Thursday, December 18, 2014

2 Samuel 3: Notes in Sin

2 Samuel 3
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-5
SIN - The war between David and the house of Saul continued for a long time. (v.1) The battle in the previous chapter started the struggle, and it went on to hurt people and keep a nation divided. When we choose to fight against others, it causes pain and disturbs us in a way that will affect us for many days to come.

VERSES 6-21
SIN - Abner promised to leave Ish-Bosheth and the house of Saul to serve David, making him the successor as king. (v.9,10) He even promised it as an oath to God, yet he didn’t promise that he hadn’t slept with the concubine of Saul. He ran away from his sin and his problems, and abandoned his commitment to save his own reputation. When times got too tough, Abner went running. He might have been a great warrior on the battlefield, but he had a habit of retreating in tough times.

VERSES 22-39
SIN - 1). Joab sent for Abner and had him brought back, but he didn’t tell David about it. (v.26) He went to David to talk about Abner, but he didn’t have permission to confront him. He sent for Abner secretly, showing that he was up to no good. If we have to do things in secret, maybe we shouldn’t be doing them at all. We need to keep our leaders informed on all of the important movements we are making. 2). Joab pulled Abner aside to talk, but then killed him. (v.27) Abner must have thought he was going to have a private discussion, but Abner was fooled. Joab killed him to avenge his brothers. Joab acted without his leader's permission and in a secret, deceptive way; a way that wasn’t even acceptable for a warrior. Joab never said anything to David about avenging his brothers death, only about the concern that Abner would trick them. Joab was harboring a secret vendetta of vengeance to extract bitterness on Abner by murdering him. When we don’t forgive others, the bitterness will eat us alive until we tragicallysin ourselves. 3). Joab and his family suffered because of Joab’s act of vengeance. (v.29) When he killed Abner, he incurred God’s wrath on his entire family. They will now constantly struggle with problems and sickness as God’s punishment for his murderous act. When we sin, we will be punished, and it will affect those closest to us as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

1 Timothy 3: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

1 Timothy 3
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

VERSES 1-16
WORSHIP - Paul ends the passage with a verse of worship. (v.15) It’s a form of poetry that clearly describes the life of Jesus in this world. After such a great discussion on how we should live as leaders, he puts the attention back on God, the motive for changing our behavior. We should always look to let worship lead the way, starting and finishing any task we hope to accomplish. Worship helps us remember why we do what we do.
PASSION - 1). Paul directed his comments to those who desired to be overseers. (v.1) He said that it was good for people to desire such a task, because it was a noble calling. It’s good to desire positions of influence so we can do great things for God. Though tough work, we should want to progress in our positions as an act of faithfulness unto Him. 2). A leader should not be a lover of money. (v.3) It’s not that they can’t have any money, but they need to be weary of the love of money which is an evil attribute. Money is important to function in today’s cultural economy. But we can’t let it control who we are. Whenever we get to a place of love with the things of this world, it can pull our love and passion away from God our Father, so we must approach our desire for money with moderation. 3). Deacons must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith. (v.9) By keeping hold of it, they are keeping it as a priority in their lives and close to their hearts. There will be times when they won’t feel like reading the Word, but they do it anyway, because they know how important it is. We must have a strong commitment to God’s Word if we desire to be a leader and make a difference in our world.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

1 Thessalonians 3: Notes on Leadership

1 Thessalonians 3
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 1-5
LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians in his place. (v.2) He was a fellow co-worker in his mission to evangelize the world. Paul knew that the task was too big for just one or two people, so he recruited others to join him on his team. We should always be recruiting others to be a part of our ministry team to expand our influence and impact for Christ. They should be teammates that reflect our values and standards as well. 2). Paul told them that they would be persecuted and it happened just as he said it would. (v.4) He reminded them that he had instructed them the right way. When we teach people truths, we must go back to those truths in the moment and help them remember that what we spoke was right. It helps them apply truth in their lives and keeps them looking to us for more instruction and direction from God.

VERSES 6-13
LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul had a genuine desire to help people. (v.10) Paul knew his role to supply people with what they were lacking in their relationship with God. As leaders, we must recognize people’s spiritual malnutrition; we are trained to do so. We are spiritual fitness trainers. 2). Paul’s foundation for ministry to the Thessalonians was a strong love for them. (v.12) This was his basis for the hard work he did. He loved them, and he knew how to make someone a loving person. We need to love them first, and then teach them how to love others. When they see how we love them, it will be their first lesson.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

1 Samuel 3: Notes on Attitude

1 Samuel 3
Notes on Attitude

VERSES 1-21
ATTITUDE - 1). Samuel did exactly as Eli had directed. (v.9,10) He laid down and responded to God when called upon. Obedience is a sign of a faithful servant. We should diligently obey all that God tells us to do through the Godly leaders He's placed over us. 2). Samuel was afraid. (v.15) He loved Eli and had just heard a condemning message from God. He didn't want Eli to become angry with him, the messenger. God's first message to Samuel was a tough one, to teach him not to be afraid to deliver God's words, good or bad. Sometimes, God will ask us to do things that make us want to be afraid, but we still must follow through and do them. 3). Samuel told Eli everything God had given him to speak. (v.18) He was afraid to anger Eli, but he still was obedient to God and delivered the message. His fear of the Lord was more than his fear of man. As leaders, we've got to get our eyes off of man, and do what God has called us and empowered us to do for His glory. 4). Eli accepted the word of the Lord. (v.18) He also accepted his transition from power, for God is now speaking to Samuel instead of him. This had to be a shock - Eli had gone to bed that evening just like every other evening, not realizing he was about to be demoted. And it must have been difficult to be replaced by someone so young, even younger than his own children. But Eli was humbled and couldn't do anything but agree with God and his will.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

1 Corinthians 3: Notes on Relationships

1 Corinthians 3
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 1-23
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). The people were fighting amongst themselves. (v.3,4) The quarreling was based out of jealousy and pride and this was keeping them from growing in God. When we have our eyes on each other, we will tend to notice our weaknesses and get caught up in positional struggles. When we keep our eyes on God, we will avoid the worldliness that comes from fighting and treat each other the right way. Positional competition has no place in the church. 2). We are all on the same team. (v.21-23) It’s pointless to compete against each other, or profess loyalty to one person over someone else. We are all wearing the same jersey and fighting for the same cause. The more we come together in unity, the more we can accomplish for God and His kingdom.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Matthew 3: Notes on Sin

Matthew 3
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-12
SIN – 1). John preached ‘make straight paths (for the Lord).’ (v.3) God has called us to walk a straight path, not crooked rabbit trails that lead to evil actions and death. We need to walk a straight path, and show others the way as well. The best way to help others live right is to show them by the way we live. 2). John confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees. (v.7-10) He called them a brood of vipers because they weren’t producing good fruit, or rather, they weren’t living up to the teachings they taught others. If we have repented, we must live according to our new code of conduct on life.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Exodus 3: Notes on Worship and Passion

Exodus 3
Notes on Worship and Passion

VERSES 1-22
PASSION - God instructed Moses to take off his sandals because the place was holy ground. (v.5) He wanted Moses to touch the holy ground and make contact with Him, with God. Nothing should come between us and our relationship with God. We need to remove anything that tries to keep us separated from God our Father.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2 Timothy 3: Notes on God's Plan

2 Timothy 3
Notes on God's Plan

VERSES 1-9
GOD’S PLAN - 1). We are warned that it will be terrible times in the last days. (v.1) Paul lists a long inventory of sins that will run rampant in men during the end times. Essentially, sin will begin to take over and God will count down the moments until He comes back to change everything. In that time, our enemy won’t be the persecution outside as much as the persecution inside brought on by numerous temptations to sin and fail. 2). The Scriptures teach us about salvation through Jesus. (v.15) This is the Gospel and we must apply it to our lives and then broadcast it to the world. The Bible is a precious gift to us in our age, one that is easy to take for granted at times considering its perilous journey. We must care for the Scriptures greatly, for in them are contained the secrets of life. 3). All Scripture is God-Breathed. (v.16,17) A valuable memory verse that teaches us to go to the Scriptures to hear what God is saying and let it change our lives. The Bible prepares us to do God’s work in this world. It is our number one resource for truth and direction. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

