March 20 – Daily Notes – Amanda

pursuit

In today’s psalm, David sounds like a man who would not let anything stand in the way of his pursuit of God. He hungered and thirsted for God. This relentless pursuit leaves me feeling both convicted, “I don’t think I have that kind of passion.” and inspired, “I want to pursue God with that kind of fire.” What about you?

Numbers 30:1-31:54:

  • Killing the women and male children seems extremely harsh, but the Israelites were always tempted to mix with other nations when they weren’t completely wiped out. Moses reminds them of their indiscretions in Peor caused by their unwillingness to follow God’s commands completely.

Luke 4:1-30:

  • During Jesus’ temptation he is physically weak but is filled with the Holy Spirit. This can teach us a lot about what we truly need.
  • Both Jesus and the devil use Scripture. Jesus uses it to remain faithful to God. The devil twists it to try to cause Jesus to sin.
  • 18-19 – Jesus establishes his purpose throughout his ministry.
  • 24-30 – Jesus’ words are offensive to those in the synagogue because he is suggesting that they will not be healed. They try to kill him but clearly his purpose wouldn’t be fulfilled through that death so he is able to escape from them.

Psalm 63:1-11:

  • The fervor with which David seeks and longs for God is both convicting and inspiring.

March 9 – Daily Notes – Amanda

george michael

A lot of times we get caught up in how many times the people in the Bible screw up. We’re appalled! How can these people not GET IT! Today, in Numbers, we get to read about a handful of people who make faithful decisions. Pay attention to Eldad, Medad, Joshua, and Caleb today. Let them give you a little hope that faithfulness is possible.

Numbers 11:24-13:33:

  • 26-30 – Eldad and Medad are examples of God using ordinary people who haven’t necessarily gone through all the expected requirements to be holy people.
  • 12 – Clearly Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, were in the wrong for speaking against Moses, God’s chosen servant. It does seem odd, though, that only Miriam was punished.
  • 25-33 – Of all the spies, only Joshua and Caleb believed they could overcome the inhabitants of their promised land. The others did not trust that God would give them what he promised because it looked impossible to them.

Mark 14:22-52:

  • 36 – A great example of how we should pray. We present all our requests to God, but always have an attitude of submitting to His will.
  • 38 – Jesus’ words, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is true of us in a number of temptations we face. We intend to do God’s will and honor him, but often our ability to withstand it is too weak.
  • 51-52 – The mention of this young man is found nowhere else in the Bible and has very little explanation.

Psalm 52:1-9:

  • Those who seek salvation and/or security in anything but God will falter.

Proverbs 11:1-3:

  • God cares about the way we conduct business. He cares about the morals and ethics we show to the world.

February 7 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Exodus 26:1-27:21:

  • 33-34 – Only certain people were allowed in certain areas of the tabernacle. In the Holy Place, only priests were allowed and in the Most Holy Place, only one priest, who was chosen each time someone needed to enter, could go in.
  • If you were building a dwelling place for God, wouldn’t you want specific instructions?

Matthew 25:1-30:

  • 1-13 – We need to be continually prepared for the coming of Christ. We cannot rely on the faith, work, and preparedness of others.
  • 14-30 – We are to use what God has given for his glory and the good of others, not just keep our knowledge, skills, and faith to ourselves. Having “much” here is not necessarily about financial resources.

Psalm 31:1-8:

  • In the Luke account of Jesus’ crucifixion, he quotes verse 5.

Proverbs 8:1-11:

  • We’ve learned how folly cries out to us and entices us into sin and temptation. This passage reminds us that wisdom calls out too and gives us the opportunity to choose that instead.

February 5 – Daily Notes – Amanda

marty-watch

Yes, we’ve been waiting for over 2,000 years and, who knows, we may still be waiting for a while. Many people have tried to find clues and solve equations to figure out when Jesus is coming back, but the truth is, God said no one knows. We are instructed, however, to always be ready, which means to remain faithful in all circumstances.

Exodus 21:22-23:13:

  • This section of reading is a variety of rules for living in society.
  • 22-24 – Throughout Scripture, widows and orphans get special protection.
  • 29-30 – Often we give from what we have left over after we’ve spent as much as we want. We are to give from our first and best.

