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!
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.
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.
Whatever you have, praise God with it. No excuses.
These verses make it clear what should matter in a woman’s worth. Physical beauty is not one of them.
Forgiveness is real and available to us. In today’s Revelation reading we see those who have previously sinned now welcomed in to praise God. They’re welcomed because they’ve repented and been forgiven. Our sins don’t have to define us or define our outcome. Our job is to repent. God is faithful to forgive.
1-5 – This establishes that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and will bring peace.
6-8 – Here God makes it clear what he’s asking of his people. He’s asking them to seek justice and offer love and kindness. He is not interested in empty sacrifices.
9-16 – Here God explains the punishment that is to come for those who have not obeyed him.
1-8 – The angels assure that the faithful people of the earth are protected before the destruction begins.
13-17 – Here a series of people who have sinned, repented, and been forgiven are welcomed in to praise God.
1-12 – These verses recount a number of examples of God’s power, greatness, and faithfulness. Like in most of these accounts, the parting of the Red Sea is mentioned.
15-18 – Once again, the worship of idols is proven to be worthless.
5-6 – God’s words are good, true, and helpful. We tend to want to change them up to better suit us, but this is wrong.
You most likely heard the story of Jonah as a child. It’s a neat story of making a poor decision, getting swallowed by a whale, and then making the right decision. Well, that’s not all of it. Pay close attention to the end. Jonah has decided for himself who should and shouldn’t receive God’s mercy and grace. Have you done the same? Are their people you feel are not deserving of God’s grace? Be honest.
1-3 – This is a crucial mistake by Jonah. God calls him to do one thing; instead, he chooses to do another. We cannot hide from God.
17 – One of the most famous verses in Scripture, but note, it was a fish, not a whale.
1-10 – Jonah prays for mercy and believes God will rescue him. God does.
4-5 – This is what God wants! When we are called out for our sins, we repent and turn back to him.
1-3 – Jonah was angry that God extended salvation to the Ninevites because they were gentiles. Jonah was a Jew and didn’t want God’s grace to extend to gentiles. He hates that the Ninevites are saved.
5-11 – Jonah chooses to pout. God’s little object lesson with the plant shows Jonah that Jonah wants God to play by his rules, but that God has better plans.
1-5 – Jesus is the fulfillment of so many things people were waiting on. He is the only one who is the Messiah they had waited on and he was the only one able to break the seals on the scroll.
6-14 – The creatures, angels, and elders all confirm and celebrate the recognition of the Messiah.
1-3 – We should continually seek unity among believers because it is a blessing to all and leads to eternal life.
27 – This is an interesting thing to think about. The lifestyle of a righteous man is equally as detestable to a wicked man as the opposite.
True repentance requires sincerity and taking responsibility. It is undoubtedly difficult, but absolutely necessary to achieve full restoration. In today’s reading Daniel sets a great example of repentance for not only himself, but also the entire nation of Israel. Do you need to practice repentance for anything?
3-15 – Here Daniel repents for all of Israel. His repentance is sincere and takes responsibility understanding that it is the sins of the Israelites that caused their exile.
16-19 – Daniel pleas with God for forgiveness and restoration. He longs for the day when God’s sanctuary will be restored.
1 John 2:18-3:6:
18-23 – The antichrists seem to be people denying that Christ was the Messiah. They had, at one time, been connected with the believers, so they looked the part, but were not true believers.
1-3 – It’s pretty incredible to think of ourselves as children of God. We have been adopted into his family because he loves us and wants us.
1-7 – These are poetic words describing the way God cares for and protects us. It’s good for us to remember where our help comes from because we often look everywhere else but to God for help.
27 – We are blessed to be a blessing. When we fail to use those blessings to help others, we often cease to receive those blessings.
Both our New and Old Testament readings talk about covenants today. As we’ve discussed, covenants are agreements between two parties (God is always one of them in the Bible) where both sides have something to uphold. Our Old Testament reading shows God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Israel despite their total lack of regard for their end of the bargain. Then in the New Testament reading we see God’s new covenant through Christ. This is the covenant we’re under. Our part of the bargain is to receive Christ’s salvation and live accordingly. Let’s make a renewed commitment to our portion of the covenant today.
44-58 – The Israelites looked down on places like Sodom and Samaria for their sins and because they did not have the special bond with God that the Israelites had. Here God puts the Israelites in their place by placing them lower than those nations.
