November 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Monday

You woke up this morning, right? Great! Then you have reason to give God praise. You were given this day as a gift! Now praise him for it and go out and treat it as the gift that it is.

Ezekiel 40:28-41:26:

  • 28-49 – This is a continuation of Ezekiel’s vision of what the new temple should look like. Like the first time it was built, there are very specific instructions regarding all the details.
  • 1-4 – The Most Holy Place was a place where only the chief priest could go once a year. It was separated from the rest by a curtain. This curtain was torn in half when Jesus died and bridged the gap between us and God.

James 4:1-17:

  • 1-3 – This is inviting us to ask God for things. Note that we are to ask for things not to fulfill our selfish wants, but for God’s glory and for our good and the good of others.
  • 4-10 – Friendship with the world entails loving things and loving what the world tells us we need more than we love and follow God. Instead, we are to draw near to and worship God.
  • 13-17 – We are to submit everything, even our futures, to God’s will.

Psalm 118:19-29:

  • 24 – No matter our circumstances, we can always rejoice because God made this day and gave it to us as a gift.
  • 29 – This is an exclamation repeated often in Scripture. It is a reminder that God is constant in his faithfulness and that we are loved.

Proverbs 28:3-5:

  • 5 – This is an interesting point. If we seek the Lord, he steers us to what is good and pleasing in his sight.

September 2 – Daily Notes – Amanda

spinning tires

Today we start a new book, Ecclesiastes. Have you ever felt like you’re spinning your wheels? Not getting anywhere? Making futile efforts? You’re not alone. Solomon felt that way too at times. But through all his searchings and efforts, he ultimately found truth. Ecclesiastes is worth your time.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22:

  • 9 – “There is nothing new under the sun” is repeated throughout Ecclesiastes. This is used to remind us that the triumphs, tragedies, as well as daily successes and annoyances, are not new to us. Others have experienced them before us and others will after us.
  • 12-16 – The traditional understanding is Solomon wrote this book. He is identified as a king, in the line of David, and having greater wisdom than anyone else. Some modern theologians argue that the language suggests that it had to have been written after the exile and thus was someone else. It has not been proven that Solomon didn’t write it. (We will refer to the writer as Solomon throughout the notes for simplicity sake.)
  • 17 – “Chasing/striving after wind” is a repeated phrase in Ecclesiastes too. This simply means that it is a futile effort.
  • 1-11 – First, Solomon sought out pleasure in wild living and material things. He found out, as many of us could tell him from our own experiences, that wasn’t going to work.
  • 12-26 – Solomon then pursues wisdom and working hard to gain wealth. Both also prove to be pointless because it puts you in no better position when you die.
  • 1-8 – These verses will sound familiar because of the popular song by The Byrds. These verses explain that God made everything to run in its course in its allotted time. We will face the good and the bad, but nothing should overwhelm or overtake us because it is passing.

2 Corinthians 6:1-13:

  • 3-10 – Paul lists the merits of his ministry. Their boasting is not in their own accomplishments, but their ministry is legitimized by all God has brought them through and done through them.

Psalm 46:1-11:

Proverbs 22:15:

  • It is not the fault of the child that he is foolish. It is his nature. It is the job of the parent to discipline him and lead him to wisdom.

What to Expect – Week 24

american dream

In this week’s 1 Kings readings, Solomon is our main character. Solomon, a son of David, was the third king of Israel. He was not David’s oldest son and his rise to power was definitely challenged, but ultimately he received the throne.

Solomon was known for his wisdom and wealth and his reign started out great! He built God’s temple, which we’ll see finished today. He made wise judgments and is credited with writing Proverbs and Song of Solomon.

Unfortunately, Solomon was a man who liked things…and money…and women…and ultimately, his desires were his downfall. This week you’ll read about Solomon’s triumphs and tragedies. Solomon, probably more than any other biblical character, depicts the tension between American values and those of God. We can learn so much from him, we just have to be open to reading and hearing it.

May 30 – Daily Notes – Amanda

pontius-pilate

Was Pilate a good guy? Bad buy? Or helpless pawn? I’ve always believed he was this big, powerful, hateful guy happy to kill Jesus. After today’s reading though, honestly, it’s hard to say. In John’s gospel, he is depicted as fairly tormented and definitely asserts his position on Jesus’ crucifixion with what he writes on the sign above Jesus’ head. What do you think?

2 Samuel 15:23-16:23:

  • 31- Ahithophel had been an advisor for David, but here deserts him for Absalom. It is likely Psalm 41:9 and 55:12-14 are written about Ahithophel.
  • 32-37 – David sends Hushai to work with Absalom to counter act Ahithophel’s counsel. Hushai remains faithful to David.
  • 1-4 – Mephibosheth is Jonathan’s son who David showed kindness to after Saul and Jonathan died. Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, says Mephibosheth is also siding against David. David grants Ziba a great deal of wealth.
  • 5-14 – Any king would have been well within his rights to kill Shimei for cursing him. David, thinking that God could have sent this person, allows the persecution.
  • 23 – An interesting verse – it does not say that Ahithophel does consult God, it says that he is like one who consulted with God.

John 18:25-19:22:

  • 27 – The first denial was in yesterday’s reading.
  • 29-32 – Pilate, a Roman official, had no interest in the Jews’ accusations. Pilate was a low-ranking official. Though his existence has been historically confirmed, if not for this incident with Jesus, there would have been little record of him.
  • 36 – Jesus’ power comes from God, not from normal earthly forces like money, military prowess, or strength. This is why he didn’t have an army of followers fighting to set him free.
  • 11 – In order to fulfill his purpose, God gave Pilate authority over Jesus’ future. Pilate is clearly tormented over this decision he’s been given.
  • 19 – It seems that Pilate may have had some sort of belief in Christ. The Jews did not want the inscription he wrote because it seemed definitive when they were trying to argue that he was a liar.

Psalm 119:113-128:

  • 127 – A lofty thought for us in consumer-driven America.

Proverbs 16:10-11:

  • 11 – Many tax collectors and others who worked with money would cheat on the weights so people had to pay far more than what was actually owed.

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?