Matthew 24:1-28:

  • 1-7 – Many people try to predict the end of the world based on various Scriptures and what they perceive to be the fulfillment, but Scripture says no one knows the timing.
  • 27 – We don’t need to believe folks like David Koresh who come and say they are the Messiah. Scripture says we’ll all know when Jesus is back.

Proverbs 7:6-23:

  • Sin and temptation are attractive, constantly available, and trying to draw us in at all costs.

February 3 – Daily Notes – Amanda

rejected

Each of us, to some degree, fear and dread rejection of all kinds. In verse 10 of today’s psalm, David talks about God welcoming him in when he was rejected even by his parents. Like it may be to you, this was real for David. When Samuel came looking for the next king, David’s father, Jesse, marched his other seven sons in front of him, but not David. Even in painful rejection, we can know God’s love and acceptance.

Exodus 17:8-19:15:

  • 8 – Since when were they at war?
  • 9 – Joshua begins as a war hero and becomes Moses’ right-hand-man
  • 10-13 – Moses, with the help of Hur and Aaron, play a major role in defeating the Amalekites
  • 15 – The Lord is My Banner – or Jehovah-Nissi – is one of the many names Bible characters give God based on their experiences with him
  • 13-23 – Jethro encourages Moses to create a system of government – to delegate and form a type of disciple
  • 1-11 – God promises to make the Israelites his most treasured possession if they obey his commands. They agree. They would even hear God speak with Moses.

Matthew22:34-23:12:

  • 37-39 – one of the few times Jesus answers a question directly
  • 2-3 – we should listen even to hypocrites, we just shouldn’t do what they do
  • 5 – Phylactery – small box filled with Scripture men tie to their foreheads while they pray
  • 5 – Fringes – Orthodox Jewish men wear a garment with 8 fringes and 5 knots that represent the 613 laws of Moses to help them remember to follow them
  • 12 – The 2nd time recently to remind us that when we exalt ourselves we’re humbled but when we humble ourselves we’re exalted

Psalm 27:7-14:

  • It is all of our hope that when we make the effort to seek God he will show up
  • 10 – This was literal for David. When Samuel came looking for the next king, Jesse offered up David’s 7 older brothers but not him.
  • 13 – During any struggle, this is a great promise. Despite horrible circumstances, you will see God’s goodness again.

Proverbs 6:27-35:

  • We cannot continually place ourselves in the way of temptation and expect not to fall

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 26 – Daily Notes – Amanda

i-am

In today’s reading, Moses asks for God’s name. He responds, “I AM WHO I AM”. To ears in our culture, this may sound like a sarcastic or defensive response. Instead, God is sharing his eternal nature and the consistency of his character. I am who I was. I am who I am. I am who I will always be. Let God’s response be a comfort to you.

Exodus 2:11-3:22:

  • 11-15 – Moses acted out in anger and though he thought he got away with it, people saw. Though he had grown up in Pharaoh’s house, he was still a Hebrew who had now killed an Egyptian.
  • 23-25 – God heard the Israelites’ cries and acted accordingly. This gives us hope that God hears our cries for help as well.
  • 1 – Jethro and Reuel are the same person.
  • 2 – One of the many ways God goes beyond the laws that confine us.
  • 4 – One of the many characters who answers God’s call with, “Here I am.” This is a statement of readiness and openness.
  • 9-12 – It is pretty incredible that Moses, when the God of the universe makes a request of him, gives a simple excuse of not having authority. Clearly God is his authority.
  • 14 – “I AM WHO I AM” has great meaning. Mainly it means that God is the same God he was yesterday, is today, and will be forever. There is no other word that can define him fully.
  • 19-20 – It’s not that God wanted to send down plagues on the Egyptians, but he knew it would be necessary in order to get Pharaoh to cooperate.

Matthew 17:10-27:

  • 12 – John the Baptist was seen as the second coming of Elijah, but he too was rejected.
  • 14-21 – Once again, the disciples’ faith fails to be effective. Jesus, however, is able to step into the gap the disciples’ faith leaves and heals the boy. This is similar to when Peter’s faith is not strong enough for him to walk on the water. Jesus fills the gap.
  • 24-27 – Jews struggled with Roman taxation. Jesus instructs Peter to pay the tax, but shows God’s ultimate power and sovereignty by providing the payment in a fish’s mouth.

