Thursday, December 22, 2016

1 Thessalonians 2: Notes on Leadership

1 Thessalonians 2
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul mentioned that there were no bad motives in their request. (v.3) These are three wrong ways to do ministry. Some do it out of error by preaching the wrong things. Some have impure motives like pride or selfishness from arrogance in their hearts. And others try to trick people be manipulating them to accomplish their own self-serving desires. The only real way to minister is completely surrendered to God so He can be in control of the process and the results. 2). God approves His leaders. (v.4) He inspects their hearts because he entrusts them with His Gospel. If we will serve Him, He will know us through and through as well. The best leaders are those who’s lives are true in every sense of the word. God’s inspection precedes God’s anointing. 3). God’s leaders have authority. (v.6) God doesn’t want us to around abusing that power, but there are specific times when we must exert that authority with those that we lead. We must wait on God and follow His lead in those moments, otherwise we lose the power that we claim. 4). There is a sensitive, compassionate side to ministry leadership. (v.7,8) Paul said they cared for the Thessalonians like a mother would nurse her child. The parenting role of a pastor cannot be overlooked here. If we are too strong in our leadership, we will become a burden to others until we find a compassionate sensitive approach as well. 5). Ministers should be people that are generous and share all they have. (v.8) Paul gave his life away to others when he ministered and so should we. Nothing that we have is really our own, it’s only what God has given to us. We should be generous in giving with all that we have to love those around us, with our money and our time. Paul loved people, lived with people, let people see who he really was. He didn’t value his privacy, but we inspected by God and let himself be examined by people around him. 6). God may call us to minister ‘for free’. (v.9) Paul worked very hard so that he wouldn’t burden them with his needs while he was with them. We shouldn’t be afraid to do God’s Work even when we have to work extra hard because they can’t pay us enough. If God calls us to do it, that should be pay enough indeed. It may even mean more to us personally because it cost us more as well. 7). Paul speaks of his ministry in a ‘fathering’ light. (v.11) It shows the balance of his ministry, that he could claim both a sensitive motherly role and a disciplining fatherly role with his followers. Discipleship is spiritually parenting young Christians in the faith.

VERSES 17-20
LEADERSHIP - A leaders award is a full disciple of Christ. (v.19,20) Paul’s hope, joy, and crown was the mature Thessalonian church. He reveled in their spiritual maturity and their friendship with him. As leaders, we may achieve great possessions of status on this earth, but our greatest honor should be the legacy we leave with the people we led. The programs we lead don’t matter as much as the people within them.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

1 Samuel 16: Notes on Attitude

1 Samuel 16
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - Jesse told Samuel that his youngest was out tending sheep. (v.11) Jesse let this son be far away when the great prophet came to visit. He is assigned the lowly job of tending sheep. Even his own father couldn't believe that David was good enough to be a king.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

1 Kings 15: Notes on Family

1 Kings 15
Notes on Family

FAMILY – Abijah followed in his father's footsteps. (v.3) He did evil and fought with Jeroboam, just like his dad. This shows the immense influence a father has on his son, an underlying theme to the books of Kings. 

FAMILY - 1). Asa did right before God, just like his father David. (v.11) Obviously, David wasn’t his biological father; we know that he was a distant grandfather. But he is called David’s father here because Asa resembled him more than he resembled his own dad. We become a son to those that we emulate and aspire to be like, we father those that we teach to live as we have. 2). Maakah was Asa’s grandmother. (v.10,13) She had also been mentioned as Asa’s father’s mother earlier in the chapter. She must have been a leader of great influence having been mentioned twice in the annals of the kings. We also know that she led the people in idolatry, and in order for Asa to do right before God he had to oppose her. Our families are gifts from God, so when they begin to oppose Him we must deny them for His sake. God first, and then our families, not the other way around. 3). King Asa asked for a treaty with Ben-Hadad, as his father had developed earlier in history. (v.19) He followed his father’s lead to continue to strategically develop this important relationship. His dad wasn’t a Godly Father, but he still made some good business decisions that helped Asa in his reign. Even in situations where our families aren’t Christians, we can still learn from them important lessons for life that don’t contradict God and His plans for us.

VERSES 25-34
FAMILY – 1). Nadab was evil, just like his father. (v.26) This is a theme we see throughout the book; whether good or bad, the father’s passed on their ways to their sons. The significant instances are those in which the kings broke the process. Nadab wasn’t one of them, and his reign was short, only 2 years. 2). Baasha not only killed Nadab, but the entire family line of Jeroboam as well. (v.29) God had predicted this would occur and Baasha carried it out. Jeroboam’s sins came back on his family and it destroyed them all. When we sin, we hurt ourselves and the ones we love the most. Sin not only destroys individuals, but families as well.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

1 John 1: Notes on Relationships

1 John 1
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - John and the fellow disciples wanted others to join their team. (v.3) They proclaimed their message to others not just for their sake to receive eternal life, but also so they could add friends and brothers and sisters to the family of God. We should always reach out to others for their sake and for ours. 

RELATIONSHIPS - We have fellowship with one another when we are cleansed from our sin by the blood of Jesus. (v.7) The thing that unifies us is that we were spared by Jesus. We’ve tasted of His grace and mercy. We don’t hold things against each other and think of ourselves as better than someone else because all of us needed His blood just like everyone else. The forgiveness of our sins should help us stay unified as the Body of Christ.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

1 Corinthians 1: Notes on Sin

1 Corinthians 1
Notes on Sin

SIN - God will prepare us to be blameless on the day that Jesus returns. (v.8) That is the day we are looking for and heading toward. It is a day of judgement, so our goal is to be holy. Only God can help us achieve the blameless result that we long for. We must rely upon Him to stay away from sin in our lives.

VERSES 10-17
SIN - There were four different divisions within the people of Corinth. (v.12) It all gathered around who they declared as their personal leader. They didn’t see themselves as following Jesus as much as following the messenger. They mistook the leader for the savior. When we get our eyes on men, we will always fall into sin. When we keep our thoughts on God, we will stray from fights and divisions. It really doesn’t matter which leader we ascribe to, as long as we ascribe to Jesus and to God above all.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Matthew 15: Notes on Worship and Passion

Matthew 15
Notes on Worship and Passion

WORSHIP – True worship comes from the heart. (v.8,9) When your heart is not at peace with God, your teachings, worship, words, and actions are in vain. God wants our hearts first, then everything else will fall into place.

VERSES 21-28
PASSION – 1). The Canaanite woman noticed that Jesus was the Son of David, a title given to the Messiah. (v.22) This was a sign of her great faith. She recognized who He was and accepted that as truth. 2). The woman pushed her way forward and knelt before him. (v.25) Although he’d once been quiet, and once refused her, she still pressed on. It shows her persistance, and her urgent desire to see her daughter. When not going anywhere with God, just keep pressing on. Keep praying, don’t give up.

