Thursday, December 17, 2015
1 Timothy 4
Notes on Worship and Passion
VERSES 1-16WORSHIP - 1). Paul starts off this chapter declaring something that the Spirit clearly said. (v.1) From other parts of Paul’s letters, we can assume that Paul knew the Spirit was saying this because it had been uttered in a prophetic way in one of his service gatherings with other believers. Paul wanted to know God’s plans and he listened to the Spirit to perceive them. We need to be in the practice of doing the same. 2). God created many things for us to enjoy with thanksgiving. (v.3) Marriage and certain foods were mentioned in this verse, but all of creation is God’s gift to us. When we enjoy what He has made for us, we bring Him glory. When we turn that enjoyment into praise and thank Him, it brings Him even more joy. We should enjoy all that God has for us, and then enjoy worshipping Him for it as well. 3). Timothy received his gift of leadership through a prophetic utterance as the elders were praying for him and laying their hands on him to anoint him. (v.14) In a worship setting, God completely changed Timothy’s life and called him into the ministry. Worship moments are powerful times where we strive to connect with God, and we can more easily feel Him connecting with us. In those moments, we should listen and let God do what He wants with us. God may do things that will become mighty moments in our lives and with others.
PASSION - 1). Timothy was instructed to train himself to be Godly. (v.7) This is also a good memory verse. We must be our own leader and train ourselves. We can’t alway rely on others to show us the way, we must get to a place where we can learn to motivate ourselves to find the way. Leaders are people under authority, but they put themselves in a place to be a good follower by challenging themselves to great things and distant goals. Physical training isn’t as much for attractive bodies, but rather, for discipline in earthly matters, which can relate to our spiritual lives as well. 2). We labor and strive to help others know that Jesus is their Savior. (v.10) That is our job, just as it was Paul’s and his followers. When it comes to looking for a job description, we don’t have to look any further than this. If we help all the people in our lives look to Jesus as their Savior, we have done our job indeed. Everything in our lives should always point in His direction, bringing attention to His saving power. 3). Timothy was instructed to watch his life and doctrine closely, persevering in them. (v.16) It wasn’t going to be easy and he needed to have a fighting attitude to get through the tough times. He needed to inspect his life constantly, to insure that he was walking in God’s will. We must take everyday, and maybe several times throughout the day, to insure that we are walking in God’s will and maintain that fighting spirit for holiness and truth.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Character
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul instructed them to continue obeying his instructions for living more and more. (v.1) God will give us the orders we need to enjoy life according to His Plans. And when we receive those orders, we need to obey them until He changes them, which may never happen. If we don’t receive a new word from God, keep following the last command with excellence forever. 2). Paul gave instructions as God gave him to give. (v.2) The leadership lessons he delivered were straight from God. He didn’t encourage anything outside of what God wanted done. 3). God wants us to be holy. (v.3) Paul told the Thessalonians that God wanted them to sanctified. We can be made clean and pure by the power of Jesus’ work in our lives. And our efforts and pursuits from this point forward can be inspired and empowered by the direction of God. We should strive to be holy because that is God’s desire for our lives. 4). Paul encouraged them to live quiet lives. (v.11) He instructed them to mind their own business and work hard with their hands. There isn’t anything wrong with ambition, as long as it is according to God’s Plans. Our greatest desires in life should revolve around Him. The more we surround ourselves with things of this world, the easier it is to be distracted away from our main purpose of following God.
GOD’S PLAN - 1). We don’t grieve over death like the rest of the world. (v.13) In this matter, and many others, Christians should be profoundly different from those around us. When we act different and do things in unusual ways, the world will take notice and recognize the power of Christ to change a life. 2). We believe that Jesus died and rose again. (v.14) This not only helps us formalize our theology on life after death for the believer, but also for all matters of faith in our lives. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate foundation for the believer. We can stand on this truth and let it empower us as we serve God in this dark world. 3). Paul instructed according to God’s Word. (v.15) As he is giving them God’s plans concerning life after death, he directs them back tot he Word. All instruction in life needs to find its’ roots in the Word of God. 4). Not only will we all be resurrected like Christ, but those who are living on the earth during His Second Coming will be caught up in the air like Jesus did in His ascension. (v.17) After the dead have already been raised to life, we’ll be raised to the heavens to meet them, and then meet Jesus as well. God will make us fly for Him.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
1 Samuel 9
Notes on God's Character
GOD'S CHARACTER - 1). Samuel was coming to meet Saul at the entrance to the city. (v.14) Saul had no idea that God was looking for him. As we pursue God, it's important for us to remember that He is also pursuing us, and He is probably closer than we think. Saul was looking for the donkeys; God was looking for His King. 2). God told Samuel that Saul was coming. (v.15,16) He prepared Samuel for the task that he was going to do. When God gives us something to do, He makes us adequate for the ministry. He is as much God in the presentation as He is in the preparation as well. 3). Samuel gave Saul an incredible conversation. (v.19,20) He told him that he had plans to meet with him, the donkeys were found, and God had a great plan for his life. Saul must have been dumbfounded. At any time God can say and do things to us that will amaze us in every way.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
1 Kings 9
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP – 1). Solomon completed the temple, and he completed his own palaces. (v.1) It was everything he had set out to do. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another thing to get it going and work on it, but it’s quite another thing to finish the task we’ve been dreaming of. Solomon was at that place of great contentment because he completed his task, his dream. Leaders don’t just come up with the dreams and get them started; leaders get the job done. 2). God directed His attention on Solomon as His chosen leader. (v.4) He dealt with the people, and now He dealt with their leader. God doesn’t just want us to be figureheads that are outside the same direction given to the people we lead. He wants to lead us as well.
