March 2015 Archives

Ask God

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Today's reading: Joshua 9:1-27

As I was reading Joshua 9 the words in verse 14 below (in bold) seemed to jump off the page at me. Immediately I began thinking of times when I, in my own confidence and strength, moved on something without consulting God. Now sometimes the results were alright, but there have a number of decisions where my failing to slow down and seek God about something that "seemed so good" led me to making a mistake, and some of them BIG mistakes just like Israelites with the Gibeonites. Thankfully God can and does still use our poor choices to accomplish His purposes and to teach us through the difficult circumstance, but how much better all around, if we simply sought God first? I'd like to tell you that I no longer leap before asking God about most everything, but I am still "learning," and thankful that God walks with me even through it all.

"So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them" (vs. 14-15).

Is it your practice to ask God what He would have you do as you are faced with decisions? Are you more apt to seek God with big decisions than small daily ones? What helps you seek God's first? Tami

Spoken

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Today's reading: Joshua 8:30-35

There's something about hearing God's Word that impacts me differently than when I simply read Scripture. I believe part of that is that I'm able to take in pauses, emphasis, inflections and the emotions of the scene and the writer. Those are all things I can miss when I'm just reading the words on the page for myself. That's why I enjoy it when my pastor (or a teacher) reads passages as part of his message, and why I also read Scripture out loud to myself fairly regularly. Both of these things provide me with a richer experience, helping me process better and learn more from the passage. So I resonated with how Joshua gathers the people and speaks every single word of God's commandments to them--young to old, Israelites to those who had joined them along their journey.

Do you read Scripture out loud at your church, in your Bible study group, or in your one-on-one time with God? How does hearing God's Word impact and help you? Tami

Calm and Quieted

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Today's reading: Psalm 131:1-3

David gives us a look at having a right state of mind in Psalm 131. His focus in these three short verses is on his relationship with God, not on material things or circumstances or things that he doesn't understand. David is content and secure knowing that God is by his side. I was moved by this Psalm because I could identify with this state of mind that David is describing. Just looking back over the past year, there have been so many times when circumstances have seemed to be swirling around me and out of control, yet because my focus remained on God, my soul was "calm and quieted." Thank you, God, for holding me in Your hands, and caring about every circumstance and detail of my life!

How does knowing that God is with you at all times impact your thinking and attitude? What helps you maintain a mindset of trust in God so that you can be "calm and quieted"? Tami

I Hope

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Today's reading: Psalm 130:1-8

What a beautiful picture of God's offer of forgiveness and the hope that we have for eternity as a result. And, yes, while there is waiting now (verses 5 and 6), knowing that we are forgiven and redeemed allows us to wait eagerly and with expectation of our incredible heavenly future.

What does hoping in God's Word (vs. 5) and hoping in the Lord (vs. 7) mean to you? How do you explain or describe your hope to someone who doesn't know Christ? What about to a believer who is struggling? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 8:1-29

Quite a different scenario unfolds from Joshua 7 and the Israelites' first disastrous encounter with Ai, and Joshua 8 where the Israelites thoroughly route and destroy the city. So I went back and read chapters 7 and 8 looking for contrasts. Although the main problem was with Achan's coveting and theft, I also noticed that Joshua and the people seemed to be operating more on their own decisions rather than looking to God for His specific instruction on how He wanted them to proceed (Joshua taking the advice of the spies to only send 3000 men, for example). The second time around the outcome is radically different because God is front and center giving instruction in every aspect of the battle.

So what did you learn about having God at the helm from these two chapters? Any other observations on following God's leading from chapter 8? Tami

Only One

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Today's reading: Joshua 7:1-26

The fact that God wants our all came across clearly from Joshua 7. And we can't have a right relationship with Him when our hearts and minds are divided. It's interesting how nothing has changed in thousands of years when it comes to our being enamored with money, possessions and things. They have an incredible pull, but the fact is we can only have and serve one master, and the choice is ours--God or money (or some other thing we've elevated to god status). This was definitely a hard passage all around, but I am thankful for the message that living for God alone must be my foundation, focus and goal.

How do you combat the pull of money, possessions and things? How important is being in God's Word to keeping your heart dedicated to, and focused on, God? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 6:1-27

It's been a while since I've read the account of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, so I enjoyed the read this morning. As I took in the story, I tried to put myself in Joshua's shoes as he received God's instructions on taking the city. And then I imagined being one the Israelites receiving instructions from Joshua to march around the city in absolute silence except for the sound of the ram's horns. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the battle plan they expected. Nonetheless, everyone followed God's instructions and, as promised, the walls of Jericho came crashing down on the seventh day when the Israelites responded to the long blast from the ram's horn with a great and loud shout.

