January 2017 Archives

Acknowledging God

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Today's reading: Proverbs 3:5-8

Proverbs 3 is one of my favorite chapters of Proverbs because of the way the entire chapter lays out and depicts what our relationship with God should look like. Verses 5-8, and particularly verses 5-6, are quoted often as guidelines for having a good and healthy relationship with God. As I took in this stanza, the words "In all your ways acknowledge him" in verse 6 drew my attention. Sadly, the social climate in our country is becoming less and less tolerant of anything to do with God or standing up for godly principles. So the instruction to acknowledge God in all our ways is likely one that will challenge and stretch those who have placed their faith in Christ as we live in and engage with a society that seems determined to turn away from God.

So here are a couple of questions for us to consider. Am I willing to proclaim, like Paul, that "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ" (see Romans 1:16; Philippians 1:20)? Am I willing to take a stand and speak up for what God says is right, even if it brings ridicule or unfair treatment? What does acknowledging God in all your ways mean and look like for your life? Tami

Bind and Write

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Today's reading: Proverbs 3:3-4

One of my daily habits is to ask God to help me live rightly and represent Him well as I go throughout my day. In order for me (and you) to accomplish this request we must hold fast to steadfast love and faithfulness. I like the mental images that Proverbs 3:3 provides as it instructs us to "bind them" to our necks and "write them" on the tablets of our hearts. What an encouragement to know that when we follow this instruction, we "will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man" (vs. 4).

How does spending time with God in His Word help you hold fast to steadfast love and faithfulness? Is asking God to strengthen and empower you to be loving and faithful a regular part of your prayers? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 129:1-8

Psalm 129 speaks of great hardship and suffering being experienced by Israel ("'The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows'" (vs. 3)). Yet in the middle of affliction and adversity, we see the proclamation of God's righteousness paired with a hope-filled calling out to a sovereign, loving and faithful God.

More often than not, our earthly circumstances will bring us face to face with hardship and trials. And when we find ourselves "greatly afflicted" what a comfort to know that God is in control, He is always and forever good and faithful, and that we can confidently place our hope in Him.

How does looking back and remembering how God has provided and protected you in the past, help when you encounter hardship? Is it your practice to have candid conversations with God about your difficult circumstances? Why is this important? Tami

It Is Well

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Today's reading: Psalm 128:1-6

"You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you" (Psalm 128:2).

There's nothing better than when my eyes are fully on God and I'm intentional about taking every step with God so that I am walking in His ways. That's when I experience God's blessing through having peace, joy, contentment, rest and a sense of completeness.

How intentional are you about your walk with God, and why is it important? What's one example of you living out and experiencing Psalm 128:2? Tami

Adam through Noah

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Today's reading: Genesis 1-11

Next week we're going to take a short break from the LONG Book of Genesis and spend a week or two in Proverbs before turning back to Genesis where we'll pick up with the account of Abram and Sarai.

We've spent the last two weeks taking in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, starting with God creating the world and concluding with the account of the tower of Babel. As I've read these accounts, God has highlighted and impressed on my heart a number of lessons. For me, the most significant take away from these chapters was the needed reminder about the sinful nature of mankind and how quickly we fall away from God and into sin when we choose to focus on and live for ourselves. Thank you, God, for loving us so dearly, and for showering us with Your grace and mercy!

What's the most significant message or lesson God impressed on your heart as you read the accounts of Adam and Eve through Noah and his descendants? Why is it important for you to know about and have a good understanding of creation and God's initial relationship and interactions with man? Tami

True Colors

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Today's reading: Genesis 11:1-32

Shortly after Noah, his family and all the living creatures exit the ark, God gives dominion of the earth to Noah and his sons and issues the command to them to multiply and fill the earth (see Genesis 9). But as generations are born and the earth begins to be repopulated, once again, man chooses to go after his own thoughts and desires instead of looking to and following after God. So rather than dispersing to fill the earth that God had so freely given them, Noah's descendants band together, elevating themselves with the purpose of acting in direct opposition to God. "'Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth'" (Genesis 11:4). As He had done in the past (with Adam and Eve and then in Noah's day), God intervenes, upholding His promise to refrain from flooding the earth as a consequence for sin.

