26 February 2015

24 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 13-19

As the Israelites approach the Promised Land, God tells Moses to send 12 spies (one from each tribe) into the land to survey it. The 12 spies see the same things, yet 10 of the spies give a bad report. They are fearful and believe they cannot overtake the land, even though God already promised it to them. Of the 12 spies, only Joshua and Caleb had faith that God would give them the land.

The 12 spies influence the rest of the people to believe their report of the land. The 12 spies focus on their fear, they doubt God’s word and they create discouragement in the people. Joshua and Caleb focus on God and His promises.

The people want to choose a new leader and return to Egypt. God approaches Moses and threatens to strike down the people. Moses pleads with God. God condemns the people to wander 40 years in the desert and to die there. Only the next generation, including Joshua and Caleb, will enter the Promised Land.

Korah, a respected leader in the tribe of Levi, leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Korah doesn’t want to be behind the scenes but wants a high-level leadership position like Moses.

Moses tells Korah and his followers to bring censers and incense before the Lord. They should not have done this because presenting the censers to God was a special privilege reserved for the priests. God opens the ground, swallowing Korah and his followers. The people grumble again and accuse Moses and Aaron of killing these rebels. God sends a plague against the rebels. Then Aaron makes atonement for the people’s sins, asking God to forgive the people.

Next, God uses a supernatural incident to confirm Aaron as the high priest. One leader from each of the 12 tribes puts a staff in the Tent of Meeting. The next day, Aaron’s staff had sprouted, budded, blossomed and produced almonds. This proves to the people that Aaron is chosen by God. Then God details the blessings He will give to the priests as rewards for serving Him.

Finally, in chapter 19, God instructs the Israelites how to cleans someone who was ceremonially unclean through contacting an impurity like a dead body. This ceremonial cleansing pointed to God cleanses our spiritual impurities through Jesus’ death.

Things to Think About

  • Do I exaggerate the truth like the 10 spies?
  • What causes fear in me? Remember that God is bigger and stronger than any fear I have.
  • Don’t let difficulties blind us from God’s power.
  • We must not allow the voice of the crowd to override the voice of truth. To whose voice am I listening?
  • Korah aspired to a better leadership position. Which aspiration do I need to put to death because it is keeping me from doing what God has called me to do?
  • Am I a humble leader like Moses? Do I intercede on behalf of the people in my life?

19 February 2015

18 February 2015

20 questions with Avery :: 6 years old

Here is this year's installment of Avery's 20 questions. As usual, some of her answers surprised me. I wonder where she came up with them. And do you see a Frozen theme? Check out Avery's previous responses!



1. What is your favorite color? Pink

2. What is your favorite toy? Frozen Barbie dolls

3. What is your favorite fruit? Pineapple

4. What is your favorite TV show? Odd Squad

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Doritos

6. What is your favorite outfit? Frozen sweatsuit

7. What is your favorite game? Frozen princess game

8. What is your favorite snack? Apples

9. What is your favorite animal? Orangutans

10. What is your favorite song? Let It Go

11. What is your favorite book? Junie B. Jones books

12. Who is your best friend? Parker K. (at school)

13. What is your favorite cereal? Frozen cereal

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play on my playset at home

15. What is your favorite drink? Capri Sun strawberry-kiwi

16. What is your favorite holiday? Easter

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Stuffed animals

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pop Tarts

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Mac and cheese

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mommy


17 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Snow break

A quick snowstorm yesterday covered the church's parking lot, leaving little time to clear it before our BSF meeting. So we had to cancel our class last night. That means I'll take a break on the blog this week. Next week we'll discuss the 12 spies who surveyed the Promised Land and the priesthood. See you then!


16 February 2015

Eating the good stuff

Right after Christmas, we decided to start Damon on "real" food in addition to his bottles. Even though his pediatrician gave us the green light in November, we just weren't ready to take the plunge until the holidays were over. We started with rice cereal to get him used to eating with a spoon:




video
He wasn't interested at all in the cereal. (Avery's distractions at mealtime probably didn't help!) Nearly every time we fed him, he closed his mouth and shook his head to let us know he didn't want to eat the cereal. That is not the reaction I expected from a Clark boy since they're known to enjoy eating! Granted, we didn't try very hard to get him to like the cereal. But he was doing fine with the spoon, so about two weeks later we moved on to vegetables. First up was carrots, just like Big Sister Avery:




video
He enjoyed carrots much better than the cereal! He also has eaten sweet potatoes and squash. He's really getting the hang of sitting in the high chair and eating from the spoon. And I think he actually likes the foods. I know this because he usually happily opens his mouth, ready to take a bite. In fact, just last week he opened his mouth as soon as I took the lid off the food container! He was rarin' to go for that meal!

