BSF Sharing Day/Comment Page

Hey all,

Well, our time this year in the Book of Acts is drawing to a close.  I will not be posting BSF Lesson 32 answers as it’s all personal questions that only you can answer.

However, I am posting this page for you all to share your answers to Lesson 32 if you’d like, what you learned this year and how the Study of Acts has impacted your life.  I’d love to hear it!

I’ll go first:

The over-all theme this year for me was prayer:  the importance of prayer, the significance of it, how we should pray all the time in every situation, and how God answers our prayers even when we don’t see it.  We are to bring everything to the table: every worry, qualm, anxiety, triumph, failure, persecution, question, feeling, and quandary to Him and He will take every single burden and make them His own.

I have never read any of these books of the Bible before (my goal of finishing the New Testament is summer reading!) so all of this was new information for me.  It has been wonderful to piece together the history of it all (you know me) and learn exactly how Christianity spread and how difficult it was and yet God prevailed.

Yesterday at church we discussed how the Jewish people are the only group of people to have survived millenia since recorded time.  Gone is the Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Ancient Greeks and Romans, the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires and the empires of modern times such as the Nazi regime.  Only the Jews have survived and thrived.  All thanks to God and His magnificence.

I learned what it’s like to live a Christian life.  I grew up a Christian but we didn’t attend church regularly and when we did attend church it was all fluff.  I’m tired of fluff.  I want someone to tell me I’m going to Hell if I don’t believe; to tell me I’m straying from God’s path when I am; to tell me how to submit to authority and others; to tell me to love others.

Not having a Christian life modeled has impacted my life greatly and as I make mistakes in life, I am continually praying I learn from them and turn a new leaf in my life.

I don’t think God’s will for my life has changed.  Nor will it ever.  I do think I have learned a bit more about what it’s going to take to achieve His will for my life and the sacrifices I will be required to make in order to do so.

I pray all of this new knowledge I have learned stays in my brain until the point it is needed and when the situation arises it emerges.  I pray I can bless others through my knowledge.

Summer goals:  to finish reading the website I posted (HERE) and to finish the New Testament reading.  I’m in the book of John so I don’t have too much left after this study!

To all of you who have been so encouraging to me and others throughout this study, I send a heart-felt thanks.  It is much appreciated and beyond my words.

I wish all of you a joyous and blessed summer break and I will see you in the fall where we will start at the beginning of it all!

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 2: 1 Peter 3:1-7

Summary of passage:  Peter tells wives to submit to husbands in the same manner Christ submitted to God’s will so that the husband may be converted by her behavior and how she leads her life.  Women’s beauty should not come from outward adornment but from within, which never fades and is of greater worth in God’s eyes.  Sarah submitted and was beautiful as she put her hope in God.  Do what is right and never fear.

Husbands be considerate and respect your wives who are weaker and heirs to God’s gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Questions:

3a)  In the same way Christ was submissive as Peter talked about in 1 Peter 2:21-25:  submissive to authority (God and government).

b)  So that if their husbands do not believe, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives. At this time in history, many women were being converted to Christianity before their husbands and the women wanted to know if they should leave their husband and how they should behave now that Christ was their head.

c)  No.  It means if you rely on outward beauty (such as braiding hair and wearing jewelry) for your beauty instead of allowing your beauty to come from the inside.  The source of beauty is from the heart.

Again, in these times, many women dyed their hair (much like today) and wigs were popular. Women would spend hours having slaves do their hair as certain hair styles were very popular back then (much like today).  It was important to be “cool” even in Ancient Times, meaning to be fashionable and trendy.

Other translations of this verse use the word merely.  If you read it this way, it makes perfect sense.

4)  Physically women are weaker.  God made us that way.  Husbands needed to be stronger to toil long hours in the field doing manual labor.  Women, on the other hand, stayed in the home where she needed much less brute strength generally.  Husbands should respect their wives because they are heirs with them of the gracious gift of life or part of God’s chosen people as well, equal spiritually.

Conclusions:  This echoes Paul’s words to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-33) with the same message of submitting because God is our head.  I liked how Peter brings out not to fall into the trap of relying on physical beauty as so many women of today (and then) did. Great reminder and teaching (especially to our younger generation) of God’s truth and not the world’s lie that the heart is what matters to God, not the latest fashion trends.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 22, Day 3: Ephesians 1:3-14

Summary of passage: Paul says praise to God for blessing us in the heaven with spiritual blessings.  We have been chosen since before the Creation to be holy and blameless in His sight.  Through love God predestined us to be adopted into His family through Christ for His pleasure and will by the gift of grace which he gives us freely.

