July 2015 Archives

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 3:1-25

Abner provides us with a pretty good example of self-absorbed thinking and living. We've gleaned a little information about him prior to today's passage, but here in 2 Samuel 3 we get an up close and personal look at this man's sinful attitudes and ways. The more I read, the more my feelings of dislike for Abner grew. I jotted down the following things I noticed about Abner: arrogant, bully, powerful and power hungry, people user, disrespectful of others, answers to no one, thinks highly of himself. What a picture of how power and position can spiral out of control when we've made ourselves, and our goals and personal desires, our number one priority rather than living to follow and serve God.

When are you most susceptible to self-centered thinking and acting? How does being in God's Word, praying, having friendships with other believers and being involved in church help you combat the temptation to elevate your interests and wants above all else? Tami

Round Two

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 2:1-32

With Saul no longer in the picture and David being the man God has chosen to be the next king of Israel, you'd expect for David to move into the position of king right away. But that's not how things shake out--at all. In his typical fashion, David seeks God's direction and follows it, and as a result assumes the position of king over the house of Judah. But he doesn't become the king of Israel because the powerful commander of Saul's army, Abner, chooses to continue opposing David, even though he knows that God has chosen David to be king, that David is honorable and that David never sought to harm Saul or remove him from the throne. And so begins another difficult season for David.

Do you find it difficult to wait on God's timing and trust in His plan when thing unfold differently than you anticipated? What does David show us, yet again, about continuing to serve God and move forward with life regardless of our circumstances? Tami

Godly Grieving

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-27

After years of craziness with regard to his relationship with Saul, David receives word that Saul and his sons have been killed in battle. So how does David respond? Well, not like the world would expect. Instead of rejoicing or even showing relief that his days of running are over, the news devastates David. He openly and publically mourns, tearing his clothes, weeping and fasting. He even composes a lament (a poem or perhaps a song) in honor of Saul and Jonathan and their rule over, and protection of, Israel. I was struck by the fact that nowhere in this passage do we see David thinking of himself or pondering when he will move into his rightful place as king.

Were you surprised by David's response to Saul's death? Why or why not? What does this account show us about humility and respecting and valuing the lives of others? Tami

Lessons Learned

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 1-31

We just spent the last month reading through and considering the rich Book of 1 Samuel. I hope you enjoyed the up close and personal look we received of Samuel, Saul and David as much as I did. We definitely got a picture of three very different men who all provided important lessons for us. Yesterday we looked at Saul, so today let's close out 1 Samuel by looking back and recalling what we learned from Samuel and David.

Identify one lesson that stood out to you from the life example of Samuel. What's one lesson you learned from David's life up to this point? Tami

P.S. We're going to continue looking at the life of David. So make sure and join us tomorrow as we start 2 Samuel.

Final Defeat

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 31:1-13

We just spent the last few weeks in 1 Samuel, which gave us a good look at Saul as the first king of Israel. Saul's reign started well but then progressively deteriorated to a poor ending. Although the account is disheartening, there were lessons for us from Saul's life in many areas--leadership, fear, following God, sin in a variety of forms, and relationships--to name a few.

What impacted you most from Saul's story? What lesson(s) did you learn from his examples? Tami

Savior Needed

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Today's reading: Psalm 14:1-7

If I didn't know better, it wouldn't be too difficult to think that David was living in the 21st century when he wrote Psalm 14. What we see pretty much describes the ungodly thinking that is rampant in the world we live in today. It was a good reminder that all around us are people who need a Savior.

So how bold are you about letting the world around you know that there is a God, and that He loves and cares for them? Who do you know that you can introduce to Jesus this week? Tami

Long in Trust

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Today's reading: Psalm 13:1-6

Have you ever asked God "How long?" or "God, do you see what I'm going through?" or told Him "This situation feels like it's killing me. Where are You?" I certainly have and what I've found is that the best way for me to get through difficult times like these is to do exactly what David did here--look back and recall how God has worked wonders in my life and provided for me over and over. This gives me the strength to then say to God "I love You and I trust You, and I will wait for You."

How has God "dealt bountifully" with you in the past? Will you join me in telling God how much you trust Him with your circumstances today? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 30:16-31

David and his men overtake and defeat the Amalekites, rescuing all of the people taken captive and getting back all of the property taken plus additional flocks and herds. The people were ecstatic and openly proclaimed, "This is David's spoil" (vs. 20). But David didn't see it that way. He recognized that everything they had recovered and received was given by God. So when the men who fought with him responded selfishly, wanting to penalize the men who had remained behind, David would have none of it. He declared that all of the spoil was to be shared among those who had kept watch and those who had gone with him to fight. David demonstrated God's love to the people by caring for them and being generous with what God had given.

