Thursday, November 16, 2017

2 Timothy 1: Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God is eternal. (v.9) His grace, which has saved us, has been alive in His heart from the beginning of time. We have always been a part of God’s Master plan for this earth, and His grace wasn’t just a whim that He came up with when the world was hurting. He is a gracious caring God and He has plans for us that we haven’t seen or comprehended yet. Not only is God eternal, but His grace is as well. 2). We need to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to guard our salvation. (v.14) God loves to help us and be active in our lives. He left His Spirit with us to assist us in all matters of life. We need to call upon the Holy Spirit daily to stay close to God and aligned with His plans.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2 Samuel 19: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 19
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). The whole army mourned with David over the loss of Absalom. (v.2) They were all excited to defeat the enemy, but that changed quickly when they saw their leader devastated by the loss of his son. Rather than continue in celebration, they followed David in mourning. The leader sets the pace for the group in direction, personality, and emotion. 2). David took his seat in the gateway and the men came to him. (v.8) He didn’t feel like it, but he did what he knew he was supposed to do. He listened to the advice of his trusted associates and changed his mind. Though small, this is a huge act. A king might never do these things, but David showed true leadership by listening, being humble, and denying himself.

LEADERSHIP - 1). David sent work to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests he had sent back to Jerusalem while he was on the run from Absalom. (v.11) Now that he is ready to return, he calls upon the people he had put in position to help him. He had the foresight to plan ahead for this time. Leadership doesn’t just plan for the moment, they dream ahead and plan for success and growth in the future. 2). David called on the leaders first. (v.11) He asked the priests to go to the elders to change the direction of the people. He knew that they had the power so he went to them directly. If we really want to move, we need to work with the leadership and the people will follow. 3). David promised to place Amasa as the head of the army in Joab’s place. (v.13) He finally had enough of Joab after he confronted him so mercilessly and destroyed his son. Joab was a great warrior for David, but he was too indepedent and couldn’t be trusted. We must stay submitted to God entirely, because the moment we begin to move on our own, we begin to forfeit our place of leadership in His kingdom. 4). David brought the men together so they stood as one. (v.14) By reaching out to the leaders, David won their hearts. They were unified in following him. A good leader can touch people’s hearts and help them team together as a strong force. 5). David declared that Abishai and his family were now his adversaries. (v.22) He knew that Joab had disobeyed his orders and killed his son. And now Abishai showed the same ferocity with his fatal suggestion. David loved their help in many war campaigns, but he knew that a change was needed so he removed them from his team. There comes a time with many leaders when they must depart with trusted team members because of their attitude and motives. 6). David told Mephibosheth to divide the fields with Ziba. (v.29) It’s interesting that he didn’t ask Mephibosheth to take all of the land back from Ziba. Maybe he wasn’t sure if what Mephibosheth had told him was true. Or maybe he felt like Ziba was deserving of some land because of his effort to find David during his exile. Either way, David exhibited great mercy once again. He has returned to Israel a changed leader.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1 Timothy 5: Notes on Family

1 Timothy 5
Notes on Family

FAMILY - 1). Paul encouraged Timothy to treat the people around him as if they were his family members. (v.1,2) He wrote this so that Timothy would respect them highly, regardless of who they were or how old they might be. Our family should consist of our closest relationships. They should be the people we treat the best. Timothy was encouraged to consider other Christians his family so that he would give them the loyal treatment that family members deserve. 2). The children of widows should have done everything possible to care for their widowed mother in need. (v.4) Before she requested help from the church, she should have received maximum support from her own family. The church is our spiritual family, but God did set us in natural families for support and help in times of need. True families will love each other enough to sacrifice and help one another when they need it. 3). Children need to support their parents. (v.4) This is a Godly principle laid out for us in this verse, to show that children can repay their parents for all of the years that the parents faithfully cared for them. It’s not a debt that the parents demand from the child, it’s a joy that the child willingly does for their aging parents. 4). One of the basic Christian lessons every follower of Christ needs to learn is to prioritize the care of their own family. (v.8) Not every good family member is a great Christian, but every Christian should be a good family member. Our family should be one of the highest priorities in our lives as we follow after Christ. 5). Widows put on the support list had to have been faithful to their husbands. (v.9) This was an important quality for allowing them the help of the community. People would want to give to someone that had a good reputation among them and treated her husband well. Once again, we see that the care of the family was considered a foundational truth in the lives of Christians. 6). Younger widows were encouraged to become married again and begin a new life with a new family. (v.14) This might have been hard to do, yet Paul knew that it was necessary to protect them from falling into depressive, abusive behaviors. The family was set up to help us stay away from sin and be strong in holiness for God. When we are struggling with sin, we should talk with our family first for help.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5: Notes on Attitudes

1 Thessalonians 5
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - People will always strive to live in a state of peace and safety. (v.3) There is no peace and safety that will last apart from God. If we really want to be safe, we must abandon all human efforts and depend upon God, following His plan. It’s ironic; to be safe we must be defenseless before God.