What does this account show us about human nature? What does it reveal about our need for God and the consequences of our turning away from Him? What's one thing you learned or noticed about God from this passage? Tami

Promise Fulfilled

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Today's reading: Genesis 10:1-32

Genesis 10 is another chapter dedicated to genealogy. And while it may not be the most exciting read, it's important because of the family lineage it records, and because it provides confirmation that God did, in fact, populate the earth through Noah and his sons as set out in Genesis 9:1 ("Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.") and Genesis 9:19 ("These were the three sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed."). What a faithful and trustworthy God we serve.

What does Genesis 10 reveal about God's plan and His attention to detail, and why is this important? What promise has God fulfilled for you? Tami

Post Flood

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Today's reading: Genesis 9:18-29

After the subsiding of the flood waters, Noah and his family started their "new normal" lives. Noah chose to become a farmer who grew and harvested grapes.

I observed several lessons from this incident with Noah and the exchange we see between the brothers as well as that between Noah and his sons. The first thing that came to mind as I considered this account was the commandment that God would formally issue to Moses years later, to honor your parents. Ham was disrespectful to Noah while his two older brothers honored him with their actions.

The other lesson I took away from this account has to do with helping others who have given in to temptation. For whatever reason, Noah made the decision to consume the wine he produced from his vineyards in excess, and as a result he lost control of his senses and sinned. His two oldest sons serve as a wonderful example of coming alongside to help someone who has stumbled or who is sinning. Upon hearing about their father's poor choice and condition, they respectfully and lovingly help him get back on his feet, literally and spiritually.

Has anyone ever helped you get back on track? Who do you know (family, neighbors, church friends, co-workers) who are in need of a helping hand, a listening ear, a word of encouragement or direction? Tami

Superior Man

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Today's reading: Genesis 9:1-17

As we saw in the creation account, God once again sets man apart and above all other beings on the earth. After taking in the pleasing worship of Noah, God blesses Noah and his family and expressly tells them that He has placed them above and given them dominion over all things. God then puts in place a new law dealing with murder, and again, shows Noah and his sons the importance of man with the reminder that "'God made man in his own image'" (vs. 6).

What does this passage show you about your value to God? How does knowing that you were made in God's image make you feel? What do these verses reveal about the depth of God's love for you? Tami

Unless...

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Today's reading: Psalm 127:1-5

Psalm 127 makes it absolutely clear that unless we make God and His Word our foundation, our efforts are in vain.

"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's one example of this? 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.

How has God restored you from tears to joy in the past? What encouragement do you draw from this passage, especially if you're in a place of "sowing tears" right now? Tami

Today's reading: Genesis 8:20-22

After many weeks and months cooped up in the ark, Noah, his family and all the living creatures with them are, once again, free to walk about on the dry ground of the earth. I can only imagine the hustle and bustle of activity as everyone and everything made their way out of the ark into the fresh air and sunlight. Noah, of course, was directing it all. And as the leader of the world, he could have allowed the circumstances and his responsibilities to consume him. But that's not what we see. Noah doesn't let the commotion taking place around him pull him away from God in the slightest way. Instead, once Noah's feet hit dry ground, he worships and gives thanks to God.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high), how much focus and importance do you place on worshipping God? How do you worship God? In other words, what does your worship look like? What benefits do you reap when you stop all activity to focus on and worship God? Tami

Today's reading: Genesis 8:1-19

One of the things I love about reading the Bible is the way the various forms of text (poetry, narrative, laws, instruction, prophecy, history) show and reveal God and His character to us. And that's precisely what Genesis 8:1-19 did for me today. Almost from the beginning of the passage I found myself thinking about how wonderful and magnificent God is--His greatness and power, and the fact that He is sovereign over all, yet at the same time, gives attention to detail and provides extraordinary care for all of His creation (Noah and his family as well as every living creature). God's magnificence is so incredible that it's beyond my full comprehension. And when you think about it, isn't that a precisely how it should be when it comes to God?

What did you see or learn about God from Genesis 8:1-19? What are three character qualities of God that stood out to you from this passage? Tami

Trust

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Today's reading: Genesis 7:1-24

After learning of God's decision to "bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven" (Genesis 6:17) and seeing instructions for the building of the ark, in Genesis 7 we are provided with specifics concerning Noah's animal tasks and then given details concerning the actual flood itself. It's a sobering passage, with verses 21-24 being particularly difficult to take in.

