June 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

This link is in the notes as well, but seriously, if you’d like Amy Grant to tell you today’s main Acts story, do yourself a favor and watch this video:

1 Kings 19:1-21:

  • 8 – Moses, Jesus, and now Elijah have all experienced 40 day fasts. Notice that each of them have just experienced or are simultaneously experiencing the power and glory of God. Jesus had just been baptized and received the Holy Spirit, Moses was on the mountain with God, and Elijah had just seen God consume a bull with fire.
  • 11-12 – Often we miss God’s voice and what he’s calling us to do because we’re distracted by the chaos and the big shows. At times, we must be quiet and still to hear him in the whisper.
  • 14-18 – Elijah felt very alone in his faithfulness to God and even feared for his life. God made it clear that he was not alone, but that God would take care of those who had been faithful while punishing those who had not.
  • 19 – Elijah putting his cloak on Elisha symbolizes a transfer of power.
  • 20-21 – Elijah’s response is unclear, but Elisha takes care of a few final things and then begins his life working with and learning from Elijah.

Acts 12:1-23:

  • 3 – Passover was also when Jesus was arrested and killed.
  • 6-11 – A thrilling, 80’s, musical rendition of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNIO9KH3UC8.
  • 12-17 – They assumed that Peter would die in prison and were not expecting to see him.

Psalm 136:1-26:

  • We are to love God because of his great love for us. All the things he does for us, because of his love, are icing on the cake.

Proverbs 17:14-15:

  • 15 – Condoning evil and persecuting good are both equally detestable to God.

May 2 – Daily Notes – Amanda

temple

Though, at the end of today’s reading in John, Jesus is referring to himself as the temple, the actual temple really was destroyed, twice, in fact. In 586 B.C. the temple was destroyed when the Babylonians defeated and deported the Israelites. The Israelites then spent decades in exile. It was rebuilt but then destroyed in 70 A.D., after Jesus’ death, by the Romans. It has yet to be rebuilt. Currently a mosque is on that site and all that remains of the temple is the Western Wall also known as “The Wailing Wall”.

Judges 15:1-16:31:

  • 11-16 – Samson was known for his incredible strength.
  • 18-20 – It is a common theme that Biblical characters have some sort of extreme, miraculous experience with God and then panic and cry out to God for something that seems like an easy fix. God always comes through in both the easy and the hard.
  • 4-17 – Clearly Samson is smitten by Delilah because she continually betrays him and tries to trap him into being overtaken by the Philistines even though she acts like he is in the wrong for lying to her about his source of strength.
  • 25-30 – Samson’s strength is restored and he’s able to use it to take down thousands of Philistines. His death is seen as honorable and as retribution for how the Philistines treated him.

John 2:1-25:

  • 1-11 – This is considered Jesus’ first miracle. It seems clear that Jesus does not feel ready to begin his ministry of miracles.
  • 13-17 – In Matthew this story occurs in the last week of Jesus’ ministry, but also during Passover. This story is often referenced when confirming that Jesus felt true human emotions.
  • 18-23 – The temple was in fact destroyed after Jesus’ death, in 70 AD, but here, Jesus is referring to himself as the temple.

Psalm 103:1-22:

  • A beautiful Psalm. One to focus on in a variety of situations, but particularly as a reminder of God’s abundant grace and great love for us.
  • 9-10 – Even though Jesus had not come yet, God still offered grace. Though people received some punishments, the punishment for sin is death, so most Israelites were given the opportunity to repent and receive a second chance.
  • 11-12 – A beautiful image of how God does not hold our past sins against us.

Proverbs 14:17-19:

  • 17 – There are several references in the Proverbs that equate quick decisions with foolishness. This would suggest that steadiness and quality of thought is considered more prudent in almost all cases.

April 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

groundhog day

Do you find yourself saying the same thing over and over in prayer? It’s fine if there’s a specific, ongoing prayer request, but what about the fairly meaningless fillers? Do you tend to drone on and on without a whole lot of meaning or thought behind it? Why not try to pray like Psalm 98:1 encourages us to? Try to offer God a new praise for each new blessing you receive. You will end up feeling much more connected to him through prayer.

Judges 7:1-8:17:

  • 2-8 – The Midianites were a powerful fighting nation, but God only sent Gideon with 300 men to fight them because he did not want them to be able to say that they defeated Midian by their own power. This sounds extreme, but it is extremely easy to believe we succeed on our own power.
  • 20-25 – The trumpets and jars were used to scare the Midianite army into fleeing and God blessed the Israelites’ swords as they pursued the Midianites.
  • 4-9 – The men of Succoth and Penuel did not believe that Gideon would defeat the kings of Midian so they refused to help the Israelite army. Because of this Gideon explains that he will repay them once he overtakes the Midianite kings.

