April 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

handshake

Covenants are a big deal throughout Scripture. They are promises made between God and the people where both sides have a part to play. Today, we read about the covenant God makes with humanity through Christ and his blood. We are a part of that covenant. Our part is to accept the free gift of grace offered to us and God’s part is to offer us salvation.

Judges 2:10-3:31:

  • 10 – It was the job of the older generations to teach the younger generations the goodness of God. There are several times in Scripture where monuments are built or parents are instructed to teach their children the Scriptures. Clearly this generation had failed to do so.
  • 11-16 – God instructed the Israelite to drive everyone out of the Promised Land when they moved in because intermixing would tempt them to worship other gods. The Israelites did not completely obey and God was right.
  • 18-19 – The Israelites didn’t have any sort of all-encompassing leader or king. Instead, God raised up judges to try to help guide them.
  • 7-11 – Sometimes we struggle to understand why God would allow bad things to happen to the Israelites, but this makes it clear the Israelites served another king for 8 years and worshipped his gods. But when the Israelites cried out to God, he raised up a leader and returned to them.
  • 15-30 – An interesting story where it’s hard not to get distracted by the details. A couple of key points: 1) Ehud being left-handed allowed him to conceal his sword. Guards would have checked the left thigh for weapons. 2) When Israelites worshipped and honored God, he protected them and gave others over into their hands.

Luke 22:14-34:

  • 20 – There were several covenants between God and the Israelites in the Old Testament. This is the first found in the New Testament and is through the blood of Christ and is offered to everyone, not just the Israelites.
  • 28-30 – For the first time Jesus offers his disciples a position in eternity.
  • 31-34 – Peter is the most zealous disciple. He is committed to following Jesus anywhere, but Jesus knows that he even he has limits and weaknesses and he too will deny Jesus.

Psalm 92:1-93:5:

  • 1-3 – It is crucial for us to give God thanks and praise for all the good things he has done and for how good he is. He deserves it and it reminds us of where our blessings derive.

March 31 – Daily Notes – Amanda

declaration of independence

There have been a number of famous declarations throughout human history, a personal favorite is the Declaration of Independence, which our forefathers signed in 1776. But in today’s Luke reading, we find a declaration far more significant in the life of one man as well as human history. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, is the first of his followers to recognize and vocalize that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah the people were expecting. Each of us, in our own ways, must also make this declaration confessing Jesus as the Christ and as our Savior. If you want to talk about that, let me know.

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20:

  • 5-6 – Eventually God will choose Jerusalem as the place where the Israelites were to offer Passover sacrifices.
  • 21 – Asherah poles were built in homage to another god.
  • 2-5 – Keeping the Israelites worship pure was a high priority and taken very seriously.
  • Later, when the Israelites actually ask for a king, God says it is because they are rejecting him. They want to be like the other countries around them when God has set them apart to be different.

Luke 9:7-27:

  • 10-17 – This story is also found in Matthew and Mark. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels. The writers most likely worked from each others accounts to help create their gospels.
  • 18-20 – Peter is the first of Jesus’ followers to declare him as the Messiah.
  • 23-24 – A powerful image of following after Christ even to the greatest of lengths. It does us no good ultimately to live a good life but never know or follow Christ.

Psalm 72:1-20:

  • Solomon was the son of David who took over as king after him. He was known for his wisdom.
  • 1-7 – A prayer all leaders should pray.

March 10 – Daily Notes – Amanda

monsters inc

Verse 5 of today’s Psalm is powerful. “There they are, in great terror where there is no terror!” We fear so many things that have absolutely no power over us. We fear that people will not accept us, or that our children will not get into the right kindergarten, or that we won’t be able to maintain the standard of living we hope for. We create terror where there is no terror. God is good and is in control. Fear not.

Numbers 14:1-15:16:

  • 1-4 – When things get scary, we often revert to whatever was comfortable even if it was bad for us. For the Israelites it was Egypt.
  • 18 – As Moses appeals to the Lord to forgive the Israelites for their continued unfaithfulness, he uses a phrase that people will repeat throughout the Bible, “the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…”.
  • The Israelites’ unfaithfulness results in them not getting to enter the Promised Land. Caleb and Joshua get to and later generations get to, but those who have continually been unfaithful despite God’s provision, are punished.

