December 31 – Daily Notes – Amanda

finishline2

You did it! You finished! Today is your last day of reading…for 2017. I hope you gained so much from your reading and now feel closer, in some way, to God. It may be too soon, but may I encourage you to pick up the new plan tomorrow? The Bible is the living word of God. As you read through it again, you’ll gain new insights, read things differently, and hear from God in a new way. It was worth it this year. It will be worth it in 2018 too!

Malachi 3:1-4:16:

  • 1-7 – Part of this prophecy sounds like it’s talking about the Messiah and part sounds like it’s John the Baptist. Either way, it is later fulfilled.
  • 1-3 – A day of judgment is prophecied.
  • 5-6 – John the Baptist was often associated with Elijah.

Revelation 22:1-21:

  • 8-9 – As we all do, John confused something of God with God and worshipped the angel. The angel quickly redirected him to worship God.
  • 17 – This is an open invitation to all who recognize their need for Christ to come and receive new life.

Psalm 150:1-6:

  • Whatever you have, praise God with it. No excuses.

Proverbs 31:25-31:

  • These verses make it clear what should matter in a woman’s worth. Physical beauty is not one of them.

December 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

giving to the poor

Today’s psalm is a reminder of God’s provision of care and comfort for those who are made low by the world. God doesn’t see or treat us by the world’s standards. He is not impressed with our wealth or power. He sees our needs and meets them. When people have great need, he responds greatly.

Zephaniah 1:1-3:20:

  • 1-6 – Through yet another vessel, Judah is hearing of their upcoming destruction.
  • 7-18 – This prophecy proclaims that destruction is coming soon and all the things the people had previously relied on will not be able to rescue them.
  • 1-15 – Though Judah faced destruction from God, God still didn’t take kindly to other nations oppressing or harming Judah. They too would face judgment and destruction.
  • 14-20 – Not unusually, God promises that after punishment there will be restoration for Israel. God’s ultimate desire is to restore relationship and connection with Israel.

Revelation 10:1-11:

  • 1- The rainbow over the angels head is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah and of the hope that encompasses all of the judgments.
  • 1-7 – The angel with the small scroll declares that the major judgment is coming soon and that the seventh angel would bring more clarity of God’s mystery. Instead of more judgment, this angel simply brings more clarity to what is to come.
  • 8-11 – The scroll tasted sweet at first because the message is good for the prophet – it is the word of God and the prophet had been faithful. It becomes bitter because the prophet, though he will not face destruction himself, is human and is being made aware of the judgment coming down on humanity.

Psalm 138:1-8:

  • 6 – Throughout Scripture God raises up the lowly. This should offer us great comfort that God sees the plight of those who struggle. He does not leave them alone. When we are proud and feel that we do not need God, he obliges.

Proverbs 30:11-14:

  • These verses warn us that there are people out there who have evil in their heart and act upon it.

December 15 – Daily Notes – Amanda

quiz 100

Want a guaranteed 100 on a pop quiz? Simply ask yourself the questions in verse four of today’s Proverb and answer “God” every time. It’ll work. I promise. And, in the process, be reminded of God’s incredible and matchless power.

Micah 1:1-4:13:

  • 1 – This establishes that God will use Micah as a prophet and that he is to communicate God’s message to a series of kings of Judah.
  • 2-9 – Judah will receive punishment and all the idols will be destroyed because of its sin.
  • 1-11 – God declares the destruction those who work evil will face. Like in other books, God makes clear that he will not tolerate oppression of the weak.
  • 1-12 – This chapter denounces rulers and prophets, but it only denounces those who are not following God and are leading people astray. This is definitely not denouncing all prophets, because it is being spoken through a prophet that God has chosen to use.
  • 6-13 – The Lord promises to rescue Zion. Zion is the mountain where Jerusalem is located.

Revelation 6:1-17:

  • 1-17 – Six of the seven seals are broken by the lamb. As each seal is broken, more of God’s wrath is released onto the earth. This is a part of the final judgment against evil and wickedness.

Psalm 134:1-3:

  • This is another Psalm of Ascent, which would have been recited on the way up to Jerusalem. It must have been a joyful one as they all sang praises as they approached the city.

Proverbs 30:1-4:

  • 4 – These are a series of rhetorical questions to which the answer is always God alone.

