Thursday, December 28, 2017

1 John 2: Notes on Family

1 John 2
Notes on Family

VERSES 12-14
FAMILY - No one should know Father’s quite like their children. (v.14) John wrote to them as children because they would know the Father. They should trust Him and know His ways better than anyone. Good Fathers will care for their children so that they become experts in their Fathering ways.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Matthew 19: Notes on Sin

Matthew 19
Notes on Sin

SIN – 1). The Pharisees always seemed to be trying to test Jesus. (v.3) Their questions came from the evil intentions of their hearts. They were not sincere and Jesus knew it. Yet, He answered them even though He didn’t need to. We must be careful to approach God in sincerity, without ulterior motives, for He knows the true desires of our hearts. 2). Jesus clearly states His rule on the issue of divorce. (v.9) Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. The only grounds for acceptance are if marital unfaithfulness is involved, which is generally considered to be committing adultery while already married. Divorce is not required in that situation, but allowed. We must assume that God’s heart is always for restoration and commitment to each other for life. Divorce should be the last option.

VERSES 16-30
SIN – 1). The young man asked Jesus which commandments He needed to obey. (v.18) He thought there were certain commandments more important than others, some commandments that weren’t as important to obey. If we believe in God as the supreme authority, we must obey all His commands because they come from a perfect, holy God. We cannot pick and choose which commands we will obey; we must obey them all. 2). When Jesus challenged this man to lose His life for God, he walked away. (v.22) This is a sad scene that plays out all across the world everyday. When confronted with the reality of God’s plan for salvation, many people walk away because they are so enamored with life on this earth. They forsake the Creator for what He created, not realizing that if they are so in love with what God created, just imagine how much more in love they could be with the Creator. 3). Riches can keep us from belonging to God. (v.23,24) Jesus said that it’s hard for a rich man to enter into heaven, because He finds it so hard to give up His wealth to follow Christ. People who have much in this world tend to put their faith in those things rather than realizing how dependant they are on God for everything they need.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joshua 19: Notes on Relationships

Joshua 19
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - The Simeonites inherited land that had already belonged to the tribe of Judah. (v.9) Judah had more land than they needed, so portions of their property were given to the tribe of Simeon. They shared when they had more than they needed. God will bless us at times with more than we need so we can be able to give generously to others and share with those in need.

VERSES 32-39
RELATIONSHIPS - One tribe received several fortified cities, while the tribe before it only received one, and several received none. (v.35-39) It would have been easy for these tribes to jealous of each other, because they didn’t receive equal portions. But they were treated fairly, according to their tribe’s needs. God will be perfect for each of us, though it may not look like the lot of someone else nearby. We need to focus on Him and work not to compare ourselves with others.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Exodus 19: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

Exodus 19
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - 1). Moses went up to God to talk with Him on the mountain. (v.3) We don’t know that God had called him up there; It appears as though he made the decision to go on his own. Maybe he was used to doing that when he had been a shepherd in the desert a few years before this. Either way, Moses saw it as a great place to retreat away from the world and be alone with God. We must find those places in our lives as well. Many of them can be found by wandering out in God’s creation, with the beauty of the world all around us. 2). A ram’s horn would blast when the people were clear to touch the mountain again. (v.13) God chose to have a musician give the signal with a sound of triumph. Once again we see how worship is a part of God’s plan and active in the lives of the people. Worship brought the people together. Our worship should be inviting, welcoming others to join us, not dividing, based on individual preferences and desires. Worship opens the door for everyone to be united. 3). When God came to Mt. Sinai, he was proceeded by a loud trumpet blast. (v.16) From other portions of Scripture, we can incur that this was declared by one of His angels. They sounded forth a triumphant burst of praise to prepare the way for Him. Worship is always around our God. When we worship, we invite His presence into our lives and our world as well.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ephesians 1: Notes on God's Plans

Ephesians 1
Notes on God's Plans

GOD'S PLAN - Paul was sent by God. (v.1) He was called an apostle because He followed Jesus according to God's will. He mentioned both Jesus and God, so they understood on what authority He was communicating with them. The two Deity's work interchangeably; we can’t have One without the Other. What a great example of unity for us to learn from. Nothing will happen in the believer's life apart from the will of God.

GOD'S PLAN - 1). His blessings are of the heavenly realm and that means that they are eternal. (v.3) They’ll last forever, which gives them a higher value. We should seek after these heavenly blessings which are ours through Jesus. 2). He chose us. (v.4,5,11) He started the process before we were even born. These verses are good memory verses to remind us that the first thought of anything between us came from Him at the beginning of time. This is His doing. That's how much He loves us. God wants us so much more than we could ever want Him. 3). God adopted us as His sons and daughters because it was His will. (v.5) He doesn't want us to be alone, but He wants to lead and guide as along the way. He doesn't look on us as servants, He looks on us as offspring. 4). God's blessings and grace are given to us freely. (v.6) We don't have to try and earn them, and then somehow be responsible for the change in our lives. They are completely free gifts from God so that we can all look to Him to sustain us at all times. 5). We have forgiveness through Christ. (v.7) This is a great memory verse declaring that God's grace has afforded us the chance for redemption because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died so that we could be forgiven and redeemed. 6). Jesus came at the perfect time. (v.10) He was destined to bring peace to mankind and God sent Him at just the right moment to make that happen. We have to trust God that He will do things in our lives with perfect timing according to His plan. 7). God chose us just like he chose the heroes of the Bible. (v.11,12) They were the first fruits of Jesus’ work building a church, and we are a result of their efforts. Together we are all part of God’s plan to redeem creation and save humanity. 8). God marks us with the seal of His Holy Spirit. (v.13,14) Jesus leaves His mark on us. And all people will recognize us because of the mark of the Holy Spirit on our lives. The Holy Spirit will amplify our witness in this world, and signify our association to Jesus. We are people of the Spirit.

