October 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

awkward-teenage-years

Growing up, whenever a crazy driver would speed by us, my mom would annoyedly say, “Teenagers.” Teenagers get a bad rap. They smell weird, their hormones make them say and do weird things, and they’re often mean to their parents. But! Teenagers, young adults, kids, and anyone else who doesn’t feel like they get the respect they deserve, should read 1 Timothy 4. Paul explains how you can earn that respect and leadership despite your age.

Jeremiah 33:1-34:22:

  • 1-13 – God promises to restore peace to Jerusalem.
  • 14-26 – Other nations had mocked Israel because it seemed that God had forgotten them and had broken his covenant with them. God promises to restore his covenant with them by placing David’s line back on the throne. We know that this eventually happens permanently through Jesus.
  • 8-22 – God explains his punishment on all those who did not stick with their covenant. One portion of the covenant was to release slaves at a proper time. Many failed to do so.

1 Timothy 4:1-16:

  • 1-5 – Paul consistently taught against certain foods being unclean or certain practices and rituals being necessary for salvation. He believed salvation was through faith in Jesus alone.
  • 6-10 – There were some people in that time that believed holiness came through physical training. While taking care of one’s body is important, it is not a path towards salvation.
  • 12 – The quintessential youth group verse – this verse is advice from Paul to Timothy of how to conduct himself even though it would be initially hard to gain respect because of his youth.
  • 13-16 – Great advice on how to lead faithfully.

Psalm 89:1-13:

  • 5-13 – One thing we seem to be missing, in general, in our culture, is awe and reverence of the Lord’s majesty. This psalm seems to indicate awe and reverence.
  • 10 – References to “Rahab” are often indicating Egypt.

Proverbs 25:23-24:

  • 24 – Choose your spouse wisely.

October 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

context

Context is key in Scripture. This is why it’s so important to read the whole Bible and not just pick out words and phrases that we like or agree with. In 1 Timothy, Paul addresses women, but it’s important to know that there was a significant group of women in the church he’s addressing who were teaching bad doctrine.

Jeremiah 30:1-31:26:

  • 1-11 – God promises to restore Israel and Judah but also makes it clear that they will still be punished for their sins. He assures them that it will be a lighter punishment.
  • 3 – God’s faithfulness to Israel had nothing to do with their ability to reciprocate but simply because of his great love for them. Humanity can never fully reciprocate God’s love for us.
  • 10-14 – What beautiful, comforting promises! God promises to turn mourning into joy, give comfort, and turn sorrow into gladness.

1 Timothy 2:1-15:

  • 1-4 – We should be in prayer for all people to come to salvation.
  • 5-7 – Paul assures his readers of his calling. His words assuring them he’s not lying about his calling are comically conversational.
  • 8-11 – Remember that Paul was addressing problems occurring in the church. Here, he was teaching women, who presumably had entered worship with flashy, distracting clothes and jewelry, to dress modestly. He also addresses the men that have become quarrelsome over theological debates.
  • 12-15 – This passage, particularly verse 12, can be problematic, particularly in our context where we affirm women in pastoral leadership. Are we practicing the faith unfaithfully or is the Bible wrong? Neither of these have to be true for us to resolve this issue. The main question we need to ask is whether or not we believe this passage was meant for its particular context. In the United Methodist church we have concluded that it was for the particular context Paul was addressing.

Psalm 87:1-7:

  • 4 – This verse lists off several surrounding areas of Jerusalem (Zion). Jerusalem, and what would ultimately happen there (Jesus’ death and resurrection), were intended to be a blessing to all people. The writers of this psalm could not have known exactly how yet, but they believed that it would be true.

Proverbs 25:18-19:

  • 19 – When needed, these things will all ultimately fail you.

October 6 – Daily Notes – Amanda

nailed it

We have the ability and propensity to turn good things bad. In other words, things that God has given us for good, we tend to corrupt and pervert or make them into idols. In today’s Jeremiah reading, we find that the Israelites have begun to rely on the temple instead of using at as a tool that connects them to God, as God intended it. What are the temples in your life? Service? Family? Work?

