March 2017 Archives

Today's reading: Genesis 26:1-11

Fear is a powerful emotion, and if we allow it to flood our mind and control our thinking, it will quickly pull our focus off of God and lead us down a bad and slippery path.

That's precisely what we see with Isaac when he and Rebekah arrive in Gerar. Despite receiving specific direction from God about traveling to Gerar and being told by God that He was going to watch over and bless him, Isaac panics when some of the men in the country ask about Rebekah. Instead of answering honestly and trusting God to protect and bless him as He had promised, Isaac let's fear get the best of him and he lies--a poor decision on all fronts. First and foremost, it was a sin against God, but his lie was also a sin against the people of Gerar and his precious wife, Rebekah. And as with all lies, this lie continued on and grew because it forced Isaac and Rebekah to live under the pretense of being brother and sister for a good period of time. And lastly, Isaac's lying and then living the lie was an extremely poor witness to Abimelech and his men.

What stood out to you about fear and/or lying from this account, and why? Is it your habit to pray and ask God to calm your fears when you feel scared or something unsettles you? Do you have a specific verse or passage of Scripture that helps you stay focused on God and His goodness when fearful thoughts start to press in? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 25:29-34; Proverbs 13:16

Every time I read Genesis 25:29-34, I end up shaking my head as I think to myself, "Really, Esau, what were you thinking?" But therein lies the problem. Esau wasn't thinking clearly at all. He was physically and emotionally drained after coming in from the field, and he was hungry. Not a good scenario for making important decisions. In fact, research confirms that things like exhaustion, fear, hunger and lack of sleep substantially impact our ability to process things clearly, and in turn, make the best decisions. Esau acted foolishly. He responded impulsively to the physical and emotional stress he was feeling at the moment, and that decision made in a moment of weakness literally changed his future.

Being tired, stressed and hungry are all parts of normal, everyday life. So how do you guard against falling victim to these influencers when you're faced with making decisions (especially big ones)? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 25:1-18

Today's passage advances the storyline of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Unlike most of the previous chapters where we read and learned about specific instances from Abraham's life situations, choices and actions, this chapter really serves as more of a history lesson, as it moves us forward quite a chunk of years. But even though we're not focused on a specific event, there are still plenty of things to be learned from this historical-focused chapter.

Here are a few of the things I took note of as I considered this passage:

  • Abraham was able to overcome his grief after Sarah's death with his marriage to Keturah and having additional children with her.
  • Abraham continued to believe and honor what God had told him about Isaac being God's chosen son.
  • God provided for Ishmael just as He had said.
  • Isaac followed Abraham's example of seeking and following God.
  • The chapter overall highlighted God's timing by showing us how His plan was still progressing over many years.

How do you tend to address historical passages when you're reading your Bible? Do you read through quickly and move on, or do you slow down and look for lessons? What did you notice or learn from this primarily historical passage? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 24:52-67

When I look back over the entire account of Abraham's pursuit of a suitable wife for Isaac and how every detail of the storyline falls smoothly into place, God's planning and provision stand out prominently. What a contrast to when I make even simple plans for something, like a day away with my husband, which inevitably includes varying degrees of deviation from our game plan. Not so with God. He has a master plan which contains gazillions of smaller, subparts progressing at all times. And the amazing thing about it all is how He goes before us to put pieces in place, soften hearts and change minds so that His plans are completed.

As Abraham sends his servant in search of a wife for Isaac, God is already on the move preparing the hearts of Rebekah, Laban and Bethuel to receive Abraham's servant and then accept his proposal. And then when the servant and Rebekah return, we see, once again, how God has softened and prepared the heart of Isaac for Rebekah and Rebekah for Isaac. Only God could accomplish such a smooth and beautiful love story.

How have you observed and/or experienced God working in advance of a situation to bring it to completion? What's one example where God moved on your behalf (changing someone's mind, softening a heart, etc.) to bring about an outcome you would have never expected? What did you learn or notice about God from this account? Tami

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Declaring God

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Today's reading: Genesis 24:29-52

As I continued reading the account of Abraham's servant finding Rebekah as a wife for Isaac, Psalm 145, which we read and considered over the weekend, immediately came to my mind. The predominant message of this psalm is one instructing us to verbally praise God for His greatness and goodness. Psalm 145:6 tells us to speak of God's awesome deeds and greatness; verse 7 talks of "pouring forth the fame of God's abundant goodness," and verse 4 shows us that we should be commending God's works to one another. So Abraham's servant models what we just read.

