August 2015 Archives

Half Way

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 18:1-18

The familiar phrase "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" came to mind as I thought about Joab's defiant actions with Absalom and previous killing of Abner (see 2 Samuel 3). While Joab was loyal to David, he wasn't fully submitted to him or committed to his leadership. That's a problem. He had strong opinions and let his emotions control his actions.

Do you ever let your opinions and emotions control your actions even when you know God is asking you to do something differently? What consequences have you experienced from being partially obedient? Tami

Personal God

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Today's reading: Psalm 23:1-6

Psalm 23 is a cherished and well-known Psalm that is often quoted. It's definitely a Psalm with a comforting message. I can't tell you how many times I've read it, but today the absolutely personal nature of verse 1 touched my heart.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

I love that this verse is directed to each of us individually ("my" shepherd and "I" shall not want), which lets me know that God sees, and is watching over, every detail of my life. Thank you, God!!

What does verse 1 and the Lord being "your" shepherd mean to you? Do you believe that God is interested in you? Tami

Crying to God

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Today's reading: Psalm 22:1-31

The last couple of years my husband and I have been going through some difficult circumstances that don't seem to make a lot of sense to us. Through this time, I have certainly had a number of candid talks with God asking Him to help me understand the "whys" and how He would like me to respond and move forward. So it was comforting to read through Psalm 22 and see David's back and forth conversations with God. In essence David is asking God "Are You here?" and crying out "This is craziness. Where are You?" But then we see David stepping back, taking a breath and gathering his thoughts to say "I know You're still here, God. I know You're faithful and trustworthy, so help me stand strong." I'm grateful for this heartfelt example from David.

Is it your practice to talk openly with God? And if not, what holds you back? What comfort do you draw from David's words in Psalm 22? Tami

Faithfully Working

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 17:1-29

God's faithfulness was the strong message that stood out to me as Absalom's plan to overthrow David as king continues to progress. Looking strictly at the circumstances, it appears that Absalom has the upper hand on David. He has momentum with the people and plans to move in for the kill to secure his position as king of Israel. But God is watching over and protecting David, and He has a different plan.

If you recall, in 2 Samuel 15 when David is weeping and leaving Jerusalem, he prays for God to "turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness" (2 Samuel 15:31). Well that's exactly what God does...although the details of how that takes place were different than what I expected. Instead of irrational counsel coming from Ahithophel, his advice to immediately pursue and attack David was actually good, but Absalom doesn't receive that way. He concludes that Ahithophel's advice isn't sound and chooses to follow the counsel of David's advocate, Hushai, instead. As we'll see, Absalom's decision will ultimately lead to his demise.

So what did you see or learn about God (His faithfulness, care, sovereignty, plan) from this portion of the story between David and Absalom? Has God ever protected, provided for or guided you in a way you didn't expect? Tami

Flying High

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 16:15-23

Absalom is flying high as he returns to Jerusalem. He's reveling in what he believes is sweet revenge, and is he ever full of pride and arrogance. But in this emotional state his thinking is a little cloudy, which will have its consequences down the road.

Think back to a time or situation when you took action based on wanting revenge or because you were bitter. What was the result? What impact do things like pride, revenge, bitterness, arrogance have on our thinking and actions? Tami

Keeping Focus

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 16:1-14

Have you ever noticed how when we're down and out there always seem to be a few people who will gladly add to our misery or try to take advantage of the situation? That's exactly what we see with Shimei (piling on the insults) and Ziba (deceptively helping David and his men to get favorable treatment). But David handles himself well. He's gone through plenty of lows in his life and he's learned and grown from those experiences. So rather than being reactive and responding based on his feelings, David humbly gives the entire situation over to God and continues to push forward through this painful situation.

What helps you put aside distractions and keep your eyes on God when you're going through a difficult time? Is there a particular Scripture (verse, passage, Book) that God has used to comfort you when you're in a low time? Tami

King Leader

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 15:13-37

It's not too difficult to be a leader when things are running smoothly. But when the going gets tough it's a different ball game. Leading in and through a time of crisis reveals a lot about the person in charge--attitudes, values, motives--and that's when good leaders stand out.

