Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Susanna 60-64

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

60 With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who saveth them that trust in him.
61 And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth:
62 And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day.
63 Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joacim her husband, and all the kindred, because there was no dishonesty found in her.
64 From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight of the people.

So...What have we learned? Besides always have a good lawyer, this story champions several things. Virtue triumphs in the end. Susanna was virtuous, and even though things looked bad for a while, she was rescued. To trite. The reality was that actually dishonesty worked-until God got involved.
That may be the best lesson in the story. Things may appear open and shut, but there is usually two stories. The elders only heard what the evil men claimed, and that was false. Even the great and wise Daniel did not use Susanna to testify. He let the evil men’s own testimony condemn themselves. (You did not see that until now did you?)
We live in an imperfect and very complicated world. Life is not always black and white. It is usually some shade in between. Laws are, however, written in black and white. It is our job as humans to look at the gray. Christians are people. Do not always assume we live in a black and white world in our religion. There may be two stories, and many times they are not as clear cut good and evil as the book of Susanna.
There is good news, God knows. This is one of that many reasons to always go to God in prayer.
Prayer- God, give us wisdom to see shades of gray. Let us work to do the right thing so that by our reputation we may help others. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Susanna 44-59

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us to learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

44 And the Lord heard her voice.
45 Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was Daniel:
46 Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.
47 Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What mean these words that thou hast spoken?
48 So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel?
49 Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne false witness against her.
50 Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder.
51 Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from another, and I will examine them.
52 So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light.
53 For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay.
54 Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a mastick tree.
55 And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two.
56 So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.
57 Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness.
58 Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree.
59 Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two, that he may destroy you.

My father has always said the moral of the Book of Susanna is to get a good lawyer. Yes, this is that Daniel-of lions den fame. Since he was the kings chief counsel, he was a good lawyer. More importantly, Daniel was a man of God. The people respected him and God spoke to him. That is about as well respected as you can get.
God heard the cry of Susanna, and had Daniel intervene. He had the elders, (minus the two evil ones,) re-convene. He then told them of his plan to interrogate them separately. Notice that Daniel talks smack before he asks the magic questions. This was to make them anxious before they answered and to get them off their game. It worked.
So, now the elders have answered Daniels questions differently, do you think the other elders will smell a rat? If so, will they be lenient? And what about Joakim? Tomorrow all these questions will be answered.

Prayer- Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers. We know that good things happen when we call to you, but we do not always know what that good might be. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Susanna 28-43

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us to learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

28 And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death;
29 And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joacim's wife. And so they sent.
30 So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all her kindred.
31 Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to behold.
32 And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.
33 Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept.
34 Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head.
35 And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36 And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away.
37 Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her.
38 Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran unto them.
39 And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out.
40 But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: these things do we testify.
41 Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death.
42 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all things before they be:
43 Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me.

There are few things that are disturbing in this trial. Justice is swift, but very blind. The elders ordered Susanna to remove her veil and be exposed. This was very embarrassing for Susanna and her family. They testified that they caught in the act- but could not subdue the man, he was too strong. They did not know who the man was, and Susanna would not tell them, (and why were they in the garden?) The wildest part was-the assembly believed them! Was there no commandment these guys would not break. They coveted, wanted to commit adultery, they bore false witness, stole (broke into the garden,) and even tried to murder. Wow!
Notice Susanna did not testify in her own defense. She couldn’t-she was a girl. The servants and friends did not testify for her. Were they in shock or just scared. Where was her husband?
On a very serious note, there is still false accusations made about people everyday. Even in major court cases-especially ones dealing with morality, people are quick to believe the accuser. Children make up tales, parents hear and the witch hunt begins. Don’t think this can’t happen today- it would just take longer to go to trial and there would be much more coverage.

Prayer- Lord, give us wisdom so that we can understand. Help us be slow to judge and to always consult YOU when forced to make a difficult decision. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.