Thursday, May 25, 2017

1 John 3: Notes on Relationships

1 John 3
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - John mentions that those who don’t do what is right aren’t children of God, and neither are those who don’t love their brother or sister. (v.10) The fact that this relational piece is mentioned shows how important it is to our ability to fight sin in our lives. If we harbor division with fellow Christians, it leaves us susceptible to weakness when fighting tempations. The enemies path to destroying us may start with tempting us to have problems with our fellow Christians.

VERSES 11-24
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Loving one another is an ancient truth. (v.11) This is something that each of us has as a part of our foundation, even if our early path in the world taught us differently. Regardless of our origins, we all started as part of God’s Plan, birthed in love. We all can find that command to love others like God loved us. 2). Cain murdered because of jealousy. (v.12) Rather than loving his brother and rejoicing with him, he envied him and wanted to be better. We must love our brothers, and choose to do so even when we don’t feel like it. If we don’t, we’ll betray ourselves and leave ourselves vulnerable to sin and failure. 3). We are admonished to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. (v.16) This is very unselfish and loving, exactly the way God wants us to live. If we imitate our Savior and his sacrifice and love for us, our union as a body of Christ will be strong, powerful, and effective in this world.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

1 Corinthians 3: Notes on Sin

1 Corinthians 3
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). Fighting and quarreling are signs of worldliness in our lives. (v.3,4) When we do these things, it shows that we are full of the world and its’ sinful ways. If we keep the mind of Christ, we will avoid these pitfalls and let God handle the problems we have with others. ‘Taking the high road’ is literally that! Sometimes its’ better to be polite than to be right. 2). Some will make it into heaven just barely, ‘escaping through the flames.’ (v.15) The flames aren’t necessarily the fires of hell, but the problems and troubles on this earth resulting from our poor decisions and wrong behavior. If we can abstain from the things that cause division and strife, our path to heaven will be much better and more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Matthew 18: Notes on Relationships

Matthew 18
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 15-20
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Jesus gave us a true pattern for dealing with conflict concerning others in our lives. (v.15-17) We must first confront them ourself. If they listen and we forgive one another, than it is done. But if not, then bring one or two others with us as impartial witnesses the next time. If that still doesn’t work, than it’s time to get the church involved. Finally, if that is unsuccessful, than we have exhausted all of the options and now it is best to stay away from them. Why? Because they are bomb full of bitterness and ready to explode, and we are right before God because we did everything He commanded to try and make it right. 2). When we bind or loosen things on this earth, it will be done in heaven. (v.18) This is specifically referring to the binding and loosening of things within our relationships with others. Our unity with others has an effect on eternity, and is a weapon of warfare in our battle against evil in the heavenly realms.

VERSES 21-35
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Peter asked Jesus how many times he needed to forgive his brother. (v.21) They had just finished talking about relationships in the previous passage, and now Peter asked a more specific question. We might assume that a quarrel had come up and Jesus was dealing with it. It wouldn’t be surprising with such volatile personalities in the group of disciples. We can almost see Peter asking this question while staring at the one disciple that had offended him. Any time we work in groups, there will come situations where feelings are hurt and disagreements develop. It’s important to work it out in a Godly way and press on. 2). Other servants saw that this wicked servant wasn’t showing grace to others. (v.31) They immediately went and told this to their master. Sometimes, we might be tempted to stay quiet about sinful things we see others involved in, but the proper thing to do is to help them by bringing it to the surface. Hidden sins destroy people quickly. 3). Jesus desires for us to stay at peace with our brothers. (v.35) What is forgiving seventy times seven? What is God really trying to say? The answer is found in verse 35. It simply says to ‘forgive your brother from your heart.’ We must make sure not to just say the words, but flesh it out in our actions as well.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joshua 18: Notes on Worship

