Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exodus 1: Notes on Sin

Exodus 1
Notes on Sin

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.