VERSES 15-23
GOD'S PLAN - 1). God has called us to a great hope. (v.18) We have hope for eternal life with Him in heaven. The riches Paul speaks of are the inheritance for us in God's Kingdom. It is glorious, just as God is glorious. 2). God has given us the same power that Jesus had when He rose from the dead. (v.19,20) We have the power to rise above every evil, dark thing in this world. We have the power to do things that have never been done before. We have the power of miracles, wonders and dreams. We have the power of God on our side, and nothing can compare with that. 3). Jesus has the greatest power now and in the age to come. (v.21) Even though He has risen from the dead, and He lived on this earth many years ago, He is still in control. His power is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means we can have faith in Him to be the same for us that He was for His followers in the Gospels. 4). Jesus heads up the church, which is His body. (v.23) We are the body of Christ, and He will fill us up with all that we need. In the same way that we feed our bodies to keep us strong, Jesus will feed His church to keep us strong and vibrant in this world for His glory. The church is the greatest tool in Jesus’ inventory, the greatest weapon to defeat the enemy, and the greatest asset in His Kingdom. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2 Timothy 1: Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God is eternal. (v.9) His grace, which has saved us, has been alive in His heart from the beginning of time. We have always been a part of God’s Master plan for this earth, and His grace wasn’t just a whim that He came up with when the world was hurting. He is a gracious caring God and He has plans for us that we haven’t seen or comprehended yet. Not only is God eternal, but His grace is as well. 2). We need to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to guard our salvation. (v.14) God loves to help us and be active in our lives. He left His Spirit with us to assist us in all matters of life. We need to call upon the Holy Spirit daily to stay close to God and aligned with His plans.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2 Samuel 19: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 19
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). The whole army mourned with David over the loss of Absalom. (v.2) They were all excited to defeat the enemy, but that changed quickly when they saw their leader devastated by the loss of his son. Rather than continue in celebration, they followed David in mourning. The leader sets the pace for the group in direction, personality, and emotion. 2). David took his seat in the gateway and the men came to him. (v.8) He didn’t feel like it, but he did what he knew he was supposed to do. He listened to the advice of his trusted associates and changed his mind. Though small, this is a huge act. A king might never do these things, but David showed true leadership by listening, being humble, and denying himself.

LEADERSHIP - 1). David sent work to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests he had sent back to Jerusalem while he was on the run from Absalom. (v.11) Now that he is ready to return, he calls upon the people he had put in position to help him. He had the foresight to plan ahead for this time. Leadership doesn’t just plan for the moment, they dream ahead and plan for success and growth in the future. 2). David called on the leaders first. (v.11) He asked the priests to go to the elders to change the direction of the people. He knew that they had the power so he went to them directly. If we really want to move, we need to work with the leadership and the people will follow. 3). David promised to place Amasa as the head of the army in Joab’s place. (v.13) He finally had enough of Joab after he confronted him so mercilessly and destroyed his son. Joab was a great warrior for David, but he was too indepedent and couldn’t be trusted. We must stay submitted to God entirely, because the moment we begin to move on our own, we begin to forfeit our place of leadership in His kingdom. 4). David brought the men together so they stood as one. (v.14) By reaching out to the leaders, David won their hearts. They were unified in following him. A good leader can touch people’s hearts and help them team together as a strong force. 5). David declared that Abishai and his family were now his adversaries. (v.22) He knew that Joab had disobeyed his orders and killed his son. And now Abishai showed the same ferocity with his fatal suggestion. David loved their help in many war campaigns, but he knew that a change was needed so he removed them from his team. There comes a time with many leaders when they must depart with trusted team members because of their attitude and motives. 6). David told Mephibosheth to divide the fields with Ziba. (v.29) It’s interesting that he didn’t ask Mephibosheth to take all of the land back from Ziba. Maybe he wasn’t sure if what Mephibosheth had told him was true. Or maybe he felt like Ziba was deserving of some land because of his effort to find David during his exile. Either way, David exhibited great mercy once again. He has returned to Israel a changed leader.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1 Timothy 5: Notes on Family

1 Timothy 5
Notes on Family

FAMILY - 1). Paul encouraged Timothy to treat the people around him as if they were his family members. (v.1,2) He wrote this so that Timothy would respect them highly, regardless of who they were or how old they might be. Our family should consist of our closest relationships. They should be the people we treat the best. Timothy was encouraged to consider other Christians his family so that he would give them the loyal treatment that family members deserve. 2). The children of widows should have done everything possible to care for their widowed mother in need. (v.4) Before she requested help from the church, she should have received maximum support from her own family. The church is our spiritual family, but God did set us in natural families for support and help in times of need. True families will love each other enough to sacrifice and help one another when they need it. 3). Children need to support their parents. (v.4) This is a Godly principle laid out for us in this verse, to show that children can repay their parents for all of the years that the parents faithfully cared for them. It’s not a debt that the parents demand from the child, it’s a joy that the child willingly does for their aging parents. 4). One of the basic Christian lessons every follower of Christ needs to learn is to prioritize the care of their own family. (v.8) Not every good family member is a great Christian, but every Christian should be a good family member. Our family should be one of the highest priorities in our lives as we follow after Christ. 5). Widows put on the support list had to have been faithful to their husbands. (v.9) This was an important quality for allowing them the help of the community. People would want to give to someone that had a good reputation among them and treated her husband well. Once again, we see that the care of the family was considered a foundational truth in the lives of Christians. 6). Younger widows were encouraged to become married again and begin a new life with a new family. (v.14) This might have been hard to do, yet Paul knew that it was necessary to protect them from falling into depressive, abusive behaviors. The family was set up to help us stay away from sin and be strong in holiness for God. When we are struggling with sin, we should talk with our family first for help.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5: Notes on Attitudes

1 Thessalonians 5
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - People will always strive to live in a state of peace and safety. (v.3) There is no peace and safety that will last apart from God. If we really want to be safe, we must abandon all human efforts and depend upon God, following His plan. It’s ironic; 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 our communities. 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 areas. 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 disruptions, with others pointing fingers at them and asking why they don’t participate. 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 is a fruit of the Spirit, not quick, careless decisions.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

1 Samuel 19: Notes on Relationships

1 Samuel 19
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1).  Jonathan warned David of danger. (v.2,3) He had heard his father tell his attendants to kill David. He told David the news and then went to talk with his father about why it was wrong. Jonathan took matters into his own hands and tried to protect his friend's life. 2). Jonathan disagreed with his father concerning David. (v.4,5) Rather than staying quiet and risking dissension with his dad, he talked with him about it. He reminded him of the good things David had done and pointed out his loyalty to the throne. He persuaded his father to change his mind by approaching him the right way. When we deal with conflict appropiately, we have a much better chance of discovering peace. 3). Jonathan worked with both sides of the argument and brought them together. (v.7) He brought David and Saul back together in a good working relationship. Jonathan is a great example of a peacemaker, someone called to resolve conflict with others.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

1 Kings 19: Notes on Sin

1 Kings 9
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). Jezebel threatened Elijah (v.2).  She was angry at the report she heard from her husband and set about trying to destroy him. She confused the messenger with the One who sent Him. Even if she was able to get to Elijah, God would have replaced him with someone else. Elijah wasn’t her problem, and truly God wasn’t either. Her problem was the prideful sin in her heart that compelled her to keep her idols and fight against God. 2). Elijah told the Lord that he had had enough. (v.4) One of the greatest prophets of the Bible almost gave up. We will all go through tough times in our lives when we want to quit. Even in those moments, we must go to God and be honest with Him and let Him minister to us, but never walk away from God. He is our only hope regardless of our situations.