VERSES 29-39
WORSHIP – 1). Jesus first walked beside the sea, and then He went up on a mountain. (v.29) What a beautiful setting that Jesus was able to live and minister in. We know He thoroughly enjoyed it, as the Maker and Creator of all these beautiful things. Let’s appreciate the beauty of God’s nature, and worship Him for it. 2). The people were amazed at His abilities. (v.31) They praised Him because He was so amazing. Once the people in our world today see who God really is, they will be praising as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Joshua 15: Notes on God's Character

Joshua 15
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). Caleb gave his daughter the upper and lower springs to add to her possession of land. (v.18,19) He didn’t just give her land, but he provided the water as a means to cultivate it and cause growth. God will be a good Father to us in the same way, giving us the land and the means to help it grow and succeed in all He wants us to do. 2). Judah was given territory that extended through areas giving them 113 towns and cities. (v.21-61) This is an immense amount of property and it’s amazing that God empowered this wandering group of former slaves to become the leaders of such a large area of land. God can take very little and make something very great out of it. 3). There were several towns listed in most areas but only a few in the wilderness. (v.61,62) God didn’t leave the small rural areas out of it, but specifically targeted them for his people as well. God cares about the cities and the country, and never forgets the people that the rest of the world may have forgotten already.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Exodus 15: Notes on Leadership

Exodus 15
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). God destroyed the best of Pharaoh’s officers in the Red Sea. (v.4) Pharaoh must have been known as a powerful leader with many capable warriors under him. Moses sang of how God set them free from these warrior leaders. Every leader is subject to God’s plans; there are no leaders greater than our God. If you want to defeat the enemy, you must address his strong leaders in the process. 2). We are being led by God. (v.13) No matter what level of leadership we find ourselves in, we always have another leader over us that we look to. God is the ultimate leader of us all. We will be better leaders if we keep our eyes fixes on our leader and imitate his leadership to those that we serve. 3). God will plant His people on His mountain where they belong. (v.16,17) They have to go through difficult areas before they arrive, but God will help them pass that route. The evil around them won’t be able to stop them. He will plant them, so that they will remain in His care. They will dwell in His sanctuary forever. When God is in control of our lives, we will be planted in the center of His will; the safest place to be.

VERSES 22-27
LEADERSHIP - 1). The Israelites were led by Moses into the Desert of Shur. (v.22) It may have had a name that sounded like ‘sure’ but it wasn’t a sure thing. Moses just finished a wonderful experience at the Red Sea, but he had to quickly lead them into a tough environment. Great victories are often followed by difficult circumstances. It’s important to trust God and our leaders in both the good and the bad times. And once we’ve experienced victory, we need to gear ourselves up for the eventual challenge down the road. 2). The people grumbled against Moses. (v.24) They immediately looked to their leader and complained when things got tough. They knew that God had delivered them from Egypt, but then when they struggled they pointed fingers to their leader as if it was his fault. As leaders, we will bear the load of people’s feelings, whether good or bad. We must remember that we serve under God and everything is His responsibility through us. 3). The people complained to Moses and then Moses cried out to the Lord. (v.24,25) When the people came to him for help, he immediately went to the Lord. He knew that he didn’t have the answer himself. He knew that God was really in charge, so He went to Him for guidance. We must always remember that we are God’s leaders and we do what He tells us to do.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ephesians 4: Notes on Attitude

Ephesians 4
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - 1). God wants us to be humble, gentle, and patient. (v.2) That is part of the lifestyle that is worthy of our calling. Just about anyone can get along with someone who has these three qualities. When we have this kind of attitude and personality, we'll be highly effective at reaching people in this world. 2). Jesus descended to earth for us. (v.9,10) He left His throne to help us in our battle against sin. Because of His willingness to come to earth on our behalf, He was elevated to eternal greatness. When we are willing to do things for God that might be conceived as less than important, we make ourselves candidates for the promotion to greatness as well. 3). God has called us to works of service. (v.12) He sends leaders to prepare us to work for Him. We must remember that we are His servants and work diligently for Him. If we want to grow, we need to get to work.

VERSES 17-32
ATTITUDE - 1). We must be made new. (v.23) We can put off the old man and put on the new one, but God must make us new first. We can't do it on our own. God has to change our hearts before we can choose to be holy. We are dependent on Him. 2). Do not stay angry for long. (v.26) It's not wrong to be angry, but it's wrong to stay angry because it will lead us to do vengeful things. When we are angry, we are more susceptible to make mistakes. We shouldn't be angry from one day to another. Put away whatever angered you today, so you can be full of joy tomorrow. 3). We must rid our lives of malicious actions which come from resentment and anger. (v.31) One of the challenges with holding onto anger is all of the attitude and character issues that come with it. We protect our behavior by keeping our attitudes in check and keeping anger at bay.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2 Timothy 4: Notes on Family

2 Timothy 4
Notes on Family

VERSES 19-22
FAMILY - Paul asked Timothy to give a special greeting to Priscilla and Aquila. (v.19) This was a married couple who had befriended Paul and served alongside him in his mission. Couples are called by God for a common purpose and must pursue His will for them together as a team. When married people work as one they are twice as strong for the Lord and His work.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2 Samuel 15: Notes on Relationships

2 Samuel 15
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Absalam sent secret messengers throughout the land, gathering the people to appoint him as King in Hebron. (v.10) He didn’t tell his father about these messengers, but kept it private. Whenever we keep secrets from our family and friends, someone is bound to get hurt. The old saying, ‘secrets don’t make friends’ actually has some truth to it. 2). Absalom had 200 men come with him from Jerusalem to Hebron. (v.11) He invited them as innocent guests, knowing nothing about his desire to be made King. What an akward position he put these men in, men who very well could have been faithful to King David! He should have told them before they came. Communication is the key; we should make sure to properly inform people before they commit to important tasks. And we must be careful what we commit to as well; we might be getting involved in something that isn’t right, and we’ll only find out about it once we are far down the road.

VERSES 13-37
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). A messenger told David that the hearts of the men of Israel were with Absalom. (v.13) David didn’t know what was going on with Absalom and his secret plans, but this messenger faithfully told him the truth. We don’t know who the messenger was, but we know he was a true servant and friend to David, to keep him informed. True friends don’t keep secrets; they tell the truth and protect their friends. 2). David asked God to bestow kindness and faithfulness on Ittai. (v.20) These are traits that Ittai had exhibited toward David and his country. David asked that their good deeds would be given back to them; that God would repay them for the good they had done to him. We need to learn to treat others the way that we would like to be treated ourselves. 3). David passed the Kidron Valley and was headed toward the desert. (v.23) He was headed toward a place with no life, a place where it's hard to survive. When we fight with others, and especially those closest to us, it puts us on a road toward destruction where the only outcome is defeat and death. 4). When David reached the Summit, Hushai was already there, waiting for him. (v.32) He was mourning with David, and ready to help in any way possible. True friends will walk us through our difficult times and be waiting on the road ahead to lend a helping hand. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

1 Timothy 4: Notes on Worship/Passion

1 Timothy 4
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - 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 for it, 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 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, September 29, 2016

1 Thessalonians 4: Notes on God's Plan

1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul taught 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 them to 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 be 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.

