August 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

confusion

Speaking in tongues is one of those things that people use as an example of why Christianity is weird. Many Christians are even totally turned off by it. Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit, so it, in and of itself, is a good thing. The discomfort is often because we are simply not familiar with speaking in tongues or that gift is being used incorrectly. Paul goes to great lengths in our 1 Corinthians reading to explain how and when this special gift should be used. Hopefully this will clear up a little confusion and assuage some fear.

Job 4:1-7:21:

  • 4:1-5:27 – Job’s friend, Eliphaz, suggests that it is Job’s sin that has brought his troubles about. While sin does bring on some of our afflictions, ancient cultures believed that all infirmities and difficulties (i.e. blindness or paralysis) were brought on by the sin of you or your parents.
  • 6:1-7:21 – Job’s response asks to be shown whatever sin he has. He ends by asking God why he won’t take the pain and torment off of him.

1 Corinthians 14:18-40:

  • 18 – Paul says this to explain that he’s not jealous of the Corinthians for being able to speak in tongues, because he can too. Paul spends a good amount of time explaining the proper use of tongues. Clearly the Corinthians were using them incorrectly.
  • 20 – A good contrast. Be young in your knowledge and experience of evil. Be wise and mature in your thought.
  • 22- This simply means that tongues gain the attention of unbelievers while prophecy serves that purpose for believers.
  • 26-33 – Paul is trying to teach the Corinthians how to appropriately use their gifts so they can build up the body instead of confuse it.

Psalm 37:30-40:

  • 31 – When the law of God is on our heart, it is considerably easier to follow it.

Proverbs 21:27:

  • Proverbs says similar things in 15:8 and 15:29. Sacrifices from the wicked are not given with the heart that they are intended.

August 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

 

Job is a tough book to read for a number of reasons, but there are a number of takeaways. One major one is in today’s reading. Job reminds us that the Lord gives and thus it is God’s right to take those things away as well. He confirms, though that either way, whether in blessing or wanting, the name of the Lord should be blessed. Here’s a musical version of the same concept:

Job 1:1-3:26:

  • 1 – “Blameless and upright” is a description very few people in the Bible receive. Noah, before the flood, was described in a similar way.
  • 5 – Job even hedged his bets by sacrificing for his children just in case they were sinful without his knowledge.
  • 6-12 – Satan challenged God saying that Job was only faithful because God had, until then, protected him and all his things. God disagrees and allows him to torment Job in order to prove his faithfulness.
  • 20-22 – After all the turmoil and trauma Job received back to back to back, he grieved but did not curse God like Satan said he would.
  • 3-6 – This time God allows Satan to strike Job with any kind of personal illness as long as he doesn’t kill him.
  • 9 – This must be what Proverbs warns against when it talks about basically anything being better than living with a quarrelsome wife.
  • 10 – It is obviously much easier to receive the good God gives us, but Job reminds us that we can’t expect the good without being willing to receive bad too.
  • 3-26 – Job basically wishes he was never born.

1 Corinthians 14:1-17:

  • 5 – Speaking in tongues, unless it is interpreted for the body, is intended to be between that person and God.
  • 16-17 – Speaking in ways others can understand is important in the larger body. Paul gives the example that it then allows someone to say “amen” in agreement with what you’ve said. They can only do that if they understood what was said.

Psalm 37:12-29:

  • 14-17 – These verses basically explain that wicked people and the Lord are at war over the poor and needy. The wicked try to take them down while the Lord makes sure to lift them up.
  • 23-24 – Even though we stumble and struggle at times, if we are faithful, the Lord keeps us from total destruction.

Proverbs 21:25-26:

  • 26 – What a powerful verse! When we are lazy and sloth-y, we tend to constantly want and need. The righteous, on the other hand, are willing to give and give abundantly.

August 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

narrow escape

Though Esther is a unique book, it’s understandable why it was included in Scripture. The Jews narrowly escaped total extinction by an evil man and a weasel king. Purim is still celebrated by Jews today as they remember God’s incredible provision and creativity in assuring that they were not wiped out.