VERSES 10-18
SIN - God had Elijah anoint three different men into leadership with the purpose of cleaning house. (v.17) Elijah wanted to be vindicated and God had that as part of His plans, though it wouldn’t be Elijah directly responsible for it. God is never satisfied with sin and always plans to eradicate it, but He does it according to His plans while taking care of His people at the same time.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

1 John 4: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

1 John 4
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - We must test the spirits to see if the are really from God or not. (v.1) We test them by inspecting them to see what they are all about. We shouldn’t just go with everything that occurs in our churches concerning God, but make sure it is in line with Scripture. The Bible is God’s Foundation, and all the spirits and movements in the world must be aligned with Him or we shouldn’t have any part with them.
PASSION - We are overcomers through Christ. (v.4) Though many of our neighbors may fall by the wayside, we can stay strong with Christ as our foundation. Regardless of what challenges come our way, through Christ we will always overcome in the end.

WORSHIP - We love because He first loved us. (v.19) Our basis for loving others is because our lives have been changed by God’s love. When God changes us with His love, it creates a desire to do the same for others. In fact, God often shows His love to others through us.
PASSION - 1). A great form of witnessing is simply loving people. (v.8) Love is from God so when we love others, it’s sharing a little bit of God with them. People without God haven't experienced true love so when they taste it, it will surprise them and draw them closer to Him. We may not be the best verbal preachers of God’s truth, but we can be experts at loving the people around us. 2). We are witnesses to the world of who God is. (v.14) We must testify about what we know and what we have seen so they can know and see the truth as well. God saved us, and through us He will save others as well. 3). When we acknowledge God in this world it shows our place in Him. (v.15) The world is often very angry toward the thought of God so when we stand up for Him it may be difficult and even dangerous. But we must know that when we stand up for God, He will stand up for us. It’s an honor to be associated with Him.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

1 Corinthians 4: Notes on God's Plans

1 Corinthians 4
Notes on God's Plans

GOD’S PLAN - 1). As leaders, the Almighty will entrust us with the secret things of God. (v,1,2) He chose us to distribute His incredible plans to the world. We must be faithful to deliver His news to a world a need. He gives it to us so it won’t remain secret anymore. We must ‘let the cat out of the bag’. 2). God will come to reveal all. (v.5) He will reveal His plans to us, and He will also honor those who were true to Him and those with other motives. Though we may feel like God has forgotten us at times, He is always watching and sees everything we do. And He knows our motives, the true part of why we do what we do. Even though it appears well on the outside, it is our motives which will determine the value of our work. 3). Paul had no home. (v.11) He traveled extensively so he couldn't really have a home. God kept Paul's attention completely on Him and His mission, not on worldly things. We must keep our focus on God so we remember that this is not our eternal home. 4). Paul declared that they were considered the scum and garbage of the world. (v.13) They were not regarded highly by those not following Jesus. But God regarded them very highly indeed. They were willing to forego favor in this world to have favor with God. They passionately proclaimed Jesus because they passionately loved Him, and so should we. God will display us to world for His glory, not our own.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Matthew 19: Notes on God's Character

Matthew 19
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER – Our God is not a quitter. (v.6) When He sets out to do something, He does it until it is finished. We must strive to be like our God and follow through on our commitments, in a world full of an ‘easy way out’ mentality. God didn't make us to be quitters.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Joshua 19: Notes on Leadership

Joshua 19
Notes on Leadership

VERSES 49-51
LEADERSHIP - The last appointment by the people was a city given to their leader, Joshua. (v.50) After all the tribes and families were covered, God cared for His leader as well. The leader didn’t go first or take the largest portion. But the leader also wasn’t forgotten or just thrown in with the tribe He originally was a part of. God let Him go last, and cared for Him in a special way because of his service. God won’t forget His leaders and He will reward them appropriately in the end.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Exodus 18: Notes on Attitudes

Exodus 18
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - 1). Moses had two sons. (v.3,4) The first was named Gershom, symbolizing Moses’ feelings of being a foreigner in Egypt after returning from the desert. The second was named Eliezer, symbolizing that God was his helper. In these names we can see the development of Moses from being dejected and alone to being supported and hopeful in God. God had turned him around. 2). Moses bowed before his father-in-law. (v.7) Moses, the great deliverer of the Hebrew people, God’s vessel in doing amazing miracles, bowed before this man. He knew how to respect his elders, his parents, the authorities God had placed over him. God did great things with Moses because Moses knew how to treat others and stay humble. We must never get so big that we can’t bow before those who deserve it. 3). Jethro gave Moses some solid advice. (v.19-23) He encouraged him to raise up other leaders to lighten the load. But before he suggested the change, he agreed with Moses that he should be the leader and teach people the ways of the Lord. By agreeing with him first, it prepared Moses to better receive the suggested change. If we can find common ground in our disagreements with others, it will always help us resolve the issue in a quicker way. 4). Moses listened to Jethro and did everything he said. (v.24-26) He didn’t allow his previous victories the opportunity to convince him that he didn’t need the help. He was humble enough to accept good criticism and learn from it. We must be able to decipher the opinions given to us by trusted allies, and put them to use in our lives without avoiding them because of wrong attitudes.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ephesians 4: Notes on Relationships

Ephesians 4
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - 1). God has called us to be humble, gentle, and patient in our relationships with others. (v.2) Relationships can be sticky at times. If we get too personally involved, it can cause us to derail God’s plans our lives. We must learn how to be defenseless and vulnerable, not fighting against others and striving to ‘win’. We shouldn’t get encumbered in our pursuit of God by those who are encumbered in theirs. 2). God wants us to be unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ. (v.3) We should do whatever it takes to be at peace with each other. We have God's Spirit in us and His Spirit will not be at war with itself. 3). We are called to be one body of believers. (v.4) Though we are many people from many different places and backgrounds, we need to stand unified as one just as God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one. 4). God apportioned us grace according to his plans. (v.7) We may not have the same amount of God's grace, but we all have exactly what God knows we need. We don't need to compare our giftings with others; rather, we should try our best at whatever God has given us to do. 5). God made leaders to work together. (v.11-13) Each leader has a different task, but all are important for Christians to grow completely in God. They must each do their part and work together for us to reach maturity. God puts gifts in us to bless others, and He gives others gifts to bless us. We must work together as a team to get closer to God.  6). We are being built up together. (v.12,13) God wants us all to become mature in our faith, and part of the process is growing up with other Christians. The journey is part of our Christian education. 7). We must speak the truth in love. (v.15) This is a great memory verse which reminds us how to treat each other in the body of Christ. We must be honest and confront issues, but do it in a loving way with motives for the best results. The more we let this guide our lives, the more unified we will be as a body of Christ. 8). We are held together, built on Jesus. (v.16) Every supporting ligament keeps the body as one. The leaders mentioned earlier are supporting ligaments, important for keeping unity in Christ. When we all do the work God has called us to, it keeps us together in unity.

