December 31 – Daily Notes – Amanda

finishline2

You did it! You finished! Today is your last day of reading…for 2017. I hope you gained so much from your reading and now feel closer, in some way, to God. It may be too soon, but may I encourage you to pick up the new plan tomorrow? The Bible is the living word of God. As you read through it again, you’ll gain new insights, read things differently, and hear from God in a new way. It was worth it this year. It will be worth it in 2018 too!

Malachi 3:1-4:16:

  • 1-7 – Part of this prophecy sounds like it’s talking about the Messiah and part sounds like it’s John the Baptist. Either way, it is later fulfilled.
  • 1-3 – A day of judgment is prophecied.
  • 5-6 – John the Baptist was often associated with Elijah.

Revelation 22:1-21:

  • 8-9 – As we all do, John confused something of God with God and worshipped the angel. The angel quickly redirected him to worship God.
  • 17 – This is an open invitation to all who recognize their need for Christ to come and receive new life.

Psalm 150:1-6:

  • Whatever you have, praise God with it. No excuses.

Proverbs 31:25-31:

  • These verses make it clear what should matter in a woman’s worth. Physical beauty is not one of them.

December 30 – Daily Notes – Amanda

perfect 10

How do you imagine perfection? Not just partial perfection or perfection in one person, but full, true perfection? God’s kingdom fully on earth is what true perfection looks like. The end of Revelation depicts what the new Jerusalem will look like. It is the return of what God intended for earth. This is something we should long and pray for.

Malachi 1:1-2:17:

  • 1-5 – The words love and hate could be exchanged for “chose” and “did not choose”. God chose Jacob to set up his people. He did not choose Esau. Not only did Esau forego his blessing and birthright, but his descendants often fought against the Israelites. They brought God’s curse upon themselves.
  • 6-14 – The Lord denounces the blemished offerings the priests put before him. These half-hearted offerings showed their lack of devotion to God.
  • 1-9 – The priests had been given special authority. God asked that they honor him and lead the rest of the people in spiritual practices. Here he rebukes them for failing to do so.
  • 10-16 – Scholars disagree on whether this is actually talking about marriage and marrying foreign women or metaphorically speaking of idolatry. Either way, the Judeans were practicing things God did not approve of.

Revelation 21:1-27:

  • 1-7 – This scene depicts God’s kingdom officially and completely coming to earth, like we pray in the Lord’s prayer.
  • 9-27 – The scene depicts the new Jerusalem where God will dwell negating the need for a temple, any other source of light, and presumably many other things necessary in our current construct.

Psalm 149:1-9:

  • 1-5 – So many of the psalms instruct us to praise God and a large percentage of those instruct us to praise him specifically with songs. It is important that we, as a people, do not get out of this habit.

Proverbs 31:10-24:

  • 10-24 – These verses describe an excellent wife. Her characteristics include productivity, generosity, care for others, integrity, and preparedness.

December 29 – Daily Notes – Amanda

happy landscape

Zechariah and Revelation are both about enemies and destruction. So, on a happier note, our psalm reminds us that we should all offer praise to God simply because he gave us life. So let’s all praise God!

Zechariah 14:1-21:

  • 1-21 – This chapter describes the day of the Lord and what God’s enemies should expect on that day. It does not sound good for his enemies.

Revelation 20:1-15:

  • 1-6 – This thousand year time period seems to be one of relative calm in the vision. The angel has contained Satan and those who have been faithful thus far are rewarded.
  • 7-15 – Satan, all those who were judged as unfaithful, and death and hades are all thrown into the like of fire – aka hell.

Psalm 148:1-14:

  • This psalm encourages nature and all of humanity to praise God. The only reasoning given of why is simply that God gave it all life. That sounds like reason enough.

Proverbs 30:8-9:

  • Our world would have a lot less sin and pain if those of us with power would stand up for the weak. Instead we often give ourselves the pass asking, “what can I do?”

December 28 – Daily Notes – Amanda

GI Joe

Today’s portion of Revelation may have been written specifically for 8 year old boys. There’s a battle scene, Jesus on a horse, a beast, and a dragon. So, let your inner 8 year old boy out for this one.