2 Samuel 3: Notes on God's Character

2 Samuel 3
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 22-39
GOD’S CHARACTER - God punished Joab for the murder of Abner. (v.29) Through David, God condemned Joab and his family to a life of sickness and struggles. We don’t see that God punished Abner in the same way for killing Joab’s brother, yet he punished Joab for the same crime. Why does God punish sometimes and other times, allows things to go without consequence? He is God and He knows what He is doing - we must trust that He is in control and will work things out for the best. This is all the more reason to fear God and be careful how we live at all times.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

1 Timothy 3: Notes on Leadership

1 Timothy 3
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 1-16
LEADERSHIP - 1). Once again, Paul starts off this passage with the thought that what he will write is a trustworthy saying. (v.1) He wanted Timothy to know that he could trust him in all matters, big and small. As leaders it is good to continuously help our followers build trust in us and reassure them throughout our journey together. 2). A leaders task is noble and hard work. (v.1) The role of a leader is a position of honor and people will respect it when it is done right. It is also a task that involves hard work. The reason it is a noble job of honor is because we are going to earn it with our efforts. 3). An overseer must be someone that is able to teach. (v.2) They must be able to help others become what they have learned to be. We aren’t leaders just to accomplish tasks, but to carry on God’s mission by investing in others. If we don’t raise up others under us to take our place, all of our efforts could be lost in the next generation. 4). The leader must manage his family well. (v.4) A leader is a manager; management is part of what being a leader is all about. As leaders, God entrusts us with plans and details in life that affect others around us. We must plan and prepare with the best management skills we can learn and obtain. Managing properly is one way in which a leader worships God. 5). Paul moves the focus to dealing with deacons. (v.8) Deacons are also leaders, under the main leader for the group at large. They are assigned certain responsibilities and they also have a certain level of authority in making their own decisions. But they always answer to the main leader above them. Being a leader can occur on many levels; it’s always important to remember our job and remember to be the best we can be, whether we’re on the support staff or the one in charge. 6). Leaders must first be tested. (v.10) They must have some sort of an inspection process before they have the intense pressure and expectations. Then we can know if they are truly capable of directing our paths. This passage shows us what leaders might struggle with by showing us what we need to excel at. According to this passage, leaders may struggle with moral failures, anger, selfishness, irresponsibility, and outside rumors and divisions. It’s a high honor to be a leader, and if anyone doesn’t subject themselves to a testing process, they aren’t worthy of leading others. Leaders will live lives that are always ready for inspection. 7). Paul planned ahead in case he was delayed. (v.15) He wanted Ephesus to have proper procedures for behavior in God’s house, and he didn’t want his potential absence and travel difficulties to stand in the way. By communicating through this letter, Paul was already beginning that process. Good communication goes a long way toward helping our team work together in God’s direction for our lives.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

1 Samuel 2: Notes on Attitude

1 Samuel 2
Notes on Attitude

VERSES 1-11
ATTITUDE - God should never be opposed by anyone. (v.10) There are those who will rise up against Him in foolish pride. He will shatter them with thunder from heaven. We must remember how small we are, and how big God truly is.

VERSES 12-26
ATTITUDE - Eli blessed Hannah and Elkhanah. (v.20) He never forgot Hannah's prayer, and he was grateful for the gift of Samuel, who was probably becoming like a son to him. We need to remember the great moments in our lives, and be grateful for all that God does to bless us.

VERSES 27-36 
ATTITUDE - God reminded Eli of his heritage. (v.27,28) He mentioned his father, chosen by God to be priest, and honored by God with special duties. Eli had apparently forgotten about God's hand on his life, and had taken it for granted. We must never get to a place where we look upon the Lord's grace with disdain.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

1 Corinthians 2: Notes on Relationships

1 Corinthians 2
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 6-16
RELATIONSHIPS - The Holy Spirit can help us in our relationships with others. (v.14-16)  As followers of Christ, we are allowed to judge all things but still not subject to man's judgements. We talk to God and he talks to us about things. We don't judge with others or simply by appearances; we go to God. He comes to us to punish, correct, and encourage. Sometimes the reason people gossip or get hurt by what others say is because they aren't in proper communication with God. God's words should completely outweigh the words from all others in our lives.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Exodus 2 - Notes on Sin

Exodus 2
Notes on Sin

VERSES 11-25
SIN - 1). Moses committed murder. (v.12) He looked both ways to make sure it was clear, and then went about with the evil deed. He tried to hide it so that no one would know. Whenever we have to look both ways to make sure nobody knows what we are doing, we must ask ourselves if we should really be doing it in the first place. 2). Pharaoh tried to kill Moses because he had killed an Egyptian. (v.15) It was against the law to do that to a fellow countryman but Pharaoh probably knew that Moses was an actual Hebrew. Moses was in trouble and had to run to save his life. When we sin it will leave us fearful, running, and in trouble. Stay away from sin to stay away from trouble in this life. 



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ephesians 2: Notes on Worship

Ephesians 2
Notes on Worship

VERSES 1-10
WORSHIP - We are God's workmanship. (v.10) We are His creation, and the masterpiece of all that He made. When we worship, we can look at what God has done in us for inspiration. Instead of gratifying our sinful natures, we can enjoy the good things God has done through us and worship Him. We pride ourselves in the God who created us the way we are. When we do great things, let us boast in our God.

VERSES 11-22
WORSHIP - 1). Paul encouraged the Gentiles to remember who they used to be. (v.11) It's important for us to remember what God has brought us out of. When we remember, we recognize God's grace and keep a fresh heart of worship. It shouldn’t make us regret the past but rather appreciate our future and stay humble. 2). We have access to God through His Spirit. (v.22) Jesus left the Holy Spirit with us to keep the connection between us strong. With the Spirit of God in our lives, we have a direct link to Jesus anytime, anywhere, near or far. The same Spirit that empowered Jesus empowers us still.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2 Timothy 2: Notes on God's Plan

2 Timothy 2
Notes on God's Plan

VERSES 1-13
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul states his Gospel, simple and true. (v.8) He mentions Jesus as the Christ, risen from the dead and descended from David. These are important facts because they are all predicted in the Old Testament and they all show his divinity as both God and man. Jesus is the perfect solution for our sinful problem in this world, the only hope we have of escaping hell and enjoying heaven with Him for eternity. 2). God will use us to help spread salvation to people everywhere. (v.10) Sometimes, we will enjoy the journey and other times it will be very hard and uncomfortable. Either way, God will get his Gospel around the world and chooses to use us to do it. Throughout history, some of the greatest times of revival were sown in some of the toughest times of persecution for God’s saints. 3). Paul states a verse to remember that shows how God responds to us. (v.11-13) He loves and cares for us but also trusts us to accept Him on our own terms. If we die with him and endure, we’ll reign with Him forever. If we disown Him, He’ll allow us to do so. But if we run out of faith, He will still faithful and do all He can to help woo us back to Him. Though we are imperfect, God will stay true to Himself and give us every possible chance to be with Him. 4). Two of Timothy’s associates were falsely teaching that the final resurrection had already occurred. (v.18) God has a plan to take us all to be with Him in the last days and He’s given us signs that point to this event. Ultimately, we can’t assume we can know exactly when this will occur, and no one should be teaching that way. We can point to the time, have hope for the great moment,  and then trust God to do it the right way.

VERSES 14-26
GOD’S PLAN - Repentance leads to the knowledge of truth. (v.25) A change of thinking begins with a heart change. Once we admit our sins and ask for forgiveness it can start the pathway to better behavior and results in our lives. If we want others to live in truth, we can’t shove the truth down their throats. We must help lead them to repentance first.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2 Samuel 2: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 2
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 1-7
LEADERSHIP - David sent word to the men of Jabesh Gilead. (v.5-7) He thanked them for rescuing Saul’s body and giving Saul a proper burial. He promised to be kind to them as Saul had been, and asked for their support of him as the new King of Judah. He respected what was important to them, and then asked them to be faithful to him. He wanted to earn their loyalty as a leader. 