We have redemption through Christ’s blood by God’s grace, made known to us through Christ, to bring all things in heaven and earth together in God’s timing.

We are also for the praise of God’s glory.  Having believed we were marked with a seal (the Holy Spirit) which guarantees our inheritance (our possession by God) until we are redeemed–to the praise of His glory.

Questions:

8a)  Verse 4 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love.”

b)  Two billion people on the planet profess themselves to be Christians (33 %) but how many of these actually possess the Holy Spirit is probably less.  The overall percentage is falling however relative to the overall population and history.  There is still work to be done in the world.

Me personally, I’m still working on being holy and blameless (life-long challenge for Christians).  But I belong to Christ and am not going anywhere.  This alone gives me solace.

9a)  Glory according to Webster’s Dictionary means, “worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving, something that secures praise, great beauty and splendor, magnificence, the splendor and beauty of heaven.”

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by JD Douglas and Merrill C Tenney glory is “great honor or praise, used especially of God’s majestic splendor.”

To the praise of His glory means praise and honor for God’s majestic splendor.  Douglas and Tenney go on to say, “the glory of God is the worthiness of God” or the “revelation of God in Christ.”  So we (humans and others) are to praise and honor God for His worthiness and His revelation along with His splendor.  Verse 12 specifically says that we might be for the praise of His glory.  So through us we can show God’s glory–something to be praised.

b)  When we show through our actions what it means to live a Christ-centered life.  So to be slow to anger, to be humble, to praise God for everything we do, to be patient, to love and forgive.  I can be all of this to my family and others.  Put others first and strive to do what Jesus would do with every action, word, and breath.

10a)  Heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation).  You believed.  Then you were marked with a seal (the Holy Spirit), which indwells in you, showing you as God’s possession and is a deposit for your inheritance and redemption.

b)  The Holy Spirit marks you and allows a part of Christ to live in you, in our hearts.  It is what changes us since we all know will alone is not sufficient.

11)  To seal according to Webster’s Dictionary means “something that confirms, ratifies, or makes secure, guarantee, assurance, authenticate or to determine irrevocably or indisputably (my favorite definition!).”

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by JD Douglas and Merrill C Tenney seal means “authentication, confirmation, ownership, evidence, or security.”

It gives me comfort to know I’m irrevocably God’s.  That He has marked me, I belong to Him, and therefore, nothing else matters.  Nothing can stand in my way for God’s purpose for my life.  It’s a relief.  Knowing I can live Him every day of my sometimes seemingly pitiful existence.

Conclusions:  As a writer I love the dictionary so these two lessons made my day!  It’s amazing how knowing the exact definition of a word changes things.  I do this when writing.  I change words all the time to convey exactly what I mean.

I love reading about the Holy Spirit and being reminded God is inside of me.  I love the simplicity of being in Christ:  Hear God’s Truth, Believe, and you are His through the mark of the Holy Spirit.  I also love being His glory.  Most of the time I don’t feel glorious.  In fact, I can feel the complete opposite:  shame, embarrassed, unworthy, lackluster, disappointing, regretful, and downright sad.  Even then I can be His glory if I believe it.  If I chose to.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 5: 2 Corinthians 6-7

Summary of passage:  2 Corinthians 6:  Paul writing to the Corinthians.  He describes his life of a servant of God:  endurance in troubles, hardships, and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments, and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience, and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left hand; through glory and dishonor; bad report and good report; genuine and impostors; known and unknown, dying and alive; beaten but not killed; sorrowful yet always rejoicing; poor yet rich; having nothing yet possessing everything.

Open your hearts to this.

Paul warns to not be yoked with unbelievers.  We are the temple of God and unbelievers have the potential to defile that.  We are to try to be as holy as possible and unbelievers can bring unholiness into our lives.

2 Corinthians 7:  Paul tells the Corinthians he has great joy in them and asks them to make room for him in their hearts.  Paul had conflicts galore in Macedonia but God comforted him with the arrival of Titus who bore news from the Corinthians that indicated they had repented of their behavior, they longed for Paul, and they were joyful.

Paul caused them sorrow but their sorrow led to repentance so Paul has no regrets.  Godly sorrow produces earnestness, eagerness to do right, and a longing to see justice done.

