December 30 – Daily Notes – Amanda

perfect 10

How do you imagine perfection? Not just partial perfection or perfection in one person, but full, true perfection? God’s kingdom fully on earth is what true perfection looks like. The end of Revelation depicts what the new Jerusalem will look like. It is the return of what God intended for earth. This is something we should long and pray for.

Malachi 1:1-2:17:

  • 1-5 – The words love and hate could be exchanged for “chose” and “did not choose”. God chose Jacob to set up his people. He did not choose Esau. Not only did Esau forego his blessing and birthright, but his descendants often fought against the Israelites. They brought God’s curse upon themselves.
  • 6-14 – The Lord denounces the blemished offerings the priests put before him. These half-hearted offerings showed their lack of devotion to God.
  • 1-9 – The priests had been given special authority. God asked that they honor him and lead the rest of the people in spiritual practices. Here he rebukes them for failing to do so.
  • 10-16 – Scholars disagree on whether this is actually talking about marriage and marrying foreign women or metaphorically speaking of idolatry. Either way, the Judeans were practicing things God did not approve of.

Revelation 21:1-27:

  • 1-7 – This scene depicts God’s kingdom officially and completely coming to earth, like we pray in the Lord’s prayer.
  • 9-27 – The scene depicts the new Jerusalem where God will dwell negating the need for a temple, any other source of light, and presumably many other things necessary in our current construct.

Psalm 149:1-9:

  • 1-5 – So many of the psalms instruct us to praise God and a large percentage of those instruct us to praise him specifically with songs. It is important that we, as a people, do not get out of this habit.

Proverbs 31:10-24:

  • 10-24 – These verses describe an excellent wife. Her characteristics include productivity, generosity, care for others, integrity, and preparedness.

December 5 – Daily Notes – Amanda

milkman

Today we start Hosea. It is a fascinating book where Hosea is a model of faithfulness to God. Can you imagine being asked to marry someone you knew was going to cheat on you to help God paint a picture? I’m not sure I’m strong enough. But Hosea was faithful even though Gomer would never be. What are the limits to your faithfulness?

Hosea 1:1-3:5:

  • 1-3 – God uses Hosea’s life as a microcosm of how Israel had treated God. Just as Israel was unfaithful to God, Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea.
  • 4-9 – The children of Hosea and Gomer also each represented a portion of Israel’s relationship to God.
  • 1-15 – This is an explanation of the punishment Israel will receive for its unfaithfulness.
  • 16-23 – This section describes how it will be when the Israelites are restored to God.

1 John 5:1-21:

  • 3 – This is powerful because often we feel that if we obey God our lives will be boring and lifeless, but this reminds us that following God’s commands is actually beneficial and freeing for us.
  • 13-15 – When we believe in Christ, we receive eternal life. We also have a connection with him so that he hears our prayers.
  • 18 – When we accept Christ we are to be transformed, which means we change and leave behind sins and walk towards righteousness. This, of course, is a process.

Psalm 124:1-8:

  • 1-8 – The psalmist gives credit to God for protecting the Israelites and realizes that they would not have succeeded without the help of God.

Proverbs 29:5-8:

  • 6 – This verse depicts the weight of sin and the freedom in righteousness.

November 13 – Daily Notes – Amanda

wedding

Proverbs has a lot of relationship advice – from friendship to marriages to parenting. Today’s tip on marriage is to pay attention to the signs someone gives you BEFORE you marry them! A wise man does not marry a woman who has proven herself hateful and quarrelsome. It just doesn’t make sense.

Ezekiel 27:1-28:26:

  • 1-36 – Tyre was a wealthy city because it was located on a port. But their wealth was where they placed their pride, which ultimately led to destruction. This section is a lament over the rise and fall of Tyre.
  • 1-10 – This is a prophecy against the prince of Tyre because he has placed himself above God. This is always going to be a bad idea.
  • 11-19 – The King of Tyre had at one time been in God’s good graces, but had since turned to unfaithfulness and had become a laughing stock.
  • 20-23 – The city of Sidon was also unfaithful and set to be destroyed. Tyre and Sidon, in the New Testament are often used as examples of what not to be, similar to Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • 24-26 – God promises to bring Israel back together after Israel and return to it.