VERSES 8-32
LEADERSHIP - 1). Ish-bosheth and David were both kings in Israel at the same time. (v.10,11) They were trying to rule in spite of each other. Whenever we have two leaders on the same level who aren’t working together, division and war will be imminent. 2). Abner and Joab allowed their young men to fight each other for entertainment. (v.14,15) They would kill each other for sport, to see who was tougher and stronger. These generals should have protected the lives of their valiant men from such frivolous violence. Their pride got the best of them and their lust for blood was too much to contain. Leaders need to learn to put the needs of their men over their own. 3). Joab blew the trumpet and the men came to a halt. (v.28) He stopped the pursuit of battle. Abner encouraged him to stop and Joab obliged. The men wouldn’t stop pursuing until Joab blew the trumpet and sounded the alarm. Leaders must be aware of the time to start and the time to stop, because the people will follow their lead.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1 Timothy 1: Notes on Attitude

1 Timothy 1
Notes on Attitude

VERSES 1-11
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul stated boldly who he was. (v.1) He knew what God had made him to be. He was an apostle by the command of God, through Jesus. This gave him the authority to minister to Timothy and instruct him as an undershepherd of God’s people. Paul stood on the authority that God had given him. It was who he was. We need to be who God made us to be, unashamedly. 2). Paul shows us certain qualities that exemplify love in our lives. (v.5) First is a pure heart, the absense of sin and evil. Second is a good conscience, being confident in who we are and what we do. Finally, we have a sincere faith, no hidden motives or alternate purposes. Without all three, something is wrong. All three will be apparent when true love is in play. 3). These false teachers had hidden motives. (v.6,7) They wanted to be leaders, but they didn’t have their theology right. They wandered from the truth because of a prideful desire to be a leader, partnered with the selfish desire to avoid the hard work involved. These are two bad attitudes often found in bad leaders; we must be careful to avoid them at all costs.

VERSES 12-20
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul never forgot who he used to be. (v.13) He reminded Timothy that he used to be a sinful man. He blasphemed God, offending the Almighty. He persecuted Christians, offending God even further. All this because he was a violent man, completely contrary to God; he was a true enemy of the faith. And yet, God still gave him a chance. Paul was humble because he knew the great mercy of God in his life. In pride, we do it; in humility, God does it through us. 2). Paul admitted to being the worst sinner. (v.15,16) He wasn’t trying to pridefully exalt himself in an argument of who was the most evil. He was helping Timothy understand that God can save anyone. Paul knew he who was, and he knew that God still chose to use him in powerful ways. Paul was setting himself up as an example of how God makes no exceptions when choosing who to reach. Paul doesn’t think low of himself; he sees himself as a redeemed sinner because of God’s grace. We have nothing to be proud of in ourselves; only in God can we do anything right. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

1 Samuel 1: Notes on Family

1 Samuel 1
Notes on Family

VERSES 1-20
FAMILY - 1). Elkanah is recognized as an Ephraim coming from a long line of Ephraimites. (v.1) We can see who the fathers were and where this man came from. A family gives us our heritage. When someone sees us, they see all of the fathers who made us and poured into us. One of the greatest investments we can make is to invest in our kids. They will leave a legacy in our name. 2). When Elkanah sacrificed, he gave portions of the meat to his family. (v.4) He shared what God had given him to take care of his family. God provided him with everything he needed through his sacrifice. When we give to God, He gives back to us enough for our entire family. 3). Elkanah tried to comfort Hannah in her distress. (v.8) He put the focus on himself, asking if she didn't care more for him than if she had many sons. We shouldn't pit ourselves against other members of our families. We love each person in our family the same, with all our heart.

VERSES 21-28
FAMILY - 1). Hannah didn't travel with Elkanah for the annual sacrifice. (v.22) She stayed home with her baby. There are times when we must take care of our family before we go to church and do other things. God, then family, then community. 2). Hannah didn’t release Samuel until he was properly weaned. (v.22) There is a time for being dependent on your parent or leader, and there is a time for stepping out under God's protection. We don’t let our children go, we give them over to God. 3). Hannah took her son to the Lord while he was still very young. (v.24) She didn't wait until he was older. She brought him to the church at a young, pliable age. We should bring our children to God while they are still young, so they can grow up knowing the Lord all of their lives. 4). Hannah gave Samuel to God for his entire life. (v.28) As a young boy, she directed his steps in the direction of God. As parents, we must lead our children to Jesus. We must prepare for their future by showing them the way to God.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Matthew 1: Notes on Relationship

Matthew 1
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 18-25
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Joseph wanted to do the right thing. (v.19) He wasn’t entirely sure that it was a miracle, but he still loved her enough to spare her the shame of ridicule. He wanted to divorce her quietly. Obviously, the state of being pledged to be married was already a form of commitment and relationship beyond that of being engaged in today’s world. Joseph didn’t want to hurt her, even though he was somewhat hurt by her in what had happened. In our relationships, when others hurt us, we should not respond back with hurt, but aspire to do the right thing ourselves. 2). Joseph and Mary went about it God’s way and took their time. (v.24,25) Learn from their example. Don’t rush into marriages, but take your time to be certain.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exodus 1: Notes on Sin

Exodus 1
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-22
SIN - 1). A new leader began to rule Egypt and he didn’t know about Joseph. (v.8) He forgot about how Joseph was instrumental in protecting Egypt during the seven year period of drought in their history. He made decisions for the future without looking back and remembering the past. When we forget where we’ve come from, it always detours us from getting where we need to go. 2). The Egyptians tried to turn the Hebrews against each other. (v.15,16) The King of Egypt order Shiphrah and Puah to kill all of the baby boys when birthed. They were trying to control the population, especially the potential rise of fighting men, so they allowed the girls to live but destroyed the boys. Rather than doing it themselves, they ordered the Hebrew midwives to carry it out. Our enemy will always try to get us to sin by hurting those we love and care for. And sin will always hurt our future. 3). After the midwives went against his commands, Pharaoh ordered everyone to kill baby boys. (v.22) Though he was resistant at first, he persisted even further. Sin doesn’t necessarily stop the first time we resist it; the temptations may keep coming for a long time because our enemy is persistent in his attacks on God’s people. We must continue to resist, and resist some more.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ephesians 1: Notes on Worship and Passion

Ephesians 1
Notes on Worship and Passion

VERSES 1,2
PASSION - Paul mentioned saints, and those who are faithful. (v.1) These two are interchangeable. A proper definition of a saint would be one who is faithful. We can’t be a saint without faithfulness, and if we're faithful, then we are saints. Faithfulness is applaudable by God.

VERSES 3-14
WORSHIP - 1). Paul praised God for His blessings in Christ. (v.3) He realized that the greatest gift ever given to men was the gift of Jesus. In Jesus, all of our spiritual gifts are found. God gave Him to us, and He is worthy to be praised. 2). We can also praise God for His grace. (v.6) It is His mercy which gives us the chance to live for Him. His grace, freely given, is worthy of our praise. We should often praise God openly for His grace. 3). God revealed His mysterious will to us through Jesus. (v.9) Jesus was the total completion of God's plan to redeem us. If we ever need to know God's will for us, we can always look to Jesus. Jesus is God's message of hope for the world. He still reveals His mysterious will to us today through His Word and the Holy Spirit. 4). The first Christians were saved for the praise of God's glory. (v.12) As the first Christians in a line of millions, they hold a great distinction in God's Kingdom. Whenever a soul is first saved, it brings glory to God. We should always be willing to praise God for just one soul that is saved from hell.
PASSION - 1). He chose us to be holy and blameless. (v.4) He wanted to look upon us as pure beings. We should strive to be holy since God chose us for that purpose; it should be our pursuit in life. If we want to stay in the sight of God, we must be holy. 2). We all have a choice. (v.10) We can choose to accept God's acceptance of us through redemption, or we can submit to His Lordship at the end of time. All will recognize Him as Lord; it's just an issue of how and when. 3). The Holy Spirit guarantees our inheritance in heaven. (v.14) God will bring us home to Him and He left a piece of heaven in us to remind us of that fact. We carry the glory of God with His Spirit everywhere we go. 3). We are God's possession. (v.14) We belong to Him and are here to do His will. Our lives should be spent in pursuit of pleasing God in all that we do.

VERSES 15-23
WORSHIP - When Paul heard about the Ephesians faith he praised God. (v.15,16) He thanked God for them and prayed for them. When we hear testimonies it should stir up praise within us for our God. Testimonies and worship go hand in hand.
PASSION - 1). Paul had heard about the Ephesians faith in God and love for the saints. (v.15) News of their devotion as Christians reached Paul. When we are on fire for God, people will talk about it and our reputation as believers will spread everywhere. The true character of a Christian can be revealed in what others say about him or her. 2). Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be given wisdom and revelation. (v.17) Wisdom would be knowledge based on human research. Revelation would be knowledge from a supernatural dimension. Both are necessary for us to grow closer to God. We are closest to God when we work as hard as we can to know Him, trusting Him to do the same. 3). Paul also prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be opened with hope. (v.18) They didn't just need head knowledge, they needed heart knowledge. They didn't just need to know the truth, they needed to feel it and experience it as well. Our emotions are also important in our quest to grow closer to God.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

1 Corinthians 2,3: Notes on God's Character

1 Corinthians 2
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 6-16
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God has prepared great things for those who listen to Him and receive Him. (v.9) As we are seeking after God, He is also seeking after us. He wants us even more than we want Him. The fact that God has taken time to prepare things on our behalf shows His great love for us and for all those who accept Him into their lives. 2). God’s Spirit is powerful. (v.10,11) It knows the inner thoughts and desires of God. It also searches all things and can know us through and through as well. If we really want to get close to God, we will seek the Baptism of his Holy Spirit in our lives.