We'll try peas soon, and then he can have some fruits. After that is the best part – table foods! Daddy can't wait to share pizza and wings with his little man.


14 February 2015

12 February 2015

10 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 11-12

At the end of last week, the Israelites leave Mount Sinai. This week, we’ll see them fall back into sin, even after everything God had done for them.

The Israelites head out to the Promised Land, but they begin to complain about their hardships while traveling. They are focused on their hardships instead of God’s blessings and provisions. God judges the Israelites because of their complaining. He sends down fire on the outskirts of the camp. The people ask Moses to pray. He does so, and God removes the fire.

Next, the rabble among the Israelites starts to complain. The rabble was people who went with the Israelites when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:38). They complain about wanting food other than the manna God is providing. The Israelites follow suit and start to complain. They forget everything that happened to them in Egypt!

God had been faithful and had provided everything – physically and spiritually – for the Israelites, but their complaining said His provisions weren’t enough. The people beg God for meat. Moses is troubled at their complaining. Because he loves the people, Moses goes to God.

Moses cries out to God over the burden the people’s complaints have become to him. God does not condemn or judge Moses because he took his complaints to God instead of complaining to other people. Moses tells God that the burden is too much for him. God knows that Moses needs help. God provides 70 elders to assist Moses with the burden of caring for the people.

Then God provides quail as meat for the people to eat. God provides quail three feet deep. The people begin eating the quail, but He immediately punishes them for their complaining by giving them a plague. God gave them over to their desires, but they soon begin to regret their complaining.

Even Moses’ own family is not exempt from the sin of complaining. Moses’ siblings, Miriam and Aaron, are leaders among the Israelites. But they complain about Moses’ relationship with God. This started by complaining about the ethnicity of Moses’ wife. Miriam and Aaron are jealous of Moses’ leadership. They want to be out front among the people.

Moses is silent in face of these complaints. How often am I silent when other people attack me?

God calls out Miriam and Aaron and defends Moses and his close, intimate relationship with God. Miriam appears to be the instigator in this situation. God punishes Miriam with leprosy.

All of this complaining isn’t over! This sin will reappear several times before our study is done.

Things to Think About

  • God hears our complaining.
  • Complaining about our hardships is like telling God is He not enough for us.  When we complain, it’s like we’re saying don’t like His sovereign hand in our lives.
  • Nothing comes into my life that hasn’t passed through the hands of God.
  • Complaining is contagious.
  • Do I take my worries and anxieties to God? Do I honestly share my heart with God?
  • Instead of complaining to other people, I should pray and take my complaints directly to God.

09 February 2015

Chompers!

A few weeks ago, Avery noticed that Damon's first tooth had popped through his lower gums. We knew the second one would be close behind. Here is a close-up photo of his first two chompers. Enjoy his adorable toothless grin now because it won't be around much longer!


08 February 2015

05 February 2015

03 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 1-10

Since we have finished the books of Exodus and Leviticus, now we’re moving on to Numbers. The book truly is about numbers, as we will see how God numbers and organizes the Israelites in this week’s lesson. All of this shows how God is a personal God who cares about every detail of every person’s life.

Numbers begins with a census. All Israelite men age 20 and older are counted in the census to determine the number of men able to fight in the Israelite army. The Levites are not counted because God chooses them to assist Aaron and his priests and be the spiritual leaders for the nation. They are charged with taking care of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.

The Tabernacle is placed in the center of the Israelites’ camp because God dwells in the Tabernacle. The Levites encamp around the Tabernacle. The other tribes are arranged around the Levites and the Tabernacle.

God also directs the order the tribes will leave when the people move at His command. God is orderly and organized. He doesn’t like chaos. God wants us to be orderly and organized, too!

Next, God again instructs the Israelites to remain pure. He tells them to send out from the camp anyone who is ceremonially unclean. He also tells the people to make restitution for their wrongs. And he protects women by providing a test for an unfaithful wife.

Since the Israelites are one year removed from their time in Egypt, they celebrate the second Passover. People who are unclean and should not celebrate the festival beg Moses to allow them to celebrate. Moses approaches God, and God extends His grace to these people, allowing them to celebrate Passover one month later. God never changes His standards or the regulations for Passover but allows the people to celebrate later.

This passage ends with another description of the cloud God used to instruct the people to move and stay. When the cloud moves, the people move. And when the cloud settles, the people settle. The Israelites are focused on God and obey the cloud’s movements.

Things to Think About

  • How is my life centered around God? Is He at the center of everything I do and every decision I make?
  • The Israelites focused on the Tabernacle in the center of their camp and then on the cloud. What are my eyes focused on?