Luke 23:13-43:

  • 18-25 – It was custom for Pilate to release one prisoner at Passover. The crowds chose a murderer and asked that Jesus still be killed even though no fault was found in him.
  • 27 – Not everyone had turned against Jesus. He still had a faithful following who were distraught over his impending death.
  • 28-31 – Jesus is saying that if these people will reject and crucify Jesus when he’s on earth, how much less will they honor him when he’s not present. In a way he’s saying, it would be better to not even have children than to have to watch them dishonor Christ so greatly.
  • 34 – Even when he’s about to be crucified, he’s still offering forgiveness.
  • 43 – An unlikely candidate, this is the only person, other than the disciples, Jesus explicitly tells that they will be in heaven with him.

Psalm 97:1-98:9:

  • 1 – Though God loves to hear our prayers, it seemingly would honor him more if we offer new praise with each blessing instead of a generic blanket prayer for all our blessings.
  • 4-9 – We can all find a joyful song to sing in praise to God. Even the oceans and rivers have their way of praising. No matter what ours sounds like, we should make a joyful noise to God.

Proverbs 14:7-8:

  • 8 – Our wisdom is not simply for good looks or just convenient. Our wisdom should be used to discern where God is calling us and where we should go.

April 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dv1395027

Note the significance of Jesus, the lamb of God, shedding his blood for the people on Passover in relation to what happened on the first Passover.

Judges 1:1-2:9:

  • Judges, for many generations, were the leaders of Israelites. It was not normally an authoritarian leader, but one who relayed God’s plans for the people and helped guide them in following God’s commands. They often led the Israelites into battles as well.
  • 2 – Judah is the appointed leader after Joshua’s death.
  • 6-7 – Based on the information in verse 7, Adoni-Bezek had his fingers and toes cut off because he had performed the same punishment on many other kings.
  • 21-36 – The Israelites had been clearly instructed to remove the current inhabitants from their land, but many of the tribes allowed Canaanites to remain in their land. God wanted the Canaanites out of the promised land because they would influence the Israelites to form allegiances with other gods.
  • 1-5 – God remains faithful in his part of the covenant, but the Israelites fail to do their part so though God will not forsake them, he will also not be able to protect them from the influences of the Canaanites.
  • 6-9 – Joshua doesn’t die twice, it’s just two accounts of the same event.

Luke 21:29-22:13:

  • 3-6 – Though Jesus knew it had to happen, it still must have been extremely hurtful to Jesus that one of his chosen, closest friends and followers not only betrayed him, but sought out an opportunity to betray him.
  • 7-13 – It is quite symbolic that Jesus is killed at the Passover. During the original Passover, the Israelites’ first born were saved by the blood of a lamb that was wiped on the doorframe. Christ’s blood, through his death, also saved all of us who choose to be covered by it.

Psalm 90:1-91:16:

  • 1-7 – God can protect us from so many of our hardships and struggles. When we choose to abide in his shelter, we don’t have to worry about the consequences of sin, because we’re not choosing to sin. This is not to be mistaken as saying, when we abide in God nothing bad will ever happen to us.

Proverbs 13:24-25:

  • This proverb encourages boundaries and discipline for children to assure they know and follow the Lord throughout their lives.

March 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

young george

We all had an awkward adolescence…even George Clooney. Yikes! In today’s reading, we find the only story in the Bible about Jesus’ adolescence. Don’t get too nervous about the ending. No surprise, he finds himself in church.

Numbers 26:1-51:

  • The Israelites were meticulous with their record keeping.

Luke 2:36-52:

  • 41-45 – The pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover would have been a journey of several days and whole extended families and friends would travel together. It is not unusual that Mary and Joseph would assume that Jesus was somewhere in the group. But can you imagine the panic they must have felt when they thought they had lost the Son of God?
  • 51 – This verse is placed here to assure the reader/hearer that Jesus wasn’t unkind or disrespectful of his parents. He was simply engaged in his long-term call.
  • This passage is the only canonical recording of Jesus’ childhood or adolescence.

Proverbs 11:15:

  • This is warning not to make promises you can’t keep and specifically not to promise something that someone else is intended to keep because you can never guarantee it.

February 9 – Daily Notes – Amanda

judas-betrayal

It’s easy to forget that Jesus was a man with feelings. It’s also easy to forget that the disciples were his friends – those he had spent all his time with teaching and training them. And one of them turns him over to be killed. Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if you were Jesus?

Exodus 29:1-30:10:

  • At this time the priesthood was passed down generation to generation. Priests came from the tribe of Levi.
  • We are in the middle of a series of very detailed descriptions. These are actually great blessings because we want to be able to worship God in a way that is honoring and pleasing to him. Detailed instructions make that much more likely.
  • 1-10 – God begins to instruct the priests on how they should intercede for the people and lead worship and sacrifices.

