Thursday, July 20, 2017

1 Thessalonians 4: Notes on God's Character

1 Thessalonians 4
Notes on God's Character

VERSES 1-12
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

VERSES 1-30
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

VERSES 1-15
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

VERSES 1-10
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

VERSES 1-23
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

VERSES 1-28
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

VERSES 1-27
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

VERSES 1-13
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

VERSES 1-9
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

VERSES 1-29
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

VERSES 1-5
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.

VERSES 6-13
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

VERSES 1-24
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

VERSES 1-11
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

VERSES 1-16
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

VERSES 1-13
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

VERSES 1-18
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

VERSES 1-36
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

VERSES 1-10
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

VERSES 1-13
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

VERSES 1-8
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.

VERSES 9-15
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.