Focused Thinking

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Today's reading: Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 10:5

If there's one thing I'm experiencing during this downtime caused by the coronavirus, it's that I have plenty of time to think. While that can be a good thing, in our current environment filled with negative news reports and all kinds of posts on social media, it's not too difficult for our thinking to take a negative turn south and keep on going. That being the case, the need to be proactive about what we are putting into our minds and allowing to influence us really hit me this morning.

Today two scripture passages, both authored by Paul, came to my mind concerning how we need to approach our thinking—Philippians 4:8-9 and 2 Corinthians 10:5. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul talks of the intentional act of "tak[ing] every thought captive to obey Christ." And then in Philippians 4, immediately after the instructions to rejoice, not be anxious, and put our requests before God through prayer, he writes:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (vs. 8-9).

Filling our minds with and then focusing on good things—particularly the truth of God's Word—is especially important right now. During this time of change, when nothing feels quite normal and our emotions are heightened on a number of fronts, let's join together and be intentional about filling our minds with God's Word. Then focus on the truth God reveals to us from His Word each day. Tami

Learning

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Today's reading: Philippians 4:10-13

As soon as I woke up this morning, Paul's words about being content as he was sitting in prison filled my mind. Why? Because the way our current world situation with COVID-19 is impacting us personally—quarantining, social distancing, job loss, uncertainty, not having control of many areas of our lives—is somewhat similar to what Paul was likely experiencing sitting in prison. And yet in the middle of his difficult, unpleasant, and unwanted circumstance, Paul was able to confidently write:

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13).

Two times in these three verses Paul uses the word "learned" concerning being content. And God kept bringing the word "learn" to my mind as I considered this passage. I felt like God was saying to me, "I love you and am right beside you. I know you're not enjoying this experience, but through this difficult time I will sustain you and teach you even more about me."

So the question for each of us to ask ourselves today is, what is God showing or teaching me through this different and difficult season of the coronavirus?

I spent a bit of time wrestling with this question, and here's where I landed. There are a number of things God is showing me (and I am learning) through this time. But the predominant thing right now is that I have to be submitted to and at peace with God's timing. This is something I struggle with, and it's a recurring lesson for me. I am a doer. I'm always busy and on the go, so being forced to stay at home and put my new full-time baking business on hold feels unnatural and frustrating to me. Although it took me a couple of weeks to finally get to this point, this past weekend I realized that my conversations with God were sounding different (in a good way). After praying for other people, the focus of my prayers were all about recognizing how everything I have is a gift from God. Until this period of quarantining passes and I sense His leading to start moving forward again, I will be content exactly where I'm at.

Okay, it's your turn. What is God showing or teaching you through this different and difficult season of the coronavirus? Tami

2 Timothy Wrap

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Today's reading: 2 Timothy 1-4

Thanks for spending the last few weeks reading through 1 and 2 Timothy with me. These two books are packed full of words instruction and encouragement to stand strong and press on as we live for Christ.

Although this is not a very long letter, it contains one of my favorite passages, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. God's Word must be front and center in our lives, and these two verses reinforce this so well.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

What was the most significant lesson you took away from Paul's instruction in 2 Timothy? What encouraged you most from this book, and why? Tami

Love for You

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Today's reading: Psalm 91:1-16

While the words of Psalm 91 deliver a message of comfort, security, and peace, they also put before us an incredible picture of a mighty and powerful God who adores and cares for us as His children. I was drawn to the verses that describe God as being our "dwelling place" (vs. 9) and "dwell[ing] in the shelter of the Most High" (vs. 1). I encourage you to read through this beautiful song again, this time thinking purposefully about God being your dwelling place and you dwelling in God's shelter, and what that means for you personally.

What does this psalm communicate about the personal nature of God and His love for and desire to be in relationship with you? Tami

Our Refuge

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Today's reading: Psalm 91:1-16

As I watched the news last night, I felt God impressing on my heart the need to trust Him. That same feeling hit me this morning as I checked in with some friends. Right now feelings of fear are rampant around the world because of uncertainty, imposed changes in routine, lack of control, and the danger of sickness and death as a result of the coronavirus. While fear can function in a good way in small doses (it's a God-given emotion and defense mechanism), in times of distress, this powerful emotion can actually be harmful to us on several fronts—emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

So as feelings of fear press in from what seems like all sides, we need to turn to God and His Word now more than ever. There we will find over and over again words of comfort and guidance and evidence of a faithful, trustworthy, and loving Father.

As I opened my Bible to write my blog this morning and saw that Psalm 91 was the next scheduled psalm (Coincidence? I think not!), I was thankful because of how this psalm reveals God's great love for each of us. While what the psalmist wrote in this psalm thousands of years ago can be literal, the Bible shows us time and again that many faithful followers of God suffered and even died (see Hebrews 11, for example). But I know that when we choose to keep our eyes on Christ, no matter our circumstances or its outcome, we can still have peace and joy. God tells us again and again that He is our refuge, and because of that, we can stand strong as the storms of life rage around us.

"God, thank you for loving, watching over us and for giving us your Word to look to for guidance, comfort, and peace. Please help us keep our focus on you during this time so that there is no room for fear. Amen."

What comfort did you draw from this psalm? Was there a particular verse that moved your heart, and why? What's one example of how God's Word has calmed your fear in the past month? 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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