Salvation for the Jewish People : Valley of Dry Bones

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  Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree.  And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea,  “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.” Revelation 7:1-3

 

 What might the winds in the passage represent? (Jer 49:36-37, Daniel 7:2)

If I wasn’t recently reading through Ezekiel, I probably wouldn’t have caught this, but hear me out.If we search the scripture to find out more about the 4 winds we see that at times the 4 winds scatter people, they also release the beasts from the sea but in Ezekiel 37 – the chapter on dry bones- the 4 winds bring breath into the bodies formed from the skeletons in the valley. (Keep in mind: Rev 7 talks about the tribes of Israel being sealed immediately after the verse about the 4 winds)

 ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” Ez 37:9b

Before we can move on, let’s go over some things from Ezekiel 37 so you can see this come together. (And hey! Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong-Is Ez 37 symbolic? Or is it specific? Or is it both? Who knows!  that’s my disclaimer) Here’s what we know about the bones in Ezekiel 37.

  1. The bones are in a valley vs. 1 (Joel 3:14- could this be the valley of decision?)
  2. The bones are the people Israel 11 – “The whole house of Israel”
  3. They are bones of people who once lived and died vs 3
  4. They died in their sins because they needed to be cleansed vs 23
  5. When they were given new life, they were given God’s Holy Spirit and they would return to their land- this hasn’t happened yet so we’re going to say it’s talking about the last days
  6. They stood on their feet and became a great army. Also Zech 12:8, could this also be the army of Revelation 19:14? (That’s debatable, but they are considered a great army that goes out and fights for the Lord in the last days, no talk of white robes though- only those died in tribulation)
The Valley of Dry BonesPhoto: flickr artist Loslwl https://www.flickr.com/photos/loswl/4830572938

Okay so here we know that the 4 winds gave breath/life to the whole house of Israel that died. Notice also the very next verses in Revelation 7 talk about the tribes of Israel being sealed. Also, notice the winds weren’t allowed to harm the earth or sea (yet) but we don’t know if this wind just caused the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 to come to pass. In Rev 7:4, the People of Israel were marked with the seal of God and in Ez 37, they were given God’s Spirit (v14).  What is the seal of God? Consider the verses below

  • 2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
  • Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
  • Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye aresealed unto the day of redemption.
  • 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

So considering the word seal and the verses above, let’s move on knowing that these tribes of Israel are sealed for salvation by the Holy Spirit.

But how did this happen? Well we know the bones were given new life, but we have more clues to this moment. Let’s go to Zechariah

  • Zechariah 12:8-10 On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them!  For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died

Look at this! Zechariah talks about the last days and a Spirit of grace and prayer poured out on the family of David. Does this prove the Holy Spirit’s seal of revelation 7 and Ezekiel 37? Possibly! We are told, in the verse above, that the people of Israel will see Christ, the Messiah, His piercings and mourn for Him as an only son, as a firstborn son who has died.

  • Ez 39:29  .  And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

Could this also be the valley of decision, since we know the bones were in a valley Ez 1 and Joel 3:14-16 talks about a valley of decision in the last days?

  • Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Putting this together: The dead of Israel are given new life, they see and believe in Christ and are sealed by God – but there’s more! Let’s move on because Jesus is going to cleanse them on this very day with water, a fountain, river :

  • Zechariah 13:1 “On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and impurity.
  • Ezekiel 47:1 The River of Healing ] In my vision, the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the altar on its south side.
  • Ez 36:25-27 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

More Proof that this chapter in Zechariah is about the Last Days:

  • Zech 14:1-9Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem.Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart,On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,] flowing continuously in both summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth.

I know there’s more , but for attention’s sake, let’s put some things together, assuming these verses are talking about the same day, time and moment.

This is between the 6th and 7th seal of Revelation. There will be a day and a time that the Lord God will rise of the dead of Israel who died in their sins and give them new life and a new spirit. (Consider  1 Thes 4:14-17 link in to prove  this – the dead will rise first, and also salvation is for the Jew first and then the Gentiles Romans 1-2 which may prove the Jews rise first and are given a new spirit then the dead in Christ rise up before those alive on earth rise up- and maybe this is why Jesus tells many they will see the Son on man returning on the clouds- because they will be alive again!!!)

