February 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

church-lady

Verses 16-24 of our Leviticus reading today are pretty disturbing. We have to remember that many of the laws, like how to divorce, and this one about not letting people with physical deformities be priests, were to put parameters around things people were already doing. In the ancient Israelite culture, great importance was put on physical appearance (we can probably relate whether we like to or not) and God was trying to get people out of their own way.

Leviticus 20:22-22:16:

  • Being separate or set apart was important. God’s holiness sets him apart from humanity. God set the Israelites apart from other nations as his people. Some foods and other items were set apart to be holy enough or worthy enough for his people.
  • 1-9 – Priests had extra rules applied to them since they offered the sacrifices and had a special position.
  • 16-24 – Definitely a confusing passage in our current context. Like it said in 1 Samuel when David was chosen king, God doesn’t look at outward appearances but people do. This law was established so that people wouldn’t be distracted by their own judgment during worship.

Mark 9:1-29:

  • Moses and Elijah were two heroes of the Jewish faith. The disciples would have been awestruck by seeing these distinguished men.
  • 13 – John the Baptist was often compared to Elijah.
  • 24 – Often our problem is unbelief. We may believe in God’s power and ability in certain areas of life, but in others we think we need to handle it.
  • Note that in the story when the disciples don’t have enough faith to heal, Jesus does. Jesus often fills the gap when our ability ends.
  • 29 – This is true of many of our earthly problems.

Psalm 43:1-5:

  • 4 – Too often we ask for things of God and then fail to praise him for what he’s done.

What to Expect – Week 9

There’s a lot to look forward to this week! Finishing Leviticus and starting Numbers, getting into some of Marks parables, and some beautiful psalms that are relatable and noteworthy, and, of course, more wisdom and folly.

There are still a few significant laws to read through in Leviticus, but don’t be deterred! Think of God’s law like bumpers on a bowling lane. The laws keep you in the area that’s good for you and benefits the overall goal. For instance, this week, there’s a law teaching a certain way to reap your harvest. It may seem irrelevant to us, or could be construed as bossy or restrictive, but it actually was designed as an ancient way of feeding the poor. You just got bumped back in the lane.

In Mark, this week, we get to start delving into parables – Jesus’ somewhat cryptic stories that, when understood, help explain the nature and kingdom of God. We also continue through a number of miracle stories. One, in particular, depicts the disciples not being able to heal because of their lack of faith. Jesus steps in and completes the healing. Isn’t it comforting that in this story, as well as others like Peter walking on the water, when our faith falls short, Jesus steps in and fills the gap? I wonder what faith gaps of mine he’s filling?

Finally, be encouraged! After this week, we will have completed 4 books of the Bible. That may sound small considering there are 66 total, but a lot of them are very short and you’ve already learned a huge chunk of the history of how we got where we are today. You’re doing great!!

February 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

confession

This may be what comes to mind when you think of “confession”, but today’s psalm is one of confession and is not given through a screen to a priest. Instead, this psalm shows us David pouring out the sins of his hear to God and ultimately remembering God as his hope and salvation. What if we approached confession that way today?

Leviticus 11:1-12:8:

  • Though these eating instructions may seem tedious, it is good for us to have order and design of what we can and cannot do. And, as we’ve said before, following the instructions allowed the Israelites to remain clean and able to be in the presence of God.
  • The differences between clean and unclean are based on what is good for us. This is somewhat reminiscent of when God gave the garden to Adam and Eve but designated one tree as not good for them.

Mark 5:21-43:

  • 28 – Clearly Jesus’ reputation preceded him if she had that much confidence in just touching his garment.
  • 30 – Jesus had great perception of his connection to God and his power that came from him because he knew when any left him.
  • 34 – Faith is often attributed with effectiveness in healing, miraculous acts, etc.
  • 35-43 – The first time we read of Jesus raising someone from the dead. Certainly Jairus had lost hope. Once again, Jesus tells them to keep quiet.