This story really got me thinking about God's control of all things and His plan, and how important it is for me to keep these things in focus so I can fully trust Him. Because when I don't, that's when I start operating on my own strength and coming at difficult situations with my human mindset, which leads me right down a path of stress, worry and frustration.

Did this account get you thinking about God's power, control, and plan? What did is show you about trusting God? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 5:13-15

As Joshua is preparing to take possession of the city of Jericho, he encounters a man who identifies himself as the commander of the Lord's army. This man gives Joshua the same command God gave Moses at the burning bush (see Exodus 3)--to take off his sandals because the ground on which he is standing is holy. I can only imagine the confirmation and encouragement these words provided, letting Joshua know that he was God's chosen leader and that God was with the Israelites and would guide and protect them as they pressed into the promised land and took action against Jericho.

This passage prompted me to think about how God has provided confirmation and encouragement to me many times in the past through people or an event or circumstance or through a particular Bible passage that He directs me to. And it also got me thinking about the importance of receiving encouragement from other believers and how, in turn, I should be looking to encourage others.

How has God provided confirmation to you in the past? In what ways does receiving encouragement from a fellow believer impact your serving and living for God? Tami

Provider God

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Today's reading: Joshua 5:10-12

I saw a clear picture of provision as I read these three transition verses that give us a glimpse at the Israelites after crossing the Jordan but before taking the city of Jericho. They celebrated the Passover, looking back and remembering how God had delivered them out of captivity in Egypt, and they began eating from the land instead of eating manna God had been providing in the desert.

How often do you think about and recognize God when it comes to the details of your life? Do you see His hand when you receive help from a neighbor or friend? When you get a special price on something you need to purchase? When you leave the house late only to discover later that your delay kept you out of an accident zone? Take a few minutes and think about how God has provided for you over the past weeks and years. Then, tell Him thank you. Tami

Hard But Alright

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Today's reading: Psalm 129:1-8

Although the words of Psalm 129 provided a picture of hardship and suffering in this world, I was drawn to the proclamation of God's righteousness and recognition of His control we see through verses 4-6. God is good and will sustain when our earthly circumstances are less than pleasant.

How has God sustained you through difficult times? Maybe you're in the middle of tough circumstances right now. What encouragement does this Psalm provide? Tami

It Is Well

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Today's reading: Psalm 128:1-6

There's nothing better than when my eyes are fully on God and I'm walking in His ways. That's when I experience God's blessing through having peace, joy, contentment, rest and a sense of completeness.

"You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you" (vs. 2).

How have you experienced God's blessing? Any examples of living out verse 2? Tami

Consequences

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Today's reading: Joshua 5:1-9

The fact that there will be consequences for our disobedience was the message that came across to me as I read about God's instructions to Joshua for this new generation of Israelites. The original group of Israelites who were captives in Egypt and freed by God through Moses were disobedient and disrespectful to God, and as a result, they wandered in the Sinai for 40 years (A pretty miserable place, by the way. I've been there and actually got to "wander" through it for an afternoon.), and they lost out on experiencing the joy of seeing or entering the Promised Land. And not only did their sinful attitudes and actions impact their lives, but they also impacted the next generation. So this passage was a good reminder for me of the importance of every choice I make, and especially those that have to do with following God's instruction, direction and leading.

What are some things you do that help you be sensitive and obedient to God's instruction and leading? How often do you talk with God about understanding and following His plan for your life? Tami

Reminders

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Today's reading: Joshua 4:1-24

My husband and I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the past 10-15 years and one of things we always do is purchase something special at each destination. So we have an area in our home that is decorated with all kinds of items from different states and countries reminding us of the experiences we had at each of those places. I often find myself looking at these pieces and recalling all the aspects of those special trips.

I don't really have the same kind of system in place, though, when it comes to my spiritual journey. As I thought about this, I was a little saddened because my relationship and walk with God is so much more important than any earthly travel experiences. And that's exactly what we see in Joshua 4. God tells Joshua to put up a memorial so that the Israelites will remember what He did for them at the Jordan river, and so that the Israelites will pass on the experience of God providing mightily to the generations to come.

