BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23

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Summary Joshua 23:

Joshua, old himself, calls the Israelites together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

God fights for them and one of them is equal to 1000 enemies because of this so Love God. Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, they will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them and they will die if they forsake him and worship other gods.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

6) Joshua calls the Israelite leaders together and reminds them of all God has done for them and tells them God will be with them to take the rest of the Promised Land. He tells them to be strong and obey all the laws written in the Book of the Law of Moses. He tells them to not associate with the nations that remain among them and not to serve their gods. Hold fast to God.

7) God is faithful. God keeps His promises. God is with us. God does not forsake us. We are powerful in Him. God is just. God will punish us if we turn from him.

8 ) Joshua warns them not to intermarry with the pagans nor ally with them or God won’t drive them out. Instead, the Canaanites will become snares, traps, whips, and thorns. The Israelites are to love God and obey God.

Joshua says he is to die soon. God has kept all his promises and God’s anger will burn against them, and they will die if they forsake the Lord and worship other gods.Image result for obedience to god

9) Part personal Question. My answer:  Joshua addresses the leaders separately for two reasons: 1) Practical. There are simply too many Israelites nowadays to call them all together. 2) There are higher expectations placed on leaders of the people by God than others, so Joshua expects them to lead by example and convey the message to the Israelites. We need strong, Godly leaders to guide us. When you find them, you keep them.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

I’m always amazed at how simple it is to get to heaven: choose Jesus and obey. Here, the Israelites must obey God and love Him. Not hard one would think, but, in actuality, it is. Joshua also says to avoid those who sin because they may influence you to sin and turn from God. We as Christians needs to love sinners, but we don’t have to be best friends with them. which I think is where people mess this one up.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 5, Day 3: Joshua 23:

The Israelites number in the millions. It would be like getting the whole state of Delaware to a meeting! Thus, be effectively communicating to the leadership, Joshua can get his message across.

Joshua begins by giving glory to God. He does not begin by listing all he’s done and his military accomplishments.

Each tribe must still fully possess what God has given them. There is still work to be done, and we all have a part to play.

How will Israel succeed?

  • With courage to have complete obedience to God.
  • Don’t even talk about the Canaanite gods. Stay as far away from sin as possible.
  • Love God.
  • Separate from ungodly influences and don’t compromise.

God is faithful.

Joshua repeats the principle of blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience that was a part of Israel’s covenant with God (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). God will be just as faithful to judge as He had been to bless.

Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-14), so we no longer have to experience God’s curse. Instead, we are corrected (Hebrews 12:7) and will experience a lack of blessing if we do not abide in Jesus.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 5, Day 3: Romans 3:23-24

Summary of passage:  All are sinners and are justified freely through God’s grace through Jesus’s work on the cross.

Questions:

6)  We are all sinners.  No one’s perfect.  Paul is a great example.  I think everyone knows they are sinners.  This is not the hurdle to Christianity.  The hurdle is admitting you need someone to save you from the sins we all commit. Overcoming pride and self-reliance.

7a)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, justified means, “to prove or show to be just, right or reasonable; to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation, to show sufficient.”  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary has the definition as “judicial act of God by which, on the basis of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and received through Faith, God declares the sinner absolved from sin, released from its penalty, and restored as righteous.  Simply put, being placed by God in a right relationship with himself.”

Justification is accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior when he died on the cross for our sins.  The Good News is you get to spend eternity with God!

b) Part personal Question. My answer:  We were all fallen into Hell until Jesus came to pull us out with his death and bloodshed.  He is full of grace and mercy.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  We didn’t do anything to earn His gift.  He has to have infinite love to bestow this upon us.  Deeper gratitude.

Conclusions:  Because Romans is such a short book we will probably be studying few verses every day. Which is good and bad.  We will probably be answering several similar personal questions as well such as how these verses impact your thinking, response, etc.

