July 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

good-news1

When’s the last time you shared the gospel with someone? This is a rare occurrence for modern day Christians. We are afraid that the gospel is offensive and will upset people. Paul, in writing his letter to the Romans, and on every other day of his life (post conversion) realized the gospel was good news. The fact that we have a Savior who lived and died for us is a great thing! Let’s remember that as we approach others who might not know it.

1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17:

  • 19-40 – At the time the chronicler is talking about, David was still not king. He had a great deal of men who chose to defect from Saul to him.
  • 10 – David was extremely faithful in asking the Lord what to do before doing something.

Romans 1:1-17:

  • 1-7 – There is a lot of information crammed in these verses.
    • 1) Paul is writing this.
    • 1-2) Paul was set apart to be an apostle of Jesus.
    • 2) We knew the truth of the gospel – aka Jesus’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection – because it was revealed through the prophets.
    • 3) Jesus was descended from David.
    • 4) Jesus was God in flesh and God’s power raised him from the dead.
    • 5-6) Jesus empowers apostles to bring others to him, including many who would hear this particular message.
    • 7 – This letter was written to the people of Rome.
  • 8-15 – Paul had been eager to go to Rome, where he was a citizen, because he had heard of the faith of many there and wanted to help strengthen that faith.
  • 16-17 – We often see the gospel as offensive and we’re afraid to share it. Paul knew that it was good news and brought life. He was not ashamed.

Psalm 9:13-20:

  • There are several terms like “Higgaion” and “Selah” whose meanings are not certain. They are presumed to be some sort of musical term since the Psalms often have instructions such as that they are “for the choirmaster”.

Proverbs 19:4-5:

  • 4 – Just a few verses earlier, the author tells the reader to choose your friendships carefully and here explains that we often choose our friends for the wrong reasons.

June 30 – Daily Notes – Amanda

ripple effect

Have your sins ever impacted someone else? (The answer here is “yes”.) You cheated on a test and it messed up the curve for others. You stole from a store and the cashier got in trouble. You cheated on your spouse and it broke up your family. Our sins are not simply our own problem. As Israel and Judah are being rejected by God and destroyed by other nations, it’s hard not to remember Jeroboam’s selfish acts as he was taking over his portion of the kingdom. He chose to listen to bad advice and it hurt the Israelites for generations to come.

2 Kings 17:1-18:12:

  • 6-18 – After a steady series of sinful kings and repetitive sinning by the nation, God allows the Assyrians to capture all the Israelites and take them to their country. This makes it clear that they are now separated from God because they no longer have their promised land or any of their identifying marks that were to set them apart for God.
  • 21 – The split of the two kingdoms of Israel, the sinfulness of the country, and the eventual exile of both kingdoms (only one has happened so far) all trace back to Jeroboam’s sinfulness.
  • 34-40 – The Israelites had been given every opportunity to choose to live faithfully. They continued to choose not to and broke every part of their covenant with God. Because of this, God allowed them to face the consequences of all their unfaithfulness.
  • 1-4 – Hezekiah is king of Judah and chooses to live faithfully.

Acts 20:1-38:

  • In case you’re getting confused about Paul’s journeys – where he’s been and where he’s headed, here is a map of all his travels Paul's journeys Oh, and who knew, but there’s a board game of Paul’s journeys as well, for some good old fashioned holy family fun.
  • 7-12 – Peter was able to raise Tabitha from the dead and Paul raises this young man. It seems like it was the right thing to do considering Paul had literally bored him to death.
  • 18-35 – Paul, on this his third of four journeys, knows his ministry on earth is coming to an end, but he is satisfied with his work and is willing to suffer persecution in order to share the gospel.

Psalm 148:1-14:

  • In Romans 1:20, Paul explains that every part of creation testifies to God’s greatness somehow. This psalm seems to confirm that.

Proverbs 18:6-7:

  • A creative way of saying our mouths write checks our rears can’t cash.

June 1 – Daily Notes – Amanda

old bible

Today is the last day of the marathon psalm, Psalm 119! But isn’t it a great one!?! It becomes so obvious the deep and abiding love the psalmist has for Scripture. It is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Throughout the psalm, the writer makes it clear that he believes the law of God’s word is perfect and can guide us to live in a righteous manner. What would it look like if our love of Scripture was this deep?

2 Samuel 18:1-19:10:

  • 33 – David is deeply grieved at the loss of his son. Just like with Saul, he is able to forgive Absalom for wanting to kill him.
  • 1-8 – Joab is angry with David and explains to him that it won’t sit well with his followers that he is more saddened by Absalom’s death than happy for their hard work in victory.