When he arrives at the home of Laban, Rebekah's brother, the servant boldly proclaims God's greatness and goodness to Laban and his family, and tells them the specific way in which God directed his path and answered his prayers. He even tells Laban and Bethuel about how he worshipped God after meeting Rebekah. This man was an incredible proponent and witness for God.

Is declaring God's goodness and greatness to others something you regularly do? How can you be more intentional about this--at work, at school, with your neighbors, when you're out shopping or filling your car with gas? Will you join me in committing to tell at least one person each day this week about how God has been good to you? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 145:14-20

Woven within the clear message of our need to openly praise God and tell others about His goodness, are several verses (14-20) that lay out benefits of following God and being in a relationship with Him. Life is full of hardships, those we bring on ourselves by the choices we make, and others that aren't caused by us at all. Whatever the case, God is with us--walking alongside, guiding, protecting, calming our fears, extending kindness, holding us in His hands, satisfying our desires. Thank you, God!!

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" (vs. 18).

Are you taking full advantage of God's love and goodness by calling on Him in and through all situations? What encouragement did you draw from verses 14-20 today and why? What's one example of God being near to you from the past week? Tami

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Speaking Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 145:1-21

"My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord..." (Psalm 145:21).

There's no question that God wants and expects our praise, and from what we see throughout Psalm 145 and specifically verse 21, a good portion of our praise should be verbal. That means telling others about God and His goodness, which also doubles as witnessing to others about God's incredible love and the benefits of having a personal relationship with Him.

Would you describe yourself as a verbal praiser of God? What does your praise sound like? In the last week, who has heard you praising God? How has praising and talking about God's goodness allowed you to be a witness to someone around you? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 24:10-28

I was drawn to the example of Abraham's servant as he sets out on his journey to find a wife for Isaac. Immediately upon his arrival to Nahor, he prays and asks God to give him success in his mission for Abraham's sake. Then, his prayer turns quite specific when he asks God to have the "right" woman respond with certain words and in a certain way.

The example of Abraham's servant--his mindset, attitude, approach and response--is one we would do well to follow. He had witnessed God's provision to Abraham for many years, so he doesn't hesitate to lay before God exactly what he needs. His prayer is one I would describe as an expectant prayer because he is fully expecting God to move on behalf of Abraham and in so doing, answer his prayer request. I especially like how specific this man is with God which shows a comfortableness with God and that he trusts Him. And then, when God answers his request, the servant's immediate response is to thank God and worship Him for His faithfulness and steadfast love and provision.

Is it your practice to lay your requests before God each morning? When you pray, how specific are you with your requests? And if you're not consistently talking with God about the intimate details of your life, why is that? Do you respond with thanks and worship to answered prayers? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 24:1-10

After Sarah's death, Abraham sets his sights on finding a suitable wife for Isaac. His plan is to send his servant back to his homeland so that he can secure a wife from among his relatives. My favorite part of this passage is the exchange between Abraham and his servant when the servant suggests that perhaps he won't be able to find a wife who will be willing to return with him to Isaac. Without batting an eye, Abraham confidently declares to his servant that God "will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there" (vs. 7).

Abraham and God had a long and rich history. And through it all God had provided for and protected Abraham and his family in ways Abraham would have never have imagined. So it's no wonder that when it came time for Isaac to take a wife, everything Abraham planned was based on what God had told and promised Abraham. He had complete confidence that God would continue steady by his side.

How does remembering and/or seeing what God has done in your life and the lives of others help you stay the course as you move forward? On a scale of 1-10 how confident/trusting are you in God, and why? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 23:1-20

After giving birth to Isaac and then training, teaching and raising him to manhood, Sarah dies at the ripe old age of 127. Because Abraham is in a foreign country, he must secure land on which to bury Sarah. So he approaches the Hittites to finding a suitable piece of property, and is met with an outpouring of friendship and love by those whom he has lived among for many years. The interaction between Abraham and the Hittites is beautiful, and immediately results in Abraham securing the exact place he had selected for Sarah to be buried. The Hittites respect and admire Abraham for how he has conducted himself in the years he's lived, worked and raised his family in their country. Abraham was truly a living testimony for God, and his upright living was evident to and noticed by the Hittites.

What does being a "living testimony for God" mean for you personally? Do you have a reputation for being upright--doing what's right, helping people, speaking kind words, responding wisely? What does this account reveal about the value of our reputation? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 22:1-24

Genesis 22 contains one of the most significant accounts in the Old Testament. In it, we find the recorded story of God's testing Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his cherished and only son, Isaac. This chapter is rich with lessons and foreshadows God's plan of salvation through Jesus' sacrifice for our sins which would take place hundreds of years later.