End Notes:  Paul uses 3 major themes in Romans which we see here in one verse:  1)  Justification or the law 2) Redemption from slavery 3)  Propitiation or atonement from the religious need for sacrifice.

Justification rids us of guilt.  Redemption saves us from slavery.  Propitiation ensues we don’t offend our Creator.

Justification is free.  It is given to us as a gift by the desire of God.

Freely is the ancient Greek word dorean.  It means with no strings attached.

We are only righteous through Jesus.  Period.

Redemption:  Jesus bought us with the cost of his life.  Thus, we belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Fun Fact:  Paul uses the Greek verb for “justified” 27 times, mostly here in Romans and Galatians.  It is translated “justify” in all cases except 2 (2:13; 3:20 where it is translated “declared righteous.”  This describes what happens when people believe in Christ as their Savior:  God declares them to be not guilty and righteous.  He debits the guilt of their sin and credits righteousness (for all you accountants/finance/math people out there!).

Paul’s points:  1)  No one lives a perfectly, good, holy, righteous life. (v 10).  All have sinned (v 23).

2)  Even though we are sinners, God declares those who trust in Jesus righteous.  This is valid because Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin and because he lived a life of perfect righteousness he imputes (ascribes) that to us.  THIS IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF ROMANS AS STATED IN 1:17.

Justification:  the central thought of justification is albeit people clearly and totally deserve to be declared guilt (v 9-19), God declares them righteous because of their faith in Christ.  Paul states this idea in several ways:  freely by his grace (v 24) and faith (v 25).

Redemption:  This word is from the slave market–basically obtaining release by payment of a ransom.  It refers to release from guilt, judgement, and delivery from slavery to sin, because Christ in his death paid our ransom to set us free.  Etymology:  mid-14c., “deliverance from sin,” from Old French redemcion (12c.) and directly from Latin redemptionem (nominative redemptio) “a buying back, releasing, ransoming” (also “bribery”), noun of action from past participle stem of redimere “to redeem, buy back,” from red- “back” + emere “to take, buy, gain, procure”. The -d- is from the Old Latin habit of using red- as the form of re- before vowels.

Fun Fact:  Paul is the one who formulates the doctrine of justification mainly in Galatians and Romans.

Breakdown of Justification:

  1. A declarative act by which the sinner is declared to be free from guilt and the consequences of sin
  2. A judicial act in which the idea of judgement and salvation are combined to represent Christ fulfilling the law on behalf of the sinner
  3. A remissive act in which God remits sin in complete forgiveness
  4. A restorative at by which the forgiven sinner is restored to favor through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

Faith is the condition of justification by which the meritorious work of Christ is accepted by the sinner.  Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 3: John 4:11-18

Summary of passage:  The Samaritan woman at the well asks Jesus where to get this living water he speaks of and if he’s greater than Jacob.  Jesus tells her the water he brings will give eternal life.  She asks where to get this water so she won’t thirst.  Jesus tells her to bring back her husband.  She says she has no husband.

Questions:

6a)  Ordinary water never quenches thirst.  The water Jesus offers will forever quench thirst and bring eternal life.

b)  In Ancient Times, living water was the name for bubbling water. However, for Jews living water is associated with God (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13).  Jesus is also living water (John 6:35).  Holy Spirit is living water (John 6:63; John 7:37-39).

c)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  People thirst for ordinary water as a basic human need for survival.  People also thirst for success, power, status, material things, relationships, children, other human desires, etc.  Thirsting for other things outside God can take precedence.  This is when it’s dangerous.  Thirst for God first and the other things second.  Then will you be satisfied.  Prioritize.  For me, only Jesus satisfies the basic needs of my soul.  Everything else is meaningless without Him.