John 20:1-31:

  • 4 – Like at Jesus’ trial, this disciple other than Peter is unnamed, but present.
  • 6-7 – An interesting note on Jesus’ burial cloths being left behind in the tomb is that when Lazarus was raised from the dead, he came out of the tomb still wrapped in burial cloths. Whether significant or not, it’s an interesting contrast.
  • 14 – No one who encounters Jesus after his resurrection recognizes him immediately.
  • 24-29 – We, like Thomas, often need proof in order to have faith. Jesus reminds Thomas that those who believe without seeing are blessed.
  • 30-31 – It’s powerful to think that the gospels were written so people like you and me would believe in Jesus.

Psalm 119:153-176:

  • Psalm 119 is, by far, the longest psalm in Scripture. Over and over again, in a variety of ways, the psalmist explains his deep love and commitment to Scripture. This truly must have been a great, devoted love.

May 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

emoji faces

When you think of Jesus, what do you think about? Maybe the crucifixion? Maybe his teaching? Forgiveness? Kindness? One of the things we rarely think about is his humanity and him feeling like we feel. We rarely think about when he got angry, or when he was excited about something. And in today’s reading, we get to read about his raw, human emotion. His friend died so he was sad and he cried. Though it’s hard to fathom, Jesus was human just like us.

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25:

  • 1-5 – Clearly Saul’s compassion for David did not last long as he starts to pursue him once again.
  • 8-12 – David has a second chance to kill Saul. Once again, he refuses because Saul was anointed by the Lord and David felt that it wasn’t his place to raise a hand against him, but God’s.
  • 13-16 – Abner was the leader of Saul’s army. David calls Abner out and makes it clear that he had not properly protected Saul. Since David had these items kept so close to Saul, Abner would know that David could have harmed him as well.
  • 21-25 – Once again, Saul is humbled by David’s mercy and stops pursuing him.
  • 3-7 – When Saul can no longer hear from the Lord he turns to other, unsanctioned ways of learning his future.
  • 8-19 – Samuel explains the reason God cut Saul off, which would prove it was Samuel since others didn’t know that Saul was cut off or the reason why. Samuel confirms that Saul and his sons will die the next day and will lose to the Philistines.

John 11:1-53:

  • 1-4 – These are the same Mary and Martha from the story when Martha does all the work and Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. As this passage states, Mary is also the one who anoints Jesus’ feet. Clearly they knew Jesus well and followed him faithfully.
  • 5-16 – The disciples try to keep Jesus from returning to Judea because it is dangerous there. Jesus wants to go raise Lazarus from the dead and he knows his disciples’ faith will be strengthened by seeing it. This is why he says that he’s glad, for their sakes, that Lazarus died.
  • 25-27 – Jesus offers another “I am” statement. Martha believes in the resurrection of all believers that is to come, but Jesus lets her know that he determines when resurrection occurs. Martha knows Jesus’ identity and has faith in his abilities.
  • 35 – The shortest verse in Scripture. Also, one of the most obvious displays of Jesus feeling human emotion.
  • 39 – Even those of us who believe deeply in Jesus’ abilities are hindered by our own understanding. Martha thought of the earthly facts – dead bodies decay and stink – she wasn’t thinking that all things are possible through Christ.
  • 49-53 – Caiaphas had insight into Jesus’ future though it doesn’t indicate whether, at this time, he was for or against Jesus.

Proverbs 15:22-23:

  • We are designed to be in relationship at all times. We are not to trust others above God, but we are to seek wise counsel from those who are in active relationship with God.

May 8 – Daily Notes – Amanda

silence

Today’s reading from 1 Samuel says, “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” We see with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others, God has conversations and advice for these people throughout their lives. But for a time, whether by God’s choice or because the Israelites had strayed so far from him, God was silent. God’s voice was so absent that Samuel didn’t recognize it when he called. Is it possible that we too have strayed far from God and don’t recognize his voice when he calls?

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22:

  • 25 – Eli’s sons had sinned continually against God, choosing to sin directly against his laws, against the women who served God, and against the offerings given to God. Their hearts were hardened through their vast sins and then God chooses to harden them completely.
  • 27-36 – God cuts off Eli’s family from the priesthood because of his son’s great sins. Though Eli didn’t sin to the extent of his sons, he also didn’t make a great effort to stop them.
  • 1 – This means God was not speaking directly to people much at this time. This could be a choice by God or it could be because of Israel’s distance from God.
  • 4 – Yet another biblical character who responds to God’s call with the faithful response, “Here I am.”
  • 7 – Samuel was still young and hadn’t had a direct encounter with God so he was unable to recognize his voice. In John’s gospel Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd and because of that, the sheep know his voice.
  • 9-10 – A beautiful, willing response.
  • 11-15 – Eli raised Samuel so hearing such a negative report about Eli from God would be quite troubling to the young man. It is not surprising that he was scared to tell Eli.
  • 19 – Samuel was eager to learn all he could from the Lord.
  • 3-11 – The Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, represented the presence of God. God could have caused the Israelites to defeat the Philistines but decided not to because of the sins of Hophni and Phinehas.
  • 22 – The Ark of the Covenant being captured would be like Washington D.C. being taken over by our enemies. But it was even worse than that because it represented God no longer being in their presence.

