BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36

Image result for 1 samuel

Summary of 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

Eli the priest’s sons were wicked. They were taking more than their share of the food offered to God, which angered God. Every year, Hannah would bring her son, Samuel, a new robe. She had more children. Eli chastised his sons who were also sleeping with the serving women to the Tent of Meeting. God wanted to put Eli’s sons to death because of their sins. God was in control, but the sons still chose to sin.

Samuel flourished, but Eli paid the ultimate price for his sons’ sins, cursing all his descendents to die young. God will kill both of Eli’s sons on the same day and raise up a new faithful priest who will follow His commands.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

9) Eli’s sons start taking the choicest pieces of the sacrifices for God for themselves, and they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Eli chastised them but didn’t do anything about it.

10) None of Eli’s descendants would live to be old men. His two sons will die on the same day. He is being replaced permanently as the priest to the people with someone else who has more faith.

11) Personal Question. My answer: I do let my kids get away with things such as doing chores or helping me out because it’s easier than fighting them on it. Be a better parent.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

This is the first time I’ve really noticed that Eli turns a blind eye to his sons’ sins despite the seriousness of the sins. As the parent, it’s Eli who suffers the consequences as well as the sons.  It shows the importance of dealing with sin.

Another amazing video on 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 4: 1 Samuel 2:12-36:

The ancient Hebrew calls them sons of Belial. Belial was a pagan god and the phrase sons of Belial refers to worthless and wicked men. This was a significant problem, because the sons of Eli were in line to succeed him as high priest and they already functioned in the priesthood.

What was the first sin of the sons of Eli the High Priest?

With many of the sacrifices brought to the tabernacle, a portion was given to God, a portion was given to the priest, and a portion was kept by the one who brought the offering. According to other passages in the Old Testament, the priest received a portion of the breast and the shoulder. But now some 400 years after the Law of Moses came, the priestly custom changed – they did not take the prescribed portion of the breast and shoulder but took whatever the fork (fleshhook) brought up out of the pot.

God’s portion was always given first, so it was wrong to take the priest’s portion before they burned the fat.

The fat was thought to be the most luxurious, best part of the animal, so they gave it to God. The idea was that God should always get the best, and God should get His portion first. But in their pride the sons of Eli took their portion before they burned the fat.

Why did the sons of Eli want raw meat?

Perhaps it was so they could prepare it anyway they pleased; or more likely, it was because raw meat was easier to sell and they sold the meat and pocketed the money.

The greed of Eli’s sons was immense; they did not hesitate to use violence and the threat of violence to get what they wanted.

How was Eli’s sons’ sin so great?

  • Greedy for the best meat
  • Violent to get what they wanted
  • Intimidated others to the point they were scared to sacrifice to the Lord–this hurt others.

What is Samuel’s role?

  • God raised up Samuel because of the corruption of Eli’s sons. God knew how bad Eli’s sons were, so He guided the whole series of events that resulted in Samuel’s service at the tabernacle.

Corrupt ministers do not stop – or even hinder – the work of God. It may look like it; but every time there are men like Eli’s sons, God raises up someone like Samuel.

Image result for picture of ephodWhat’s a linen ephod?

  • A priestly garment, signifying Samuel as distinguished already (Exodus 39:27-29).

As a child, Samuel served the Lord. Often children are discounted. They can do great things for His kingdom.

What was the second sin of the sons of Eli the High Priest?

Eli is too old to deal with his sons, and thus only rebuked them. However, his sons were committing sexual sins at the tabernacle. This was an ancient version of the modern sex scandals among pastors or preachers. Exodus 38:8 refers to the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting

Even worse, the sons made people hate to worship God with their offerings at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:17).

Jesus intercedes for us. Unfortunately, the sons chose sin and thus the consequences were death.

We don’t know who this man of God was. He’s one of the wonderful anonymous characters of the Bible.

The father referred to is Aaron, who was the first High Priest. Since the High Priesthood was a hereditary office, Eli was a descendant of Aaron, whom God had revealed Himself to.

What are the duties of the priesthood of Ancient Israel?