7a)  She showed belief by asking for the water that won’t lead to thirst but unbelief by equating living water with ordinary water when she gave her reason for wanting the water so she wouldn’t have to make daily trips to the well.  She was practical; Jesus wants spiritual.  Jesus told her to go and get her husband.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus humbles you to the point you have to acknowledge his precedence in your life.  When we are the most blinded, he shows up to guide us on our path.  For me, it has been bankruptcy and losing it all.  It’s also the constant money struggles we have with my husband’s job being so tied to the economy and the sins in my life.  It’s all about dependence on Him and Him alone.  When that’s all in place, life is full of contentment.

Conclusions:  Love the difference of the waters and the different representations in the Bible (although they are all the Triune God).  Jesus takes a basic need and turns it into an essential need–one even more important that water itself–our spiritual health.

End Notes:  Drinking is God’s supply and man’s need.  We drink through faith and take in and choose God.  It’s simple–even easier than eating.

One sip of Jesus usually isn’t enough.  We must drink and drink and drink of God to satisfy our needs.  The expression “welling up” means leaping up.  It is vigorous and abundant.

Why ask for her to fetch her husband?  Remember from YESTERDAY we spoke of how men don’t speak to women in public.  This conversation is long and Jesus recognizes the need for her husband to be present in order to continue talking.

Jesus confronts the woman about her sinful past–her 5 husbands.  Jesus is not trying to embarrass the woman–he’s trying to get her to realize her sinful life and her need for him.  Apparently, the woman is living with yet another man.  Jesus rightfully says this is no marriage in his eyes.  She must recognize herself as a sinner first in order to drink of the living waters.  Good lesson for us all!

Jews held a woman could divorce two or at the most three times.  Her life is incredibly immoral by Jewish standards.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 5, Day 3: Revelation 2:18-29

Summary of passage:  Jesus says the church in Thyatira is improving but they are tolerating Jezebel and her teachings, which lead to sexual immorality and idol worship.  Jesus intends to make those who commit adultery with her suffer and will kill her children.  Those who haven’t followed her Jesus encourages to hold fast to him.  If they do, he will give them authority over nations and the morning star.

Questions:

6)  The Lord commended their improvement in deeds, love, faith, service, and perseverance of him.

7a)  Thyatira and Pergamum both were susceptible to false teachings and prophets, sexual immorality, and idol worship.

b)  She was impudent, shameless, evil, wicked, ruthless, unrepentant, murderer, a thief, and a bully.  She abused her power to gain what she wanted.  She pushed her religion upon everyone.  She was a false prophetess.  She almost brought down God’s people (see End Notes for her history).

c)  She will suffer and her children will be struck dead.

8 )  Personal question.  My answer:  Jesus is just (punishing according to deed).  It challenges me to do right always, to know I will be judged by Jesus, even in the little things.  To remember Jesus is not just the “warm and fuzzy” Jesus some churches portray him as; he’s also the final judger of deeds and a healthy fear would be good to imbed in my soul.

Conclusions:  The questions themselves weren’t challenging; the commentary and meaning behind it all especially in relation to the other churches was.  I would encourage all of you to take your time here.  Read more than the passage.  Really study what Jesus is saying here.  Imbed it in your soul.  Read commentaries.  Ask questions.  Investigate.  I promise you will be rewarded if you do.

That being said, be cautious of commentaries especially ones online.  One commentary I read said the children of Jezebel was the Roman Catholic Church and the commentator went on to chastise the church.  Obviously, Catholicism did not exist in the first century so this interpretation is extreme.

Use common sense and prayer.  If something is way out there, don’t believe it.  If it doesn’t line up with your beliefs of what is right or what the bible says, then disregard it.  Remember, gathering ideas is a good thing; but we also cannot know God’s ways.  Man’s interpretations and analysis is not God’s.  But we can learn from those around us.  Hence, our time sharing our answers in BSF!

With practice and God’s guidance you will be able to decipher the good versus the junk out there and you will grow in unbelievable ways.