What has the Lord given you? Are you generous toward others with what you have been given? Tami

Strengthened

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 30:1-15

As David and his men return to their home city of Ziklag, they are met with a shocking and horrific scenario. In their absence, the Amalekites have attacked Ziklag, burning the city and carrying off all the women and families. Distressed, David and his men weep until they are physically unable to shed further tears. But David doesn't remain in this emotional state very long. In the middle of this time of seeming despair, He turns to God for strength and direction. These words came across powerfully to me this morning.

"But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (vs. 6).

How has God strengthened you when you or your family has experienced crisis? How would you explain or describe God being your strength to someone who is observing you go through a difficult situation? Tami

Protected

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 29:1-11

David's situation isn't a good one as we come to 1 Samuel 29. David, the man God has chosen and anointed to be the next king of Israel is aligned with the Philistines and getting ready to go to war against his own nation. Neither king Achish or David think this is a problem, but Achish's men think differently and demand that David not take part in the battle. As I took in this passage, I was struck by God's goodness and how He protected David through the demands of Achish's men to remove him from this situation.

God has done the same for me a number of times. The most memorable time of protection was quite a number of years ago when I was getting ready to start a new job that was going to require me to put in massive hours away from my husband. I knew in my heart that the situation wasn't the best for me, but was blinded by the prestige and large salary that came with the position. Right before I was supposed to start, a complication arose and I could no longer accept the position. I was devastated, but looking back now I can see that God was protecting me and my marriage. As I write this today, I am grateful. Thank you, God!!!

When has God stepped in and protected you? What does this chapter show us about God being a loving Father who watches over us? Tami

Rock Bottom

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 28:1-25

What a sad picture of how distorted our thinking can become when we intentionally turn from God. Saul has continued to follow his own ways and now finds himself facing a strong Philistine army. In his fear, he inquires of God but gets no response, and things go downhill rapidly from there. Saul turns to a medium or necromancer (someone who calls on spirits of the dead) so he can speak with Samuel. The message Samuel provides confirms what Saul already knows in his heart--that God has turned from him and that the kingdom will be David's. Samuel also puts forth that Israel will be defeated and that Saul and his sons will perish in the battle. (Yikes!)

Saul's response to this serious and distressing news is disheartening. Instead of crying out to God and asking for forgiveness, he accepts the news with an attitude of "it is what it is." In my eyes, this was rock bottom for Saul. In the most critical time he still chose not to submit or turn to God.

What does this account reveal about the blinding effect of sin? What did God impress on your heart as you took in this passage? Tami

Worn

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 27:1-12

One of the things I love and find fascinating about the Bible is how it gives us the complete picture of real life--successes, mistakes, complete failures, plateaus, joy, pain, sin, obedience. So we get to see chapters like 1 Samuel 27 where David is in a low time and makes some poor choices. He's weary and discouraged from his prolonged running from Saul, and in this state, takes his focus off of God and His promises. Doubt creeps in and influences his thinking and actions. The next thing you know, David, drawing on his own strength and following his faulty emotions, seeks refuge with, and then lives among, the Philistines.

How has going through a long period of trial or difficulty impacted your patience and faith? What sorts of things help you keep your eyes on God when you start feeling worn, weary and discouraged? Tami

Pure Words

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Today's reading: Psalm 12:1-8

Psalm 12 puts before us a picture of God's people crying for help because they are submerged in a world where ungodly thinking and behavior is prevalent and the norm. But then, right in the middle of these dark verses, we see this bold message of hope.

"The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever" (vs.6-7).

What does this Psalm reveal about God and His Word? What's your response to verses 6 and 7? Tami

Watching

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Today's reading: Psalm 11:1-7

Sometimes the wrongs taking place around us or happening to us just don't make sense. But Psalm 11 assures us that we can trust in God because He sees it all, He is in control, and He will provide justice in His timing.

Look back over the past few years. What's one way God has protected you? What comfort do you draw from knowing that God is watching and aware of all that's taking place around you and in your life? Tami

High Road

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 26:1-25

Once again, David chooses to take the high road refusing to take Saul's life even though the opportunity presents itself. Instead, David, as he had done before, respectfully confronts Saul about his continued pursuit and wrongful intent toward David. Saul then openly admits that he has sinned and asks David to return, but David doesn't take action based on Saul's words. He continues to leave his situation in God's hands. I love the words we see in verses 23-24 where David points out that he has lived righteously and faithfully and then asks God for protection and deliverance.