David is in the middle of a dire situation running for his life from his son, Absalom. So how does he respond? Like a true king and leader--caring for the people around him, putting others interests before his own, praying and making wise strategic decisions on the fly, and trusting that God is in control of every aspect of this dark situation.

So how do you tend to respond when a crisis arises? What did you learn from David's words and actions that you might put into practice going forward? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 14:21-15:12

The fallout from Amnon's and then Absalom's sin continues to unfold. Absalom is allowed to move back to Jerusalem but when he returns his life is anything but normal. He's living in his hometown but for all intents and purposes, he is ostracized by David and those surrounding him. Absalom wants a restored relationship with his father but it doesn't happen. And even when he forces a meeting with David, the tension between them is not put to rest. Sadly, even though these two men love each other deeply, there is no real effort at reconciliation from either of them. When they finally come face to face there is no recognition of wrongdoing, no seeking of forgiveness, no words of affection exchanged. Absalom returns home still feeling hurt, rejected and unloved, and likely harboring anger toward David for his lack of action with Amnon. In this state, Absalom then allows his feelings to fester into resentment and bitterness and the next thing we see is him turning against David in the worst possible way.

God designed us to be in relationship with others--and especially our family. So when bonds and friendships are damaged or broken we hurt and grieve. And whether we voice it or not, we long for reconciliation. But in order for restoration to take place there has to be communication.

So what hinders us from seeking reconciliation with someone who has hurt us, or with someone we have hurt? What do you see going on in this account with David and Absalom? What are the dangers of not dealing with our anger and hurt feelings? Tami

Personal Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 21:1-13

David is praising God for His power, strength and sovereignty, and in so doing recognizing how God has loved, provided for and watched over him his entire life. To help me get a better understanding and feel for this Psalm I went back to verses 1-7 and as I read through them I included my name wherever David had referred to himself. This made the passage very personal for me. I was especially moved when I thought through verse 7 using my name.

I encourage you to make this Psalm personal as well. Go back and read verses 1-7 including your name where appropriate. I'd love to hear if there was a particular verse or phrase that impacted you, or if something stood out to you about God's power. Tami

I Trust

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Today's reading: Psalm 20:1-9

Psalm 20 is a great reminder of God's power and sovereignty. What a comfort to know that, as believers, we have full access to God and His power by calling on the name of the LORD. The words of verse 7 (which are quoted often) say it well.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (vs. 7).

Are you fully trusting in God today? What's the impact on your life when you "trust in the name of the LORD"? Tami

Broken Relations

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 14:1-24

David's family situation continues down a bad path as we start into 2 Samuel 14. Absalom has fled Jerusalem, and although David loves and misses him, he refuses to make any efforts to reconcile and restore their father-son relationship. The picture is heartbreaking. Joab eventually intervenes which results in Absalom being allowed to return to Jerusalem, but even with this interceding, the relationship between David and Absalom is not restored. There is no interaction, fellowship or association between the two men.

What did you see or learn from this passage about family matters and the importance of restoring relationships, both within and outside of families? Tami

Bad to Worse

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 13:20-39

David's family situation is a mess. Amnon has raped his half sister Tamar, Absalom (Tamar's brother and Amnon's half brother) now hates Amnon and is set on getting revenge for Tamar, and David who is "angry" about Amnon's actions does nothing to address or make right what has taken place and completely disrupted his family. It's not a pretty scene to begin with, and it only gets worse as time goes on.

Once again, there are numerous lessons for us from this passage--parenting, anger, revenge, relationships. The main thing that stood out to from this story was David's lack of action once he learns that Amnon has raped Tamar. Rather than stepping up and dealing with a messy, difficult situation between his children, he chose to ignore it, probably hoping that time would take care of the problem. However, the exact opposite happens. The unresolved situation only serves to grow and fester Absalom's hatred, and ultimately leads him down the path to murder.

Based on this passage and your own experiences, how important is it to address conflict within your family before it escalates? What about in situations at work or at church? Tami

Dangerous Self

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 13:1-22

When I read Scripture, I try to put myself in the shoes of the different characters in a story to help me better understand why they acted or responded in a particular manner. So the account of Amnon and Tamar is always a difficult one for me because it's such a tragic situation. Even so, we can learn many lessons from observing and living through terrible circumstances. And this particular account has quite a few lessons for us to take note of.