VERSES 13-18
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 to the Word. All instruction in life needs to find its’ roots in the Word of God. 4). Not only will we 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 during 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, September 22, 2016

1 Samuel 15: Notes on God's Character

1 Samuel 15
Notes on God's Character

GOD'S CHARACTER - 1). God asked Saul to destroy the Amalekites. (v.2,3) He was punishing them for their earlier mistreatment of Israel. God remembers what we have done and could repay us as He chooses. We must remember that God is sovereign and worthy of our loyalty and respect. 2). God made Saul the head of Israel, though he was small in his own eyes. (v.17) Saul couldn't dream big enough to realize what God could do with him. God made him much bigger than he ever could have made himself. God can always do bigger things than we imagine. 3). Saul tore Samuel's robe, and God used it as an illustration. (v.27,28) God taught Saul through his own actions. He took advantage of the situation to teach Saul a lesson. Everything in creation is at God's command, to use as He wants to accomplish His will. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

1 Kings 15: Notes on Leadership

1 Kings 15
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP – David is mentioned quite a bit throughout this book. (v.3) God continued to show favor to Judah and Jerusalem under Abijah’s reign, because of David. Some of the blessings we have may be a result of someone else’s faithfulness from years gone by. When we act as the leaders God created us to be, future generations will be blessed.

LEADERSHIP – 1). Asa did what was right before the Lord. (v.11) This is a powerful verse that should serve as an example to those of us who would desire to be leaders. Asa didn’t have a good example, he was in a time of a nation divided, and Godly leadership was a thing of the past. But he still found the courage to pursue God’s plan and do the right things demanded of him. Regardless of where we are in life and what are circumstances, we can always find the ability to do what is right for God and break the cycle of sin in our families and communities. 2). Asa risked being ‘unliked’ by the people by removing his grandmother and her Asherah pole. (v.13) Sometimes as leaders we have to stand out from the crowd in order to do what is right. Being a leader is about being strong enough to do the right thing even if you have to do it alone. 3). One of the cities mentioned in this passage is Abel Beth Maakah. (v.20) Maakah was the queen mother of Judah with a lot of influence there, and probably the namesake of this city. If so, is shows all the more influence and position she had in the country. 4). When Baasha left the border to deal with the Aramean attack, King Asa sent his people to weaken the borders that Baasha had built up. (v.21) He took the provisions from Israel’s borders, and used them to build up his own borders. This is a great leadership principle in place. He took what the enemy meant for bad, and used it for good.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

1 John 4: Notes on Attitudes

1 John 4
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - There is no fear in love. (v.18) Love isn’t worried about punishment. Fear is fueled by the possibility of pain and problems. When we find ourselves tempted with fear we should fall upon the love of God and let that change our hearts. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

1 Corinthians 14: Notes on Relationships

1 Corinthians 14
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). We should eagerly seek after all the gifts, but especially prophecy. (v.1) Prophecy is the art of encouraging others with the directions of God. When we prophecy, we are giving them God’s instructions. Prophecy is a form of encouragement because it nudges people toward the right paths. By seeking this gift, it shows the desire to bless others and contribute to the overall health of the team. 2). Prophecy is given to us so we can be a blessing to others. (v.3) When we prophecy, it strengthens them in tough times, encourages them to continue growing, and comforts them with God’s promises and attention. Prophecy should build others up, not tear them down. It’s not intended for personal benefit, but when we bless others, it is a blessing for ourselves as well. 3). Paul’s focus was the church. (v.5) He was trying to help others focus on the church and not be concerned with themselves. If we would do what is right for the entire body and not just ourselves, many arguments and divisions could be avoided today. 4). Sometimes, the way we speak keeps us apart from others. (v.11) Literally, there is a language barrier that needs to be broken. The only way we can change that is to learn the language, and try to meet in the middle. We must insure that the way we talk doesn’t hurt us from developing unity in our group. 5). We should be eager for spiritual gifts, and especially those that benefit the entire church. (v.12) This is another good memory verse. It helps us remember that we are not supposed to serve God alone or by ourselves; He wants us to enjoy the company of others in our church and serve each other accordingly. We should always find new ways we can help others and grow in our spiritual gifts at the same time. 6). A goal of worship is the edification of the church. (v.17) When we worship with others in a way that blesses them as well, it brings great joy to God. We taint our worship when we choose to separate because of strife and tension. It's better to deal with the problem rather than avoiding it and going somewhere else. 

VERSES 26-40
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). We all have a part to play in the overall discipleship plan for our churches. (v.26) This is a great memory verse that helps us share the lead responsibilities. Paul encouraged each one to come with something, whether it was a song, word of instruction, a revelation, or a gift of the Spirit. No one should just come and enjoy what others give and not be prepared to give themselves. We are all in this together. We must ask ourselves, what can I bring to increase the worship today? 2). We must do things in an orderly fashion in our worship. (v.27,28) There is a spontaneous factor to the gifts of the Spirit in worship, but we can still have a plan to keep it organized. Every gift of tongue should be accompanied by an interpretation. And only two or three should happen in a service because anymore than that would be hard to remember and apply. The priority of the usage of gifts is the edification of the church, so even if we feel like we have something to offer, we can wait until the next time if these basic rules have already been met. 3). We need to see how others are doing things that we deal with. (v.36) This is another way God can help us and speak to us. We should be willing to share our practices and policies with others to help them as well. 4). We need others in our lives. (v.38) If we isolate ourselves from others, they won't be there when we can't do it on our own. Isolation is really a form of pride that believes we have enough strength in ourselves. This is a place where we should never arrive.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Matthew 14: Notes on Family

Matthew 14
Notes on Family

FAMILY – Herod’s family life was horrible. (v.3,6)  Herodias’ daughter grew up in a tragic circumstance. Her mom was living with her husband’s brother. Then she danced for the pleasure of her uncle. Finally, her mother made her carry a platter with a dead man’s head on it to Herod. Just imagine how this girl’s life carried on after these horrible things. Just imagine the terrifying nightmares. We must strive to keep our family together in a holy environment, protecting their futures.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Joshua 14: Notes on Sin

Joshua 14
Notes on Sin

SIN - Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba, in honor of its’ most impressive man, Arba. (v.15) No one remembers that name anymore, it is simply known as Hebron, because Caleb came in under God’s power and defeated the Anakites and Arba. He was a great man that was forgotten because he was fighting for the wrong side. Even if we are very talented and respected by others, without God our accomplishments won’t stand the test of time.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Exodus 14: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

