Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Notes for Lesson 14

Lesson 14 – Ezra, Nehemiah, the Poetic and Prophetic Overview

I. The Return and Rebuilding of the Temple – Ezra 1-6

· Cyrus is now the king of Persia

· 537 B.C. – the Jews may return to the land and rebuild their Temple

· Isaiah prophesied about this 200 years earlier – Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-4 – names Cyrus

· Not everyone returned – a slave is a _____captive_____, an ____exile___ is one who chose not to return

· The Story:

II. Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem – Nehemiah

· Before going to the King, Nehemiah goes to God – ch. 1

· In Ch. 2, Nehemiah receives permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall

· 2:11-15 – he arrives and inspects the wall at night

· Ch – 3 – assigns portions to specific men and in 4:2,3 their work is ridiculed

· By chapter 6, we see a plot to kill Nehemiah to stop the builders, but in the end, they finish in _____52_______ days

That's it for the blanks...here's the timeline I handed out (sorry the formatting is goofy):

Return from Babylon

Chronology of the Return

605-536 B.C. General period of captivity

605, 597, 586 B.C. Leading Judean citizens deported including Daniel and Ezekiel

538 B.C. Edict of Cyrus permitting the return

536 B.C. Return of 49,897 from Babylon to Jerusalem

536 B.C. Altar rebuilt, sacrifice offered in 7th month

535 B.C. Temple rebuilding begun, then stopped

535 – 520 B.C. Economic and political struggle

520 B.C. Ministry of Haggai

520 – 515 B.C. Ministry of Zechariah

515 B.C. Temple completed

458 B.C. Return of Ezra

445 B.C. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls

***One more note - the picture timeline at the back of this lesson has the rebuilding of the Temple and the rebuilding of the walls mixed up - Temple first, walls second. Sorry about that!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chapel - Decision Making from Proverbs

I spoke at WMC's chapel today - thanks to you gals who prayed for me. It went fine - I thought I'd post my notes here for you to peruse...enjoy!

Decision Making from Proverbs


· In order to teach you from Proverbs, I have to make a few assumptions:

1. You kids understand this is God’s Word – I have no interest in hearing about decision making from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or Steven Tyler’s “Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?” I want to hear what God says, so I go to His Word – are we in agreement?

2. You understand what it means to walk by faith – Christianity is a faith-based relationship with God. So what is faith? What does that mean? Review definition here.

3. You know the difference between a fool and a wise man – have you been going through Proverbs all year? Have you heard a fool and wise man contrasted at all?

What is a fool?

o According to the dictionary - idiot, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod; nitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, numbskull…

o Biblically speaking – a fool rejects God and His ways – he is selfish, unreliable, lazy, undisciplined, unteachable, unpleasant, unliked, undesirable and usually a liar

In contrast, what is a wise man?

o He is a man who fears God, submits to God’s ways which makes him disciplined, organized, teachable, pleasant, liked, desirable, selfless and a truth teller

4. You want to be wise and not foolish

· Summary – when faced with a decision, we can either be wise or foolish in how we respond so, by faith, we are going to look at what God’s Word says

I. 2 kinds of decisions you make in life:

1. Every day decisions with short term ramifications – what should I wear today? What should I eat for lunch? What movie should we rent this weekend?

2. The Biggies with long term ramifications – where should I go to college? What should I be when I grow up? Should I marry this boy or girl?

· Your process of decision making is similar in both circumstances – you don’t want to be foolish in the small things but call on wisdom in the big things…practice good decision making in the small things and it will come easier in the biggies!

II. Three words of wisdom about decision making from Proverbs

1. Get advice – Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

· Who are your counselors? Are they wise or foolish? Sometimes your friends are not your best counsel…

· What does that practically look like?

o Movies – who are you asking? What sites do you go to when checking it out?

o College – here are my finances – what are my choices? Who has gone there before? What do you see as my strengths and weaknesses?

2. Make your plans – Proverbs 14:15 – “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”

· So you want to move forward with a certain decision – give thought on how you get there – be prepared for the steps it takes to acquire the results you desire from that decision

· What does that practically look like?

o Movies - where can we go to see the movie? How are we getting there? What happens if the movie is bad? Am I willing to walk out?

o College – how can I afford this? What scholarships are available to me? Do I need to up my GPA? Can I afford to live there or should I commute? Is the goal to party for four years in a dorm or to be educated and graduate with little to no debt?

3. Submit your decisions and plans to God – Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

· Most important ingredient – God. He is sovereign, which means He sits on the throne and rules in your life – don’t make any plans without Him

· When you have sought godly counsel and made realistic plans, then give your work to the Lord – commit it to His blessing and His guidance.

· Questions to ask:

o Will I bring glory to God through this decision?

o If my circumstances change (because God changes them), can I adjust because of my faith and love for Him?

o Am I worshipping God or myself through this decision?

· What does this practically look like?

o Movies – Does God like action thrillers? Does He like sexually explicit movies? If the movie turns bad, am I more concerned about what my friends think or what God thinks? What does this movie reveal about man’s heart and what does it teach me about God?

o College – what if I can’t afford where I really want to go? Does this anger you at God or can you by faith make a choice within the perimeters that God has set around you? Does this choice increase my dependency on God? Am I responding in gratitude for what God has provided for?


