Thursday, March 29, 2018

1 John 1: Notes on God's Plan

1 John 1
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - John starts at the beginning. (v.1) He mentions that which was from the beginning, and he’s referring to Jesus. Though John was speaking to people after the death of Jesus, he referred back to Him, and pointed out that Jesus was around at the beginning of time as well. When God works in us and the world around us, we must remember that he started at the beginning and this is all part of His Master plan. God sees the whole picture.

GOD’S PLAN - 1). John declared the message he had heard from Jesus. (v.5) Rather than come and declare His truth to everyone all at the same time, God sent Jesus to give his truth to a few faithful followers. They, in turn, would share it with their followers, and then they would share it with others as well. God wanted us to be included in His delivery of the message and wanted us to hear His truth from others before us. We must be faithful to listen well because it will be our responsibility to share it with others some day and keep the cycle going. 2). Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin. (v.7) The only way we can be in the light like Jesus was is if His blood cleanses us from the darkness of sin. His death on the cross made the way for us to be clean and full of His light. Without Jesus’ blood over us, we will never achieve His level of light in our lives. 3). God wants us to confess our sins to Him. (v.9) If we do, he’ll cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He gives us the responsibility of bringing it up with Him. If we do are part, we can be sure that He will do His. Our role in our own righteousness it to simply be honest with God about who we are and our need for Him. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

1 Corinthians 1: Notes on God's Character

1 Corinthians 1
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). They were enriched by God in every way. (v.5) Just being around God and in His presence enriches our lives and makes us better. He is so good that His presence makes others good as well. The closer we get to God, the more like Him we will be. 2). God has given us what we need to make it to the end. (v.8) He is faithful to us and will not leave us until it’s completed. We can take hope that He is always with us and helping us along the way. 3). God is faithful. (v.9) He will help us along the way and never betray or abandon us. We can count on Him. There are not many constant things in this life, but God is one of them. He will always be there and He will always be the same.

VERSES 18-31
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). Only God can help people understand His message. (v.24) God speaks to people and shows them the mystery of His truth. Some Jews stumbled over the cross, but many recognized it as the true power of God. Some Greeks stumbled over the foolishness of the cross, but many saw God’s wisdom at work. God called to them and gave them the discernment to understand. We must pray that God will continue to call to unbelievers in this world and help them understand as well. 2). God loves the underdogs. (v.27,28) He chose the lowly things of this world to be His messengers, His leaders. When others see failures, God sees champions. We shouldn’t be quick to overestimate people in progress, because those are the kinds of people attracted to God in His plans.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Matthew 20: Notes on Leadership

Matthew 20
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP – The landowner went out early in the morning to hire men. (v.1) He had much work that needed to be finished, so he got an early start in finding people to help. He didn’t wait until later on, but quickly went about his business. God wants us to be people with a strong work ethic, not afraid to start early and finish late.

VERSES 17-19
LEADERSHIP – Jesus warned His disciples about what was going to happen. (v.17) He didn’t let them walk blindly into Jerusalem unaware. He gave them direction, a sign for them to follow. Good leaders prepare their people for what might lie ahead.

VERSES 29-34
LEADERSHIP – When Jesus left Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. (v.29) He was an effective leader, because large amounts of people went with Him wherever He went, just to see what He would do and hear what He would say. Leaders are people with followers in tow.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Joshua 20: Notes on Attitudes

Joshua 20
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - If the avenger came for revenge, they weren't allowed in the city to do damage. (v.5) Though they were wronged, they wouldn’t be allowed to do more wrong to others. When we are offended, it’s tempting to keep the offense going and project it onto others, but we must guard against allowing the offense to continue through our actions. Wrongs must be stopped by us.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Exodus 20: Notes on Family

Exodus 20
Notes on Family

FAMILY - 1). God will punish or reward families through the generations based on their level of worshipping Him. (v.5,6) God enjoys our worship and He wants it to last forever. When we worship Him, He will bless our families and teach our children to worship and so on. When we worship idols, He will punish our families so that generations will learn to stay away from wicked ways. God made the family and He created the nature that a parent has with their child. Our lives will flow into the inheritance we leave for our children and grandchildren. When we worship God, we are being a blessing to our family as well. If we are living under the curse of an idolatrous forefather, we must choose to worship God and start a new legacy for our families. 2). The Sabbath is a day of rest for us and for our entire family. (v.10) It’s important for brothers and sisters, as well as fathers and mothers to watch out for each other. We must make sure that we do our best to honor God and obey His commands. Families are the best source of accountability that God gave us in this world. 3). We should honor our parents. (v.12) If we honor them, we will have a long life in the plans that God has for us. This is because God awards those who respect Him and His authority. If He placed us in families, when we honor them we honor Him. Parents are supposed to guide children in the right ways to live. It’s no surprise that this command is immediately after the order to keep the Sabbath because the children may have a hard time resting on the seventh day. We show God we trust Him by honoring the parents He’s given us. By obeying our parents, we are better prepared to obey God.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ephesians 1: Notes on Relationships

Ephesians 1
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - Paul brings an essence of unity to the beginning of this letter to the Ephesians. (v.1,2) He mentioned Jesus and God as inseparable; He mentioned saints and faithfulness, which are needed together; He mentioned grace and peace, which complement each other. An underlying theme of this book will be ‘unity’ which is found in these first introductory verses.

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). God’s desire is always about bringing unity. (v.10) He sent Jesus to bring the earth into unity with heaven, to bring us into unity with Him, and to teach us how to be unified with each other. We shouldn't support divisions and arguments, but always strive for unity just like God would want. 2). Regardless of when we were saved, we are included in Christ. (v.13) We all have a place in the family of God. The circumstances of our salvation do not keep us apart from our brothers and sisters in Christ. When someone accepts Christ as their Savior, they also accept all Christians in the world as their family as well.

VERSES 15-23
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Paul thanked God for the Ephesians. (v.15) He hadn't personally met them  yet, but he still thanked God for them based on the testimonies he'd received. We are connected to all Christians across the world, and we need to thank God for them and remember them in our prayers. One of the greatest ways to express gratitude is to lift people up to God in prayer. 2). Paul also prayed that they would know the riches of the inheritance we have with God’s people. (v.18) This was right after praying that we’d remember our hope in heaven. One of the things that helps us wait for heaven is living with others headed that way. One of God’s greatest gifts to us on this earth is the fellowship of the church. 3). Jesus is the Head of our church. (v.22,23) We look to Him for our leadership. He is what unites us together in purpose and direction. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

2 Timothy 1: Notes on Sin

2 Timothy 1
Notes on Sin

VERSES 15-18
SIN - Paul called out Phygelus and Hermogenes for abandoning him in Asia. (v.15) This may seem mean spirited but he was informing them so they could correct their ways. If we don’t confront people’s sin when it affects our relationships we are essentially endorsing their behavior. Had Paul not corrected them, it would be unfaithful on his part, just as they were unfaithful to him. When we mistreat our fellow believers, it grieves God and pollutes our lives.