Category Archives: BSF

Final BSF of the year … tear

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Yes, it has come and gone … the final BSF meeting of the year.  The final meeting is a time of sharing with all the participants, including the children’s leaders.  The purpose of the sharing time is to share how God used this study of Isaiah in our lives this year and to give testimony to His great work in our lives through His word.  What an encouraging time.

For as far back as I can remember in this study, I knew I would be compelled to share on this day as God began a powerful work in my life through this study from the very first words of Isaiah.

Chapter 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:

though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land;

20 but if you refuse and rebel,

you shall be eaten by the sword;

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Little did I know back in September how much it would mean to me to understand these words or how I would come to understand them in a new way … as if hearing them for the first time.  My sins were as scarlet, I saw that this year, I am also seeing the ways in which God sees me now as white as snow.  I also know in new ways the difference between obedience and rebellion.  God opened my eyes to this in ways only He could do.

So, I knew I would need to give testimony to His work in my life this year through this amazing study.  We were fairly warned that we would have 3 minutes to share … soooo short, but I understand the importance of giving everyone an opportunity to share.  I really had to zero in on what this study had meant to me.  So, with tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat, this is what I shared …

“BSF and Isaiah have meant the world to me this year.  I am new to BSF this year.  I have known the Lord all my life and have attended and even lead countless bible studies.  But this year, I encountered God and the gospel in the book of Isaiah, as if for the very first time.  God showed me my pride and arrogance.  He showed me the idols in my life, and pried my fingers off of them one by one.  But, He didn’t leave me there, He showed me His comfort, His love, His grace … again, in ways I have never known before.

So many verses from this book have meant so much to me this year, but these  two meant the most to me …

Isaiah 42:16

And I will lead the blind

in a way that they do not know,

in paths that they have not known

I will guide them.

I will turn the darkness before them into light,

the rough places into level ground.

These are the things I do,

and I do not forsake them.

and


Isaiah 43:1-2

But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.”


It was a sweet time.

Our dear teaching leader is ‘retiring’ and so this was her last year.  She took a few moments at the end to share as well.  I’m so glad she did … I couldn’t write fast enough to capture all of her wise words … here are a few.

In summarizing our study….

There is nothing God cannot or will not do according to His will.

We desperately need God each morning.

We are constantly coming to grip with our own human failure.

-our sin that keeps us blind to God’s will

God’s primary intent for me is for me to become like Jesus.

-it’s not to be popular, comfortable or successful

-it IS to build my character to make me more like Jesus.

-I could never do this without God’s help.

Our God ALWAYS guides us

-we have to listen, ask for his guidance and pray

-and do it with JOY!

It’s in the daily choices that God shows us how good He is.

-we NEED His word, don’t even try to live without it.

He will do more than we could ever as or imagine.

We don’t know what He is doing or will do …

-Isaiah 42:16  He will lead the blind in ways they don’t know …. He will turn our darkness into light …. He will make those hard places in our life smooth.

He is sovereign over ALL these things.

He says, “these things I will do, I will not forsake them …”

-there is no where we can go that God is not with us!

She concluded with

Psalm 139:7-12

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.


The Bible Study Fellowship study of Isaiah for this year is officially over.  Thankfully the impact it had on my life is not.  God’s work in my heart is not over either, thankfully.

isaiah 65-66

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Last BSF lecture of the year.  Those sitting near me this week were likely wondering if someone in my family had died based on the tears dripping from my eyes.  I was just so aware of how sad I was that this was the last BSF lecture.  I even had one of the leaders tell me she will make a point NOT to sit near me during the sharing time for the final week .. who would’ve thought I, of all people, would be tagged ‘too emotional’!

Isaiah and BSF has really meant the the world to me this year.  I can’t begin to share .. I likely will in another post, forthcoming.

Either way, here are the notes from this week:

Isaiah 65

God is saying, “I have reveled myself!”

He wants us to find Him!

They loved the praise from man more than the praise from God.

-God addresses their unbelief.

-Those with the most exposure did it their own way and rejected Christ.

v. 8-10

Encourages our authenticity with God

-God honors our faith, if it’s there.