VERSES 17-32
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). We must be honest with each other. (v.25) Immediately after showing us how to be holy, Paul deals with these issues in our relationships with others. The enemy will try to make us divided in sin, to tear us apart more easily. We must be truthful with each other at all times, so as not to give the enemy any room to work in our lives. This is not only in how we speak, but also expressed in our actions and personality as well. 2). When we speak, it should build others up. (v.29) There is no room in the life of a believer for talk which tears others down. People should want to listen to what we have to say. Don't speak unless it's something worth saying and listening to. Think of others when we speak; more people are listening than we may realize. 3). We shouldn't fight against others. (v.31) When we fight against people, it's because we've held onto anger too long. It grieves God when we act in that way. We must empty our lives of the weapons people use to hurt others, and let God be our defense. 4). The better way is forgiveness. (v.32) In the body of Christ, we will make mistakes with each other. We need to learn to quickly forgive, just as Jesus forgives us, and we will probably need to be forgiven by others as well in the same manner.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2 Timothy 4: Notes on Sin

2 Timothy 4
Notes on Sin

SIN - Paul declared that people would turn away from the truth to follow after myths and lies. (v.4) What a tragedy! People will have the truth in their grasp, but turn away to follow after things that will destroy their lives. We must do all we can to hold onto truth, because the enemy will do all he can to lead us away from it, which is the first step in a fall.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2 Samuel 18: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

2 Samuel 18
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - Joab blew a trumpet as a signal for the troops to end the fight. (v.16) How excited they must have been to hear that sound? They could stop risking their lives and go back to a place of safety and calm. Joab used a tool of worship in war. Worship is a form of warfare and can bring energy and hope to weary hearts.

VERSES 19-33
PASSION - The watchman went up the roof to watch for news while David rested in between the inner and outer gates. (v.24-26) He saw two messengers coming at different times, and reported it to David. He was faithful to do his job the best he could. He didn’t hold the news close and wait for a good time to deliver it to David, he did immediately, having to go back and forth twice with two different messengers. We should give our best to God throughout all of our lives. We deliver the messages, we don’t have to figure them out because we are the messengers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1 Timothy 4: Notes on God's Plan

1 Timothy 4
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul refers to situations in later times. (v.1) People will abandon their faith and follow false paths in those days. The fact that we are referring to later times assumes that there is a timeline with a beginning and end, and early times and later times. God is bringing all things to an end, the finish He’s prepared. It’s been almost 2,000 years since Paul wrote these words so we very well could be in the later times and close to seeing God finish His plans for this world. He has a plan for us as well and we want to strive to be in the middle of that plan. 2). We have put our hope in the Living God. (v.10) Paul is referring to Jesus’ resurrection; though He died, now He still lives. We don’t serve a God that is dead and gone, we serve a God that is alive and active in our world today. He saves us because He is here and He cares. We can take delight in knowing that God is among us, saving us still. When we believe upon Him, it will take our lives to new levels of salvation and holiness. 3). God’s plan is salvation. (v.16) When we watch how we live and lead others closely, it will save us all. God’s ultimate desire is our salvation, and He is leading us to that eternal reward everday through the encounters and circumstances in our lives. Remember that our goal is salvation, in all that we say and do.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

1 Thessalonians 4: Notes on God's Character

1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). God will punish all those who take advantage of their fellow Christians and wrong them. (v.6) He wants us to treat others fairly, just as He would. He will defend those who are mistreated. We don’t need to defend ourselves because God is our defense. 2). Paul didn’t need to teach them about loving each other because they had already learned that from God. (v.9) God had taught them this lesson on their own, and this is what he desires for all of us. Leaders and preachers are important in our lives, but we must move to a place of hearing from God on our own and responding. 

VERSES 13-18
GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). We believe that God will bring Jesus’ followers to heaven with him, even after they’ve died. (v.14) Jesus wouldn’t just leave us to fend for ourselves on our own as He enjoys eternal life. He came to be with us and to keep us close forever. He came to earth so we could get to heaven in eternity and be with Him. 2). Those who have already died will precede those of us who are still alive when God calls us to heaven at the second coming. (v.15-17) They have waited for him so much longer than the rest of us, and many of them lived through periods that were darker, without as much hope as we have today. God won’t forget them or let them wallow in death any longer than he has too. We will all meet together and go to be with God for all of eternity, and the dead in Christ will rise first, after which we’ll meet them in the air. 3). Jesus, Himself, will come down from heaven for us at His Second Coming. (v.16) He could easily send an angel or thousands of angels to do His work for Him, but He wants to come personally because He cares for us so deeply. He’s not afraid to do the job Himself and He wants us to know that it is He who is saving us. God can take care of His own business.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1 Samuel 18: Notes on Leadership

1 Samuel 18
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Saul kept David with him from that point on. (v.2) He would not return to his father's house as a boy. He had proven himself as a warrior, and a subject of the King. Saul saw a great leader and held onto him. When we see these leaders in our midst, we must hold on to them if possible and work together. 2). Saul gave David many tasks to do in the army, and he was successful with all of them. (v.5) Saul saw his progress and increased his rank. He gave him the opportunity to shine, and when he did, Saul rewarded him accordingly. Challenges flow with rewards, and then more challenges, spurring on toward growth. 3). The ladies gave credit to Saul for thousands, yet to David they gave credit for tens of thousands. (v.7) They recognized a difference in the quality of their leadership. True leadership doesn't write it's own promotions; their people will decide how effective they truly are. 4). Saul offered David his daughter Merab's hand in marriage. (v.17) His desire was to entice David to continue leading his campaigns against the Philistines, and cause his death on the battlefield. It also made David hope for the best for King Saul, out of loyalty to his wife, the king's daughter. His reward wasn't genuine because of the wrong motives. We should reward others for good work, not just to help them want to do more for our own selfish purposes. 5). David didn't feel himself worthy of the King's daughter. (v.23) He had the boldness to stand up to the king and say no. He even initially resisted the pressure of the kings attendants. He knew that he was poor, and felt that he was unknown, though surely he knew the crowds loved him. David wasn't willing to be influenced easily by others around him, and neither should we. 6). David went to battle as a commander for the king, and had more success than any of the other officers. (v.30) He grew in popularity with the people and the army. Good leadership will always have a crowd of people willing to follow along.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1 Kings 18: Notes on Attitudes

1 Kings 18
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE – Obadiah was afraid that he would die if he let Ahab know he found Elijah. (v.9-14) This is the 2nd time that Elijah had been sent by God to interact with someone that was frustrated and waning in their divine commitment. This man, who had done a great deed for the Lord, wouldn’t trust God in that moment. He’d been living in fear so long that he believed evil would triumph over good. God didn’t bring Obadiah to Elijah, he brought Elijah to Obadiah, to encourage him and give him strength for the road ahead.