LEADERSHIP – 1). King Hiram didn’t like the cities in Tyre and gave them the name Kabul. (v.13) This was a derogatory term that essentially meant they were good for nothing. We learn from the author that this name has stuck with these town to this day. Leaders must be careful with their words because they speak declarations over people that can stay in there lives for generations. 2). Solomon was active in building up his entire Kingdom. (v.17,18) He built cities in the desert, cities for storing his supplies, and cities to care for his army. These are all quite different and completely removed from each other, but Solomon took care to do them all. Leaders need to work on many different fronts and learn how to multitask. 3). Solomon had 550 leaders that oversaw the slave labor building his projects. (v.23) With 550 leaders, he most likely had overseers of his overseers and several different levels of leadership. The larger God grows us, the more organized we have to be with our leadership and developing it in those around us as well. 4). Three times a year, Solomon gathered the people together and sacrificed offerings on the altar on behalf of the whole Kingdom. (v.25) Once every 4 months, this occurred. We should try to make sure we have one thing every four months, or at least on a regular basis, from a whole body perspective that brings us together in purpose, unity, and vision. That’s a good ministry philosophy for a church, for a body of believers.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
1 John 1
Notes on Attitude
ATTITUDE - John was writing this letter also to make his joy complete. (v.4) It would make him happy to finish his task for God, and to see others as strong believers in his church family. When we do the task that God has called us to, it brings joy that the world can’t take away.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
1 Corinthians 9
Notes on Relationships
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Paul had Barnabas as a ministry companion. (v.6) This wasn't always the case, but as often as possible Paul would travel with a partner. He stood up for him and had someone by his side during trying times as well. 2). Paul is writing this for their benefit, not his own. (v.15) He is OK with ministering free if charge, but he knows that they should be willing to pay for those who care for them. It's an attitude of gratitude that helps people feel special about working together. If it has to be requested or demanded it loses some of its effectiveness.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Matthew 9: Notes on Family
FAMILY – 1). Jesus went to His own town (Capernaum). (v.1) In the midst of busyness and ministry, it always feels good to go home. Jesus didn’t neglect His roots, He made sure to visit there from time to time. We can't neglect our families. Unfortunately, there are many leaders who serve all kinds of people but avoid their own families and closest loved ones. Let that not be the case with us. 2). Jesus cured the man and sent him home. (v.6) The first place that Jesus wanted him to go to was back to his family and his home. Previously, he had been a burden, but now, he will be a blessing. Jesus didn’t just touch this man’s life, but the lives of his family as well. 3). Jesus went home, after being sent away by the people of the Gadarenes at the end of the previous chapter. (v.1) When we are rejected by everyone else, we should be able to find acceptance at home. Let our homes be places of sanctuary from the evils of this world.
FAMILY – 1). The ruler asked Jesus to bring his dead daughter back to life. (v.18) He had quickly dropped everything, humbled himself, and knelt at Jesus’ feet, not on his own behalf but for the sake of his beloved daughter. We should always be willing to put everything aside in sacrifice for the benefit of our loved ones. 2). Jesus called the sick woman, daughter. (v.22) This was a term of significant affection; he loved this mysterious lady like a father would love a daughter. He was on his way to heal a man’s daughter, but in the process He healed one of His own daughters. We don’t know if this lady had a tough family life, or if she didn’t have a loving father, but surely this statement meant as much to her as the miraculous physical healing. Jesus won’t just touch our bodies, He’ll touch our souls as well.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Notes on Attitude
ATTITUDE - 1). Pharaoh cracked. (v.8) He told Moses and Aaron that if they would pray to God to take away the frogs, he would allow them to go and offer sacrifices in the wilderness. He had never come to that point before, but after the infestation of frogs in every area of his life, he couldn’t take it anymore. When his personal comfort was challenged, he decided to give in. He even asked that Moses would pray to have the frogs taken away first from himself first, and then from his people. He didn’t want to suffer or sacrifice to stay true to his beliefs. 2). Moses asked Pharaoh when he wanted him to pray for God to take away the frogs, and Pharaoh chose tomorrow. (v.10) He didn’t choose today, or ‘right now’, he chose to wait one more day, one more night with the wretched frogs. His pride and arrogance revealed that he didn’t want to be too desperate for salvation. He should have immediately asked for help, but he chose to wait and suffer more. When we need a Savior, we need it now, right now, and shouldn’t wait one minute for help. 3). Once the frogs were dead, Pharaoh went back on his word and wouldn’t let the Israelites go. (v.15) He quickly decided not to give in, foolishly trusting in his own pride to keep him safe. Obviously, he should have realized that God was too powerful for Him, but He didn’t want to lose his superiority over his people and the Israelites so he lied according to his selfish ways. We must remember what God has freed us from or we risk falling back into the same deceptions.
ATTITUDE - The magicians told Pharaoh that this was the finger of God, yet he wouldn’t listen. (v.19) They realized that God was more powerful than they were and tried to convince Pharaoh of the same. These magicians knew all along that they were only faking the miracles that God was doing in reality. Once they couldn’t duplicate it anymore, they gave in. When we can’t control or understand something, it helps bring us to a place of realizing our dependence on God. But Pharaoh wouldn’t budge. His pride and arrogance, especially after just lying after the frogs, kept him from giving in even when the situation in Egypt grew worse.
ATTITUDE - 1). Pharaoh tried to bargain with Moses and Aaron. (v.25) He suggested that they offer the sacrifices, but do it in Egypt rather than going into the wilderness. He wanted to give in, but do it on his own terms. He tried to compromise rather than doing exactly as God had asked him to do. There are times in our lives when God might ask us to do something, and we try to do it half-heartedly because completing it in its’ entirety is umcomfortable to us on some level. We cannot compromise with God. 2). Pharaoh asked Moses to pray for him directly. (v.28) He said the Israelites could go, just not very far, if he would pray for Pharaoh personally. He was in great discomfort, and rather than thinking of his people, he thought only of himself. His selfishness, born out of pride and arrogance, controlled his life. We must be careful not to be selfish, for if we do we risk ruining our lives. 3). Moses gave Pharaoh a second chance. (v.29) Though Pharaoh had lied the last time Moses prayed to relieve them of a plague, Moses unselfishly prayed for him again. What a contrast to Pharaoh’s attitude, in which he can only think of himself. Judge for ourselves which is better, deception and pride, or confidence and hope in obedience to God.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
2 Timothy 1
Notes on Sin
SIN - Paul called out Phygelus and Hermogenes for abandoning him in Asia. (v.15) This may seem mean spirited but he was informing them so they weren’t mishandled as well. If we don’t confront people’s sin when it affects our relationships we are essentially endorsing their behavior. Had Paul not corrected them, it would be unfaithful on his part, just as they were unfaithful to him. When we mistreat our fellow believers, it grieves God and pollutes our lives.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
2 Samuel 8
Notes on Worship/Passion
WORSHIP - 1). David had the Moabites lay down on the ground, and 65% of them were killed. (v.2) The other 35% remained alive, to pay tribute to Israel. Moab ‘tithed’ 35% to Israel. God asks us for 10% of our money in tithes, but we do more to worship him as we choose. Maybe 35% would be a good figure for some to aspire to. 2). When David received spoils of war, he dedicated them to the Lord. (v.11,12) He knew that God empowered him to be victorious, so he thanked God with the praise. When we receive accolades and gifts from others because of our ministry, we need to give God the praise and the credit as well.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
1 Timothy 2
Notes on God's Plan
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul urged Timothy to pray for everyone, and especially for his leaders. (v.1,2) The first request he had was for prayer. Everything should always start with prayer. When we put prayer first in our lives we will see God do amazing things as part of His master plan. 2). God is pleased when our lives are holy. (v.3) A quiet and peaceful life of godliness and holiness brings much joy to our God. When we pray constantly, our lives will reflect God more. He loves when He looks at us and sees us acting like Him, imitating Him, following Him. 3). God wants all men to be saved. (v.4) He wants everyone to know the truth and to be set free. No one is beyond His reach or outside of His plan. We are all His creation and He desires everyone to be with Him in eternity. 4). The story of Jesus is a testimony given in its’ proper time. (v.6) God has a time that is perfect for all things, even sharing His story with others. We should seek to be obedient in all things, which also means that we do things in the proper time as well as the proper way. Before rushing off to do what is right, we need to check and make sure that it is the right time as well. 5). Paul desired men from everywhere to lift up hands together in prayer. (v.8) It didn’t matter where they were from or what people they belonged to. He desired everyone to participate, just like God. If we are to follow after God’s heart, we will open the gospel to everyone and never exclude anyone from God’s free gift.