Lately I've been writing down lists of the things I notice as I read Scripture passages. Then I go back and spend some time considering each point. Here are some of the things that I noted from 2 Samuel 13:1-22:

  • That it is dangerous to continue to dwell on something that is tempting us. The longer we contemplate a temptation, the more likely we are to give in to it.
  • The people we choose to hang out with will influence our thinking.
  • When we become fixated on us and attaining our wants and desires, sinful thinking and actions are likely to follow.
  • Unchecked sin is progressive.
  • Our sin always involves and hurts other people.

What impacted me most from this account was the danger of harboring and operating with a selfish heart and attitude. Amnon's only concern was what he wanted. And as he continued to fixate on himself, he gave into the temptation to sin which then fanned into an out of control fire ending with the rape and disgraceful discarding of Tamar.

What did God impress on your heart about temptation and giving into sin from this account? Was there a particular point or lesson that impacted you? Tami

Grieving King

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 12:15-31

As David's first son with Bathsheba takes ill, David is heartbroken, distressed and grief-stricken because he has already been told by Nathan that the child is going to die. But after he receives word of his son's death, David's thinking and behavior completely change. Instead of continuing to mourn, David gets up, washes, anoints himself, changes his clothes, worships God and then eats. He recognizes that God is in control, and takes comfort in the fact that he will see his son again in heaven (vs. 23). David then turns his focus back to the tasks at hand, comforting Bathsheba and taking charge of his army.

What did you see or learn about grieving, death and/or God's sovereignty from this passage? Tami

Effective Exchange

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-15

Nathan gets the unpleasant task of confronting David about his sin. He starts off with a metaphor so David will fully understand his actions, and then very directly and candidly talks with David about the wrong he's done and the consequences to follow. It's a thought-provoking exchange that provides us with a good example of both giving and receiving difficult feedback.

What are your thoughts about the value of having godly friends and mentors after taking in this chapter? What did you learn or see from either Nathan or David about giving, receiving and/or responding to corrective feedback? Tami

Perfect

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Today's reading: Psalm 19:1-14

If you've been part of P4 for very long, then you know I'm all about taking in and living out God's Word. That being the case, my attention was absolutely drawn to verses 7-11 where David describes God's Word along with its impact and benefits. I underlined them all in my Bible and then wrote them down as a list to ponder them further.

  • Perfect--reviving the soul (vs.7)
  • Sure--making wise the simple (vs.7)
  • Right--rejoicing the heart (vs.8)
  • Pure--enlightening the eyes (vs.8)
  • True and righteous altogether (vs.9)
  • More desired than fine gold (vs.10)
  • Sweeter than honey (vs. 10)
  • Warned--great reward in keeping God's law

My favorite from this list is: Perfect--reviving the soul, because no matter my circumstance, when I take in God's Word it recharges, refreshes and refuels me.

How do you view God's Word? Do you desire it "more than gold" and find it "sweeter than honey"? What role does God's Word play in your daily life? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 18:1-50

Even though we looked at Psalm 18 last weekend, it is such a packed-full Psalm that I decided to return to it one more time before moving on. One of things I love about Psalm 18 is how it provides us with so many details about God, on a number of different levels.

So this weekend, read through Psalm 18 again, but this time with a specific eye toward what you can learn about God. Before you start reading, ask God to reveal something new to you, and for Him to show you a particular truth or promise to claim going forward.

So what did you discover about God from Psalm 18? What truth or promise stood out to you, and why? Tami

Not Immune

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27

I'm thankful for the realness of the Bible and that God wants us to see and learn from the examples and life situations, both good and bad, of those who lived before us. So while the entire account of David and Bathsheba is disheartening, there is good that comes from this story in that it shows us that no one is exempt from falling into sin of all kinds.

I always find this passage difficult to read because, honestly, it's a little scary to see David, the man after God's heart, giving in to his sinful desires and falling so hard so quickly. I can't read this story and not consider the fact that I'm no different than David--absolutely susceptible to, and capable of, great sin. "Thank you, God, for putting before us this hard but needed cautionary reminder."