VERSES 16-46
ATTITUDE – 1). Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal. (v.27) The purpose here wasn’t to teach us to make fun of those who try different religions. Rather, it was to show us how ridiculous our sin really is, and to show us the confidence we can have in God. Elijah was all by himself in this contest, yet he had the guts to speak up for His God. If only we can have that courage in our world today! If only someone would stand up and challenge the evil ways of our world today like Elijah! 2). Elijah waited for the rain. (v.41-43) He told Ahab to go and celebrate because the rain was on its way. But Elijah didn’t do that; he went to a mountain top overlooking the sea and waited. His posture was one of impatience or worry and concern. He may have been excited to see the rain but it had been so long that he couldn’t wait to see it, and was possibly still somewhat worried as to what would happen if the rain didn’t come. God had just sent the fire, but he was still concerned that maybe He wouldn’t send the rain as well. We need to remember the God we serve, that He is faithful, and don’t get lulled into the apathy of believing He won’t do what He said He would do.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1 John 3: Notes on Relationships

1 John 3
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - John mentions that those who don’t do what is right aren’t children of God, and neither are those who don’t love their brother or sister. (v.10) The fact that this relational piece is mentioned shows how important it is to our ability to fight sin in our lives. If we harbor division with fellow Christians, it leaves us susceptible to weakness when fighting tempations. The enemies path to destroying us may start with tempting us to have problems with our fellow Christians.

VERSES 11-24
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Loving one another is an ancient truth. (v.11) This is something that each of us has as a part of our foundation, even if our early path in the world taught us differently. Regardless of our origins, we all started as part of God’s Plan, birthed in love. We all can find that command to love others like God loved us. 2). Cain murdered because of jealousy. (v.12) Rather than loving his brother and rejoicing with him, he envied him and wanted to be better. We must love our brothers, and choose to do so even when we don’t feel like it. If we don’t, we’ll betray ourselves and leave ourselves vulnerable to sin and failure. 3). We are admonished to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. (v.16) This is very unselfish and loving, exactly the way God wants us to live. If we imitate our Savior and his sacrifice and love for us, our union as a body of Christ will be strong, powerful, and effective in this world.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

1 Corinthians 3: Notes on Sin

1 Corinthians 3
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). Fighting and quarreling are signs of worldliness in our lives. (v.3,4) When we do these things, it shows that we are full of the world and its’ sinful ways. If we keep the mind of Christ, we will avoid these pitfalls and let God handle the problems we have with others. ‘Taking the high road’ is literally that! Sometimes its’ better to be polite than to be right. 2). Some will make it into heaven just barely, ‘escaping through the flames.’ (v.15) The flames aren’t necessarily the fires of hell, but the problems and troubles on this earth resulting from our poor decisions and wrong behavior. If we can abstain from the things that cause division and strife, our path to heaven will be much better and more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Matthew 18: Notes on Relationships

Matthew 18
Notes on Relationships

VERSES 15-20
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Jesus gave us a true pattern for dealing with conflict concerning others in our lives. (v.15-17) We must first confront them ourself. If they listen and we forgive one another, than it is done. But if not, then bring one or two others with us as impartial witnesses the next time. If that still doesn’t work, than it’s time to get the church involved. Finally, if that is unsuccessful, than we have exhausted all of the options and now it is best to stay away from them. Why? Because they are bomb full of bitterness and ready to explode, and we are right before God because we did everything He commanded to try and make it right. 2). When we bind or loosen things on this earth, it will be done in heaven. (v.18) This is specifically referring to the binding and loosening of things within our relationships with others. Our unity with others has an effect on eternity, and is a weapon of warfare in our battle against evil in the heavenly realms.

VERSES 21-35
RELATIONSHIPS – 1). Peter asked Jesus how many times he needed to forgive his brother. (v.21) They had just finished talking about relationships in the previous passage, and now Peter asked a more specific question. We might assume that a quarrel had come up and Jesus was dealing with it. It wouldn’t be surprising with such volatile personalities in the group of disciples. We can almost see Peter asking this question while staring at the one disciple that had offended him. Any time we work in groups, there will come situations where feelings are hurt and disagreements develop. It’s important to work it out in a Godly way and press on. 2). Other servants saw that this wicked servant wasn’t showing grace to others. (v.31) They immediately went and told this to their master. Sometimes, we might be tempted to stay quiet about sinful things we see others involved in, but the proper thing to do is to help them by bringing it to the surface. Hidden sins destroy people quickly. 3). Jesus desires for us to stay at peace with our brothers. (v.35) What is forgiving seventy times seven? What is God really trying to say? The answer is found in verse 35. It simply says to ‘forgive your brother from your heart.’ We must make sure not to just say the words, but flesh it out in our actions as well.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joshua 18: Notes on Worship

Joshua 18
Notes on Worship

WORSHIP - 1). The people assembled at Shiloh before they separated to take possession of the land designated to each tribe. (v.1) This was where the Tent of Meeting was, the actual Presence of God on earth. They needed to come together there as a starting point, a frame of reference, so they would always remember to come together to meet with God. The Presence of God was to be at the center of their nation and their lives. 2). After the surveys were done, they were to return to Joshua at Shiloh where he would cast lots for the Lord’s will on their behalf. (v.6) Casting lots was a dice type of activity where they would expect God to speak them based on how He let the ‘chips fall’. This may sound so alien to us, but remember that God didn’t just speak to his leaders every day, it was often spread out over years and decades. And we also must remember that they lived in a time where the work of God among them was much more supernatural than we see in our world today. The lesson for us is that once we’ve done our best to plan, we must lay our plans before God and let Him change them according to His perfect will.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Exodus 18: Notes on Worship/Passion

Exodus 18
Notes on Worship/Passion

WORSHIP - Jethro brought a burnt offering and a sacrifice to celebrate the freedom of the Hebrew people. (v.12) He knew that God was worthy of worship. After hearing the reports, he couldn’t help but praise. When we hear the good things that God is doing in those we love, we must bring our best worship and show God that we appreciate it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ephesians 3: Notes on God's Plan

Ephesians 3
Notes on God's Plan

GOD'S PLAN - 1). God gave Paul grace on behalf of the Gentiles. (v.2,3) Paul realized that when God saved Him, it wasn't just for Him; he was saved to reach others. When God saves us, He has a plan for us to reach others too. In saving you, He's also saving others down the road. 2). God revealed His plans to Paul's generation. (v.5) He waited until the right time for His plan to unfold. Paul's generation took the messages God had given them and spread them around the world. We are beneficiaries of their work, today. 3). Whenever God dispels His grace, it’s an act of power. (v.7) We often think of God’s power expressed in magnificent miracles; the parting of the Red Sea, raising the dead, feeding thousands, etc.. But even the simple acts of mercy and grace which God bestows upon us countless times every day are glorious miracles. When God intervenes, it’s always a powerful display of His love for us. 4). God's plan was put into motion at the right time. (v.9,10) He hid it from ages past, but initiated it with the church at that time, and it has grown to a mighty movement today. God intervenes in the affairs of men by using His church as His agent of change in this world. 

