April 14 – Daily Notes – Amanda

temptations

Temptations are all around us. They’re so sneaky that at times, we don’t even know we’re being tempted. And though sin can be avoided, temptation cannot always be, but it is incumbent upon those of us who are believers to not create or introduce temptations to others. Instead, it is our job to lead others closer to Christ.

Joshua 9:3-10:43:

  • 14-15 – Note that the Israelites and Joshua did not ask God what they were supposed to do in this situation.
  • 19 – This is the reason the gospels say to “let your yes be yes and your no be no” and not to swear by God or anything else. They’ve made a promise with the Hivites that was not sanctioned by God and could cause them to have to disobey God’s instructions later.
  • 12-15 – Sometimes it is hard for us to believe in some of the miracles described in the Bible, but we are told that with God all things are possible and we know that he is not constrained by the same things we are.

Luke 16:19-17:10:

  • 19-31 – We are often consumed with our own comfort on earth, but this story clearly tells us that comfort on earth is fleeting. It is our job to help comfort the afflicted while on earth and then enjoy comfort in heaven.
  • 1 – Temptations are inevitable in life, but far be it for us to provide those temptations for others, particularly those who are earlier in their faith journey.
  • 3-4 – We are not to judge, but we are to lovingly call people out for their sins. We are also called to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

March 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

teaching

In today’s Deuteronomy reading we find the passage our children’s ministry is based on: Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It encourages us to be so immersed in the Bible that it is natural to teach it to our children as we spend time with them daily. I’d say reading the Bible every day for a year is a pretty great way to start the immersion.

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25:

  • Moses reminds the Israelites of the 10 Commandments the Lord gave them. This is a bit of an extended version of the commandments.
  • 4-9 – This is the passage our children’s ministry uses as a guide. It encourages parents to pass down to the faith to their children and encourages families to keep God’s Word at the forefront.
  • 10-15 – We often take pride in the things we have even when we did not earn or work for them. This often leads to relying on entities other than God.
  • 16 – Jesus quotes this when he is tempted by the devil in the desert.
  • 25 – When we put our faith into action, it is counted to us as righteousness.

Luke 7:11-35:

  • 11-17 – This woman would have been in bad shape. Widows relied on male relatives to take care of them after their husbands died and this was her only son who had just died.
  • 18-19 – John believed that Jesus was the Messiah but needed confirmation.
  • 22-23 – Jesus quotes the same part of Isaiah that he did in the synagogue in chapter 4. But he leaves one significant line out: that the prisoners would be set free. John was in prison at the time and would most likely understand that Jesus was saying he would not be released, but that Jesus was the Messiah.
  • 26-27 – Jesus confirms that John was the messenger the prophets foretold and he is the Messiah for whom the messenger was to prepare the way.

March 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

pursuit

In today’s psalm, David sounds like a man who would not let anything stand in the way of his pursuit of God. He hungered and thirsted for God. This relentless pursuit leaves me feeling both convicted, “I don’t think I have that kind of passion.” and inspired, “I want to pursue God with that kind of fire.” What about you?

Numbers 30:1-31:54:

  • Killing the women and male children seems extremely harsh, but the Israelites were always tempted to mix with other nations when they weren’t completely wiped out. Moses reminds them of their indiscretions in Peor caused by their unwillingness to follow God’s commands completely.

Luke 4:1-30:

  • During Jesus’ temptation he is physically weak but is filled with the Holy Spirit. This can teach us a lot about what we truly need.
  • Both Jesus and the devil use Scripture. Jesus uses it to remain faithful to God. The devil twists it to try to cause Jesus to sin.
  • 18-19 – Jesus establishes his purpose throughout his ministry.
  • 24-30 – Jesus’ words are offensive to those in the synagogue because he is suggesting that they will not be healed. They try to kill him but clearly his purpose wouldn’t be fulfilled through that death so he is able to escape from them.

Psalm 63:1-11:

  • The fervor with which David seeks and longs for God is both convicting and inspiring.

March 1 – Daily Notes – Amanda

oprah

The Year of Jubilee sounds a little like the Oprah when she gave everyone in her audience cars. People get to return home. Debts are forgiven. You don’t have to work in the field. It sounds great! God created it for rest, restoration, and hope, and you can see where it would offer just that.