More proof! And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.Matthew 24:30

They will be sealed with the Seal of God and nothing will be able to harm them on earth. They will see Jesus, they will mourn for Him as an only Son. A river of cleansing will cleanse them from all their sins. They will be a great army for the Lord and will rise up in the last days to fight for Him.

  •  Are these 4 winds the same 4 winds in Ezekiel that give life to Isreal?
  •  Are the tribes mentioned in Revelation 7 that are sealed the same army that God rose up out of the valley?
  • Is this the valley of decision from Joel?
  • Is this where the people of Israel see Him who was pierced and mourn for Him?

Joel 3:21- the last days war, God will pardon the peoples sins that He has not yet pardoned

Jer 3:26
Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.

***Alert reader, Marilyn just brought up a great point – when exactly does this happen? Is it before or after the 1000 year reign on earth because clearly Revelation 20 tells us the Christ reigns on earth with those Martyred in the last days but what about the rest of mankind, what about Revelation 19 when Christ and His army wages war against the ungodly on earth.  When do the dead rise up? If it’s before the 1000 year reign, where are they if they are not on earth with Christ, and would it be after the 1000 year reign…..and then when exactly is the wedding feast?
  Is the 1000 years the same as the new Jerusalem… or maybe everyone is there and only those martyred reign as kings and priests, but again I thought we would all be priests ministering for Him.
   Another question was, what about the Pharisees -Jesus asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing- so what happens to them…and He also told  the Pharisee that he would see Jesus descending down from earth.
    This is what is so awesome about God’s Holy Word. He will reveal things to us at just the right time. I don’t claim to know anything, but there is something here – a putting together of a puzzle piece, a mystery – that we will one day understand. God’s word is God’s word and interpretation, theory and ideas belong to man. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us into Truth. Ask for guidance, have a berean attitude, searching the scriptures when you are taught anything. God bless!!!

Deuteronomy 1-12 & You must not call on the name of any other god, do not even speak their names.

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I’m reading through Deuteronomy and selected a verse/s from each chapter that really caught my attention:

 

deuter

  1. 1:17b Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them. This verse was for the judges. They were not to judge based on appearances, wealth or anything other than what was  right and wrong before God. Seek counsel from the Lord always. Even if others don’t agree with you, you are instructed not to be afraid of anyone’s anger or  countenance.
  2. 2:2a “Then at last the Lord said to me,  ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough….. That’s it! It’s time to live in obedience. Time to stop rebelling, complaining and running to other gods and/or man for our our needs. Time to stop wandering and walk in step with the Holy Spirit, walking with the Lord.
  3. 3:22 Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’  How awesome is that? The Lord our God fights for us. It’s interesting that throughout the bible, we are repeatedly told not to worry or be afraid. We can always trust in the Lord. I remember the verse “and lo, I am with you always, even until the end of this age”
  4. 4:29a if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Am I searching for the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind? What can I change and does anything stand in the way? Read His word daily and read to my children.4:39-40 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other.”   If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children….The Lord is in heaven AND earth. If I live a right life pleasing to the Lord, He promises to bless my children. That’s is a great promise!
  5. 5:28b-29” I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right.  Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.” The Lord wants to have a relationship with us, He wants us to have a heart that loves Him. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son, His love for us is evident every day – in good times and bad. God promises us prosperity, I believe the Lord wants the best for my children, making what is impossible for man, possible before God. I know the Lord has good plans for my children.
  6. 6:2525 For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands theLord our God has given us.’  Our faith counts us righteous before the Lord, just as Abrahams faith counted Him righteous because of his faith. It is because of Jesus Christ, the righteous servant, who made it possible for me to be counted right because He bore all my sins. That is truly amazing, humbling and awesome!
  • Romans 4:5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
  • Isaiah 53:11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
  1. 7:26 Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be destroyed, just like them. You must utterly detest such things, for they are set apart for destruction. This reminds me of a dream my daughter had 2 weeks about the Disney Frozen movie. She dreamt she was sitting in her room and Frozen book was on her bed and she had a necklace with a locket. She was putting olaf, the snowman, in the little locket she had. Suddenly she heard a voice and she said she immediately knew it was God. God said to get the Frozen book off her bed and get rid of that necklace. Take what you want from that, but it moved me to get everything Frozen related out of the house. I never liked olaf to begin with, he always scared me but everyone said he was so cute..so after this dream my daughter had, everyone agreed to get rid of everything. I didn’t know my youngest had a magic frozen game in her either, so time to clean house. Something is wrong with the minion movie too and peter pan – and all of them, I’m sure. I had a super spooky dream/vision of peter pan when I was little and never forgot it. I am pretty sure I was wide awake and saw it, but I was a kid so who knows. I remember being awake and afraid to move because he might see that I was awake and kill me, anywho enough of dreams, maybe it’s nothing but it still spooks me out.** oh and while I’m on the subject, I woke up signing uptown funk by bruno mars one morning. I usually wake up with a praise song, but this morning I was waking up singing it in my head and what is odd is the lyrics (its a part of the song where the lyrics aren’t real clear) were chanting “demons inside of us” over and over to beat. I thought that was really strange -strange enough to where I won’t listen to that song anymore.
  1. 8:3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. – Jesus said that! In the desert when He was tempted… wait I just read something else this morning on food..proverbs 13:24-25  The righteous eats to satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in vain….. If that doesn’t make you stop overeating, I don’t know what will.
  1. 9:23  Lord sent you out with this command: ‘Go up and take over the land I have given you.’ But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to put your trust in him or obey him.  Yes, you have been rebelling against the Lord as long as I have known you. Do you know what this says to me? Get up! Go! Move! Trust in the Lord and SEEK His counsel in all you do (Johsua 9:14)
  1. 10:17-22  For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.  He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.  You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.  He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.  – God show’s no partiality, and we are to do the same to others.
  • Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality 
  • Romans 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.
  • Ephesians 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
  • Colossians 3:25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality 
  • 1 Timothy 5:21I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality
  • James 2:9but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
  • James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
  • 1 Peter 1:17And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay herein fear 
  1. Deut 11:18-21 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.– BE committed- Set your face like flint to do His will, and know we will not be ashamed
  • Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
  • Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven

12.    12:30 Do not fall into the trap of following their (other nation and religion’s) customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods,

  • Pay close attention to all my instructions. You must not call on the name of any other god Do not even speak their names.

Not only are we not to inquire of the ways other nations worship their gods, we are not to speak the name of them. I wonder if studying the other religions, like when my daughter spent all year in History class studying the greek gods and goddesses (required class) along with their perversions. Maybe it seems likes nothing , but when you look at it as God looks at it, I think He sees that as detestable. Consider also the names of gods we use and speak and don’t realize it. Maybe calling out their name brings them into your life? The names in stories, movies, and tv shows – many are the names of the ancient gods and goddesses worshiped. The Lord makes it clear we are not to call out their name or even speak their name. Think about that and look over the lives of the youth around you – video games, books, movies, shows, they are full of the names of gods we are not to speak. Don’t call  their names. Time to go back to # 7 and get rid of every detestable thing in our houses.

Peace, I need to clean house and maybe my last post. Amen.

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7 Requirements for Israel’s King relevant to us today : Rules for Godly leaders, Deuteronomy 17

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  “When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’  you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.

 The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.

  “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.  He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.  This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:14-20

 Image result for money of preachers

 

 

God’s requirement for Israel’s king

1-He must not multiply horses , He must not build up large stalls for his horses (NKJV, NLT)

How is this relevant today? Bentleys, yachts, planes….. There’s no excuses, it’s here in God’s word.  When I think of the famous leaders today, they sit in such luxury. But wait! The leader is an example to each of us so we need to check our own life as well. The bible says that our hoarded riches will one day testify against us. Luxury purses, shoes, clothes – is this how God wants us to represent Him?   If you know someone who needs  help and you have the ability to help that person but don’t and he cries out to God, that is counted as sin against you.  In fact, if you hurt someone – even emotionally, and they cry out to the Lord, it is counted as sin against you.  Make things right before you meet your Creator, which reminds me of this verse –

 Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?  When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison.  And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny]” Luke 12:57-59

 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment James 5:1-3

2 He must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.

This one lines says so much!  Many want to be great leaders in the church and make mega money but that’s not at all what should be happening. Just read the verse again, I hope you can hear the volume of wisdom it speaks. He must NOT accumulate or store up wealth – When a pastor is sitting comfortably on half a million a year salary plus car, house and benefits when 90% of his congregation makes less that 1/12 of his salary or less, but I’m sure they have their excuses……..