GOD’S PLAN - Eve committed the first sin and God gave her mercy through childbirth. (v.15) God had a plan of redemption. This is also highly symbolic of Jesus coming to earth in the form of a child, to live a life for the redemption of man. Even in the beginning, we see that God had mercy and had a plan for grace.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
1 Thessalonians 2
Notes on God's Character
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). Why does God let us suffer at all? (v.2) This is a question that almost always accompanies discussions about pain and the persecution of believers. But we ask that question with an assumption that we deserve a carefree life without issues, and we forget that God set us free when we didn’t deserve it. If we freely want His freedom, we must accept His will in tough times as well. If God was truly fair to us, we would never have been given salvation at all, let alone in specific trying situations. 2). Paul said that God was their witness. (v.5) He would defend them against false accusations. When we live for God, He knows we’ll face opposition and He’s prepared to defend us according to His will. We must let Him lead our defense, and trust Him wherever it goes. Sometimes, God wants us to be defenseless, like Jesus before Herod and Pilate.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
1 Samuel 9
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). The servant realized that Samuel was nearby. (v.6) He suggested that they continue their search by approaching the man of God. He knew that the man of God could help them find their way. People need to realize that God places leaders in our lives to help us find our way. 2). The girls helped Saul and his servant. (v.12,13) They gave them all the details they needed to find Samuel. They helped them find their way. They were looking for Samuel to give them directions, and these girls gave them directions instead. Leadership is not just reserved for those in special positions, God will provide us with many opportunities to step up and be leaders for Him throughout our lives. 3). God brought Samuel to Saul, the next leader of Israel. (v.15,16) The up and coming leader had to find the current leader, and vice versa. They each had a part to play in the transition of leadership. When we move in and out of leadership, we must meet in the middle to make it a smooth transition. 4). Samuel saw Saul and God told him that this man was the one that would be King. (v.17) God confirmed to Samuel what he had seen with his own eyes. As leaders, seeing alone should not produce belief, we must allow God to speak to us to help us recognize truth in what we are seeing. 5). Samuel sent the servant ahead of them so he could give Saul a confidential message. (v.27) There are times when we must know when to speak in confidence and keep others from hearing what God wants us to say. This is not so God can be deceptive, but rather, so God can unveil His plan according to His timeline.
Monday, September 7, 2015
1 Kings 8
Notes on Attitude
VERSES 1-21ATTITUDE – 1). Solomon has now had a few moments where he did something for God in such a great capacity that it couldn’t be measured. (v.5) He may have tried to measure it, but couldn’t. Just a sign of the great prosperity God had given him and Israel during this time. In times of blessing, we must keep our eyes on God as the supplier of all that we have and worship Him. 2). The smoke in the temple. (v.10) These people were living in a time when God had done amazing things, and they believed in the miraculous. And now they were taking an extremely bold step in moving the Ark. Many had done so previously to their own peril, but Solomon felt that he had a strong word from the Lord to move forward. He had confidence, because he had done his best, and he trusted in God’s words. Now, would it be good enough? And just as he might have been pondering that question, then came the smoke. The smoke was proof to the people that they were doing what God wanted; it endorsed Solomon as the true King. 3). Solomon declared that he had built God a great temple. (v.13) Though he gave God the credit later on in the chapter, this verse shows a hint of the pride that would well up in Solomon as the wisest leader in history. We must be careful to guard our hearts in the victories we experience in God’s service, so we don’t let pride well up in us to bring about our downfall as well. 4). ‘with His own hand’. (v.15) Solomon gave God the credit. Though he had worked so hard, as had so many people in his service for seven years, it was still all because of God. This shows that his humility, which we had seen earlier in his career, is still intact.
ATTITUDE – 1). People will pray to God when they become aware of the afflictions of their own hearts. (v.38) It’s not only the things that happen to us in this world that can drive us to God, but so can the attitudes we discover within ourselves. Regardless of our outlook, we can find the need to search for God. 2). We should fear God in our lives. (v.40) The fear of God is the respect we give Him by honoring Him with our lives. It’s an acknowledgement that He is active among us and we seek His favor. We should fear the Lord because everything we are and everything we have is because of Him. The moment we stop fearing the Lord is the moment when we should be afraid of the Lord. 3). Solomon asked that God would respond to foreigners prayers so that the whole world would know that God’s name is on the temple that Solomon built. (v.43) Solomon was probably the most important man in the world at that time, and he had just built an amazing temple for God. But even after all of his accomplishments, he wanted the world to know that it was God who empowered him and made him great. We should always direct praise for our efforts to God, who makes us successful in what we do. 4). ’For there is no one who does not sin’ (v.46) Solomon was a wise man because he realized that no one is perfect, no one is without sin. Only a humble man could say this, because he is pronouncing judgment over himself as a sinner as well. 5). Solomon knelt and prayed to the Lord (v.54) Kneeling wasn’t actually all that common. Most people would pray standing up with their arms outstretched. Maybe he was moved by the supernatural dealings of the moment, and he knew that he must lower himself in some act of humility. We should always be prepared to kneel before our God in submission to His command.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
1 Corinthians 7
Notes on Family
FAMILY - 1). Paul encouraged them to stay sexually pure by keeping sex in the confines of marriage between one man and woman. (v.2,3) As they become one and stay faithful, it feeds the physical needs of our lives and protects us from the pain and tragedy associated with sexual sin. The Bible condones traditional marriage, and so should we. The greatest weapon we have against sexual temptation is a Godly marriage. 2). Sex is one of the enjoyable duties of marriage. (v.3) This has been a tough subject in the church, often avoided and therefore unintentionally discouraged. But in this passage we have freedom to prioritize it, work at it, become excellent, and enjoy it. 3). We shouldn’t be apart from each other in a marriage too long. (v.5,6) We can decide for ourselves, but the longer we stay apart, the more that Satan will tempt us to sin sexually. God made married couples to enjoy intimacy and remain close to one another. Time apart can be wasted time unless God is at the center of it. 4). Paul gave some important foundational thoughts about marriage. (v.10,11) Marriage is equally between a man and a woman for life. And marriages will have difficulties, but they are worth it. 5). People with unsaved marriage partners shouldn't abandon them. (v.12,13) They can't control their partner if they give up, but Christians are people who persevere. God doesn't want us to be quitters. 6). Children should always be a priority for reasons to stay together. (v.14) Even in situations where only one spouse is a Christian it would still be better for kids to live with both parents rather than one or the other. Parents are responsible for their children and their spiritual awakening.