VERSES 12-28
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul asked them to honor those that work hard among them. (v.12) He was referring specifically to their leaders, but this applies for all areas of our communities. A good work ethic shouldn’t go unnoticed in the church, but should be the norm for all servants that volunteer to lead in different areas. When visitors approach, hard work should be the norm of what they see in us. 2). Paul told them to warn those who were idle and disruptive among them. (v.14) When people are idle, they are lazy and not contributing to the work of God in the church. This will most often lead to disruptions, with others pointing fingers at them and asking why they don’t participate. Laziness is an attitude that results in sin and division in the church. 3). Paul admonished them to be patient with everyone. (v.14) This isn’t an easy thing to do, especially with those who bother us and don’t concern themselves with being patient with us. We must learn to slow down, trust God, look at things from His perspective, and welcome the opportunities that come our way. Patience is another sign that we are trying to live right for God. 4). We must test prophecies to see if they are true or evil. (20-22) This follows the warning not to quench the Spirit. Our caution to make sure we are right with God isn’t opposed to the Spirit, but rather in line with His desire. By taking the extra time to make sure it is right, we please the Holy Spirit and glorify God. We must remember that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, not quick, careless decisions.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

1 Samuel 19: Notes on Relationships

1 Samuel 19
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1).  Jonathan warned David of danger. (v.2,3) He had heard his father tell his attendants to kill David. He told David the news and then went to talk with his father about why it was wrong. Jonathan took matters into his own hands and tried to protect his friend's life. 2). Jonathan disagreed with his father concerning David. (v.4,5) Rather than staying quiet and risking dissension with his dad, he talked with him about it. He reminded him of the good things David had done and pointed out his loyalty to the throne. He persuaded his father to change his mind by approaching him the right way. When we deal with conflict appropiately, we have a much better chance of discovering peace. 3). Jonathan worked with both sides of the argument and brought them together. (v.7) He brought David and Saul back together in a good working relationship. Jonathan is a great example of a peacemaker, someone called to resolve conflict with others.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

1 Kings 19: Notes on Sin

1 Kings 9
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). Jezebel threatened Elijah (v.2).  She was angry at the report she heard from her husband and set about trying to destroy him. She confused the messenger with the One who sent Him. Even if she was able to get to Elijah, God would have replaced him with someone else. Elijah wasn’t her problem, and truly God wasn’t either. Her problem was the prideful sin in her heart that compelled her to keep her idols and fight against God. 2). Elijah told the Lord that he had had enough. (v.4) One of the greatest prophets of the Bible almost gave up. We will all go through tough times in our lives when we want to quit. Even in those moments, we must go to God and be honest with Him and let Him minister to us, but never walk away from God. He is our only hope regardless of our situations.

VERSES 10-18
SIN - God had Elijah anoint three different men into leadership with the purpose of cleaning house. (v.17) Elijah wanted to be vindicated and God had that as part of His plans, though it wouldn’t be Elijah directly responsible for it. God is never satisfied with sin and always plans to eradicate it, but He does it according to His plans while taking care of His people at the same time.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

1 John 4: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

1 John 4
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - We must test the spirits to see if the are really from God or not. (v.1) We test them by inspecting them to see what they are all about. We shouldn’t just go with everything that occurs in our churches concerning God, but make sure it is in line with Scripture. The Bible is God’s Foundation, and all the spirits and movements in the world must be aligned with Him or we shouldn’t have any part with them.
PASSION - We are overcomers through Christ. (v.4) Though many of our neighbors may fall by the wayside, we can stay strong with Christ as our foundation. Regardless of what challenges come our way, through Christ we will always overcome in the end.

WORSHIP - We love because He first loved us. (v.19) Our basis for loving others is because our lives have been changed by God’s love. When God changes us with His love, it creates a desire to do the same for others. In fact, God often shows His love to others through us.
PASSION - 1). A great form of witnessing is simply loving people. (v.8) Love is from God so when we love others, it’s sharing a little bit of God with them. People without God haven't experienced true love so when they taste it, it will surprise them and draw them closer to Him. We may not be the best verbal preachers of God’s truth, but we can be experts at loving the people around us. 2). We are witnesses to the world of who God is. (v.14) We must testify about what we know and what we have seen so they can know and see the truth as well. God saved us, and through us He will save others as well. 3). When we acknowledge God in this world it shows our place in Him. (v.15) The world is often very angry toward the thought of God so when we stand up for Him it may be difficult and even dangerous. But we must know that when we stand up for God, He will stand up for us. It’s an honor to be associated with Him.