There's no doubt that Abraham was a godly man. Even so, God still tested Abraham by asking him to give up the one thing he treasured most--his only son Isaac. I can only imagine the horrific feeling that must have come over Abraham when God instructed him to sacrifice Isaac. My heart aches just by reading this account, and I'm fairly certain Abraham's heart was breaking inside of him. Yet he responded obediently, loading up his donkey the very next morning to do as he was charged. The verse that impacted me most in this chapter was verse 8 where Abraham's response to Isaac's questioning about the whereabouts of the lamb to be sacrificed reveals Abraham's absolute trust in God as being sovereign and having the ultimate and best plan.

What is the one earthly thing that you cherish the most? Is it a person, something you own, your image, your job title, something else? If God asked you to give up that most treasured thing, how do you think you would respond, and why? How does (how has) going through testing, impact (impacted) your spiritual life? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 21:25-34; Proverbs 16:23

Of all the chapters of Genesis dealing with Abraham, the final few verses of Genesis 21 are the most revealing about his people skills, and contain a valuable lesson for us about conflict resolution. In verses 24-35 Abraham confronts king Abimelech about a well Abimelech's servants have wrongfully seized. The exchange that follows demonstrates how wise and skilled Abraham was at relating with others and resolving conflict. Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Abraham controlled his emotions. He was calm and chose a moderate approach when he confronted Abimelech.
  • Abraham didn't beat around the bush. He was direct and got right to the point.
  • He didn't point an accusing finger at Abimelech, but instead presented him with the facts of the wrong doing which allowed Abimelech to respond well.
  • Abraham was thorough in his resolution of the issue. He verbally confirmed in front of all parties that the well was his, a new name was given to the well which served to commemorate the covenant made, and he made sure there was a tangible element and reminder of the covenant by the giving of sheep and oxen and the special setting apart of seven ewes.

Most of us don't like confrontation, and we try to avoid it at almost any cost. But when we put our heads in the sand or try to ignore people problems, nothing is solved and our relationships are weakened and damaged. So the exchange between Abraham and Abimelech is an important one for us to take note of. It's refreshing and puts before us an excellent example of how to deal with conflict in a positive and good way.

How would you explain the benefits of confrontation to someone after reading this passage? What stood out to you about the exchange between Abraham and Abimelech, and why? How will you use or draw on Abraham's example the next time you encounter conflict in one of your relationships? Tami

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Song of Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 144:1-15

Psalm 144 is a beautifully penned song or poem of praise from David to God. David begins his song by praising God for who He is to David--his rock, steadfast love, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield, person in who he takes refuge. Then David moves on to recognize God's authority, control and power using examples from nature. Next we see David calling out and asking God to act on his behalf. And to conclude the song, David's final verses ask God to provide for and bless His children.

So if you wrote a song of praise to God this weekend, what would you say? What are some of the words you'd use to describe who God is to you? What's one phrase you'd use that would recognize His power, authority and control? How, and in what areas, would you ask for God's blessing? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 143:1-12

David had a personal and intimate relationship with God, which is precisely what we see throughout Psalm 143. David is distressed. He's weary. And in this dark and needy state, he pours out his heart to God, looking fully and with confident expectation to Him for his support, provision and direction.

Is it your practice to lay everything out on the table before God when you pray? When you talk candidly and honestly with God, how does it influence your attitude and mindset? How does it impact your relationship with God? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 21:22-24

Abraham wasn't perfect. No one is. But he was dedicated to serving and following God's ways, and that choice was evident by the way he conducted his day-to-day life. It was also evident by the way God blessed Abraham, watching over, protecting and providing abundantly for him and his family and workers.

Abraham stood out. He was different (in a good way) than anyone Abimelech had encountered. He lived openly and boldly for God, and what he displayed was attractive to Abimelech. So much so, that he seeks out Abraham to establish a friendship and secure a covenant business relationship with him.

Would your neighbors, co-workers and family members say of you (like Abimelech did toward Abraham) "God is with you in all that you do"? Do you openly talk about and acknowledge being a follower of Christ/God outside of church and your home? What does this passage reveal about the wisdom of seeking out and surrounding ourselves with godly friends? Tami

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Déjà vu

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Today's reading: Genesis 21:8-21

Yesterday I wrote about God's faithfulness and how important it is for us to look back and remember how God provided and watched over us when we encounter new hardships. Today as I read about Hagar and Ishmael, once again, the importance of remembering stood out to me.