Exodus 14
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

PASSION - 1). The Hebrews were marching out boldly. (v.8) They were tasting freedom for the first time. They were courageous after seeing how God fought for them in Egypt. They were full of hope for a future outside of slavery and a home in the Promised Land. They had no reason to cower in fear, but rather, walk out in boldness. When we remember who we are in God, we have no reason to fear either. 2). God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea to move the waters back into place and drowning the Egpytians in the process. (v.26,27) Though Moses has gone through intense trials during the deliverance process, he still remembers the Egpytians as the family of his youth. Many of them were friends, associates, and almost family members from his past. To stretch out his hand this time, he would be moving forward with God’s will for His life, while leaving his past behind in a painful way. Sometimes, following God’s plan for us involves the sacrifice of treasured people and things in our lives. Just as Moses immediately responded to God’s desire, we should be willing to forego all else to pursue His dream for us.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ephesians 4: Notes on God's Plan

Ephesians 4
Notes on God's Plan

GOD'S PLAN - 1). He has called us to live a life for Him. (v.1) The calling is great, so our lives should be worthy of it. Everyday we should try to live our lives worthy of the calling we have. 2). God has called us to be humble and gentle as we live out our callings for Him. (v.2) The best way for us to achieve all that God has for us is to remember that our power comes through Him. The moment we begin to place our trust in our own abilities and giftings, we’ll drift from that divine calling on our lives. Humility is the pathway of the miraculous. God will intervene when we don’t try to stand up and get in the way. 3). God has called us to ONE hope in Him. (v.4-6) Sometimes, we try to divide it out into different types of religions, denominations, etc., but God makes it clear that we are one body, serving one God, one Son, one Spirit, in one hope, one baptism, and one faith. There is only one way to heaven, the hope to which we are called. We, as Christians, need to learn to live as one. 4). God gave leaders to His church. (v.11-13) These are great memory verses which help us realize His plan to help His people be prepared to do great things for Him and be unified in their faith. All 5 of these offices (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers) are important to get the job done. 5). God sends His leaders to keep his people from being led astray by false teaching. (v.14) He wants us to learn from those who He has put over us, so that we don't become tainted in our beliefs.

VERSES 17-32
GOD'S PLAN - 1). Paul outlines a 3 step process for growth in Christ. (v.22-24) First, we must put off our old man with it's false desires. Second, we must be made new by the power of God. Finally, we must put on the new self, by making things right. God will make us new, but we must commit ourselves to daily living according to His ways. We work together towards righteousness. 2). We are all members of one body. (v.25) Paul is encouraging them to treat other right and be honest, because we are on the same team. We have to trust each other to function at full capacity for God’s purposes. 3). Those who steal must stop. (v.28) Instead, they must work hard so that they can provide for their own needs, but also so they can share with others in need. Not only should they get to a place where they can take care of themselves, but also to get to a point where they can help others who are in the same situation that they used to be in. Those who used to steal will help those who struggle with stealing. 4). God gives us the Holy Spirit which seals our fate in redemption when God rescues us in the end. (v.30) It’s a deposit of heaven in our souls, a piece of eternity in our lives. When the Holy Spirit dwells inside, it ensures our future with God forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2 Timothy 4: Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 4
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - Jesus is a righteous Judge. (v.8) He will award the crowns of righteousness to those that deserve them. And He truly knows if they deserve it because He faced the same journey against sin and danger in this world that we do, and triumphed over it. Who better to judge us than one who understands us completely. If we want to be awarded by Him on that day, we must live as He lived and do what He did.

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). Though his friends abandoned him, God stood by Paul’s side in his defense. (v.17) Paul couldn’t see Him, but He knew He was there in the Spirit. When we stand up for God, He will stand up for us. He will never leave us alone when we are following after Him. We must remember to honor God in our midst because He will remember us at all times. 2). Jesus is our Savior. (v.18) He rescued Paul from every evil attack. Paul knew Jesus would eventually usher him into eternity with God in heaven. Sometimes the rescue is freedom on this earth in the midst of trial, but eventually our final rescue will be freedom from earth and passage into heaven. Either way, Jesus is constantly still saving us through and through; we need only to look to Him for help when we need it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2 Samuel 14: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 14
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). The wise lady did all that Joab asked of her and developed this lengthy story in front of the king. (v.4-12) It must have been hard to continue deceiving the king spoken line after spoken line, but she faithfully followed the direction of her leader Joab. She followed his orders implicitly. We should trust our leaders and follow them wholeheartedly as well, even if we don’t fully understand everything we must do, because we serve them under God. 2). The king’s first response was that she should go home and he would issue an order to help her out. (v.8) He would give a simple order and it would take care of her situation. This potential act shows the power the king had, that he could order one simple command and it would save lives and keep others from committing horrible crimes. What a powerful leadership position. 3). The lady declared that the King was like an angel of God. (v.17) After she had done her duty and given her word to the King, she left it in his hands, trusting him to do the right thing. She knew that he was in leadership for a reason, God would help him bring her rest by making the right decision. She trusted in his leadership, as should we. 4). David discovered that it was Joab who had asked her to convince David to show mercy to Absalom. (v.20) She then declared that David was wise like an angel because he knew everything happening in the land. Though we know instances where David wasn’t aware of all that was going on (Amnon’s murder) David had a sharp intellect and firm grasp of the big picture of his nation. It’s important for us keep inventory in our thoughts of all that is going on in our leadership area and keep the big picture in mind. 5). Joab bowed with his face to ground to thank the King for allowing him to bring Absalom home. (v.22) Though they were friends, he still respected him and honored him as King. Sometimes, the people who struggle the most with loyalty to a leader are those who are most familiar with him. Friends should be our stongest ally, not our toughest challenge. 6). Absalom was admired for his incredible appearance. (v.25,26) God had blessed him with great looks and good hair. Apparently, having thick lustrous hair was a commodity in that culture as well. Looks can help with leadership, but they don’t account for having solid character on the inside. 7). Joab didn’t go to Absalom when he requested an audience with the King. (v.29) Twice, Absalom asked but twice, Joab rejected. We know from earlier in the chapter that Joab was the one instrumental in bringing Absalom back. We also know now that their fields were side by side. We can assume they were friends, so obviously Joab isn’t going to him because it was requested by his King. Joab was avoiding his friend because his King probably asked him to. He was loyal to his leader before his friends. 8). We see that Joab’s field was right next to Absalom’s, the King’s son. (v.30) We can assume that Absalom had a choice field, being the King’s son, yet Joab’s is right next to it. Joab is David’s right hand man, the general of his armies. Joab was given a prestigious field right  next to the King’s son, as if he was part of the family. David honored his esteemed leaders almost as if they were his own children and family members. We must take care of the people who ‘take care’ of us by serving and following. 9). Joab once again asked the King for more mercy unto Absalom, and David allowed it, after Absalom had burned Joab’s fields. (v.33) We can see that David did this as much for his son as Absalom, as for his general Joab, to help him with the loss of his fields. David was trying to keep everyone happy and do the right thing at the same time - a difficult thing to do, and something that is not always possible.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

