May 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

wrong place wrong time

Ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Sometimes, it is an honest, innocent mistake. Other times, however, we probably shouldn’t have been in that place in the first place. This is how David got himself in the biggest trouble of his life. He sees a beautiful woman bathing on a roof and even though she’s someone else’s wife, he has to have her. The thing is, though, he shouldn’t have been home to see her in the first place.

2 Samuel 9:1-11:27:

  • 1-13 – It wouldn’t have been strange for a king to kill everyone in the line of the previous king to prevent them from trying to take back power. Instead, David holds true to the covenant he made with Jonathan and treats Mephibosheth like his own son.
  • 1-4 – The Ammonites didn’t trust David’s kindness and they repay his servants with dishonor. Shaving half their beards would be a sign of dishonor and would make them look ridiculous and cutting off part of their garments was to expose and embarrass them.
  • 12-14 – God blessed the Israelites with two simultaneous victories though both seemed like they would have been difficult.
  • 1 – David was supposed to be in battle, but chose to stay home and send others out to do his work for him.
  • 2-13 – Because David was in a place he shouldn’t have been, he was left open to sin. David tries to cover his sin up by bringing Uriah home so he could think the baby was his. Uriah is too honorable and refuses to enjoy the pleasures of home while the other soldiers are out at battle.
  • 14-27 – David assures that Uriah will be killed in battle. This, to some degree, covers up David’s sin. The Lord, however, knows what David has done and is not pleased.

John 15:1-27:

  • 4-11 – Beautiful imagery reminding us that we must stay connected to Christ, the source of anything good that can come from us. When we are connected to him, we bear good fruit.
  • 12 – Jesus repeats a commandment he gave in the reading two days ago. Repeating a commandment solidifies its importance.
  • 17 – He repeats the command to love one another a third time. Clearly this is a crucial command that he intends for all believers to follow.
  • 20-21 – Jesus prepares his disciples to receive the same persecution he has received. We, as believers, should expect the same if we are living like Christ.
  • 22 – If the persecutors had not known Jesus, they could have claimed ignorance.

Psalm 119:49-64:

  • 61 – The psalmist expresses the importance of remaining faithful to God even in the midst of hardship and oppression.

Proverbs 16:1-3:

  • A powerful explanation of our plans versus God’s. When we offer up our plans to God and give him ultimate authority, we are certain to see success.

May 7 – Daily Notes – Amanda

priorities

Like in today’s reading from John, Jesus and the religious authorities were in a continual battle and a great deal of it revolved around priorities. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew God’s word and it said you could not work on the Sabbath. Jesus, on the other hand, believed the law’s importance and authority had limits, particularly in light of the suffering of another human. Today, Jesus prioritized a crippled man’s healing over the law. The religious authorities did not approve.

1 Samuel 1:1-2:21:

  • 5 – It was not unusual for a man to abandon a barren wife.
  • 1-8 – Note the similarities between these two women and Rachel and Leah. The less loved wife is able to bear children. Rivalry ensues. But notice how differently Hannah deals with her situation than Rachel.
  • 8 – Elkanah sounds like a wonderful, loving man.
  • 11 – Hannah is offering the son she hopes for up as a Nazirite, dedicated to the Lord’s service, like Samson.
  • 19-20 – Obviously a huge answer to prayer! Note that in ancient Israelite culture, name’s had deep meaning. We’ve seen this a lot. Name’s were not given frivolously, but with great purpose and thought.
  • 24-28 – What an incredibly difficult follow through! Hannah desperately wanted a son, but promised him to God’s service. She follows through with her promise and gives Samuel to the Lord. I’m not sure that I could do the same.
  • 1-10 – The deep faith and commitment to God expressed in her prayer makes it a little more clear how she was able to keep her promise.
  • 12-17 – The sons of Eli would have been priests as well and were not following the laws of how to sacrifice, but instead, taking the parts of the sacrifice that were meant for God.

