April 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

touching the stove

Today’s Luke, Psalm, and Proverbs reading all have a similar theme. There is wise instruction, which would offer protection, but the hearer refuses to listen. In the Prodigal Son parable, the young man squanders his inheritance and leaves his father’s home. In the psalm, the Israelites are finally allowed to feel the consequences of their wayward ways, and the proverb reminds us that when we are wise we listen to the faithful instruction of those who love us. Seems like God might be trying to tell some of us something…

Joshua 5:1-7:15:

  • 1 – Clearly other nations had heard of the power of the God of Israel. Though they worshipped other gods, they knew of the wonders God had performed.
  • 10-12 – A powerful illustration that God provides for us in different ways, but he always provides.
  • 15 – The parallels between Joshua and Moses continue. When God called Moses from the burning bush, he also told Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground.
  • 1-25 – Joshua toppling the walls of Jericho is a fairly familiar story, but often we don’t know why or when it happened. Now we see that Jericho was part of the Promised Land that Israel was to take it over.
  • 25 – Phrases like, “to this day” in Scripture remind us that the stories of the Bible were told by actual people about actual events. This culture had an oral tradition meaning they passed down their history and faith through telling stories to one another. These stories were repeated again and again. Clearly, when the book of Joshua was written down, Rahab was still living under Israelite protection.

Luke 15:1-32:

  • The three parables in this section all have to do with God’s willingness to pursue anyone who is sinning and straying. It also describes the joy that occurs when anyone repents from their sins and chooses to follow Christ.
  • 12 – This is the younger son basically telling his father he wishes he was dead because inheritances were not normally distributed until the father was dead.
  • 15-16 – This would have been detestable to the Jews listening to Jesus because Jews viewed pigs as unclean animals.
  • 22 – The ring the story speaks of is a family ring designating that the son is fully embraced back into the family.
  • 11-32 – This familiar parable, often called, “The Prodigal Son,” is easy to relate to. A wayward child sins and then returns and is welcomed back by a gracious, loving father. The older, faithful brother is angry because the younger son’s shortcomings are seemingly being celebrated simply because he’s returned home. It is easy for us to relate to the father or the younger son. It is hard for us to relate to the older son, though most likely, that’s the role that many of us play.

Psalm 81:1-16:

  • 12 – It is explained that God finally gave the Israelites what they wanted. They didn’t want to obey God’s commands, but they didn’t think about how that meant God could no longer protect them. This is like when a parent finally allows their disobedient child to experience the consequences of their actions.

Proverbs 13:1:

  • This Proverb relates perfectly to the parable of the Prodigal Son as well as the Psalm. Both the father to the son and God to the Israelites gave wise counsel on how to live. They had the choice to listen or to choose their own way. When we choose our own way, we suffer the consequences.

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.

February 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

dog-licking-window

Moses spends 40 days in the presence of God, fasting the entire time. Jesus, too, completed a 40 day fast. Fasting is a fairly foreign concept to us American consumers. It’s not just about powering through the time and not eating. We are supposed to allow our desire for food, or whatever we’ve given up, to remind us of our need for God. As much as we want food, we want God more.

Exodus 34:1-35:9:

  • 10 – God makes another covenant with Israel.
  • God was very explicit not to leave any remnants of other gods in their land so they weren’t tempted to worship them.
  • 26 – We are called to give to God off the top. Give to him first before we buy or pay for other things.
  • 28 – Jesus also did a 40 day fast.
  • 30-35 – It is believed that Moses’ face shone from the glory of the Lord.

Matthew 27:15-31:

  • 15-23 – It must have been so hurtful to Jesus that the crowds asked for a criminal to be released instead of him.
  • Crucifixion was already a humiliating punishment, but the soldiers saw to it that Jesus was even more humiliated than normal.

Psalm 33:12-22:

  • 16-17 – Just like today, people of ancient Israel put their hope in everything but the Lord.

Proverbs 9:1-6:

  • Wisdom is something we can all gain if willing.

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.

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.