October 2010 Archives

Take Notice

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Psalm 80:1-19

Every word, every phrase, every sentence of God's Word is important. But when God repeats the same phrase or thought, emphasizing it in a chapter or a book, I definitely want to take note of that. Three times in Psalm 80 we see "Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!" (verse 3; see verses 7 and 19). So I thought about these words and asked myself How often do I respond and cry out to God like this? Well I do....but not always, and that's not the best way to proceed.

So what can we do to keep at the forefront that God alone is our restorer and provider and that we should be calling upon and seeking Him in all things?
Tami W.

Strong Emotions

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Psalm 79:1-13

As we start Psalm 79 the Israelites are calling out to the Lord. Their situation isn't good. They've gotten out of sync with God and as a result, other nations have come in and defiled God's temple and "laid Jerusalem in ruins" (vs. 1). Then we see these telling words "How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?" (vs. 5).

So what does Psalm 79, and specifically verse 5, show us about God's love and desire to have a relationship with us? Tami W.

Goodbye Judges

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Judges 20:36-21:25

As we wrap up Judges today, we continue to see the fallout from the story of the Levite and his concubine that started back in Judges 19. Now I'd like to tell you that things turn around and end well, but the Israelites don't seem to recognize or learn from their past errors.

All of us get out of step with God and His plan from time to time. So what can we do to help us recognize (as soon as possible) when this happens? And then, what are some things we might do to correct the problem? Tami W.

P.S. Did you have any special take away(s) from Judges?

Backwards

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Judges 19:1-20:36

As we close out Judges today and tomorrow, we come to our final story, and it is heartbreaking. This is the story of the Levite whose wife/concubine was murdered by the men of Gibeah. The Levite wants justice for this death and Israel assembles together to decide how to handle the situation. So the people and their leaders listen to what happened and then they all decide "as one man" to go up against Gibeah (Judges 20:8-11). Now before there was any fighting, the tribe of Benjamin is asked to give up the men of Gilead who committed the crime. They refuse and war breaks out. Day 1--Israel loses 22,000 men. Day 2--Israel loses an additional 18,000 men. Day 3--Israel defeats Benjamin.

Now here's what I noticed from this sad story. The people of Israel got it backwards. When the Levite presents his case to the assembly, the leaders and the people react emotionally. They don't seek God's direction or guidance but instead take justice into their own hands. It's only when they are putting their plan into action that they then seek out and inquire of the Lord.

What does this passage show us about seeking and following God's will? How do we get to the place where our first reaction is to think/ask "What is God's will for me in this situation?" Tami W.

Big Time Off Track

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Judges 17:1-18:31

All through Judges the people of Israel insist on doing their own thing and wind up in trouble because of it. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). As I read I kept looking for things that were based on and following God's law. I didn't find anything and the further I got in our passage the worse it seemed to get.

The story of Micah and the Danites provides us with a picture, as well as a good reminder, of just how messed up our lives (and our thinking) can get when we live for self and not for God.

So what are some things we can do to help keep God and His Word front and center, driving our thoughts and actions--individually, as a family, in our churches? Tami W.

Burned

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Judges 16:1-31

How many times have you heard "If you play with fire, you're going to get burned"? Well, that phrase is all I could think of as I read the end of Samson's story. Samson had a weakness for women and we see that again today in Judges 16:1-31. He made a habit of seeking out the wrong company and it most certainly caught up with him with Delilah.

So how do we tune in to those things or areas that tempt us or pull us off course? What are some things we can do to keep us from playing with fire? Tami W.

Spirit Filled

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Judges 15:1-20

As we read about Samson, we see a number of phrases about how the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Samson, the Spirit of the Lord began to stir Samson). This got me thinking about the Holy Spirit and how privileged we are to have the Holy Spirit residing and dwelling within us ALL the time--24/7.

What can we do to make sure we're drawing on the power and help the Holy Spirit provides for us each and every day? Tami W.

Hello Samson

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Judges 13:24-14:20

If you're familiar with the Bible at all, then you probably know about Samson. I remember learning about and hearing stories of Samson from WAY back in Sunday School. What I remember from that is that Samson was incredibly strong, that he did some amazing things with that strength, he was a Judge for Israel and that that crafty woman Delilah ultimately did him in. But there's a lot more to Samson's story and the older I got the more I took in, considered and understood about Samson.

So as I began reading his story once again today, I found myself kind of shaking my head at some of Sampson's choices because they weren't always the best. Even so, God still used and worked through him. Now that's not to suggest that we should just go out and do what we want when we want and expect great things from the Lord, but it does tell me that even when I make mistakes God still loves me, He won't turn me away and He still wants my service.