  • The priest was first a minister of the LORD. Before he served the people, he was a servant of God.
  • The priest brought sacrifices for atonement and worship.
  • The priest was to lead the nation in prayer, and to pray for the nation.
  • The priest was clothed in specific garments, for glory and for beauty (Exodus 28:2). He was to represent the majesty, dignity, glory, and beauty of God to the people.
  • The priest was also charged with the responsibility to receive the offerings of God’s people and to make good use of them.

What was Eli’s greatest sin?

Eli put his sons before the Lord. By not correcting his sons the way he should, Eli showed he loved them more.

The arm was a picture of strength and might in Hebrew thinking (Psalms 10:1577:15, and 89:10). Thus, cutting off the arm  said the house of Eli would be left powerless and without strength.

God promised that the priestly line would not stay with Eli and his descendants but would pass to another line of descendants from Aaron. This was fulfilled many years later, in Solomon’s day. Abiathar (from Eli’s family) was deposed as high priest and replaced with Zadok (who was from another family).

1 Kings 2:27 reads, So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.

This was a promise to Aaron in passages like Exodus 29:9. God did not remove the priesthood from the line of Aaron, but He did remove it from the line of Eli.

Image result for picture of priestly kingWho is the “faithful priest?”

  1. This promise was partially fulfilled in Samuel because he functioned as a godly priest, effectively replacing the ungodly sons of Eli
  2. The promise was partially fulfilled in Zadok in the days of Solomon because he replaced Eli’s family line in the priesthood.
  3. The promise was fulfilled completely in Jesus Christ because He is a priest forever in the order of Melchezedek (Hebrews 7:12-17).

What’s the ultimate punishment for Eli?

Everyone in his family would be beggars.

What lessons do we learn from Eli?

  • Consequences are grave for greedy, lackadaisical behavior. Angry God enough and this is what happens.
  • We are all responsible for the consequences our behavior brings.
  • Take parenting seriously.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 4: Romans 4:9-15

Summary of passage:  In essence, Paul says it does not matter if you are circumcised or when.  All that matters is you accept Christ.  Then and only then will you be credited as righteous by God.  The law does not matter; only faith.

Questions:

9)  Abraham was 99 when God gave him the sign of the covenant of circumcision.  He was 86 when he had Ishmael.  He had been in Canaan 10 years since he was declared righteous.  So it was 23 years between credited as righteous and circumcision.  Galatians tells us it was 430 years after this that the Law was given.  Paul argues that circumcision does not matter because Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.  So fast-forward to first century AD and circumcision still is not required to be credited as righteous by God.

10a)  Most of the time people become complacent and fall into sin if that’s their excuse for sin.  God’s measure of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to becoming more like Jesus.  Obedience has value since we must be obedient to God and to His word.  Depends on the sign as well.  However, it’s when you only depend on the sign or obedience for your salvation that you’re in trouble.  Paul says ultimately none of that matters:  only Jesus matters.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m righteous (and this is a dumb question) because I accept Jesus as my Savior. We spent all of last week on how we are righteous through faith and now all of this week.  It’s simple:  if you accept Jesus died as your Savior through faith, you are credited as righteous.  If you don’t, then you’re not righteous.

End Notes:  In Chapter 4, Paul is trying to make a theological point:  all that matters is faith.  He starts with Abraham who lived hundreds of years before Moses and the coming of the Old Testament law.  Abraham pleased God how we do:  through faith.  The Old Testament law was never meant to bridge the gap between God and people. Only Jesus can do that.  The point of the law was to show people/us our need for a Savior (Christ) and redemption. The law showed us that need.

Paul’s point is because circumcision is not a requirement to be counted as righteous then the Gentiles can be counted as righteous as well.  He uses Abraham to prove this point because Abraham was counted as righteous with God in the Bible 14 years BEFORE he was circumcised.

For the Jews of the day, many of them were convinced you had to be circumcised before you could be counted as righteous.  This is whom Paul is addressing.  They also believed Jews only could call Abraham their father.  Again, Paul says no.  Abraham is the father of all those who believe.

All of God’s promises to Abraham were given before the Law.  Hence, they had to be based on faith.  The problem with the law is man is unable to keep it (hence, Jesus Christ, and a reason for God’s wrath).  And hence, faith only.

