Not "Our Bad"

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Today's reading: Genesis 20:1-18

Even when we're living rightly, there will be times when we're put in a bad situation by a poor or sinful choice made by someone around us—in this case, the choice of Abraham.

After following and trusting God through thick and thin for many years, Abraham stumbles. He lets his fear get the best of him when he and Sarah, along with workers, servants and family, move to the country of Gerar. When they arrive, rather than leaning on God to guide and protect him, Abraham takes matters into his own hands by choosing not to be truthful with King Abimelech, telling him that Sarah is his sister. (This is actually the second time Abraham, driven by fear, tells this lie about Sarah. See Genesis 12:10-20.) Abraham's sinful action creates a terrible and morally wrong situation for Sarah, his precious wife, as well as for King Abimelech, who is in the dark about Abraham and Sarah's true relationship. But thankfully God intervenes to right the recipe for disaster Abraham has put in place.

What does this passage (and Genesis 10:10-20) reveal about the influence fear can have on our thinking, actions and words? What stood out to you about God from this account? Tami

Circumstances

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Today's reading: Genesis 19:30-38

As we finish up Genesis 19 (a chapter with accounts I find difficult to read and fully understand), the problem of sin remains front and center. After escaping the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, without consulting God and acting out of fear, moves himself and his two daughters into the wilderness, where life is dismal. In this state of isolation from civilization, Lot's daughters allow their circumstances to consume their thinking. An already bad situation turns worse when, rather than turning to God for direction and provision, they decide to take matters into their own hands. The sad result is blatant sin by all parties.

We've all experienced the powerful influence of circumstances. The fact of the matter is, life is hard. But if we're intentional about consistently talking with God through prayer and spending time in His Word, we can stand strong no matter our circumstances or what we encounter.

Look back over the past week or so. To what extent have your circumstances influenced your actions and thinking? How does spending time with God prepare and equip you for what's taking place in your life and anything you may encounter during the day? Tami

Subtle Influence

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Today's reading: Genesis 19:1-29

Genesis 19 is a difficult chapter to read and process. The one message that always stands out from this account is that our rejection of God and His ways and our choice to sin is offensive to God.

As I read through Genesis 19 today, I focused on Lot. Lot was a righteous person who followed God, but he was alone in his conviction. He was one man surrounded by hundreds, or more likely thousands, of God-snubbing, wicked people—not a good situation to be in. It had to be an uncomfortable environment for Lot, and yet he continued to live in Sodom with his family. And whether he realized it or not, his decision to reside in Sodom and to be a part of that sinful environment on a daily basis had a desensitizing, unhealthy impact on his thinking.

We can see this through Lot's actions and responses throughout chapter 19. As soon as the men from Sodom arrive, he's on edge because he knows the people of the city are wicked. When the situation takes a turn for the worse, Lot desperately tries to protect his two angelic guests, even offering his daughters to appease the mob. What?! But what reveals the negative impact sin had had on Lot's thinking the most is how even when he knows that the destruction of Sodom is imminent, "he lingered" (vs. 16). The angels had to seize him, his wife and two daughters by the hand to remove them from the city.

What does this account show about the danger of sin—choosing to surround ourselves with only nonbelieving friends, hanging out in places and participating in activities that aren't pleasing to God, or filling our minds with content (media, TV programs, music, etc.) that we know isn't God-honoring? Would you take some time today to consider how what you encounter in your environment each day is impacting your thoughts and actions? Tami

Heart to Mouth

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Today's reading: Psalm 59:1-17

In the middle of David's seeking of God for deliverance and comfort as Saul and others are intent on his destruction, David specifically points out to God how his adversaries are sinning with their mouths.

"For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter. . ." (vs. 12)

What a good reminder of how so much of our sin is tied to the words we let come out of our mouths and how what we say reveals the spiritual condition of our heart.

Think back over some of the words you've spoken this week. What did they reveal about your heart? How can and will you use the words you speak, today and in the coming week, to reflect a loving and God-focused heart? Tami

When Wrong Happens

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Today's reading: Psalm 58:1-11

Before David took the throne as king of Israel, he was on the run for his life from an irrational and unbalanced king, Saul. I can't fully imagine how awful David's situation must have been. Yet he was able to stand strong and remain focused, in large part because of his constant and candid communication with God. Here in Psalm 58, David is holding nothing back. He pours out his frustrations to God about the sin taking place against him and around him, and then he concludes his conversation by expectantly asking God to right the situation.

Is it your practice to talk candidly with God about the wrong and unjust things taking place around you and/or to you? How does putting these wrongs into words help you stay focused on God and His Word and respond rightly? 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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