September 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Today we learn the Fruit of the Spirit! This is the great stuff we produce when we’re living by the Spirit. Here’s a very annoying song to help you remember what you’re intended to produce:

Isaiah 33:13-36:22:

  • 13-22 – God continues to reassure Judah that they don’t have to fear Assyria but that he will restore the righteous of their land.
  • 1-14 – The prophecies continue to look to the future when all enemies of God’s people are taken care of.
  • 1-22 – Assyria attacks Jerusalem. King Hezekiah has confidence that God will prevail and the Israelites will be saved from the hands of the Assyrians.

Galatians 5:13-26:

  • 13-15 – Just because we are not under the law anymore does not mean our lives are meant to be a free for all. Our freedom in Christ should lead us to become more like Christ. One way we can do that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • 22-23 – The “fruit of the Spirit” are the things that our lives should produce when we are living through the Spirit. Paul states that neither Jews nor Gentiles would have laws against someone producing these wonderful things.

Psalm 64:1-10:

  • Like in many of his psalms, David longs for God, who he relies on for protection and sustenance, to punish all his enemies and all those who do not follow God. He has such confidence in God to do so.

September 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Isaiah reminds us that our strength comes in repentance. Though it’s difficult and sometimes feels weak to admit wrong, do it anyway. Plus, Chicago encourages you to as well.

Isaiah 30:12-33:12:

  • 15-17 – Judah’s strength, and ours for that matter, is in repentance and humility before the Lord. Our strength is through him.
  • 19-22 – Though the Israelites had faced a difficult time of oppression, God promises them that they will be restored to him. Vs. 21 is a powerful explanation of how God leads us through the Holy Spirit.
  • 1-9 – The Kingdom of Judah feared the Assyrians, but God reminds them that their fear is misguided. They can trust in the protection of God no matter how scary their opponents are. They have no need to fear.
  • 15-20 – Though so much of Isaiah speaks of punishment and difficulties the Israelites and other nations have brought upon themselves, there are glimmers of hope, like this passage, that remind the Israelites that there will be restoration one day.
  • 1-12 – Once again, Assyria is in trouble.

Galatians 5:1-12:

  • 1 – Christ died for us in order to set us free from the slavery of sin. Yet some of the Israelites were trying to put themselves back under the yolk of the law.
  • 5-6 – We are no longer under any covenant other than that of Christ’s death and resurrection. We do not need to conform to those laws or practices, but simply need to rely on the grace of Christ.
  • 7-12 – Like at the beginning of the letter, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have so quickly forgotten or turned away from what he taught them.
  • 12 – This is obviously a little harsh, but also a play on the fact that those he opposes are teaching circumcision.

Psalm 63:1-11:

  • 1-8 – David’s desire for God is unmatched by other followers. He equates his need for God with his need for sustenance.

September 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

go-through-motions

Today’s Isaiah reading talks about folks who play the part and go through the motions but don’t actually live faithfully or love God fully. This is still an issue in churches today. We show up and perform faithful looking acts, but have no intention of allowing ourselves to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Isaiah 28:14-30:11:

  • 16-18 – Here Isaiah refers to a cornerstone. Some believe that this is a Messianic prophecy like when Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone on which others will break themselves.
  • 23-29 – Just as the farmer knows the proper ways to care for his crops, God knows the proper ways to care for his people.
  • 9-12 – The Holy Spirit reveals more of God to those who believe.
  • 13-16 – Many people claimed to love and follow God, they even participated in many of the rituals, but their hearts and actions were not faithful.
  • 22-24 – God foretells a time when the Israelites will return to faithfulness.

Galatians 3:23-4:31:

  • 23-29 – People, as we still do today, were constantly looking for what separated them or made them better or more worthy. Paul makes it clear that once you have been baptized into the faith, we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and heirs to God’s inheritance.
  • 4-7 – Jesus’ being a Jew and being born under the law gave him legitimacy to the Jews.

Psalm 62:1-12:

  • 1-7 – David repeats himself regarding his trust in who God is and how he offers great protection. It might be helpful sometimes to repeat to ourselves reasons why we trust in God.

Proverbs 23:19-21:

  • Solomon did not advocate laziness.

September 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

judge ito

Did God make a mistake by asking people to follow the law? If we’re not supposed to follow it now, why were people intended to follow it way back when? Today’s Galatians reading explains that the law was good, and though people were not able to follow it completely, it kept them within parameters until God sent Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the law.

Isaiah 25:1-28:13:

  • 1-12 – This prophecy tells of a time when God’s people will be brought back together. He will redeem them and squash the other nations who are harming and oppressing them.
  • 7-15 – Here, the Israelites recognize the benefits of following the Lord. They begin to seek out the Lord and recognize things like God making their paths straight.
  • 1-13 – God is clearly going to restore the Israelites, even those lost in battles and exile. He has plans to save them despite how bleak it looks during their punishments of exile.