Transgressions (or an act that goes against a law) come down to trust and love and the heart.  You can sin without breaking a law or transgressing.  What matters to God is are we breaking trust and love with Him.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 4: John 5:24-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to the Jewish leaders that whoever hears him and believes in God will have eternal life.  A time will come when the dead will hear his voice and those who hear will live.  He has the authority from God to judge.  The dead who have done good will live.  Those who have done evil will be condemned.  Jesus can do nothing without God.  He seeks to please the Father.

Questions:

9a)  “he has crossed over from death to life.”

b)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  If you hear the Word and believe in God and thus Jesus.  The results for the future is eternal life.  My help is to do everything I do with a focus on eternity.

c)  “Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” Verse 29

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am encouraged by the promise of eternal life as it influences my everyday decisions and it’s as easy as hearing the Word and believing.  All will be judged is an encouragement as well so I don’t have to worry about it.

Conclusions:  Weak.  That’s all I’ll say.  Could have done more on resurrection here.

End Notes:  Since God and Jesus are one, belief in one is belief in the other.  Here, Jesus says hear me AND believe in God and have everlasting life and escape judgment from sin.  Again, this is a radical idea to the Jewish people since Jesus is saying, “I am God.”

Again, radical ideas as Jesus says even the dead will hear his voice and have a chance to live forever with him.

Again, radical:  Jesus says his life is uncreated, derived from no one.  He has always been.  This is known as aseity.  He is claiming the same status as God where the Old Testament says life belongs to God and is his to give (Deut 30:20; Job 10:12, 33:4, Psalm 16:11, 27:1, 36:9).

All will live forever–the good and the bad.  The saved and the condemned.  All will receive a new body.  This power is from God.  Jesus is explaining further who he is and why he has come.

Judgement is based on what people have done in their lives (Romans 2:4-8; Rev 20:12).  Salvation is a gift from God in response to faith and faith in Christ results in changed lives.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 7, Day 4: Romans 11

Summary of passage:  God has preserved a remnant by grace alone.  Sadly, a lot of Jews did not accept Jesus.  Hence, God turned to the Gentiles, allowed them to be a part of the remnant by grace in hopes of saving His people (the Jews) for eternity.  Once the Gentiles have come to God, all of Israel will be saved as well.

Questions:

8 )  God sent Jesus to save His people, the Jews, first and then He opened it up to the Gentiles–mainly to make the Jews jealous so all Jews will accept Christ.

9a)  The root is the Jews.  The broken branches and wild shoot are the Gentiles.

b)  Even those who fall, reject Him, and would otherwise be cut off, God grafts them in again.  He gives them chances to come to Him again and repent.  He provides the way–Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By offering me the will to believe and accept Jesus.  I try to lead the life He has for me.

Conclusions:  Good study on history of Jews.  I remember when we studied Isaiah how important the Jews are to God.  They will always be first in His heart and He will always be striving to save all of them.  As a Gentile, it gives me more humbleness and awe that I’m included in His plan.

I can see how it would be extremely difficult for first century Jews to accept Jesus.  For millennium, it had always been them and God.  Even though He promised a Savior, they envisioned a ruler–not God’s son.  For us, it’s a bit easier to accept; we haven’t lived our own life with only God as their guide.

This lesson compliments yesterday’s lesson nicely.  Yesterday, we see Peter converting the first Jews to Jesus and promising the Holy Spirit for all whom God calls.  Today, we see Paul explain why God has called the Gentiles and how they receive God’s Spirit as well.

End Notes:  Because the Jews rejected Jesus (not all but a vast majority), it caused the word to go out to the Gentiles and open that pathway.  Had the Jews accepted Jesus as the Savior, perhaps they would have remained as they had in OT days:  a nation apart and everyone else infidels.

Instead of making Israel jealous, Christians treated them with malice, scorn, jealousy, and persecution.

Israel is the roots, the base, the support, the foundation of the branches, the Gentiles.

Once all the Gentiles are brought in, Israel as a nation will accept Jesus (there will always be individuals whose hard is hardened and will not heed God’s call–both Jew and Gentile).  This is a sign of the End Times.  Israel will be converted en masse before Jesus’ Second Coming (Matthew 23:39, Zechariah 12:10-11).

God’s call is irrevocable.  He will not give up nor leave behind His people (both Jews and Gentiles).