End Notes:  Jezebel’s name is synonymous with evil.  She was a princess of the Phoenicians and was married to Ahab, king of Israel for political reasons.  She worshipped Baal and brought her religion with her (hence God forbid the marriage of foreigners).  She convinced Arab to build a temple to Baal in the capital of Jerusalem and set out to exterminate the worship of the One, True God.  She installed 850 priests of Baal and slaughtered God’s prophets.

In the end, she died as she deserved–thrown out a window and driven over by a chariot.  Her body was left to be ravaged by the dogs, fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21).

Thyatira was the most insignificant of the 7 cities.  It was the smallest and no persecution or suffering of Christians is even recorded in history occurring in this city.

Map of Thyatira

Still, it was a city of trade and Acts 16:14-15 mentions Lydia who traded in cloth, a good Thyratira specialized in.

To say “son of” something meant to the Jews you had the nature of that something.  Here, Jesus purposely uses “Son of God” to emphasize his deity to the people.  Revelation 1:14 and 1:15 is repeated here as well when Jesus describes himself with “eyes like blazing fire and feet like burnished bronze.”

Again, fire is judgment here and bronze is pure and steadfast.

Jesus picks this insignificant church in the ancient world to show that no one is insignificant in his eyes.  He cares for all and watches all.  He praises their love, faith, service, and perseverance–4 qualities that mark a good Christian.

Praises BUT…

The people were following a woman who was leading them astray, a false prophetess whom Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:11.  Whether her name was actually Jezebel or not, scholars are unsure.  Some even speculate she was the pastor’s wife as the Greek words could be indicative of that translation.

What is important here is the significance of the name; every Jewish person would have known immediately who Jezebel was and how evil she was in the eyes of the Lord.

Her sin was leading others to sin (Mark 9:42).  In the ancient world and beyond into Medieval times, a craftsman had to be a member of a trade guild in order to prosper and gain work.  Here, in ancient times, trade guilds were closely associated with the pagan gods which would entail sexual immorality and the eating of foods in the people’s worship ceremonies.

Note “my” servants.  We are all Jesus’s.

“Deep secrets” of Satan referred to the Gnostics who all claimed they knew such things.

Giving her time to repent is Jesus’s great mercy and love.  We are all given time to repent, but the time is limited.

The sin was also tolerating Jezebel.  The people needed to throw her out and now before she could corrupt others.

“Adultery” here is also spiritual adultery.  The people were betraying Jesus when they followed pagan ways.

The NIV uses “bed of suffering”, which is much closer to another translation of “sickbed.”  We know from 1 Corinthians 11:30 that God does use sickness as a method of judgment.  The word used here for “bed” in Greek is a banqueting couch.

“Suffer intensely” is also rendered “great tribulation” in some translations, which brings up THE Great Tribulation.  “Striking her children dead” and the mention of the tribulation here has some scholars saying all this is for future generations–meaning us.

Jesus still hopes for repentance “unless they repent of their ways”.  He uses punishments as a push towards him.  He never loses hope until the last second.

“Heart and minds” in Greek is “heart and kidneys.”  The heart was the source of intellect; the kidneys emotions.  God wants both.

Hold on until Jesus comes.  We are to hold fast to him until the End.

Jesus is encouraging the faithful:  “overcome and do my will to the end.”  We are to focus on Jesus despite all the immoral crap around us in the world.  If we do, we are promised the ultimate reward:  the morning Star, which is Jesus himself (Revelation 22:16).  Morning star could also be knowledge of God’s ways (2 Peter 1:19).  I happen to think it’s both–we get Jesus and knowledge all at once!

The iron scepter is a reminder that Jesus shall vanquish the unfaithful.  He alone is to worry.

Scholars debate when as always–either the millennium rule or the final rule or rule from heaven.

The Greek word here translated “rule” means to shepherd.

Again, Jesus tells us this message is for all including us.  A warning to unrepentant sinners; a ray of hope for those holding on to him.

