Thursday, January 11, 2018

1 Samuel 20: Notes on Leadership

1 Samuel 20
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). David put together a plan to convince Jonathan that Saul was trying to kill him. (v.5-7) Jonathan would judge King Saul's actions when David missed the new moon festival. It was a good plan, though it involved misleading Saul to get to the truth. 2). Jonathan also had a plan. (v.18-22) He would take a boy and shoot some arrows, indicating his father's intentions with the destination of the arrows. Again, it was a plan hidden in true intentions to protect David. Jonathan showed good leadership skills as well in helping with the situation. 3). Saul was looking for David. (v.26,27) He noticed that he was gone. He didn't let the hype of the big event distract him from keeping tabs on his leaders. Though he was looking for David with evil intent, he was good to hold his men accountable for their actions. 4). Jonathan led this young boy in actions that would help his friend David. (v.38-40) He told him to hurry and find the arrows, a hint to his friend to hurry because his life was in danger. He didn't tell the boy what was going on, to protect him. He sent him back to town before he confronted David. He gave the young man just what he needed to be involved and grow, without giving him too much info, which could have hurt him in the end.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

1 Kings 20: Notes on Attitudes

1 Kings 20
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE – 1). Ben-Hadad demanded all of Israel’s money and wives, and Ahab willingly agreed. (v.2-4) Ahab easily gave up because he didn’t want a fight. When we face insurmountable odds without God, we might as well give up because there’s nothing we can do to win. 2). Ben-Hadad wanted all the spoils of Israel for himself. (v.2) He sent messengers to tell King Ahab that all of those things were now his. His pride led him to do horrible things and take advantage of others for his own gain. Pride always causes us to say things we’ll later regret and do things we wish we would have done a different way.

VERSES 22-34
ATTITUDE – 1). The officials of King Ben-Hadad advised him what to do. (v.23) Before this defeat, they just sat around drinking all the time. Now, they’ve been coerced out of their slumber by a rousing defeat at the hands of the Israelites. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to move us to action. In that sense, a bad thing can turn out to be a good thing in the end if it causes us to change for the better. 2). The advisors gave Ben-Hadad bad ideas. (v.23-25) They basically told him three things: remove the kings and replace them with new officers, raise up an exact army like the one that had just been defeated, and fight the Israelites in the plains, for their God only rules in the hill country. These ideas are laced with a serious amount of pride. The people were ashamed and felt that they should have defeated Israel. They considered the defeat more a fault of their own, as opposed to a result of God’s power. They set themselves up for another defeat, because pride goes before a fall. 3). The Isrealites were outnumbered by the Arameans. (v.27) The situation was described as Israel looking like two small flocks of goats, while the Aramean’s filled the landscape. Israel had just defeated this army a year ago, and yet now they were described as the overwhelming underdog. Obviously, this is a negative attitude not giving Israel a chance, even though they have God on their side. A small flock of goats plus God is always more powerful than a vast army on the plains. 4). Ben-Hadad promised to return Israel’s cities to them and allow them to set up shops for business in Damascus if Ahab allowed him to live. (v.34) He wasn’t really giving anything of his own away even though he was truly defeated. It was his pride that led him to this point, and so again he stood in pride hoping for the best. Pride not only goes before a fall; it also carries us through the fall and into the deepest, darkest places of our lives. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

1 John 2: Notes on Family

1 John 2
Notes on Family

VERSES 12-14
FAMILY - No one should know Father’s quite like their children. (v.14) John wrote to them as children because they would know the Father. They should trust Him and know His ways better than anyone. Good Fathers will care for their children so that they become experts in their Fathering ways.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Matthew 19: Notes on Sin

Matthew 19
Notes on Sin

SIN – 1). The Pharisees always seemed to be trying to test Jesus. (v.3) Their questions came from the evil intentions of their hearts. They were not sincere and Jesus knew it. Yet, He answered them even though He didn’t need to. We must be careful to approach God in sincerity, without ulterior motives, for He knows the true desires of our hearts. 2). Jesus clearly states His rule on the issue of divorce. (v.9) Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. The only grounds for acceptance are if marital unfaithfulness is involved, which is generally considered to be committing adultery while already married. Divorce is not required in that situation, but allowed. We must assume that God’s heart is always for restoration and commitment to each other for life. Divorce should be the last option.

VERSES 16-30
SIN – 1). The young man asked Jesus which commandments He needed to obey. (v.18) He thought there were certain commandments more important than others, some commandments that weren’t as important to obey. If we believe in God as the supreme authority, we must obey all His commands because they come from a perfect, holy God. We cannot pick and choose which commands we will obey; we must obey them all. 2). When Jesus challenged this man to lose His life for God, he walked away. (v.22) This is a sad scene that plays out all across the world everyday. When confronted with the reality of God’s plan for salvation, many people walk away because they are so enamored with life on this earth. They forsake the Creator for what He created, not realizing that if they are so in love with what God created, just imagine how much more in love they could be with the Creator. 3). Riches can keep us from belonging to God. (v.23,24) Jesus said that it’s hard for a rich man to enter into heaven, because He finds it so hard to give up His wealth to follow Christ. People who have much in this world tend to put their faith in those things rather than realizing how dependant they are on God for everything they need.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joshua 19: Notes on Relationships

Joshua 19
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - The Simeonites inherited land that had already belonged to the tribe of Judah. (v.9) Judah had more land than they needed, so portions of their property were given to the tribe of Simeon. They shared when they had more than they needed. God will bless us at times with more than we need so we can be able to give generously to others and share with those in need.

