Thursday, July 20, 2017

1 Thessalonians 4: Notes on God's Character

1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God will punish all those who take advantage of their fellow Christians and wrong them. (v.6) He wants us to treat others fairly, just as He would. He will defend those who are mistreated. We don’t need to defend ourselves because God is our defense. 2). Paul didn’t need to teach them about loving each other because they had already learned that from God. (v.9) God had taught them this lesson on their own, and this is what he desires for all of us. Leaders and preachers are important in our lives, but we must move to a place of hearing from God on our own and responding. 

VERSES 13-18
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). We believe that God will bring Jesus’ followers to heaven with him, even after they’ve died. (v.14) Jesus wouldn’t just leave us to fend for ourselves on our own as He enjoys eternal life. He came to be with us and to keep us close forever. He came to earth so we could get to heaven in eternity and be with Him. 2). Those who have already died will precede those of us who are still alive when God calls us to heaven at the second coming. (v.15-17) They have waited for him so much longer than the rest of us, and many of them lived through periods that were darker, without as much hope as we have today. God won’t forget them or let them wallow in death any longer than he has too. We will all meet together and go to be with God for all of eternity, and the dead in Christ will rise first, after which we’ll meet them in the air. 3). Jesus, Himself, will come down from heaven for us at His Second Coming. (v.16) He could easily send an angel or thousands of angels to do His work for Him, but He wants to come personally because He cares for us so deeply. He’s not afraid to do the job Himself and He wants us to know that it is He who is saving us. God can take care of His own business.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1 Samuel 18: Notes on Leadership

1 Samuel 18
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Saul kept David with him from that point on. (v.2) He would not return to his father's house as a boy. He had proven himself as a warrior, and a subject of the King. Saul saw a great leader and held onto him. When we see these leaders in our midst, we must hold on to them if possible and work together. 2). Saul gave David many tasks to do in the army, and he was successful with all of them. (v.5) Saul saw his progress and increased his rank. He gave him the opportunity to shine, and when he did, Saul rewarded him accordingly. Challenges flow with rewards, and then more challenges, spurring on toward growth. 3). The ladies gave credit to Saul for thousands, yet to David they gave credit for tens of thousands. (v.7) They recognized a difference in the quality of their leadership. True leadership doesn't write it's own promotions; their people will decide how effective they truly are. 4). Saul offered David his daughter Merab's hand in marriage. (v.17) His desire was to entice David to continue leading his campaigns against the Philistines, and cause his death on the battlefield. It also made David hope for the best for King Saul, out of loyalty to his wife, the king's daughter. His reward wasn't genuine because of the wrong motives. We should reward others for good work, not just to help them want to do more for our own selfish purposes. 5). David didn't feel himself worthy of the King's daughter. (v.23) He had the boldness to stand up to the king and say no. He even initially resisted the pressure of the kings attendants. He knew that he was poor, and felt that he was unknown, though surely he knew the crowds loved him. David wasn't willing to be influenced easily by others around him, and neither should we. 6). David went to battle as a commander for the king, and had more success than any of the other officers. (v.30) He grew in popularity with the people and the army. Good leadership will always have a crowd of people willing to follow along.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1 Kings 18: Notes on Attitudes

1 Kings 18
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE – Obadiah was afraid that he would die if he let Ahab know he found Elijah. (v.9-14) This is the 2nd time that Elijah had been sent by God to interact with someone that was frustrated and waning in their divine commitment. This man, who had done a great deed for the Lord, wouldn’t trust God in that moment. He’d been living in fear so long that he believed evil would triumph over good. God didn’t bring Obadiah to Elijah, he brought Elijah to Obadiah, to encourage him and give him strength for the road ahead.

VERSES 16-46
ATTITUDE – 1). Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal. (v.27) The purpose here wasn’t to teach us to make fun of those who try different religions. Rather, it was to show us how ridiculous our sin really is, and to show us the confidence we can have in God. Elijah was all by himself in this contest, yet he had the guts to speak up for His God. If only we can have that courage in our world today! If only someone would stand up and challenge the evil ways of our world today like Elijah! 2). Elijah waited for the rain. (v.41-43) He told Ahab to go and celebrate because the rain was on its way. But Elijah didn’t do that; he went to a mountain top overlooking the sea and waited. His posture was one of impatience or worry and concern. He may have been excited to see the rain but it had been so long that he couldn’t wait to see it, and was possibly still somewhat worried as to what would happen if the rain didn’t come. God had just sent the fire, but he was still concerned that maybe He wouldn’t send the rain as well. We need to remember the God we serve, that He is faithful, and don’t get lulled into the apathy of believing He won’t do what He said He would do.

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.