March 2014 Archives

A Look Back

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Today's reading: Overview of Judges 1-11 

Today we're taking a break from our daily reading to look back at what we've learned through the first 11 chapters of Judges. I'd love to hear what has stood out to you, what God has revealed to you, how you've been challenged ... anything really. Take a minute or two to look back through Judges 1-11 and share with all of us what you've come away with. Tami

A Song for the Day

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Today's reading: Psalm 57 

Did you wake the dawn with a song this morning? (La, la, la, la) And, no, I'm not kidding. Psalm 57 is a great example of how we should live--regardless of our situation. The first 6 verses of Psalm 57 are David laying out awful circumstances (Saul chasing after him for his life). But then we get to verses 7-11 (which I love BTW) and we see David going off about singing praises and exalting God's name. David even tells us that he will wake the dawn with his song. He talks about his confidence in God and how he will give thanks and sing praises among the nations.

So how are you doing today, this week, this month? If you're experiencing some hard times, you can still praise God and, yes, wake the dawn with your song. If that's not the norm for you, why not try it? You might be surprised at how it lifts you up and helps you get through your day. Tami

Goodbye Fear

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Today's reading: Psalm 56 

AFRAID and trust--those are key words for me today in Psalm 56. There was a period in my life when anxiety controlled me. I had panic attacks and I was afraid a lot. So when I read Psalm 56, it speaks to me. It tells me straight up that I don't need to fear because God is on my side and I can trust Him. That is such a relief and comfort. It also shows me that there will be times when I will be afraid and that I'm not alone in having those feelings (even David had them).

I'd love to tell you that I never have anxiety anymore, but sometimes I still do. But today I'm better equipped to handle it. Now, much more than before, I'm in God's Word. And, I have God's promise that I can give it over to him and that He will sustain me (Psalm 55:22).

In what areas do you need to trust God when it comes to fear or anxiety? What from this passage encourages you? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 11:29-40 

I have a hard time making sense of this portion of the account of Jephthah. While I like that Jephthah was victorious in battle, I'm sad about his vow and its deadly consequences. It perplexes me that Jephthah felt he needed to make a vow to God to win the battle, and that he wouldn't have thought through who might be coming out of his house upon his return home before making such a serious vow.

Even so, what strikes me every time I read this passage is Jephthah's obedience in carrying out his vow. He's clearly heartbroken and distressed about what this means for his daughter and for him since she is his only child. Yet, he doesn't even consider not following through on his promise to God.

What does Jephthah show us about the seriousness of making a vow to the Lord? What did God impress on your heart from this passage? Tami

Jephthah

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Today's reading: Judges 11:1-28 

We're going to stay in Judges 11:1-28 today, only this time focusing on Jephthah. So read through this passage again specifically considering Jephthah--his thinking, his actions, his attitude, his words.

What did you notice about Jephthah? What can we learn from how Jephthah interacts with the king of Ammon before going to battle? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 11:1-17 

Jephthah was looked down upon, considered a "low life" and run out of town by his half brothers. But when the situation back home turned bad, the elders of Gilead (who didn't care one bit about Jephthah previously) changed their tune, reaching out to Jephthah because they believed he was their only hope of defeating the Ammonites. That turned out to be a good move. Jephthah was not only a mighty warrior, he was also wise in his approach and dealings with the king of the Ammonites.

What does the account of Jephthah reveal about how God views and uses people? Do you believe God can use you in a mighty way? Tami

Repeat Offenders

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Today's reading: Judges 10 

After Abimelech's brief rule, Tola and Jair judge Israel for the next 45 years. Then, the Israelites once again "did what was evil in the sight of the Lord" and as a result "the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites" (vs. 6-7). So basically another repeat of wrong choices and sinful living by the Israelites, but this time we see a different response from God, at least initially.

What does Judges 10 show us about God's love and care for us? Tami

Improper Focus

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Today's reading: Judges 9:22-57 

Abimelech was self-centered, ruthless, power hungry and prideful. His focus was on himself, and he didn't care one bit about hurting or killing anyone else to get what he wanted. That was the scenario at the start of Judges 9 and it played out again today as we concluded the chapter. My heart was heavy as I took in this sad ending to a tragic story.

