November 2015 Archives

Confident in God

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 4:18-37

After receiving the miraculous gift of a child and enjoying him for a number of years, the Shunamite woman's son takes ill and dies quite suddenly and unexpectedly. What an awful situation. Yet what we see from this woman in the middle of heartbreak is a display of confidence and faith in God.

Reading this account served as a good reminder that life will bring times of extreme difficulty, including unexpected loss, and that it's during these incredibly hard times when we are given the opportunity for our faith to grow and to display our trust in God to others.

How have you seen your faith grow when you've gone through difficult circumstances? How have you been able to show confidence and trust in God to others through hardship? Tami

Present Help

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Today's reading: Psalm 46:1-11

I love the overarching message of Psalm 46 that we can stand strong and not live in fear because God is in control. But it's the very first verse that I love most of all. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." What comforting words for those times when our circumstances seem to us like they're out of control.

What verse do you love most from Psalm 46, and why? How has God been "a very present help in trouble" to you? Tami

King Jesus

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Today's reading: Psalm 45:1-17

Psalm 45 is a beautiful love song full of imagery depicting Jesus. As I read through and considered these descriptive phrases and words, I was drawn to verses 2, 4 and 6. Verse 2 because of the way it shows us that Jesus is above all men and full of grace; verse 4 because of how it points out that Jesus' cause is one of truth, meekness and righteousness; and verse 6 because of the repeated recognition of the importance of, and Jesus' love for, righteousness.

What stood out to you about Jesus from this Psalm and why? Did you notice or learn anything new from this song? Tami

Extend and Reciprocate

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 4:8-17

The interaction between Elisha and the Shunamite woman puts before us a sweet picture of people being thoughtful and kind hearted as they reach out to help one another--as they are able. The Shunamite woman was wealthy and as such, able to offer lodging and food to Elisha as he traveled back and forth by her home. Elisha accepts the offer and, at some point in the future, is moved to reciprocate the help and kindness he has received to this woman. Being a man of God, Elisha's help is miraculous, and results in a barren woman conceiving and giving birth to a precious son.

What are some of the benefits of reaching out to help, assist and support others? Tami

Thankful!

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Today's reading: Psalm 100:1-5

Well today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States so I decided to take a day away from our trek through 2 Kings to focus on being thankful. Psalm 100:1-5 is perfect for that, and lets us know that every day should be a day of thanksgiving for us.

So would you join me in thanking God for Who He is and all that He's provided and done for you today? Tami

Active Assistance

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 4:1-7

Sometimes the best way for us to respond to someone in need is to simply pray. But there are many times when taking action (paired with prayer) is really what a person in distress needs. That's what we see with Elisha and the prophet's widow. Confronted with a plea for help from this desperate widow, Elisha listens to her request and then takes action which helps her get out of debt and provide for her family.

There are people in need all around us. So who in your church, school, workplace, neighborhood or family needs help? In addition to prayer, what action can you take to help a person in need this Thanksgiving and Christmas season? Tami

Unfathomable Ways

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 3:1-27

Upon taking the throne after Ahab's death, Jehoram is immediately thrust into conflict with the king of Moab. Like his father, Jehoram respects Jehoshaphat and reaches out to him for help in fighting against Moab. Jehoshaphat agrees, and he, Jehoram and the king of Edom begin the long trek to engage the king of Moab in battle. The journey is a hard one across dry and desolate land, and at the end of seven days, the three kings and their troops find themselves exhausted and in a bad situation. At this point, they finally seek God's input and direction through Elisha, and God responds in a mighty way. It never ceases to amaze me the incredibly creative and unique ways that God chooses to utilize as He provides for us and moves on our behalf.

What did this account reveal to you about God? What stood out to you the most about God's method of providing victory for Jehoram? Tami

Graduated

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 2:15-25

Elisha moves from being a student into the role of leader and teacher with the departure of Elijah. And what we see is a godly man who is ready and prepared to serve God fully, in large part because of the guidance, direction and teaching he received from his friend and mentor, Elijah.

The relationship between Elijah and Elisha reinforces the importance of aligning ourselves with mature Christians for support and teaching to help us grow spiritually. As I look back over my life, I've had a number of people I consider mentors, but the most impactful spiritual mentor I've had was Dr. Woodrow Kroll. I was privileged to sit under his Bible teaching as the co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over eight years. I didn't fully realize it at the time, but this wise and godly man was teaching me so much about God and His Word. That teaching prepared me to do many of the things that I am doing today, and I am grateful for his mentoring and his friendship. Thank you, Wood!!

