30 September 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 3:1-4:31

In today’s lesson, God calls Moses to free His people from slavery in Egypt. Moses responds how many of us respond to God’s call on us today. Moses gives several excuses, culminating with, “Send someone else!”

While Moses is tending his father-in-law’s flocks, God gets Moses’ attention with a bush that is on fire but is not burning up. Moses goes to investigate this strange phenomenon.

Then God calls out to Moses from the bush. God tells Moses to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. Moses’ sandals represent our sin, which we must leave behind when we approach God. Moses is in God’s presence. He fears, respects and reveres God.

God tells Moses that He has heard the cries of His people and has seen their oppression. Then He tells Moses that He has chosen him to save His people and bring them out of Egypt. God allows Moses to talk (and even argue!) with Him. Moses gives five excuses for why he can’t obey God’s command:

  • Who am I?
  • Who are You?
  • What if they don’t believe me or won’t listen?
  • I cannot speak very well.
  • Send someone else!

God promises to be with Moses and promises him a victory.

Moses asks who he should say sent him. Moses wants a personal name for God. God tells Moses that His personal name is “I AM.” This is translated as Yahweh and the LORD. The name I AM shows that God is eternal and unchanging.

God tells Moses to assemble the elders and tell them what will happen. God again promises to go with Moses and then gives Moses three signs to demonstrate that he is sent by God.

God promises to give Moses the right words to speak. He also sends Moses’ brother, Aaron, to go with him and be his coworker in this effort.

Moses takes his wife and two sons back to Egypt. As they travel, Moses realizes that one of his sons is not circumcised. God tells Moses that he must circumcise the son so Moses will be fully obedient and committed to God.

Finally, Aaron and Moses reunite in the desert. Then they meet with the Israelite elders in Egypt. The people listen to Moses and Aaron and see God at work in this plan. Then the people worship God.

Next week, we will see Moses and Aaron bravely confront Pharaoh and ask him to free God’s people.

Things to Think About

  • God is holy. There is no one like Him.
  • How reverent am I toward God? Am I exalting Him and approaching Him with the awe He deserves?
  • God called Moses, and Moses obeyed. What has God called me to do? Am I responding with obedience?
  • If God calls me to a job, He will equip me to do it.
  • Even though Moses brought his concerns (and excuses!) to God, he didn’t use his past failures as a reason not to serve or obey God. God will use me, in spite of my past failures.

26 September 2014

Kindergarten parent-teacher conference

It's hard to believe that next weeks is Avery's ninth week of kindergarten! That means that the first grading period ends, and she'll be getting her first kindergarten report card. The end of the first nine weeks also means it's time for parent-teacher conferences.

This was new territory for us. I was a little nervous about what Ms. Kidd would tell us. While we know that Avery is a good girl, we just didn't know how she acts at school! Our main concern is that Avery seems to be a follower. This isn't all bad...except when she follows a child who is misbehaving!

Ms. Kidd assured us that Avery is well behaved. She even said Avery is "a calming influence" in the classroom. She is sweet, kind and has befriended a fellow student who needs a little extra help. She follows directions well, talks at the appropriate time and completes her work on time.

Academically, Avery is off the charts. She recognizes letters, words and numbers and knows the sounds of the letters. In several areas, she already is at the level she is expected to be at when she finishes kindergarten. While this is encouraging, we don't want her to get bored. So we'll continue to encourage her to keep learning. Ms. Kidd wants her to focus on "popcorn" words, the words that "pop up" when we read. She wants Avery to know them so well that they are automatic, instead of stopping to think about what the word is. Ms. Kidd also wants Avery to be comfortable asking questions and seeking help from her.

We are so proud of the way Avery has acclimated herself to all-day school. We're so glad that we decided to put her in preschool last year. There's no way she would be this far along in her learning and her work habits if she hadn't gone to preschool!

And by the way, we haven't discussed any of this with Avery. We don't want her to get a big head about this!