1 Corinthians 3
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 1-23
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God will test the quality of everyone’s work. (v.13-15) He will refine it as if it was precious metal. He wants us to be the best, which should be reflected in all that we say and do. We must strive to be excellent because God is excellent and that is the standard by which our work for Him will be judged. 2). We are the temple of God because He dwells in us through His Spirit. (v.17) He will guard us and watch over us, just as He did His temple in the Old Testament. Our enemies become God’s enemies; our battles become His. If He cared enough to put His Spirit in us, He’ll care enough to defend us as well.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

1 Timothy 1: Notes on God's Plan

1 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Plan

VERSES 1-11
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul greeted Timothy with a request for grace, mercy, and peace. (v.2) Grace is God’s favor; mercy is God’s forgiveness, and peace is God’s covering. Paul greeted him with a request for a well rounded description of God’s interactions with man. Paul put God first in his interaction with this letter to Timothy. 2). Paul encouraged Timothy to stay in Ephesus to keep false prophets away. (v.3) Though Paul may have wanted Timothy near, he knew that it was better for them to be spread out to protect God’s work in the region. Paul had him stay there and gave him the purpose behind it. God moves his leader into certain key positions to keep His work strong across the entire nation. 3). The law wasn’t made for the righteous. (v.9) When we understand the law and abide by it, we will not be punished by it. We observe and become experts in it so we don’t suffer because of it. We know the law to avoid it’s power to correct sin our lives.

VERSES 12-20
GOD’S PLAN - 1). When you are appointed to God’s service, He considers you faithful. (v.12) That is a great responsibility. You are faithful despite what you’ve done. God just does it. It gives you new hope. Only God can give us the strength to be faithful; we cannot do it on our own. 2). God showed mercy to Paul. (v.13) Paul was an expert sinner, committing violent crimes against God and His people. But God took this leading sinner and made him a leading saint. God ‘recruited’ him for ministry, and the world has never been the same. God can take the worst of sinners and use them mightily for His kingdom. Paul was the worst of sinners, so everything that happened in his life brought all the more glory to God. 3). Paul stated the purpose of Jesus’ visit to earth. (v.15) This is a theological truth. Jesus came to save sinners in this world regardless of who they were or how bad they have been. Jesus had a purpose to save, and as his followers we carry on that purpose in our lives today. Everything we do should be tied into the mission statement to save sinners. And if God can save the worst of sinners in the case of Paul, there is no one He can’t save; He wants to save them all. 4). God chose Paul because he was the worst of sinners. (v.16) It was a chance to exhibit his unlimited patience. Everyone would look at Paul and say, ‘wasn’t that the guy that used to persecute Christians.’ If God powerfully transformed Paul, He can do that with anyone. We are examples of God’s unlimited patience and grace. We weren’t saved with benefits just for ourselves but rather for the benefit of all those who will interact with us as well. 5). Paul conveys an informal message of the Gospel. (v.16) He was on display for those who would believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. It’s as simple as that. Believe in Jesus and you will be in heaven. Believing isn’t just a thought but a conviction which changes how we live and act. When we put our belief in Christ, we prolong our existence and obtain an inheritance in eternity. Believe and Receive.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2 Samuel 1: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 1
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 1-16
LEADERSHIP - 1). David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites and took two days of rest. (v.1) He stayed in his home at Ziklag and got things back in order. He spent time with his family and away from his men. He needed time to replenish his energy and passion for God. As leaders, we need to prioritize times of rest and refreshing after our big events. We also need to prioritize time with our families during busy seasons as well 2). David asked the messenger to explain what happened. (v.5) He told him that Saul and his sons were dead, but David wanted more details. He cared deeply about Jonathan and wanted to verify that he had died. But, he also didn’t trust this stranger’s word entirely; he tested it. It’s important that we don’t take every comment given to us at face value. We must inspect it to make sure that we arrive at the truth. 3). David confronted the Amalekite on his boldness in killing the king. (v.14-16) He accused him of murdering the king and confronted him on that issue He penalized him accordingly and took his life. David wasn’t afraid to hold people accountable for their actions and correct them when they were wrong.

VERSES 17-27
LEADERSHIP - 1). David ordered that his men be taught the song, so they could honor Saul and his Sons by singing it together. (v.18) David wanted the entire army to appreciate all that Saul and his sons had done for Israel. He taught them the song so they would learn proper respect for the leadership of their nation. David knew that this was a learning moment for his people. 2). David sang that Israel’s glory had fallen on its’ heights, because Saul and his sons were dead. (v.19) Though Saul wasn’t holy and upright, David still saw him as the glory of Israel. The glory of a company can be found in their leader. As leaders, God made us to shine so the world could see and take notice. 3). David sang that Saul and Jonathan had an honorable death. (v.22) They were bold warriors that went into war where they lost their lives. They died defending their country and fighting on the front lines. True leaders don’t run from risks, they embrace them for growth and change.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1 Timothy 1: Notes on Attitude

1 Timothy 1
Notes on Attitude

VERSES 1-11
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul stated boldly who he was. (v.1) He knew what God had made him to be. He was an apostle by the command of God through Jesus. This gave him the authority to minister to Timothy and shepherd him as an undershepherd of God’s people. Paul stood on the authority that God had given him; it was who he was. Unashamedly be who God made you to be as well. 2). Paul gives us certain qualities that exemplify love in our lives. (v.5) First is a pure heart, the absense of sin and evil. Second is a good conscience, being confident in who we are and what we do. Finally, we have a sincere faith, no hidden motives or alternate purposes. Without all three, something is wrong. All three will be apparent when true love is in play. 3). These false teachers had hidden motives. (v.6,7) They wanted to be leaders, but they didn’t have their theology right. They wandered from the truth because of a prideful desire to be a leader, partnered with the selfish desire to avoid the hard work involved. These are two bad attitudes found often with bad leaders; be careful to avoid them at all cost.

VERSES 12-20
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul never forgot who he used to be. (v.13) He reminded Timothy that he used to be a sinful man. He blasphemed God, offending the Almighty. He persecuted Christians, offending God even further. All this because he was a violent man, completely contrary to God; he was a true enemy of the faith. And yet, God still gave him a chance. Paul was humble because he knew the great mercy of God in his life. In pride, we do it; in humility, God does it through us. 2). Paul admitted to being the worst sinner. (v.15,16) He wasn’t trying to pridefully exalt himself in an argument of who was the most evil. He was helping Timothy understand that God can save anyone. Paul knew he who was, and he knew that God still chose to use him in powerful ways. Paul was setting himself up as an example of how God makes no exceptions when choosing who to reach. Paul doesn’t think low of himself; he sees himself as a redeemed sinner because of God’s grace. We have nothing to be proud of in ourselves; only in God can we do anything right.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

1 Cor 2,3 - Notes on Relationships

1 Corinthians 2
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 6-16
RELATIONSHIPS - The Holy Spirit also helps us in our relationships with others. (v.14-16)  We judge all things, but are not subject to man's judgements. We talk to God and he talks to us about things in life. We don't judge our situations simply by appearances and circumstances; we go to God. He comes to us to punish, correct, and encourage. Sometimes the reason people gossip or get hurt by what others say is because they aren't in proper communication with God. God's words should completely outweigh all other words in our lives.

1 Corinthians 3
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 1-23
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). The people were fighting amongst themselves. (v.3,4) The quarreling was based out of jealousy and pride and this was keeping them from growing in God. When we have our eyes on each other, we'll tend to notice our weaknesses and get caught up in positional struggles. When we keep our eyes on God, we'll avoid the worldliness that comes from fighting and treat each other the right way. Positional competition has no place in the church. 2). We are all on the same team. (v.21-23) It’s pointless to compete against each other, or profess loyalty to one person over someone else. We're all wearing the same jersey and fighting for the same cause. The more we come together in unity, the more we can accomplish for God and His kingdom.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Matthew 1,2 - Notes on Sin

Matthew 1
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-17
SIN – 1). Matthew lists the kings of Israel. (v.6-11) Moving through the list is a sad tragedy descending through levels of increasing sin in their lives. Israel could have been the most powerful nation on earth, but instead they were like every other nation steeped in sin. That is what sin can do to us if we let it, destroy our potential in Christ.  2). This list is full of both evil and righteous kings. (v. 6-11)  God is no respecter of persons – He keeps His promise even when we try to mess it up. Each king was given a chance to leave a great legacy, and many did. Remember, sin is man’s choice and grace is God’s choice. If we were members of Jesus' blood line, which side of the holiness pendulum would you be on?