Hebrews 11:17-31:

  • 26 – This verse should stop us in our tracks! Because of their deep and abiding faith that God’s promises are true, all these people acted faithfully with the willingness to wait for their rewards. Are we willing to do the same?

Psalm 111:1-10:

  • 1-3 – Let’s give thanks to the Lord for his great Word that we get to read in order to connect with him! Let’s do it even when it’s hard to find time to read!

Proverbs 27:15-16:

  • 15-16 – This is simply encouraging men to make wise choices about the women they choose. A combative nature would most likely be evident before marriage.

October 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

awkward-teenage-years

Growing up, whenever a crazy driver would speed by us, my mom would annoyedly say, “Teenagers.” Teenagers get a bad rap. They smell weird, their hormones make them say and do weird things, and they’re often mean to their parents. But! Teenagers, young adults, kids, and anyone else who doesn’t feel like they get the respect they deserve, should read 1 Timothy 4. Paul explains how you can earn that respect and leadership despite your age.

Jeremiah 33:1-34:22:

  • 1-13 – God promises to restore peace to Jerusalem.
  • 14-26 – Other nations had mocked Israel because it seemed that God had forgotten them and had broken his covenant with them. God promises to restore his covenant with them by placing David’s line back on the throne. We know that this eventually happens permanently through Jesus.
  • 8-22 – God explains his punishment on all those who did not stick with their covenant. One portion of the covenant was to release slaves at a proper time. Many failed to do so.

1 Timothy 4:1-16:

  • 1-5 – Paul consistently taught against certain foods being unclean or certain practices and rituals being necessary for salvation. He believed salvation was through faith in Jesus alone.
  • 6-10 – There were some people in that time that believed holiness came through physical training. While taking care of one’s body is important, it is not a path towards salvation.
  • 12 – The quintessential youth group verse – this verse is advice from Paul to Timothy of how to conduct himself even though it would be initially hard to gain respect because of his youth.
  • 13-16 – Great advice on how to lead faithfully.

Psalm 89:1-13:

  • 5-13 – One thing we seem to be missing, in general, in our culture, is awe and reverence of the Lord’s majesty. This psalm seems to indicate awe and reverence.
  • 10 – References to “Rahab” are often indicating Egypt.

Proverbs 25:23-24:

  • 24 – Choose your spouse wisely.

October 8 – Daily Notes – Amanda

I made it myself

One point Jeremiah touches on today and will continue to hammer home, is the ridiculousness of idolatry. Why would you worship something you can make and then can make again if something happens to that one. In other words, why would you worship something less powerful than you?

Jeremiah 10:1-11:23:

  • 1-25 – This chapter states how ridiculous it is to follow and worship idols. With the power of God, why would anyone want to worship anything else?
  • 1-23 – God knew the Israelites, though they had given themselves to a slew of idols, would cry out to him in times of trouble. He assures them that he will not hear their cries.

Colossians 3:18-4:18:

  • 19-22 – Paul gives the Colossians a model for how to keep households operating in a loving and functional way.
  • 23-24 – We often choose not to work hard or we try to take our frustrations out on our boss or company. Instead, we must remember that we are ultimately working to please God. We should remain faithful in our work because of this.
  • 14 – This is the same Luke who wrote Luke and Acts.

Psalm 78:56-72:

  • The psalm continues to speak of Israel, their unfaithfulness, and the consequences. This section ends with the hope of David coming as their faithful king to shepherd the people.

Proverbs 24:28-29:

  • This proverb simply teaches us to be trustworthy and not to seek revenge.

September 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Dog-Chasing-Tail

Do you know that person who always offers to help after the work is done or always “wishes” they could help? Those sentiments are pretty meaningless – about as productive as a dog chasing his tail. That is how God feels about sacrifices to Him when people go on sinning and worshipping other gods. The sacrifices don’t mean anything. They’re empty. It sure makes you think, are our offerings of worship and service, at times, pretty meaningless?