FAMILY - 1). Paul encouraged them not change their relationship status during times of crisis. (v.27) He understood that difficult times are made much more challenging when the family isn’t secure. Families were meant to be an anchor in our lives during troubling times. It is the desire of our enemy to make the family the reason for the troubles, so we should strive to keep it as a force for good within our community. 2). Paul admits that marriage can be hard. (v.28) Many troubles can be associated with marriage. This is a good thing to remember when counseling those starting a family. They shouldn’t shy away from troubles, but expect and prepare for them. Though challenging, it is also incredibly worth it in God’s eyes. We must have God’s approval because His plans for us our more important than even our plans for ourselves. 3). Married couples must have divided interests in their pursuit to please God because they should please each other as well. (v.33,34) Though written with a more negative outlook, this is a blessing in our life and one that God created for our enjoyment. We please God by caring for the relationships in our life, with the most important being our marriage and families. We can please God and our families at the same time, when they are aligned together and pursuing His will. 4). Marriage is a protection from sin. (v.36) Not only is it a blessing from God but it also can keep us holy in a sinful culture. 5). Marriage is a commitment for life. (v.39) Death is the only act that can break the marriage bond. Even then our commitment to God remains. We can remarry but we can never find another God. Our priorities should always be God first and then marriage and family second.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Notes on Relationships
RELATIONSHIPS – We must judge our own hearts, but not judge the hearts and motives of others. (v.3,4) That is God’s job through the Holy Spirit. If you’re tough on others, they’ll be tough on you. You reap what you sow. This passage is eerily reminiscent of the rule in the Old Testament of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.
RELATIONSHIPS - The Golden Rule simply states to treat others like you would want to be treated. (v.12) This is also a good definition of love. The whole law and prophets is summed up in this rule because they are summed up in love. When we obey God, we truly show that we love God. When we prefer others over ourselves, we show how much we love them as well.
RELATIONSHIPS – God told us to recognize who the people in our life belong to by observing their fruit. (v.20-22) We will recognize other Christians, not by what they claim to be, but by their fruit. This does not necessarily mean fruit such as prophecy or miracles (v.22) but the fruit of knowing God and having a relationship with Him. Without this, everything else that we do doesn't really matter to Him. God calls people like this evildoers.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Notes on Sin
SIN - The Egyptian magicians duplicated the production of snakes as Moses and Aaron had done for God. (v.11) Their secret arts were given the credit, but we know that magic is nothing more than a trick. They were able to make others believe they were divine, though they weren’t. Sin always tries to trick us into believing it is more important and special than it really is. Only God is Divine, everything else is just an illusion; God is the real thing.
SIN - 1). God turned all of the waters in Egypt to blood. (v.19) Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, including canals, streams, and even water in people’s personal containers. Just as sin affects every area of our lives, God changed the water to blood in every area of Egypt. We must protect our lives from sin, because when it comes in it will spread to affect every area of our lives. 2). Once again, the Egyptian magicians imitated God’s miracle. (v.22) They used their secret arts to fool the people, making them think they could do the miraculous, and proving to the people that the God of the Israelites was nothing to fear. Though they silenced Pharaoh, who returned to his palace unfazed, the people must have undoubtedly been disturbed because of the blood everywhere disrupting their lives. Sin might look like the real thing, but it’s only a mirage and it will leave us wanting more.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Notes on Worship/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.
VERSES 3-14WORSHIP - 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 process 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 even 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 of heaven. (v.14) God will bring us home to Him and He left a piece of heaven in us to remind us. We carry the glory of God through 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.
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 all around us. 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 based on the 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, August 6, 2015
2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Plan
GOD’S PLAN - We have a great promise of life in Jesus Christ. (v.2) That life is both for now and for eternity. We will have life forever in heaven with God, but we also will have a life full of purpose and meaning as long as we remain on this earth. God truly gives live abundantly through Jesus.
GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul prayed for Timothy and laid his hands on him when he received his gift from God. (v.6) God chooses to use us in His process of giving out gifts. When we pray for others and lay our hands on them, He empowers us to empower them. We become vessels that God uses to impart His gifts in others, and His plan unfolds accordingly. 2). God gave us a powerful spirit to think and love appropriately without fear. (v.7). This is a great memory verse to remind us that we don’t need to be afraid in this world. When we face great challenges and difficulty, we can rely on the Spirit that God has put in us to make us strong, help us think straight, and do everything with excellence for Him. 3). God saved us to be holy. (v.9) We didn’t deserve salvation but He gave it to us to provide a path to heaven. When we become saved, we immediately become called to holiness. God cleans us immediately and then assigns us to live clean for Him. It’s His grace that gives us the call to holiness, not a punishment as some might see it. By staying holy, it keeps us in God’s saving grace. 4). The greatest saving grace is the work that Jesus did for us on the cross. (v.10) His death and resurrection brought to light eternal life and immortality which we can achieve through commitment to Him. He has changed our futures and our destinies by making us new. When we follow Him in suffering, we will also follow Him in glorification.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
2 Samuel 7
Notes on God's Character
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God gave David permission to pursue a temple. (v.3) Through the prophet Nathan, God told David to do whatever he wanted because God was with Him. We can achieve a place of obedience and submission where God will give us the desires of our hearts, because those desires will be aligned with what God wants for us as well. 2). The word of Lord came to Nathan that evening. (v.4) God spoke to Nathan immediately upon David’s request to build a temple. He was not silent, but he spoke when he wanted something different with the situation. When we are doing all we can to be right with God, He will not purposely let us follow down the wrong path. 3). God reminded Nathan that He has never had a real earthly home. (v.6) From the moment they left Egypt, He had been moving about with a tent as His residence. God knew what it felt like to constantly be moving, to be homeless, to be away from peace and security. He can relate to the homeless and lonely. 4). God planted His people so they wouldn’t have to keep running away from their enemies. (v.10,11) He wanted them to be safe and feel security. No only would He give them a home but also rest. God’s plan is to bring us to our heavenly home where we will have eternal rest with Him. 5). God promised to never take His love away from Solomon as He did for Saul. (v.15,16) This was undoubtedly spoken to help David stay calm about the fate of his son as the future King. He had seen what had happened to Saul and surely didn’t want anything close to the same fate for his son. Hearing that God would personally oversee his discipline, He would want a promise to help Him know God was disciplining Solomon to make him better. God calmed David’s fears with this statement.
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God knows everything about us. (v.20) David was starting to realize that God was truly behind everything in his life and always would be. God wants us to speak to Him, but He already knows our thoughts and actions as well. We are never outside of His care. 2). God did these great things for David for the sake of His Word and His Will. (v.21) God’s will is more important than any others. But He also is a ‘man’ of His Word. He will not lie, but will always stay true to His promises. We can count on Him to come through like He said He would.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
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 into others, we will develop a close bond with them and our affection for them will grow. Leadership is a great privilege that can nurture lasting relationships for years to come. 2). Paul immediately reminded Timothy of their last conversation in Macedonia. (v.3) He started off 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. 3). Paul admonished Timothy to restrain the 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 is and always should be love which is guiding our actions. 4). Paul knew that God had entrusted the care of His gospel to him. (v.11) What a huge responsibility. Paul needed to make sure that this gospel was spread throughout the world in a pure manner. Timothy was helping him accomplish this in Ephesus. He took his job seriously, and so should we. God has entrusted His work to us as well.