59-63 – As poorly as the Israelites have held to their covenant with God, God reiterates his commitment to the covenant.
11-21 – These verses explain the parable found earlier in the chapter. The parable tells of Jerusalem/Judah’s unfaithfulness. They trusted in the power of other nations instead of that of God. Judah’s fate for unfaithfulness is destruction.
22-24 – Yes! We’re talking about Jesus here. All kinds of people will find rest with Christ and social statuses will flip flop.
This section describes the new covenant that was established through Christ.
8-12 – Jeremiah 31:31-34 is quoted here.
13 – This is to say that the original covenant is now replaced by the new. Christ’s covenant is what we live under. God’s first covenant wasn’t bad, this one is kind of like a new edition that we should adhere to from now on.
This psalm is another example of God’s faithfulness repaid by Israel’s lack of faith and unfaithfulness.
30-31 – Often acts of faithfulness are “counted as righteousness” to the person who is faithful.
7 – This is very true of our culture. We are not “hungry” for anything because all our needs are met so we tend to be ungrateful for what we have. Those in need are often grateful for anything and everything made available to them.
Only 8 weeks to go to complete our Year of the Bible! Pretty incredible, eh?
This week, we have a bit of a cornucopia of readings. We’ll spend time in Philemon, Hebrews, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, as well as the usual suspects Proverbs and Psalms.
Something you might want to note this week is the connection and resolution between the Old and New Testaments. Both Lamentations and the prophet Ezekiel are longing for redemption and connection with God. They’re experiencing destruction and separation due to sin. But then we read Hebrews, and other portions of the New Testament and we see that the redemption those in the Old Testament longed for has been realized through Jesus.
Sometimes it is hard to read the prophets and other portions of the Old Testament because the people are being punished and are crying out. But the blessing of reading both the Old and New Testaments at the same time is we immediately get to see God’s answer. We have Christ.
As many of you have thanked me for these notes or mentioned something you noticed about them, I am continually thankful for your faithfulness. This, of course, makes me feel very biblical because, Paul, in many of his letters, including today’s 2 Thessalonians reading, thanks God for various believers’ faithfulness. Know that your faithfulness in reading studying Scripture is blessing me immensely! Thank you!!
1-10 – God, once again, gives the house of David (the king of Judah) the opportunity to repent.
30 – This verse is problematic because it seems to have God break his promise that the line of David would always be in power. But wait…
1-2 – Judah’s rulers were supposed to care for the people but they led them into destruction instead.
5-6 – Who does this sound like God is describing? JESUS!! This is a messianic prophecy, which fulfills God’s covenant that David’s line would always reigns and solves the problem of corrupt leadership for Judah.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12:
1-4 – Paul and his companions continue to be thankful for the faithfulness of the Thessalonians.
5-10 – The Thessalonians faced great persecution because of their faith. Paul encourages them that their suffering would be justified and rectified by Jesus.
1-8 – Asaph calls upon God to aid God’s people against their enemies.
9-18 – Asaph knew he could ask this because he had seen God squash enemies for the sake of his people before.
These verses give clear, simple ways to bless and harm others.
Today’s Isaiah reading talks about folks who play the part and go through the motions but don’t actually live faithfully or love God fully. This is still an issue in churches today. We show up and perform faithful looking acts, but have no intention of allowing ourselves to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
16-18 – Here Isaiah refers to a cornerstone. Some believe that this is a Messianic prophecy like when Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone on which others will break themselves.
23-29 – Just as the farmer knows the proper ways to care for his crops, God knows the proper ways to care for his people.
9-12 – The Holy Spirit reveals more of God to those who believe.
13-16 – Many people claimed to love and follow God, they even participated in many of the rituals, but their hearts and actions were not faithful.
22-24 – God foretells a time when the Israelites will return to faithfulness.
23-29 – People, as we still do today, were constantly looking for what separated them or made them better or more worthy. Paul makes it clear that once you have been baptized into the faith, we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and heirs to God’s inheritance.
4-7 – Jesus’ being a Jew and being born under the law gave him legitimacy to the Jews.
1-7 – David repeats himself regarding his trust in who God is and how he offers great protection. It might be helpful sometimes to repeat to ourselves reasons why we trust in God.