What can we learn from Abimelech about self-centered living? Tami

Burden Relief

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Today's reading: Psalm 55 

What an incredible promise. Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast our burdens on the Lord and that He will sustain us. Well I don't know about you, but on any given day I have a variety of burdens, sometimes big and other times small. Either way, based on Psalm 55 I should be giving them all over to the Lord. Yet, I don't always do that. Or it takes me a little while to let go and really give it over.

Now I'm guessing I'm not alone here, right?? Do any of you do this? So what's up? Why aren't we taking full advantage of this awesome promise? And what can we do to change that? Tami

A Rescue Cry

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Today's reading: Psalm 54 

Help!! I need rescued! When was the last time you cried out to God saying "Rescue me Lord"? (In case you're wondering, for me it was in the last couple of weeks). We all experience hard and overwhelming situations. So I'm thankful to know that God is there through it all and I can call on Him. But here's my question--when we call out to God with our request to "rescue me" or "save me" what response are we expecting? And, then, how do we respond or what do we do when God's response doesn't line up with ours? Tami

Lone Survivor

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Today's reading: Judges 9:7-21 

I tried to put myself in Jotham's shoes today. It was hard to imagine the horrific slaying of his brothers and being the lone survivor of such a brutal attack. What I noticed was that Jotham didn't simply tuck his tail between his legs and run silently away. Although he had to leave for his own safety, he boldly spoke out against the sin and evil acts that had been committed before fleeing to Beer. So even though he feared for his life, he stood up and verbally confronted the wrongdoing of the men of Shechem. That took courage. I was also struck by how Jotham left the situation in God's hands.

What does Jotham's example show us about trusting God when life seems out of control? What can we learn from Jotham about responding to sinful behavior? Tami

Power Play

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Today's reading: Judges 9:1-6 

The sinful nature of man shines through in the account of Abimelech. With Gideon out of the way, we now see his son, Abimelech, putting in place a plan to take control and lead Israel as king. It's all about power for Abimelech. He is power hungry, and as a result, he rounds up and murders his brothers to eliminate any challenge to his rule.

What does this passage show us about power--having power, the impact and influence of power, handling power? What did you learn from the account of Abimelech about choosing whom we follow or put in place as a leader? Tami

Poor Decision

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Today's reading: Judges 8:22-35 

I'm always saddened when I reach the end of the account of Gideon. As I read this story one more time today I was struck by the devastating impact one poor decision had on Gideon's family and the nation of Israel for years to come.

Based on today's passage, how important is it for us to guard our thinking and actions on the heels of a spiritual victory? Looking back over the entire account of Gideon, what was one important thing God impressed on your heart? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 8:1-25

As Gideon and his small army continue to pursue the kings of Midian, they aren't met with open arms or encouragement by their fellow countrymen. Instead, they encounter opposition--first with the men of Ephraim, and then with the men at Succoth and Penuel. But Gideon and his men don't allow any of these encounters to pull them off track.

So what lessons can we learn from Judges 8 about roadblocks, discouragement and staying the course when we're serving the Lord? Tami

Diffused

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Today's reading: Judges 8:1-3 

Gideon encounters a very touchy and possibly volatile situation with the Ephraimites, but it all ends well.

What's your assessment of Gideon's leadership in this situation and why did things end well? Tami

No Good

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Today's reading: Psalm 53 

"No one does good, not a single one." What???? Ok, I'm keeping it short and sweet today and I'm gonna ask you to do a little thinking. Here goes. What do think David is talking about here in Psalm 53 when he tells us there is none that does good--not even one? If you're anything like me you want to respond with But I think I'm a pretty good person so this can't refer to me. But does it? Let me hear you. Tami

Your Sacrifice

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Today's reading: Psalm 51 

David is asking God to cleanse him and to create in him a clean heart and for God to renew a right spirit within him (vs. 10). And then he tells the Lord that he will honor, promote and praise Him, not with a physical sacrifice or a burnt offering, but with his actions and especially his words. Verse 16 tells us "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

So what does your sacrifice to the Lord look like? In the past week how have your actions and words honored, praised and promoted God? Tami

Worship

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Today's reading: Judges 7:15-25 

Before moving on, we're going to spend another day in Judges 7, specifically considering worship. I read through this chapter a number of times and each time the final two words of verse 15, "he worshiped," seemed to jump off the page at me. Here's the setting. Gideon is spying on the enemy army when he overhears one man telling another about his dream where a cake of barley bread hits the camp and upsets its tents. The listening man immediately responds that the dream is about Gideon saying that God has given the camp into Gideon's hand. When Gideon hears these words, the next thing he does is worship.