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 within Jesus Himself. We can be the same quality leader that Jesus was because we are empowered with the same thing He had. Be a leader that represents 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 the 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 them apply the principles of the Word of God 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, July 16, 2015
1 Thessalonians 1
Notes on Attitude
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul encouraged appreciated the way the received the message. (v.6) It’s one thing to welcome the message, it’s quite another to welcome it with joy. It’s a beautiful thing when it’s joyfully welcomed in spite of intense suffering. We shouldn’t just worship when it’s easy. Worship in the midst of the storm brings great joy and honor to our God. Don’t lose heart when facing trials, but fall back on worship. 2). Paul told the Thessalonians that their faith had become famous across the region. (v.8) For all we know, they were unaware of this. They were going about their business with God faithfully, not even knowing what an impact it was making on others. We may never know all the good we’ve done for God until we can see things from His perspective. 3). Receiving God’s message and God’s messenger is the same thing. (v.9) God doesn’t just use them to speak to us through their words but also through their actions. We should respect them by obeying their commands but also be treating them as royalty among us.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
1 Samuel 7
Notes on Family
FAMILY - Samuel always returned home to Ramah. (v.17) He didn't forget where he came from. In the midst of ministry, he made sure that his home was a constant destination, and he built an altar there to insure it as well. We must take care of our families, and help them worship just as much as we do for others that we lead, if not more.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
1 Corinthians 6
Notes on Sin
SIN - 1). The Corinthians were cheating their fellow Christians. (v.8) Cheating is always wrong, but especially evil when aimed at those closest to us. We should care for each other so much that cheating would never cross our minds. Sin always brings us to a point of hurting those we love the most. 2). Paul lists out those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (v.9,10) This is not an exhaustive list but we can see certain categories within it: Sexual sins, money issues, and sins involved in hurting others. We must take caution to remove all sin from our lives, but especially those areas which were highlighted to the Corinthian church.
SIN - 1). They were boasting in their freedom but Paul warned them to be careful. (v.12) He quoted them as saying they are free to do anything, yet he reminded them that many things will destroy their relationship with God. 'Everything' is not necessarily sin, God allows us to do whatever we want. But it may not benefit us and might even control us. It's not just the big addictions, even the little things should be abstained from. 2). We were not made to enjoy sin, but rather to enjoy God (v.13) Our bodies don't need sin like they need food. God is a basic need in our lives. The power of sin is ultimately in trying to replace God in our lives. When we go to God regularly it makes us stronger and spiritually healthy. 3). When we sin, we are uniting ourselves with something evil. (v.15,16) This is especially true of sexual sin. We have been called out of this world though we still live in it. We can’t unite ourselves to the things of this world and expect to be separate. The more we sin, the more unholy attachments we have that need to be cut off and discarded. This is a painful process and keeps us from being where God wants us to be, in union with Him. Immorality creates chaos and keeps us restless, off-balance, unfocused. It rips our lives apart and crushes our loved ones. Impurity is pure hell, every single time. 4). Sexual sin can have worse consequences than other sins. (v.18) Paul made a distinction that sexual sin is sinning against your own body. This probably alludes to the many issues that can occur physically (venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, etc.) but the emotional pain can be intense as well. This is a sin that especially should be avoided in our lives. It starts off small (beneficial) than gets big (mastered). When you eat, it feeds you life. Sexual sin becomes your food, and without it, your body feels like it will starve. It longs for the sin. But we should be longing for God. It's a form of idolatry.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Notes on Passion
PASSION – 1). God desires that we try to please Him more than we try to please man. (v.1) God doesn’t want us to do things for attention to build our own reputation and pride. Acts of righteousness are not truly such when done under these circumstances. Rather, we should do our deeds for God, looking to the rewards that only He can give. 2). Giving unto the needy is our duty. (v.3) The Jews called the offerings box the ‘box of righteousness’. As a follower of Christ, this is one of our normal duties.
PASSION – 1). Once again, we should pray to talk with God and not in such a way to be noticed by other men for attention. (v.5) We should be ourselves when in prayer, and be real, not trying to be fake and act like someone else. God wants authentic relationship with us, and prayer is one of the greatest ways to achieve it. There is an intimate relationship blossoming when God spends private time together with us. 2). The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that shows our need for God. (v.9-13) We ask for His will, forgiveness, providence, protection. We need God in every area of our lives. This prayer reveals our entire dependence on God. 3). Jesus prayed that God would help Him in His battle with Satan. (v.13) We need to pray to God everyday for strength to say no to sinful temptations, and resist the attacks of the devil upon us. Only God can deliver us from his wicked schemes.
PASSION – Jesus expected his followers to fast. (v.16) He said ‘when' you fast, not ‘if’ you fast. We should plan times of fasting, where we separate from the world to get more uninterrupted quality time with our God.
PASSION – Your eye is the lamp. (v.22) What you see will affect your witness for God, your light that is to shine for Him. If it is darkness that you take in, it will snuff our your light. Protect your witness to the world by only taking in good things with your eyes. A holy man will have a strong witness.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). God told Moses that He also appeared to his forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) but that they didn’t know him as Moses did. (v.2,3) Moses knew God as Lord, a privilege that those before him didn’t have. They were advancing along God’s plan towards His promise, and God was showing Moses their progress. It was also encouraging to him, because Moses knew how great these men were, and yet He was even farther along in God’s plan than they were. Great leaders help those following them see their progress and give them hope for the future, building off of the great achievements of the past. 2). God would give the Israelites their own land. (v.7,8) They would become His possession, but in the process, He would give them their own land to possess. Good leaders relinquish aspects of leadership to those under them, giving them the ability to grow as leaders and develop their own areas of authority.
LEADERSHIP - 1). Levi lived to be 137 years old. (v.16) That is a very long life indeed! Levi bore the line of people that would serve as God’s priests, those closest to God on this earth. God blessed him with that heritage because He was close to Him, and it showed in a wonderful long life. Those that follow after God’s plans can trust Him to give them the best life they could ever imagine. 2). Moses was from the line of Levi. (v.20) Levi was Moses’ great grandfather. He had a direct line with those chosen to be God’s leaders and priests. His heritage was great, setting him up to be a great leader for the nation. 3). God chose Moses and Aaron, both Levites, to bring the people out of Egypt. (v.26,27) They were brothers, a team, and from God’s holy line among his people. God chose them specifically to do His purposes; He made them for that reason.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Notes on God's Plan
GOD'S PLAN - Paul was sent by God. (v.1) He was called an apostle because He followed Jesus according to God's will. He mentioned both Jesus and God, so they understood on what authority He was communicating with them. The two Deity's work interchangeably; we can’t have one without the other. What a great example of unity for us to learn from. Nothing will happen in the believer's life apart from the will of God.