Based on this passage, how important is it for us to remember what God has done for us and share it with others? Do you have any spiritual "memorials" (whatever that may be) to help you remember things like God's goodness, faithfulness, your salvation, baptism, baby dedication, etc.? Tami

Expectant

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Today's reading: Joshua 3:1-17

With the return of the two spies and their report, we see Joshua confidently embracing his new role as leader through his immediate actions to send the people across the Jordan to take possession of the land where Jericho is situated. Joshua's confidence in God stood out loudly to me from this passage because before God speaks with Joshua and instructs him on how to proceed, Joshua has already told the Israelites this: "'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you'" (vs. 5). Joshua was fully expecting God to provide and move on behalf of the Israelites. What a display and example of belief and trust in God.

As you navigate through circumstances, is it your expectation that God will provide and "do wonders among you"? When things aren't going the way you planned, what helps you stay focused on and trusting in God? Tami

Our Part

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Today's reading: Joshua 2:1-24

God has a plan and He is in control. But he still expects and wants us to play an active part, which means trusting Him and taking action even though we don't always see or understand the whole picture. God has promised the Israelites the land where Jericho stands, but He didn't simply hand it over or clear the people out who were already living there. Thus we see Joshua sending two spies to check out the area so the Israelites have a sense of what to expect as they enter to take possession of the land. I was encouraged as I took in how God worked in the situation through Rahab and how the two spies recognize that God had guided and protected them and how He is watching over and providing for the Israelites.

"And they said to Joshua, 'Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us'" (Joshua 2:24).

Would you say you are actively participating in the plan God has for your life? How do you see (or have your seen) God guiding and providing for you? Tami

Fine Commander

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Today's reading: Joshua 1:10-18

I was impressed with how Joshua handled his first days as a new leader. As he takes charge of the Israelites, he doesn't waste any time in giving detailed direction and orders to the people to pass over the Jordan to take possession of the land God had promised them. He was authoritative and the men of Israel received him as their leader and responded wonderfully.

What did you learn about responding to God from Joshua's example? What did Joshua show us about leadership in this passage? Tami

Your House

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Today's reading: Psalm 127:1-5

The message that hit me front and center from Psalm 127 was that God and His Word MUST be my foundation. Verse 1 really communicates that well.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain."

Would you say that your "house" (your life, relationships, goals, how you spend your time) is built on God? What do you do to keep your "foundation" strong? Tami

Restored

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Today's reading: Psalm 126:1-6

The message of tears to joy in verses 5 and 6 resonated with me because I've experienced that very thing. There have been so many times over the years where I've found myself in a difficult situation that, at the time, is heavy and miserable, but weeks, months and in a some cases even years later, it's resolved and I can look back and see how God guided and supported me through the situation with the end result being a stronger and more joyful me.

So what about you? Has God restored you from tears to joy in the past? And if you're in the middle of the tears right now, what encouragement can you draw from this passage? Tami

Job Promotion

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Today's reading: Joshua 1:1-9

The opening verse sets the scene for the Book of Joshua. Moses has died and Joshua, Moses' right hand man, is receiving a promotion from God. He is now the new leader of the Israelites, a massive group of men, women and children. I can only imagine how Joshua must have felt taking on such a monumental task. But God didn't simply promote Joshua and then leave him to find his own way. God also provided words of reassurance, encouragement and guidance. He tells Joshua that He will always be with him and then gives the charge for Joshua to be "strong and courageous" and keep his focus on, and living alignment with, God's Law.

Think of a time when you felt overwhelmed or a little scared with a job, task or role that God put before you. How did you respond? Did focusing and meditating on God's Word help you "be strong and courageous"? Tami

Look Back

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Today's reading: 2 Corinthians

Well, we are done with 1 and 2 Corinthians! It was a good couple of months reading through and considering these packed full Books together. So before we move on to another Book, let's take today to look back at the entire Book of 2 Corinthians.

What was the main or primary message that spoke to your heart from this Book? What was your favorite passage or chapter and why? Tami

P.S. Since we've spent the last few months in the New Testament, tomorrow we will move to the Old Testament Book of Joshua. There are many lessons in this Book so I'll plan on meeting with you tomorrow in Chapter 1 of Joshua.

Closing Words

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Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

As Paul closes his letter to the Corinthians, his final instructions are to "Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace..." (vs. 11). What good, practical advice for pretty much every situation.

