July 25 – Daily Notes – Amanda

beauty of nature

How do you see God? Where do you connect with him most? For many people, including myself, God is very clearly revealed through nature. Getting out in creation shows the intricacy and majesty of God’s work. Give it a try sometime. And while you’re out there, read today’s psalm.

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14:

  • 1-8 – Faithful kings like Abijah make faithfulness look so easy and rewarding. It makes you wonder why other kings chose not to be faithful.
  • 1-7 – Azariah gives Judah a pep talk encouraging them to continue to be faithful to the Lord.
  • 8-15 – Asa heeds Azaraiah’s prophecy and turns the people of Judah to God.
  • 2-9 – Though Asa had tried to remain faithful to God, he still wanted to hedge his bets.

Romans 9:1-21:

  • 6-8 – Where lineage use to determine your place in the family of God, now salvation did. It was available to those who descended from Abraham as well as those who did not.
  • 10-13 – This passage is to solidify the point Paul makes in verses 6-8. Just being born as a descendant of Abraham does not assure that you are part of God’s family. Jacob was chosen to continue the line. Esau was not.
  • 14-18 – This doesn’t tend to sit well with us. We don’t like readingna that people are chosen and not chosen, but we have to trust that God is for our good and is in control. Many of the greatest sins throughout Scripture are based on trusting something more than we trust God.

Psalm 19:1-14:

  • 1-2 – There are several Scripture passages suggesting that God is revealed and glorified through nature.
  • 1-11 – These take time to praise God for a variety of reasons.
  • 12-13 – After praising God, David makes his requests of the Lord.

Proverbs 20:1:

  • Handle your liquor or don’t have it at all.

July 13 – Daily Notes – Amanda

idols

Even for faithful folks, it’s easier to focus and spend our time on the things that are most imminent, those that we can see and touch. Even more than that, we tend to have things that scream for our attention. Those demand that we give them our time and attention. In today’s Romans reading, we are reminded of how easy it is to give ourselves over to whatever idol is placed before us. But we must remember that none of these things will satisfy like worshipping God.

1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36:

  • 1-24 – David prepares a huge celebration for the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
  • 29 – This is the same story that’s found in 2 Samuel 6 when David dances undignified before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant returns to its rightful place and people.
  • 8-36 – Like Moses, Mary, Zechariah, and others, David has a song for the Lord to praise him for a specific situation but also uses that time to praise God for his overall goodness.

Romans 1:18-32:

  • 20 – This verse explains that God’s character and attributes are revealed through creation – aka we can know that he gives us new life when we see leaves reappear on trees in the spring, or we can see his power and majesty through the mountains, etc. This is an answer to many people who wonder about people who have never heard about God. They have seen him all around them.
  • 22-23 – It is easier to worship the things we see, touch, and are familiar with. This is why the Israelites wanted some tangible thing, even just a golden calf, to convince themselves that there was a god to worship and take care of them.
  • 24-27 – Four times in a row, Paul explains that people exchanged God’s perfect plan for something counterfeit. He explains that God gave the people over to the counterfeit thing they desired.
  • 28-32 – Those who are not righteous not only practice these things that are listed, but they also encourage others to practice them as well.

Psalm 10:1-15:

  • The psalmist seems to be describing someone who is wicked and sinning purposefully. And seemingly, it is someone who is sinning and wicked towards him. Though the judgment and request for punishment sounds harsh, we would probably feel the same way towards our true enemies.
  • This is also the psalm of people who, in frustration, watch others get away with bad things.

Proverbs 19:6-7:

  • Once again we’re confronted with our bias towards wealth. Poor men tend to be left in a lurch by everyone where as people come out of the woodworks for someone with money or influence.

July 10 – Daily Notes – Amanda

van down by the river

I hate negative consequences, don’t you? I like to try to skirt around them as much as possible even though I totally deserve them. The sailors in today’s Acts reading are like that. They sailed far later in the season than they should have and have now put themselves and others at risk. They’re trying to figure out any way to not face the music. I can relate.

1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14:

  • 2 – After a long time in exile in Babylon, the Israelites were allowed to slowly return to their land.
  • 17-27 – The position of gatekeeper was one of honor. It was passed down through generations. This position guarded the gates of the temple and the chief gatekeeper manned the gate the king would enter through.
  • 39 – This is Saul, the first king of Israel. We know he was from the tribe of Benjamin so that’s the tribe we’re talking about now.
  • 1-7 – This is the event that finally allows David to become king. We read about this previously in 1 Samuel.