How have you experienced God's blessing or rewards for acting rightly and responding in faith? What does living with righteousness and faithfulness look like in your life right now? Tami

David

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 25:1-44

Today is day three and our last day to look at 1 Samuel 25. As we focus in on David, we see something a little different than what we're accustomed to for this chosen man of God. David has been greatly insulted by Nabal, and his immediate response is anger and indignation. So much so that he has gathered together his men and is on his way to repay Nabal for his mistreatment of David with the intent of wiping out his household. Thankfully, his anger didn't blind him to receiving and then listening to Abigail (a woman in a male dominated culture). And, he not only listens to Abigail, he changes his mind about getting revenge on Nabal, and then thanks God for sending Abigail whose words stopped him from killing many innocent people.

What was the most important thing you noticed or learned from David in this passage? What specifically did this passage reveal to you about anger? Tami

Abigail

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 25:1-44

Today our focus is on Abigail who, by the way, is one of my favorite female characters in the Bible. She was quite a woman. As I did for Nabal yesterday, I listed out what this passage said and showed me about Abigail. Here are a few things from my list:

  • Discerning
  • Humble yet bold enough to speak when necessary
  • Trusted and respected by those around her
  • Decisive
  • Good communicator
  • Influencer
  • Recognized God and that David was chosen by Him

While I noticed quite a few things about Abigail, two things really stood out to me--that Abigail was discerning and had discretion (verses 3 and 33), and that she was trusted and respected by the men who served Nabal which, in itself, conveys a great deal.

What impacted you the most from Abigail's example? What does this passage reveal about the importance of having discernment and operating with discretion? Tami

Nabal

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 25:1-44

We're going to spend the next couple of days in 1 Samuel 25 looking at and considering the three main characters--Nabal, Abigail and David--to see what we can learn from them. Today our focus is on Nabal, a not so nice person. As I read this chapter, I wrote down what the passage said about Nabal as well as some things I noticed. For me, it provided a disheartening picture of what a life not being guided by God can look like. Here are few things I noted about Nabal on my list:

  • Rich
  • Stingy
  • Arrogant
  • Rude
  • Uncaring
  • Ungrateful
  • Not respected by others

What does Nabal's example show us about living for self and focusing on things in the here and now? What does this passage reveal about the impact of striving after and loving money? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 24:1-22

David was seemingly presented with the perfect opportunity to become the king of Israel by killing Saul. His men even urged him to take this action. But as soon as he begins to move in this direction, David realizes that harming Saul is not what God had for him. So instead of taking Saul's life, David humbly confronts Saul, and then steps back to wait on the Lord's timing.

I was thankful for David's example because I am currently experiencing holding patterns in a couple of areas in my life and struggling a little with being patient and waiting for God. So the reminder was a good one today. You've got to love it when God provides you with the exact message you need. J

Do you find it difficult to wait for God to respond to or move in a situation? What did you learn about being patient from David today? Tami

Improper Focus

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Today's reading: Psalm 10:1-18

Psalm 10 gives us an in-depth description of ungodly attitudes, thinking and behavior. It's a sad picture and one that we need to be mindful of, because even as a Christ-follower, we are all capable of this type of thinking and behavior when we take our eyes off of God and choose to live for ourselves.

How do you guard against prideful, self-centered thinking? What does this Psalm reveal about our world needing Jesus? Tami

Our Stronghold

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Today's reading: Psalm 9:1-20

There's no doubt about it that part of life is encountering and dealing with trouble. But when we trust in God as our foundation and stronghold, we can absolutely get through difficult times, including praising God in and through it all.

How has God been a stronghold for you in difficult times? Do you praise God by singing to Him and telling others about Him regardless of your circumstances? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 23:15-29

As we close out 1 Samuel chapter 23, we're presented with a picture of contrasts between Saul and his son Jonathan when it comes to their hearts and attitudes. Saul is still self-consumed and obsessed with killing David, while Jonathan's focus is on God and His plan for David as the next king of Israel. What an example Jonathan provides for us. In the middle of the chaos being created by Saul, he breaks away and seeks out David to give him needed spiritual encouragement and support during what was undoubtedly a low and challenging time in David's life.

How important is it to have a "Jonathan" in our lives to walk with, and encourage us, spiritually? To whom, and how, can you be a "Jonathan" this week? Tami

Helping Others

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 23:1-14

Even when his life is in turmoil, David is concerned about the welfare of others. So when he receives word that the city of Keilah is being attacked and raided by the Philistines, his immediate response is to help. And, he absolutely knows that taking this action will likely put him and his men at risk, but with a thumbs-up response from God, he willing and quickly moves into action.

This passage provided a good reminder that one of the best things we can do when we're stressed and struggling is to shift our focus off of ourselves and onto the needs of others. Responding in this manner is biblical (Philippians 2:4) and it has a calming effect on us as well.