Jeremiah 6:15-8:7:

  • 15-30 – Jerusalem will soon face disaster.
  • 1 – Jeremiah’s sermon in the temple begins.
  • 4 – Though this phrasing may not sound like a problem, the reason they are deceptive words is because the people of Jerusalem felt that having God’s temple was their ticket to salvation. Like meaningless sacrifices, having the temple meant nothing if you weren’t following God.
  • 8-15 – God planned to destroy the temple in order to destroy the peoples’ false sense of security. They were relying on it for an automatic connection to God but living unfaithfully.

Colossians 2:8-23:

  • 13-15 – Whatever it is that we were trusting in before Christ is taken away.
  • 16-23 – No one else gets to tell us that Christ has not accepted us or that we are unacceptable to him. Of course, we are called to lovingly call out one another’s sins, but ultimately it is Christ who justifies us.

Psalm 78:1-31:

  • 5-8 – The testimony in Jacob was designed to teach younger generations about God. God does great things in our lives in order to bless us and then calls us to tell others about it.
  • 9-20 – The Israelites continually had reason to trust in God and yet continued to question his faithfulness.

Proverbs 24:26:

  • Honesty is a blessing and is as pleasant as a kiss.

October 2 – Daily Notes – Amanda

whats-the-big-deal-2

Today, as we finish Isaiah, and read today’s psalm, we realize just how big of a deal exile was to the Israelites. To us, it’s an event in history. To them, it was the end of everything they’d known and they didn’t know if what they’d known would ever return. In order to understand the story of God’s people, it is imperative that we understand the weight and impact of the exile.

Isaiah 66:1-24:

  • 10-14 – People should rejoice with Jerusalem because God is restoring the city.
  • 18-24 – God explains specifically what will happen to the Israelites who make it through the judgments. They will be considered the remnant. They will see others who were rejected due to their sin not to gloat but to understand God’s judgment even better.

Philippians 3:4b-21:

  • 4-11 – Paul explains that he would have every reason to be confident if self-righteousness were an option. He has all the boxes checked. He realizes that salvation through faith in the resurrection is the only righteousness he needs.
  • 13-14 – Ultimately Paul was pressing on for an eternal prize.
  • 17-18 – It should be each of our goals to be able to walk in a manner that allows us to ask others to follow us. So many would seek to be spiritual leaders but fall off the track easily.

Psalm 74:1-23:

  • 1-8 – The psalmist mourns over the Israelites’ exile. God has turned away from the Israelites, the temple has been destroyed, and he wonders how long this will continue.
  • 9-23 – The psalmist is reminded of the great things God has done, proving his ability, and asks God to restore the Israelites.

Proverbs 24:15-16:

  • This warns against sliding into a pattern similar to those who seek to harm righteous people. Those unhealthy patterns ultimately lead to destruction.

October 1 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Isaiah's calling

As we wrap up Isaiah, it is incredible to think back on the month or so it has taken us to get through this powerful book. Isaiah rejects and then accepts his call, preaches destruction and exile for the Israelites, preaches eventual restoration for the Israelites, and sprinkles little hints of what to look for in a Messiah throughout. And while it is, at times, a difficult book to trudge through, A) you did it! and B) it offers both immediate and eternal hope.

Isaiah 62:6-65:25:

  • 6-12 – God continues to paint the picture of Jerusalem’s coming salvation. He speaks of preparations for that day and makes promises that the Israelites will no longer be defeated.
  • 1-6 – God speaks of how he took vengeance on his enemies.
  • 7-19 – The speaker changes to someone who is remembering how merciful God has been and then asking for more of that mercy.
  • 1-12 – They continue to ask to see God’s power in saving them and bringing them out of trouble.
  • 1-16 – God juxtaposes the treatment of his servants with that of those who choose not to serve him. God’s servants will receive great blessing while the others will receive great pain.