Leviticus 24:1-25:46:

  • 10-16 – If the blasphemer had been fully Egyptian or from any other nation, he would not have been held to the same standard but because he was an Israelite, he was subject to their law.
  • 8-9 – The number 7 in the Bible represents completion.
  • 13-17 – The year of jubilee resulted in restoration of the way things should be, joy, and rest.
  • Israelites were intended to care for one another, not profit off of one another.

Mark 10:13-31:

  • 15 – How do you think a child would receive the kingdom of God?
  • 17-22 – Though this young man is often seen in a negative light, note that Jesus looks on him and loves him. The young man simply had his priorities out of order. He loved his things more than he wanted to follow Jesus.
  • 29-30 – What we sacrifice for God, he repays 100x.
  • 31 – Much of Jesus’ ministry was combatting cultural norms and flipping them upside down.

Psalm 44:9-26:

  • 17 – Are we still faithful when we feel separated and/or forgotten by God?

Leprosy, Blood, and Semen (!)

Leviticus 13-16 seems obsessed with how leprosy, blood, and semen make people ceremonially unclean.  To modern readers, all the details about what to do if you happen to touch blood, or be menstruating, or have an emission of semen, etc., seem crazy.  But to the Israelites, this was actually helpful information.

pablo-4

 

Leviticus 15:31 explains why.  The Lord tells Moses:

“Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by wdefiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.”

It was a matter of life and death that the Israelites not enter the presence of God in an unclean state, so the purity laws in Leviticus are meant to help the Israelites know when they are unclean, and to know how to become clean again.  Note that “clean” and “unclean” are not moral categories–good people would become ritually unclean all the time.

When Jesus came along, he explained (see today’s reading in Mark 7:1-23–great timing!) that though the ancient people thought that external circumstances could make a person unclean, in fact it is what comes out of a person’s heart-internal circumstances–that make a person unclean.  So, we no longer concern ourselves with ritual uncleanness, because Jesus’s death (the ultimate sacrifice) makes all who trust in him clean before God.

–AF

February 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

bald

I find verse 40 in today’s Leviticus reading really funny. Can’t you see all the middle-aged Israelite men running up to Moses wondering what ritual cleansing they needed to undergo in order to stop their plight? “No, it’s cool man, you’re just going bald. Nothing to worry about.”

Leviticus 13:1-59:

  • Interesting that the priests even had power over medical conditions.
  • 40 – You laughed at this one, right?
  • 48 – The warp is the longitudinal thread in a woven fabric and the woof is the latitudinal thread.

Mark 6:1-29::

  • 1-6 – Instead of astonished and amazed at Jesus’ words and deeds, his hometown became angry because he was only a carpenter’s son from a small town.
  • 10-11 – It was customary to welcome travelers into your home.
  • 12-13 – The disciples watch Jesus for a while and then he invites them to be a part of his ministry.

February 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dog-licking-window

Moses spends 40 days in the presence of God, fasting the entire time. Jesus, too, completed a 40 day fast. Fasting is a fairly foreign concept to us American consumers. It’s not just about powering through the time and not eating. We are supposed to allow our desire for food, or whatever we’ve given up, to remind us of our need for God. As much as we want food, we want God more.

Exodus 34:1-35:9:

  • 10 – God makes another covenant with Israel.
  • God was very explicit not to leave any remnants of other gods in their land so they weren’t tempted to worship them.
  • 26 – We are called to give to God off the top. Give to him first before we buy or pay for other things.
  • 28 – Jesus also did a 40 day fast.
  • 30-35 – It is believed that Moses’ face shone from the glory of the Lord.

Matthew 27:15-31:

  • 15-23 – It must have been so hurtful to Jesus that the crowds asked for a criminal to be released instead of him.
  • Crucifixion was already a humiliating punishment, but the soldiers saw to it that Jesus was even more humiliated than normal.

Psalm 33:12-22:

  • 16-17 – Just like today, people of ancient Israel put their hope in everything but the Lord.

Proverbs 9:1-6:

  • Wisdom is something we can all gain if willing.