December 10 – Daily Notes – Amanda

letter writing

Today’s Revelation reading is part of the letters to the seven churches. Each receives either commendation for faithfulness or warning to repent from wickedness, or both. Though these messages are specifically for the various churches, listen to what is said to them and see if they can help you become more faithful as well.

Amos 1:1-3:15:

  • 1-15 – These are various judgments passed down on Israel’s neighbors who have wronged Israel.
  • 4-5 – This judgment is passed down upon Judah. The first part of the prophecy was against non-Israelites, but now it has switched to the Israelites.
  • 6-16 – This judgment is against the Israelites and explains a variety of their transgressions.
  • 1-15 – Here God confirms the guilt of the Israelites and describes the punishment they will face. He also reiterates that they have had a variety of warnings before this all goes down.

Revelation 2:1-17:

  • 1-7 – Here there is a word for the church at Ephesus. They are commended for their original faithfulness, but have apparently strayed recently. This is a call to return to their original faithfulness and warning of what will happen if they don’t.
  • 8-11 – Here the church of Smyrna is warned of upcoming trials they will face.
  • 12-17 – Here it sounds like the church of Pergamum has some issues to work out. They too are given an opportunity to repent and return to God before destruction befalls them.

Psalm 129:1-8:

  • Here the psalmist has faced persecution but gives a testimony that God prevails regardless.

Proverbs 29:19-20:

  • 20 – Common theme? Yes! Once again we see a proverb lauding patience and restraint and warning against haste.

November 4 – Daily Notes – Amanda

control

Many of us hate to be out of control. We hold onto the proverbial reigns with white knuckle grips. We plan and coordinate and when things don’t go our way, or even when we become unsure of whether or not they will go our way, we fall apart. Today’s proverb reminds us that, in certain ways, it’s good to be out of control because that allows us to better see God in control. And he’s way better at it.

Ezekiel 10:1-11:25:

  • 1-22 – This section describes the glory of the Lord leaving the temple. This, in turn, means that the glory of the Lord left the Israelites.
  • 1-13 – Ezekiel is shown those who had counseled Israel away from God. Judgment and punishment begin to be poured out on them.
  • 14-25 – In this section, Israel is given a new heart and a new spirit. Verse 19 is similar to several other verses regarding a change of heart, particularly Ezekiel 36:26 and Psalm 51:10.

Hebrews 6:1-20:

  • 4-8 – In a similar vein to the unforgivable sin mentioned in the gospels, if you are worried that you committed it, your desire for repentance and restoration with God is sign that you are not beyond restoration. Have no fear.
  • 9-12 – The author expresses hope for those hearing his words that they are still covered by salvation and should have eternal hope.
  • 20 – Melchizedek is mentioned several times in Hebrews. He was a high priest mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as having served a meal similar to communion to Abraham and God when they met. Some groups believed that Melchizedek was a human who lived without sin.

Psalm 105:16-36:

  • 16-22 – Joseph’s story of betrayal, rejection, and imprisonment could be encouraging to Israelites, particularly those in exile, that God always rescues his people.
  • 23-36 – The psalmist recounts the events that put the Israelites into Egypt and how God ultimately rescued them.

Proverbs 27:1-2:

  • 1 – This is yet another reminder that we are not in control. This is difficult for most of us, but freeing when we realize that God is!

October 25 – Daily Notes – Amanda

storming the castle

Do you ever feel like the critics know more about our faith and the Bible than we do? I remember being confronted by an atheist when I was in college. He talked to me about biblical contradictions and I realized he knew more about the Bible than I did. Paul encourages Timothy, in today’s 2 Timothy reading, to always be prepared to defend the gospel because others will always be ready to attack it. I’d encourage all of us to do the same.

Jeremiah 48:1-49:22:

  • The next two chapters are a pronouncement of judgments on various lands including Moab and Ammon.

2 Timothy 4:1-22:

  • 1-5 – Timothy needed to always be ready to share and defend the gospel because the opposition always was.
  • 9-18 – Paul deals with practical matters but asserts his certainty that God would protect him no matter what opposed him.

Psalm 95:1-96:13:

  • 6-11 – God’s faithfulness to the Israelites despite their wanderings is reiterated.

Proverbs 26:9-12:

  • A list of foolish people and how foolish it is to entrust foolish people with anything.