What's your experience been when you've reached out to help someone else? How has taking that action impacted you? Is there someone in your neighborhood, at church, at work or at school who could use your help? Let's ask God to direct us to people in need this week. Tami

Me First

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 22:1-23

Saul's obsession with hunting down and killing David climbs to a new level in 1 Samuel 22. What a sad and tragic account. Some of the words that came to mind as I considered Saul's mental state and emotional condition were: fearful, vengeful, abusive, irrational.

But rather than Saul, the person who stood out to me from this passage was Saul's servant, Doeg the Edomite. What a picture he provides of how sinful we can be when our aim is putting ourselves first. Doeg's only concern is Doeg (kind of like Saul, right?). So he uses the information he has and the situation before Saul to his advantage. He is willing to say and do whatever it takes to get Saul's favor and get ahead. The end result is absolutely heart-rending.

What's your experience been when you've allowed your mindset to be "me first"? How do you deal with and overcome this powerful temptation? Tami

Troubled Times

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 21:1-15; Psalm 56:1-13

As we arrive at 1 Samuel 21 we get a picture of David's first days of many running from Saul. He is in distress with no food or weapons, and even goes to the Philistine city of Gath. His situation is pretty awful. Yet through it all, he continues to trust God and look to Him alone. We see this wonderfully in Psalm 56 which David wrote in response to his experience in Gath. I love how verses 8-11 demonstrate how God's peace can be ours in the middle of our chaos.

How do you respond when life seems to spin out of control? Do you believe that God is for you ("This I know, that God is for me." Psalm 56:9)? What's one thing you learned from David in Psalm 56? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 20:1-42

The scenario in 1 Samuel 20 is a sad one. Saul is a loose cannon and obsessed with killing David, David is now truly on the run for his life, and Jonathan and David will never again be able to enjoy face-to-face friend time together. But in the middle of this sad situation, we get the privilege of seeing a beautiful God-centered friendship in action. My heart was moved by the love, care, concern and support each young man had for the other. We would all do well to have such a friendship.

What's one thing you learned or noticed about friendship from Jonathan and David? What can you do this week to grow a friendship you have and maybe even start a new one? Tami

Our God

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Today's reading: Psalm 8:1-9

Psalm 8 is a wonderful declaration of the magnificence, glory and goodness of God. One of the things I love about this Psalm is how David makes it clear, as he starts and ends his song, that this incredible, mighty God is also personal. "Oh Lord, our Lord..." (verses 1 and 9).

What does it mean to you that the God who set the moon and stars in place is "your" God? Tami

Our Shield

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Today's reading: Psalm 7:1-17

David is brokenhearted and crying out to God to be his refuge and shelter in a difficult time. I was drawn to verses 8-11 where David recognizes God as being a righteous judge over all people and then boldly proclaims:

"My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart" (vs. 10).

Do you think of God as your shield (your shelter, refuge, protection)? How would describe having an "upright heart"? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 19:8-24

Jonathan's candid talk with Saul temporarily resolves the situation between Saul and David. But this peaceful time doesn't last long. After David is once again successful against the Philistine army, Saul turns right back to his murderous thinking. The situation is dire with David literally running for his life. But what we see is that God's hand of protection is absolutely over David. Despite Saul knowing exactly where David is and sending troops (including himself) to capture him, God will not allow anyone to touch David. What an incredible display of God's supernatural power.

What does this passage reveal about God? How has 1 Samuel 19 impacted your thinking about God being in control of your situation as well as His protection (past and present) of you? Tami

Speaking Truth

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 19:1-7

Have you ever had to confront someone you're close to about their actions, attitude or words? It's not an easy task. In fact, it can be downright uncomfortable and even a little scary. That being the case, taking care with how we approach the situation and address the other person is critical. Jonathan's actions with Saul provide us with a good example of how to speak truth in a difficult situation.

What's one thing that stood out to you about confronting inappropriate behavior from this passage? How important is it to pray and seek God's direction in these types of situations? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 18:17-30

Saul continues down the dangerous path of jealousy concerning David. Rather than overtly trying to kill David like he did previously with his spear (vs. 11), Saul has now chosen to take a different tactic, a passive-aggressive approach. So we see Saul scheming, planning and putting in place the pieces he thinks are needed for David's demise by the hands of the Philistines. It's a sad scenario that provides us with a vivid display of how sin degrades our thinking and actions when we choose to turn away from God. And making things even worse, our sinful choices don't just impact us, they effect and influence those around us as well.

What do Saul's thoughts and actions show us about the progression of unchecked sin (jealousy)? What impact does Saul's sin have on those around him? 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 July 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2015 is the previous archive.

August 2015 is the next archive.

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