GOD'S PLAN - 1). His blessings are of the heavenly realm and that means that they are eternal. (v.3) They’ll last forever, which gives them a higher value. We should seek after these heavenly blessings which are ours through Jesus. 2). He chose us. (v.4,5,11) He started the process before we were even born. These verses are good memory verses to remind us that the first thought of anything between us came from Him at the beginning of time. This is His doing. That's how much He loves us. God wants us so much more than we could ever want Him. 3). God adopted us as His sons and daughters because it was His will. (v.5) He doesn't want us to be alone, but He wants to lead and guide as along the way. He doesn't look on us as servants, He looks on us as His offspring. 4). God's blessings and grace are given to us freely. (v.6) We don't have to try and earn it, and then somehow be responsible for the change in our lives. It was a completely free gift from God so that we can look to Him to sustain us at all times. 5). We have forgiveness through Christ. (v.7) This is a great memory verse declaring that God's grace has afforded us the chance for redemption because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died so that we could be forgiven and redeemed. 6). Jesus came at the perfect time. (v.10) He was destined to bring peace to mankind and God sent Him at just the right moment to make that happen. We have to trust God that He will do things in our lives with perfect timing according to His plan. 7). God chose us just like he chose the heroes of the Bible. (v.11,12) They were the first fruits of Jesus’ work building a church, and we are a result of their efforts. Together we are all part of God’s plan to redeem creation and save humanity. 8). God marks us with the seal of His Holy Spirit. (v.13,14) Jesus leaves His mark on us. And all people will recognize us because of the mark of the Holy Spirit on our lives. The Holy Spirit will amplify our witness in this world, and signify our association to Jesus. We are people of the Spirit.
GOD'S PLAN - 1). God has called us to a great hope. (v.18) We have hope for eternal life with Him in heaven. The riches Paul speaks of are the inheritance for us in God's Kingdom. It is glorious, just as God is glorious. 2). God has given us the same power that Jesus had when He rose from the dead. (v.19,20) We have the power to rise above every evil, dark thing in this world. We have the power to do things that have never been done before. We have the power of miracles, wonders and dreams. We have the power of God on our side, and nothing can compare with that. 3). Jesus has the greatest power now and in the age to come. (v.21) Even though He has risen from the dead, and He lived on this earth many years ago, He is still in control. His power is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means we can have faith in Him to be the same for us that He was for His followers in the Gospels. 4). Jesus heads up the church, which is His body. (v.23) We are the body of Christ, and He will fill us up with all that we need. In the same way that we feed our bodies to keep us strong, Jesus will feed His church to keep us strong and vibrant in this world for His glory. The church is the greatest tool in Jesus’ inventory, the greatest weapon to defeat the enemy, and the greatest asset in His Kingdom.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Character
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God is eternal. (v.9) His grace, which 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 for us is eternal 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.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
2 Samuel 6
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). David gathered together 30,000 chosen men to help him carry the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem where it belonged. (v.1) He must have had a great system of leaders in place to locate these chosen men, men of good standing, leadership, and honor. David had a large group of people following him and loyal to him. His network was strong and his group was large because he was a great leader. 2). Uzzah and Ahio guided the cart with the Ark of the Covenant. (v.3) They were Abinadab’s sons and they had cared for the Ark while it was left and forgotten at their home. David honored them by allowing them to continue taking care of the Ark on it’s trip to Jerusalem, in front of the entire nation. God honored them in public for their faithfulness in secret. 3). David and the whole nation worshipped God with all their might on the journey. (v.5) The whole nation followed their leader in worship. If we want our people to worship and love God, or do anything in honor of God, we must lead the way and do it first. They will follow our lead. The nation worshipped because David was their worship leader. 4). David led the procession into Jerusalem, and the entire nation worshipped with shouts and instruments. (v.14) David led the way. He wasn’t in the back waiting to get up and give a speech, he led the worship of God. Leaders should always lead the way in whatever they do.
LEADERSHIP - 1). David blessed the people. (v.18) He honored them for their worship of God. When we see our people doing things right, we need to compliment and reward them, blessing them for their obedience and growth. When David blessed them, it made them want to worship even more. 2). David blessed the people after he sacrificed his final burnt offerings to God. (v.18) Because he put God first, it increased the value of his blessing to the people. They knew they were being blessed by someone who was right with God. When we follow God with all of our hearts, people will want to follow us even more. 3). David went to bless his family, and Michal came out to scorn him. (v.20) She ruined the blessing because of her attitude. It must have crushed David to know that he sent everyone home to bless their families, and yet he was unable to do so. He had led the nation in worship, but he couldn’t lead his family in worship as well because of her attitude. We don’t want to win the world and lose our families. We must do all that God tells us to do, but our families will always be a part of that call as well. Sometimes, as leaders, we will be successful in public, but struggle in private. We must do all we can to make the two match up for the Glory of God. 4). David worshipped the One who was responsible for his leadership position. (v.21) He knew that no man had put him where he was, it was an act of God. So David worshipped the One who made him who he was. We are leaders only because God saw fit to make us that way, and we always should remain loyal to Him.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
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 a pastor for God’s people. Paul stood on the authority that God had given him. It was who he was. We should be who God made us to be, unashamedly. 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 up front, 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.
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 and His ways; 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 too 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, April 16, 2015
1 Thessalonians 1
Notes on Relationships
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Paul mentioned Silas and Timothy along with himself.(v.1) It’s not all about him. He had a team concept. He was giving power to their future ministries by naming them with himself. He had accountability in his life. He couldn’t do it all on his own. Later in this chapter it says ‘we’, ‘our’, and ‘us’ at least 12 different times. We need to learn how to minister as a team. 2). Paul mentioned them in his prayers. (v.2) One way to show someone how much we love them is to mention them in our prayers. We need to thank God for the people in our life. We’ll treat them better when we constantly mention them to God. 3). Their faith in God became known everywhere. (v.8) People were talking about them and spreading the news of their faith far and wide. We should strive to live lives that other people will talk about and want to inspire to be like someday. And we should also be talking about those we admire for their strong faith in God.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
1 Samuel 6
Notes on Sin
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. We need to learn from others' mistakes. Otherwise, they will be learning from ours.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
1 Corinthians 5
Notes on Worship
WORSHIP - Paul encouraged them to celebrate the Passover the right way. (v.8) In the past, a lack of integrity may have been the norm. But we need to break from that pattern and live pure lives. When we do, our celebration and worship will be so much more effective and personal.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Matthew 5: Notes on God's Plan
GOD’S PLAN - Something to notice about salt and light. (v.13,16) Salt is thrown around and scattered. Light is drawing attention and constantly on display. These are delightful tasks, but they sweeten the world.