Do you have someone you consider a spiritual mentor (or perhaps several people)? Are you mentoring, or open to mentoring, others spiritually? Why is mentoring so important? Tami

Not in My Bow

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Today's reading: Psalm 44:1-26

Psalm 44 is an earnest prayer offered to God during a time of distress and oppression. The Psalmist begins his conversation with God by looking back at what God has done. Next he moves on to tell God how, despite the intense adversity and disgrace that has come upon them, he is committed to following Him. The psalmist then concludes his prayer asking God for deliverance.

I was drawn to the words and message conveyed in verses 4-8. My heart was moved by how in the middle of intense distress, the psalmist remains unmoved, and tells God this, proclaiming his steadfast trust in Him.

"For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me" (vs. 6)

What battles are you going through right now? Have you, are you and/or will you turn your situation over to God and tell Him "I trust in You"? Tami

Lead Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 43:1-5

The appeal of the psalmist to "Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!" (vs. 3) is a good and wise request to put before God whether we're experiencing good times or going through a difficult season like we see here in Psalm 43. These words reflect an attitude of surrender to an all-powerful, all-knowing God who loves us greatly and has us in the palm of His hand whatever our current situation.

Will you join me in putting this request before God today? Tami

Finishing Faithful

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 2:1-14

Elijah was a dedicated servant of God in a time and place when being God's representative wasn't popular, easy or safe. But from the time we're introduced to Elijah (1 Kings 17) until his final breath on earth, the example we see is one of a faithful worker who is bold and zealous for God. Even when he knows that his time on earth is short because God is going to take him to heaven, he doesn't pull back or let up. He continues to fill every moment with serving God. Right up until the moment Elijah is taken away, he is walking and talking with Elisha preparing him to step up and take over for Elijah.

What does Elijah's example show us about serving God well, regardless of our age or stage in life? Would you say that you are making the most of the days God has given you? Are there changes you can make or some things you can you do to serve God even more? Tami

Faithful Pursuit

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 1:1-18; 1 Kings 22:51-53

After Ahab's death, his son Ahaziah becomes king of Israel. Ahaziah models the ungodly and disobedient mindset and actions of his father, and even has a similar "fire from heaven" experience with Elijah. Like his father, Ahaziah's example puts before us a picture of defiance toward God and His ways. Ahaziah wanted nothing to do with God, yet God still reached out to him through Elijah. What an amazing picture of a faithful, loving God who pursues us even when we've turned our backs on Him.

In my 20s and 30s I went through a period where I decided to live for me and my goals rather than live fully for God. But during this self-centered time of living, God never abandoned me. In fact, I could absolutely feel Him pursuing me. This went on for a good number of years until God brought some difficult circumstances into my life that got my attention and turned me back to Him. It was a painful time, but as I write today I can say wholeheartedly Thank you, God, for your faithfulness to me.

How would you describe the state or condition of your relationship with God right now? What does knowing that God will never stop loving or pursuing you show you about God? How does it make you feel? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 12-22

Today we're looking back and considering the lessons we learned from the second half of 1 Kings, chapters 12-22. I decided to focus on Ahab (although I was tempted to focus on Elijah, but held off since we'll see a little more of him in 2 Kings).

As with Solomon, quite a few chapters deal with the rule of king Ahab. Ahab, however, was pretty much the polar opposite of Solomon with regard to his attitude and heart toward God. What stood out to prominently to me was his unwillingness to fully acknowledge and submit to God's ways and leading. Ahab's life portrays a sad but accurate picture of how many people choose to live their lives today. They are aware of and believe in God, yet they refuse to fully surrender their lives to Him, and as a result, they experience avoidable difficulties and miss out on much of what God has for them.

What person's life example impacted you the most from 1 Kings? What's one important lesson you learned from this Book? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 1-7; 1 Kings 8-11

Yesterday was our final day of working through the Book of 1 Kings. It had been a while since I'd read through this Book chapter by chapter and I found my time there helpful. So before moving on to 2 Kings, we're going to take the next couple of days to look back and consider some of the lessons found in 1 Kings.

Since the first 11 chapters deal with Solomon, that's where I'm focusing my review today. Solomon's life is a unique one from which we can draw many lessons. It provides us with a wonderful picture of God-focused living as well as many examples of exercising godly wisdom. But it wasn't Solomon's wisdom that impacted me the most. It was actually the fact that even though Solomon was the wisest man on earth and had a clear understanding of God and His sovereignty, he still chose to turn away from God and follow his own desires. This portion of Solomon's story is sobering, but I am thankful for the reminder it provides that no one is immune from sin, and how as a result, it is absolutely critical that we remain diligent about growing and nurturing our relationship with God.

What was the most impactful or important lesson you learned from Solomon's life example? Tami

Swayed

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Today's reading: I Kings 22:29-53

Despite the clear message of defeat and death delivered by Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat push forward and attack the Syrians at Ramoth Gilead. Now that isn't particularly surprising coming from Ahab with his history and track record. But it is surprising coming from Jehoshaphat, whom we're told was a king that followed God and did what was right in His eyes. Getting involved with Ahab, and later Ahaziah, were clearly poor choices on his part.