October 2 – Daily Notes – Amanda

whats-the-big-deal-2

Today, as we finish Isaiah, and read today’s psalm, we realize just how big of a deal exile was to the Israelites. To us, it’s an event in history. To them, it was the end of everything they’d known and they didn’t know if what they’d known would ever return. In order to understand the story of God’s people, it is imperative that we understand the weight and impact of the exile.

Isaiah 66:1-24:

  • 10-14 – People should rejoice with Jerusalem because God is restoring the city.
  • 18-24 – God explains specifically what will happen to the Israelites who make it through the judgments. They will be considered the remnant. They will see others who were rejected due to their sin not to gloat but to understand God’s judgment even better.

Philippians 3:4b-21:

  • 4-11 – Paul explains that he would have every reason to be confident if self-righteousness were an option. He has all the boxes checked. He realizes that salvation through faith in the resurrection is the only righteousness he needs.
  • 13-14 – Ultimately Paul was pressing on for an eternal prize.
  • 17-18 – It should be each of our goals to be able to walk in a manner that allows us to ask others to follow us. So many would seek to be spiritual leaders but fall off the track easily.

Psalm 74:1-23:

  • 1-8 – The psalmist mourns over the Israelites’ exile. God has turned away from the Israelites, the temple has been destroyed, and he wonders how long this will continue.
  • 9-23 – The psalmist is reminded of the great things God has done, proving his ability, and asks God to restore the Israelites.

Proverbs 24:15-16:

  • This warns against sliding into a pattern similar to those who seek to harm righteous people. Those unhealthy patterns ultimately lead to destruction.

September 14 – Daily Notes – Amanda

work

Who do you work for? Yes, that is a trick question. When asked that question, I answer, “Munger Place Church”. The truth is, no matter how you fill in the blank, the correct answer is “I work for God”. This is how we should view our daily tasks – as done for God. When we feel like slacking off, cheating, or lying, we must remember that we’re not getting back at our jerk of a boss, we’re disrespecting God.

Isaiah 15:1-18:7:

  • 15:1-16:14 – This is the prophecy against Moab. The Moabites were continual enemies of Israel and tended to seek out wars. The end of the prophecy is that Moab will end up weak.
  • 17:1-18:7 – This prophecy is against Damascus, a city in Syria. The Syrians were tough and were also gifted warriors.

Galatians 1:1-24:

  • 6-9 – Jesus warns about this kind of “hearer of the word” in the parable of the 4 seeds. He explains that some hearers shoot up quickly but don’t have roots so they burn up quickly. The Galatians were quick to turn to another option after they had accepted the gospel of Christ.
  • 10 – This is difficult, but a challenge we should all pursue: to work to please God instead of man.
  • 12-14 – In Paul’s early years, he was a Christian-persecuting Jew. He cannot take credit for what Christ did in him because it was against all odds.

Psalm 58:1-11:

  • David speaks out against those who judge wrongly. He knows there is ultimately a reward for those who are righteous, but for now, the unrighteous are able to flourish.

September 9 – Daily Notes – Amanda

deceit

Sin tells us it’s not a big deal. Sin tells us it won’t hurt us. Sin often even tells us it’s good for us and will ultimately make us better. Sin lies. If it was always obvious how harmful sin is, we would probably avoid it more. But it hides in the bushes and lurks around waiting to attack. Today’s 2 Corinthians reading reminds us of just how deceptive sin can be.

Isaiah 3:1-5:30:

  • 1-15 – Now the judgment switches over to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • 16-26 – This judgment is directed towards “the daughters of Zion” – aka – Jerusalem.
  • 2-6 – This is the plan for the future of Jerusalem after all the sinful folks are wiped out.
  • 1-7 – This section describes Judah and Israel as a vineyard that has yielded wild grapes instead of the good, winemaking grapes that were intended. The vintner allows the vineyard to be destroyed.
  • 6-23 – This is a series of laments of various ways people sin.

2 Corinthians 11:1-15:

  • 3-6 – Paul fears that though the Corinthians are currently devoted to Christ and his gospel, they could easily be swayed.
  • 12-15 – This is why it’s difficult to recognize sin. The devil, and those who follow him, make it difficult to decipher good from evil. They make them both look the same.

Psalm 53:1-6:

  • 2-3 – This is not difficult to believe since both with Noah and Job, they seem to be the only faithful ones remaining. People corrupt one another and it grows exponentially.
  • 6 – Though Jesus wasn’t from Jerusalem, that is where he died and thus salvation did occur in Jerusalem.