Matthew 26:14-46:

  • It’s sad that Judas wasn’t coerced or forced into betraying Jesus. He sought the opportunity out himself.
  • 20 – People literally reclined for meals. The original Passover was in a rush and people were not to recline or get comfortable as normal.
  • 26-28 – Our practice of communion relates back to the last supper, which relates back to Passover.
  • 39 – People often wonder how to pray for the things they want. We can ask for anything we want or need, but it is healthiest when we pray for these things while surrendering to God’s will first.

February 6 – Daily Notes – Amanda

baby bonding.jpg

We require clear instructions. Otherwise, we tend to find ways to mess up. Though they may seem tedious, God gives the Israelites very specific instructions on how to construct the Tabernacle. This was basically a portable temple, or place of worship, that they could pack up and move whenever they needed to wander to a new location in the desert.

Exodus 23:14-25:40:

  • 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread is Passover
  • 1-7 – These were special offerings requested so the Israelites could build a tabernacle for God.
  • 8-9 – The Tabernacle was God’s mobile house. The Israelites couldn’t build a temple yet because they were still nomadic.
  • 9-40 – Like with Noah, when building his ark, God gives Moses very specific construction instructions.

Matthew 24:29-51:

  • 34 – This tends to be problematic for people because clearly all the people in that generation have since died. Some people interpret it to mean that the Jews will still be in existence until the second coming. Others believe that fulfillment simply requires the beginning of the age and not the full second coming. Of course, no one knows for sure.
  • 40-42 – verses like these are where ideas for things like the “Left Behind” series come from
  • 44 – Jesus’ warning is for those of us who know the truths of Jesus. He warns us not to neglect those truths but be faithful even as we wait and don’t know how long we’ll be waiting.

Psalm 30:1-12:

  • 5 – Encouragement that trouble is always temporary
  • 11-12 – Beautiful imagery of God’s restoration through our trials. What if we all were so aware of God’s part in our getting through difficult times?

What to Expect – Week 6

the-last-supper

This week, it all comes full circle. Last week, in Exodus, we read about God releasing the Israelites from slavery and saving their first-born children through the Passover. This week, we’ll read about the Last Supper, which Jesus offered to his closest companions, the disciples, just before his arrest and death.

Do you see the connection? Is it starting to become clear just how carefully the story of God’s love and redemption for humanity has been in the works over time?

In Exodus the Israelites experience the first Passover and make unleavened bread so they can leave quickly if needed. In Matthew, Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples. In Exodus a flawless lamb’s blood could save you from the death of your first-born. In Matthew, Jesus offers up his own blood to save us all. In Exodus God makes a way for his people to receive freedom. In Matthew, he does the same.

The first Passover directly connects to the Last Supper and Jesus’ death, which directly connects to our experiencing Holy Communion on Sundays. This is not just a series of unrelated stories, but one centuries long story of God continually working to achieve our redemption.

Another highlight:
Don’t get bogged down in the details of how to build the tabernacle – they can get tedious. Think of the tabernacle as a traveling temple. The Israelites wanted a home for God that they could pack up and move as they wandered. The tabernacle was the solution. Practical, eh?

Daily Notes – January 31 – Amanda

peyton

In today’s reading, we see Jesus get angry and act out in anger flipping the tables of those selling birds for sinners to purchase and sacrifice. Sometimes it’s hard to see Jesus as a human because we focus on him as God and Savior. Today, don’t sugarcoat his anger. It was real just like the deep anguish he felt when his friend Lazarus died. If we can’t see Jesus as a human who felt like any other human does, we cannot fully comprehend the sacrifice he made on the cross.

Exodus 12:14-13:16:

  • 14-17 – Passover – feast of unleavened bread – used as a remembrance of the good God had done in saving the Israelites’ first borns and leading them out of Egypt.
  • 18-20 – Bread is unleavened because the Israelites had to get out of Egypt quickly and there wasn’t time for bread to rise
  • 25 – God tells them about the Promised Land (land of milk and honey) but does not tell them it will take 40 years of wandering in order to get there
  • 1-2 – Our offering to God should come off the top – firstborn

Matthew 20:29-21:22:

  • 29 – Jericho – the oldest continually lasting city – over 10,000 years old
  • 1 – Many times heading towards Jerusalem has been referenced thus far in Matthew, now they are finally arriving. This is done to show that getting to Jerusalem was a purposeful, planned event. Jesus was not surprised by what was to come.
  • 7 – Some ancient Jews believed the Messiah would come as a military hero, yet he arrived on a borrowed donkey
  • 9 – Hosanna means “Save us!”
  • 12 – is often referenced when confirming that Jesus had human emotions
  • 12 – Pigeons were being sold so people could use them to sacrifice. The religious authorities were trying to profit off of the sinfulness of their constituents.

Psalm 25:16-22:

  • David not only asks for God’s protection and provision, but he also commits to integrity, uprightness, and waiting on the Lord to hold up his end of the bargain