Matthew 2
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-12
SIN – 1). When Herod heard that Jesus was born, he was disturbed. (v.3) The verse also indicates that Jerusalem was disturbed along with him. Israel, God’s chosen people were not ready for Jesus, and when they heard that He was on His way they began to worry. Sin will leave us unprepared for God when He’s ready to come for us. 2). Herod was disturbed with the arrival of Jesus. (v.3,4) This was because he was the current ‘leader’ of Jerusalem and he didn’t want anyone to come and take that distinction from him. Out of pride and jealousy he continued to make plans to destroy the coming king. Our pride will always fight against the things of God if we let it. 3). Herod secretly met with the Magi, or wise men. (v.7) Sinful things always try to hide under the cover of secrecy. There are no evil secrets in the kingdom of God, and there should be none in the church either. 4). Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem to look for the baby. (v.7,8) He appeared interested in the baby to the wise men by inquiring on the exact time of his birth. He asked them to search for the child, and report back to him upon finding the baby. He told them that he wanted to worship the baby, as they did, but in fact he wanted to kill him. Herod was lying, but apparently the wise men didn’t know it.

VERSES 13-18 
SIN – 1). Herod caused the slaughter of many children. (v.16) Herod the Great was almost 70 yrs. old and close to death. Any child under 2 years would probably never give him trouble. This slaughter was out of total anger and pride. He didn’t just do it in Bethlehem but in all the surrounding cities as well. Imagine all the people affected by this man’s one sin. Sin isn’t leashed, it doesn’t have a lid, and is possible of horrible things. 2). The slaughter of the children hurt their families in horrific ways. (v.17,18) The prophecy uttered that they would refuse to be comforted. Unfortunately, many of us will experience tragic episodes in this sinful world, but God offers hope. Many times our hard bitterness keeps us from accepting his comfort. We can't allow anger or bitterness to keep us from experiencing God’s free gift of mercy and healing.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Exodus 1,2 - Notes on Worship and Passion

Exodus 1
Notes on Worship and Passion

VERSES 1-22
PASSION - Shiphrah and Puah risked their lives for God and His people. (v.17-20) Though the King had ordered them to kill babies, they wouldn’t do it. When the King later questioned them, they kept the truth from him to further protect their people. They were ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their families and friends. They feared God more than they feared Pharaoh and they risked their lives to save lives. What would we be willing to risk for the sake of our families and friends?

Exodus 2
Notes on Worship and Passion

VERSES 1-10
WORSHIP - God brought about a deliverer from the family line of the Levites. (v.1) These were the people assigned the task of being God’s priests. They would interact with God on behalf of the people, and lead the people in acts of worship. Deliverance and freedom can come through worship. Pharaoh was preparing the people for ruin but God was preparing the people for miracles.
PASSION - 1). Moses’ mother hid him from the Egyptians for three months, until she couldn’t hide him anymore. (v.2,3) She risked her life for the sake of her son. She didn’t want to lose him so she went to great measures to keep him alive. Just imagine how difficult it was to hide a crying baby for the three first months of his life! We will sacrifice and take risks for the things that matter most to us. God and family should always be those things which we are willing to lay down our lives for. 2). When she could hide Moses no longer, his mother made a basket for him and set him afloat on the Nile river. (v.3) We must assume that she was caught or close to it. While others would have thrown defenseless children in the Nile, she gave Moses a fighting chance by making him his own personal basketboat. She wrapped it in tar and pitch to keep it from drowning. Though having to part ways, she did everything she could possibly do to help him survive. We must go to the limits for those that we love and care for. 3). Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses from the river. (v.5) A different person might have just ignored the cries and let the baby die, but not a young girl. She responded as God wanted. So many lost souls come floating our way and we must respond as well, springing to action to rescue them from disaster.

VERSES 11-25
WORSHIP - The Israelites grew tired of their slavery and began to cry out to God for help. (v.23-25) God heard their cries and initiated His plan for intervention. Apparently they had forgotten about God, but in their despair they finally turned and cried out to Him. God could have intervened at any time, but He waited until they wanted Him; He honored His will to let men decide for themselves. But the moment they turned to Him, He was their waiting with a plan that was already in place. He had already begun His plan for salvation and put it in motion before they even called out to Him. He longs to intervene; we must cry out to see what God can do.
PASSION - Moses defended his countryman and killed the abusive Egyptian. (v.12) After looking both ways to make sure that no one was watching, he stepped in and committed murder. Though a sin, it showed his passion for his own people. He was willing to go to extreme measures and risk his life for them, just as his sister had risked her life following his basket when he was a baby. Do we care about our people and our families enough to do the same?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2 Timothy 1,2 - Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 6-14
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.

2 Timothy 2
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 1-13
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God gives us grace to keep us strong. (v.1) His grace is unmerited favor that we couldn’t earn and we don’t deserve. But He gives it willingly because we won’t grow mature without it. Our strength is found in the grace of Christ alone. 2). God’s Word is not chained. (v.9) Though Paul was imprisoned, he knew that God would still spread His Gospel around the world according to His will. People may persecute and silence us, but they can never silence God. He will finish what He started and complete His task of redeeming mankind. 3). God will remain faithful even if we have no faith left. (v.13) This is a good memory verse for our lives. It doesn’t mean that He gives up on us and won’t accept us back if we come back to Him. It means that He will stay true to His promise to give us life if we accept Him while we can on this earth. Once we pass into eternity, He’ll be true to His promise there as well. He will always be faithful and true and we can depend on Him to keep His word at all times.

VERSES 14-26
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God’s solid foundation stands firm regardless of problems in this world. (v.19) Even when false teachers spread deceptions, the Word of God will stay true and strong and God will do what He promised. When our world is falling apart, we need to hold onto God because He is the foundation that doesn’t move. 2). God’s house is full of many people of diversity. (v.20,21) He has those that have special purposes, more like gold and silver, and also those with more common purposes like the items of wood and clay. All are important, some are more rare and necessary than others. God accepts everyone and provided a plan for all. Some may be different, more important, more special, but we all have a place in God’s Kingdom.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

2 Samuel 1,2 - Notes on God's Plan

2 Samuel 1
Notes on God's Plan

VERSES 1-16
GOD’S PLAN - 1). A man arrived from Saul’s camp three days after David defeated the Amalekites. (v.2) Jesus rose from the dead on the 3rd day. This could be a potential foreshadow of that wonderful moment, a prophetic instance showing what would come. Many times in Scripture we see that God reveals part of His plan through circumstances in advance of the actual events. This very well could be one of those moments. 2). The man from Saul’s camp was an Amalekite. (v.8) David had just destroyed the Amalekites, and undoubtedly had negative feelings about them. This man was part of the tribe that kidnapped his family, and now he admitted to killing his king. God was setting David up to take actions on this man and become King himself. Earlier, David had provided shelter for a wandering slave they had found, but he would do no such thing for this foreign messenger representing his enemy. 3). The Amalekite messenger brought Saul’s crown and arm band to David. (v.10) This was probably an act to prove that he wasn’t lying, but we know that God was symbolically giving the kingdom to David. It wasn’t the Amalekite giving the royal articles to David, it was God.

VERSES 1-7
GOD’S PLAN - 1). David inquired of the Lord ‘in the course of time’. (v.1) God gave him the chance to rest after Saul and Jonathan died. He allowed him to mourn and recover from the loss. When we suffer loss, it’s important to have time to recover and regain our focus and composure. 2). God moved David, his family, and his men to Hebron where the people anointed David as king of Judah. (v.1-4) David may have been ignorant of God’s plan, but God had it in mind when He told David to move to Hebron. This was another step in the direction of assuming the role of King for the entire nation. God was putting His plan in place.