Fun Fact:  This is the first and only time Jesus calls himself the Son of God in the book of Revelation.  Why?  Because this church is heavily engaged in idolatry.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 3: Exodus 7:14-8:19

Summary of passage:  Since Pharaoh still refuses to let the Israelites go, God tells Moses to go out to the Nile River and meet Pharaoh and tell him that since he won’t let my people go, you will use your staff to turn the water of the Nile to blood so that the fish will die and the water will be undrinkable.  Then send Aaron to turn the rest of the water in Egypt to blood as well.  Moses obeyed but Pharaoh didn’t care since his magicians could do the same thing.  The Egyptians had to dig for their water.

After a week, God tell Moses to send a plague of frogs upon the people until Pharaoh relents and lets His people go.  So Aaron sends the frogs, which the magicians can do as well.  Pharaoh tells Moses if he takes the frogs away, he will release the Israelites.  So Moses agrees but Pharaoh reneges on his word.

So God has Aaron turn the dust of the land to gnats–something the magicians cannot reproduce.  They tell Pharaoh this is from God but he doesn’t care.

Questions:

5)  Blood:  The Lord tells Moses and Aaron to turn the water in Egypt to blood.  Moses turns the Nile to blood while Aaron turns the rest of water to blood.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to Moses or Aaron and did nothing.

Frogs:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Pharaoh He will plague Egypt with frogs and tells Moses to tell Aaron to do so.  So Moses obeys and Aaron makes frogs come up out of the land from the waters in Egypt.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh tells Moses and Aaron he will release the Israelites if the Lord removes the frogs.  So Moses does but Pharaoh reneges.

Gnats:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Aaron to turn the dust to gnats.  Moses and Aaron do.  This is something the magicians can’t do so they tell Pharaoh that this must be the finger of God.  But Pharaoh as always has a hard heart and won’t listen and keep the Israelites enslaved.

Differences:  Moses participates in the plague of blood but strictly Aaron does so in the frogs and gnats.  Pharaoh obviously didn’t like frogs since he lies to Moses to get him to take the frogs away.  God is the same in all the passages.  The magicians can’t reproduce the gnats so they are now convinced that the Lord is who He says He is.  Pharaoh is the same obstinate person as before.

6a)  “This is what the Lord says”

b)  To underscore to Pharaoh that the message is from the Lord and not Moses just speaking.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is important to realize that the Bible is all that the Lord says, that it is from Him, and I’d better listen!

Conclusions:  I had never noticed before that Moses was the leader and Aaron did all the work for Moses.  From my childhood, I had always remembered it as Moses doing it all but it seems it’s his brother, Aaron, that does all the grunt work!  Aaron himself has no ability to perform miracles unless Moses says so.  It’s like Moses has to be seen as the leader just like Pharaoh is seen as the leader and like Pharaoh has minions and magicians to perform his work so must Moses.  I believe this is so in order to establish credibility with Pharaoh.  Furthermore, this is how it was in the ancient world:  you had an all-powerful ruler who dictated his orders and couldn’t possibly lower himself to do the work.

I always love how The Lord speaks to Moses cause it makes me jealous and I want God to speak to me!

End Notes:

Map of Ancient Egypt:  http://www.timemaps.com/history/middle-east-1500bc

Up-close Map of Ancient Egypt:  http://www.timemaps.com/history/ancient-egypt-1500bc

This is the time of Ancient Egypt’s greatest power and the furthest extent of its empire.  And here’s Moses challenging arguably the greatest man on earth!  These maps are interactive and have a wealth of information on the time and the countries around Egypt.

There are 9 plagues sent by God upon Egypt (the killing of the firstborn is not really a plague per se).  They are grouped by threes with the first two always coming with warnings and the third with no warning.  This is by God’s mercy upon Pharaoh, hoping he will change his heart.  He never does.

