Last Lessons

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Today's reading: Genesis 49:1-33

Genesis 49 is a key scripture passage in that it lays out the foundation of the twelve tribes of Israel and is filled with prophecy that will come to fruition throughout the rest of the Bible. In this chapter we see Jacob's last words to his family. His insightful and powerful messages are unique to each of the specific sons, addressing past actions and consequences and then providing direction for what is to come.

In addition to the specific instruction to each son, the overall experience also served to provide the sons (and now us) with lessons on parenting and leadership. One of the prominent lessons I noticed was how Jacob wisely orchestrated and then used this final gathering for the benefit of his whole family. Instead of summoning each son individually to provide lessons privately, Jacob calls an open session family meeting. This is important because the others also get the benefit of hearing about, and in turn learning from, their brothers' sins and the resulting consequences.

What lessons about parenting and/or leadership stood out to you from Genesis 49, and why? What do Jacob's words to his sons reveal about our choices and resulting consequences? Tami

Constant and Faithful

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Today's reading: Genesis 48:1-22

Jacob's life was not an easy one. Upon leaving—actually, being sent away from—his childhood home with Isaac and Rebekah, the life he experienced was filled with difficulty. He was no longer by his family and experienced hard work and change as well as times of uncertainty, loss, and grief. So for Jacob to proclaim to Joseph at the end of his life about God's greatness, goodness, and how God had been so constant and faithful throughout the years is significant.

I was encouraged by what Jacob shared with Joseph. His words were a good reminder of how God uses every situation—ordinary experiences, new experiences, good times, difficult circumstances, sadness, sorrow, and loss—to move us forward and, in so doing, make us wiser about life here on earth and most importantly to grow us spiritually.

How were you encouraged by Jacob's message to Joseph in Genesis 48? Take a few minutes today to think back over your life experiences. Identify at least one situation where you could see after the fact that God used it to make you a little wiser and move you forward spiritually. Tami

Open Wide

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Today's reading: Psalm 81:1-16

Asaph begins with a call to praise in Psalm 81 before taking an historical look back at what God had done. He then moves on to our responsibility to listen and submit to God. He finally concludes by showing us the blessing God wants to give us when we choose to be obedient in following Him. While there were several verses in this psalm that touched my heart, I found my eyes repeatedly going back to the words in verse 10.

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

So much is conveyed in these few words. The first half of the verse highlights the personal relationship God desires to have with us and how He is in control, guides us, and protects us in and through our circumstances. But the final sentence was my favorite because of the way it so clearly communicates that if we simply surrender to God, He is there waiting to shower His love upon us and give us all we need. Thank you, God!

What does God being "the Lord your God" mean for you? Would you describe yourself as having your "mouth open wide" when it comes to receiving God's instruction? If not, what's hindering you, and what changes do you need to put in place to get to a point of full surrender? Tami

LOUD for God

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Today's reading: Psalm 81:1-3

In the first three verses of Psalm 81, Asaph lays down the call for us to praise God in a LOUD way! Being the extrovert that I am, I love celebrations, especially when they include dynamic music. That being the case, this picture of enthusiastic public recognition and honoring of God absolutely resonated with me and has motivated me to be intentional about using my voice (through conversations and in song) to praise God openly and with exuberance this weekend.

How did Psalm 81:1-3 impact you today? Is it your practice to "shout for joy" to the Lord? What does being "loud for God" look like in your life? Could (or should) you perhaps be a little louder? Tami

Faithful to the End

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Today's reading: Genesis 48:1-22

Jacob is an old man by the time he is reunited with Joseph in Egypt, and as we reach Genesis 48 Jacob's time on earth is coming to an end. As his father is on his deathbed, Joseph visits him and brings his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, with him. It's a sweet and intimate family time in which, despite being weak, Jacob makes sure that God and His love, goodness, and promises are front and center in this interaction with Joseph and his sons.

Reading this account brought to mind memories of both of my parents and how they remained steadfast in proclaiming God's love and goodness in their final few months on earth. My dad was especially verbal in this regard. One of my favorite memories from his last weeks was taking him for a radiation treatment and hearing him immediately engage the nurse in a conversation about God and salvation. After saying hello to the nurse and giving her his name and a couple of details, I heard my dad say (from across the room and behind the treatment room curtain), "I have an important question for you. Do you know Jesus?" The approach was certainly bold, but it did open the door for him to have an in-depth conversation with this woman about God, His love for her, and her need for a savior. You see, my dad knew his time was limited, and he was determined to make the most of every moment for God.

None of us know when we'll draw our last breath. That being the case, how are you making the most of the time you have on earth for God? Do you think of yourself as a bold witness? And what does (or should) being a bold witness look like—at home with your family, at work, at school, with your friends, or with your neighbors? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

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