VERSES 8-32
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Abner and Joab picked twelve men to begin the fight. (v.15) Jesus picked twelve men to be his disciples. In one case, the twelve men died immediately in tragedy. In the other, twelve men helped to change the world. Twelve men in God’s hands can do great things. 2). Joab lost nineteen men, but they took 360 from Abner and his army. (v.30,31) David’s men did much more damage than they received. They used to be on the run from Saul, but now they put Saul’s men on the run. God was turning the tide and helping David to rise as King.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1 Timothy 1: Notes on Leadership

1 Timothy 1
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 1-11
LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul refers to Timothy as his true son in the faith. (v.2) They were close because of his leadership and they looked at each other as if they were family. When we pour our lives into others, we will develop a close bond with them and our affections for them will grow. Leadership is a great privilege that can nurture lasting relationships for years to come. 2). Paul reminded Timothy of his last conversation with him in Macedonia. (v.3) He started where things left off the last time they met. Rather than moving on to new things, he continued with his process of discipleship. We will have multiple sessions with our followers, and it’s important to work within a process to get where God wants us to go, one step at a time. 3). Paul admonished Timothy to restrain false prophets because of love. (v.5) Love for them, to correct them and save them from destruction. Love for those that they are leading astray, and bringing them back on the right path. Whenever we correct those who are in error, it should be love guiding our actions. 4). Paul knew that God had entrusted him with the care of the Gospel. (v.11) What a huge responsibility. Paul needed to make sure that the gospel was spread in a pure manner throughout the world. Timothy was helping him accomplish this in Ephesus. He took his job seriously, and so should we because God has entrusted His work to us as leaders.

VERSES 12-20
LEADERSHIP - 1). The same grace and love that was in Christ Jesus was given to Paul. (v.14) When God gave him an abundant portion of grace, He also equipped him with the same Spirit that dwelt in Jesus Himself. We can be the same quality leader that Jesus was because we are empowered with the same things He had. Lets be leaders that represent Jesus well today! 2). Paul gave Timothy a trustworthy saying deserving of full acceptance. (v.15) He passed on a truth that Timothy could use in his own life. Timothy could also preach this same truth to others who were following him. Paul passed on what he knew so Timothy could be a better leader. As leaders, we must pass on the truths we’ve learned so those following us can keep those truths alive for generations to come. We help others apply the principles of God's Word to their everyday lives. 3). Paul admitted to being the worst sinner. (v.15) When Christ saved sinners, Paul was at the bottom of the list. He knew that he didn’t deserve the position he was in; it was only by the grace of God. He confessed to being a rotten sinner and making mistakes. Paul wasn’t perfect, and he was honest about that with Timothy so he wouldn’t expect too much. Too many times people may think Christian leaders are coming in as ‘holier than thou’. When we come in as the ‘worst of sinners’, they will accept us much more freely. 4). Paul was meant to display God’s unlimited patience and grace. (v.16) He became an example of what God can do with a submitted, obedient life. We are on display for God as well. As leaders, we live an example of what God can do when He is in control. We don’t just speak of the truth, we live it out daily in our lives. Our leadership is meaningless unless God is directing our lives. 5). Paul gave Timothy instructions according to the prophecies uttered over him. (v.18) His details to Timothy were part of a plan. He considered Timothy’s calling, his pedigre. He allowed him to minister in the area that God had chosen for him. Leaders must be careful to direct people to paths that God has ordained for them. 6). Paul names two leaders that he punished. (v.20) They were men that had tried to be passionate for God without faith and a clean conscience. They had blasphemed God and Paul dealt with them accordingly. He handed them over to Satan, or rather, dismissed them from God’s service. Their punishment was to be a leader that couldn’t lead. Though a difficult task, Paul did the right thing and dealt with sin when he confronted it, and he did it because of love. When done in humility it builds up, but if it is done in pride it will tear down.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1 Corinthians 1: Relationships and Attitude

1 Corinthians 1
Notes on Relationships and Attitudes

VERSES 1-3
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Paul also mentioned Sosthenes in his greeting. (v.1) He was active in the process by which Paul was called into ministry, and Paul honored him because of it. We must remember those that trained, discipled, and invested in us. They will always be a part of the ministry we do, and God will bless them, as should we. Those that disciple us will always have that right in our lives. 2). Paul wrote this book to the church in Corinth, and to believers everywhere. (v.2) This greeting hints at the theme of the book; unity. He calls God both their Lord and ours. We are all dependent on the same God and He loves us equally. 

VERSES 4-9
RELATIONSHIPS - Paul thanked God for them constantly. (v.4) Paul would have been someone that wrote several thank you notes. The first real thing he says to them is that he thanks God for them. He made them feel special. The reason he can discipline them and mold their lives later in the book is because they know he loves them. He has earned their respect and trust.
ATTITUDE - God enriches us in our speaking and our knowledge. (v.5) He enriches the outside and the inside, what people see and what they don’t. He makes us good for ourselves and good for others, good in intimate things and good in those things which we exhibit in the public eye. Only God can truly change our hearts for the better.

VERSES 10-17
RELATIONSHIPS - Paul called for unity. (v.10) The first thing he encouraged them to do was to get along with each other. One of the biggest obstacles that might detour us in our faith is fighting with other believers. In order to be united in mind and thought, we must be careful what we say. If we can control the complaining and grumbling, we can maintain our unity and be strong together.
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul thanked God that he had only baptized a few people. (v.14-16) Usually leaders tend to keep track, at least in their mind, of all the great things they’ve accomplished and the people they’ve impacted. But Paul wasn’t like that. He wanted to be humble and point all the glory and attention to God. We should strive to do the same, and consider it an honor to allow God to take the glory instead of us. 2). Paul admitted that he was a preacher that didn’t have much wisdom and eloquence. (v.17) This might seem strange to us, considering him one of the greatest apostles of all time. We must remember that we only have his written words, not the the spoken version. He may not have been that great of a preacher, but God still used him in powerful ways. We must know our strengths and weaknesses, do our best with what we have, and trust God with the rest.

VERSES 18-31
RELATIONSHIPS - God reaches both the Jews and the Greeks. (v.24) Though different and at many times opposed, they can come together under God’s leadership. Unity can be achieved when we stop worrying about how we came to Christ, stop choosing certain leaders to follow over others, stop giving our leaders the credit and allegiance that belongs to God, and realize that we really don't have all the answers. We must stop trying to figure everything out and just love God and love others.
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul asks where is the wise man and the philosopher? (v.20) He is trying to point out that as smart as we may think we are, we are all completely empty of answers compared to God. When someone acts as if they know everything we shouldn’t believe them. Our wisdom is as foolishness compared to God. We will find out the truths of mystery’s when we enter His eternity. 2). In the midst of their quarreling, Paul asked them to remember who they used to be before God. (v.26) Not many were someone of influence with a perfected life. Most were helpless and hopeless without God. We don’t have much to fight for on our own when we remember who we really are and the characteristics not worth defending. God is our life now and He’ll fight the battles that we need to win. We can stay away from fighting with others when we remain humble and submitted. 3). We shouldn’t boast in ourselves. (v.29,31) If we are an amazing person in God’s Kingdom, it is part of His plan and all the attention should go His way. We must remember that if God is using us, we used to be the lowly, despised thing in this world that God picked to use for that reason.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1 Samuel 31 - Notes on Sin

Chapter 31
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-13
SIN - 1). Saul wouldn’t wait for his armor bearer to change his mind; he fell on his own sword. (v.4) He killed himself and gave up. If it wasn’t right for the armor bearer to kill Saul, then it wasn’t right for him to kill himself either. Though God was punishing Saul and destroying the army of Israel, Saul should have fought to the end. This behavior fits with Saul’s personality of trying to cut corners and do things his own way instead of allowing God to be in complete control. Suicide is ultimately a sin of pride. 2). The Israelite towns in the valley were abandoned and then occupied by the enemy Philistine forces. (v.7) Not only did Saul lose a battle, but he caused these towns of people to lose their homes and futures. Many lives were affected by Saul’s disobedience as king. When we sin, it always hurts more people than just ourselves.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

1 Samuel 29, 30 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 29
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-11
SIN - The leaders knew that David could win Saul’s loyalty again just as he had won Achish’s loyalty already. (v.4) David could use his abilities to go either way. We all can be great for God or great for the devil, which side will we choose?