As I read through this chapter, I tried to imagine myself in Noah's shoes (or even one of his family members). Emotions had to be running high. Nothing like this had ever been seen or experienced before. And I can only begin to fathom how horrific it had to have been to know about for many months, and then to actually witness, the death of not only those close to you (relatives, neighbors, co-workers) but cities and countries full of men, women and children. By the time I reached the middle of this passage one word-TRUST-was in my mind. And as I continued through the end of the chapter, the importance and impact of trusting God above all else filled every inch of my thinking. I am convinced that without fully trusting God, Noah and his family could not have endured this situation.

When do you find it most difficult to surrender a circumstance to God and trust that He has it under control? Is there a situation that you need to turn over to God today? What does (or would) fully trusting God look like in your life? Tami

Serving Rightly

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Today's reading: Genesis 6:9-22

The account of Noah and the ark is arguably one of the most recognized stories from the Bible. At first glance it's appealing because there are animals, a big boat and a miraculous beautiful rainbow. But when we really stop to think about this story, what's takes place is quite horrific. All but eight people living on the earth were destroyed because of the great wickedness of man.

It's a regular part of my prayers that God would help, guide and empower me to live rightly and blamelessly and that He would use me to accomplish His purposes. And I'm guessing Noah likely prayed something similar thousands of years ago. So as I took in this life-altering account today and considered the tasks and responsibilities God placed on Noah's shoulders, the weightiness of my regular prayer, hit me full force. "Thank you, God, for the reminder of my need to be fully prepared to do whatever tasks you put before me--those I find enjoyable as well as the ones I find difficult."

What's one thing you learned about serving God from Noah's example in Genesis 6:9-22? What is God asking you to do for Him today? Tami

Sin and More Sin

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Today's reading: Genesis 6:1-8

After the passing of thousands of years, chapter 6 of Genesis brings us forward to the generation of Noah. At this point in time, there are hundreds of thousands of people inhabiting the earth, and as the number of people has increased, sin has also flourished and has increased exponentially. Verse 5 is particularly saddening because it goes beyond outward actions to reveal the extremely sinful and dark condition of our hearts when we are not in relationship with God.

What does this passage reveal about our sinful nature and sin in general? How often do you think about the ways your sin impacts your life circumstances and also your relationship with God? What does Genesis 6:1-8 reveal about our desperate need for a Savior? Tami

Claim It!

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Today's reading: Psalm 125:1-5

The first two verses of Psalm 125 contain incredibly powerful promises that we can and should embrace and claim as Christ-followers. How awesome it is to know that we can stand on solid ground and not be moved or shaken regardless of our circumstances or what is taking place around us. Thank you, God!

"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 draw from these verses? Are you claiming the promises in this passage? Is there something (a situation or area of your life) you need to turn over to God today so that you can stand strong with God's strength and not be moved? Tami

Our Help

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Today's reading: Psalm 124:1-8

In Psalm 124 David is looking back and recalling how God has been Israel's helper. He then turns to praising God for what He has done and what He will continue to do.

"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth" (vs. 8).

Why is it important to regularly look back at what God has done for us and thank Him for it? When you've done this, how has it impacted you and your relationship with God? Take a few minutes to look back and recall how God has been your help. Write it down and then thank God for being your helper. Tami

Getting to Noah

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Today's reading: Genesis 5:1-32

Do you ever read something in Scripture and think to yourself "I wonder why God included this in the Bible?" I know I sure have (and still do sometimes) and genealogies (family trees) is one area where I used to ask this question. I didn't particularly like to read through these lists, and would often skim over or skip them altogether. But then one day it hit me that every word God recorded in the Bible is important to God, is meant for me to read and has a purpose. This "aha" moment changed my perspective, and in turn, how I approach genealogies and other portions of Scripture that contain lists, numbers and things such as detailed laws and instructions (like those found in Exodus regarding sacrifices, worship and the tabernacle). That being the case, I now take extra care when I read these types of passages, specifically looking for what I can garner from this information that God has specifically placed in the Bible for me to read and know.