25 September 2014

23 September 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 2:11-25

Last week we saw Moses’ adoption into Pharaoh’s family. Forty years pass between Exodus 2:10 and Exodus 2:11. Now has an identity crisis. He was born in a Hebrew family, lived a few years with them and then lived as an Egyptian in Pharaoh’s palace. Then God calls Moses out of Pharaoh’s palace to lead His people.

At age 40, Moses goes out to look at the Hebrew slaves. He sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. Moses kills the Egyptian and buries his body. The day after killing the Egyptian, some of Moses’ fellow Hebrews reveal that they know he murdered the Egyptian. Moses’ sin is exposed, and he becomes afraid.

Moses inserted himself into a situation where God did not want him. Moses risked his own life to save a fellow Hebrew’s life. He had a right motive but wrong actions.

Moses escapes to Midian. His life is a wreck, but God is still active in it. Midian is about 200 miles from Egypt. In Midian, Moses meets seven women at a well. He rescues the women from some bullies. Moses cares for the women and their flock.

The women’s father gives one daughter, Zipporah, to Moses in marriage. Moses names his first son Gershom, which means “I am a foreigner in a foreign land.” It’s clear that Moses doesn’t feel at home in Midian.

Moses spends 40 years in Midian, learning how to be a shepherd. God will use this experience to help Moses be a shepherd for the Israelites. Moses also lives in and learns about the land where the Israelites later will wander for 40 years.

While Moses is in Midian, the Israelites still suffer greatly under Pharaoh. They groan and cry out to God for help. God heard them, remembered his covenant, looked on them and was concerned about them (Exodus 2:24-25). But He didn’t respond immediately. Eventually, God will send Moses back to rescue them.

Things to Think About

  • How do I respond when my sin is exposed? Do I acknowledge the sin, confess it, stop sinning and accept the consequences?
  • Moses experienced 40 years of God’s refinement. God was sanctifying Moses and getting him ready for the work He had planned for him.
  • Even when Moses sinned and made bad choices, God did not give up on him. God will not give up on me either. I shouldn’t think that my past failures will prevent God from using me.
  • Two-thirds of Moses’ life was spent preparing him for God’s work. It’s never too late to be used by God if I surrender to His will.
  • God’s rescue doesn’t always come when we want it, but it comes when it is the best time for Him to act.
  • God’s schedule is not my own.

20 September 2014

18 September 2014

16 September 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 1:1-2:10

In this week’s lesson, we see that God is sovereign. To be sovereign means that God is in control and determines the outcome of all things. He has the absolute authority to rule over all people and nations.

God strategically places people and orchestrates circumstances to accomplish His plans and purposes. We have nothing to fear! Knowing God is in control should bring us comfort and security.

God had a sovereign plan for Moses. It began when Joseph and his family moved to Egypt. When the book of Exodus begins, Joseph and his family have been in Egypt for almost 400 years. They have grown from 70 people to more than 1 million people.

Joseph obtained a powerful position in Egypt. But 400 years later, the current king (or Pharaoh) does not remember Joseph and his good deeds. This Pharaoh is afraid the many Israelites would rise up against him. So he forces them into hard labor and puts slave masters over them. But the more the Israelites are oppressed, the more they multiply (Exodus 1:12).

So Pharaoh concocts a second plan. He orders two midwives to kill all of the newborn Hebrew boys. These midwives fear God more than Pharaoh and disobey his order. God blesses their obedience and the risks they took.

Since Plan B fails, Pharaoh has one more idea. He orders all Egyptians to throw the Hebrew male babies into the Nile River. God protected Moses from the king’s edict.

Moses had a godly heritage. His parents knew that God had a special plan for Moses. So by faith, Moses’ mother, Jochebed, puts him in a basket in the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses in the basket while she is bathing in the river. Moses’ sister Miriam is watching nearby. She approaches the princess and offers to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. Miriam gets her mother. Jochebed and Amram care for Moses for three years until they return him to Pharaoh’s daughter to raise Moses in the king’s palace.