Psalm 38:1-22:

  • A Psalm that is helpful when we need to confess. Note that it still ends in praise addressing God as “my salvation”.

January 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 44:1-45:28:

  • 1-13 – The brothers had promised, even to the point of risking the lives of their own children, to bring Benjamin home safely to their father. Finding the cup in Benjamin’s bag must have been devastating.
  • 16 – Judah is most likely referring to their guilt due to selling Joseph and lying to their father about it for all those years.
  • 33 – Judah offers himself up as a replacement for Benjamin as a servant to Joseph. When the brother sold Joseph into slavery, it was originally Judah’s idea. Everything is coming full circle.
  • 1-3 – Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers just as they’re begging for him to release Benjamin.
  • 5-8 – A beautiful act of grace and understanding. Joseph recognizes that God worked good out of what others intended for evil. Joseph was in Egypt at the perfect time to sustain tons of people through the famine.
  • 25-28 – Jacob understandably had difficulty believing that Joseph could be alive since he had believed for many years that he was killed by an animal. He makes it one of his dying efforts to go and see him.

Matthew 14:13-36:

  • 13 – When Jesus heard about John the Baptist’s death he retreated.
  • 14-21 – This miracle story is included in all 4 gospels. Very few stories are in all 4.
  • 23 – Note how many times throughout the gospels they mention Jesus going off by himself to pray.
  • 28-33 – Peter gets a bad rap because he sinks, but notice that he’s the only one that trusts Jesus enough to even get out of the boat. Also, this is a clear instance of when our faith fails, Jesus fills in the gap and takes care of us. This also elicits belief in the witnesses.
  • 34-36 – Clearly the story from chapter 9 where the bleeding woman is healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment had spread.

Psalm 18:37-50:

  • This Psalm is about a specific instance of God rescuing David. He describes how God handled his enemies when Saul was chasing after him and trying to destroy him.

Proverbs 4:11-13:

  • This gives great confidence to those who do follow wisdom. You can feel secure in your steps forward.

January 6 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 13:5-15:21:

  • 8-13 – Because Abram was Lot’s uncle, he should have received first choice of the land, but he humbly allowed Lot to choose first. Lot chose the better land, but landed himself in a town that disobeyed God.
  • 19-24 – Abram wisely refuses riches from the king of Sodom so that he could not attribute his wealth and blessings to anyone or anything other than God.
  • 1-5 – God makes a huge, impossible sounding promise to Abram. He was old and had no children so it seemed impossible that his offspring would be numerous.
  • 6 – Abram’s faith in God’s ability to do the impossible was counted to him as righteousness. In Hebrews chapter 11 there is a list of various Bible characters who’s faith was credited to them as righteousness. Our faith in Jesus is our only hope for righteousness.
  • 13 – This refers to when the Israelites are enslaved in Egypt.

Matthew 5:27-48:

  • 29 – What lengths are we willing to go to in order to be blameless?
  • 31-32 – In Deuteronomy Moses gives the hard-hearted Israelites instructions on how to divorce because they were doing it anyway. Jesus makes divorce that much more difficult.
  • 33-37 – Letting your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’ asks you to be trustworthy on your own merit so you don’t have to put the responsibility on something else.
  • 38-42 – This kind of teaching would be jarring to the Jewish religious leaders because Jesus is changing up the teachings of Moses. The religious leaders did not realize that he wasn’t negating the laws, only making them more difficult by asking his followers to display additional mercy and grace.
  • 43-48 – It’s easy to love those we like. Jesus calls us to love like God loves.

Psalm 6:1-10:

  • 5 -–Sheol was where ancient Jews believed all people went after death. It was not a pleasant place. David is asking for his life to be spared because he would not be able to praise God from Sheol.
  • While it is many of our tendencies to blame God when we face difficult times, David sought God’s help in difficult times.

Proverbs 1:29-33:

  • There are consequences for not following the wisdom of the Lord. It gets us into trouble and while it’s easy to blame God for not saving us from the destruction, it’s harder to accept that it was by our own actions we received the consequences.