1 Timothy 3: Notes on Attitudes

1 Timothy 3
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - 1). A leader must be temperate and self-controlled. (v.2) Leaders don’t fly into fits of rage or arrive at unrestrained moments when they ‘lose it’. They know how to keep their heads in tough situations. That is what makes someone a leader when everyone else is falling apart. A leader must have self control over their emotions, and have the wisdom to express them properly and at the right time. 2). Leaders must exert a gentle countenance and resist violent reactions. (v.3) This can be difficult when a leader is dealing with disappointments and stress on many levels. A leader should be someone that is approachable and not intimidating to people. We can be gentle not just in our actions and words, but also in our plans, our messages, our lifestyles, etc. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit and a sign of a life surrendered to God. It is possible to be a gentle person and still have an incredible passion for God. 3). Leaders shouldn’t be recent converts because they may be tempted to become conceited. (v.6) As new Christians, they may think their rise in leadership was something they did on their own, apart from God’s power and grace. They haven’t had the time in a relationship with God to learn how important it is to depend upon Him in all matters. Whenever we assume the praise for something, we move ourselves into a position of falling because of conceit and pride. The longer a person is a Christian, the more dependent on God they should become. 4). A deacon must be sincere. (v.8) This is important because many people can see right through a leaders true motives. Leaders must truly care about what they do and truly love following after God. If a leader isn’t sincere, people won’t want to follow them and they won’t last long as a leader. 5). A good leader can be full of confidence. (v.13) When they have served well, it will give them a great standing in God’s eyes so they can be assured that they are right with Him. Our service can impact our position with God. Being confident in our position with God isn’t being too prideful, as being confident in our well earned position would be.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

1 Thessalonians 3: Notes on Relationships

1 Thessalonians 3
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Timothy came to strengthen and encourage them in their faith. (v.2) He was a guest with a purpose. In the church today, we have guests that come to do the same thing for us. They are fellow believers sent with a mission, and we are their mission. We should receive them well and listen to what they have to say, because they are God’s gift to us. 2). Paul checked up on them to make sure they hadn’t fallen away. (v.5) He cared so much for them that after he left he had to check in again. It wasn’t just a good moment for him; he wanted the memories o change their lives forever. If we want our moments to be more than memories but life changing, then we must check in from time to time and keep stroking the flames of desire for God. We must followup with those that make commitments to Christ. The best way to overcome persecution is followup through relationship.

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). The Thessalonians had pleasant memories of Paul and his traveling group. (v.6) Timothy reported this back to them and it gave them great joy. We should always work among others in such a way that it will be a good experience and one they will look back on with delight. We don’t want to inspire nightmares, but we want to inspire dreams in the future. 2). Paul had them look to the future. (v.13) He wanted them to look ahead. The best good bye’s don’t just look back but they also look forward. Memories are good as long as we don’t dwell there too long. Looking back can help us focus more on where we are going, but we can’t allow it to pull us back to where we used to be.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

1 Samuel 13,14: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

1 Samuel 13 & 14
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

PASSION - The men of Israel hid in caves and quaked with fear. (v.6,7) When we face a great enemy, God is looking for warriors that will be brave and stand their ground. We never have to quake with fear with God on our side.

WORSHIP - Jonathan would let God show them what to do by the reaction of the Philistines. (v.8-10) Rather than sneaking up on them he revealed their presence, looking to their response as the sign. We should always seek to know God's will and look to Him to give us signs of His desire for our lives.
PASSION - Jonathan wanted to pick a fight. (v.6) He had faith that God would save them. He trusted in God enough to go on the offensive for His glory. Our faith in God should be great enough to tackle the obstacles that stand in our way.

VERSES 15-23
PASSION - The people who were hiding in caves came out to fight because they knew they were winning. (v.22) They no longer cowered in fear, but rose up in courage. We must always stand in courage because God is victorious and will give us the victory in the end.

VERSES 24-48
PASSION - No one in the regular army would eat the honey because they feared their King. (v.26) Though it was oozing out of a tree in the woods, the men resisted. What a faithful group of men to their king! We must learn how to resist the many temptations the devil throws at us in the same way.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

1 Kings 13: Notes on God's Plan

1 Kings 3
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN – 1). God sees the big picture. (v.1-3) Not only did He see the idolatry going on in Northern Israel and Judah, He also saw what would be taking place in the future. God always sees everything, and has a plan. 2). The prophet made a prediction concerning Josiah. (v.2) He was a future king of Israel who would tear down the altars and destroy the unholy priesthood. This came true many years later and is recorded later in this same book. God carried out His promise exactly as He said He would. 3). We must watch what we are pointing at, what we are directing. (v.4,5) God could stop us right in the middle of our actions. He let Jeroboam point toward the prophet, so He could strike His hand, humble him, and show those watching who was really in control. We can point directions all we want, but it is God who commands things into action. 4). God told the man of God to refuse an invite to visit the King and to return a different route than he came. (v.8-10) God knew the trouble he was sending his prophet into, so he told him the way to escape without harm. He went before him and protected him. When we follow God’s plan, He will see us through to the end and provide for all that we need. 5). God spoke to the prophet from Israel as they were eating. (v.20) It’s interesting that he was still at a place in his life where he could hear God’s voice, despite his sinful character. God never takes the call on our lives away. It will follow us as long as we are on this earth. Once we die, then the chance to live for God is over. We can’t outrun the call of God on our lives; it’s like our shadow. 6). This is a tough portion of Scripture. (v.21,22) This prophet of Judah was completely obeying God, than he was lied to and is now being punished for believing that lie. Did he have a chance to know the truth? The personal word of God to us should hold more weight than the word we receive from everyone else. We don’t know if they are speaking the truth or not, but we cannot deny the inner voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us. This prophet was at a place where he knew the voice of the Lord well, evidenced in how he obeyed God and had just given the major word to Jeroboam. Yet, he questioned that original command from God to listen to this ‘word of the Lord’ through a third party. When possible, always get the personal word from the Lord, and let that guide you more than the word from others. 7). God sent a lion to kill the prophet of Judah. (v.24) He was punished for disobeying the Lord. The king of Israel had tried to kill him but God wouldn’t allow it. Our lives our in God’s Hands and only He can decide whether we continue to live for Him, or if it’s time to take us home.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

1 John 3: Notes on God's Character

1 John 3
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - God loves us dearly, to call us His children. (v.1) He created us, and then gave us free will so we could choose to love Him. And in spite of our many mistakes and failures, He still loves us enough to send His true Son into the world to die on our behalf. We are His children and we are dearly loved.