Acts 27:21-44:

  • 30-32 – The sailors were desperate and wanted to save themselves thinking they would be better off without all the other ship passengers. Paul recognizes their attempt and explains that if they leave the rest of the passengers are doomed.
  • 33-36 – Whether because they were too busy with managing the storm or because they wanted to conservatively ration in case they had to be on the boat a lot longer, the people hadn’t been given food for a while even though they had it.
  • 38 – With a lighter load, the ship could sail closer to shore because it would float higher.

Psalm 8:1-9:

  • David writes this Psalm seemingly overwhelmed and in awe of the majesty of God’s creation and the goodness he shows to us through it.

Proverbs 18:23-24:

  • This is encouragement to choose friends carefully. You can’t be best friends with everyone and it’s not wise to try.

June 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Psalm 139 is a powerful one about how intimately God knows us and how purposefully he made each one of us. It is futile to attempt to run from him and why would we want to? He knew us before we were born and loved us before our parents knew we were on our way. Here is a modern interpretation of the psalm:

2 Kings 1:1-2:25:

  • 2 – Reminder: Ahaziah is the king of Judah. It is obviously not good that he’s seeking advice from Baal-zebub.
  • 3 – A little sass from Elijah – clearly God was present, but Ahaziah chooses to consult other gods.
  • 8 – This is very similar to the outfit John the Baptist was described to have worn. John the Baptist was considered the second Elijah.
  • 9-16 – The first two captains with soldiers the king sent were most likely intending to do Elijah harm, this is why he wants to have them killed. The third captain and soldiers come more peacefully.
  • 8 – Very reminiscent of Moses parting the Red Sea.
  • 11-12 – Elijah is the second person in the Old Testament who doesn’t die. Enoch was the first who was simply taken to heaven.
  • 23-25 – Most commentaries explain this as the boys having such disrespect, as did all their people, for the prophet Elisha or anything else representative of God. Elisha’s curse was also representative of the fate of the rest of the people in the city who rejected God. All in all, this is a strange and disturbing passage.

Acts 13:42-14:7:

  • 44-47 – The Jews, who were jealous of Paul and Barnabas’ crowd, denounced what Paul was saying. Paul reminds them that Jesus came for them first but was rejected. The gentiles now had a shot.
  • 1-7 – Though the readings have, at times, been misinterpreted as such, the Jews weren’t bad. Throughout Acts, many come to faith. Some of the Jewish religious leaders, however, did oppose Jesus’ mission and ministry and cause problems.

Psalm 139:1-24:

  • A beautiful psalm explaining the depth to which God knows us. He knew us in our mother’s womb. He knows our movements and our thoughts.
  • 23-24 – A powerful request for God to fully search your heart and take away the parts that don’t please him. A difficult prayer to pray, but the results would be life changing!

February 10 – Daily Notes – Amanda

beauty of the earth.jpg

Today’s proverb paints a beautiful picture of the intricacy and wisdom with which God created the earth. As you read, picture what it’s describing in your mind.

Exodus 30:11-31:18:

  • 15 – How had people become rich or poor since they all came out of slavery and all have been wandering in the desert? Possibly some had plundered the Egyptians more fiercely than others.
  • 1-6 – Bezalel and Oholiab probably thought their talents were going to waste as they made bricks in Egypt and wandered in the desert, but God had a plan to use them.
  • 16 – Keeping the Sabbath holy is resting and dedicating a day to only worship God.

Matthew 26:47-68:

  • 51-54 – How often do we take matters into our own hands instead of trusting God’s plan for us?
  • 59-64 – The religious leaders have been trying to trick Jesus into saying something they can arrest him for throughout his ministry. Jesus calling himself the Son of Man and referencing that he would sit at the right hand of Power seems to be enough.

Psalm 32:1-11:

  • This is one of many Psalms where David references various ways God protects him. David was often at war and many nations were against Israel so it makes sense that he would relate to God in this way.

Proverbs 8:27-32:

  • God created the earth with wisdom – this makes sense because of the complex balance and intricacies in the environment.

