June 3 – Daily Notes – Amanda

rushing wind burning fire

The Holy Spirit is often referred to as a burning fire or rushing wind. In Acts, the Holy Spirit is given to the early believers, so you can imagine that this book gets pretty rowdy. Just imagine a big group of new believers who are eager to spread the message of Christ as quickly as possible because they think he’s coming back soon. How eager would we be to share Christ if we had a similar mindset?

2 Samuel 20:14-22:20:

  • 14-22 – Though Sheba’s fate is a little unsettling, the wise woman assures that her city is not attacked.
  • 1-9 – It was not unusual for people to have to pay for the sins of their parents or grandparents. Saul’s offspring pay the ultimate price.
  • 10-14 – Restoring Saul and Jonathan’s bones to their family to be buried where they belonged was an act to honor Saul.
  • 2-20 – David’s song here is almost identical to Psalm 18. David gives glory to God for his victories and recalls his relationship with God over time.

Acts 1:1-26:

  • 1 – Acts is considered a second section of the gospel of Luke, most likely written by the same author.
  • 11 – Jesus doesn’t die again after his resurrection. He simply ascends to heaven on a cloud and the disciples are told that this is how he will return as well. This is what we are to watch for.
  • 12-14 – The disciples continued to pray and meet together after Jesus left.
  • 21-26 – Matthias is chosen as the new 12th disciple to fill Judas’ place.

Psalm 121:1-8:

Proverbs 16:18:

  • Our pride often tells us we deserve or are capable of more than we’re called to. Humility allows us to wisely and graciously take what God gives us.

May 24 – Daily Notes – Amanda

so mean

Why is God so mean?! Well…is he actually mean? Or does he simply expect us to follow his commands? A story in today’s 2 Samuel reading where Uzzah touches the ark to steady it from falling is a tough one to swallow. However, Uzzah knew the rules and chose not to follow them. Does that make God mean? Or Uzzah disobedient?

2 Samuel 4:1-6:23:

  • 2 – Benjamin keeps getting mentioned because that was the tribe Saul came from.
  • 5-12 – David’s wish was not to blot out all of Saul’s family from the earth. Others were simply misguided in thinking this. David had great honor for Saul and was best friends and had made a covenant of friendship and family loyalty with Jonathan.
  • 3-5 – Due to Abner’s efforts when he was on Team Saul, David did not start ruling over all of Israel until after he ruled in Judah for 7 years.
  • 6-10 – The Jebusites were so confident in their fortress’ strength that they taunted David’s army saying even the blind and lame could ward off attacks on the city. David ends up successfully taking the city.
  • 11-12 – David recognized where his power and blessings derived. This caused him to seek God’s guidance and follow his commands.
  • 1-4 – The ark of God (also known as the ark of the covenant) had been captured by the Philistines in a previous battle. David’s ability to return it to its rightful owners, the Israelites, was a huge accomplishment.
  • 6-7 – Though Uzzah was simply trying to steady the ark, it was well known that the penalty, even for Levites, for touching the ark, was death. Uzzah could have avoided this by carrying the ark on his shoulder with the rest of the Levites like he was supposed to and/or knowing the law of the ark better.
  • 14-15 – David’s attire is mentioned because his wild dancing most likely meant that he unintentionally exposed himself while dancing. He worshipped with such passion that he didn’t care about the consequences. Here’s an oldie but a goody based on this passage.

John 13:31-14:14:

  • 34-35 – Often people don’t recognize our faith. The main culprit is that we do not love one another.
  • 36-38 – Peter truly believes in his commitment to following Christ, but Jesus already knows Peter’s limits.
  • 6-7 – Another “I am” statement declaring that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Because they know and believe in Jesus, they also know the father.
  • 10-11 – This is clear proof of God as Trinity. The father and son are inseparable in substance and are fully connected. Knowing the Son means knowing the Father as well.
  • 13-14 – This passage begs the question, “well, what about when our prayers aren’t answered.” Many would argue that the prayer wasn’t in alignment with God’s will and this may be true. The great comfort in all this is that all earnest prayers come to fruition in eternity where there is no suffering or pain or hardship.

Psalm 119:17-32:

  • 25-32 – This is a perfect prayer for us as we attempt to read and understand God’s word. If our true prayer is to gain insight and to be strengthened by God’s word, he will surely give us these things.