Proverbs is a book filled with wisdom. In regards to decision making, it instructs you to seek out wise counsel, make realistic plans and goals and submit your ways to the Lord. This is not just for the biggies in life, but a Jesus-follower who puts this into daily practice will find the biggies come much easier.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Manner Worthy

"For this reason also, since the day we heard of it,
we have not ceased to pray for you
and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
to please Him in all respects,
bearing fruit in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,
for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience;
joyously giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."
Colossians 1:9-12

Healthy things grow.

Healthy babies grow into children, who grow into young adults, who grow into adults, who create healthy babies.

So not only do healthy things grow but they also reproduce themselves.

In these four verses, Paul give an encouraging greeting to the young church at Colossae, quickly explaining to them the reason they need to grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding - so that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

We cannot save ourselves but once we lay our lives at the feet of our Savior, we can live a life that is worthy of the Lord - this is the sanctification process of growth that every believer is engaged in. We all should be growing. If we're not growing in our knowledge of the Lord and His will, something is wrong, because healthy things grow and reproduce themselves.

Then Paul, in encouraging them to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, goes on to list out what that manner looks like:

1. To please Him in all respects

2. To bear fruit in every good work

3. To continue to increase in our knowledge of Him

4. To be strengthened in His power

5. To be steadfast and patient

6. To be joyfully thankful

And then he tells us why we should live this way - because Jesus has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints - He's traded identities with us and we now receive His inheritance.

So let's walk in a manner that is worthy of our Savior.

Wow. Sounds easy, right? But growth takes effort.

Take a plant that has just sprouted and set it on a shelf in a dark closet. What will happen? It's dead in a few days. But give it light, water it regularly, keep the weeds away and what happens? It grows.

Take a baby and set it on that same shelf in the dark closet. Okay, don't do that. You get the point - it takes great care and love to grow a baby. (That looks kind of funny written out, but you get what I mean.)

If you are going to grow spiritually, it takes work. You need to grow in your knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding - in other words, you need to grow in your knowledge of God and that only comes from concentrated time in His Word. This is His revelation of Himself - this is your nutrition that causes growth. You start with milk and soon you'll find you're on soft fruits and veggies. Then solids. Then they day comes that you find yourself chewing on the meat of the Word - growth! Wonderful, life-changing growth!

Our goal as believers should be to please the Lord in all respects. When we do that, the other things (bearing fruit, increasing in knowledge, having joy and patience, etc.) fall into place because that's all a part of pleasing Him.

Just my thought for the day - in these four little verses we can all find our calling and our purpose in life...

So let's walk in a manner worthy of our Savior.

(and I didn't even get to the call to reproduce ourselves...you can think on that one yourself...)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Notes for Lesson Thirteen

Lesson 13 – Daniel


I. Introduction to Daniel – the background – 537 B.C.

· Daniel was written during Judah’s exile in _______Babylon______

· Daniel was a man of great personal conviction, spiritual discipline and wisdom – God used him in a mighty way

· Daniel 1:4 – description of the young men taken

· Daniel was being trained at the same time Ezekiel was in a slave gang

II. The Stories

· Daniel’s Resolve – a test of character – Daniel 1:5-20

o His first challenge – taken to the king’s quarters and offered food from his table

o Daniel knew the Law

o God granted favor and compassion in the eyes of his commander

o Daniel asks for a ten day trial

o v.17 – we see that God blessed these four with knowledge and intelligence and Daniel understood visions and dreams

Lesson One – Daniel determined not to ____defile__ himself, no matter the circumstance or cause. Daniel also found _____Faithful Friends______ to stand by him.

· Daniel’s giftedness – Dream Interpretation – Daniel 2

o v. 1-13 – Nebuchadnezzar had a dream…

o The king ordered that all wise men be killed if they could not tell him his dream and the meaning – this included Daniel and his friends

o v. 14-18 – Daniel asks for time and they go before the Lord for wisdom

o v. 19-30 – God gives Daniel the answer

o v. 31-35 – Daniel describes the dream and then interprets it – v. 36-45

· The Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3

o Nebuchadnezzar makes a golden image of himself and demands the worship of his people

o Worship – placing the will of your object of worship above all else

o Daniel’s three friends do not comply

o v. 15 – Neb asks, “What god is there that can deliver you out of my hands?”

o v. 17 – Either-way faith

o The men are thrown in the furnace – but a fourth joins them – who is this?

Lesson Two – The three Hebrew men had __either_-_way_ faith – they knew God __could___ save, but whether or not He ____would__ to save, either way they would only worship the True God

· The Writing on the Wall – Daniel 5

o When Belshazzar became king, he threw a big party – he defiled the items from the Temple of God

o In the middle of the party, a large hand appeared and wrote on the wall

o Daniel interpreted the inscription and told Belshazzar that his kingdom was coming to an end

· Daniel in the Lion’s Den – Daniel 6

o King – 3 Satraps – 120 Commissioners

o The leadership wanted Daniel gone, so they devised a plan

o The king unknowingly signed off on the plan and Daniel’s response? v.10 – he did as he had previously been doing

o The king sorrowed over Daniel’s punishment but couldn’t change it

o God saved Daniel and the King decreed that all men should fear the God of Daniel

Lesson Three – Daniel had ___spiritual___ ___disciplines__ in place so that when the trial came, he would ___persevere______ - you cannot have success in the ___crisis____ until you have success in the ____process_______

III . Prophecy – Daniel 9