VERSES 11-24
GOD’S CHARACTER - God isn’t changed by our turbulent moments in life. (v.20) Even if our own hearts condemn us, it doesn’t mean that God will. God will stay true to us even when we’ve given up on ourselves. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1 Corinthians 13: Notes on Leadership

1 Corinthians 13
Notes on Leadership 

LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul first spoke to speakers that could speak in the tongues of men and angels. (v.1) They could speak to men inspirationally because they spoke an elegant Godly dialect. These are great communicators, like renowned evangelists. But even they, with so much talent and ability, need to be compelled by love or their work will be in vain. Without love, their tremendous speeches will only be an annoying noise with no purpose. 2). Love lasts forever but prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will fade away. (v.8) The gifts of the Spirit are wonderful and necessary in our world today, but not necessarily part of God’s plan for eternity in heaven. The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, seem to last forever with love leading the way. Far better for us to be strong in the fruit of the Spirit, another visible evidence that we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, rather than just function in the gifts on our own. 3). We must put childish ways behind us. (v.11) Children are supposed to be act that way, but not adults. As leaders, as mature believers, we’ve got to put childish ways behind us and press on to be more mature in Christ. As it refers to love, we must move to a place where we don’t just strive to be shown love by others, but do things to show love to others without an expectation of the same in return. We must be an example of this to our people and help them learn how to do it as well. 4). We should want people to know us for our love more than anything else. (v13) Not for being a great teacher, a dynamic leader, or a champion visionary. We should work so that they will remember us as someone that loved others like Jesus did, with a strong, pure love.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Matthew 12: Notes on Attitude

Matthew 12
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 12-31
ATTITUDE - 1). Sometimes, parts of our Church Body wish they were something else. (v.15,16) In Paul’s example, the foot wishes it were a hand, or the ear wishes it were an eye. By being jealous over the other part’s purpose, they lost the importance of their own. It’s natural for us to become used to our situations from time to time, and the grass does seem greener on the other side of the fence. But if we would change, we would lose what God called us to do and hurt the body. The best thing to do is admire their purpose, keep hold of our own, and do our best for the overall health of our church. 2). Paul encouraged them  to desire the greater gifts. (v.31) Earlier in the chapter, Paul made a point to help others realize that there are no insignificant jobs in the church. In using the term ‘greater gifts’ it may seem like he is contradicting himself. But human nature easily helps us desire some over others, making them seem greater because of perks, attention, etc. Some roles definitely have more influence and opportunity than others as well. But ultimately, by referring to some as ‘greater’, it garners an attitude in the church where people are always wanting to improve, grow, and become better for God. 'Greater gifts' is really just another expression of a greater you and I.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Matthew 12: Notes on Relationships

Matthew 12
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 22-37
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Jesus declared that every divided kingdom will fall. (v.25) Unity is our key to victory. If our team is fighting against ourselves, we help our enemy win. If we stand together, we stay stronger, and will move toward victory. Unity with our Christian brothers and sisters is a powerful weapon in our spiritual warfare.  2). We can recognize others by their fruit. (v.35) Good people will produce good things for God, but bad people will produce rotten things for themselves and for the enemy. We know a tree by its fruit. 

VERSES 46-50
RELATIONSHIPS – Jesus said that anyone who does the will of God is part of the family of God. (v.50) Jesus wasn’t trying to say He didn’t love his earthly family. He was trying to use them as an illustration to explain the family of God. We should all work together as if we were brothers and sisters, connected our entire lives on this earth.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Exodus 12: Notes on Sin

Exodus 12
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). God told them to eat bread without yeast for seven days when they celebrated the Passover. (v.15) On the first day, they were to remove every ounce of yeast from their homes, to protect their family from breaking the rules. One important aspect in refraining from sin is to remove the objects of sin from your possession. It’s easier to fall into sin when the yeast is in the cupboard. 2). If anyone ate anything with yeast during that time, they would be cut off from Israel. (v.15) Just as the yeast was removed on the first day of the week, the person full of yeast would be removed as well. Another important part of abstaining from sin is to remove the people who tempt us in those sinful areas. Sometimes, the greatest downfall of our lives is brought about by the people we trust and associate with. 3). Once again God reiterates the importance of staying away from yeast, when mentioning the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (v.18-20) All yeast was to be removed from their possession, even if it was within the people they associated with. Yeast was symbolic of sin. They were to be so serious about being holy as to remove sin from their lives almost at all cost. We need to remember that God is a God of holiness and no sin is welcome in His presence, and shouldn’t be welcome in our lives either. They’re pursuit of unleavened bread would keep them from being enslaved again. 4). It didn’t matter where they lived, they still needed to always eat only unleavened bread. (v.20) Sometimes, we think that we can be more lenient with certain standards depending on the culture we live in. But God was clear with the Hebrews; everyone should obey His law regardless of where they lived and worked. God is everywhere, and His law should be obeyed everywhere as well. 5). God did just as He said. (v.29,30) He set about going house to house and taking every firstborn of the Egyptians. He didn’t spare anyone without the blood on their doorposts. He had given them many opportunities to avoid this, but they wouldn’t listen. This punishment is the result of their own stubbornness and unwillingness to change. If we refuse to change according to God’s will, we will suffer epic tragedy as well.

VERSES 43-51
SIN - The Passover meal was to be eaten inside the house. (v.46) They couldn’t go outside during the meal at all. This was symbolic of how the Hebrews weren’t supposed to set foot outside their house or the Angel of Death may visit them as well. It was a protection from the evil things of the world. A reminder that we should be careful not to even foot in the areas of life that can bring us down and destroy us.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ephesians 3: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

Ephesians 3
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - We always have access to God. (v.12) Because of our faith in Him, we can be confident when we come to Him in prayer and in worship. No matter where we go, God will always be only a prayer away. This is a great memory verse that helps us approach God with boldness because of the work Jesus did on our behalf.
PASSION - 1). Paul was a prisoner for the Lord for the sake of the Gentiles. (v.1) He gladly served Jesus in an unpopular role of reaching those who had never been reached before. It is better to be God's servant than to be a leader anywhere else. 2). Paul was willing to suffer for the sake of the Ephesians. (v.13) He loved God and His people so much that he put himself through tough things for their benefit. When we suffer for God, it brings Him glory. When we suffer for others on behalf of God, we resemble Jesus our Lord.

VERSES 14-21
WORSHIP - 1). Paul kneeled before the Father. (v.14) This was a sign of submission to royalty. Paul gladly knelt before the One who had changed his life. We should kneel before God at all times, submitting to His reign and rule in our lives. 2). We should pray that God would give us power to grasp His love. (v.18) His love is 4 dimensional in a 3 dimensional world. It's worthy of our praise, and the more we grasp it, the more we will praise Him because of it. Wherever we go, His love will always be there. 3). God's love is beyond our knowledge. (v.19) We can't possibly explain it fully. But we can know it because of God's help. We should always praise God for the things that are beyond our explanation, things that are bigger than we can imagine. That's the kind of God that we serve. We want to worship a God who is bigger than ourselves. 4). To God be the glory. (v.21) When we do wonders for God because of His power within us, we need to give the glory and praise to Him. The church should praise God at all times and in all generations.
PASSION - 1). God gives us His Spirit in our inner beings. (v.16) He unites with us in the closest possible way. With God's Spirit inside, we can always be driven to do God's will. 2). God dwells in our hearts by faith. (v.17) We can't see Him, but we can feel Him with us. We can know that He is there because we believe it in our hearts. 3). We are rooted and established in love. (v.17) With Christ in our hearts, we will always be full of love. The purpose of our lives is to love and be loved, and Christ meets those needs in every way.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2 Timothy 3: Notes on God's Plan