What does Jehoshaphat's example reveal about the influence and pull that relationships, peer pressure and things like power and wealth can have on our judgment and actions? Tami

Thirsty

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:1-11

In the first two verses of Psalm 42 David puts before us wording that triggers a visual image, a deer panting for fresh water, and a common experience, our being thirsty, to describe what us fully living for God should look like.

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:1-2)

Would you say that you are thirsty for God? What does your soul panting or thirsting for God look like? Tami

Helpful Talks

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Today's reading: Psalm 41:1-13

When we find ourselves under attack from others--people spreading lies about our character, doing things to harm us financially, hindering our moving forward or succeeding in a particular area--it hurts. David was no stranger to being treated poorly by others. I am thankful for the example he puts before us in Psalm 41 of candidly talking with God about the hurt and pain he is experiencing, and was drawn to the way he ends his prayer with the self-reminder of God's love, faithfulness and provision.

"By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever" (vs. 11-12).

Is it your practice to talk with God about your struggles, pains and hurts? What impact does talking openly and honestly with God have on your thinking, attitude and actions? Tami

Under Pressure

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 22:13-28

At the insistence of Jehoshaphat, Ahab reluctantly sends for Micaiah to give him word about whether to go to battle against Syria. Micaiah's reputation of speaking God's truth even if it goes against the king, proceeds him. So when Ahab's messenger reaches Micaiah, he immediately pressures Micaiah about what his response to Ahab should be. Micaiah will have none of it. "But Micaiah said, 'As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak'" (vs. 14). And Micaiah does just that. He tells Ahab , in front of the prophets and others, that Ahab is going to lose the battle as well as his life. The message isn't received well, but Micaiah doesn't waiver, and continues to proclaim what God has shown him even as Ahab has him taken away to be thrown into prison.

Do you find it difficult to stand firm for God and what you believe at work, school, in your neighborhood, with your family? What helps you be bold for God when you encounter "less than friendly to God" situations? Tami

Sliding Backwards

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 22:1-12

After Ahab repents before God, Israel enters a three year period where there is no conflict or war with surrounding nations. But at some point during this peaceful time, Ahab becomes discontent and irritated that Syria still controls Ramoth-gilead. So much so that he wants to go to war to regain it. Now seeing that Ahab had recognized God and repented to Him, you'd think that he would want to seek God's direction about going to war. But that's not what we see. In fact, Ahab wouldn't have sought God at all if it hadn't been for Jehoshaphat (the king of Judah who followed God) insisting that God be consulted.

The phrase "old habits die hard" came to my mind as I took in and tried to imagine this scenario. While Ahab had repented of his sinful ways three years earlier, there is no evidence that he did anything to grow or nurture his relationship with God after that point. As a result, we see a turning back to old ways of self-focused thinking and behavior.

Is getting to know God better and cultivating your relationship with Him a priority for you? Why is this important? Tami

Influenced

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 21:17-29

God is angry with Ahab's continued sinful ways, and sends Elijah to confront Ahab about Naboth's murder and the subsequent taking of his property. But Ahab didn't act alone. 1 Kings 21:25 tells us that Jezebel "incited" Ahab to do wrong, and that's exactly what we've observed the past week or so as we've spent time in 1 Kings. Jezebel was a strong-willed and influential accomplice, who reinforced and magnified Ahab's sinful thinking and actions by her support, urging and help.

What do Ahab and Jezebel show us about the importance of aligning ourselves with godly minded people? Who are the people in your life that influence your thinking and actions? Are you being a positive influence to those around you? Tami

Consumed

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 21: 1-16

For the last week or so, we've spent a good amount of time on passages dealing with king Ahab, and what we repeatedly see is that Ahab is consumed with himself--his position, his happiness, his comfort. Even though he's absolutely aware of God, his continued choice is to elevate himself and his wants above God. And boy, he certainly provides us with an accurate look at selfish thinking and living.

What did you observe from Ahab's example about the negative impact of selfishness? Putting our interests first is a constant temptation. So what helps you keep the right perspective, and yourself in the right position, with God? Tami

Fully Following

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 20:26-43

Even though Ahab is absolutely aware of who God is, that He is in control and that it was God who gave Israel victory over Ben-hadad and Syria, Ahab still won't fully acknowledge or submit to God's direction. It's an unfortunate and sad picture, but one that is common. I say that from experience because there were a number of years in my twenties and thirties where I behaved just like Ahab. I was happy to accept God's help and blessing, but I still wanted to do things my way--and I sure did. I'm thankful to say that today my desire is to fully follow God and His direction, but it took going through some hard circumstances for God to get my attention and get me back on track.