John 5:1-23:

  • 2-9 – We often read these stories and think they’re neat or nice but fail to feel the weight of it. The man beside the pool had been an invalid for 38 years! 38 years is a long time to be sick or disabled! And then suddenly, with just a word, he is able to walk. That’s incredible!
  • 9-17 – The religious leaders were very intent on keeping the law. Note that they did not rejoice that the crippled man was healed, they noticed his infraction of picking up his mat. We can tend to be pretty bad about that too. “Sin no more” is also an interesting statement because you wonder what sin of this man Jesus is referring to. He says the same thing to the woman at the well, but he was addressing a specific sin.

Psalm 103:57-45:

  • The continuation of this Psalm tells more of the story of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites through their escape from Egypt and his provision for them in the desert. If you were an Israelite reading or hearing this, it would be a great reminder of the lengths to which God was willing to go to save you.

Proverbs 14:28-29:

  • Quick reactions, decisions, and emotions continue to be associated with folly.

What to Expect – Week 19

mother and baby

Who is the most boring character in all of Scripture? Many people would say Samuel even though he is instrumental in the development of Israel and its leaders. If you’re looking for a scandal, deceit, and drama, Samuel is not your guy. He was faithful throughout his service, respected by his people, and followed God’s directions even when they were difficult. But here are a couple of things to watch for in this week of our readings in Samuel:

  • Hannah, Samuel’s mother, prayed fervently for a child but promised to dedicate him to God
  • Samuel was raised primarily by Eli the priest
  • In a time when God didn’t speak much, he chose to speak to Samuel
  • When the Israelites begged for a king, God told Samuel they weren’t rejecting Samuel, but God
  • Samuel anointed Saul as the first King of Israel

This week in John, we’ll read the first of the 12 times Jesus says, “I am…”. This time he says, “I am the bread of life.” Though some of his “I am” statements are cryptic, he reveals himself, in part, through these statements. If our goal is to know and follow Jesus and to become more like him, these “I am” statements are crucial. Look for these throughout the rest of John’s gospel to try to piece together clues into who Jesus is and what he’s about.

Psalm 106, which we’ll read Monday and Tuesday, recounts God’s faithfulness in getting them out of Egypt and caring for them in the wilderness. It’s important to note that the writer of the psalm was not a slave in Egypt, did not witness the water’s part, and never wandered in the desert with Moses. But someone told him about it and those stories gave the writer faith that he shared with others. This is all the more reason that we must share our experiences with God with others.

We have now started our fifth month of reading! That means we are a third of the way through the Bible! That’s no small feat. Keep up the good work and let us know how your commitment to Scripture has impacted your life.

May 5 – Daily Notes – Amanda

mother in law

Having a rough time with your mother-in-law? Well, whether you like her or not, all of us could learn a thing or two from Ruth, the main character of the book we start today. She’s pretty incredible and unbelievably loyal to her mother-in-law, Naomi. This is a fascinating story of how God works our small decisions into good for us and others.

Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22:

  • 1 – Giving someone in marriage seemed to be the ultimate way to mix cultures and to influence. God seems to see this as the ultimate threat. Thus the rest of Israel refuses to intermarry with the tribe of Benjamin.
  • 13-24 – Because of the devastation of the tribe of Benjamin, they were on the brink of extinction because no other tribe would allow their daughters to marry Benjamites. This was their plan for providing wives without compromising their own daughters.
  • 3-5 – A woman’s only source of wealth and protection were her male relatives. With Naomi’s husband and sons having died, she was extremely vulnerable.
  • 16-17 – Though it was normally a bad thing for Israelites to intermarry, Ruth seems to be the exception to the rule. Instead of influencing her husband and his family to her Moabite gods, she becomes to loyal to Naomi and Naomi’s God.

John 4:4-42:

  • 7 – Procuring water was a woman’s job. It was unheard of for a man to speak to a woman he was not married or related to in public, but even more unusual because he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jews hated Samaritans because they considered them half-breeds.
  • 7-15 – Though Jesus is trying to offer the woman something much more important and life-giving than regular water, she cannot understand what he is offering.
  • 16-18 – Jesus calls out the woman’s sins to prove that he is not an ordinary person.
  • 25-26 – Jesus rarely reveals his true identity so explicitly and when he does, he tends to reveal it to the most unlikely characters.
  • 35-38 – Jesus wanted his disciples to begin bringing people to salvation based on the work he and the prophets before him had already done. They didn’t have to do the initial work, but could push the message home.
  • 39-42 – Jesus originally came to bring salvation to the Jews, but throughout his ministry he extended it to others as well.