3-He must not send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.

Stay away from the sin that so easily trips you. Don’t go back, don’t go after things of this world. Follow the Spirit, not the flesh.

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.  Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.” Luke 11:26

4-He must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord.

May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. prov 5:18

13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Malachi 2:13-15

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Eccl 9:9

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech,[a]the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. 1 kings 11:3

5-He had to be a man whom the Lord appointed

6-He must not be a foreigner. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner.

 7-He Must Read God’s instructions and decrees DAILY to keep from being proud and acting as if he is above others

He must always keep that copy (of God’s commands) with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.  This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.

 

 Horse stalls of preachers of 2015

 

Matthew 11;11″I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!

john-baptist

Let these words be for all who hear; that we would do what is right before God. You may point the finger at some but first let’s make sure we aren’t guilty of the same thing. Don’t seek riches, glory and fame from people,  this is not from the Lord. Remember the first shall be last and the last will be first. You don’t need to be popular in your church in order to be first in God’s kingdom. I believe many who we don’t know, don’t recognize and those who are so often overlooked will be the first in the Kingdom. Don’t be discouraged if man doesn’t pat you on the back, in fact, I read this the other day:

Woe to you when all men speak well of you

What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. luke 6:26

As I look at myself from this perspective, yikes! I wonder what the Lord would think of my name brand purse. I do like it and  I love to wear it but I remember a time when I told myself I would never wear one. I need to rethink this and practice what I preach. Years ago I saw  the preacher, in his 75k truck and his wife walking by. She had a gorgeous designer bag and I knew exactly what it was even though I was quite a distance away. Suddenly a demon came out from her bag, it flew out towards me and it spoke out to me as I was in service. It said in a taunting way” you’ll never have anything nice like this”.  The taunt was so mean, full of hate and so wicked, I wanted to cry. This account is true, I was shocked and couldn’t believe what I just heard and wondered and almost believed that behind the major name brands like that was a demon. NOW I don’t know this for sure, but maybe you need to ask God about it if you are wondering, but I’m telling the truth of what I saw and heard – I could hear the words in the spirit and see the shape with my eyes.

I’ve seen wealthy mega churches and high society churches crying poor mouth because they only had half a million in savings for the first quarter . Really! Did ever consider the people who are giving? Many are poor, some are homeless, they don’t have cars, they are barely making it through this week, some are being evicted and others are working 2-3 jobs just to survive. Yet these big salary administrators are begging the poor to pay their salary the salary of the 20 plus 5 new pastors they just hired and the million dollar building that tells the world just how awesome they really are.  Everything is about making money  – no one ever stops to remember how Jesus threw everyone out of His Fathers House of Prayer. He threw them all out because they were there making money – off things relevant to the Temple.  We make so many excuses today.  That just can’t be right! Cut back, it’s just getting so ridiculous. It’s everywhere, it’s not like you can leave and try to find a perfect church.  Hopefully  you can be a remnant, a gatekeeper and an example of Christ – so please don’t leave the church, we need you.

and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
luke 12;48

 

related articles :

1-Real Christianity rjdawson.com

 

Review of BSF Bible Study Fellowship – children’s bible study / ministry

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I’ve heard about Bible Study Fellowship (bsf) for years.  People have TRIED to tell me how great it is, but I thought NO WAY.  (you can’t fool me) . I’ve read reviews and heard people talk about it as if it’s some sort of strict military regime. NO way, not for me. First of all, I don’t like rules. Okay, God’s rules – yes, but I generally get annoyed with too many rules. I know this may be a shocker, but it takes everything in me not to press a button that says “do not press”, “do not touch” or “very hot”.  I’m still a work in progress.

For  years, I’ve heard how great bsf bible study is. While researching online and asking friends, here are some of the rules I heard: “ Don’t share! Don’t look at my answers! Top Secret! Don’t or you’ll get kicked out! No reading commentaries! No skipping class”.  I repeatedly said: “No way, no way, no way, not for me, don’t even talk about it to me.  I am not sitting under someone’s ridiculous rules”. However, as life will have it, I suddenly found myself at a BSF study this past August. I thought – for sure! I’ll be out of here in a few weeks when I find something wrong.