How would you describe your view of, and relationship with, God? Are you open and willing to fully follow His direction and prompting? Tami

I Delight

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Today's reading: Psalm 40:1-17

Psalm 40 is rich with lessons and specific examples about living for and serving God. But it was the broader message of verse 8 that spoke to my heart today.

"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8, ESV).

One of the things I love to do is tell God that it's my desire to follow Him and do His will. Starting each day with this prayer gets my thinking focused on serving God and provides direction.

Active Listener

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Today's reading: Psalm 40:1-3

The Bible is full of verses, passages and examples where we're either told or we see that God hears our cries, requests and prayers. Psalm 40:1 which states, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry" would be one example of this. Now I've always thought of God as being a listener and hearing my prayers, but today the word "inclined" seemed to jump out at me and gave me a little different perspective of God as a listener.

When we're talking with another person and we're interested in them and what they are saying, what do we do? We lean in toward the person, right? Well, that's the picture David puts before us in Psalm 40. God isn't just sitting in heaven happening to hear our prayers. He's attentive to us, and actively leaning forward, taking in every single one of our words!

Do you think of God, and approach Him, as an active and involved listener? What impact does knowing that God is actively listening have on your prayers? Tami

Ben-Hadad Round Two

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 20:26-30

King Ben-hadad of Syria is determined to overtake king Ahab and Israel, and is fairly confident that victory will be his the second time around. God, however, has a different plan. It's pretty amazing how Israel's small troops ("The people of Israel encamped before them [the Syrians] like two little flocks of goats..." vs. 27) easily defeat the massive Syrian army with God on their side.

As I thought about this scenario, God's immense love for us came across loud and clear to me. Even though Israel is in a terribly weak spiritual condition, God continues to pursue and reach out to His people, and He does the same for us today. Thank you, God!

What's one thing that stood out to you about God from this passage? How has God shown His love and faithfulness to you when you've found yourself in a spiritual valley or made choices that have resulted in a spiritually weak condition? Tami

Overconfident

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 20:1-25

Today the storyline of 1 Kings turns back to king Ahab who finds himself under attack by Ben-hadad, the king of Syria. While king Ahab is certainly not a likeable character, Ben-hadad is even less so. He's an arrogant, condescending, and disrespectful bully, whose pride and greed blind him from seeing when enough was enough.

What does Ben-hadad's example show us about pride and greed, and the impact self-centered thinking has on our attitude and actions? Tami

Eager to Serve

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21

As we come to the close of 1 Kings 19, we get our first look at Elisha, Elijah's new helper and eventual replacement. Elisha is doing common farm work when Elijah comes upon him and issues the call for Elisha to join with him in ministry. Although it's not specifically stated, Elisha had to have known who Elijah was and be aware of the tension with king Ahab and Jezebel, not to mention the dangerous situation Elijah was currently in. Even so, Elisha immediately responds to Elijah's invitation. He is eager for the opportunity to serve God alongside Elijah.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how eager would you say you are when serving God requires you to change your routine or move out of your comfort zone? Is there a project, assignment or task that God is presently asking you to be involved in as you serve Him? Tami

Talking It Out

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18

After 40 days of traveling, Elijah arrives at Mount Horeb. His emotional condition is a low one. He's discouraged, depressed and despondent, and has intentionally withdrawn and isolated himself from others. But even though Elijah may have felt like he was alone, God never left his side. I was drawn to the gentle, yet firm, way God spoke with, and listened to, Elijah as he poured out his concerns and sorrows to God.

When something happens that gets you discouraged about serving God, how do you respond? Do you talk with God about your struggles, concerns and disappointments? What's one example of how God encouraged you through a difficult time of serving Him? Tami

Fear Factor

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 19:1-8

On the heels of boldly and publically standing strong for God against the prophets of Baal, Elijah receives a death threat from Jezebel, the exceedingly evil wife of king Ahab. The message scares Elijah, and the next thing you know, he is on the run. His response seems odd given what had just taken place on Mount Carmel. But Elijah's reaction shows us how quickly we can stumble and falter in our faith when something unexpected or difficult crops up and we rely on our immediate emotions instead of taking a breath and turning to God.

What does this passage reveal about the influence of fear on our thinking, judgment and actions? What helps you keep your eyes on God when something happens that catches you off guard? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 39:1-13

David's request for God to make him aware of the brevity of life is a good one. I say that because for a lot of years, I didn't give much thought to how long I would live, or more importantly, how I was serving God with the time I had left. At some point, around ten or so years ago, my thinking in this area shifted. For that I am thankful because serving God fully with the amount of time God allots to me is now a priority.

How often do you think about the time you have left on earth and how you are using that time to serve 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 November 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2015 is the previous archive.

December 2015 is the next archive.

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