Why do you think God includes genealogies as part of Scripture? In other words, why are they important and what are some of the things we glean from seeing lineages? Why do you think God included the family tree from Adam to Noah at this point in the Bible? What does Genesis 5 reveal about God's timelessness? Tami

Gracious God

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Today's reading: Genesis 4:1-26

Life as they knew it changed drastically for Adam and Eve after sinning against God. But while Adam and Eve changed, God did not. His love for them remained steady and strong. So with God watching over and protecting them, we come to Genesis 4 God where Adam and Eve are living, working the land and starting their family with the gift of their first sons, Cain and Abel.

As Cain and Abel grow, Cain chooses to work the land as a farmer and Abel elects to be a shepherd. All seems well, but the sin that was birthed through Adam and Eve is now actively in the world. We see it in this text through the offering Cain made which was not pleasing to God, Cain's murder of Abel and then Cain's disrespectful and unrepentant attitude after the fact. As with Adam and Eve, God disciplines Cain, but His love remains steady and strong.

What did God's interactions with Cain reveal to you about God--What He desires from us? How He watches over us? His discipline? His steady love for us? Tami

Personal God

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:8-24

Yesterday when we read Genesis 3:8-25 we focused on details and lessons about sin. And while I'm grateful for these lessons, what I appreciate even more about this account is the picture it gives us of God, and what it shows us about the special relationship God has had with mankind from the very beginning of our world.

We don't know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before they chose to disobey God and sin, but it's evident from the text that God interacting and conversing with Adam and Eve and His coming to garden to be with them was customary. When I read the creation account, the sense I get is one of beautiful communion and fellowship between God and Adam and Eve. God didn't create man and then leave us to figure out life on our own. He designed us to be in close relationship with Him as our loving Father, and that's precisely what we see from the beginning of time as we know it.

Do you view God as being "personal" and wanting a close, interactive relationship with you? Do you talk with God each day? Is it your practice to spend time with Him in His Word? Tami

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about God's love for you and having a personal relationship with Him, I invite you to listen to this short talk I gave at a conference. God loves you and is waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him! http://www.servantsoasis.org/meet-jesus/

Hello Sin

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:8-24

Adam and Eve's choice to break the one rule God had put in place for them introduced sin into the world, and in so doing, changed everything for mankind and all of creation.

As I prepared to write my blog this morning, I read through Genesis 3:8-24 several times because this passage is so rich with information and lessons for us. One of the first things that stood out to me was the immediate impact Adam and Eve's choosing to sin had on them--they felt guilty, ashamed and they were afraid. And instead of looking forward to spending time with God (which was their normal habit) they hide from Him when He came to the garden. Then, when God very appropriately questions them about their actions, they choose to play the blame game, rather than admitting they were wrong and then asking for forgiveness.

What did you observe or learn about the influence or impact of sin from this account? Why is it important for us to be aware of our sinful nature and be tuned in to our propensity to sin? What did you learn about the consequences of sin from God's exchange with Adam and Eve? Tami

More Crafty

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:1-7

As I've gotten older (and wiser), I find that I am more tuned in and give more thought to things like temptation, Satan and sin. That being the case, I spent extra time scouring over Satan's interaction with Eve in Genesis 3 looking for lessons that I can use to ward off Satan's attacks and resist sinful temptations when they arise. I read the passage several times, jotting down things I noticed about Satan and the tactics he used with Eve that he will also use to pull me off course. Here are some of the things I noticed.

  • Satan is proactive and engages Eve in conversation.
  • Satan employs a condescending approach which puts Eve on the defensive. His disrespectful tone encourages and invites her to question God.
  • Satan plants seeds of doubt by using half-truths to sway Eve's thinking.
  • Satan fans the flame of Eve's desire to be in control.
  • Satan uses common and good things (food and its beautiful appearance) as a way to approach and then subtly attack Eve.

How often do you think about the tactics Satan uses to pull you off course? Why is this important? Which of Satan's tactics (those you saw in Genesis 3 or others) are you most susceptible to, and why? 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

Glad Heart

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Today's reading: Psalm 122:1-9

The very first verse of Psalm 122 immediately got me thinking of Sundays and going to church.

"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD!'"

It caused me do some reflecting on my attitude about church and how I recognize God and give thanks to Him while I'm there as well as why coming together corporately to worship God is so important.