GOD’S PLAN – 1). The Law was their dream. (v.17) Jesus had not come to break their dreams for a Savior, but to fulfill them. God doesn’t want to ruin your life; He wants you to achieve what He made you to become. 2). God has a plan and a timeline for the life of creation. (v.18) Jesus spoke of a time when the earth and the heavens will disappear, and we know from the rest of the Bible that this agrees with prophecies to occur during the end times in the book of Revelations. We don’t know when this time will be, but we do know that we should hold onto God’s Words, because they will be the only thing that remains after that day.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Notes on God's Character
GOD’S CHARACTER - Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh again, this time mentioning that if they don’t go God might strike them with plagues and the sword. (v.3) They realized that the Egyptians plight would also be their own, and they didn’t want to suffer God’s punishments. God is powerful, and we shouldn’t test Him because He will punish sin and disobedience. Better to be in God’s graces than in His punishment and wrath.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul encouraged them to imitate Jesus. (v.1) Jesus is the ultimate role model. As leaders, we need to imitate Him so when others look to us as mentors they will be imitating Jesus as well. 2). Paul mentioned sins that are sometimes overlooked by believers. (v.4) He started off with condemning 'obvious' sins, but then went to sins that can be forgotten easily. It's important as leaders that we don't just deal with the 'big' sin areas that most people are dealing with, but expose all sins that aren't appropriate for Christians. Many times, the subtle sins are the ones that Christians struggle with the most. 3). Paul encouraged the Ephesians to expose dark deeds. (v.11,14) When we live a life of righteousness for God, we can't help but expose the darkness around us because we will stand out from the crowd. By exposing the truth, we give those in darkness a chance to see the light and be rescued as well. We must enjoy what pleases the Lord, and expose the things that don’t.
LEADERSHIP - Husbands are leaders in their homes and called to give up their lives for their wives and their families. (v.25) They are compared to Jesus, who leads the church yet laid down His life for her. Leadership is sacrifice. Sometimes people get it wrong in this world, thinking leadership is distinction, favor, privilege and status. But Jesus forsook all of those things to sacrifice His life for the good of His people, and husbands must be willing to do the same for their families to be good leaders.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
2 Samuel 5
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). The people came to David to be King. (v.1) He didn’t have to go to them; he had proven himself through great leadership in their military campaigns. It wasn’t a position he tried to make for himself, but the people promoted him on their own. True leaders will be recognized by their peers and endorsed by the crowds which they lead. 2). David made a compact with the elders to be King. (v.3) When we lead, it is a covenant with God and an agreement with the people. We are not dictators, but partners in pursuing God’s plan for our world. 3). David led Judah alone for seven and a half years, but he also led the entire nation of Israel for thirty-three additional years. (v.5) He had to learn how to bring the tribe of Judah into the whole leadership of Israel as a nation, without favoring them or singling them out above the others. It must have been a difficult thing to do, but apparently he was successful since he stayed King of Israel for a much longer time.
LEADERSHIP - 1). David kept his men focused and they took the city of Jerusalem. (v.7) Though taunted by the Jebusites within, his men didn’t worry at all. They did their job and they were successful. As leaders, we must help our people stay focused when they are being attacked from distractions trying to keep them from succeeding in their tasks. 2). David inspired his men using the taunts of the Jebusites. (v.8) They had to scale the wall to enter the city on water shaft scaling hooks, which is something that a blind or lame man would not be able to do. David led his men to this challenge, and once they succeeded they’d have the confidence to defeat others who weren’t able to do what they had done. Good leaders take challenges and make them opportunities for greatness.
LEADERSHIP - David did exactly as God commanded. (v.25) He was completely obedient to God and saw great victory, driving the enemy to great lengths. David knew how to follow after God, and that is what made him a success. When we completely obey God, we can take heart that we will be a success in the center of His will.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
1 Timothy 4
Notes on Attitude
ATTITUDE - 1). The false teachers consciences were seared as with a hot iron. (v.2) The is an image of being completely deformed and ruined. They played with fire and found themselves burned. They didn’t even realize that they were wrong because they had allowed themselves to stray so far from the truth. We must be careful to stay clear of sin because the longer we play with it, the worse our conscience becomes in helping us abstain from wrong choices. Many people in sin don’t even realize the dangerous place they are in. 2). Timothy wasn’t supposed to be discouraged because others might look down on him for being young. (v.12) As a young leader, he might have been intimidated by others who thought he was too young to lead. Paul dismissed that quickly and said that Timothy could be a great leader by setting a good example. Rather than be afraid because of their judgements, he should've risen up and lived as the Godly leader he was called to be. We can’t allow people’s expectations for us determine our behavior. 3). Paul told Timothy not to neglect his gift. (v.14) We can assume that his gift was leading through teaching and preaching, which was mentioned in the verse immediately before that statement. Though a wonderful gift, very needed in the church then and today, Paul was certain to remind him not to neglect it. Sometimes when we are gifted, we may feel like we don’t have to work much to improve. But our attitude should be to constantly get better at the gift in our lives and grow in it until the day we see Christ in the end. Timothy shouldn’t have neglected his gift, and neither should we. 4). Paul told Timothy to be diligent in becoming a strong leader. (v.15) He knew that Timothy would be respected as a leader, even a young one, if he showed that he was serious about his role and was constantly improving and becoming better. Regardless of where we are at in the leadership abilities in our lives, we can always be strong leaders if we are diligent about becoming better. What are we doing to become better leaders today?
Thursday, February 19, 2015
1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on Relationships
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Sexual sin causes pain for ourselves and those we engage in it with. (v.5,6) It’s taking advantage of others for our own selfish desires. We should do all we can to honor them and put their needs above our own. At its’ core, sexual sin is a selfish act and we must learn to die to our own pride and live the way God wants us to. Unity avoids sexual immorality which hurts members of our spiritual family. Church divisions and arguments can often be traced back to sexual immorality on some level. 2). We should always strive to love each other more. (v.10) Though Paul knew they loved all of God’s family in Macedonia, he encouraged them to keep doing it all the more. Things happen in this world and it’s easy for us to be too comfortable and fade from our original commitments. By constantly moving forward and trying a little harder each day we can keep ourselves in good relationship with other Christians around us, despite the occasional setbacks. 3). God wants us to have a level of independence because we are dependent on Him. (v.12) The Bible is clear that we live in community, but that is always after we are settled totally in Him. Even if all else fails in this world and we are all alone, we still have all we need to thrive because we have Him. We shouldn’t try to abstain from Christian interaction, but if it’s not available, we should still be able to trust God and move on with life.
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Paul refers to we who are still alive until the coming of the Lord. (v.15) He is referring to us, even if he didn’t know it. How amazing for Paul to refer to us and include us with him, with the use of the word ‘we’. Though they lived thousands of years before us and did amazing things that we have read about in the Bible, we are still family, brothers, members of the same team and working together for God. The people from the Bible aren’t just our heroes, they’re also our teammates. 2). We should encourage one another with words reminding others about the coming of our Lord. (v.18) This should come up in our conversations, as a forecast of what is to come. Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the confusion of events in this dark world, but the hope of resurrection in Christ is greater still. We must allow it access to all of our relationships and conversations with other Christians.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
1 Samuel 4
Notes on Sin
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. Eli should have removed them from office, but he didn't. It's easy to see why the Isrealites lost, 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.