Isaiah 51:1-53:12:

  • 1-8 – This is a prophecy promising to return Jerusalem to what it was intended to be.
  • 9-11 – A call to arms to prepare to bring the Israelites back from exile.
  • 17-2 – Jerusalem is being urged to wake up and prepare for restoration.
  • 6 – So often, including the prophet Isaiah, biblical characters have responded with “here I am”. Here God explains that he will answer in this same way when it’s time for Israel to be restored.
  • 7-12 – The “good news” this passage refers to is the salvation of Jerusalem. This beautiful, poetic explanation is a great reflection of the beauty of salvation.
  • 1-12 – Now read this again recognizing that it is foretelling Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Ephesians 5:1-33:

  • 1-5 – Following Christ is an act of allowing ourselves to be transformed to look more and more like him. We cannot continue on sinning and say that we are being transformed.
  • 6-14 – There are lots of folks who will try to steer us off our pursuit of following Christ. This is easiest when our sins are hidden. When we bring them to the light they are far easier to deal with.
  • 22-33 – This passage is often disliked and/or ignored in modern society. But if both spouses choose to love and respect one another as Scripture calls us to, both parties get a really good deal.

Psalm 69:19-36:

  • 19-28 – David asks God to punish his enemies.
  • 30-36 – Several times in Scripture God asks for humility or obedience instead of a bunch of meaningless sacrifices. David promises to do just that.

September 6 – Daily Notes – Amanda

love letters

Ok all you lovebirds, get ready. Song of Solomon is written as a conversation between two people in love. If you need a pickup line, some sweet nothings to write in your spouse’s anniversary card, or just a reminder of how much you love your significant other, this is the biblical place to land. Try these out, “you are a sachet of myrrh” or “you are like a gazel or a young stag” or “your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes”. You can’t go wrong.

Song of Solomon 1:10-4:16:

  • The identifications of who is speaking are different in different translations based on what is thought to be happening. Translators agree that it is a conversation. Many believe it is between a bride and a groom, but from the conversation it is clear they’re in love.
  • 1-17 – The man and woman flirt and plan to meet up. They are not shy about expressing how attracted they are to one another.
  • 1-7 – I mean…what girl doesn’t want to be described like this? “Thank you for saying my teeth look like shorn ewes…”. But truly, this entire passage, particularly the beginning and end are such loving descriptions.

2 Corinthians 8:16-24:

  • Titus was one of Paul’s co-laborers. He was a trusted friend of Paul’s. Paul is letting the Corinthians know that Titus and two others will soon come to Corinth to raise money and spread the gospel.
  • 24 – Paul gives the Corinthians encouragement to live up to all the great things he’s been saying about them.

Psalm 50:1-23:

  • 7-15 – The psalmist quotes God as saying that he does not need our sacrifices. He has all he needs because he made all things. He does, however, accept our sacrifices as offerings of thanksgiving.

Proverbs 22:22-23:

  • The poor and powerless are easy to steal from and oppress but this proverb reminds us that God has their back and will right the wrongs done to them.

September 3 – Daily Notes – Amanda

seesaw

Have you ever been on a seesaw when the weight distribution on either end is way off? One person ends up doing all the work. It’s not the other person’s fault. They just physically can’t get down to the ground. This is a crude analogy of what Paul’s talking about when he encourages believers not to marry nonbelievers. They are simply not equally matched when it comes to their spiritual lives.

Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12:

  • 9-12 – These verses are key in helping us understand the importance of friendship and being in relationship in general. We are designed to lean on others and have them lean on us as well.
  • 13 – The things that we value, wealth and power, are not always the things that benefit us most.
  • 1-3 – These verses encourage us to enter God’s presence with reverence and awe. We are to listen for God first instead of assuming we know what he wants and how we should act.
  • 4-7 – It is better not to tell God we’re going to do something and not do it than to never promise anything at all. This is similar to the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 21.
  • 1-6 – Possessions truly don’t matter. Most of the time, when we have lots of things, we’re worried about maintaining possession of those things and often don’t enjoy them. This is a waste of life.

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7:

  • 14-18 – These verses are often used when explaining why believers should not marry nonbelievers. Similar arguments could be made for going into business with nonbelievers. Believers cannot expect nonbelievers to have the same priorities, beliefs, and understandings as them. As believers we are called to be transformed and to put Christ first. This effects every aspect of life.
  • 5-7 – Paul’s unquenchable joy is so apparent here. He explains to the Corinthians the difficulties he has faced, but continues to rejoice in hearing of other believers joining in the battle with him.

Psalm 47:1-9:

  • Our God is worthy of our praise. We should sing to him and honor him with song.

Proverbs 22:16:

  • God does not take kindly to the powerful oppressing the weak in any circumstance. He calls us to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the child, and the one who is new to the faith.