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.