Thursday, September 29, 2016

1 Thessalonians 4: Notes on God's Plan

1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Plan

VERSES 1-12
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

VERSES 1-35
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

VERSES 1-8
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.

VERSES 9-24
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

VERSES 1-25
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.