The account of David and Bathsheba provides a number of lessons about sin. What did you see or learn about sin from this story? Tami

Hard Lessons

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 10:1-19

While our passage for today continues to show us David's good and kind heart, it was young king Hanun who drew my attention. His foolish thinking and behavior and what came about as a result, puts before us a number of lessons. As I took in the scenario, here are some of the things I considered and noted:

  • Who we choose as friends and advisors is critical. Surrounding ourselves with wise, godly people is a must.
  • When we're unsure about a circumstance, and particularly someone's motivation, it's important that we assess the facts of the situation before responding.
  • Our responses to others shouldn't be demeaning or degrading.
  • It's better to admit we've made a mistake, than get into a fight over our foolish or wrong actions.
  • Fear is powerful, and can cloud and distort our judgment and thinking.

What lesson(s) did God impress on your heart from this account? Tami

Completed Words

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

Words, by themselves, are cheap. It's easy to tell someone we'll lend a helping hand or pray for them. But putting our words into action is a different story. It requires follow through and effort on our part, and many times it just doesn't happen.

That's why one of my favorite parts of David's story is his reaching out to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. Way back in 1 Samuel 20, David and Jonathan promise they will support and uphold each other, and David specifically promises that he will show kindness to Jonathan's family in the future (see 1 Samuel 20:12-17 and 42). Well years have gone by and David is now king, and what does he do? He follows through on the promise he made to his closest friend. And what I love about this account is that David doesn't just show kindness to Mephibosheth. Instead, he goes above and beyond, giving back all of Saul's property (can you imagine how massive this had to be?), putting in place servants to work the land, and declaring that Mephibosheth would always eat at his table.

When we follow through on what we say, what message(s) does that send to those we're dealing with? What about people who are watching? How does being faithful to our commitments benefit us and others? Tami

Not About David

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 8:1-18

As we come into 2 Samuel 8, we get yet another example and lesson from David on what it looks like to be completely dedicated to living for God. David is a warrior set on conquering Israel's enemies and taking possession of their cities and lands, and God is with him. What was so prominent from this chapter was how David's actions and victories weren't about glorifying him--at all. Every action he took was for God and every item he acquired was dedicated to God, even when king Toi sends expensive gifts specifically for David (silver, gold and bronze). And David's dedication to God extended beyond handling material things to those under his rule. As we come to the end of this chapter we're told "David administered justice and equity to all his people" (vs. 15).

How does being dedicated to God impact you in areas like finances, work, family relationships? What does living fully for God look like in your life? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-29

My heart was moved as I took in the beautiful relationship between God and David displayed so candidly in 2 Samuel 7--God blessing David with a covenant to establish David's house and kingdom forever, and David's reverent and humble response (which brought tears to my eyes as I read). I was particularly drawn to David's response to God and read it through several times, stopping at different points along the way to more fully take in David's attitude, words and actions. David is so personal and intimate with God, yet at the same time, still recognizes God for who He is and His greatness. As I closed my Bible, I was thankful for this example of heartfelt, passionate and personal prayer.

"Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears" (vs. 22).

What does your time praying to and talking with God look like? How personal are those conversations? Is recognizing God and His greatness and thanking Him for all He's done a regular part of your prayers? Tami

Loving Thanks

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Today's reading: Psalm 18:1-50

David pours out love and gratitude to God in Psalm 18. But he doesn't just say "I love You." He goes further. I was drawn to the way David remembers and then describes, quite specifically, the way God has protected, provided and responded to him. Thank you, David, for showing us such a meaningful way to spend time with God!

Take a few minutes to recall a time God was your rock and refuge. Write down (like David did here) some of the specifics of that situation and how God provided, answered and sustained you. Then, spend a few minutes in prayer telling God how much you love Him, thanking Him for things you just recalled and wrote out. Tami

Purposeful

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Today's reading: Psalm 17:1-15

As David looks to God and asks for His protection, he declares and reminds God about his right heart and actions. What stood out to me was how David's righteous living didn't just happen. It was the result of David being intentional about living completely for God (vs. 3 and 4, "I have purposed" and "I have avoided").