Proverbs 15:31-32:

  • We often know the wise choice, whether it’s been told to us or it’s just obvious. It’s our choice to follow wisdom or choose another way.

May 22 – Daily Notes – Amanda

patience

Apparently there are certain concepts that escape us if not repeated at least a thousand times. Proverbs seems to think so. Yet again, in today’s reading, we are reminded that wisdom is shown when we are patient and slow to act or speak. Foolishness is rash and fast moving and fails to think things through. I know I could stand to hear this message on repeat. How about you?

2 Samuel 1:1-2:11:

  • 11-16 – It seems very harsh to us that David kills the young Amalekite who, seemingly, was merciful to a dying Saul. David had deep regard for Saul as the anointed one of God and did not see it as the Amalekite’s job to kill him.
  • 1 – David was faithful in seeking God’s guidance before he would make moves.
  • 4 – David is now officially king over Judah. He needed for Saul and his sons to die and to be anointed. Now both have happened.
  • 4-7 – The men of Jabesh-gilead were the ones who took Saul’s body back from the Philistines after the Philistines tortured and dishonored it. David greatly appreciated this because it was honoring to God’s anointed, Saul.
  • 8-11 – One son of Saul was still alive, Ish-bosheth. A portion of the Israelites follow Ish-bosheth as their king, but the majority follow David.

John 12:20-50:

  • 23-24 – Jesus knew that in order to conquer sin and for his mission to multiply, he had to die.
  • 29 – This is the second recording of God speaking audibly directly to or about Jesus. The first is during his baptism.
  • 34-36 – The people could not understand how he could be the Christ and die since their law said the Christ would live forever. They couldn’t reconcile the two. Jesus simply encourages them to follow him while he’s still there.
  • 42-43 – A very convicting passage. Too often we care more about what others think than what pleases God.

Psalm 118:19-29:

  • 22 – This verse is later applied to Jesus. He was rejected, but ultimately our faith was built on him.
  • 24 – A popular, very quotable verse reminding us that each day is a gift from God and should be given back to him with praise.

Proverbs 15:27-28:

  • 28 – The continual theme in Proverbs of wisdom being slow and thoughtful is repeated here.

May 21 – Daily Notes – Amanda

sitting at feet

Mary, in every story she’s mentioned in, is completely devoted to Jesus. Nothing seems to be able to separate her from spending time with her Lord. In today’s John reading she’s even criticized for being too extravagant towards Jesus. Don’t hear Jesus’ reply as saying we shouldn’t serve and care for the poor. Instead, hear his reminder that our devotion to Christ should be paramount. If that is true, good works will be a given.

1 Samuel 29:1-31:13:

  • 1-6 – While David and the men were away from their villages, Negeb and Ziklag, the Amalekites, a perpetual enemy of the Israelites, took all the women and children captive. David’s men were furious with him when they returned. As a point of connection, the Amalekites were the people Saul was supposed to destroy completely but didn’t, which was why he was rejected as king.
  • 7-8 – David, unlike Saul, is faithful in asking God what he wants him to do before he does anything.
  • 9-25 – David’s men who were too exhausted stayed behind and didn’t fight. Interesting that Scripture refers to the men who, after their victory, didn’t want to return the exhausted men’s property to them, “wicked and worthless.” These were greedy men who wanted the credit for their hard work and to punish those who couldn’t fight that particular battle. David did not go for their proposition.
  • 1-7 – As was prophesied, Saul and all his sons died in one day. The Philistines seem to be in complete power at this point.
  • 8-10 – Because the Philistines couldn’t capture Saul alive, they torture and dishonor his corpse.
  • 11-13 – Normally burning a body would be seen as shameful, but it may have been done so the Philistines could not find him and take him back. The bodies weren’t completely burned because, later, David takes Saul and Jonathan’s bones and buries them in their family burial plot.

John 11:54-12:19:

  • 1-8 – This story is mentioned when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead even though it is written to have occurred after that. Mary is known for her devotion to Jesus and has great reason to be considering he raised her brother from the dead. Many people question why Judas’ comments are dismissed since they sound pretty valid, but he actually had no intention of helping the poor with the money. He wanted it himself.
  • 12-15 – Though brief in this gospel, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, which we call Palm Sunday, is one of few stories included in all four gospels. “Hosanna” means “save us”. The people of Jerusalem, who will soon have him killed, cry out for Jesus to save them. The donkey colt fulfilled a prophesy of the Messiah.