1 Samuel 30
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-30
SIN - While David was trying to help King Achish in war, the Amalekites came to his hometown and destroyed it, kidnapping their wives and children. (v.1,2) The devil will try to get at us while we aren’t looking. He surprised David and gained the advantage. We must always assume the enemy has a plan and is working behind the scenes to destroy us, even if it's not obvious.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

1 Samuel 25 and 28 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 25
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-44
SIN - Saul took David’s wife Michal, who also was his daughter, and gave her away to a different man in marriage. (v.44) Saul wanted to destroy David; so to hurt him even, he took away his wife and destroyed their marriage. We saw signs of how Michal cared for David in how she helped him escape Saul initially. It must have been difficult to wait for David, and even more difficult to be forced into a different marriage, just to spite him. Saul was doing all that he could within his own power to hurt David. And in turn, he hurt his own daughter as well. When we are bent on revenge, we will hurt everyone around us in the process.

1 Samuel 28
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-25
SIN - 1). David had been living with the Philistines for about 18 months, when Achish came to him expecting him to help fight against Israel. (v.1) David was secretly attacking Philistine villages without letting Achish know what he was doing. With this request he wouldn't be able to hide anymore. He could only live amongst the Philistines and stay true to his country for so long. When we are constantly surrounded by sin, we will always come to a point where we have to stand out in order to stay true to our convictions. 2). Saul inquired of the Lord but the Lord didn’t answer him. (v.6) When he was in trouble, he ran to God. But God had already given him many chances and had denied to do it anymore. Saul had already moved out of God’s grace but he didn’t realize it. He wanted the benefit of God’s help without doing things God’s way. 3). Saul sought after a medium. (v.7) He had gone to God but nothing happened. So he went back to a form of insight that he had previously expelled from the land, mentioned in verse three. Saul went back to a bad thing which he had already escaped in his life. When going through difficult times, we need to press on and stay true to God and not revolt back to the sins of our past. 4). When the medium saw Samuel, she realized that her customer was none other than King Saul himself. (v.9) She screamed in fear for her life. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to do this type of behavior, and she might have assumed Saul was acting undercover to expose her and destroy her. She was caught and pleaded for mercy. She became frantic when she knew that she might be in trouble. Unfortunately, most people won’t change until they realize that they will be punished if they don’t. Change like that usually won’t last anyway. 5). Saul called Samuel out of his rest because God wouldn’t answer him anymore and he didn’t know what to do. (v.15) He thought that Samuel could show him the way back to God. He didn’t realize that Samuel was just God’s messenger. If God had betrayed Saul there was nothing Samuel could do to help him. Many people confuse the message with the messenger, which is a mistake.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

1 Samuel 23,24 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 23
Notes on Sin

VERSES 7-29
SIN - Saul asked God to bless the Ziphites for helping him try to catch David. (v.21) He said this to them as if he had any right to ask God for blessing on others. Saul was going completely against God's will and trying to make his own plans succeed. He was not in any condition to call down God's blessings on others. God wasn't about to bless anyone who would try to hurt His champion David. Sometimes, we think we're right with God and in His favor when in fact we are not.

1 Samuel 24
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-22
SIN - 1). David asked Saul why he was listening to the men who said he was trying to hurt the king. (v.9) Saul was trying to kill David and he assumed that David felt the same about him. If Saul would have asked David, he would have known that David never desired to do such a thing. David went to King Saul immediately to deal with his issue, yet King Saul constantly pursued David to kill him without ever trying to work it out with him personally, In disagreements, the proper thing to do is address it personally and immediately, not giving it time to fester and cause us to make bad decisions. 2). David quoted a saying that evildoers do evil deeds. (v.13) This is not a Biblical reference, but a true statement nonetheless. David chose to be holy and stay away from evil actions. When we commit sins, we become sinners in every way, completely guilty and in need of a merciful Savior.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

1 Sam 21,22 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 21
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-9
SIN - 1). David lied to the priest. (v.2) He told the priest he had been sent by the King and he had men on their way to meet him elsewhere. We can assume that he saw the priests concern and decided to abandon his morals just in case. Being on the run may have lessoned his faith in God and apparently he began to rely on his own ways instead of God's. 2). David lied again. (v.5) Ahilimech asked if he and his men had kept pure, in order to eat the consecrated bread. David had a chance to come clean, especially after observing Ahimilech's passion for purity. Instead, he lied to protect his other lie. One lie will always lead to another, and then another, and then another, etc.. 3). Achish called David insane. (v.14) David's actions caused this king to scorn God's champion. The king could make fun of God and His people because of David's poor actions. When we act like something we are not, we help people look down upon God. We should always strive to represent God well.

1 Samuel 22
Notes on Sin

VERSES 6-23
SIN - 1). Saul was sitting by the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah with his spear in his hand. (v.6) He had thrown spears at Jonathan and David trying to kill them. Now, he still has the spear ready to murder again. His rage has completely consumed him now and he will stop at nothing short of murder. Apparently, he daydreams about it all day long. The longer we mess with sin, the more it starts to control who we are. 2). The King refused to listen to Ahimilech's answer. (v.16,17) Saul ordered his men to kill the priest and his family, even though he had admitted his innocence. The King was so intent on punishing David that he took out his anger on these innocent men. The King had accused them of doing wrong, but he himself did wrong by refusing to show mercy when it was deserved. The King trusted his head shepherd over a priest of God because he had said what he wanted to hear. When we are led by sinful ways, we will go against the truth. 3). Doeg obeyed his king and killed the priests. (v.18,19) He destroyed the entire family of priests, 85 men altogether. But then, he took it even further, and he destroyed the entire city of Nob, people and animals alike. He erupted in a storm of rage and murdered everyone and everything in sight, all for an apparent desire to be elevated in the eyes of the King. Earlier we had seen him in Nob, probably enjoying the ministry of the priests, and now he put them all to death. Ambition can be a horrible thing when it drives us to run over people in pursuit of our personal dreams.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1 Samuel 19,20 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 19
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-24
SIN - 1). Even though Saul told his son that he would never attack David again, he did. (v.9,10) He went back on his word and tried to kill David. He couldn't keep to his committment and broke his promise in rage, anger, and jealousy. 2). Though Michal helped David escape, she also had an idol in the house, which she used as a coverup. (v.15,16) The idol is a sign that she wasn't totally committed to God and could cause problems for David down the road. We shouldn't hide things in our lives that give us access to feed our temptations and sin.

1 Samuel 20
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-42
SIN - Saul was so angry that he threw a spear at his son Jonathan. (v.33) He tried to kill the son who was the hope of carrying on his legacy. In his anger, he almost committed an action that would have completely destroyed his hopes and dreams. When we allow anger to rule our lives, it hurts everyone; us and those around us. Uncontrolled anger destroys dreams.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

1 Samuel 17,18 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 17
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1- 58
SIN - 1). Goliath was physically superior and he dressed like a champion. (v.4-7) He was physically imposing, and his armor was huge. He was probably the best fighter from both sides, on the outside. But again, God finds his champions in the heart. David was stronger on the inside, and that's what ultimately counts in the end. 2). Goliath defied the army of Israel. (v.10) He spoke against this nation, and its' God. His pride had moved him from believing that he could defeat any warrior, to believing that he could defeat the whole army. One sin will always lead to another, and another, and.... 3). Goliath came out to tempt the Israelites to war every morning and night for 40 days. (v.16). He was persistant and annoying. The devil will try to make us fall by constantly badgering us with temptations that never seem to tire or end. 4). David compared Goliath to a wild lion or bear. (v.36) He called him an uncircumcised Philistine who had defied God's Army. When we sin against God, it always reduces us to the vilest of creatures without hope for shelter in this world. 5). Goliath ridiculed David and cursed him by his gods. (v.43,44) He declared what he would do to David. He spoke too soon. He should have bragged after he had already won, because we know that he was defeated. We should let our actions speak louder than our words. 6). David hit Goliath on the forehead and killed him. (v.49) Goliath was an incredibly strong man with heavy armor, but David struck him in the one place where he wasn't protected. Goliath overlooked a little area, and it cost him dearly. We must make sure we are completely covered by God in all areas of our lives, because the enemy will try to strike any open target on us that he sees.