This wasn't the first time Hagar had been exiled to wander in the desert. The first time around, an angel of the Lord came to Hagar to let her know that God had heard her plea for help and to deliver the message that she was going to have a son who would have authority over his kinsman (see Gen. 16:10-12). And Hagar was moved by this encounter, calling "the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing'" (Gen. 16:13). Yet, when Hagar finds herself in a similar situation years later, she doesn't seem to recall God's prior and ongoing provision. Instead, she assumes the worst, expecting that she and Ishmael will die. Genesis 21:17 tells us that God heard Ishmael's cry, and then again appears to Hagar. God immediately provides needed water, and then watches over and provides for Hagar and Ishmael as they live in the wilderness of Paran.

Is it your habit to regularly look back and remember what God has done in your life? Why is this important? Will you join me today in looking back to recall some specific circumstances where God provided and watched over you? Then, let's pray and thank Him for His faithfulness. Tami

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As Promised

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Today's reading: Genesis 21:1-7

It's hard for me to imagine Abraham and Sarah having their first child when they were both so OLD! Which makes me wonder how they must have been feeling as they waited. But God did exactly what He told Abraham and Sarah He would do.

So many lessons stood out to me as I read these first seven verses of Genesis 21, with the strongest message being--GOD IS FAITHFUL!! Verse 1 spells it out clearly through these two phrases: "as he had said" and "as he had promised." God's providing Isaac to this elderly couple is comforting and encouraging to me because it reinforces the faithfulness and trustworthiness of God-past, present and future. "Thank you, God! I am also thankful for the example of Abraham and Sarah and the message and motivation it provides to stay the course regardless of timing and circumstances.

What's one example of how has God been faithful to you? Why is it important to look back and remember what God has done and how He has moved on your behalf? What stood out the most to you from today's passage, and why? Tami

Not "Our Bad"

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Today's reading: Genesis 20:1-18

Even when we're living rightly, there will be times when we're put in a bad situation by a poor or sinful choice of someone around us--in this case, the sinful choice of Abraham.

After following and trusting God through thick and thin for many years, Abraham stumbles. He lets his fear get the best of him when he and Sarah, along with workers, servants and family move to the country of Gerar. When they arrive, rather than leaning on God to guide and protect him Abraham takes matters into his own hands and lies to king Abimelech, telling him that Sarah is his sister. (This is actually the second time Abraham, driven by fear, tells this lie about Sarah. See Genesis 12:10-20.) Abraham's sinful action creates a terrible and morally wrong situation for Sarah, his precious wife, and king Abimelech, who is in the dark about Abraham's and Sarah's true relationship. But thankfully, God intervenes to right the recipe for disaster Abraham has put in place.

What lesson(s) did you see or learn from Genesis 20 about sin? What did this passage (and Genesis 10:10-20) show you about fear? What stood out to you about God from this account? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 10:19 &32

I felt compelled to spend one more day in Proverbs looking at verses that address our words. As I opened my Bible this morning, God directed my eyes to Proverbs 10:19 and 32, two verses that deliver the important message that limiting our words and also being mindful of those words before we speak, is a must.

We've all done it--let our emotions dictate our response causing us to spew out angry words, lying words, hurtful words, curse words. When it happens, it's never good. We hurt those around us, we look foolish and harm our reputation, we damage our witness. Once words are out (verbally, text messages, social media posts) they can never be erased. Thus the wise and instructive words of Proverbs 10:19 and 32.

Is it your practice to think about and guard your words before you speak? What helps you do this? What's one example from your life where you've benefited by holding back and limiting your words? Tami

Eyes Toward God

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Today's reading: Psalm 141:1-10

David's passionate petition to God to keep him from being drawn into sin moved my heart this morning. What an example of loving God and His ways above everything else, and trusting God with all of our circumstances. Thank you, David!

Is it your practice to ask God to help you avoid temptation and stay away from sin? What does David's request in verse 5 reveal about having godly minded friends? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 140:1-13

What do you do when you find yourself in a bad situation? Is your first instinct to call out to God? Or do you tend to rely on your own thinking and strength? I've certainly done both, and I can say with certainty that the best course of action is to ALWAYS look to God first.

David's words in Psalm 140 reveal that he was experiencing extreme adversity. And in the middle of his struggles and distress, what we see is David calling out to God to protect and deliver him from his adversaries and enemies, who are many. Although his circumstances are dire, he knows that God is aware of all that is taking place, and he trusts God with every ugly, painful and tear-producing detail.