VERSES 14-21
GOD'S PLAN - 1). Paul prayed that God would give them power through His Spirit. (v.16) One of the greatest gifts we can receive from God's riches is the gift of His Spirit. He will dwell in our hearts, be with us at all times, and empower us to do all that God has called us to do. 2). Paul prayed that God would give them power to grasp His incredible love. (v.18) God wants us to know how much He loves us. It's so fabulous that we need God's help just to understand it, which He is willing to give. 3). We can know an 'unknowable' love. (v.19) God will give us power to know a love that goes beyond our knowledge. We can't define it, which makes it the perfect kind of love for us, imperfect people. God will always take us to places we couldn’t achieve without Him. 4). God wants to fill us with His fullness. (v.19) When we know the love of God by the power of His Spirit in us, we will have the fullness of God in our lives. God wants us to be full of Him. 5). God can do more than we can imagine. (v.20) He will do these things through us, by His power within us. God will use us to do His wonders in this world.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

2 Timothy 3: Notes on God's Character

2 Timothy 3
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER - 1). We serve a powerful God that wants to change us. (v.5) He doesn’t just hope to make us feel better and solve our problems. He wants to make us as He created us to be. Some people would like to allow God access to certain parts of their lives and not others. But God wants all of us, complete access to everything so He change us through and through. His power is limitless, and we must allow it limitless room in our lives. 2). Paul suffered much persecution and suffering. (v.11) God didn’t shield him from the problems, but He did rescue Him in the end. God allows us to go throughs storms for many divine reasons, not the least of which is what it does in maturing and building our faith. But He never does it because He enjoys pain, shown in how He is closely watching and waiting to rescue when the time is right. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

2 Samuel 17: Notes on Leadership

2 Samuel 17
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Once again, Absalom sought Ahithophel. He wanted his advice on what to do first in his pursuit of David. Absalom wouldn’t head out without seeking wise counsel. We should be careful to weigh our decisions carefully with those we trust and respect, because lives are in our hands. When lives are on the line, it is always worth a second look. 2). Ahithophel encouraged Absalom to pursue David immediately. (v.2,3) He knew that if David was attacked while weak and on the run, Absalom would stand a much better chance at defeating him. Though some of his advice was bad, some was also good. It would be Absalom’s job to weigh everything carefully. Even advice from trusted advisors needs to be weighed carefully in our decisions moving forward. 3). Ahithophel’s original plan seemed good to Absalom and all the elders. (v.4) Apparently, Absalom was checking with the elders as well as Ahithophel when it came to his future plans. Absalom could have been a great leader if he would have made better choices, because he wasn’t afraid to work with the team that surrounded him. 4). Hushai told Absalom that David would be ready for him. (v.8-10) He fell back on David’s years of successful military campaigns. He gave Absalom advice that contradicted Ahithophel, but was also quite accurate and true. We know that David would be ready, because of the very fact that Hushai is there advising him so, under David’s command. When in battle, David never allowed himself to be caught off guard and surprised, and neither should we. 5). Hushai encouraged Absalom to gather all of Israel together to descend on David and his men like dew settles on the ground. (v.12) He used an analogy from nature, which honored God. When we use examples that God has given us in his creation, it will be powerful to help illustrate our point, obvious in terms of actuality, and awesome in giving praise and credit to God. 6). The people agreed with their king that Hushai was right with his advice. (v.15) Ahithophel had been the best advisor up to this point. But the people rallied behind the King, giving him the courage to go against his trusted advisor. It’s hard to do something new by one’s self, but much easier with people rallied around us, standing together. When starting something new, we must make sure to rally the troops behind us before moving forward. 7). A servant girl went to tell the messengers to go to David, but a young man saw her and told Absalom. (v.17,18) They did their best to keep it private, but someone was watching and they were caught. When God makes us leaders, we must remember that someone is always watching. We must always be at our best and strive to set a good example for those who are taking their cues from us. 8). After Absalom took Hushia’s advice, Ahithophel went home and killed himself. (v.23) He couldn’t deal with being 2nd, with being rejected. We need to learn how to deal with rejection without giving up and throwing away all of our previous efforts. As leaders, we will be rejected at times; we must learn to deal with it and move on. 9). Absalom appointed Amasa over the army, married to Joab’s 2nd cousin. (v.25) Rather than allowing the army to go without a commander, Absalom found someone to replace Joab. He knew that nothing would be accomplished without a leader at the helm. We must do all we can to raise up people that can be leaders when important positions are vacated.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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. This 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, March 23, 2017

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 and be 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, 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, March 16, 2017

1 Samuel 17: Notes on Family

1 Samuel 17
Notes on Family

VERSES 1- 58
FAMILY - 1). Jesse had eight sons (v.12-14). He was older and cherished his boys. The three oldest boys were in the war, but the other five were still close to Jesse at home. David was also busy, but he went back and forth from Saul's palace to his father's house. As an older man, Jesse spent time with his sons and enjoyed being with them. As family members get older, we don't abandon them, but rather, embrace them all the more. 2). David had 4 other brothers who are never named. (v.12,13) They aren't mentioned when David was anointed, and they didn't join the older brothers in war. They stayed with their dad. Sometimes, the greatest thing we can do, the greatest thing God calls us to, is serve our families, and that should be enough. 3). Jesse sent David to his older sons at war. (v.17-19) Even though they were far away, Jesse didn't forget about them. He sent gifts to them, and to their commander, whom he trusted with their lives. Though distance can separate us, we need to stay close to our families and love those who love them. 4). David told King Saul that he was Jesse's son. (v.58) What a moment for their family, now friends with the King. Jesse sent his son to help his brothers, yet he came back a hero. David said his fathers name in the presence of the King, and knew that he had changed their lives forever.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