Once again, the evidence there is only one God is overwhelming.  Man couldn’t possibly have thought up Israel, the church, Jesus, etc.  It is all by Him and for Him and Paul praises God’s omniscience here.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 4: Exodus 17:8-16

Summary of passage:  The Amalekites attack the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua out to fight while he, Aaron, and Hur went to a hill. Moses held up his hands and the Israelites would win. Aaron and Hur helped Moses to hold up his hands the entire day for if he didn’t, the Amalekites would win. Joshua overcame in the end and Moses built an alter to God and recorded the event and God’s promise to wipe the Amalekites from history.

Questions:

8a)  Moses calls it the “staff of God” in verse 9.  I think it represented God and God’s blessings

b)  The fact that Moses held up the staff because when Moses held up the staff, the Israelites were winning. When he lowered it, the Israelites were losing.  Presumably, if Moses didn’t hold up the staff, the Israelites would lose the war.  Plus, the staff represents God’s favor so God’s power is in the staff.  Furthermore, we are not told here what God said to do.  All that is recorded is Moses’ orders.  So God could have told Moses to hold up the staff and Moses could have told Joshua to go and fight.  We are not sure.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure what the pronoun “this” is referring to in this question.  “This” could be the whole passage.  “This” could be the previous question.  BSF is unclear here.  I’m gonna go with the previous question here.  Moses had to pray to win the battle.  So must I.  I must pray to win my battles and lately I’ve been remiss of this as I’ve felt a bit far from God.  Prayer is a weapon that I must wield much more often.

9a)  The account of this battle and that God will completely blot out the memory of the Amalekites.

b)  Two-fold:  So this battle can be remembered by future generations as a testament to God’s greatness and glory and mercy. So that His people would know that their enemies, the Amalekites, are insignificant and God will keep His promise to blot them from history.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s more oral tales than written records.  Give God the credit to all in my life.  Hopefully, my life will be a testament itself.

Conclusions:  Too many pronouns “this” in this passage.  I had to go immediately to commentary to answer some of these.  Other Bible translations proved helpful as well.

My take away:  Pray.

End Notes:  Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).  The Amalekites were a group of wandering nomads in the Sinai at this time.  In Deuteronomy 25:17-18 we learn that the Amelekites attacked the end of the line where the women, children, old, and the baggage lay.  This was a cowardly act of war, intent to just steal from the Israelites.

This was the first battle for the Israelites in 400 years.  They had to rely on God for this one.

Moses calls the rod “the rod of God”.  God calls the rod “the rod of Moses”.  Love the honor here!

This is the first time in the Bible we meet Joshua, who always is faithful to Moses and God.

Scholars believe Hur was Miriam’s husband.

Moses holding up his hands was the traditional way for the Israelites to pray much like we bow our heads.  Here, Moses is praying.  When he stops praying, God stops acting.  Great lesson for us to learn–the power of prayer.

Praying was the hard work here, not the battle.  Note Moses needed others to support him–just like we do in our Christian walks.

Today many of God’s peoples are defeated because they do not pray.  Fighting is important and with prayer it’s indestructible.

Moses is commanded five times to write down something by God (Exodus 17:14, Exodus 24:4-7, Exodus 34:27, Numbers 33:1-2, and Deuteronomy 31:9, 24).

More battles will give the Amalekites time to repent.  God is good.

Favorite Map showing Rephidim where the Amalekites attacked Israel:  http://headwatersresources.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ExodusColorNotesFramedCC.jpg

Fun Fact:  Jesus is the Greek pronunciation of Joshua.  They are the same name.  You can see why in the lives of both men.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 4: Matthew 6:19-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not store up treasure here on earth which is temporal but store treasure in heaven which is for all of eternity for that is where your heart will be.  If you eye is good, you will be full of light.  If you eyes are bad, you will be full of darkness.  No one can serve two masters.  You cannot serve both God and Money.

Questions:

9a)  Praise, recognition, material items (cars, boats, houses or what goes in houses, etc), kids.  You can fall from a pedestal easier than the climb.  You can have all of your possessions taken away.  Your kids can die.

b)  Rewards for doing God’s work here on earth.  The good that we do for Him here on earth through our faithful giving will last forever.

c)  Psalm 119:72:  “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold”

Luke 12:15-21:  Storing up things for yourself and not for God yields you nothing.  Life is not about an abundance of possessions.