So what are some things we can do to help us make good choices as we live out our life for the Lord? And as we close out the weekend, how about taking some time to ask the Lord to use you and work through you through week? Tami W.

Sometimes We Miss It

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Judges 13:13-25

Well today is kind of part two of Mr. and Mrs. Manoah. And what struck me was how Manoah is talking with this "man" about absolutely miraculous things, yet he doesn't realize what's really taking place or who he's conversing with until they are sacrificing and the angel of the Lord goes up with the flame from the altar. When I thought about it, I realized that Manoah kind of reminds me of me sometimes. When is that? Well, when I get so caught up in something that's going on (many times something I'm doing diligently for the Lord) that I overlook how God is providing or working or something He has put right before me.

So what are your thoughts today on what we can do to keep from overlooking God's hand in our circumstances? How can we work on being a little less focused on us and what we're doing and more on God and what He is doing in our lives? Tami W.

Faith and Trust

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Judges 13:1-14

Today we meet Samson's parents. Samson's father was named Manoah and we're not given a name for his mother. Manoah and his wife didn't have any children. In fact, his wife was barren. But things were about to change in a big way. The angel of the Lord appears and talks with Manoah's wife. He informs her that she will have a son and then gives her a number of instructions to follow. A little later, the angel of God returns and speaks with Manoah. Now the news they receive is pretty incredible and so is both Manoah and his wife's responses--absolute faith and trust. Impressive.

So what are some things we can do so that our reactions will be like those of Manoah and his wife when we receive incredible, unexpected, or unpleasant information? Tami W.

Painful and Senseless

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Judges 12:1-15

Jephthah's fight with the men of Ephraim was a tragedy. I asked myself How and why did this happen? I landed on PRIDE. The Ephraimite's pride started the confrontation. Their feelings were hurt, they felt slighted because Jephthah fought the Ammonites without them. But Jephthah was full of pride too. So you add the two pride problems together and the end result is 42,000 senseless and needless deaths.

So what can we do to help us recognize those areas where we're most vulnerable to pride? And then how can we be proactive in combating it? Tami W.

Lessons All Over

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Judges 11:1-40

Judges 11:1-40 captures the story of Jephthah, and what we see is pretty much heartbreaking from start to finish. But as I was sifting through and putting together all the details of this story, I was amazed at the number of lessons that were there right before me. So I grabbed a pen and started writing down those things that caught my attention and impacted me. In just a minute or so I came up with six. Here are my top three:

  • Status is not important to God. He can and does use anyone He pleases.
  • There's no place for bargaining or negotiating with God.
  • Regardless of the circumstances, God expects obedience and submission to Him.

So what lessons did you find in Jephthah's story? How will you use or draw on these going forward? Tami W.

Enough Is Enough

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Judges 10:1-18

Well once again we see the Israelites doing their own thing, getting into trouble and then crying out to God to save them. Only this time, God doesn't comply. He reminds them of all the times He's rescued them and then says "I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress" (vs. 13-14).

The Israelites didn't really want to live for God. They wanted to live for themselves. They viewed and treated God as a "problem fixer" instead of the Ruler and Authority of their lives.

So how do we guard against a vending machine mentality in our relationship with the Lord? What are some things we can do to get us back on the right path if we find that we're already there? Tami W.

Dangerous Power

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Judges 9:1-57

Gideon's son, Abimelech, is the primary figure in Judges 9. Abimelech was cunning and ruthless, and he ensured his place as ruler after Gideon by murdering all but one of his seventy brothers (Jotham who hid when the killing was taking place). Abimelech did not seek after or follow God in any manner. He was all about power and control and his thirst for those things ruled his thinking and ultimately ended his life.

So how do we guard against letting whatever power we have get control of us? What are some things we can do to be proactive in handling the authority we are given appropriately? Tami W.

Seek First

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Judges 8:22-35

Gideon's story is one that has always intrigued me. Yes, he most certainly did some great things for the Lord. He is in Hebrews 11 as a person of great faith after all. But Gideon also did some really foolish things and we find one of those in Judges 8:22-28. After Gideon has rescued Israel from the Midianites, the people want to make him King. Gideon wisely refuses this offer, but in the very next breath he foolishly asks them to give him the earrings from the spoil of the victory. The people comply and Gideon makes a golden ephod. The people of Israel worshiped it and "it became a snare to Gideon and his family" (vs. 27).

As I read this account, I found myself wondering What was Gideon thinking? And How did he get so far off base? Here's where I landed. Gideon didn't seek God. He just responded. Now one response was good, but the other was poor and it had serious consequences for the Israelites and Gideon's family.

So what can we do to make seeking counsel and direction from God our first course of action? Tami W.