Mark 14:53-72:

  • 61-63 – This is the first time Jesus openly calls himself the Son of God. He normally followed people’s questions about his identity with a question. The chief priests believed this gave them grounds to charge him with blasphemy.
  • 66-72 – Peter was convinced he would never deny Jesus. His denial and the fulfillment of what Jesus said gives Peter great grief.

Psalm 53:1-6:

  • We allow ourselves to fear so much in the world that truly can’t harm us. God is in control and takes care of us.

February 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Leviticus 19:1-20:21:

  • 9-10 – This was an ancient way of assuring the poor had food.
  • 13-14 – Care for people with special needs
  • 27 – This is why Hassidic Jews have the long, dangling, curly side burns and beards.

Mark 8:11-38:

  • Note the religious leaders and Jesus were constantly at odds. The religious leaders were nervous about Jesus’ movement getting traction. They constantly tried to discount his ministry.
  • 33 – A harsh criticism of Peter, but Jesus knew what he was here to do.
  • 34 – What is your cross?

Psalm 42:1-11:

  • Note that this Psalm is not written by David but it still, though filled with lament, begins and ends with praise.

January 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

 

selfish

Well, actually, today’s Proverb would disagree with this line of thinking. Today’s Proverb instructs us not to share – our spouse that is. Today’s Proverb teaches us not to share spouses. This sounds like a pretty obvious point, but clearly it’s been a problem since at least Solomon’s days – heck, at least Abraham’s. Remember in Genesis when he lied and said Sarah was his sister?

Exodus 4:1-5:21:

  • 1-9 – God performs a few smaller miracles to prove to Moses his power and that he was with him.
  • 10-17. Moses continues to balk at the idea of confronting the Pharaoh. God rebuts his excuse of not being eloquent by explaining that God made his mouth and can make it do whatever he wants. Moses continues to make excuses so God allows Aaron, his brother, to accompany Moses.
  • 21-23 – These verses are a quick summary of what is about to go down through the plagues, hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, and Passover.
  • 24-26 – Though a confusing and disturbing story, it seems that Moses had not fulfilled the Lord’s command that all Israelite males be circumcised. In positions of leadership, we are held to a higher standard of faithfulness and Moses wasn’t meeting the minimum. Zipporah’s quick thinking resolves the issue and ends the conflict.
  • 29-31 – Moses and Aaron had to first get the Israelites on board before they confronted the Egyptians.
  • 1-21 – Moses and Aaron’s initial presence and request is actually detrimental to the Israelites as Pharaoh, in his anger, makes their work even harder on them.

Matthew 18:1-22:

  • 1-6 – Jesus, once again, flips culture on its head. It is not a great ruler or the most faithful disciple who Jesus calls the greatest. It is a weak, vulnerable child. Jesus explains that causing a child to sin is an error deserving death. We must responsibly care for those with whom we’ve been entrusted.
  • 7-9 – Temptations are unavoidable because there is evil in the world. This makes it clear how detestable it is to tempt someone else and possibly cause them to sin. And it explains the lengths to which we should go, though somewhat hyperbolic, if something causes us to sin.
  • 10-14 – This is similar to the parable of the Prodigal Son. When a sinner returns it should be the case that both God and the righteous rejoice. Instead, we often wonder why we, the faithful, don’t get more celebration. This reminds us that we’re all sinners.
  • 15-17 – This is the proper way to call out a believer for sins. All should be done in love.
  • 21-22 – Peter comes to Jesus looking for a limit. Jesus explains that grace should be limitless.

Psalm 22:19-31:

  • This portion of the psalm shows how our lives should work: God gives us a variety of blessings and we praise him. David is a great example to us of how to be faithful in praise as we receive God’s continual blessings.

Proverbs 5:15-21:

  • Key point – be faithful to your spouse and what you’ve been given. It sounds like it’s teaching people not to share, but this is one area where that’s legitimate advice.