Galatians 3:10-22:

  • 10-14 – Paul is explaining that it is impossible for humans to obey the law fully and the law, by its nature, requires us to obey it fully. Thus, if we attempt to be justified through the law, we are doomed to fail.
  • 21-22 – Paul explains that God didn’t give the law to the people in order to doom them. It was designed for them to follow but since they were unable, he gave them Jesus.

Psalm 61:1-8:

  • 1-4 – A key theme of David’s psalms is that he trusts in the Lord for protection. He has clearly experienced this to be true and believes that God will continue to protect him.

Proverbs 23:17-18:

  • 17 – We often do envy sinners. Life seems easier for folks who actively engage in sin and it sometimes seems like they have all the fun. We are to look to something greater and longer term.

What to Expect – Week 38

o-brother-where-art-thou

Yep, still in Isaiah. Settle in. We’ll be here for a while.

But, in the New Testament, in case you need a little reprieve from all the prophecies, we’ll look at two of Paul’s epistles (fancy word for letters – use it at parties – it will make you sound smart and holy). This week we read Galatians and Ephesians.

As you begin Ephesians, read it with this in mind: Paul was in prison when he wrote it. Even in the opening verses, as Paul exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3). His joy and faith are evident.

Though I hope to never be imprisoned for my faith, I hope my joy and eagerness to share Christ are comparable to that of Paul.

September 16 – Daily Notes – Amanda

family praying

Watching your kid hit his first homerun, win an award, or get an ‘A’ is exciting and exhilarating. But none of these things come close to comparing with watching your child walk faithfully with God. Today’ proverb helps remind us that this is the ultimate success in parenting.

Isaiah 22:1-24:23:

  • 1 – “Valley of vision” refers to Jerusalem. There is irony in this title because Jerusalem had always been referred to as on top of a mountain – which was both physical and figurative.
  • 1-14 – This prophecy is aimed at Judah. God saved them from Assyria’s attacks and they felt they were home-free so they began celebrating instead of mourning their sins like God called them to do.
  • 14-25 – Shebna was an officer for King Hezekiah but his sin was so great that he was demoted. This is an indictment on him.
  • 1-18 – This prophecy is against Tyre and Sidon explaining their impending destruction.
  • 1-23 – This chapter ends the prophecies against various cities and begins an apocalyptic section.

Galatians 2:17-3:9:

  • 20-21 – Some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture that are often misunderstood. This is to say that Paul’s flesh and sinful nature died with Christ on the cross and now Christ’s righteousness should live through him. We don’t get to say we’re saved by Christ and then go on living the same way as before.
  • 1-6 – Paul implores the Galatians to live out their salvation and not to try to be justified by works or to live simply as if they were never saved.

Psalm 60:1-12:

  • This psalm cries out to God because they are being punished for their sins. It ends with the knowledge and understanding that God is powerful, in control, and will certainly restore them.

Proverbs 23:15-16:

  • It is a parent’s greatest joy to see their child walk faithfully.

September 15 – Daily Notes – Amanda

cat wedding

When we get married many of us are thrown off by the way our spouses do things: squeezing toothpaste from the middle of the tube, loading the dishwasher differently, opening present on Christmas Eve, etc. Jews had become Christians and gentiles who had become Christians entered into a similar marriage. They had to decide on how certain things needed to be done. Addressing these discrepancies is a major purpose of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Isaiah 19:1-21:17:

  • 1-15 – This is the prophecy against Egypt, who was the nation that enslaved Israel.
  • 16-25 – These sections elaborate on what’s going to happen and let them know that they will be turned to the Lord.
  • 1-6 – Yes, you read that right. Isaiah walked around naked and barefoot. This was to represent the humiliation Israel’s enemies would feel upon defeat.
  • 1-17 – These are prophecies against Babylon, Dumah, and Tema. Though Dumah and Tema are fairly unknown, Babylon would soon overthrow the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

Galatians 2:1-16:

  • 7-8 – Peter’s mission was to share Christ with the Jews while Paul’s was to share Christ with the gentiles. They were equally important missions.
  • 11-14 – The “circumcision party” was a group of people who believed that salvation still required the outward symbol of circumcision. These were folks who were Jewish but became believers. Paul did not believe circumcision was necessary.
  • 15-16 – Paul lumped circumcision in with any other work someone said was required for salvation.

Psalm 59:1-17:

  • David clearly trusts God in the midst of enemies who are hunting him to kill him. David does hope for his enemies to be punished for what they’ve done to him.

Proverbs 23:13-14:

  • Though we may not agree with the method, it is clear that the Proverbs believe in disciplining and teaching children the right way.