Psalm 105:1-15:

  • The Israelites shared the faithfulness of God with younger generations who had not seen it by telling the stories of his great works. This psalm is an example of that.

Proverbs 14:25:

  • Like one of the Ten Commandments, this Proverb encourages its readers not to bear false witness because it only leads to destruction.

April 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Joshua 24:1-33:

  • 1-14 – Joshua recounts a series of God’s faithfulness to them from the beginning of his covenant with Israel to their present day. He then asks them to follow him faithfully because of this faithfulness.
  • 15 – A powerful line in the sand type of verse. Joshua can’t force the Israelites to respond to God’s faithfulness with faithfulness of their own, but he makes a pledge for himself and his family to do so.
  • 19-28 – Joshua was hesitant to believe and accept the devotion of the Israelites because he had seen their unfaithfulness in the past and knew they still had idols in their possessions. The Israelites insist that they are committed.
  • 31 – The sign of a good leader – all the Israelites followed God while Joshua led them.

Luke 21:1-28:

  • 1-4 – God does not care about the amount we give but about our faithfulness in trusting him enough to give.
  • 14-15 – We know this to be true because he continually is able to confound the religious authorities when they attempt to stump him with impossible questions.
  • 20-24 – Just a few decades after Jesus’ death, the Romans destroy Jerusalem and persecute the Christians. Jesus is foretelling this and letting people know that it truly will be terrible.

Psalm 89:38-52:

  • 46 – In this instance, the psalmist is referring to being exiled when he says the Lord is hiding his face from him.

Proverbs 13:20-23:

  • 22 – There are many verses in the proverbs about the wisdom of preparing and working hard. Leaving an inheritance for your children requires both of these things.

What to Expect – Week 16

as for me

First off, HAPPY EASTER!!! I hope you feel the love of Jesus throughout your day!

This week we have a number of noteworthy verses, passages, and events to read. For starters, in Joshua, there is a really powerful verse that we should all claim for our families. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua has done everything possible to lead the Israelites towards faithfulness and yet they are easily tempted by the presumed glamour of other nations’ gods. So he draws a line in the sand and tells them all to choose who they’ll serve. But he doesn’t have to choose, because he already has.

And this week in Luke we begin reading his account of Holy Week, beginning with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. As you read through Jesus’ last week of life (it will extend into next week’s reading) remember all that we just remembered and celebrated. I don’t want to spoil anything for next week, so I’ll just leave it at that.

We also get to see a cool way that Scripture all ties together. In Friday’s psalm, the psalmist reminds us of the covenant God made with David and how God promised that David’s line would be on the throne forever. As was affirmed in Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ line runs directly from David. When Jesus dies and resurrects, which we know he’s about to do, he becomes the everlasting king. David’s line truly does remain on the throne forever.

April 8 – Daily Notes – Amanda

sleeping beauty

Throughout the gospels, being prepared for the coming of Christ is likened to “staying awake”. How do you think we become prepared for Christ’s arrival? The most obvious way is to live faithfully. Today’s reading reminds us that “staying awake” is an ongoing process.

Deuteronomy 32:28-52:

  • 32 – Sodom and Gomorrah were two towns in Genesis that God destroyed because of their egregious sins. They are often referred to when someone is trying to describe the worst of the worst.
  • 28-43 – Moses’ song challenges those who have sought or relied on other gods. He assures the Israelites that Yahweh is the only God worth serving and that he will reign alone in the end.
  • 50-52 – God commands Moses to see but not experience the land he had promised them. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he was unfaithful when bringing water forth from the rock.

Luke 12:35-59

  • 35-38 – Remaining awake alludes to believing in Christ and remaining faithful over time.
  • 41-48 – Jesus knew he would soon be killed and would not be with his disciples or other followers anymore. His instructions were to continue to do what Jesus had taught them to do while he was present. He also describes the consequences if they were not faithful in this.
  • 51-53 – The division Jesus brings is whether or not you will follow him. Some would choose to follow him while others would choose to stay in their old ways. This would cause division.