What about trusting God did you learn or notice from David's words? How has God been your personal protector in and through difficulty? Tami


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Today's reading: Proverbs 10:20-21

"The tongue of the righteous is choice silver...The lips of the righteous feed many..." (Prov. 10:20-21).

You've probably heard the phrase "Garbage in, garbage out," meaning that if you put inaccurate, faulty information into an equation, the results you'll get out will be flawed and faulty as well. Well the message found in Proverbs 10:20-21 is exactly the opposite. I like to describe it as "Goodness in, goodness out." These two verses let us know that when we're intentional about filling our minds with the truth found in God's Word, when we open our mouths to speak we'll be inclined to speak well, wisely and good. Thus my phrase of "Goodness in, goodness out." And those "good" words are valued by God, and beneficial to our lives and those around us as we speak truth, give guidance and counsel, offer support and encouragement, and talk and teach about God and the importance of living for Him.

Think back over the past week. Have your words demonstrated "Goodness in, goodness out"? Why or why not? What's one example where your lips "fed many"? What motivation do you draw from knowing that God values your good and wise words as "choice silver"? Tami

Tell the Truth

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Today's reading: Proverbs 12:22 & 19

"Honesty is the best policy." That's one of my favorite sayings and something I strive to put into practice each day. Why? Because God specifically tells and shows us in His Word not to lie, and because I've learned over the years that when am honest (even if being honest means being disciplined, feeling uncomfortable or disappointing someone) things always turn out better when I'm truthful. Thank you, God, for the strong words of Proverbs 12:19 and the reminder of just how offensive our telling lies is to You. Help us speak truth in all situations so that we can be Your delight.

"Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight."

In what types of circumstances are you most tempted to lie? How would you explain that lying is never the best option to a child? What are some benefits you've experienced by choosing to tell the truth? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 16:21 &23

Remember the old English proverb "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar"? That's immediately what came to mind when I read "sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness" in Proverbs 16:21. Both proverbs make a lot of sense. Being spoken to with sweetness is much preferred to harsh or bitter words.

Every time we open our mouths to talk, it's our choice to pour out either honey or vinegar. When we choose to use "sweet" words--words that are kind, good, encouraging, positive, authentic, gracious, thoughtful, caring and pleasant--it's attractive. That being the case, "sweet speech" should be a daily objective as we live for God and strive to make being a follower of Christ attractive to those we encounter.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank your "sweetness of speech" this past week? What do you need to do to improve that number? How and with whom will you practice "sweet speech" today? Tami

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Today's reading: Proverbs 12:25; 15:30; 10:11

Today I selected three verses from Proverbs that highlight the importance of speaking words of affirmation and encouragement to others--words that are pleasant, good and meant to build up. Our positive and constructive words have the power to change the downward course of someone's day, or perhaps even their life.

I was at a conference a few weeks back where several young men from juvenile prison each spoke briefly as part of a presentation. One boy's words moved me to tears. He was afraid, embarrassed and could barely look at the audience as he spoke. He told us he had not been a nice person and that his negative outlook and attitude had continued with incarceration. However, he was selected for a program involving a day outing with some disabled children. He explained that he saw a boy struggling to complete a task and how he decided to help him. The next day, one of his teachers thanked him for helping. She called him by name and said "You are really a kind person." Now, that may not sound like much, but to this emotionally wounded young man, that teacher's words were a fountain of life.

Looking at the floor, he told us that this was the first time he realized he didn't have to be bad, and that he actually was a kind person. At that moment he made the decision to change and stop hurting people. WOW!! A few intentional affirming words touched this boy's heart and changed his life forever!

"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life..." (Prov. 10:11)

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad" (Prov. 12:25).

"The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones" (Prov.15:30).

When someone offers you positive and encouraging words, what impact does it have on your attitude, actions, thoughts and words? Who will you speak affirming words to today? Will you be intentional about being a "fountain of life" to someone in need? Tami

A Good Quiet

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Today's reading: Proverbs 29:11

I'm a talker. So it makes sense that I'm drawn to proverbs that address words and speech. Our words are powerful. So this week, we're going to take a short break from Genesis and the story of Abraham and Sarah and look at a variety of verses in Proverbs that have to with what we say and how we say it. Today I selected Proverbs 29:11.

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back."

What a good reminder that when we find ourselves leaning toward an argument, in the middle of an emotional circumstance or dealing with a person who is difficult or sensitive, our best course of action is to keep our words in check.