January 8 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 18:20-19:38:

  • 23-33 – Here we see prayer working. Abraham humbly pleads with God for the sake of the righteous and God’s decision is changed.
  • 4-11 – No matter how you read this story, it’s disturbing. While it’s a good thing that Lot wanted to protect the angels of God, his decision to offer up his daughters is horrifying. In God’s mercy, Lot, his daughters, and the angels were all protected from harm.
  • 14-16 – It’s confusing why the angels made a special effort to save Lot, though he knowingly lingered, but not the sons in laws, who seemingly innocently, thought Lot was kidding about the city’s destruction.
  • 30-36 – Yet another disturbing story. Lot sins by allowing himself to get drunk. We cannot give God control of our lives when we don’t have control to give. The daughters sin by not trusting God to take care of them, but take matters into their own hands.
  • 37-38 – Both the Moabites and Ammonites were enemies of Israel throughout their existence.

Matthew 6:25-7:14:

  • 25-33 – One of the major tensions in the Bible is God proving himself faithful and asking humanity to trust him and then humanity failing to trust. This passage is a very practical representation of why we should trust God and how futile it is to worry.
  • 1-5 – It is hard to imagine that we can see the magnitude of someone else’s sin when we ourselves our immersed in sin. This does not, however, instruct us not to lovingly correct the sins of others as we examine our own flaws.
  • 6 – Encouragement not to offer the character-forming corrections of God to those who will not appreciate it and take it to heart.
  • 7-11 – Another reminder to trust God to be faithful and provide for us and to seek his blessings.

Psalm 8:1-9:

  • David writes this Psalm seemingly overwhelmed and in awe of the majesty of God’s creation and the goodness he shows to us through it.

Proverbs 2:6-15:

  • The Proverbs continue to teach us that wisdom protects us from destruction while folly leads us to it.

Jan. 1 – Genesis 1:1-2:25 – Andrew

1:12 – Note how everything in the Creation account is specifically ordered, even down to the seeds of the plants “each according to its kind.”

1:27 – Note how male and female together make up humanity, and somehow it is in their complementarity that men and women together bear the image of God.  I think this is important.  A man alone does not sufficiently reflect the image of God, nor a woman alone, but a man and a woman together.  How might gender relations be different if we believed that our counterparts bore the image of God in ways that we don’t?

1:30 – Note how, according to the author of Genesis, the original design was for the animals in nature to be vegetarians.  Having seen wild animals in Africa make a kill, I can understand why “nature red in tooth and claw” is a sign of the Fall.

2:4 – There are actually two Creation stories, back to back.  The 2nd story begins in 2:4 and is much more concerned with the Creation of Adam.

2:10-14 – I wonder if, for the original hearers of this passage, the first 2 rivers meant anything to them.  Today, we have no idea what or where is the Piston or the Gihon.  We do, however, know about the Tigris and the Euphrates.

2:14 – “Assyria.”  I think that suggests that this was written down or edited during a time when the ancient kingdom of Assyria would have meant something to folks.

2:19 – Love that detail–isn’t that exactly what happened?  We have named all of Creation, haven’t we?

2:24-25 – Again, there is something really important going on here.  We live in a world with a lot of gender confusion, but the opening passages of Genesis suggests that there is something about the coming together of a man and a woman that creates oneness, and somehow that relates to the image of God.  (See 1:27, above.)

–AF

 

January 1 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 1:1-2:25:

  • 2 – First mention of the Holy Spirit being present.
  • 26 – Note the use of “our”. This is God speaking amongst all 3 persons of the Trinity. Humanity is made in the image of God the Trinity. This is why we’re designed to create things, to love, and to be in relationship.
  • 2:1-3 – This is why we are to observe the Sabbath – a day of rest from our regular work.
  • Note that chapter 1 and chapter 2 of Genesis tell the story of the creation of humanity slightly differently.
  • Some people ask why God put the tree of good and evil in the garden if it wasn’t good for people. The better question might be, though, with all the other choices in the garden, why were the people drawn to the one tree that was forbidden.

Matthew 1:1-2:12:

  • The genealogy found in Matthew is that of Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.
  • 17 – Abraham, David, exile in Babylon, and the Messiah are four of the most significant milestones in Jewish history that any ancient Jew would have understood and recognized.
  • Matthew’s birth account focuses on Joseph while Luke’s birth account focuses on Mary.
  • 6 – This is just one of the many prophecies Matthew notes as being fulfilled through Christ. Make note of all the prophecies fulfilled in this gospel.

Psalm 1:1-6:

  • This Psalm contrasts a person who’s delight is in the law of the Lord versus someone who is wicked.

Proverbs 1:1-6:

  • Consider this short passage as a statement of purpose for why the author wrote the book of Proverbs.