Titus was happy from his visit to the Corinthians as he was treated well, upholding Paul’s confidence in them.

Questions:

13a)  Beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, hunger, endurance, troubles, hardships, distresses

b)  Purity, understanding, patience, kindness, Holy Spirit, sincere love, truthful speech, power of God, weapons of righteousness

c)  Glory and dishonor; bad report and good report; genuine and impostors; known and unknown; dying and alive; beaten but not killed; sorrowful and always rejoicing; poor and making many rich; having nothing and possessing everything

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m said this before but comparing our lives to the life Paul led is stretching it a bit.  2000 years separates us.  Most of us have not been and will never be beaten, imprisoned, involved in riots, etc.  So I am answering this question speaking just on how I deal with the “hardships” in my life compared to the way Paul did (even though my hardships cannot compare to Paul’s).

I need to be better at all of it.  Patience, kindness, sincere love, wielding weapons of righteousness, always rejoicing, etc.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul is happy no matter the troubles of hardships because he sees what God is doing in his life and others’.  He sees the joys and the rewards of his work and sufferings.  He follows God at every turn and is never let down.  Lives are changed and Paul rejoices in that.

I think if we follow God at every turn we can have his joy as well.

Conclusions:  My favorite parts were what BSF did not ask about:  the warning to not be yoked with unbelievers, which I take for myself as to be wary when partnering with them in business, life (through marriage), causes, or anything that would cause you to stray or sin or cause harm to others or cause others to not walk the Way.

We need to live in the world but not be of the world.  We need to be careful that culture and society do not unduly influence us.  We need to walk God’s path for our lives and not society’s.

2 Corinthians 7:10:  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.

I like to think of my sorrow as “godly”.  It somehow dulls the pain a bit.  And if we are truly repentant we will have no regrets.  If you still have regrets, you haven’t fully given it to the Lord and need to repent again.  Godly sorrow produces in us the desire and vow to never do it again, the anger when we do something stupid, and the drive to do better next time.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 4: 2 Corinthians 5

Summary of passage:  Paul still speaking:  If our earthly tent (human body) is destroyed, we have a building from God in heaven.  We groan because we wish to be in Heaven but God made us for this purpose (human form) and given us the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come (Heaven).

Thus, we can be confident while in the body that we have a home in Heaven because of faith.  While we would prefer to be at home with the Lord, we must make it our goal while on Earth to please Him for we must all appear before the judgment of Christ for the good or bad things we have done while in the body.

We try to persuade men that Christ died for our sins, for EVERYONE, and we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him.

Thus, we must look at everyone from a heavenly standpoint since that is the goal and what matters in this world.  If you are in Christ you are a new creation since God reconciled us to Him through Christ.  We are thus Christ’s ambassadors for others to be reconciled to God and thus be righteous before God.

Now is the time for salvation and God’s grace.  Before it’s too late!

Questions:

11a)  The earthly tent is our body and the building is our home in Heaven.  As most of us know, a tent is not study and can easy fail, be broken and blow away, and in the end disappear altogether.  A house is much more sturdier, built to last a lifetime and in this metaphor for all of eternity.  We groan and complain while in the tent (the body), yearning for Heaven (the dwelling or home) when we need to remember God made us for this/His purpose.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  I can’t say this.  I don’t feel like I’ve fulfilled God’s purpose for my life yet and it drives me every day.  Plus, selfishly, I’m not ready to leave my kiddos.  They need me right now and I want to be there as long as possible.

I can say I do make it my goal to please Him.  Admittedly, I fail.  But every day is new and I get to start over and try again and little by little I think I’m getting closer and closer to a God-centered life.

12a)  Reconcile according to Webster’s Dictionary means, “to restore to friendship or harmony; to make consistent or congruous; to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant.”

b)  He has sent Christ to die for our sins; to remove our sins, cleanse us, so that we may be with God.  He has made us a new creation through the giving of the Holy Spirit.  We are now righteous before God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.

Conclusions:  What I got out of this passage is the importance of living by faith (verse 7) since we are in the body and away from the Lord.  This is what prevents most people from not accepting Jesus Christ especially in today’s society.  Everyone is so negative and wary of scams that having faith to believe in the unseen is hard.  But it’s what sets religious people apart from others.  We can be confident of our home in Heaven and our righteousness before God because of our faith.

Paul calls us to give something to others because God has given us everything!  Live for Christ, serve others, remember our lives will be judged by Christ, and tell as many others as possible about Him!