-God could tell the difference between good fruit and bad fruit.

v. 11

The wicked would know destruction

v. 13 and following talk of the contrast between those who know the Lord and those who oppose Him.

Principle:  to reject God is an infinitely outrageous crime.

She talks about Hell as a ‘Gospel Problem’

-God saves sinners through Christ.

-we either believe it or we don’t

-when we are open to His word and delight in His pleasures, we are open to begin the process of belief.

-when we don’t believe, we are headed towards hell.

We are saved ONE way by the ONE God through grace

-His gift of love for the undeserving

Do we come to the God of Truth?

Are we authentic in our faith?

God takes the initiative to reveal Himself to all who will come.

How does God view you?

-are you believing?

-what reward can you expect?

v. 17-25

Filled with HOPE for God’s people.

God will delight and rejoice in His people.

God Himself will live with His people forever.

Heaven:  eternal souls longing for God, getting what they want.

The HOPE for the believer, is the Gospel.

God is saying, we can enjoy God now.

Principle:  to receive God is to inherit and infinitely glorious future.

How do we come to God with what we need?

-He has promised to forgive us and recreate us.

Do we struggle to hope?

-we are temped daily by the enemy to give up hope

-we believe the lie that we can’t change

God says, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him”

What can we do?

Go to Him!

Our teaching leader challenged us to go back through Isaiah and record all the promises…

-Do not be afraid, I am with you

-I long to be gracious to you

-My word will accomplish my purpose

-God will keep in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Him

-We are all sheep who have gone astray and the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all

Our HOPE is the power of God’s living word.

-His word will cause us to be recreated.

-He will intervene

-His words have the power to transform, to awaken, to encourage

Isaiah 66

We enter into true worship of God

-God will be honored forever

66:1  God transcends

God honors those who are humble and  contrite in spirit

-those who tremble at His word

We respond with great anticipation

-the only way we enter his presence is through the righteousness of Christ.

v. 7-14

When you see the Truth, your heart will rejoice.

Those who reject God are rejecting Heaven.

Those who reject Heaven, cannot end up there.

What do we do?

Turn to God.  What is our response to God’s grace?
Are we willfully rejecting Jesus and the gospel?

We have all gone our own way and turned away from God in unbelief.

We ask God to help us live a life before those who don’t know Him with a pure heart.

-to receive His grace we cannot add or subtract to God’s word.

When we begin to see what our sin really is, we recognize His grace.

To know and love God is to understand that He sent His son to die for our sins.

What could be greater?

May we see to it that we know Jesus!

Isaiah 61-64

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Today we look at how God is going to fulfill the vision Isaiah has given to his people.

(this weeks’ lecture notes . . . )

The Sovereign Lord has a vision to redeem the whole world and His people.

Our expectations in our culture are ‘instant’ … for everything.  We approach God the same way.

God says He will do what He says He will do, when He’s ready.

Isaiah is teaching God’s people to wait.

-we are not there yet!

-but look at how God helped those in exile and how He will help us today!

The strategy that Isaiah gives God’s people is to wait in Faith and Hope.

Isaiah 61:1

Jesus, appointed by the Holy Spirit, will preach the good news and carry out God’s plan.

The servant of the Lord, Jesus, would redeem God’s people.

Only God could restore what sin had ruined in their lives.

-God’s grace and extravagant love should make you rejoice.

Principle:   those who experience God’s transforming grace, delight in God.

-when we ‘get it’, we are delighted.

-are your days filled with praise?

-are you feeling guilty about the past?

-are you dreading and fearful of what’s ahead?

Grace:  underserving

-God justifies and reconciles us to God

-by faith we believe, we’re saved on the basis of God’s unmerited favor

-when we experience God’s grace, we praise Him.

In your circumstances, have you praised God for His undeserved favor towards you?

-fill your mind with God’s words, the gospel.

Extravagant favor

-focus on the good news of Jesus

-if you do, you will enliven HOPE, no matter what you endure as you wait.

Isaiah 62:  the strategy here is prayer.

PRAYER:  asking  God to accomplish His divine plan.

-HOW we wait, as God’s people for his promises … we should be vigilant, depending on God.

-when we stop praying, we lose that living connection to God.

PRINCIPLE:  Only God offers grace to change you into who He has always wanted you to be.