Does Psalm 122:1 describe how you feel on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings or whenever you're on your way to a church gathering? David talks about giving thanks to the name of the Lord in verse 4. How do you do this? Tami

Valued

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Today's reading: Genesis 2:4-25

After giving us what I'll call the 50,000 foot view of creation in Genesis 1, Genesis 2 then zooms in for an up close and personal look at the creation of mankind--man and woman. Once again I was struck by the special consideration given and also the extraordinary care and treatment God took regarding man. My favorite thing about this account (and something that I need reminding of often) is how it highlights God's love and the incredible value we each have in His eyes.

"[T]hen the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (vs. 7).

What about the creation of mankind stood out to you most from Genesis 2, and why? What does this account reveal about our responsibility to work? What are two or three specific things from this passage that show you how valuable you are to God? Tami

Rest

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Today's reading: Genesis 2:1-3

The opening verses of Genesis 2 hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. These three short verses show us, quite clearly, that God rested after His work week.

When I was growing up, Sunday was truly a day of rest from the work week. Every store was closed (and I do mean every) and after spending the morning in church, Sunday afternoons consisted of spending time with family, taking naps, reading, relaxing--all ways of taking a break from typical work. That's certainly not the norm today. We don't see much designated rest time anymore. For the most part, we've become a society that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And when we try to squeeze in some rest, we tend to feel guilty about it. Running 24/7 is not the way God designed us to live.

"So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation" (vs. 3).

What do these verses show us about the importance of a having a designated day of rest? When is the last time you really rested? Why is rest so important--physically, spiritually and emotionally? Tami

Crowning Act

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Today's reading: Genesis 1:26-31

Man was God's crowning act of creation. After speaking into existence nature as we know it and all other living beings, God then caps off His marvelous handiwork with the creation of mankind.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (vs. 27).

I never tire of reading the creation account, and specifically the verses that lay out God's creation of man because of the way these passages reveal the extraordinary love and care God has for us. On the sixth day when God looks over all He has created (nature, living creatures plus man) we see this: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (vs. 31).

What do the final verses of Genesis 1 reveal about how God views us and our value in His eyes? What about God stood out to you the most from this passage, and why? Tami

Creator God

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Today's reading: Genesis 1:1-31

In Genesis 1 we find the account of God creating the world. The account is a precise one, in that it details the order of creation and shows us God's actions and thoughts.

One of my favorite things about the creation account is getting to see God's satisfied and pleased reaction after evaluating the product of His work. At the end of every day when God looks back over what He has created, we see this consistent declaration--that everything which He had created was good.

  • And God saw that the light was good. (vs. 4)
  • And God saw that it [heaven, sea and earth] was good. (vs. 10)
  • And God saw that it [vegetation] was good. (vs. 12)
  • And God saw that it [sun, moon and stars] was good. (vs. 18)
  • And God saw that it [sea creatures and birds] was good. (vs. 21)
  • And God saw that it [livestock and earthly beasts] was good. (vs. 25)

And then, after creating mankind and observing the totality of His creation, we see the final and greatest declaration. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (vs. 31).

What did Genesis 1:1-25 reveal to you about God as Creator of the world? What did you learn or see about God's creation, and specifically mankind? Tami

Diligent Living

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Today's reading: 2 Peter 3:11-18

Peter closes his second letter with a call to diligently wait for the Lord's return and to be found by the Lord living rightly and at peace--not being swayed by false teaching but growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Excellent instructions!

Would you describe your mindset as one of waiting diligently for the Lord's return? What impact does starting each day with the goal of living rightly and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ have on your actions, words and thoughts? What's one example where you intentionally and specifically followed God's Word in the past week? Tami

P.S. Tomorrow we'll be turning to the Book of Genesis. The beginning of the Bible is a great place to read as we start into a new year. I invite you to join me as together, we learn from the creation story and the lives of Adam and Eve and their descendants.

Helper. Keeper.

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Today's reading: Psalm 121:1-8

David beautifully depicts God as our helper in the first four verses of Psalm 121. ("My help comes from the Lord..." (vs. 2)), and then describes God as our keeper in verses 5-8. What a rich picture of how God loves and cares for us.

What does God being your helper and keeper mean to you personally? How would you explain this to someone who doesn't have a relationship with Christ? What stood out most about God from this psalm, and why? 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 January 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2016 is the previous archive.

February 2017 is the next archive.

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