Now, coming to the end of BSF this year, I can tell you I have enjoyed it and I will be back again. I did not intend to end up here,   I was looking for a good weekday bible club for my children. I couldn’t find anything that had something for all ages – all on one night. Awana was nice, but some are good and some are slacking. The good are somehow supernaturally full within 24 hours of signup, wait…. make that 1 hour of sign up. I think it’s hierarchy – you know how that goes. The other good local Awana only had elementary level available. When I found out BSF had a bible study class for grades K-12 –woohoo,  but wait…I had to go too, so there I was.

BSF has it’s good and well, it’s annoying things. Sure! Just like anything else. Just like church- I still haven’t found one that is perfect . Same with other bible studies I’ve been in. I love the Beth Moore studies, but I don’t agree with a few of her teachings, but that doesn’t stop me from studying her books. I don’t 100% agree with other teachers either, but I still listen and study. Sometimes they’ve convinced me, and other times not. I always end up learning something. It all depends on my attitude and my decision to fully seek the Lord in the study through the scriptures. If I blocked out everyone that didn’t agree 100% with me, I’d be stuck in a corner by myself all my life.

Here’s the 411 if your interested:

The basics:

We meet once a week all year (August- May). My group has about 150-300 women and we break up into small groups of 12-15. Each week we begin our 2.5 hour study with everyone from all groups meeting together to sing praises and hear of upcoming events. From there,  the large crowd breaks up into their small groups. Each group has a facilitator / group leader who leads us through the 6 day homework assignment that we were given for the week. People share what they’ve learned and answer the questions. Reading some reviews, I’ve found that some leaders are very serious and strict, but others are normal and welcoming. I guess each experience depends on the people around you. Thank God! I was put in a normal group with nice people.

Initially my leader scared me! She was super serious about the name tags and getting our homework done. I never had my name tag and I was called out until I got my act together. I’m not serious about stuff like that, but I know they have their reasons and so forth….. .Anyways, despite my first impressions, my group was wonderful. My leader is caring, loving and is always there for anyone. The group of women I was with was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my time with them. I had a good group of friendly women. They all knew scripture well but no one was “the know it all”, the “I’m so much better than you” or “so sorry you aren’t as intelligent as I am” people – you know what I’m saying? I’ve had a few of those in past bible studies and Phew! Those were some memorable moments. That kind of attitude can really take away from the study and why we are there – to glorify God , to seek Him – not to put ourselves on a pedestal. “All hail to me, you paupers” anywhoo……

After about 35-45 minutes of small group, all the groups meet once again together to sing – again – and hear a lecture – or talk – or whatever you call it. Then go home!

 The Good:

The study keeps you in the scriptures daily. Homework takes me 3-5 hours a week, but I go overboard. Maybe 15-20 minutes a day in homework would be all you really need. It’s all scripture based. You read the bible, you answer the questions. My favorite thing about bsf is that my children have an amazing new knowledge of scripture. All my children now know the book of Matthew and other scriptures very well. They’ve studied end times, Jesus’s last days and all the parables in great depth. My youngest can now reason with me and discuss scripture. Being in public school all day, it is difficult to really teach scripture to our children. Sunday school is good, but I wanted my children to learn more. I really believe God gave my children understanding as they read. I would preread some things and thought – Oh no- how can I explain this to them?,  but they got it. God blessed this year as we studied. My children got an amazing blessing of learning the Word. I am so happy about this. Studying the miracles has increased their faith. They now have a new desire to continue learning and seeking. Could I ask for anything more? I am blessed. Getting to homework wasn’t easy with their schedules and work from school. I would read the scriptures each night and at the end of the week we would answer our questions.

It’s a great study for anyone – even if you’ve never read the bible.  I think this is wonderful.  No one is felt left out or felt like they know more or less than the other person. All are welcome- that’s just the way God is too.  If you have read the bible many times, it’s still a good intense study – it is what you make it to be.  I believe each scripture verse holds a key to deeper and deeper mysteries. The more we study, the more understanding the Lord gives us.