-surrendering to Christ

-entrusting our character to God to be refined.

-God has plans for us – prayer keeps us connected to these promises.

Intercession glorifies God because it admits dependence on God.

-we are all in hard places

-every believer struggles with sin

-God hears the cries of His people

Only God can change, help and renew His people.

Isaiah says, ‘it’s hard to wait, but you can depend on God and trust Him!’

HOPE . . . always in God!

Isaiah 60

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[60:1] Arise, shine, for your light has come,
		and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
	[2] For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
		and thick darkness the peoples;
	but the LORD will arise upon you,
		and his glory will be seen upon you.
	[3] And nations shall come to your light,
		and kings to the brightness of your rising.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV)

Isaiah is saying, “Stand up and shine!”

-“Cheer up and be expectant!”

-“The display of God’s character will shine on you!”

When Jesus comes He turns darkness into light.

Principle:  God’s people reflect God’s light.

-the glory of God shines through His people.

-Do you reflect the light and glory of Jesus?

-Where do you need the glory of God to transform your life?

Isaiah is saying, “Stand up!”

-use God’s word

-know His promises

-claim them

-live, pouring out His radiance

-His glory turns darkness into light

How does God display His glory through you?

[4] Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
		they all gather together, they come to you;
	your sons shall come from afar,
		and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
	[5] Then you shall see and be radiant;
		your heart shall thrill and exult,
	because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
		the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
(Isaiah 60:4-5 ESV)

Look and be radiant as you see God managing all things.

I had to really stop and ponder that …

I spend much of my time managing things  AND people in my life.  How reassuring to me to remember that God alone manages all things.

My work is to be transformed and radiate the glory of God.

When God transforms us, it shows how great God is!

God’s glorious light showed His people he was WITH them.  He is WITH us too!

We have this light in His word.

Jesus is the light of the world.

He works in our hearts.

He is personal.

He reveals Himself to His people.

Some great questions to consider in light of this rich 60th Chapter of Isaiah:

Have we asked God to give us a greater desire for him?

Have we asked Him to take us from focusing on our daily details to focusing on Him?

He does all things well.

Isaiah is telling us to look UP to Him and ask Him for the HOPE and JOY that comes from trusting Him when we cannot see.

God’s people are for the everlasting display of His splendor.

Are we planted and  nourished by the Lord Himself?

Do we believe that God can change and transform us?

The presence of the Lord restores and transforms His people for His glory.

Isaiah 54-57

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Three themes emerge in these three chapters:

God offers joy and security to His redeemed.

God offers salvation and satisfaction at no cost.

God offers peace to the contrite, but exposes the rebellious.

Another great BSF lesson in Isaiah.

Here are a few highlights

Isaiah 54

Isaiah uses three images to talk about our relationship with God and show how God’s grace to His redeemed people.

v. 1-3   renewal of a barren woman

v. 4-10  redemption of a deserted wife

v. 11-17  rebuilding of the afflicted city

In each of these images there is a reversal.

God is sovereign over his people and He controls every detail of their lives.

When we return ot the One True God he gives restoration.

-He shows us the same grace he showed his people

PRINCIPLE:  Being secure in God’s love satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts.

our deepest longings:  1. to be loved, 2. to know where we will be when we die.

We will be secure in God if we have trusted in Christ.

We look for our security in so many different places . . .

-we’ve been hurt

-we’ve been abandoned

-we don’t trust

God can turn the sadness and places of great hurt into a place of love and compassion that come from Him.

God says to us, “You are mine!  I will make you righteous! I know you best and love you most!”

God’s love will heal people’s sorrows when they turn in repentance.

True love and true security are found only in God and in His Son Jesus.

Isaiah 55

God invites us to come and be satisfied.

We would rather cling to our own idols and agendas.

-we’re not satisfied, but we still resist coming to Him.

Christ is overflowing with satisfaction we cannot provide.

55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

We make our plans, we ask God for what WE want.

Instead we should say, “I’m blind, You can see!  My greatest desire is YOUR plan!”

God’s words, thoughts and understanding are for His Glory, not mine!

My ways exalt ME, not God.

We are comfortable and we do not like pain.