Unchecked Anger

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Judges 8:1-21

Gideon gives us a sad example of what can happen when we allow our anger and frustration to drive our actions. He and his men are pursuing the kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, who fled from the main battle with 15,000 men. Gideon and his 300 men are exhausted and they stop in two cities and ask for food. At both places, they are rudely turned away. Well as you can imagine, Gideon is not pleased. He's angry so he lashes out verbally and then comes back and takes revenge on the leaders of these two cities punishing the men of Succoth with thorns and briers and actually killing the men of Penuel. (vs. 15-17). Gideon was out of line and out of control.

It's not a sin to get frustrated or angry. That's part of life. It's how we respond that's the tipping point. So what are some things we can do to help us stop and think about responding properly? Tami W.

On Our Side

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Judges 7:16-25

The routing of the Midianites by Gideon and his tiny band of faithful men has to be one of the most impressive battles in the Bible. The weapons of choice for Gideon's group are almost laughable if we didn't know the outcome--trumpets, smashed jars and torches. I just love the unique and creative ways God works on our behalf and how He reveals himself to us.

What encouragement can we draw from Judges 7:16-25? How might we use this passage when it comes to battles we're facing or simply our work and service for the Lord? Tami W.

For the Lord!

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Judges 7:1-18

Gideon takes on the massive forces of the Midianites with only 300 men. "And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore with abundance" (vs. 12). Now this sounds impossible, but it was exactly by God's plan and design. When the dust settled, all would know that God was in control and that nothing is too difficult for Him. Gideon was victorious--yes--but the victory was from the Lord.

So what does Judges 7:1-18 show us about our accomplishments for the Lord? How can we use this passage to help us give the glory to God? Tami W.

P.S. By the way, did you notice the change in Gideon today?

Wednesday, Oct 13th

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Judges 6:25-40

As we finish out Judges 6, Gideon seems to be moving forward and making strides with his new role as rescuer of Israel. But....he's not all the way there yet. He's still a little fearful (tears down the altar of Baal at night, vs. 2) and unsure about the task God has given him (asks for signs with the fleece twice, vs. 36-40).

Gideon is struggling with his faith and trusting the Lord (Just like we've probably done a few times--right?). So what action(s) can we take that will help build up our faith and trust in the Lord? And what does this passage show us about God? Tami W.

Gideon the Great?

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Judges 6:1-24

Today is our introduction to Gideon. We find our soon-to-be-judge threshing wheat inside a winepress in an attempt to hide this food source from the plundering Midianites. The angel of the Lord appears to Gideon here and tells him "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." Gideon's response is to question why Israel is under oppression. The Lord doesn't answer any of Gideon's questions but instead responds "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" That's pretty straight forward yet, again, we see Gideon unsure and questioning.

So do you see any similarities between yourself and Gideon? (Although I don't like to admit it, I sure do.) What can we do to be more confident in stepping out to serve the Lord? Tami W.

Tell of It

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Judges 5:1-31

Deborah and Barak are celebrating and giving public recognition through song to God and His guidance and goodness. I love it and even found myself wondering what this song sounded like. Now when we get to verse 10, Deborah and Barak's song actually calls for public declaration of God and His works. "Tell of it. . . repeat the righteous triumphs of the Lord. . ." Think about it. What a great way to let others know you love and follow the Lord.

So what are some of the "righteous triumphs of the Lord" concerning your life? What can you do this week to tell someone else about how the Lord has worked in your life? And, who might you tell? Tami W.

Step Up

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Judges 4:12-23

Today I thought it would be good to take a closer look at Barak, the second half of the tag team here in Judges 4. Barak was hesitant and tentative about stepping up and doing. But with prompting and reinforcement from Deborah and with the Lord going before him, he was able to completely rout Sisera's army as he led 10,000 men of Israel.

So what can we learn from Barak? Are there any tasks or opportunities you might be overlooking that the Lord has put before you? Tami W.

Confident Living

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Judges 4:1-14

Today we have a tag team of sorts, Deborah and Barak, working together to lead Israel, and the two accomplish much together. But it was Deborah that really caught my attention. There is no doubt in my mind that Deborah was in tune with the Lord. She was confident, positive and secure in her thoughts. As a result, she is bold in responding to and taking action for the Lord. Quite an example.

So how can we be more like Deborah today? What might serving the Lord with confidence look like for you? Tami W.

Average Joe

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Judges 3:12-31

Our reading in Judges 3:12-31 turns to Ehud today. Ehud wasn't some powerful business man or a mighty warrior. From what we see, he was pretty much an average guy and may even have been physically disabled in his right hand. Even so, Ehud used who he was and how God had wired him to accomplish what God called him to do.

So what does Ehud's story tell us about our service for the Lord? Tami W.