Some say the plagues could all have happened by natural causes.  For instance, in the plague of the blood, the river Nile floods every year and deposits rich, red soil on the land.  This could taint the water and kill the fish.  However, in the time sequence of the Bible, not all could happen so close together.

Each plague attacked an Egyptian deity, showing God’s omnipotence over all and answering Pharaoh’s question from Exodus 5:2 “Who is the Lord?”

In the plague of blood, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a goddess. This shows her ineptitude.

Scholars debate whether the magicians were using tricks or were using powers from Satan.  Most lean towards Satan.  Note how Satan just replicates the miracle; he never fixes it for instance turning the Nile back to clean because Satan cannot cleanse anything.

Why all the plagues?  Why not just kill the Egyptians and be done with it?  Well, God has two purposes here.  One, to show his power over the Egyptian gods.  Two, to give Pharaoh and the Egyptians a chance to repent–to show mercy as God does to all peoples.

Plague of frogs:  Again, this is directed towards an Egyptian goddess who had the head of a frog.  Frogs were worshipped by the Egyptians and considered sacred and thus were not to be killed.  What did God do?  He killed the frogs!  I bet the Egyptians were outraged over this one!

Note the parallels with the Creation here:  First and Second plagues are about the waters.  Third and fourth plagues, earth.  Five, air.  Sixth, man.  Then God rested.  Genesis 1, anyone?

Note how God uses the lowly here to accomplish his goals:  gnats, frogs, etc.

Pharaoh had to ask for help with his frog problem since no one was allowed to kill frogs and apparently they were everywhere, so much so the land reeked of them.

Plague of gnats:  Many translations say plague of lice (which to me is worse!).  The Egyptians were obsessed with cleanliness and this hit them hard!  Plus, now their sacrificial animals were tainted and no longer clean and fit for sacrifice to their gods.

The magicians cannot replicate this miracle and they say so to Pharaoh who apparently is insane and refuses to believe.  This shows how evil is limited and only God is omnipotent.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 3: Matthew 1-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus is speaking on a mountain with his disciples to a crowd (this is also known as his sermon on the mount).  He says blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who search for righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, and who are persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You are blessed when people insult you and persecute you because of Jesus because great is your reward in heaven.

Questions:

5)  Poor in Spirit receive the kingdom of heaven

Mourners receive comfort

Meek shall inherit the earth

Hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled

Merciful will be shown mercy

Pure in heart will see God

Peacemakers will be called the sons of God

Persecuted because of righteousness receive the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 25:34 says those who are blessed will inherit the kingdom of God.  Matthew 25:40 says those who help others (any kind of help) are doing it for God.

Luke 17:21 has Jesus saying the kingdom of God is within you (referring to the Holy Spirit).

John 17:20-26 essentially repeats Luke as Jesus prays that God’s love will be inside of us and that he himself will be inside of us and his glory as well.  And Jesus prays that non-believers will see this love and come to him as well.

The Revelation passages speak of the Second Coming and how all of those who are blessed, who are believers in Christ, will reign on earth alongside Jesus.

6a)  Opposite of poor of spirit:  Those who do not repent over their sins, who do not fear God, who are prideful, and self-reliant.  This is most people today.  They think the world revolves around them and they can do whatever they want without consequences.

Opposite of mourn:  Those who do not feel, are unsympathetic to others, are indifferent to others and their suffering.  Those who are unrepentant and who truly don’t care mourn their sins.  Who chuck it up to life.  Those who don’t strive to be more like Jesus.  Again, this is a lot of people who are too selfish to notice others in the world are suffering and frankly don’t care to help.

Opposite of meek:  Prideful.  The need to be right and not submit.  A natural human condition we all must fight to overcome.  Most of us suffer from pride in some form during our lives.  It’s a daily battle to overcome.

Opposite of hunger and thirst for righteousness:  Those who disregard God’s laws.  Who commit adultery, who think homosexuality is okay, who take His name in vain, who worship other idols, who covet what they do not have.  Who submit to Satan’s lies in essence.  Those who do not seek to fill themselves up with God but instead use drugs, alcohol, sex, and evil to fill their emptiness inside of them.  This is a lot of people today as well.