So how are you (or how can you) aim for peace and restoration in your family and at home? What about at work or school? How about within your church? What does you striving to put these qualities into practice look like? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

Do you ever wonder exactly where you're at spiritually speaking? Is it your practice to look back and consider where you're at and why in your relationship with God, the path you've taken, areas of growth or decline? Assessing ourselves is something that can slip through the cracks pretty easily. But examining our faith, what we value and the path we're heading down is a good practice. It's definitely a help to keep us going in the right direction but it can also serve to encourage us. I love it when, as I look back, I can see the areas in which I have grown spiritually. It gives me a little extra spring in my step and even more motivation to be diligent in pursuing God through His Word.

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (vs.5)

Take a candid look back over the past several months and then the past few years. As you begin, ask God to show you areas of growth and areas where you need to grow. I'd love to hear about it if you're willing to share! Tami

Loving But Firm

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Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 12:11-21

Two things really stood out to me as I read 2 Corinthians 12: 11-21. The first was Paul's absolute love for this young church that he had birthed and was nurturing, and the second was how Paul, even though he is under attack, doesn't come across as indignant or sarcastic. Rather his response is full of care, concern and love, while still holding his ground. So it gave me a couple of things to ponder today.

What does this passage reveal about relationships within the body of Christ? What did you learn from Paul about responding when you're under attack or find yourself in a touchy situation? Tami

Seize and Claim

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Today's reading: Psalm 125:1-5

The first two verses of Psalm 125 are incredibly powerful in that they contain promises that we can and should seize and claim.

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore" (Psalm 125:1-2).

What encouragement and hope do you find in these two verses? What does claiming the promises laid out in this passage mean for you? Tami

Our Help

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Today's reading: Psalm 124:1-8

"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 124:8)

David is recalling how God has been a help to Israel in Psalm 124 and then praising Him for it. How about we follow suit today?

Take a few minutes to look back and recall how God has been your help. Write them down, read back over them, and then thank God for being your helper. Then, would you encourage us by sharing something on your list? Tami

Painfully Strong

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Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Today we come to the well-known and often quoted passage about Paul's thorn in the flesh and how God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. I never tire of taking in this message and am thankful for the reminder it provides that God is in control and that how He operates in and through me doesn't always line up with my desire for smooth sailing. These words from verse 10 captured my thinking this morning: "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Would you say your default response is to be content when you go through hardship? How have you experienced "for when I am weak, then I am strong"? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Reading the list of persecutions that Paul experienced as a result of following and proclaiming Christ gave me a gut check this morning. My "hardships" have never even come close to what Paul endured. And rather than complaining or looking for sympathy (like I often do), Paul talks about his suffering with the intent of further proclaiming and boasting about God.

How often do you respond like Paul when you go through difficult times? What hardship have you experienced or are you experiencing right now that you can use to highlight and boast about God? Tami

Discerning Truth

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Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

False teaching is all around us. Sometimes it's blatant and other times it's subtle. But regardless of how it presents itself and reaches us, any teaching that is inconsistent with God's Word should not be entertained. That's part of the warning we see Paul giving in 2 Corinthians 11.

"But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (vs. 3).

How tuned in are you to the false teaching that is around you? What are some ways it presents itself? How important is being in God's Word to combatting it? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18; Jeremiah 9:23-24

Defending his actions and words that have come under attack from some of the Corinthian believers, Paul plainly sets out that his confidence, his "boasting," has nothing to do with personal recognition or gain, but rather has to do with God, and how He has empowered Paul to proclaim the Gospel message and teach and exhort those who have chosen to follow Christ.

"'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.' For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (vs. 17-18).

We all have experience with personal boasting, but maybe not so much with boasting for God. So what does you "boasting in the Lord" look like? Any examples you care to share from the past couple of weeks? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

There was a time in my life where I only gave because I was "supposed to." So while I was doing what I knew was right, my heart wasn't truly behind my actions. But when I finally made the decision and commitment to consistently spend time in God's Word, things began to change. My relationship with God grew, and as a result my attitude changed from giving grudgingly to wanting to give, and then to looking for opportunities to do more with the funds God had generously given to me. I've come to realize and appreciate that when I give with a willing and cheerful attitude, not only am I helping my church and others, but I benefit as well.

What are some of the benefits you've experienced from being a willing and cheerful giver? Do you have any personal stories about "positive" giving? Tell us. Would you encourage us with your story today? Tami

Looking Up

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Today's reading: Psalm 123:1-4

Although it only has four verses, Psalm 123 delivers a strong message. For me, it provided a recognition of God for who He is--Master and Creator--and reminded me that He, alone, is in control.

What did this passage reveal to you about your relationship with God? What does "lifting up your eyes to God" mean or look like for you? 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 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2015 is the previous archive.

April 2015 is the next archive.

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