January 25 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10:

  • 15-21 – Our sinfulness has long-lasting consequences. We often face them long after the actual situation is over. Joseph’s brothers still have guilt and shame on them and assume their brother will now pay back evil for evil. Instead, Joseph recognizes his place in the situation and recognizes that God redeemed to good what his brother meant for evil.
  • 26 – Unlike his father, Joseph had made Egypt his home and was fine with being buried there.
  • 7-14 – With a new king and the death of Joseph, the Egyptians quickly forget the good Joseph did for them. As the Israelites grow in size and strength while they live in Egypt, the Egyptians grow fearful of them and eventually enslave them to keep them under control.
  • 15-16 – Pharaoh is trying to control the Israelite population and their ability to join enemies in war.
  • 17-21 – Sometimes faithfulness seems impossible. The midwives chose faithfulness even though it was in direct disobedience to the king.
  • 1-10 – Moses’ mother finds a way to give him a chance at life. Moses’ sister’s quick thinking allows his mother to nurse and care for him.

Matthew 16:13-17:9:

  • 13-20 – Peter is the first of the disciples to identify Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus blesses him because this was clearly revealed to Peter by the Father. Peter becomes the rock of the church and is given great authority going forward.
  • 21-23 – This is a quick transition between Peter being told he would lead the church to being called Satan. In this section, Peter puts his own plans for Jesus ahead of God’s.
  • 24-25 – Note that no one knew Jesus would take up an actual cross at his death. He is calling them to be willing to make the same kind of sacrifice he will soon make.
  • 28 – Though somewhat confusing, this is not intended to mean that some of the people standing there would still be alive when Jesus returned a second time. Though there are many interpretations, one feasible one is that Jesus is saying that some people would live to see Christ reign in the world. Many were alive as Pentecost and then the spread of the church began. Some even led it.
  • 5 – This is the same phrase recorded from Jesus’ baptism.

Psalm 21:1-13:

  • Note that many psalms filled with violence and seeking revenge still end with praise and exultation of God. Clearly praise was a fallback whether times were good or bad.

Proverbs 5:1-6:

  • This section gives a great description of just how seductive temptation can be. We would much more easily avoid temptation if it wasn’t attractive and sneaky. Before we know it, we have followed temptation into destruction.

January 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 44:1-45:28:

  • 1-13 – The brothers had promised, even to the point of risking the lives of their own children, to bring Benjamin home safely to their father. Finding the cup in Benjamin’s bag must have been devastating.
  • 16 – Judah is most likely referring to their guilt due to selling Joseph and lying to their father about it for all those years.
  • 33 – Judah offers himself up as a replacement for Benjamin as a servant to Joseph. When the brother sold Joseph into slavery, it was originally Judah’s idea. Everything is coming full circle.
  • 1-3 – Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers just as they’re begging for him to release Benjamin.
  • 5-8 – A beautiful act of grace and understanding. Joseph recognizes that God worked good out of what others intended for evil. Joseph was in Egypt at the perfect time to sustain tons of people through the famine.
  • 25-28 – Jacob understandably had difficulty believing that Joseph could be alive since he had believed for many years that he was killed by an animal. He makes it one of his dying efforts to go and see him.

Matthew 14:13-36:

  • 13 – When Jesus heard about John the Baptist’s death he retreated.
  • 14-21 – This miracle story is included in all 4 gospels. Very few stories are in all 4.
  • 23 – Note how many times throughout the gospels they mention Jesus going off by himself to pray.
  • 28-33 – Peter gets a bad rap because he sinks, but notice that he’s the only one that trusts Jesus enough to even get out of the boat. Also, this is a clear instance of when our faith fails, Jesus fills in the gap and takes care of us. This also elicits belief in the witnesses.
  • 34-36 – Clearly the story from chapter 9 where the bleeding woman is healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment had spread.

Psalm 18:37-50:

  • This Psalm is about a specific instance of God rescuing David. He describes how God handled his enemies when Saul was chasing after him and trying to destroy him.

Proverbs 4:11-13:

  • This gives great confidence to those who do follow wisdom. You can feel secure in your steps forward.