John 5:24-47:

  • 25-29 – This passage tells us that there will be a resurrection for the dead and both believers and non-believers will be judged by Christ.
  • 45-47 – The Jews based their holiness and worthiness on Moses’ law. When Jesus says it is Moses that will accuse them before God and not him, he is expressing that none of them have succeeded in meeting Moses’ standards and thus none can be justified before God.

Psalm 106:1-12:

  • 4-5 – God was extremely gracious to his people, the Israelites and the psalmist is asking for inclusion on this treatment.
  • 7-12 – Of all the great works God did for the Israelites, clearly the most significant to them was being rescued from Egypt. It is, far and away, the most referenced act of God throughout the Old Testament.

Proverbs 14:30-31:

  • This portion of the proverb contrasts peace and dissatisfaction. The former gives us life, while the other sucks it out of us.

April 29 – Daily Notes – Amanda

spin cycle

It’s infuriating how the Israelites, throughout the Old Testament so far, seem to be stuck in a sin cycle (see what I did there?). God tells them what to do, they choose not to (aka – sin), things get bad, and then they repent. You just want to yell at them, “don’t you get what’s happening here!?!” But then, if we look at our own lives, we tend to fall into the same cycle. Maybe we could learn from their mistakes.

Judges 9:22-10:18:

  • 30-41 – Gaal spoke ill of Abimelech who, though he had not fully honored God, was still one of God’s people.
  • 53-57 – Interesting that a woman with such a significant story doesn’t have her name mentioned. Though Abimelech experienced some success in war, ultimately, his evil was repaid in kind. Like a stone was dropped on his brothers, a millstone was dropped on his head.
  • 1-5 – Presumably, both Tola, and Jair served God and Israel faithfully because no evil is mentioned.
  • 10-16 – The Israelites continue the cycle of sinning against God and serving other gods and running into trouble. Each time, when the Israelites reach their threshold, they cry out to God and repent. This passage begs the question if God’s forgiveness is ever limited.

Luke 24:13-53:

  • 13-27 – Though the prophets had foretold what would happen to Jesus and Jesus tried to explain it himself before his death, many Jews thought he could not possibly be the Messiah because he died. They had had such hope before and now had lost it.
  • 28-35 – Though quickly, the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas and his friend.
  • 36-44 – Obviously a resurrection is hard to believe because it doesn’t happen often. The disciples convinced themselves that Jesus was just a spirit, so he not only showed his scars, but also ate food, which a spirit wouldn’t do.
  • 49 – The disciples were instructed to keep their work contained to Jerusalem until they received power from on high, which was the Holy Spirit, which they received on Pentecost.

Psalm 100:1-5:

  • This Psalm encourages us to give thanks and speaks specifically of doing it first thing – when we come into his presence and when we enter his gates.

Proverbs 14:11-12:

  • 12 – We should seek what is right to God instead of leaning on what we think or understand.

Easter Bonus Blog!!!

Consider this an all things Easter bonus edition of our blog! Today is THE GREATEST DAY of the year!! Today is the day we celebrate God’s triumph over sin and death and recognize that Jesus truly is the Savior of the World.

Finally, enjoy this explanation of the foretelling and fulfillment of the Messiah, Jesus – Our Savior!

March 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

priestly-garments

Remember these from Exodus? These were the priestly garments. They were worn by the Levites. The Levites were a tribe set apart to be the priests who handled sacrifices, atonement, and all sorts of other special tasks. Today’s Numbers reading gives us a helpful rundown of the Levites.

Numbers 16:41-18:32:

  • 48 – God spared the rest of the people because Aaron guarded them.
  • 8-11 – Aaron and his family are given everything that is offered to the Lord. They receive this instead of an inheritance because the Lord is to be their portion.
  • The Levites also got no inheritance of the people of Israel. Instead, they got the tithes offered to God.
  • 26 – The Levites were supposed to tithe off of the tithes they received. This is kind of like pastors tithing since they are paid by the tithes of the church members.

Mark 16:1-20:

  • It is significant that the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection are women. Women’s testimony in court or otherwise did not count.
  • 16-18 – These verses have been used to justify some of the more extreme versions of Christianity.

Psalm 55:1-23:

  • David feels particularly tortured because he is being betrayed by someone he once felt close to.
  • 22 – A great reminder that we can cast our worries, burdens, difficulties, etc. on God and he will carry them for us.