1 Corinthians 2:9:  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

Note:  This does not mention treasure so we assume the “what” is greater than treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18:  What is unseen is eternal; what is seen (treasure) is temporary.

Philippians 3:8:  Nothing is worth having except Jesus and Christ is worth losing all things for

1 Peter 1:4-5:  Our inheritance is kept in heaven with Jesus’ death–one that will never perish, spoil, or fade

10a)  The things you treasure are the things you believe you can’t live without.  Some people can’t live without their cars, their homes, their jobs, their looks, etc.  On the other side, some people can’t live without helping others, volunteering, doing God’s work.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I’d like to think it is God and my treasure is in heaven.  I don’t typically do things or buy things to impress others for I don’t really care what others think.  I try to do what I feel God wants me to and to follow His call in my life.  I try to live as much as possible for others and help others.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Speak kinder words.  Stop cussing.  Live more for others.  Put others first.  Desire more to help others.

11)  Light comes into the body through our eye and if we are generous, we will be full of light and contentment.  If we are not generous, darkness consumes us.  Either we are looking towards heaven (the light) or we are looking towards earth (the dark).  We cannot serve both so we will either have great light or great darkness in our lives.

Conclusions:  The term money is material things.  We are to use our money (which is not really ours it’s God’s) for Him and His purposes.  Again, it’s a matter of the heart.  Are we greedy?  Or are we generous?  Are you sacrificing for God?  Or are you sacrificing for money?  Do you treasure the things money buys or the things money can do?

The eye is where light enters through the body.  If the eyes are good means if you have light (God) in your life, your whole body (heart included) will be good and focused on the light (God) instead of in darkness (evil or earthly things).

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 7, Day 4: Genesis 6:7-7:24 with Matthew 24:36-42 & Luke 17:26-27

Summary of passages:  Genesis 6:7-7:24:  God said He will wipe mankind and everything He has created from the face of the earth for He is grieved He made them.  Except for Noah and his family.  He tells Noah He is going to destroy the world and he needs to build an ark.  God enters a covenant with Noah.  He tells Noah he will need to bring in two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive and every kind of food for him and for the animals.

Noah did everything God commanded.

Genesis 7:  God tells Noah to enter the ark with the animals for in seven days He will send rain for 40 days and nights.  Noah obeys.  Noah was 600 years old when the flood happened.  All the animals came to him.  Then the Lord shut them in and the waters came.  Everything perished.  After the rain stopped, the earth remained flooded for 150 days.

Matthew 24:36-42:  Jesus says to keep watch because even he (only the Father) knows when the Second Coming will be.  Jesus compares his Second Coming to the days before the flood where everyone was living their life like they always had and no one suspected they were about to die.  Jesus says only half will be saved for every two men and women only one each will be left.

Luke 17:26-27:  Same speech but recorded by Luke.  Jesus says here the days of the Son of Man will be just like in the days of Noah.  People were going about their daily lives up until Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood destroyed them all.

Questions:

9a)  He spared Noah and his family from His judgment of the world.  He spoke directly to Noah and told him what He was going to do.  He gave him detailed instructions about what to do and what will happen.  He reminded Noah to bring food. He gave Noah a week’s warning before He sent the flood.  The Lord shut them in the ark.  Only Noah was left and God cared for him, giving him everything he needed in order to survive.

b)  God told Noah the exact size to make the ark to fit everything.  God brought the animals to Noah.  Noah didn’t have to track them all down.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God has always kept me safe when I’ve done stupid stunts and provided for my every need.  I’ve never been homeless or hungry.  I’m always had food, clothing, and shelter.  He has forgiven me for all my sins, even the ones I repeatedly make.  He has given me a purpose to do for Him.  In every aspect of my life, God is there whether I acknowledge Him or not or what Him there or not.  Deep down I know this.  And so does He.

10a)  Genesis tells us the people  were evil and every inclination of their hearts were evil; they were corrupt and violent.  Matthew and Luke tells us the people were eating, drinking, and marrying up until the day the flood happened and they knew nothing about their impending death.

It’s hard to interpret Matthew and Luke with so little detail given.  I see this as people living their daily lives up until the flood and I see this as Jesus’ point:  you must be ready for no one knows when I will come.  You must lead godly lives for any day I could show up and judge you.  You could read this as “partying” but that’s pure speculation.

