Thursday, April 24, 2014

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

2 Samuel 1
Notes on God's Plan

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.

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.

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

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

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. 

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

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.