Esther 8:1-10:3:

  • 10 – The Jews choosing not to plunder their enemies is supposed to be a sign that this was a holy war.
  • 23-28 – Purim is a Jewish holiday still observed to this day. It is one of their most joyous occasions as they celebrate avoiding extermination at the hands of Haman.

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13:

  • 1-13 – Known as “the love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13 is popular at weddings. It is actually helpful in all walks of life when thinking about what it means to love. If you want to know if you’re being loving or if someone is showing you love, place it up against these requirements.

Psalm 37:1-11:

  • 1 – We do tend to envy wrongdoers because it often seems they get good things easily and are able to take shortcuts. We want their ease of success and don’t always recognize that that success is often short-lived and always dishonoring to God.
  • David continually encourages the hearer of this psalm not to worry about those who are unfaithful and to focus on waiting on the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23-24:

  • 23 – Our mouths tend to get us into trouble. It is wise to watch our words and think through them carefully.

What to Expect – Week 34

Pulitzers

Tomorrow we begin Job, which is widely regarded as the oldest book in the Old Testament, and therefore, the Bible. Job is challenging in a number of ways, but the main reason is: Job was righteous. Why does God allow him to be tormented?

Though not intended as a complete explanation, hopefully these thoughts will shift our thinking from something along the lines of, “why is God so mean?” to “what was really happening here and what came of it?” Take a second to think through these thoughts:

  • God was not the one doing the tormenting.
  • For the majority of the book, Job, who is being tormented, defends God.
  • Job’s friends are certain they can explain Job’s suffering. No one can explain suffering.
  • God gave Job his blessings. It is his choice to take them away as well. But note that God abundantly blesses Job again in the end.

I won’t try to explain what happened to Job in this book or how God operates or why we suffer, etc. Hopefully the above thoughts will at least add a few bumper lanes as you read this challenging book.

August 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Gifts

Yesterday we talked about how God can use any gift he’s given us, using Esther’s beauty as an example. Today, in 1 Corinthians, we look at gifts of the Spirit. These are gifts specifically designed to build up the body of Christ. If you haven’t done a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to figure out your specific gifts, here’s one. Take a few minutes to explore the gifts God has given you.

Esther 4:1-7:10:

  • 1-3 – Sackcloth and ashes were signs of mourning.
  • 4-9 – Esther was distressed by Mordecai’s actions and the fact that he was mourning. She still did not know about the decree to destroy the Jews. Mordecai sent the news through Hathach, the eunuch.
  • 11-17 – In order to talk to the king about the decree, Esther had to break the law and risk her life. The king would be well within his rights to have her killed when she approached him.
  • 14 – A powerful statement from Mordecai that Esther may have been put in her unique position for this specific purpose.
  • 10-11 – Haman must have been fuming as he had to honor the man that he was hoping to have killed.

1 Corinthians 12:1-26:

  • 3 – This is to say that the Spirit of God cannot speak against Jesus so if we truly have the Spirit within us, we cannot speak against Jesus.
  • 4-11 – We are all given different gifts from the Spirit and these gifts are intended for the building up of the body of Christ.
  • 12-20 – All our gifts are meant to work together for the good of the group. We shouldn’t feel bad or be jealous that we don’t have certain gifts. Instead we should use our gift to our best ability in order to benefit the whole.

Psalm 36:1-12:

  • 5-9 – These verses explain what all the Lord offers to us. There are vast benefits to loving and serving God. The verses before this, however, profile those who do not honor and love God.

August 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

makeup

Isn’t it amazing what God can use? We think of God using those who can preach or those who have a heart for service, but we view other gifts and attributes as fairly neutral when it comes to God’s work. That is a mistake. With Esther, God uses her beauty to get her near the king during a key time in Jewish history. It makes you think, what in you, can God use?