When God provides for you physically, financially and/or spiritually, how do you respond? How do you worship God outside of a Sunday or Wednesday church service? Tami

Just 300

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Today's reading: Judges 7:1-25 

Today we arrive at my favorite part of Gideon's story. Gideon is finally ready to fight when God lets him know that what He has planned is different than what Gideon has in mind. So instead of 32,000 men defeating the Midianites, God tells Gideon to reduce his army to a mere 300 men. Think about that--300 men going up against an army who we're told were in the valley "like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance." But Gideon doesn't question God or ask for a sign as before, he simply follows God's instructions, and all goes well.

What did you notice about Gideon's trust and faith in God from this passage? What do God's words reveal about what He desires from us? Tami

Good God

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Today's reading: Judges 6:33-40 

I've read the account of Gideon and the fleeces many times. But today, rather than focusing on Gideon's hesitancy and incomplete trust, I found myself considering God and His response to Gideon. This approach immediately focused me on the goodness of God.

So what did you learn about God from this passage? What words you would use to describe God's response to Gideon? Tami

Fearfully Obedient

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Today's reading: Judges 6:25-35 

Have you ever been afraid to do what God is asking you to do? I've found myself there quite a few times over the years--when God has challenged my husband and I to let go of money and possessions and give more, when an opportunity presents itself for me to tell someone about Jesus on an airplane or when I'm out shopping, when I've found myself having to choose between taking a stand for God and what I know is right or being silent. Now, I'd like to tell you that I've always been obedient to these calls, but sometimes fear has won out and I haven't. :( However, when I have responded to God's prompting, He's been right there with me, giving me strength and courage to stand strong for Him. And each time I respond with obedience makes the next time that much easier.

So what's your experience been with taking action for God that's outside of your comfort zone? What encouragement did you draw from Gideon in Judges 6:25-35? Tami

Mighty?

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Today's reading: Judges 6:11-24 

God's ways are not our ways was the message that came across to me from Judges 6:11-24. Here's Gideon in hiding, beating out wheat for food when the angel of the Lord appears and addresses him as "O mighty man of valor" (vs. 12), and then tells Gideon in verse 14 "Go in this might of yours and save Israel." Well Gideon isn't buying that he's "mighty" and he's not convinced he's going to be able to save Israel. But the Lord knows otherwise. Verse 16 tells us "And the Lord said to him 'But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man." I love it!

So what does this passage show us about God? What do Gideon's actions and words reveal about our "human" thinking? Tami

God of My Life

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:6-11 

Even in the worst circumstances, God hasn't forgotten us. He hasn't abandoned us. Quite the contrary. Did you notice the words of verse 8? "By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life." I love that verse and particularly how the psalmist recognizes the personal nature of his relationship with God when he says "God of my life." And really, you see that throughout Psalm 42 with the way the psalmist tells God exactly what's on his heart.

What does God being "the God of my life" mean for you? Are you approaching and talking with God like the psalmist? Tami

Vital Need

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:1-6 

Imagine this: it's a scorching hot summer day (sounds nice right about now!) and you're outside doing yard work or sitting at a baseball game, maybe you're playing a round of golf. You haven't had anything to drink and you're getting thirsty. Now at first it's not so bad, but the longer you go without something to drink, the stronger your desire and need for it grows and eventually getting a drink becomes vital and urgent.

When I read Psalm 42:1-2 where the psalmist talks about longing and thirsting for God, what I asked you to imagine above is the image that comes to my mind. This is particularly powerful for me because I've had heat stroke a couple of times when I didn't take in enough water. It wasn't a pleasant experience and the same thing is true when our relationship with God becomes distant.

So here are a couple of things to consider. Does Psalm 42:1-2 describe your relationship with God? And, what does your soul panting after, and thirsting for, God look like (or what do you want it to look like)? Tami

No Back Burners

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Today's reading: Judges 6:1-10 

After Barak, Deborah and Jael defeat the Canaanite army, there are forty years of rest for Israel. But then, we see these familiar words as we move into Judges 6. "The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." That indicates to me that after the Israelites were free from the oppression of king Jabin they, once again, began putting God on the back burner. As a result, God "gives them into the hand of Midian" (vs. 1), and what's described is pretty awful. When the people cry out to God for help, God sends a prophet to remind the Israelites that He is their God and they shouldn't fear the gods of the Amorites, concluding with these stark words, "But you have not obeyed my voice" (vs. 10).