I've been on both sides of the fence--I've vented fully and I've chosen to stay quiet and hold my tongue. Without a doubt, quietly holding back has proven itself to be the better response.

So what's your experience been with "quietly holding back"? If someone asked you to explain this verse, what would you tell them? What helps you keep your words in check when you feel like venting fully? Tami

Hemmed In

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Today's reading: Psalm 139:1-24

"You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me" (Psalm 139:5).

What does this verse reveal about God's love and care for you? How does knowing that God has you "hemmed in" impact your trust in Him? Tami

Trust God

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Today's reading: Psalm 138:1-8

Psalm 138 is another beautiful and personal psalm of David where he talks openly and intimately with God. Verses 7 and 8 were especially impactful to me as I read this morning. How incredible to know that even though we may be in the middle of a horrific life storm, God will deliver us, and that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for each of us. Thank you, God!

Are you trusting God with the circumstances swirling around in your life today? What encouragement did you draw from verse 8? Tami


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Today's reading: Genesis 19:30-38

As we finish up Genesis 19 (a chapter with accounts I find difficult to read and fully understand), the problem of sin remains front and center. After escaping the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, without consulting God and acting out of fear, moves himself and his two daughters into the wilderness. Life is dismal. And in this state of isolation from civilization, Lot's daughters allow their circumstances to consume their thinking. An already bad situation turns worse when, rather than turning to God for direction and provision, they decide to take matters into their own hands. The sad result is blatant sin by all parties.

As much as we may feel like shaking our heads at Lot and his daughters, we've all experienced the powerful influence of circumstances. Life is hard, but if we're intentional about consistently talking with God through prayer and spending time in His Word, we can stand strong no matter what we encounter.

As you look back over the past week or so, to what extent have your circumstances influenced your actions and thinking? How does spending time with God prepare and equip you for what's taking place in your life and anything you may encounter during the day? Tami

Today's reading: Genesis 19:1-29

This time as I read through Genesis 19, I focused on Lot. Lot was a righteous person who followed God, but he was alone in his conviction. He was one man surrounded by hundreds, or more likely, thousands of God-snubbing, wicked people--not a good situation to be in. It had to be an uncomfortable environment for Lot, yet he continued to live in Sodom with his family. And whether he realized it or not, his decision to reside in Sodom and to daily be a part of that sinful environment, had a desensitizing, unhealthy impact on his thinking. I say that because of Lot's actions and responses throughout chapter 19. As soon as the three men arrive, he's on edge because he knows the people of the city are wicked. When the situation takes a turn for the worse, Lot desperately tries to protect the three angelic guests, even offering his daughters to appease the mob. What?!?! But what reveals the negative impact sin had had on Lot's thinking the most, is how even when he knows that the destruction of Sodom is imminent, "he lingered" so that the angels had to seize him, his wife and two daughters by the hand to remove them from the city.

What does this account show about the danger of sin--choosing to surround ourselves with non-believing friends; hanging out in places and participating in activities that aren't pleasing to God; filling our minds with content (internet, tv programs, music) that we know isn't God-honoring? How is the sin you encounter in your environment each day impacting your thoughts and actions? Tami

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Close with God

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Today's reading: Genesis 18:16-33

The close personal relationship between Abraham and God once again stood out to me as I took in the details and happenings of Genesis 19. After visiting Abraham and Sarah to let them know that His promise of a son was about to happen, God shares with Abraham His intentions of destroying Sodom because of the great sin that had become the norm for the inhabitants of this city. Abraham's heart is heavy after receiving this news from God, and he is distressed about what this news means for Lot and his family and also the people of Sodom. So as the men turn to leave for Sodom, Abraham starts a conversation with God, where he asks God to consider sparing the city for the sake of the upright people who are residing there.

What I find so interesting about this conversation is how Abraham, after receiving a positive response to his initial request, revises his appeal five more times. That's a lot! Yet, God patiently listens and continues to agree to each modified request. I am grateful that God included this exchange with Abraham in the Bible because it reveals so much about the personal and loving nature of God and His desire for us to be in relationship with Him. It also provides a good example of how we can freely talk with God and bring our requests to him.

How would you describe your relationship and interactions with God? Are you comfortable talking openly with God about your needs, wishes and dreams? Do you talk and make requests about concerns you have for things taking place around you and in the lives of other people? How is your relationship with God impacted when you talk openly about life with 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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This page is an archive of entries from March 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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