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.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Matthew 11: Notes on God's Character

Matthew 11
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER – Jesus is a healer. (v.5) Matthew lists many wonderful things here that He had done: the sick, blind, lame, deaf, and even dead ones are touched with the healing power of Jesus. There is no physical ailment that is beyond the realm of God’s changing power. And He longs to take care of us, touch us, and heal us.

VERSES 25-30
GOD’S CHARACTER - God kept his truth from the wise and learned and gave it to ‘little children.’ (v.25) We are his children, and He gives us all His wonderful blessings when we trust in Him with the faith of a child. If we picture ourselves next to Jesus as He said these things we can see the love and compassion he felt as he said these words to His disciples.