Psalm 118:1-18:

  • 5-6 – Cause and effect. I cry out to the Lord. The Lord comes through. I now have increased faith in God’s protection for me. This is how our faith should work yet we so often forget the great things he does for us.
  • 18 – A great perspective! Sometimes we endure consequences, but this doesn’t mean that God has forsaken or rejected us.

Proverbs 15:24-26:

  • 25 – Pride normally means we rely on ourselves but wisdom tells us the Lord is the only one we can rely on. Everything else crumbles.

What to Expect – Week 21

Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” should be David’s theme song. He was the 8th son, Saul tried to kill him multiple times, and this week, we’ll read about Saul’s death, which should have meant David’s reign would start without a hitch. But it didn’t. Ish-bosheth, Saul’s only remaining son, causes a serious disruption, which almost leads to an early split of Israel.

It makes you wonder, what trials and difficulties you would face to fulfill what God had called you to?

Then, in our reading in John, we find one of Jesus’ most bold yet simple statements. In 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a statement that has been white-washed, sanitized, and shape-shifted in our culture until it has no meaning. For some reason, it has even become offensive. But why? It is not as if it is secretive. It’s not even exclusive. Instead, it is a clear if/then statement. If you want to get to the Father, you need to do so by way of Christ. If you don’t, that’s your choice. The context doesn’t suggest that he’s joking or speaking in hyperbole. Instead, it is clear and decisive. But don’t miss verses 1-3 just above it. They remind us that there’s plenty of room in God’s house. He wants us to take the way through Jesus, there’s space for you and me too.

This week, you can also look forward to spending most of your time in Psalm 119. It is the longest psalm, by far, but it is packed to the gills with great pieces of truth. Take, for instance, Thursday’s reading. Verse 37 asks God to turn our eyes from worthless things. Ugh, couldn’t we all stand to ask that!?!

So, now that you’re about to start your 6th month of reading, what have you enjoyed most? What’s one thing you learned for the first time?

We’ve already gotten through so much of the Bible and there’s so much great stuff left to go. Let’s keep moving towards the finish line. It’s well worth it!

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 19 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dawson crying

It is often after we get ourselves into a great mess that we think to cry out to God. Today’s psalm talks about facing the snares of death and then calling out to the Lord to rescue. Our lives would be a whole lot easier if we would stay in communication with God in order to keep ourselves out of the trouble in the first place.

1 Samuel 24:1-25:44:

  • 2-7 – David had such respect for the authority God had given Saul that he felt guilty for even cutting his robe. He also refused to kill Saul even though Saul was trying his best to kill him.
  • 8-22 – David’s kindness and grace turn Saul’s heart. He stops chasing David and confirms that he will one day be king.
  • 1-17 – Even though David and his men had been very kind to Nabal’s men, Nabal is hateful and inhospitable to David, which was unusual for their culture. Unless you were enemies, hospitality was understood.
  • 18-35 – Abigail, with quick thinking and great hospitality, saves her household from the consequences of her husband’s hatefulness. She also saved David from making a hasty decision and killing Nabal’s household.
  • 40-44 – David was married to Michal and now has taken both Abigail and Ahinoam as wives. Saul, though, dissolves David’s marriage to Michal, in his absence, so David now has two wives. This was culturally acceptable.

John 10:22-42:

  • 24-30 – The Jews wanting Jesus to explain his identity plainly is ironic since this gospel, far more than any other, has clearly revealed Jesus’ identity.
  • 26-27 – Jesus’ sheep were those who believed in and followed him.
  • 31-42 – Once again the religious authorities attempt to stone Jesus because they think he is blaspheming while others continue to believe in and follow him.

Psalm 116:1-19:

  • 3-4 – Notice that the psalmist experienced great pain and torment and then cries out for God to deliver him. Why is it that it often takes so long for us to finally cry out to God?
  • 12-14 – It’s impossible to repay the Lord for all the great things he does for us. The psalmist chooses to thank God for his salvation and to acknowledge God’s work in his life in front of others.