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 4: Acts 20:1-12

Summary of passage:  Paul heads out to Macedonia encouraging the people and then arrives in Greece where he stayed 3 months.  Intending to sail back home but having to change plans because of a plot against him by the Jews, Paul travels back through Macedonia overland.  He was accompanied by representatives of various churches since he was purportedly carrying a large amount of famine relief money with him.

Paul arrives in Troas where he speaks all night to a group of people before his final departure to Jerusalem.  A young man named Eutychus was seated in a window when he fell out of it during Paul’s long sermon and dies.  Paul then throws himself on the man, wraps his arms around him, and brings him back to life.  Then Paul continues with his sermon until daybreak.

Questions:

10)  God ultimately.  Then to encourage believers and the churches he had established and spread the Good News.

11a)  He sunk into a deep sleep and fell from a third story window and died.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Eyes on speaker.  Ears open for God to speak to you.  No outside distractions or speaking.

12)  Paul threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him and Eutychus was brought back to life. He continued on as if nothing odd had just happened.

Conclusions:  I completely disagree with the interpretation here on Question 11b.  I don’t blame the guy for falling asleep.  I probably would.  I don’t know many of us who can sit through a 6 hour sermon until midnight after having been up since daybreak working in the fields performing manual labor as we have to assume Eutychus was (that’s why Paul was preaching at night because everyone worked during that day).

We are also told there were many lamps.  Lamps in Paul’s time were oil lamps and gave off a lot of smoke and fumes (unhealthy to breath).  We’re not talking kerosene here.  The fuel was most likely olive oil.  We can also assume there’s a lot of people packed into a tiny space to hear Paul before he leaves (another reason Eutychus may have been sitting on the window).

So here’s Eutychus breathing in all these fumes, probably sweating from all the people and the heat from the lamps, being lulled to sleep by Paul because he’s exhausted, and he falls out the window.  I would have too!

Why wouldn’t Paul show compassion?  What’s he gonna do?  Blame the guy?  Doubt it.  Eutychus died because he was eager to hear the word of God and couldn’t overcome his exhaustion that was not caused by any fault of his own.  It was the times he lived in.  Naps were non-existent back then for most people.

In the end, God made humans and humans require sleep.  It’s not something we can go without.  Trust me, I’ve pulled enough all-nighters in my college days to know this is horrible for the body.

I see no fault here whatsoever with Eutychus falling asleep and I believe Luke told the story either as a diligent reporter who was recording Paul’s travels or to show the dedication of believers.  I don’t think he ever intended it as a warning that “If we fall asleep in church we’re doomed to Hell.”

I don’t like the word “motive” either in Question 10 merely because this word is used almost exclusively in the US when someone commits a crime or has a hidden agenda.  In actuality, it means according to Webster’s Dictionary “moving or tending to move to action.”  So Paul’s motive overall is God and then we can break this down into spreading the Good News and encouraging his churches.

Question 10 also makes it seem as if Paul’s motive has changed when it hasn’t.  This has always been his motive since he was first called by God.

Map of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey:

http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_03.htm

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 15, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

Summary of passage:  Jesus died and rose again so those who have died will be risen when Jesus comes again.  The Lord will come down from heaven with a loud command, a trumpet call, and the voice of the archangel.  The dead in Christ will rise first.  Then those who are still alive will meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever.

The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, suddenly.  Destruction will come and they will not escape.  Let us be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and hope of salvation as a helmet.  God appointed us to receive salvation through Jesus and not for wrath.  He died for us so we may live together with him.  Encourage one another in this.

Questions:

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The emphasis on how all in Christ will be in Christ.  How the timing does not matter but that we must be alert, self-controlled, and ready for that time.  To wear faith, love, and salvation as our armor as we traverse this world.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s a good reminder to keep the end game in mind when we get stuck in the nitty-gritty of living.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be being faithful to God every day.  By radiating love to all we meet.  By remembering salvation is the ultimate goal.  Remembering why we are here (for God and His purpose) instead of our own.

14a)  To receive salvation through Jesus Christ (verse 9) and live together with him (verse 10)

b)  To suffer wrath

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s only desire is to be with us, His creation, forever.  We are not meant to suffer.

Conclusions:  I felt I was repeating myself over and over today.  Same answer.  Different wording.  Main point:  be ready for Second Coming so we may all receive salvation through Jesus as our inheritance.