September 14 – Daily Notes – Amanda

work

Who do you work for? Yes, that is a trick question. When asked that question, I answer, “Munger Place Church”. The truth is, no matter how you fill in the blank, the correct answer is “I work for God”. This is how we should view our daily tasks – as done for God. When we feel like slacking off, cheating, or lying, we must remember that we’re not getting back at our jerk of a boss, we’re disrespecting God.

Isaiah 15:1-18:7:

  • 15:1-16:14 – This is the prophecy against Moab. The Moabites were continual enemies of Israel and tended to seek out wars. The end of the prophecy is that Moab will end up weak.
  • 17:1-18:7 – This prophecy is against Damascus, a city in Syria. The Syrians were tough and were also gifted warriors.

Galatians 1:1-24:

  • 6-9 – Jesus warns about this kind of “hearer of the word” in the parable of the 4 seeds. He explains that some hearers shoot up quickly but don’t have roots so they burn up quickly. The Galatians were quick to turn to another option after they had accepted the gospel of Christ.
  • 10 – This is difficult, but a challenge we should all pursue: to work to please God instead of man.
  • 12-14 – In Paul’s early years, he was a Christian-persecuting Jew. He cannot take credit for what Christ did in him because it was against all odds.

Psalm 58:1-11:

  • David speaks out against those who judge wrongly. He knows there is ultimately a reward for those who are righteous, but for now, the unrighteous are able to flourish.

September 13 – Daily Notes – Amanda

yoda rules

Do you remember as a kid when your parents gave you rules you didn’t like? Didn’t you always think either they were just being mean or that it was to make things easier on them? The truth is, for the most part, rules are for the good of the child. This is similar to Paul’s message today in 2 Corinthians. He is asking them to remain faithful for their good, not for his own.

Isaiah 12:1-14:32:

  • 2 – The second half of this verse is repeated two other times in Scripture: Exodus 15:2 and Psalm 118:14. It is a powerful thought that God acts first as our strength and this leads him into the roll of our salvation.
  • 13 – This begins a 10 chapter series of prophecies against various nations.
  • 1-22 – This section is aimed at Babylon. In later years, Babylon would destroy Jerusalem and complete the exile of all of the Israelites out of their promised land. This hasn’t happened yet though.
  • 3-23 – This prophecy is a bit of taunting toward the Babylonian king.

2 Corinthians 13:1-14:

  • 1-3 – Clearly the Corinthians were questioning the validity of Paul’s message and it was showing in their actions.
  • 5-10 – Paul is doing everything he can to ensure the Corinthians return to faithfulness. He assures them that he is not asking this of them for his own sake, but for theirs. He hopes to not have to come down on them when he visits.

Psalm 57:1-11:

  • David writes this psalm as his life is in peril. He remains faithful through it and puts his trust in God. He even promises to tell others about these great things God has done.

Proverbs 23:9-11:

  • 10-11 – Moving a landmark amounted to stealing it. Entering the fields of the fatherless would be to wrong someone who is powerless. These wrongs would be avenged.

September 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

trust fall

As a culture, we are terrible at trusting God. Most of it is due to our conditioning. We have the means to take care of most things ourselves. We might pray about a situation, but ultimately we know we’ll be the ones to fix it. When we lose a job, we pray about it, but when we get a new job we normally credit ourselves with our diligent work. Prayer was mostly lip service. In today’s psalm, David trusts God in a dire situation. We can learn a lot from his depth of reliance on God.

Isaiah 10:1-11:16:

  • 5-19 – God used Assyria to punish Israel when Assyria toppled Israel, but now God is speaking against them because they have overstepped their bounds and are going after Jerusalem.
  • 20-23 – Though the Israelites in the Northern Kingdom were occupied by Assyria and only a few remained, they were able to have hope because God said they would eventually be able to return to relying on him.
  • 24-27 – God assures Judah that they will not be overtaken by Assyria like Israel was.
  • 1-16 – This is another Messianic prophecy. The root of Jesse refers to Jesse, David’s father. Jesus was from David’s line and thus part of Jesse’s family. This passage refers to the great power and influence the Messiah would have.

2 Corinthians 12:11-21:

  • 14-15 – Paul describes himself as a type of spiritual father to the Corinthians explaining that he was not trying to get anything from them. He was just trying to offer them salvation. His goal was to give to them, not take away.
  • 20-21 – Paul was fearful that the Corinthians were not actually living faithfully and he would be confronted with a failure in his ministry.

Psalm 56:1-13:

  • David, though faced with a life-threatening situation, is able to put his full trust in God. He makes a powerful statement saying, “what can flesh do to me?” He understands that God is in control no matter how scary circumstances look.

Proverbs 23:6-8:

  • This is a warning against false kindness and false generosity.