God knows everything about everything and we do not!

v. 11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

God will fulfill His purpose.

Isaiah 53

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I’ve been waiting for several weeks for this passage to reach our BSF line-up.  I’ve been reading C.J. Mahaney’s Cross Centered Life, in preparation for Easter, and he devotes the chapter, ‘Searching the Mystery’, to Isaiah 53.  He asks and answers a most significant and relevant question, “What does it all mean? Why did Jesus have to die?”

Isaiah 53 answers that question.

53:1] Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

[2] For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

[3] He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

[4] Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

[5] But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

[6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

[8] By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

[9] And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

[10] Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

[11] Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

[12] Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53 ESV)


“Sinclair Ferguson’s words on the staggering implications of the crucifixion:

When we think of Christ’s dying on the cross, we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to himself.  We would almost think that God loved us more than He loved His son.  We cannot measure His love by any other standard.  He is saying to us, ‘I love you this much.’

“The cross is the heart of the gospel; it makes the gospel good news.  Christ died for us; He stood in our place before God’s judgement seat; He has born our sins.  God has done something on the cross which we could never do for ourselves.  But God does something to us as well as for us through the cross.  He persuades us that He loves us.”


Isaiah 50-52

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I was in the children’s program last week, so I didnt’ post BSF notes … though I will say that I really enjoyed volunteering with the 3-4 year olds.  I’m definitely out of my comfort zone in teaching younger children, but I loved being part of their morning routine.  I have always heard how amazing the BSF children’s program  is, and it was really great to see that first hand.  The teachers LOVE those kids so intentionally for those 2 hours.  And the intentionality of the schedule and programming is really amazing .. it even includes ‘quiet time’, where the kids (yes, 3 year olds) sit quietly on a towel for a few minutes and think about what they learned.  And they are studying Isaiah!  I really loved it!

Another side note .. our teaching leader said recently that someone commented to her after one of the lessons, “Wasn’t this the same lesson we had last week?”  Different passage .. similar message.  She used this to point out the layers in Isaiah and the continuing themes of God’s sovereignty and His redemption of His people.  I love the repetition … I need to hear those truths each week!

So, this week ..

Isaiah 50-52

A focus on Listening and Waking Up!

JESUS is the only one who can open our hearts and ears to God, are we willing to listen?

She focused on the idea of listening ..

Our own minds are our mental universe.

-we like to listen to ourselves

-we have tempting voices

-we love by doing and controlling

-we create an inner-personal environment.

However, our ears are on the OUTSIDE of our head

-we must listen outside of ourselves; it’s not all about us

*we must take into our heads what GOD says.

God gave us words in the Bible.

-He also gave us Jesus, as the LIVING word

God’s words:

-lasting, not deceptive

-TRUE

-they illuminate our lives

-the one who hears and listens will KNOW God through His living word.

Isaiah 50:4-9

PRINCIPLE:  Those who allow the servant to open their ears to God will know Him and be sustained and not condemned.

-God will make a way for His obedient people to go through suffering.

How does the suffering of Jesus help you understand God’s plan for you?

How do we look at the tragedies and hard places in this world?

-we go to God’s word and listen to what it says

Isaiah 42:16

[16] And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

God makes a way through suffering and promises never to leave us.

-may we listen to His word.

-those who awake to God’s promises can be comforted, assured.

Isaiah 51

God did the impossible

God’s righteousness encourages our courage.

-only God’s righteousness will last forever.

v. 9-11  Israel speaking to God . . .

v. 12   God’s response

PRINCIPLE:  Those who are awakened and listen to the promises of God find comfort and hope.

Do we believe God’s promises?

Do we believe the person who make the promises?

Where is God calling you today to listen to Him? To be comforted by Him? To go through a hard place with Him?

v. 17

Get out of despair and wake up to forgiveness

God knew Israel suffered painful consequences for their idolatry.

-consequences will hopefully  move us to the remedy .. towards the right choice and away from sin.

Isaiah 52:  Awake and get up and enter into the promises

Your God reigns

Be holy because God is Holy

God is calling us to know Him and live as He says we are.

-we are His

-we can know His promises and claim them

*We can know the blessing and the power of God as He leads us through all circumstances.

May we know the person of God through His word!