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.