Genesis however leaves no doubt the people were evil; hence, God’s judgment.

Fascinating.  In all the movies you see all the people mocking Noah for building an ark and laughing at him.  No where is this recorded in scripture (that I can find at least).  I would say the people were so evil in Genesis that they probably didn’t care what some guy named Noah was doing.  They were too busy doing the devil’s work.

b)  Prayer and God.

c)  That he could come at any time so you must be ready.

d)  Just that scoffers will come who follow their own evil desires to cast doubt on the End Times.  All it takes is one word from God and it is done.

I see nothing special here.  This applied in Peter’s time (1st century AD) as it does in the 21st century AD.  There will always be scoffers, doubters, people of the devil.

Conclusions:  God’s message is timeless and it doesn’t change despite the days that have passed since Jesus:  Jesus is coming so be ready.  There are evil people who won’t make the cut.  Do not be lured in by the ways of the world.  God’s grace is sufficient.  He provides all our needs.  We require nor lack anything if we have Him.  Hold onto that truth and reject the lies of the world.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 4: Acts 14:19-20a & 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Summary of passages:  Acts 14:19-20a:  Some Jews Paul had angered in Antioch and Iconium followed him and stoned him to death.  But the disciples gathered around Paul (presumably praying) and Paul got right back up and went back into Lystra.

2 Timothy 3:10-17:  Paul tells Timothy he knows Paul’s teaching, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings for the Lord.  The Lord rescued him from all.  He tells Timothy everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (probably warning him to expect persecution himself) while evil men will continue to do evil.  Paul urges Timothy to continue in his work and in knowing the Scriptures so he may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Questions:

10)  I thought God performed another miracle and this guy doesn’t give up.  I also chuckled at the translation:  they stoned him and left him for dead but then he got up and went right back into the city.  I pictured him like a superhero I guess:  pummeled but gets right back up–all thanks to God.

11a)  Timothy

b)  I’m assuming we’re talking fruits of the Spirit here from Galatians 4:22 which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  He definitely got some patience to return to the people who just killed him or tried to kill him.  Faithfulness to continue his calling.  Self-control to not retaliate.  Love when he meets Timothy.

c)  Personal Questions.  My answer: To not give up in the hard times and to keep persevering despite the fact I don’t feel like it.  To get up even when knocked down because God is with you, picking you up.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes, it could be.  We don’t know since we’re not told when Paul had his vision but he could have had it when he was on the verge of death.  Many people report spiritual experiences on the verge of death or after having died and then been resusitated by God.  God could have taken both his body or his spirit to Heaven, spoke to him, and then returned him to life.

When Stephen was being stoned (Acts 7) he sees Jesus.

Galatians 6:17 Paul says he “bears on my body the marks of Jesus.”  This could be from this incident as well as I imagine being stoned leaves some nasty scars.

Conclusions:  Very applicable today.  Paul was persecuted over and over again and yet he still got back up, dusted himself off, and went back to work for God.  We need to have the same attitude for our work for God.

2 Timothy 3:12  “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

I loved this!  It makes me feel better when I’m attacked here in this forum.

Personal Note:  Yesterday, I was doing Lesson 7, Day 3 on the computer when I just stopped and thought Why am I doing this?  It was bringing me no joy whatsoever.  So I closed my computer and started writing my novel.  I worked on this novel for about 2 hours.  It brings me great joy when I do.

BSF this year has taken a huge amount of my time.  I have often wondered and thought I need to quit and move on with my life.  But I keep at it.  Keep going.  Despite the lack of joy I may feel at the time.  Your encouraging words do help and I thank you all for every comment and email you send with your thanks.

But ever since I’ve moved I’ve struggled with finding joy in my personal work.  Nothing I do right now brings me joy:  writing my column, this blog.  My novels do but because they are so far away from impacting anyone discouragement is never far away.

I am praying hard to find what is causing this in my life for I know it has nothing to do with the work itself.  It is something else.  I believe I know what it is and I am praying hard for God to rectify it in my life.

I am looking forward to a much needed break here without any Internet and computer so I can just sit, be, and listen.  Praying soon I get some joy back that I had last year.