VERSES 32-39
RELATIONSHIPS - One tribe received several fortified cities, while the tribe before it only received one, and several received none. (v.35-39) It would have been easy for these tribes to jealous of each other, because they didn’t receive equal portions. But they were treated fairly, according to their tribe’s needs. God will be perfect for each of us, though it may not look like the lot of someone else nearby. We need to focus on Him and work not to compare ourselves with others.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Exodus 19: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

Exodus 19
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - 1). Moses went up to God to talk with Him on the mountain. (v.3) We don’t know that God had called him up there; It appears as though he made the decision to go on his own. Maybe he was used to doing that when he had been a shepherd in the desert a few years before this. Either way, Moses saw it as a great place to retreat away from the world and be alone with God. We must find those places in our lives as well. Many of them can be found by wandering out in God’s creation, with the beauty of the world all around us. 2). A ram’s horn would blast when the people were clear to touch the mountain again. (v.13) God chose to have a musician give the signal with a sound of triumph. Once again we see how worship is a part of God’s plan and active in the lives of the people. Worship brought the people together. Our worship should be inviting, welcoming others to join us, not dividing, based on individual preferences and desires. Worship opens the door for everyone to be united. 3). When God came to Mt. Sinai, he was proceeded by a loud trumpet blast. (v.16) From other portions of Scripture, we can incur that this was declared by one of His angels. They sounded forth a triumphant burst of praise to prepare the way for Him. Worship is always around our God. When we worship, we invite His presence into our lives and our world as well.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ephesians 1: Notes on God's Plans

Ephesians 1
Notes on God's Plans

GOD'S PLAN - Paul was sent by God. (v.1) He was called an apostle because He followed Jesus according to God's will. He mentioned both Jesus and God, so they understood on what authority He was communicating with them. The two Deity's work interchangeably; we can’t have One without the Other. What a great example of unity for us to learn from. Nothing will happen in the believer's life apart from the will of God.

GOD'S PLAN - 1). His blessings are of the heavenly realm and that means that they are eternal. (v.3) They’ll last forever, which gives them a higher value. We should seek after these heavenly blessings which are ours through Jesus. 2). He chose us. (v.4,5,11) He started the process before we were even born. These verses are good memory verses to remind us that the first thought of anything between us came from Him at the beginning of time. This is His doing. That's how much He loves us. God wants us so much more than we could ever want Him. 3). God adopted us as His sons and daughters because it was His will. (v.5) He doesn't want us to be alone, but He wants to lead and guide as along the way. He doesn't look on us as servants, He looks on us as offspring. 4). God's blessings and grace are given to us freely. (v.6) We don't have to try and earn them, and then somehow be responsible for the change in our lives. They are completely free gifts from God so that we can all look to Him to sustain us at all times. 5). We have forgiveness through Christ. (v.7) This is a great memory verse declaring that God's grace has afforded us the chance for redemption because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died so that we could be forgiven and redeemed. 6). Jesus came at the perfect time. (v.10) He was destined to bring peace to mankind and God sent Him at just the right moment to make that happen. We have to trust God that He will do things in our lives with perfect timing according to His plan. 7). God chose us just like he chose the heroes of the Bible. (v.11,12) They were the first fruits of Jesus’ work building a church, and we are a result of their efforts. Together we are all part of God’s plan to redeem creation and save humanity. 8). God marks us with the seal of His Holy Spirit. (v.13,14) Jesus leaves His mark on us. And all people will recognize us because of the mark of the Holy Spirit on our lives. The Holy Spirit will amplify our witness in this world, and signify our association to Jesus. We are people of the Spirit.

VERSES 15-23
GOD'S PLAN - 1). God has called us to a great hope. (v.18) We have hope for eternal life with Him in heaven. The riches Paul speaks of are the inheritance for us in God's Kingdom. It is glorious, just as God is glorious. 2). God has given us the same power that Jesus had when He rose from the dead. (v.19,20) We have the power to rise above every evil, dark thing in this world. We have the power to do things that have never been done before. We have the power of miracles, wonders and dreams. We have the power of God on our side, and nothing can compare with that. 3). Jesus has the greatest power now and in the age to come. (v.21) Even though He has risen from the dead, and He lived on this earth many years ago, He is still in control. His power is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means we can have faith in Him to be the same for us that He was for His followers in the Gospels. 4). Jesus heads up the church, which is His body. (v.23) We are the body of Christ, and He will fill us up with all that we need. In the same way that we feed our bodies to keep us strong, Jesus will feed His church to keep us strong and vibrant in this world for His glory. The church is the greatest tool in Jesus’ inventory, the greatest weapon to defeat the enemy, and the greatest asset in His Kingdom.