It’s a very controlled environment, so the over-talker can’t take over the entire class . I’ve seen happen many times in other studies. In bsf small group, everyone gets an equal chance to talk and discuss.

 The real:

    Let’s be real. If you think my kids were super happy and my life is a field of daisy’s as I went to bsf all year, think again. Our bsf nights were on school nights- cranky, tired, crazy, chaotic, complaining, whining, fighting – ugh, I’m getting sick just thinking about it. This also made it very difficult with homework. Not only homework, but we do other things after school as well : piano, guitar, soccer, dance, youth group, volunteer hours, drama practice. Yes, life is busy! Somehow, miraculously, we were able to finish the year. We only missed a few scattered days. BSF is not a youth group nor is it similar to awana, it’s a lot more of intense learning. Yes, my kids would complain, whine and roll around the floor telling me they refused to go, but that doesn’t bother me. They go anyway and guaranteed – every night when we all pile in the car to drive back home, everyone is happy they went. In fact, the one that throws the biggest tantrum is the one who says “You know what mom, I know it’s not easy to get here, but I’m glad I went”. Always! Every ride home I always hear how happy each one was to be there.

Secondly –it can be exhausting at the end of a long day. I have to prepare dinner, do homework, look somewhat presentable and I drag myself there. I thought maybe this is good- going tired, because this keeps me quiet. I’m not overly talkative in my small group because I’m about to pass out from not only my day, but the tantrums and the chaos from the car ride there. I think I was almost on the verge of tears yesterday. One daughter threw a major tantrum because she had a lot of homework. I didn’t have the energy to jump to the back of the car and strangle her so I just kept saying  “Jesus!” for my entire 25 minute ride there. Surely he answered my cry. Hey! God commands us:

 So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Duet 11

  No one promised us that this would be easy, but the Lord is always there to help us through. Remember the enemy is out to destroy your children. How will they know right from wrong if we continue to let society, media, and the world shape, manipulate and brainwash our children? It is our responsibility to teach our children God’s word.

 The annoying:

I hate to say this, but I know people want the truth. The truth is, you can find annoying anywhere. These are some things that bother me. # 1 rules. I know you need rules, but in my group, I only ‘heard of rules’ no one actually sat me down with rules at bsf so depending on where you are and who leads – who knows. I only heard of bsf rules through the rumor mill, but no one every told me anything except “Where’s your name tag?”. My rule was to have a name tag, so after a while I finally gave in. I  think they are pretty strict about attendance. I heard if you miss a certain amount of days you need an approval to get back in- otherwise they fill your spot with another person and you are OUT. I think this rule would aggravate most people to running away, but keep calm and carry on….. ( Don’t run away yet)

Occasionally the notes annoy me because I’ve found things that are questionable. That doesn’t happen often, maybe 0-5% of the time. Otherwise the notes are great and full of great information, historical facts and biblical insight. Just throwing that in there – remember God’s word is the ultimate truth. Have a Berean attitude with everything else – that means to search the scriptures tot make sure that what you have been taught is truth.  Ask for wisdom and discernment as you study.  You must seek out the truth yourself as a Christ follower and be careful of every word spoken by teacher and preachers today.

This has been the best bible study my children have ever had. I was able to walk them through the scripture and homework throughout the week. If a question frustrated them for more than 30 seconds, it was time to move on to the next one. Bible study is not supposed to be frustrating, but enjoyable and fun. Like searching for ancient treasures!

**  I heard you can’t do research or read commentaries when answering questions. I think they say this so everyone doesnt come in with the same answer that someone else studied for them. It’s good to read reviews and sermons if you don’t understand- search for your answers if you need to and answer from you heart. I’ve also heard people say we can’t discuss notes outside of class . I never heard that in my study either,  the leader would always tell us to go out and share our faith and what we learned in the scripture with others around us.

Y Ya – as my mom in law says  (or that’s it! in spanish)

And that’s it!  I’ll be back again next year and I’m looking forward to next year’s study. My children have already expressed how excited they are about next years study as well and want to continue. That is a miracle in itself.  If you are contemplating joining bsf , try it out before you judge. I think it really depends on the leaders and the people in your group. It’s been a blessing for me and my children. Truly amazing.

  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

 

For more information: https://www.bsfinternational.org/

Find a class near you : bsf locate a class

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