1 Kings 17: Notes on Sin

1 Kings 17
Notes on Sin

SIN - Some time later, the son became ill. (v.17) Even though this tremendous miracle kept occurring day after day after day, the son became ill. We still live in a world with sin and sickness, and sometimes it will affect us as well. Just because we are Christians, that doesn’t mean we won’t suffer anymore.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

1 John 2: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

1 John 2
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

WORSHIP - When we live for God, we can start to learn more about God by even 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 looks like John got creative and included this lyric with his letter. He was known as the disciple that Jesus loved, so it shouldn’t surprise us that he included a bit of a worship with his message. When we love Jesus, truly love Him, it will pour out of us in worship 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 of 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.
PASSION - 1). Our fathers should know who God is from the beginning. (v.13) They have more life experience and know who God was before we were born. Fathers, in this sense, refers to the elders overseeing the church. Those that have gone on before have the wisdom of experience with God from the beginning. That wisdom, which has guided them through the years, should guide the rest of us through them as well. 2). John wrote to young men because they had overcome the evil one. (v.13) The idea here is that he is speaking to those young in life and in the faith. They are positioned to battle for God and defeat the enemy, taking risks for the Kingdom. They can go to the front lines of the battle and should do so to experience the adventure that they desire because of their God-given dreams. 3). Again, John compliments the passion of the young men. (v.14) He calls them strong, full of the Word of God, and overcomers. We shouldn’t look down on young Christians, they are a great source of passion and evangelism in the church today.

VERSES 15-17
PASSION - Our love should be for God and not for things in this world. (v.15) The true battle in all of our lives is the tug between God and the world. We live in the world and are constantly surrounded by people who are consumed by it. But God is the author of all creation and to know 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’s we heard in the beginning remain in us until the end. (v.24) We must hold onto it, rehearse it often, and make efforts to live according to it everyday. God planned 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 God. (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 truly righteous without Him.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1 Corinthians 2: Notes on God's Plan

1 Corinthians 2
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - 1). God made Paul and the leaders of the time for that moment in history to begin to declare His plan of salvation. (v.7) It was a mystery to the people of that day. Unfortunately, it’s still a mystery to many people today, and it shouldn’t be. We’ve got to continue sharing this valuable plan to people in this world so they too can enjoy God’s mercy and grace. We are part of this plan, so important that it was destined for us too before the world even began 2). God has great things in store for those who receive Him. (v.9) Surprises? God is full of them. Those that don’t receive Him don’t know what they are missing. We can always trust that God has more in store for us that we could ever imagine or understand. 3). God revealed these truths to Paul and the apostles by His Spirit. (v.10) Jesus had ascended to heaven but He left His Spirit on earth in His place. This was an even better plan for us because the Spirit is one with God and knows His inner thoughts and desires. That same Spirit shows us God’s truths and propels us forward in God’s plans.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Matthew 17: Notes on God's Character

Matthew 17
Notes on God's Character

GOD’S CHARACTER – 1). Jesus shined like the sun. (v.2) We serve a tremendous, supernatural, all-powerful God. He appeared in radiant splendor, talking with some of the greatest historical figures of all time. Men, who had died in their physical bodies on this earth, but were now alive in abundant life in heaven. 2). The disciples bowed down with their faces to the ground in fear. (v.6,7) This is similar to when Peter, who had been walking on water, started drowning in fear. But Jesus, once again in his physical earthly state, touched them and calmed them. This is just another example of how He calms our fears, and we don’t need to be afraid with Jesus on our side.

VERSES 14-23
GOD’S CHARACTER –Jesus exercised His authority over demonic forces and drove the demon out of the child. (v.18) He rebuked it, and the demon listened to Him and obeyed. Our God is greater than all things, and He has power over everything, including demonic forces in the spiritual realms.

VERSES 24-27
GOD’S CHARACTER – 1). Jesus immediately spoke to Peter when he entered the house. (v.25) He knew the situation. Nothing happens to His disciples without Jesus knowing about it. He keeps a good watch over His people. 2). Jesus’ reply indicated that He was the reason for the temple, and His disciples were the real workers. (v.25) Many times, He even referred to His body as the temple. They could’ve been exempt from it in that sense, but He paid it to show that He was just and abided by the rules. He is a righteous God. 3). God did a miracle for Peter’s eyes only. (v.27) A common trade to Peter in fishing held a supernatural blessing. God meets the physical need of the tax, and the spiritual needs of showing Peter His power over all things. He meets the needs.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Joshua 17: Notes on Leadership

Joshua 17
Notes on Leadership

LEADERSHIP - 1). Joseph’s grandson Makir was known for developing great soldiers. (v.1) They received Gilead and Bashir because of their reputation as strong warriors. Joseph had been the son that was discarded by his brothers and had to fight for himself in Egypt. God did great things through him, even saving his whole family. He had to develop him as a fighter to get the job done, and he handed it down to his family through the generations. The challenges that we face are making us strong for God so we can accomplish His purposes and then pass it on to those who follow in our footsteps. 2). When one of Manasseh’s relatives only had daughters, they went to Eleazer the priest, along with Joshua and the other leaders. (v.3,4) When they had an issue they went to the leaders to ask for help, and the leaders responded accordingly. Leaders need to be available to help their people when they are in need. 3). Joshua told the tribes of Joseph that if they were so abundant and blessed they needed to go into the forest wilderness and claim more land for themselves. (v.15) He allowed them an opportunity rather than solving the issue for them. Leaders look for ways to help people be involved in the process, rather than just taking care of it all on their own. 4). Joshua held his ground with the tribes of Joseph and encouraged them. (v.17,18) He told them that they were large and prosperous, and he believed they could get the job done. Rather then giving in and letting them get what they wanted, or becoming angry at them for their bad attitudes, he simply encouraged them to keep trying and provided the opportunity to succeed.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Exodus 16: Notes on Attitude

Exodus 16
Notes on Attitudes

ATTITUDE - 1). The people grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the desert. (v.2,3) They said they wished they had been left to die in Egypt, where they sat around eating everything they wanted. According to earlier reports, this isn’t accurate, but desperation has made them exaggerate their past predicaments. They had been out roughly 45 days with hardly and food and water so they’ve reached a breaking point. A physical need drove them to give up. Often, when we choose a bad attitude, we bend the facts to try and excuse our behavior. Whenever we find ourselves twisting the truth, we must know we are headed in the wrong direction. 2). God asked them to get enough food on the 6th day to cover two days so they could rest on the Sabbath. (v.5) He wanted them to plan ahead so they could rest. Also, when they arrived back after the Sabbath, they wouldn’t have any work they needed to catch up on. God likes for us to plan ahead and work hard rather than putting things off and getting to them later. 3). Moses was angry with the people that tried to keep more than they should. (v.20) Though he was the leader, he still got mad. He was frustrated when they deliberately disobeyed his commands. It’s natural for us to be unhappy when people frustrate us, but we musn’t let it dictate our decisions. 4). The people called the food from heaven ‘manna’. (v.31) The word doesn’t translate directly to Hebrew, but sounds very similar to the word meaning, ‘what is it?’ The people were surprised by this act, and confused. Rather than give it a joyous name, the name even carries a sense of question and concern. They were struggling to trust God even after all that He had done for them because they were dealing with difficulties and change. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ephesians 2: Notes on Relationships

Ephesians 2
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS - We all lived among sinners at one time. (v.3) Every Christian has been a full time sinner at some point in their life. We all have that in common, a unity in our experience, that brings us closer together in our pursuit of Jesus. We all know what it feels like, in some way, to be apart from God.