God should be front and center for us at all times--good, bad and in between--yet that doesn't always happen. Why is that? Why are we prone to take our eyes off God when things seem good? What are you doing to keep your focus on God? Tami

Worship Song

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Today's reading: Judges 5 

As I first read through the victory song sung by Deborah and Barak, it struck me as a little odd, and visions of movie musicals like The Sound of Music or Oklahoma kept popping into my mind. But then I read through the chapter again focusing on the detailed recounting of the incredible victory that had just taken place. I'm glad I did that because what became wonderfully apparent in this second read through of the chapter was worship--in a way that we don't typically see today.

So take a few minutes today to recall how God has protected and provided for you. Thank Him for it, but then take it further and share what you've experienced with someone else. Proclaim it like Deborah and Barak--with or without the singing part. :) Tami

Today's reading: Judges 4:1-24 

When Barak tells Deborah that he will only go into battle if she goes with him, Deborah's response is "'I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.'" And that God did. However the woman wasn't Deborah, but Jael, the wife Heber the Kenite. Jael persuaded Sisera to hide in her tent, and once he fell asleep, she then quietly approached and forcefully ended Sisera's life by pounding a tent peg through his temple. (Anyone else thinking, Yowser here?)

The morning of this battle Jael had no idea that Sisera would show up at her tent or the impact she would have for God by the end of the day. So what does that show us about living daily for God? What does this story reveal about God using all kinds of people? Tami

Pressed Forward

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Today's reading: Judges 4:1-16 

As much as we might want to point a finger at Barak for being insecure, if we're honest, we've all been there at some point--feeling God's prompting but being afraid to take action. When I look back I can think of plenty of times I didn't stand up for what was right, I didn't speak up in a classroom, I didn't give money to someone in need on a street corner, I didn't offer my time or talent for a church event where I knew help was needed (you get the picture).

Well sometimes it takes a person like Deborah to come along side and nudge, or maybe even shove us, to get us going in the direction God has for us. And then when we do take action, the result is pretty cool--we're encouraged, we experience joy, enthusiasm and excitement, and best of all, we become bolder for God and more willing to step out the next time God puts an opportunity before us.

Is there something that God is calling you to take action on today? What did you learn about following God's direction from Barak and Deborah? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 4:1-16 

Today we're moving on to chapter 4 of Judges where we are introduced to our only female judge, Deborah. This account is rich with information for us to consider and learn from, so I'm going to spend three days on Judges 4. Today, we'll consider Deborah and then we'll move on to Barak and Jael. The scene for the Israelites is a tough one as we begin chapter 4. Deborah is judging Israel and the Israelites are being severely oppressed. Deborah, as judge, calls on Barak to take action, exhorting and encouraging him to do what the Lord has already laid on his heart. Barak, follows Deborah's call and the Israelites totally defeat their oppressors.

So what did you learn from Deborah today? What does this account show us about the value of encouraging others? What does this story show us about not only the value of encouraging others but being willing to step out in boldness to challenge another person to take action? Tami

The Love of God

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Today's reading: Psalm 36:5-12 

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God!" Psalm 36:7

Over and over again throughout the Psalms we see the phrase "steadfast love" referring to God's love for us. Now I understand the word steadfast, but decided to look it up the thesaurus to see some of the other descriptions for this word. Here are a few of the words I saw: unwavering, committed, dedicated, unswerving. Then I went back and read verse 7 a number of times inserting each of these words in place of the word steadfast. It was a fun exercise and helped me expand my thinking about God's amazing love.

How have you experienced God's steadfast love? What did you take in about God's love from Psalm 36? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 32 

David gives us quite a bit of insight on confessing our sin in Psalm 32. His words also revealed a lot about God and our relationship with Him.

So what did Psalm 32 show you about unresolved sin? What are some of the benefits of confessing your sin? What did this passage show you about your relationship with God? 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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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2014 is the previous archive.

April 2014 is the next archive.

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