Zechariah 12:1-13:9:

  • 1-5 – This oracle explains that Judah and Jerusalem will both be a challenge for anyone who possesses them and tries
  • 10 – Most people would consider this a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus.
  • 1-6 – This alludes to Christ’s death when people are freely forgiven of their sins.

Revelation 19:1-21:

  • 7 – The church is believed to be the bride of Christ.
  • 10-21 – Jesus is portrayed as a warrior on a horse. This begins the battle between Christ and the evil forces led by the beast, dragon, and false prophets. We see steady progress of Christ towards victory.

Psalm 147:1-20:

  • 1-6 – The psalmist calls for us to offer praise to God and then gives reasons why we should.

Proverbs 31:1-7:

  • 4-7 – Here, leaders are instructed not to get drunk because it can only harm their reign. Instead the proper place for mind-altering drinks is listed.

December 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

orange

An olive produces olive oil. An orange produces orange juice. This makes sense. Today’s proverb is interesting. It helps us understand that we can fake things for a while, but when push comes to shove, and things get really challenging, whatever is in us comes out. Kindness needs to be inside of us for it to come out when times are challenging. If bitterness and hate are inside us, that’s what will come out.

Zechariah 10:1-11:17:

  • 1-12 – These verses establish that Judah and Israel will be restored to greatness. The last few verses show the turning of the tides between those who are currently powerful and the Israelites.
  • 7-16 – This is a difficult passage to understand. It is a vision that depicts a shepherd breaking covenants. Verse 16 speaks of a future shepherd who doesn’t seem to be describing Jesus.
  • 17 – This verse makes it clear that the shepherd in the vision is not Jesus.

Revelation 18:1-24:

  • 1-3 – This is basically describing Babylon in the worst possible fashion. It will be totally and utterly rejected.
  • 4-8 – God will remove the Israelites from Babylon and it will pay for its wrongdoings against the Israelites.

Psalm 146:1-10:

  • 3-4 – It makes so much more sense to put our trust in God than a human ruler who will die and no longer have any kind of power.
  • 5-9 – These verses describe many of the reasons God is far superior to human rulers.

Proverbs 30:33:

  • When something is squeezed hard enough, whatever is in it comes out.

December 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

donkey

It’s so neat when we know things that happened in the Bible and then we read more obscure parts that explain them. Did you know that Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was prophesied into today’s Zechariah reading? It was! Reading Scripture consistently brings so much into the light.

Zechariah 9:1-17:

  • 1-8 – The prophecy announces judgment to come down on a variety of Israel’s enemies.
  • 9-13 – This prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus when he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday.

Revelation 17:1-18:

  • 8 – Note that when talking about God we say, “Who was, and is, and is to come”, but here, when talking about the beast, it is described as “who was and is not and is to come.”
  • 14 – Even though the beast is powerful and will gain power as the kings give it to him, Jesus will still conquer.

Psalm 145:1-21:

  • 10-21 – There are many references throughout Scripture about not just humanity, but all creatures and natural things giving praise to God. Obviously, as humans, we have the greatest ability to do so, so let’s use that ability for all it’s worth.

Proverbs 30:32:

  • A good lesson for us all. If what you’re saying isn’t of great value, stop talking.

December 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

follow-these-steps

I’ve heard a number of people say they wish God would just give them specific instructions. Do this. Don’t do this. Then it would be far easier to follow them. We see in today’s Zechariah reading, and we’ve seen it so many times before in Scripture, that there are some specific instructions. With these, you can’t go wrong. Be kind. Show mercy. Help the poor. Hopefully that helps.

Zechariah 6:1-7:14:

  • 1-8 – The horses and chariots seem to represent God’s power returning to Judah and Israel.
  • 9-14 – Zerubbabel and Joshua were to work together to rebuild the temple.
  • 8-10 – God tells the Israelites, through Zechariah, exactly how he wants them to live. He is looking for kindness, mercy, and help for the poor.
  • 11-14 – The Israelites didn’t listen but hardened their hearts.

Revelation 15:1-8:

  • 1 – Though “plague” is never an enjoyable thing, it is good that the wrath of God will soon be over.

Psalm 143:1-12:

  • 1-4 – David admits his past sins and repents. He knows that no one can stand before God’s righteousness.
  • 9-12 – David not only looks to God for forgiveness, but also for protection from enemies.