In the Know

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Judges 3:1-11

As we come into Judges 3 today, we have already been told that God left certain nations in place to test Israel to see if they would walk in the ways of the Lord (see Judges 2:21-22). Then, as we move through Judges 3:1-11, we're told again that God has left certain nations behind to test Israel. This was a good reminder for me that no matter what's going on in my life, no matter what my situation may be, God is fully aware and He is in control.

So knowing that God is indeed in the know about our situation as well as in control, what can we do to take where we're at today and move forward in our relationship with Him? Tami W.

Sad State

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Judges 2:11-23

My heart was heavy as I read Judges 2:11-23 and saw how over and over again the people of Israel willingly, even eagerly, turned away from God. God's protection and loving actions didn't seem to faze them at all. They were focused on themselves, their wants, their desires. Now this is painful to acknowledge, but we're prone to act this way too. :(

So what are some things we can do to keep on track so we're not acting like modern day Israelites? Tami W.

No Half Ways

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Judges 1:22-2:5

As we start the Book of Judges the Israelites are still in the process of taking possession of the land. Now God has instructed them, quite clearly, that they are to drive out all of the inhabitants. Because of the pagan worship of these people (which even involved human sacrifice) God does not want His people mixing with them. So what do we see? Instead of driving out the inhabitants, they use the native people as forced labor or just comingle with them. As a result, an angel of the Lord confronts the Israelites. "But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done?" (Judges 2:2). The angel then lets them know that God will no longer drive out the nations before them and that these people and their gods will become thorns in their side and a snare to them.

What are some of the things we do that result in diluting God's commands? What can we do to guard against this so we don't find ourselves in a position of disobedience? Tami W.

P.S. If you want a little motivation to get into the Word and learn more about God and what He has for us, check out the latest survey results from the Pew Foundation. It's pretty sobering.

Forgetting God

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Judges 1:1-21; 2:6-10

Today we begin a trek through the Book of Judges. Now this is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it parallels (in kind of a scary way) attitudes and behaviors that are prevalent in the world today. That means we can learn a lot from Judges.

Judges picks up right after Joshua dies and the first two chapters are basically foundational, giving us information before we actually get to specific judges. Judges 2:6-10 kind of summarizes and explains it all and then lays out for us the underlying problem for the Israelites moving forward. "And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel" (vs. 10).

So what does our introduction to Judges tell us about the importance of teaching younger generations about the Lord and following Him? What are some things we can do, both inside and outside our families, to ensure that another generation doesn't miss out on knowing God? Tami W.

P.S. We're starting a new series on Judges on Back to the Bible today. So join Dr. Kroll and me for Judges: Turning Defeat Into Victory.

Nehemiah 13:15-31

Well, it's our final day in Nehemiah and, not surprisingly, Nehemiah's leadership skills continue to shine. Today we see Nehemiah acting to restore proper practices in a number of areas and he went about doing this, we see Nehemiah being bold both with his words and his actions. That's not easy to do, but there are times when it's necessary.

We've spent two weeks reading in Nehemiah here on P4 and we've also been learning about "Effective Leadership" on Back to the Bible. So what did you learn from Nehemiah about leadership? Was there a particular principle (or maybe several) that you found helpful and are putting into action? Tami W.

Read & Respond

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Nehemiah 13:1-14

Yesterday we looked at thanksgiving and singing as part of the dedication of the wall, and today we see that the reading of Scripture was also an important part of this dedication. I was drawn to the first three verses (Nehemiah 13:1-3) where we see how the people responded right away once they heard the law. But I was also a little saddened because the people had obviously fallen away from God and, as a result, were not familiar with the laws He had given them.

So what can we do both before and after we read our Bibles to help us tune in and be responsive to what God has for us? Tami W.

Sing It Out!

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Nehemiah 12:27-47

music

Today's reading, Nehemiah 12:27-47, really charged me up. You see I'm a music lover to the core. I enjoy listening to music, I sing, play the piano and I lead worship at my church (Plus, I love a good celebration). So I found this passage particularly encouraging because it shows that God is music lover too and that He enjoys hearing our voices raised up in song to Him.

So all this singing and celebration got me thinking about how we could use singing a little differently to praise and celebrate the Lord. Here's my proposal. Let's sing what's on our heart to the Lord today. Start by writing down a thought or phrase like "I love you Lord. I want to serve You today." Then, simply sing those words out loud to Him in any style, tune or manner that you like. And don't worry if you not a great singer or even consider yourself a singer at all. It's not about that. It's about making a special effort to praise and celebrate the Lord today. Now this idea of singing my heart to the Lord came to me on a plane as I was traveling this week for work and I actually tried it on the plane (I sang very softly). Guess what? I loved it! So give it try and then tell us about your praise experience. Was it helpful, fun, weird? Would you do it again? Tami W.

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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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 2010 is the next archive.

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