Joshua 18
Notes on Worship

WORSHIP - 1). The people assembled at Shiloh before they separated to take possession of the land designated to each tribe. (v.1) This was where the Tent of Meeting was, the actual Presence of God on earth. They needed to come together there as a starting point, a frame of reference, so they would always remember to come together to meet with God. The Presence of God was to be at the center of their nation and their lives. 2). After the surveys were done, they were to return to Joshua at Shiloh where he would cast lots for the Lord’s will on their behalf. (v.6) Casting lots was a dice type of activity where they would expect God to speak them based on how He let the ‘chips fall’. This may sound so alien to us, but remember that God didn’t just speak to his leaders every day, it was often spread out over years and decades. And we also must remember that they lived in a time where the work of God among them was much more supernatural than we see in our world today. The lesson for us is that once we’ve done our best to plan, we must lay our plans before God and let Him change them according to His perfect will.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Exodus 18: Notes on Worship/Passion

Exodus 18
Notes on Worship/Passion

WORSHIP - Jethro brought a burnt offering and a sacrifice to celebrate the freedom of the Hebrew people. (v.12) He knew that God was worthy of worship. After hearing the reports, he couldn’t help but praise. When we hear the good things that God is doing in those we love, we must bring our best worship and show God that we appreciate it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ephesians 3: Notes on God's Plan

Ephesians 3
Notes on God's Plan

GOD'S PLAN - 1). God gave Paul grace on behalf of the Gentiles. (v.2,3) Paul realized that when God saved Him, it wasn't just for Him; he was saved to reach others. When God saves us, He has a plan for us to reach others too. In saving you, He's also saving others down the road. 2). God revealed His plans to Paul's generation. (v.5) He waited until the right time for His plan to unfold. Paul's generation took the messages God had given them and spread them around the world. We are beneficiaries of their work, today. 3). Whenever God dispels His grace, it’s an act of power. (v.7) We often think of God’s power expressed in magnificent miracles; the parting of the Red Sea, raising the dead, feeding thousands, etc.. But even the simple acts of mercy and grace which God bestows upon us countless times every day are glorious miracles. When God intervenes, it’s always a powerful display of His love for us. 4). God's plan was put into motion at the right time. (v.9,10) He hid it from ages past, but initiated it with the church at that time, and it has grown to a mighty movement today. God intervenes in the affairs of men by using His church as His agent of change in this world. 

VERSES 14-21
GOD'S PLAN - 1). Paul prayed that God would give them power through His Spirit. (v.16) One of the greatest gifts we can receive from God's riches is the gift of His Spirit. He will dwell in our hearts, be with us at all times, and empower us to do all that God has called us to do. 2). Paul prayed that God would give them power to grasp His incredible love. (v.18) God wants us to know how much He loves us. It's so fabulous that we need God's help just to understand it, which He is willing to give. 3). We can know an 'unknowable' love. (v.19) God will give us power to know a love that goes beyond our knowledge. We can't define it, which makes it the perfect kind of love for us, imperfect people. God will always take us to places we couldn’t achieve without Him. 4). God wants to fill us with His fullness. (v.19) When we know the love of God by the power of His Spirit in us, we will have the fullness of God in our lives. God wants us to be full of Him. 5). God can do more than we can imagine. (v.20) He will do these things through us, by His power within us. God will use us to do His wonders in this world.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

2 Timothy 3: Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 3
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). We serve a powerful God that wants to change us. (v.5) He doesn’t just hope to make us feel better and solve our problems. He wants to make us as He created us to be. Some people would like to allow God access to certain parts of their lives and not others. But God wants all of us, complete access to everything so He change us through and through. His power is limitless, and we must allow it limitless room in our lives. 2). Paul suffered much persecution and suffering. (v.11) God didn’t shield him from the problems, but He did rescue Him in the end. God allows us to go throughs storms for many divine reasons, not the least of which is what it does in maturing and building our faith. But He never does it because He enjoys pain, shown in how He is closely watching and waiting to rescue when the time is right.