1 Samuel 18
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-30
SIN - 1). Saul threw a spear at David, trying to pin him to the wall. (v.11) He was jealous of David's accolades and wanted him dead. He tried to kill him to destroy the enemy of his own fame. He allowed his attitudes to determine his actions forcing him to sinful measures. We must keep our attitudes in check or they will bring us to the same place of throwing spears. 2). Saul sent David to the battle lines far away from himself. (v.13) He sent him into harms way to possibly destroy him. He moved him to a distance so he wouldn't have to deal with him. Rather than sitting with him and making things right, he tried to ignore it or destroy it. Saul tried to take the easy way out and it didn't work. 3). Saul set a heavy price for David to earn the hand of his daughter. (v.24,25) He told his attendants to tell David that if he brought 100 Philistine foreskins, he'd win Michal for his own. Not only would David have to defeat that many men in battle, but he'd have to perform the gross deed of acquiring the skins. It was a highly dangerous and disgusting task, and Saul did it only hoping David would fail and die. His motives were completely evil and wrong.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1 Samuel 15,16 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 15
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-35
SIN - Rebellion is like divination, and arrogance is like idolatry. (v.23) When we rebel against God, we are trying to find happiness through other means, which is similar to those in that time period who would try to use magic to gain influence. When we are arrogant, in a sense, we are worshipping ourselves, which is idolatry before God. These attitudes of the hearts are major sins against God.

1 Samuel 16
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-13
SIN - God rejected Eliab. (v.7) He looked good on the outside, but God was concerned with what was on the inside. Apparently, God didn't like what He saw inside. Sin can destroy us on the outside over time, but it immediately destroys in God's eyes on the inside.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

1 Samuel 13 and 14 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 13
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-15
SIN - 1). God told Saul that He would take the Kingdom from him and hand it to someone else. (v.14) This must have hit Saul like a bomb. His greatest moment was followed by his worst moment. Sin is always ready to bring us down from the lofty heights we experience in our lives. 2). The people of Israel were losing faith in King Saul. (v.15) He started this chapter with 3,000 men, but now he only had 600, just 20%. When we don't obey God, we stand the chance of losing everything and only being a shell of what we once were.

VERSES 16-23
SIN - 1). Somehow the Philistines had raided blacksmiths in Israel and kept them from making weapons. (v.19) There must have been Philistine spies among the Israelites. Even in churches today, there are good people who seem to love God but are really living for the devil and carrying out his schemes. We shouldn't exile them immediately, but we must make sure that they don't spread evil actions among the body. 2). The Israelites went to the Philistines to prepare for battle. (v.20) The enemy wanted them to be dependent upon them. The devil will try to get God's people addicted to sins so they become dependent on him as well. 3). The Philistines charged the Israelites a steep price for help. (v.21) Not only did they force their loyalty, but they also robbed them as well. The enemy will try to destroy us in every way, and especially with money in our culture today.

1 Samuel 13
Notes on Sin

VERSES 15-23
SIN - The Philistines were so confused in fear that they started to destroy each other. (v.20) Because of the panic, each man thought only of himself. When we don't do things God's way, we become selfish and destroy the people who are supposed to be our teammates. Sin will always lead us to hurt ourselves and others.

VERSES 24-48
SIN - When the army entered the woods, there was honey over all the ground. (v.25) The honey miraculously appeared when they weren't supposed to have any. It's just like the devil to tempt us with the very things that we desire and want the most, but can't have. It should be no surprise that we are tempted with things we greatly desire at just the right time.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1 Samuel 11,12 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 11
Notes on Sin

VERSES 12-15
SIN - The people wanted to kill the men who had spoken against King Saul. (v.12,13) Saul wouldn't allow it. Sometimes, we follow major events with moments of weakness. The enemy would love to get us to fail right after we just expected a great victory. The miracle isn't just the great act from God, but our faithfulness following it as well.

1 Samuel 12
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-25
SIN - 1). The people of Israel forgot about their dependence on God. (v.9) He let their enemies triumph over them because they acted like they didn't need Him anymore. When we try to do things on our own power without God's help, we will heading toward disaster. 2). The people of Israel said no to God. (v.12) God's gift of strong leaders wasn't good enough for them; they wanted a king. Whenever we say no to God, we put ourselves in a position to fail. Saying no to God is as if we are saying no to success. 3). God punished the people because they asked for a King. (v.17,18) He sent a huge storm that destroyed their wheat harvest. The people were not content to do things God's way, so He punished them for being rebellious. 4). Samuel commanded them not to turn away after useless idols. (v.21) In their search for rescue, the people could have succumbed to any possible means for relief. Samuel reminded them that the only true source of salvation is in God and God alone. All other forms of 'help' are only temporary and leave us just as bad as we were before. God is the ultimate Savior, able to help us in every situation. 5). Sin sweeps us away. (v.25) When we continue in sin, it becomes a tidal wave that carries us into confusion and destruction. The persistance of sin only increases our problems and distances us from God.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1 Samuel 8,10 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 8
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-22
SIN - 1). The people wanted a king. (v.11) Samuel warned them that their sons would work with the chariots, even running in front of them in battle. This would be one of the most dangerous placements in war, being destroyed from the approaching enemy or from the chariots to the rear. Their sons lives would be handled carelessly, because they wanted a king. Their futures would be treated carelessly, by a king. Rather than making them better, in the long run it would make them worse. 2). The people would become like slaves to their king. (v.17) They asked for something that would hurt them in the end. Sometimes, the thing we most want is the thing that can most damage who we are. We must listen to God and allow Him to direct our desires according to His plans, and not our own.

1 Samuel 10
Notes on Sin

VERSES 9-27
SIN - Saul was hiding among the baggage. (v.22) Many of us have a great calling from God, but we aren't doing it because of all the baggage of sin in our lives. We've got to get rid of the things that are holding us back, and pursue God's call on our lives. Stop hiding in the baggage.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1 Samuel 4,6 - Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 4
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-11
SIN - 1). The Israelites brought the ark of the covenant to their camp. (v.4) Eli's sons accompanied the ark. God had already pronounced punishment on Eli for the sins of his sons. And yet, here they are carrying the ark into the Israelite camp, which was against God's desires. Eli should have removed them from office, but he didn't. It's easy to see why the Isrealites lost; because they had unchecked sin in their leadership. 2). The Israelites were proud, and felt that no one could touch them. (v.5) They got the ark, the priests, and the excitement, and then got the snot beat out of them. 30,000 died, the ark was gone, and the priests got what they deserved. Pride goes before a fall.

VERSES 12-22
SIN - 1). When the city heard the news of Israel's defeat, they lifted up a loud cry. (v.13) Sin destroys lives and always leaves those affected by it crippled and depressed. When we see the pain and hear the cries of people, we can be sure that sin is close by. 2). Eli heard the news of the defeat, and fell out of his chair. (v.18) It hit him hard and he could no longer contain himself. It was such a tough punishment that even the news of the defeat defeated Eli. Sin always leave death in it's path. 3). The wife of Phinehas went into labor too early. (v.19,20) Her stress brought on the birth pains before their time. The baby would live, but she would die. Once again, God continued to exact his punishment on the house of Eli for its' sins. And sin affects everyone.

1 Samuel 6
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-21
SIN - The Philistines questioned why they had stolen the Ark in the first place. (v.6) They realized that they should have learned from the other nations who had tried to stand up to God. There pride kept them from learning from others' mistakes. If we don't take heed and do this, we'll be learning from our own, which is much more painful

Thursday, January 9, 2014

1 Samuel 2: Notes on Sin

1 Samuel 2
Notes on Sin

VERSES 1-11
SIN - 1). We must be careful how we speak. (v.3) When we worship, it keeps us humble. Without it, we'll be full of pride and arrogance. A heart of worship will guard the words which come out of our mouths. 2). Only God can save us from our sin. (v.8) God takes the poor and makes them rich. The ash heap represents shame from sin or painful things in our lives. But later we will sit in a place of honor, prestige, and glory. We won’t be in the ash heap of sin and shame forever when we put our hope in the Lord.

VERSES 12-26
SIN - 1). Eli's sons were wicked because the had no regard for the Lord. (v.12) They didn't believe in Him and they didn't respect His authority and wisdom. When people don't understand who God is, they have no reason to resist sin in this world. We have to help them understand God in order to find a motive for holiness. 2). The wicked priests stole from God. (v.15,16) They were supposed to accept a random selection of meat from the boiling container, but they were picking and choosing the best portions of the meat for themselves before it was offered to God. Leaders help others obey God, but are also themselves subject to God's laws and desires. We can't get picky with the gifts that God gives us. We choose God, and whatever He brings into our lives should be sufficient. 3). We can't fool God. (v.25) God knows our hearts. When we sin, He knows if it was intentional or not. All of our true motives are exposed before the Lord.

VERSES 27-36
SIN - God punished the house of Eli for their sins. (v.31-36) He promised to take away their strength and cut short their lives. They would be left with nothing to eat and no jobs to keep them fed. God took away everything He had blessed them with, because they treated His ministry with contempt. We must be careful to honor Him or we could suffer the same fate.