Esther 1:1-3:15:

  • 10-12 – Eunuchs were often assigned to female royalty because they could be trusted to not assault her sexually. It was unheard of, even for the queen, to not obey the king’s commands.
  • 10-11 – Esther and Mordecai were Jews living under a Persian king. Mordecai told Esther, as she entered the king’s harem, not to reveal this part of her identity.
  • 12-14 – After a year’s worth of dolling up, each girl got one sexual encounter to impress the king. If she didn’t, she was relegated to the harem for the rest of their lives.
  • 19-23 – Though the king still didn’t know Esther’s relationship to Mordecai, he still got credit for saving the king’s life.
  • 1-6 – It’s not that Haman didn’t want to harm Mordecai, he didn’t want to hurt just Mordecai. He wanted to go ahead and hurt all the Jews.
  • 12-15 – Haman is given the power to demand the destruction of all the Jews in the land and he even sets a date for it to happen.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34:

  • 23-26 – After Jesus’ death, we see, very early on, Christians participating in communion. Paul is reminding them what it looked like.
  • 27-29 – This is why we have a time of confession before we take communion.

Psalm 35:17-28:

  • 17 – This verse is different from many of David’s psalms in that it recognizes God’s presence but notes that God is failing to act. Most often, David acts as though God has turned his face away and or has forsaken him. Here he recognizes that God sees what is going on.

Proverbs 21:19-20:

  • 20 – The wise man takes care of what he has and keeps it safe. The foolish man uses is frivolously.

August 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

story of stuff

Chocolate. Money. Cell Phones. These things are all enjoyable and not bad in and of themselves. But any can easily become a god to us if we allow it to. Our proverb, today, reminds us what role our stuff should have in our lives.

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31:

  • 27-43 – This was a large celebration, led by the Levites, to give thanks for the restoration of Jerusalem.
  • 6 – Remember that Nehemiah has asked for leave in order to restore the walls of Jerusalem. At this point, he returns to the king.
  • 15-18 – Working on the Sabbath disobeyed one of the 10 Commandments. Nehemiah reminds the people of this and explains that they are engaging in the same kinds of sinful acts that their fathers did which eventually sent them to exile.
  • 23-27 – The children not being able to speak the language of Judah is just an example of how intermarrying caused the Israelites to lose their national purity.

1 Corinthians 11:3-16:

  • 6 – Apparently short or shaved hair was a disgrace for women at the time. Paul is relating to the present culture to make his point.
  • 11-12 – God brought man and woman’s dependence on one another full circle by having woman be created from man in the beginning, but now men come from women in birth.

Psalm 35:1-16:

  • 1-6 – David seeks God’s help in his fight against his enemies. David is quick to trust God for help throughout the psalms.

Proverbs 21:17-18:

  • 17 – It is not bad to love pleasurable things, but it is bad to let them rule us.

August 16 – Daily Notes – Amanda

follow the leader

How do you help someone follow Jesus? Paul makes it really clear in our 1 Corinthians reading. If I’m following Christ, I can simply invite them to follow me. There is obviously a big “if” involved though. I first have to make sure I’m following Christ in order to ask a perspective disciple to follow me.

Nehemiah 11:1-12:26:

  • 3-19 – This is the list of people who settled back into Jerusalem.
  • 1-26 – These are lists of the various priests and Levites post exile.

1 Corinthians 10:14-11:2:

  • 14-22 – Paul urges the Israelites not to participate in the sacrifices offered to idols, but to remember that participating in communion makes us connected to all believers.
  • 23-30 – Based on how hard Paul is hammering this point home, clearly the Corinthians were struggling with what was good and lawful to eat. His point is that nothing starts out unclean any longer. However, anything already sacrificed to idols is off limits.
  • 1 – The perfect model of discipleship. I can feel confident in asking you to follow me if I am confident that I am following Christ.

Psalm 34:11-22:

  • 18 – A good reminder when we or someone we love is heartbroken.