May 18 – Daily Notes – Amanda

cartoon sheep

How do you know when God’s talking to you? How can you understand if what you think you’re supposed to do is God’s will or just your own desires? In today’s reading from John, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. He says sheep follow shepherds because they know his voice. We can know God’s voice based on whether or not it lines up with God’s character and if it aligns with what we know of God through Scripture and prayer.

1 Samuel 22:1-23:29:

  • 2 – David clearly had many of the same characteristics as Jesus. The low and broken were attracted to him.
  • 11-19 – We are not guaranteed that doing the right thing will have positive consequences. The priests protected David, but were ultimately killed by Saul.
  • 2 – David consults God to see what God’s will is before he acts.
  • 3-5 – The fear of the people causes David to hesitate, but the Lord confirms his desires and David obeys.
  • 6-14 – David and his men could have easily been trapped and ambushed in Keilah, but the Lord watched over him. Notice David’s extremely open and close relationship with God. He asked God for specific information and God does not hesitate to share with him.
  • 24-29 – Note that God makes the impossible possible. Saul is closing in on David and something urgent arises right at the right time.

John 10:1-21:

  • 3-4 – Sheep know their shepherds voice so they follow his instructions. Note that we just read an example of this with David. He was close with God and knew his voice so he had open conversations with him and knew where God was sending him and what he was calling him to do.
  • 7-9 – Another I am statement. Basically, Jesus is the passageway to God. He is also that which closes us off from things we do not need to participate in.
  • 10 – A very clear comparison between the thief and Jesus. One steals, kills, and destroys, the other brings abundant life. Seems like an easy choice.
  • 11 – Another I am statement. Jesus, as the good shepherd, will and does lay down his life for our good.
  • 16 – This explains that not only Jews will be saved, but gentiles as well. They are from different flocks, but both will be saved.

Psalm 115:1-18:

  • 1 – Psalms lend themselves to songs because many were used as songs in worship. This psalm inspired this early 2000s gem.
  • 4-8 – A perfect explanation of why graven images and various idols are worthless. They seem to have so much to offer (we’re obviously talking about our own “idols” here too), but fall short and leave us empty.

Proverbs 15:18-19:

  • 18 – Yet another example of prudence and wisdom being associated with rational thought out responses.

May 17 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Hand of witness on Bible in courtroom

The story in John today is incredible! The young man Jesus heals makes a powerful statement of faith as he testifies to what Jesus has done in his life. As the Pharisees, trying to indict Jesus, question the young man, he replies to them by saying, “All I know is I once was blind but now I see.” He basically says, “you do the math.” We all have a “I once was ________ but now I ________” story. What if we all shared them?

1 Samuel 20:1-21:15:

  • 1-23 – Once again, Jonathan puts himself at risk to act as a go-between for David and Saul. David feared attending Saul’s dinner because Saul most likely wanted to harm him so Jonathan would feel out his father. Note that Jonathan makes a covenant with David here so that David won’t destroy all of Jonathan’s family. This becomes significant later.
  • 41-42 – Jonathan and David were grieved that they would no longer get to see each other since Saul confirmed that he wanted to kill David. David had to flee, but they agreed that they would remain friends.
  • 1-6 – David and his crew eat the holy bread which is supposed to be reserved only for the priests, but they were very hungry. Jesus refers to this when the religious leaders get mad at him for picking grain on the Sabbath.

John 9:1-41:

  • 2 – It was common belief that any physical or mental disability was caused by sin.
  • 5 – Another I am statement. Jesus refers to himself as “the light of the world.” This is why he says it is day now – because he was present. He’s referring to “night” as when he is no longer on the earth.
  • 21-23 – Whether the parents knew the healing was from Jesus or not, they were more afraid of the religious leaders than they were loyal to Jesus.
  • 25 – A beautiful statement of faith! This is one we can all take note from. When people argue the validity of God or the saving power of Christ, all we need to say is, “I don’t know much. All I know is I once was blind but now I see.” Feel free to fill in your own story of “blindness”.
  • 34 – The religious leaders find a way to discount the man’s story saying he is simply a sinner and they can’t learn anything from him.

Psalm 113:1-114:8:

  • These psalms simply recount various ways God is great. This is a great way to write your own psalm of praise. Simply recall the various ways God has been great in your life.

Proverbs 15:15-17:

  • 16-17 – Beautiful verses explaining where real value lies.