December 7 – Daily Notes – Amanda

small-but-mighty-02

Like the minor prophets, the Johns are short books. Don’t make the mistake of skimming over them or discounting them because of their size. There is obviously a reason they were included and more words doesn’t always mean more important. So take the time to think on the 15 verses of 3 John today. See what you learn.

Hosea 6:1-9:17:

  • 4-11 – Judah and Israel are unrepentant and fickle. God reflects that they act as if they love him, but that love only remains for a short time.
  • 1-16 – This continues God’s lament over the Israelites’ continual choice not to repent.
  • 1-14 – God is promising that Israel and Judah will reap what they sow. They continue to live unfaithfully and will soon receive what they’re asking for.
  • 1-17 – Though painful to read, this section assures that Israel will be punished. Verse 17, in particular, confirms the rejection of Israel. We cannot expect to sin over and over and never face a consequence.

3 John 1-15:

  • 5-8 – This section is encouraging all churches who followed John to accept and be open to traveling pastors and evangelists so they can all work within the same cause.
  • 11 – The author has already explained what to do and then given an example of what not to do. This simply sums up that we should imitate the former.

Psalm 126:1-6:

  • 1-3 – When the Lord does great things for us, others notice it and are changed when we choose to accept his blessings.

Proverbs 29:12-14:

  • 12 – If leaders give their subordinates an opportunity to be unfaithful, they will often accept.

June 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

good God

It’s important to read the Bible carefully. If only skimming, stories like the one of the King of Moab sacrificing his son, in today’s Acts reading, could be mistaken for something God wanted or chose. God did not want the king to sacrifice his son. God did not ask him to do that. That was the king’s own evil choice. We tend to read the Bible as if everything is telling us to “go and do likewise”. This is simply not the case.

2 Kings 3:1-4:17:

  • 9 – The kingdoms of Israel and Judah had not been united on anything since just after Solomon’s reign.
  • 13 – Elisha learned his sass from Elijah. The king of Israel’s parents worshipped Baal. Elisha is pointing out that the king wants the Lord’s help even though he hasn’t been faithful to the Lord.
  • 17-19 – It is often the simplest things that prove God’s favor or lack there of. Like when wandering in the desert, the Israelites lack water and God provides it.
  • 27 – The King of Moab who sacrificed his son did not do this to honor God. God did not ask this of him.
  • 1-7 – The Lord provided for the woman when it seemed impossible. He multiplied the oil to make it profitable for her so she could take care of herself and her son.
  • 8-10 – Above and beyond hospitality
  • 11-17 – Elisha was blessed and then asked the Lord to bless the woman in return.

Acts 14:8-28:

  • 8-10 – Healings often happened because of faith. This one is simply because Paul saw faith in the crippled man.
  • 11-18 – The people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were their gods in human form. This, for obvious reasons, greatly distressed the men of God.
  • 19-23 – When Paul later writes about suffering for the sake of Christ, he is not speaking figuratively. He truly had suffered greatly to share the gospel.

Psalm 140:1-3:

  • It is pretty incredible that, with so many aggressive enemies, David is still able to focus on and remain faithful to God. At the same time, it is pretty incredible how well God protected David from his enemies.

Proverbs 17:22:

  • Joy, a fruit of the spirit, is more than just enjoyable, it’s life giving.

May 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dawson crying

It is often after we get ourselves into a great mess that we think to cry out to God. Today’s psalm talks about facing the snares of death and then calling out to the Lord to rescue. Our lives would be a whole lot easier if we would stay in communication with God in order to keep ourselves out of the trouble in the first place.

1 Samuel 24:1-25:44:

  • 2-7 – David had such respect for the authority God had given Saul that he felt guilty for even cutting his robe. He also refused to kill Saul even though Saul was trying his best to kill him.
  • 8-22 – David’s kindness and grace turn Saul’s heart. He stops chasing David and confirms that he will one day be king.
  • 1-17 – Even though David and his men had been very kind to Nabal’s men, Nabal is hateful and inhospitable to David, which was unusual for their culture. Unless you were enemies, hospitality was understood.
  • 18-35 – Abigail, with quick thinking and great hospitality, saves her household from the consequences of her husband’s hatefulness. She also saved David from making a hasty decision and killing Nabal’s household.
  • 40-44 – David was married to Michal and now has taken both Abigail and Ahinoam as wives. Saul, though, dissolves David’s marriage to Michal, in his absence, so David now has two wives. This was culturally acceptable.

John 10:22-42:

  • 24-30 – The Jews wanting Jesus to explain his identity plainly is ironic since this gospel, far more than any other, has clearly revealed Jesus’ identity.
  • 26-27 – Jesus’ sheep were those who believed in and followed him.
  • 31-42 – Once again the religious authorities attempt to stone Jesus because they think he is blaspheming while others continue to believe in and follow him.

Psalm 116:1-19:

  • 3-4 – Notice that the psalmist experienced great pain and torment and then cries out for God to deliver him. Why is it that it often takes so long for us to finally cry out to God?
  • 12-14 – It’s impossible to repay the Lord for all the great things he does for us. The psalmist chooses to thank God for his salvation and to acknowledge God’s work in his life in front of others.

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.

Jan. 7 – Genesis 16:1-18:19

 

Genesis 1-11 is about how the world became such a mess.  Genesis 12 begins the story (which is still unfolding) of what God is doing to fix the mess.  God’s plan is laughable: he will save the world through one man’s family.  That man is Abram (later called Abraham).

pablo-9

 

 

There is a problem, however: “Abraham and Sarah [his wife] were old, advanced in years, and “the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.”  In Genesis 15, we read how God made a covenant with Abram and promised Abram as many children as there are stars in the sky, and that through that family would God bless the whole world.  So the fact that Abraham and Sarah still do not have children is a major problem.

In Genesis 15, Sarah takes matters into her own hands and decides to have Abraham father a child through her servant.  He does, and unsurprisingly the servants pregnancy causes problems in the family.  Whenever we decide to use our means to achieve God’s ends, it always goes badly for us.

16:6, One of the original sins of men is passivity.  That was Adam’s sin at the Fall–“It was the woman YOU gave me, Lord”–and that’s Abram’s sin here (along with the obvious sin of lust.”  He agrees to do what he knows is wrong by sleeping with the maid, and then he refuses to speak up for her.  I think this verse is heartbreaking.

16:11-14, Circumcision is like a gang tattoo: it’s meant to signify your allegiance.  Think of the significance, then, that baby boys are circumcised before they know what it signifies.  What this means is that God’s covenant comes to us first, before we deserve it or earn it.  It is a covenant of grace.

16:18-19, Abraham wants God to make the covenant with his son Ishmael, the first-born.  But, as we’ll see over and over again with the patriarchs, God subverts primogeniture and chooses the younger son.  God has a way of subverting human expectations.

17:17 – Abraham thinks God’s plan is ridiculous.  And he’s right.  But, God works in ridiculous ways.

18:1-8 – Note the picture of ancient Near Eastern hospitality: Abraham drops what he’s doing to care for his guests.

18:1 – It’s a very mysterious guest that Abraham entertains, but though we know it is a divine guest, Abraham does not.  (The event is referenced in Hebrews 13:2: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”)

–AF