An evil king and his wicked plans could not stop God’s plan for Israel.

Things to Think About

  • When you live for God, do not be surprised when you experience opposition and oppression.
  • Nothing can stop God’s sovereign plan.
  • God blesses those who fear and obey Him.
  • Am I making decisions based on my fear of man or my fear of God? Am I living in the fear of man or walking in the fear of God?

14 September 2014

Two-month doctor's appointment

Yesterday we visited Dr. Roscoe for Damon's two-month appointment. I was shocked to hear his weight:

Weight – 11 pounds, 1 ounce (25th percentile)
Length – 22.75 inches (25th percentile)
Head – unknown diameter (50th percentile)

Apparently he's gaining weight just fine! We're used to Avery's measurements, which are usually in the 10th percentile. So it's kind of strange to hear that Damon is in the 25th percentile. Still, he's right on track!

We talked to the doctor about two things related to feedings. First was spitting up. Damon doesn't seem to be bothered by the spit up, but I think he spits up a large quantity. And the occasions happen randomly and without warning, sometimes a few hours after he has eaten. The doctor wasn't concerned at all. He said as long as Damon isn't angry, fussy or hungry after spitting up, it's just something he'll outgrow.

We also discussed supplementing with formula. I can't seem to keep up with Damon's feedings since I've gone back to work. So when the grandparents watch Damon during the day, they'll probably give him a couple ounces of formula with breastmilk. Then I'll keep pumping at work and nursing him the rest of the day. Hopefully I can build up our frozen milk supply this way.

At the doctor, Damon got three shots and an oral vaccine. He was a little mad about them but recovered pretty quickly.

He received the same cute circus bandages just like Avery.

We'll head back to the doctor in November!

11 September 2014

10 September 2014

Believe it or not...

Damon is rolling over from stomach to back! He's actually been doing it for awhile. These videos were taken about three and a half weeks ago. Since then, we've tried back to stomach. He can get as far as his side before he stops.

You might be able to hear Chris in the background of the second video tell us that this shouldn't happen until Damon is three or four months old. I know the second child usually hits milestones faster than the first, but this is ridiculous!

09 September 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Introduction to the Life of Moses

Welcome to a new year of BSF! This year, we will study the life of Moses. And once again, each Tuesday (or maybe another day of the week!) I will provide summaries about the lessons, starting today.

First, let’s start by talking about the Bible. Can we really trust that it’s true? The Bible contains the very words of God. It often is called the Holy Scriptures. “Holy” in Greek means “sacred, set apart.” “Scripture” in Greek means “the written record of the utterances of God.” Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are the sacred writings of God.

God used more than 40 people to write His Word during the course of 1,500 years on multiple continents. Yet the Bible is consistent and accurate. How can the Bible be error-free? It came from God’s mouth (II Peter 1:20-21 and II Timothy 3:16). God used human authors carried along by the Holy Spirit to write down His very words.

The Bible tells one story – the story of Jesus and how He has redeemed us from an empty life separated from Him. The entire Bible points to Jesus.

Even Moses’ life parallels Jesus’ life. So who was Moses? He was born an Israelite but was raised in the courts of Egypt. He is mentioned more than 700 times in 31 of the 66 books of the Bible, so it’s clear that he is an important figure in Christian history. Moses was a man of faith, prayer, humility and courage. He spoke openly with God. He knew opposition. He loved the people God called him to serve. He was born to lead, but he was not born a leader.

We will find each of ourselves in the character of Moses. So hold on for the ride as we discover more about Moses, Jesus and ourselves this year!

Things to Think About

  • The story of Moses’ life points us to Christ. Does the story of my life point others to Christ?
  • Moses was a man of faith, prayer, humility and courage. By walking with God, Moses grew into these character traits.
  • In which areas would I like God to grow me: faithfulness, prayerfulness, humility, courage?

08 September 2014

04 September 2014