Opposite of merciful:  Unmerciful.  Those who hold grudges and refuse to forgive.  Those who act out of spite.  Those who are mean and get some kind of sick pleasure out of it.  Bullies come to mind.  Many today do not forgive and it is one of God’s most important commandments as He forgave us everything.

Opposite of pure in heart:  Those whose treasure is of the world.  Who values material things over God’s things such as compassion and mercy.  The unrighteous.  Those whose heart serves two or more masters.  These again are many in this world.

Opposite of peacemakers:  Troublemakers!  Those who stir up dissent.  Who are infected with evil and thus do evil.  Those who reject God and are not reconciled to Him.  Of the world today, there are many.

Opposite of persecuted because of righteousness:  Those who will not suffer for God.  Who have not accepted Him wholeheartedly.  Who have limits on their faith.  Who will not go out of their way for Him.  It can be as simple as not attending church on Sundays because it’s an “inconvenience”.  Those who put their needs above Him.  Or those who renounce Him on penalty of death.  Or those who ignore Him when He speaks.  This is many today.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would like to say I hunger and thirst for Him and try to be pure of heart.  I try to do what is right in this world and what Jesus would do.  I study His word like I would anything else: with the goal of knowing Him and understanding as much as He will allow me to.  And I try to share Him with others as difficult as this may be (see HERE for a recent story on this).

I consider this a blessing because then I am able to share what I learn with others and my kids in a meaningful and understandable way in order to bring others to Him.  I write this blog in order to share my knowledge and have you all thirst for more!

In return, as I learn more and share more, I am encouraged and motivated to do His will and discover Him.

Conclusions:  Question 5 is very similar to Question 4 and I found myself repressing the scowl on my face.  For it was different.  Yesterday we examined the blessing.  Today we examined the reward for keeping the blessing.  And BSF took it one step further, asking us the opposite of the blessing, which allowed us to see our faults.

I thoroughly enjoyed this in-depth analysis of the Beatitudes and how I’m supposed to live my life. I have never studied this before so it was exciting to say the least!  I learned some new stuff, was reminded of some stuff, and encouraged to keep plugging away at my goal of being more Jesus-like.  And I hope you all were as well.  Long lessons but worth every minute!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 5, Day 3: Genesis 4:6-8

Summary of passage:  The Lord confronted Cain about his feelings, asking him why he was angry and downcast.  God told him if he did what was right, he’d be accepted.  If you don’t do what is right, sin will prevail so you must master it.

Cain lured Abel out to the field and murdered him.

Questions:

7a)  God told him if he did what was right, he would be accepted.  If he didn’t do what was right, sin would win and he must master sin.

b)  God understands the power of the devil and sin and is trying to encourage Cain to resist.  God does what every good psychologist does:  acknowledges the hurt and offers up a solution and encouragement.

8a)  If you believe in me, I will accept you.  If you turn from me, sin will consume you.  The choice is yours.

b)  1 John 3:10-16 explains that Cain did not have God and was thus a child of evil for he did not love his brother nor did he do what is right.  Cain was jealous of his brother who was righteous and thus he committed evil when he murdered him.  Do not be surprised if the world hates you because you believe and have eternal life.  Unbelievers are in death.

Jesus defined love when he gave his life for others.  We are called to do so as well.

Conclusions:  God always reaches out a hand to those who turn from Him but God cannot make us choose Him.  God knew Cain would kill Abel; yet, He offered him a chance.  Cain refused.  Cain did not have love in his heart.  He was evil.

One of the worst crimes against humanity and it’s been around since Genesis 4 (page 8 in my Bible out of 1370 pages).  Disheartening to think about.

Love truly does conquer all.  It never fails.  1 Corinthians 13