VERSES 11-22
RELATIONSHIPS - 1). Jesus destroyed the division between Jews and Gentiles. (v.14,15) He abolished the law through His death on the cross. God doesn't want His people to be divided. Through Jesus, we can find unity regardless of our differences. 2). We have access to God with our fellow Christians. (v.18) We can come to God on our own as well, but it is special when we come to Him together. We should prioritize times of prayer and worship with other believers. The Spirit of God unites us as one. 3). As Christians, we are growing together. (v.21) God is building us up into a holy temple for His presence. We need to work together to stay holy and pure in this evil world. As a holy church, we will shine brightly for God. We need each other to stay strong.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2 Timothy 2: Notes on Sin

2 Timothy 2
Notes on Sin

SIN - 1). Soldiers don’t get entangled in civilian affairs. (v.4) Paul intentionally used the world entangled because these interruptions distract us from doing what God has called us to do. We must be careful not to involve ourselves in these issues too much because if we do it will keep us from doing what God wants us to do for Him. Too many ministers may be missing their true purpose because of these entangling distractions in our lives. 2). Athletes only win if they play by the rules. (v.5) If they cheat or disobey the rules, they would be disqualified and removed from the competition. When we sin, it’s as if we are cheating and trying to win in life by going against the rules. God sets the rules and we must disciple ourselves to obey them and honor them in all that we do. 3). God will disown us if we choose to disown Him. (v.12) It’s our choice. Some say that we can’t lose our salvation, but it appears here that this is possible if we choose to give it away. God won’t force us to keep Him in our lives. We must constantly choose Him over all else in our lives to endure and reign one day.

VERSES 14-26
SIN - 1). We should work hard to be unashamed. (v.15) When we give our best to God, there is no shame. When we cut corners, hide secret sins, and avoid hard work it’s shameful. Sometimes we know how we did based on the way we feel when we look back. Even if we don’t feel shame, we should strive hard to be great for God so we don’t invoke shame in His eyes as well. A life without secret sin is a life without regrets and shame. 2). Paul encouraged them to avoid Godless chatter. (v.16) This world is full of talk that is far from God, in media, music, TV, etc. This isn’t discussions that don’t speak specifically of God, because God is still praised when we enjoy the beauty of His creation. It is noise that is contrary to Him and leaves Him out. The more we fill our lives with this type of noise, the farther from God we will become, and instead we’ll become like the chatter in our lives. 3). Bad teaching can spread fast and infect many people. (v.17) Paul compared it to the spread of gangrene, a nasty venereal disease. Teaching can build us or disrupt us from the inside out. It’s important to make sure the teaching we submit ourselves to is right and inspiring, so we stay healthy in God’s Will. 4). Hymenaeus and Philetus had departed from the truth. (v.18) They were teaching that the final resurrection of the Saints had already occurred, which isn’t accurate. Whether this was their honest interpretation or if they were purposely deceiving others didn’t matter; they were teaching a lie and would be held responsible for it. When we believe lies, regardless of our motives, it will always hurt us and destroy the truth in our lives. 5). When we stay away from sin we prove that we belong to God. (v.19) That is a distinguishing feature of a true Christ follower. Sin is rampant in this world and we will stand out greatly when we choose to avoid it. It shows where are true loyalties lie. 6). Paul encouraged them to flee the evil desires of youth. (v.22) This is a great memory verse helping us strive for purity in our lives. There is much temptation in youth, and we must mature to a point of overcoming easy traps. The way to overcome sin is by pursuing the true things of righteousness, filling our time with things that benefit our faith. 7). Sin is nothing more than a trap of the enemy. (v.26) It’s Satan’s attempt to enslave us so that we do what he wants instead of obeying God. When we follow sin, it’s a choice to abandon God and do things our own way, which will lead to destruction.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2 Samuel 16: Notes on Worship and Passion for God

2 Samuel 16
Notes on Worship and Passion for God

VERSES 15-23
WORSHIP - Hushai said that he would only serve the one in leadership chosen by the Lord. (v.18) He said that honestly, because though he was talking to Absalom he knew that David was still God’s chosen one. Regardless of his circumstances, Hushai would follow after God’s plans, even in times of difficult transition. The circumstances should never dictate our decision to serve God. He deserves our best all the time.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

1 Timothy 2: Notes on God's Plan

1 Timothy 2
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul urged Timothy to pray for everyone, and especially for his leaders. (v.1,2) The first request he had was for prayer. Everything should always start with prayer. When we put prayer first in our lives we will see God do amazing things as part of His master plan. 2). God is pleased when our lives are holy. (v.3) A quiet and peaceful life for of godliness and holiness brings much joy to our God. When we pray constantly, our lives will reflect God more. He loves when He looks at us and sees us acting like Him, imitating Him, following Him. 3). God wants all men to be saved. (v.4) He wants everyone to know the truth and to be set free. No one is beyond His reach or outside of His plan. We are all His creation and He desires everyone to be with Him in eternity. 4). The story of Jesus is a testimony given in its’ proper time. (v.6) God has a time that is perfect for all things, even sharing His story with others. We should seek to be obedient in all things, which also means that we do things in the proper time as well as the proper way. Before rushing off to do what is right, we need to check and make sure that it is the right time as well. 5). Paul desired men from everywhere to lift up hands together in prayer. (v.8) It didn’t matter where they were from or what people they belonged to. He desired everyone to participate, just like God. If we are to follow after God’s heart, we will open the gospel to everyone and never exclude anyone from God’s free gift.

GOD’S PLAN - Eve committed the first sin and God gave her mercy through childbirth. (v.15) God had a plan of redemption. This is also highly symbolic of Jesus coming to earth in the form of a child, to live a life for the redemption of man. Even in the beginning, we see that God had mercy and had a plan for grace.