What does you being "purposeful" about living for God look like for you? Do you start your day with a plan or strategy for right living? How does recalling your right thoughts and actions help you stay the course as you move forward? Tami

Celebrate

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-23

Today we get a vivid picture of celebrating before God from king David and the Israelites. From the information before us, there were songs, stringed instruments, percussion instruments, dancing, as well as offerings and sacrifices made to God. There's no doubt David was passionate about God. This chapter prompted me to ask myself if and how I celebrate God. Sunday morning worship immediately came to mind, but I was stretched to consider how I might be more demonstrative about rejoicing, praising and celebrating outside of that environment.

So what about you? What does celebrating God look like in your life? Could you do more? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 5:17-25

"And David inquired of the Lord" (vs. 19) is something we've seen over and over looking at the life of David. And with David now being king of Israel, nothing changes. Seeking God's direction and then following it is his standard operating procedure regardless of his circumstances. This was a reminder that I needed today. You see, as I turned to this passage this morning, my heart was heavy over some family matters and circumstances that don't seem to make sense. But David's example of constantly turning to God for direction ministered to me greatly, and led to a much needed candid and emotional time of prayer.

How often, and in what circumstances, do you "inquire of the Lord"? Would you say that seeking God's guidance and then following His direction is your standard operating procedure? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-16

I'm a type A, go-getter. So waiting patiently can be difficult for me. Once I'm given an assignment or set my sights on a goal, I'm all in, pushing full forward in an effort to achieve whatever it is that I'm focused on or working toward. So when things don't progress as quickly, or in the manner in which I envision, I'm susceptible to frustration, discouragement and doubt. That's why I'm grateful for getting to see David's journey--in detail--and for the lessons his life story has provided over the past weeks. Many years, mixed with many difficult experiences, transpired before David finally became king over all of Israel. And through it all, he stayed the course spiritually, keeping his eyes on God and trusting His plan and timing.

Think back over what we've read the past few weeks beginning with 1 Samuel 16 where David was anointed by Samuel. What have you learned about God's timing and trusting God from David's journey? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 4:1-12; Proverbs 11:3

While David was grieved over Abner's death, Baanah and Rechab, two of Ish-bosheth's captains (and who would have known Abner well), received the news of Abner's death and then immediately plotted how they could turn the situation to their advantage. With no regard for anyone but themselves, they murder Ish-bosheth and then present his head to David expecting David to reward them (similar to the scenario in 2 Samuel 1 surrounding Saul's death). To their surprise and ultimate dismay, David refuses to entertain what they've done. Instead, he proclaims God's goodness and calls Baanah and Rechab out for what they are--"wicked men" who have taken an innocent life. As I considered this passage, David's devotion to God and his desire to live righteously, once again, came across loud and clear.

What lesson or message did God impress on your heart as you took in and considered this passage? Tami

Blinded by Emotion

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 3:26-39

When someone wrongs us or hurts us badly, we want justice. But sometimes wanting justice takes on a life of its own and turns into a blinding desire for revenge. That's what we see in 2 Samuel 3. Joab and Abishai want Abner's blood for killing their brother. So much so that even though king David joins forces with Abner to solidify his rule over all of Israel, they take matters into their own hands to ambush and kill Abner. What a vivid picture of the negative and harmful things that can happen when we don't keep our anger, grief and emotions in check.

After reading this passage, what did God impress on your heart about grudges, revenge, anger, hatred, etc.? How do we guard against giving in to this powerful temptation? Tami

Important Choices

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Today's reading: Psalm 16:1-11

The Christian life is all about choices. Our first and most important choice is to receive Christ as our Savior. But after that initial life changing decision, we are then faced with the daily, (and really moment by moment) choice to follow and serve God fully. So Psalm 16:5 was a nice reminder for me about the importance of being intentional about starting my day focused on God and His Word, and considering how I can best serve and follow Him that day.

"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot."

Would you say you're intentional about choosing to follow and serve God each day? How would you explain or describe "the Lord being your chosen portion" to another person? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 15:1-5

As David answers the question of who will go to heaven, he provides us with a description of a godly and upright person. He then ends the psalm with the strong and encouraging message that such a person can stand firm in the present knowing that his future is secure.

What encouragement did you draw from Psalm 15? How does focusing on eternity influence you in the here and now? 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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This page is an archive of entries from August 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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