform the lives of the people around them. His new decree: In every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For He is the living God & He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He delivers & rescues, & He works signs & wonders in heaven and on earth, who had delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

    Sometimes it is not about us but rather how others see how we come through it.

    BTW, every time I get ready to start on my bible study, I ask God to give me the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to receive all that He has for me to receive from His word. It really works!

    So, 2nd Day question 3 really expanded my thinking in ways I would not have realized when I first read the question. My first question was, “What do these stones look like that he is using in describing God’s appearance?” Well, instead of going into detail of my thought process I will just give my answer:
    “God. He was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance. There was a rainbow, like emerald in appearance around His throne. Around the throne were 24 thrones. Jesus is called the Rock and Chief Cornerstone. I think of rocks as being immovable, they have strength and some are precious and rare. Precious stones have characteristics which include luster and luminescence. They emit, disperse and refract light. Jasper and sardius are multicolored including white, red, yellow, brown and black which is interesting since we were made in the image of God. In Rev 4:4 it states that there were 24 thrones around God’s throne. God is at the center. In our worship of God we should treat Him as our awesome creator and precious savior. We should draw on His strength and keep Him at the center of our lives.” Oh, and if you include the other colors that those stones can have it also includes yellow, blue, orange and green. God’s appearance as described here, to me anyway, represents everything. All woven together by God’s design.

    Yes, it seems that a lot of the questions are geared toward “baby” Christians v.s. mature Christians but that doesn’t invalidate them. I don’t believe that we should do or say things that could hurt any “new” Christians in their walk with Christ and I feel like you are walking very close to that line in your commentary at times.

    My own daughter, who was raised in the church, said to me one day, “What has God done for me? I have prayed and it hasn’t done any good.” I told her that God is not a genie in a bottle, that He doesn’t grant wishes. And that sometimes what you want is not what you need. My favorite example is Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed for God to take the cup from Him and God’s answer was no. Why do we expect anything different when we pray. We are not always going to get the answer we want to hear.

    As for question 4b my answer is:
    “An imperishable crown, a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory that does not fade away, the crown of life! Wow! This is so encouraging. We must be of great value to our creator. He sent his Son to save us and promises a crown, not just a gold crown but one that won’t perish or fade away and indicates righteousness and life. I don’t expect an actual crown but the promised crown is just another representation of our belonging, our inheritance and our gift of everlasting life.”

    Any and everyone should be encouraged by free gifts that they don’t deserve.

    I hope that you don’t really have to numb yourself to the goings on in this world to maintain your sanity. One day my other daughter commented on something horrible that had happened and questioned why God doesn’t stop these people from doing bad things. I told her that God is always just. He didn’t just give us free will, He gave it equally to everyone and that it is not God’s fault when someone uses that gift of free will to do bad things. We all have a choice everyday to do it right or do it wrong.

    Every one has heard someone say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think that may have spurred the other saying about doing more harm than good. You have a world-wide forum here, and you should ask yourself every time you are about to hit the submit button, “Am I doing good?”

    If you are having personal troubles that are making your life difficult, ask for prayer. I feel that there should be some separation between the bible study and your personal grievances for the sake of those who may be persuaded to give up on it. This is the first year of this study and BSF will listen to input and will work to make things better since their only goal is to help people have a deeper understanding of God’s word. Let us all help them with that verses casting stones.

    Thank you opening your heart and mind for other’s comments on what they see as well.

  22. Mary says:

    Love your honesty, Praying for you!

  23. […]  My answer:  We’ve been asked this before (Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 3 Day 5, Lesson 9 Day 2 & Day 5, Lesson 10 Day 5, Lesson 14 Day 3, Lesson 16 Day 4 .  It doesn’t do either of […]

  24. Elaine Crowder says:

    This is my first year of attending BSF, although I have been a Christian since very young..
    The group I am in are so caring as I have several very stressful situations going on, and everyone of them have been so supportive, and the Leader is a REAL SHEPHERD.I am taking a lot of time with the questions, as although having access to the bible all these years I don’t really memorise it that well.May I encourage all to see the real value of BSF, and I know all the ladies at my location give up so much of their own time to facilitate the evening of about 100 women.I am unable to go tonight as I have the flu, and I am really missing the special camaraderie of our group and leader.Praying for you all
    Love in our Precious Father Almighty.

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