Proverbs 30:24-28:

  • These are fascinating examples of creatures who have been given little but make the most of it. Presumably, we could learn a lot from them.

December 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

crying out

When was the last time you cried out to God? In today’s psalm, David cries out because Saul has chased after him for a while, trying to kill him. At times, our suffering and difficulty are exhausting and seem never ending. You’re not alone. And like he did for David, God will come through for you too.

Zechariah 4:1-5:11:

  • 1-7 – Clearly it was not going to be through merely physical effort that God’s purposes would be accomplished. It was by God’s spirit working through Zerubbabel’s words that ultimately did so.
  • 8-10 – Zerubbabel was charged with rebuilding the temple. God blessed its completion.

Revelation 14:1-20:

  • 1-5 – A special song of praise was reserved for the 144,000 righteous ones who were set apart.
  • 13 – Traditionally, Jews believed death was a separation from God. This suggests that now death is a good thing because one can rest.
  • 14 – Son of man is a term Jesus used for himself.
  • 15-20 – This seems to be another removal of the unfaithful.

Psalm 142:1-7:

  • David is crying out to God in the midst of Saul’s attempts to murder David. This chase lasted a long time and must have been exhausting for David.

Proverbs 30:21-23:

  • 21-23 – These are all shifts from a lowly state to a far more respected and accepted one. The earth would tremble because it’s so foreign from the way the earth typically works.

December 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

voice of reason

We all need a voice of reason encouraging us to do the right thing. We tend to struggle on our own. In today’s reading of Zechariah, you’ll hear that voice of reason for the Israelites. He encourages them to turn back to God. Does anything he says speak to you too?

Zechariah 1:1-21:

  • 1-6 – Zechariah’s prophecy immediately follows Haggai’s and is addressed to post-exilic Israelites. He begins with a call to return to the Lord.
  • 7-17 – This begins a vision of an angel who seems to offer God’s grace and restoration to Israel.

Revelation 12:1-17:

  • 1-6 – The newborn child, though facing peril, was saved and taken to God’s throne.
  • 7-12 – This depicts a massive battle between God’s angels and the devil and his angels. The devil is thrown down to earth, but is vicious in desperation.

Psalm 140:1-13:

  • David’s requests of the Lord for protection are genuine and seem to come with expectation that God will come through.

Proverbs 30:17:

  • So, be sure to follow commandment #5 and obey your parents!

December 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

knitting

Today’s psalm is beautiful. If you’ve ever felt abandoned, unwanted, unworthy, or unloved, read this psalm. God so intricately knit you together. Allow yourself to be amazed by the care God took to make you. He took that same care to make each of us. You are loved. You were made on purpose. You are wanted and known by the one true God.

Haggai 1:1-2:23:

  • 1-6 – Haggai is given the message to rebuild the temple. He was a contemporary of Zerubbabel, who we read about in Ezra. Haggai supported Zerubbabel as he led the effort to rebuild the temple.
  • 1-9 – Haggai is called to spur on Zerubbabel and Joshua to rebuild the temple even though they weren’t familiar with the glory of the first one.
  • 12-19 – Though confusing to interpret, this passage seems to make it clear that though impurity is easily spread, purity is not. God is displeased that the Israelites have returned and built their own houses and begun to farm but have not focused on his house. He reminds them that he controls what they have no matter how much effort they put in.
  • 23 – Zerubbabel is in the line of David. The signet ring would be a sign that God had placed his favor on him and would be the sign that David’s line had, as God said it would, returned to the throne.

Revelation 11:1-19:

  • 1-14 – The two witnesses were witnesses for God. The people of the earth end up killing them and then a large portion of the city and its inhabitants are killed. Those who remain see what happened and repent and give glory to God.
  • 15-19 – This seems like it could be the ending. God’s kingdom officially comes to earth with the blowing of the 7th trumpet. Wrath is poured out on the evil people and joy and celebration is amongst the faithful.

Psalm 139:1-24:

  • In one of the most beautiful and poetic psalms, David recounts all the ways God’s knowledge of humanity and him specifically are vast and complete. He recognizes that God was there as he was formed and God knows every bit of his innermost being.

Proverbs 30:15-16:

  • 15-16 – These verses explore the depth of greed out there. No one is specifically identified as possessing these qualities, but the qualities are made clear.