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. 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. Just 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 their sins.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
1 Corinthians 4
Notes on Passion and Worship
PASSION - 1). When God trusts us with responsibility we must strive to be faithful. (v.2) Our actions are important. We are saved through faith, and then we get closer to God through faithfulness in our behavior. The more faithful we are, the more secrets God reveals. This is a great memory verse for us to live by. 2). We are waiting for God. (v.5) Until He returns, we carry on with what God has commanded us to do in His word. We may become weary and tired, tempted to question God’s plan. But we must continue to wait and trust Him. Patience is one of the important traits that we must continue to develop in our relationship with God. 3). Paul was so dedicated to Christ he appeared foolish. (v.10) Those that didn't know Christ couldn't understand how someone could be so faithful to Him despite severe persecution. Our love for God in the midst of troubles will get people's attention and show them how great God truly is. 4). Paul professed to being beaten for God. (v.11) His ministry made others so uncomfortable that they lashed out at him in violence. He shared in the sufferings of Jesus. We need to be so on fire for God that we would be willing to go through the same thing for Him.
PASSION - The arrogant Corinthians would only behave well if they felt Paul was nearby. (v.18) Their behavior grew worse the longer Paul stayed away. We shouldn’t behave appropriately only when we think that someone is watching. We should be on fire for God when surrounded by the crowds and when all by ourselves. True passion for Jesus is constant; it doesn’t change based on the environment.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Notes on God's Plan
GOD’S PLAN – 1). God had John prepare the way for Jesus. (v.3) In many ways, John’s life is a shadow of what we are to be like today. We are to be a voice for God in a desert-like place, living in uncomfortable cultural surroundings, but preparing the world for the return of Christ. 2). John declares that God will cut down every one of us that does not bear fruit. (v.10,12) Not only was this a warning for the leaders present that day, and also a warning for all of us who have followed and read this story It’s also a prophecy of the future end of time, when God will judge men.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Notes on Leadership
LEADERSHIP - 1). Moses had a staff in his hand. (v.2,3) When he threw it on the ground, it became a snake. Moses used his staff to help him shepherd the sheep, but he when he threw it on the ground God made it something totally different. God can take the tools of our leadership and use them for incredible purposes if we allow him to guide our use of them. Though we may feel like accomplished leaders with plenty of knowledge and answers, we still must release whatever is in our own hands and let God lead the way. 2). God did wonders through Moses so that the Egyptians would know God had appeared to him. (v.5) They would know who Moses was and what he was capable of. They would know the works he had done were not by his own power. God wants to use us in mighty ways so that people will recognize Him as the source of our strength. 3). Moses was instructed to take some of the Nile River water and pour it on the ground, and God would turn it into blood. (v.9) This was his response if they didn’t listen to him after the first two signs. This was a sign for the Egyptians that they lacked the power to stand up to God. The source of their life was the Nile River, and God turned it to blood, taking away it’s ability to meet the people’s needs. Moses showed the Egyptians who they really were without God; opposed to God. As leaders we must help people realize what position they truly find theirselves in, and how desperate they are for a touch from God. 4). God will help us speak and give us words to say. (v.12) As leaders, we go to minister according to God’s plans. He will guide us in all of our decisions, even the very words that come from our mouths, so that we accomplish His purposes. Our biggest task isn’t to do everything right, it’s simply to stay out of God’s way.We are never alone in our pursuit of His call; He empowers us as we go. 5). God brought Moses’ brother Aaron into the situation. (v.14) After Moses’ final question, God said that Aaron would help out, and he was already on his way. God already planned for Moses and Aaron to be a team. There are many times when we must stand alone for God. But God would desire that most of the time we work together for His glory as a team with other leaders committed to His cause. 6). Moses would be Aaron’s leader in their assignment. (v.15,16) Though working side by side, God still set up a leadership flowchart. Moses would lead because God chose him to and God would empower him to do so. We must work in teams and set up our leaders accordingly. 7). Moses would be like God to Aaron. (v.16) This might seem blasphemous but God was showing how close He planned to be to Moses. God would speak to Moses personally, God would speak to Aaron through Moses. God needs leaders that will be His mouthpiece so He can continue to encounter people and help change their lives, just like God did with Moses at the burning bush. 8). Finally, God reminded Moses to take the staff with him so God could use it to do His wonders. (v.17) God gave Moses a tool to get the job done. We must recognize what our God-given tools are in ministry today, and take them with us wherever we go.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Notes on Attitudes
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul assumed that they knew about his testimony. (v.1) He had already written briefly about it in the letter and he was going to use it as a launching pad for the material coming next, but then he realized that maybe everyone didn’t know who he really was. We must fight the urge to assume that everyone knows our motives and knows where we’re coming from. Proper communication will keep us from offending people and leaving others behind. 2). Paul was a servant of the gospel. (v.7) He knew that He wasn't in charge; He followed after God's will. He was blessed with God's grace and God's power, so He realized that He served God, rather than the other way around. 3). Paul considered himself the lowest of all God's people. (v.8) He wrote over half of the New Testament and was probably a bit of a ministry celebrity at that time, but he still was humble. It's important that we understand however successful we become in ministry, we should remain humble and direct the praise to God. Part of God’s grace to us is allowing us to remember our mistakes so we stay humble no matter how successful we seem to become.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
2 Timothy 3
Notes on Relationships and Family
VERSES 1-9RELATIONSHIPS - 1). We should have nothing to do with people who claim to be Christians but deny God’s power to change their lives. (v.5) Not only will it encourage them further if we surround ourselves with them and acknowledge them, but it will tempt us to go the same route. We must stay away from anyone that will bring us down in our relationship with Jesus. Our friends become a good picture of our future. 2). Paul reminded Timothy of Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses. (v.8) This was a story that was very old, but with a valuable lesson to learn - there will always be those people who that aren’t happy and may work against you. We shouldn’t be surprised and we shouldn’t try to cater our efforts to them; rather, we need to continue to do what God has called us to do and trust Him with the results. 3). People don’t go far when their folly is clear to everyone. (v.9) When people don’t have integrity, they may put on a good show for a time but it won’t last. Eventually, mistakes will be made and their true character will be revealed. 4). We must be people that choose to live according to the standards of God’s Word. (v.16,17) When our leaders teach us or correct us, it is because they find that standard in the Bible. It’s teachings prepare us and equip us to live right and please God. We should come together often to read the Bible and learn from it’s teachings.
FAMILY - Timothy was wise in the Scriptures since he was an infant. (v.15) His family raised him right. The Word of God was planted in his heart at a young age. We should prioritize ministry to children, even very young kids, so that we can teach them the basics of Christianity early in life.