2 Timothy 3
Notes on God's Plan

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2 Samuel 12 - Notes on God's Character

2 Samuel 12
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God loved David enough to do incredible things for Him. (v.8) He made Him successful in almost every way, and then He said that if it wasn’t enough, He would have even done more. God is willing to go to great lengths for us because He loves us so much. We never need to doubt the depth of God’s love. He doesn’t need to do anything more than He already has to love us completely. 2). God punished David for his sin of killing Uriah and taking Bathsheba to be his wife. (v.10) He proclaimed that the sword would never leave his house. His years would continue in bloodshed and tragedy because of how he inflicted those on a family in his care. Because he took the sword up against someone else, God took the sword up against him. God is a God of justice and will repay us fairly, according to our deeds. 3). God is not a God of secrets. (v.12) He would punish David publicly, though David tried to do his dirty deeds without the notice of anyone. God doesn’t enjoy when we try to keep secrets from Him, because they almost always are bad and hurtful. The more secrets we keep in our lives, the less we become like God. 4). God promised David that his son would die, and immediately upon Nathans exit from the palace, the child became sick. God was quick to accomplish His purposes and exact His punishment upon the house of David. Surely, God wanted to get this over with and move on as well, and He kept His word to David. God is a God of His word, good or bad, He will see it through. 5). God loved Solomon and ordered Nathan to give him a new name. (v.25) This was the first baby born to David and Bathsheba after the illegitimate child. God could have allowed them to never have another child again. He could have turned away from this child in disgust. Instead, he embraced, gave it the name Jedidiah (meaning loved by the Lord) and planned to exalt it to the position of King. God is love, and everything He does will always result in love.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

1 Timothy 6: Notes on Leadership

1 Timothy 6
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - We should honor our leaders with full respect, as if we were honoring God Himself. (v.1) Whatever position we find ourselves in, we must live in a way that always honors and respects our leaders. If we want to be good leaders, we must learn what it truly means to follow others and do it well. The best leaders are those who were also the best servants.

LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul gave Timothy a list of things to teach and insist upon. (v.2) Some were specific aspects of instruction and others were things to command them to do. As leaders, there will be times when we lead our people in the way to go, and then other times when we teach them to make their own decisions. Proper leaders develop people who know how to lead themselves. 2). In this passage, Paul deals with the big three temptations of leaders. (v.3-10) He mentions prideful deceptions, useless controversies, and financial gain. As leaders we must strive to protect ourselves in these important yet sensitive areas.

VERSES 11-21
LEADERSHIP - 1). Paul lists the things that Timothy should be striving for in his life. (v.11) He lists righteousness and godliness (right relationship with God), faith and love (right relationship with believers) and endurance and gentleness (right relationship with non-believers). In all situations, wherever we are, we should always be striving to live excellent lives for God. When making decisions, we must make sure that the decision matches up with the standard of excellence in our lives. 2). God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (v.15) No matter what leadership position we achieve on this earth, we will always be subject to God above. He is the leader over all, the leader of leaders, the one in charge. We can’t go higher up the organizational chart than Him. 3). Paul instructed Timothy to command people about certain things. (v.17,18) Command is a strong word, but Paul intended for Timothy to be a strong leader. It could be that Timothy needed a stronger action word to help him be stronger himself. Sometimes, they way we interact with our leaders is as much for their benefit as it is for all those they lead as well. Strong leaders should develop strong leaders. 4). Paul told Timothy to guard what had been entrusted to his care. (v.20) This is a summary of some of the things that Paul had been teaching in this book. Ultimately, Timothy is an ‘undershepherd’, in the service of our King. As leaders, all that we oversee belongs to God and we are taking care of His business. In all that we do, we must remember to be good stewards, be obedient, and give our absolute best. 5). Paul’s final charge was to turn away from godless chatter, as some leaders had neglected to do. (v.20,21) Timothy needed to focus as much on the tasks he would do as the tasks that he should abstain from. Not only would controversial talk steal his time, it would also hurt his ministry. We must allow the Lord to lead us in all areas of activity; whether we should be involved or stay away.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

1 Thessalonians 5: Notes on Attitudes

1 Thessalonians 5
Notes on Attitude

ATTITUDE - People will naturally try to live in a state of peace and safety. (v.3) There is no peace and safety that will last apart from God. If people really desire to be safe, they must abandon all human efforts and depend upon God, following His plan. It’s an ironic truth; to be safe we must be defenseless before God.

VERSES 12-28
ATTITUDE - 1). Paul asked them to honor those that work hard among them. (v.12) He was referring specifically to their leaders, but this applies for all areas of work to us as well. A good work ethic shouldn’t go unnoticed in the church, but should be the norm for all servants that volunteer to lead in different departments. When visitors approach, hard work should be the norm of what they see in us. 2). Paul told them to warn those who were idle and disruptive among them. (v.14) When people are idle, they are lazy and not contributing to the work of God in the church. This will most often lead to disruption in the church, with others pointing fingers at them and asking why they don’t participate, and with them developing critical consumer outlooks. Laziness is an attitude that results in sin and division in the church. 3). Paul admonished them to be patient with everyone. (v.14) This isn’t an easy thing to do, especially with those who bother us and don’t concern themselves with being patient with us. We must learn to slow down, trust God, look at things from His perspective, and welcome the opportunities that come our way. Patience is another sign that we are trying to live right for God. 4). We must test prophecies to see if they are true or evil. (20-22) This follows the warning not to quench the Spirit. Our caution to make sure we are right with God isn’t opposed to the Spirit, but rather in line with His desire. By taking the extra time to make sure it is right, we please the Holy Spirit and glorify God. We must remember that patience, not spontaneity, is a fruit of the Spirit.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

1 Samuel 11: Notes on Relationships

1 Samuel 11
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). When the people of Gibeah heard about the tragedy, they cried in anguish. (v.4,5) Saul saw their distress and responded. The people were saddened, but only Saul was moved to do something about it. Sympathy isn't enough - we've got to be willing to step in and help our friends when they're in need. 2). They gave the men  of Jabesh Gilead great news. (v.9) By the next day, they would be rescued. The people of Israel would come to help them as soon as possible. When friends are in need, it is right for us to do all we can to help them in a timely manner. In another portion of Scripture, we are encouraged not to let the sun go down on our anger; we also shouldn't let it go down without helping our friends in need first. 3). Saul separated his men into 3 divisions, with which he attacked the Ammonites at night. (v.11) His 3 divisons destroyed the Ammonites and every man ran off by himself. The group with strong unity destroyed the group with no unity. When we stand united, we will overcome the enemy.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