Psalm 78:56-64:

  • The psalmist explains the rebellious actions that caused the Israelites to be exiled and how God allowed it to happen. He vacated his presence with them and he removed his glory so that the Israelites’ enemies would be victorious.

April 5 – Daily Notes – Amanda

back to the future

Today’s Psalm reminds us to look to our past to gain hope for our future. This may seem odd to those of us with troubled pasts, but we’re not looking for our own successes or failures, we’re looking for God’s faithfulness. When we see God’s faithfulness in our past, it reminds us that he will be faithful again and again.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68:

  • 1-19 – Moses clearly explains to the Israelites what is required of them and what the outcomes of both decisions will be. They can choose obedience and blessings or disobedience and curses.
  • 20-68 – All of these verses describe the breadth of curses the Israelites will receive if they choose not to follow the Lord’s commands. Every aspect of their lives will be slowly destroyed.

Luke 11:14-36:

  • 17-23 – The people who accused Jesus of casting out demons by the devil’s power were simply trying to come up with any reason to explain away his abilities. Jesus explains how this can’t possibly be the case because why would Satan send some one who was constantly opposing his work. Jesus also requires that if these people call into question Jesus’ means of exorcism, they would need to call into question Jewish exorcists’ means as well.
  • 27-28 – Jesus consistently redirects people to his main point. He’s not arguing that his mother should not be blessed, but instead redirecting this woman and the crowd to what he came to earth to teach.
  • 29-30 – Jonah’s message to Nineveh was to repent or be destroyed. Jesus’ message was basically the same for the Israelites.

Psalm 77:1-20:

  • This Psalm is a reminder to those who feel lost or forgotten by God to look back on his faithfulness in the past to give them hope that he is near and still faithful.
  • 19-20 – God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the desert seems to be the event later Israelites looked to the most as a sign of God’s faithfulness.

Proverbs 12:18:

  • Think about how true this has been in your own life. Careless words can be so hurtful and wise words so healing. This can be a reminder to us to choose wise words for others.

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?

January 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 41:17-42:17:

  • 17-32 – As Joseph makes clear in yesterday’s reading in verse 16, Joseph is not responsible for the interpretation, God is. Joseph is just the vessel.
  • 32 – As we’ve said before, when things are repeated, it means it’s important and should be paid attention to. This is no different with Pharaoh’s dreams.
  • 37-45 – Joseph’s faithfulness in the midst of adversity pays off.
  • 45 – Potiphera is not the same as Potipher whose house Joseph served in and was falsely accused in.
  • 1 – This is Jacob, Joseph’s father.
  • 4 – Benjamin was still young and Jacob had already lost the only other son of his favorite wife, Rachel.
  • 6-10 – Joseph’s dreams that frustrated his brothers when they were young, were now coming true. Joseph recognizes his brothers but they don’t recognize him because there is no way they could have imagined this scenario.
  • 12-17 – Joseph uses this ruse because he wants to see his younger brother.

Matthew 13:24-46:

  • 24-30 – A very powerful parable! God could have destroyed all the people who did not believe in him at any point, but he chooses not to because the destruction of all of them would certainly damage the faith of many believers. We see this even in reading Scripture and feeling sorry for the wicked people in Noah’s day who were drowned. We wonder why God had to destroy them. So God allows believers and non-believers to prosper even if it might make it more difficult for believers.
  • 31-32 – Mustard plants grow quickly and are wild plants.
  • 33 – Clearly Jesus wanted to describe the many intricacies of the kingdom of God. The fact that there are three parables describing the same thing means he wants you to take special note of this.
  • 44-46 – It is unprecedented for a theme to be repeated five times so quickly. The order of the kingdom of heaven was necessary to understand.

Psalm 18:1-15:

  • David attempts to describe the power of God and how he comes to our aid when we earnestly cry out for help.

Proverbs 4:1-6:

  • Solomon doesn’t just ask the reader to take from his lessons, he too took the lessons from his father, David.