Thursday, May 29, 2014

1 Timothy 1: Notes on Attitude

1 Timothy 1
Notes on Attitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.