1 Kings 11: Notes on Sin

1 Kings 11
Notes on Sin

SIN – 1). Solomon’s greatest weakness was his love for women. (v.1-3) He was the most desired man in all the earth, and instead of using restraint and wisdom, he let himself indulge. He had an extremely large amount of ladies in his life, an absurd amount, 1,000 to be exact. Overindulgence can be sin. It’s not just two or three times the amount we need, but we get to the point where we’ve got a thousand times more than what we should have. 2). King Solomon abandoned an older rule from God  before his time, when the Israelites were entering the promised land: Do not mix with the people of these nations. (v.4) By abandoning this old rule, he allowed idolatry into the kingdom and into his life. When we compromise with things of this world and provide a place for them in our lives, indulging beyond safe limits, we risk the serious threat of being led away. As the word says, if your hand causes you to sin…. 3). It’s quite amazing that Solomon had arrived at a place where he tried to worship other gods. (v.4,5) God had appeared to him in dreams, given him wealth and talents, and helped him finish the temple and other amazing building projects. He was part of the fulfillment of years and years of prophecies and yet, he still moved to the place where he abandoned God. Even if we become the hero, we’re still susceptible to failure. 4). Solomon built high places for the idols his wives worshipped. (v.7,8) These were altars on various hillsides where sacrifices were made. Most of the people in the nearby valleys could see the smoke from the high places rising higher to ‘god’s’ throne. Many people today still build high places in their lives. We give other gods high places in our hearts, just like Solomon.

VERSES 14-25
SIN – 1). God raised up an adversary for Solomon. (v.14) This was because of his great sin and God’s great faithfulness. This may be hard to understand, but God loved Solomon and sent this enemy to make him sharper and bring him back to his senses. Unchecked sin in our lives can bring God to order similar commands over us as well. 2). David and Joab tried to eliminate Edom as an enemy of Israel but they were unsuccessful. (v.15,16) Joab spent half a year dealing with the mess in the country, but a few escaped, and one generation later they came back to take revenge. God wants us to eradicate any sin from our lives, and any small amount that goes unchecked will continue to grow and impact us down the road. 3). Hadad got the news that both David and Joab were dead, and he immediately wanted to go home and win his country back by defeating Solomon. (v.21,22) Pharaoh tried to make him stay in Egypt, showing a fatherly type of love, but Hadad still won his wish to fight. The bitterness now controlled him and drove him to abandon luxury for pain.

VERSES 26-43
SIN – 1). The big news. (v.31) God is taking the kingdom from Solomon and giving it to Jeroboam. He will tear it away like he tore the new cloak. Will God have to come to a place in our lives when he tears away the gifts he has given us because of disobedience? 2). God took the kingdom away because Solomon began to worship other gods. (v.32) He had mentioned this at the beginning of the chapter, and here He mentions it again. God will not share our loyalty for Him with anyone else. 3). This is a powerful verse of insight. (v.40) Solomon must have discovered the prophecy and tried to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam fled to Egypt. Egypt became a neutral country in the midst of this trouble. Obviously, Solomon had lost some respect in Pharaoh’s eyes. But now, he is chasing Jeroboam like King Saul had chased his father David. Amazing how things have turned around; he is doing the very thing that was so destructive to his father many years ago. Sin will always take us to places we would never imagine we could possibly go.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

1 John 2: Notes on Passion and Worship

1 John 2
Notes on Passion and Worship

WORSHIP - When we live for God, we can actually learn more about God by observing the change in our own lives. (v.8) We become a reflection of the truth of God when His light shines through us. We are not the power of God, but we carry it as vessels of His Glory. Often the truth we learn is taught to us, but then caught by us when we begin to see its fruit in our lives.

VERSES 12-14
WORSHIP - 1). This small passage appears to be a poem or a song. (v.12-14) It seems like John became creative and included this lyric with his letter. He was known as the disciple that Jesus loved, so its not surprising that he included a worship song with his message. When we love Jesus, truly love Him, it will pour out of us in all that we do. 2). When the Word of God lives in us, it makes us strong. (v.14) John called out the young men as strong because of the Word of God inside them. We should dive into the Word daily to give us strength, not only for the day ahead but for every moment in our lives.

VERSES 15-17
PASSION - Our love should be for God and not for things in this world. (v.15) The true battle in all our lives is the tug between God and the world. We live in the world and constantly surrounded by people who are consumed by it. But God is the author of all creation and to see Him we have to go a little deeper. But if we must express passion for anything, we must make sure it is centered in God and nothing else.

VERSES 18-27
PASSION - We are tasked with ensuring that the truth we heard in the beginning remain in us until the end. (v.24) We must hold onto, rehearse it often, and make efforts to live according to it everyday. God meant for our faith to be eternal, so while we live in this temporary world, we must hold onto it as an anchor for our soul.

VERSES 28-29
PASSION - 1). We are encouraged by John to continue in Him. (v.28) We wouldn’t be encouraged this way if it wasn’t possible for us not to continue. We can decide while on this earth how we choose to live. If we’ve made the commitment to Christ, we must stay true to it and follow through at all times. We don’t want to risk the possibility of falling away from the faith. 2). When we do what is right it shows that we are walking on God’s paths. (v.29) All righteousness comes from God. No one can be truy righteous without Him.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

1 Corinthians 11: Notes on God's Plan

1 Corinthians 11
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - We are dependent on each other. (v.11,12) Man and women are not exclusive of each other but on equal terms. Paul, who had been asking women to cover their heads while asking men to do the opposite, now explained that though we have these customs, we are still on the same level. God made us interdependent on one another, a fact exemplified with having women give birth. Though a punishment after the fall of man in the garden, it is a blessing in disguise, giving ladies more equal footing with men in God’s plan. 

VERSES 17-34
GOD’S PLAN - 1). We will be different in the church. (v.18) Paul declared that this was by design so God could show who has His approval. God will develop different levels of leadership in growing churches and place people whom He appoints in different places with various tasks and responsibilities. We will come together in unity to worship God, yet have different jobs that we adhere to which also honor God. When we do the job God called us to do, it shows God’s approval over us and verifies our work. 2). Selfishness has no place in God’s church. (v.22) We are often self-centered in our own homes, but not in God’s home. As a church we should be about Him, and all that we do should point to Him. When we take advantage of others and do things only for our own benefit, it disgraces Him. Treating others right when worshipping God brings much praise to our King. 3). Paul gave us our words used in the act of communion. (v.23-26) These are words used almost every time a communion service occurs. It helps us remember the great things Jesus did for us in the event of His death. When we recite these words, they don’t have any power in themselves, but they help bring us to a memorial place of respect and worship for God. 4). God made a new covenant with Jesus and His blood shed on the cross. (v.25) We can find cleansing from our sins through Jesus. God made an easier way for all creation to follow Him. God's ways are always best, and He'll always act appropriately to accomplish His purposes. 5). Communion is also a time of getting right with God. (v.28) We should separate from the world and examine ourselves in light of Jesus' sacrifice. In communion, we remember Jesus and we also remember who we are supposed to be as well.