Psalm 22:1-18:

  • 1 – Jesus quotes this verse when on the cross and about to die.
  • 8 – This too is reminiscent of the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus that he should be able to take himself down from the cross.
  • 16-18 – Though written by David centuries before Jesus walked the earth, this psalm lists several events of Jesus’ crucifixion – here: pierced hands and feet and casting lots for his clothing.

Proverbs 5:7-14:

  • This is the continuation of yesterday’s urges to avoid temptation. This portion explains the aftermath of when temptation is not avoided.

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 23 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 46:1-47:31:

  • 2 – Once again, a servant of God hears his voice and responds, “Here I am.” It should be an aspirational goal that we begin to respond to God’s callings with “Here I am.”
  • 26-27 – Now all of Jacob’s family moved to Egypt where Joseph was in control.
  • 9 – This is an interesting admission. Though Jacob clearly served God in a variety of ways and was blessed abundantly. Jacob should not be viewed as a moral role model, but an example of God using flawed people for his grand purposes.
  • 23-26 – Because of Joseph’s shrewdness, the Egyptian government is able to sustain all the people through the famine and gain all the land. He then implements a 20% tax to ensure the Pharaoh will have enough grain forever.
  • 27 – This is how the Israelites ended up in Egypt, which eventually put them in slavery. Check out the full explanation here.

Matthew 15:1-28:

  • 1-9 – Once again, The Pharisees are tied to the law to justify themselves. They continually seek out ways to questions Jesus’ actions, but Jesus rarely answers to them. Like now, he calls them out for their own sins. Here Jesus recognizes the Pharisees denying their elderly parents’ financial support in order to gain wealth while saying their giving to God.
  • 10-11 – A common theme throughout the New Testament is that good trees bear good fruit. Jesus uses this again to explain that you can tell the heart of a person based on what comes out of them.
  • 21-28 – This is a difficult passage. The unnamed woman is a gentile and Jesus originally denies her request claiming that his mission is strictly for the Jews. It is interesting that he says this while withdrawing from the Jews to a city filled with gentiles. It is possibly he was simply testing her faith because he doesn’t send her away like the disciples encourage him to do. Ultimately, her persistence and faith are rewarded.

Psalms 19:1-14:

  • 7-11 – David delights in God’s commandments and the laws that govern him. The law is perverted by religious authorities, particularly in Jesus’ time, to allow them to withhold love, mercy, and goodness. When we delight in and see the goodness in the law, we don’t have that tendency.

Proverbs 4:14-19:

  • 14-15 – We often allow ourselves to get too close to temptation assuming we are strong enough to withstand it. The proverb wisely encourages us to avoid it altogether.

January 4 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 8:1-10:32:

  • 6-12 – Noah and his family must have been so eager to get off the boat.
  • 21-22 – Note that God does not say he won’t curse the ground because humans had learned their lesson. He recognizes that humans are incapable of living righteously but vows not to destroy them anyway.
  • 8-17 – This covenant is the only one established where nothing is required of humans. God simply makes a covenant not to flood the earth again and destroy everyone and humans just receive the blessing of that. The rainbow is our reminder of this covenant.
  • Imagine how scary it would have been the first time it started raining again after Noah and his family got off the ark. They would really have to lean into their belief in God’s faithfulness and the covenant he made with them.
  • 20-27 – Ham sins by not respecting his father and looking at him exposed while Shem and Japheth respect Noah even in his own sin of drunkenness. The Canaanites remain enemies of Israel throughout Scripture.
  • 15-20 – All tribes listed here were enemies of Israel at one time or another.

Matthew 4:12-25:

  • 12-16 – Matthew mentions many of the prophecies Jesus fulfills. People in darkness seeing a great light refers to people meeting Jesus, the light of the world.
  • 17 – John the Baptist’s message was about repentance. Though he was now in jail, he truly had “prepared the way” for Jesus to preach his own message of repentance.
  • 18-22 – Matthew makes no indication of why these men choose to leave everything and follow Jesus. The phrase “fishers of men” simply means that they will now set their sights on bringing people into Jesus’ message.

Psalm 4:1-8:

  • 5-8 – These verses hit hard the idea that we are tempted to trust in many other things but our true rest and comfort come only from God.

Proverbs 1:20-23:

  • These verses describe wisdom as something easily attainable and ready for the taking. It presents itself to us and we only need to choose to accept it.