Philippians 2:19-3:4a:

  • 19-24 – Timothy was a young man Paul had taken under his wing. Paul commissioned him to spread the gospel as well.
  • 2-4 – Once again Paul explains that living by the Spirit is far more necessary than circumcision. He reminds his readers that he, as a Jew, is circumcised so he can say this out of truth and not jealousy.

Psalm 73:1-28

  • The entire psalm, but with a crescendo in verses 25-26, are attesting to the confidence the psalmist has in God as his hope, salvation, and protection.

Proverbs 24:13-14:

  • This portion makes a very tangible comparison of how wisdom benefits us.

September 30 – Daily Notes – Amanda

prove it

Prove it! This is yelled across many a junior high lunch table as one testosterone-rich adolescent boy claims he can do something that he most likely cannot. This is also basically what Paul says to the Philippians. Prove your salvation in front of others by living righteously and faithfully. This should be true of our lives too. If we are saved, it show in our words, actions, and decisions.

Isaiah 60:1-62:5:

  • 1-22 – God explains in great detail all the ways Israel will be restored to glory. When they went into exile God and the Israelites became a laughing stock. That would soon change.
  • 1-2 – Jesus quotes this passage exactly in Luke 4:18-19 in his first public sermon.
  • 1-11 – God declares his year of favor. Debts are forgiven. Those who suffer and mourn will be comforted…and a lot of other great stuff.
  • 1-5 – God continues to proclaim wonderful restorative acts for Israel.

Philippians 1:27-2:18:

  • 27-30 – Paul calls the Philippians to live with integrity in their faithfulness so that others who are watching would be convinced of their salvation.
  • 1-11 – Paul calls the Philippians to humble themselves and serve in a similar fashion as Jesus did.

Psalm 72:1-20:

  • Note that this psalm is written by David’s son, Solomon, the third king of Israel.
  • Solomon asks for blessings for the king. This is presumably when he is starting out as king because it says that David’s prayers have now ended.

Proverbs 24:11-12:

  • We cannot claim ignorance and pretend not to know that people are moving towards death and destruction. If we ignore them, it says God will do the same to us.

September 27 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Dog-Chasing-Tail

Do you know that person who always offers to help after the work is done or always “wishes” they could help? Those sentiments are pretty meaningless – about as productive as a dog chasing his tail. That is how God feels about sacrifices to Him when people go on sinning and worshipping other gods. The sacrifices don’t mean anything. They’re empty. It sure makes you think, are our offerings of worship and service, at times, pretty meaningless?

Isaiah 51:1-53:12:

  • 1-8 – This is a prophecy promising to return Jerusalem to what it was intended to be.
  • 9-11 – A call to arms to prepare to bring the Israelites back from exile.
  • 17-2 – Jerusalem is being urged to wake up and prepare for restoration.
  • 6 – So often, including the prophet Isaiah, biblical characters have responded with “here I am”. Here God explains that he will answer in this same way when it’s time for Israel to be restored.
  • 7-12 – The “good news” this passage refers to is the salvation of Jerusalem. This beautiful, poetic explanation is a great reflection of the beauty of salvation.
  • 1-12 – Now read this again recognizing that it is foretelling Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Ephesians 5:1-33:

  • 1-5 – Following Christ is an act of allowing ourselves to be transformed to look more and more like him. We cannot continue on sinning and say that we are being transformed.
  • 6-14 – There are lots of folks who will try to steer us off our pursuit of following Christ. This is easiest when our sins are hidden. When we bring them to the light they are far easier to deal with.
  • 22-33 – This passage is often disliked and/or ignored in modern society. But if both spouses choose to love and respect one another as Scripture calls us to, both parties get a really good deal.

Psalm 69:19-36:

  • 19-28 – David asks God to punish his enemies.
  • 30-36 – Several times in Scripture God asks for humility or obedience instead of a bunch of meaningless sacrifices. David promises to do just that.