May 2017 Archives

Today's reading: Genesis 44:1-17

Joseph went to some pretty extreme measures to test the waters with his brothers. So much so that I tend to shake my head whenever I read this account. But I have to keep in mind that when Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt, the only thing Joseph knows about them is how they hated him and mistreated him years earlier in his teens. So rather than immediately disclosing his true identity, Joseph is cautious and evaluates his brothers as he determines the best course of action to take--both in revealing his identity and in determining the nature of the relationship he will have with them in the future.

At this point in time approximately 20 years have passed, and a lot can change in that many years as people grow older and encounter various life experiences. So although Joseph's tactics may seem odd and even a bit extreme, his example served as a good reminder that we may need to exercise caution as we work toward re-establishing and restoring certain relationships. And even though it wasn't the case with Joseph, there may be times when the best and safest choice is to not re-engage or re-establish a relationship with someone if they haven't changed their negative behavior(s) and the potential for further harm and hurt remain.

What are one or two benefits of stepping back and taking some extra time when you're considering or working on re-establishing and restoring a broken relationship? What was the most important lesson you noticed or learned from this chapter? Tami

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At Work

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Today's reading: Genesis 43:1-34

As we continue further into Genesis, the plot surrounding Joseph's life thickens. There is a lot going on with all the characters in this storyline--Joseph, Jacob, the brothers. It's a fascinating story, but rather than the story itself, what stood out to me today was how God was working in and through all the complexities of the situation behind the scenes. I was thankful for the reminder that even when our circumstances seem to us to be out of control, scary or senseless, God has it all under control, and His desire is for us to trust Him as we press onward.

What did Genesis 43 show you about God? How do you see God working in and through this situation--with Joseph, Jacob and the brothers? What does that reveal about how God is working in your life? Tami

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Putting Off

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Today's reading: Genesis 42:29-43:15

Procrastination--it happens to all of us at some point or another. Sometimes we're just lazy, but other times, we procrastinate because we're afraid of how a situation might turn out. That's what we see with Jacob when his boys (minus Simeon who's being held in Egypt) return with Joseph's demand that the youngest son be brought to Egypt. Jacob is not happy with what he hears. He doesn't want to comply because he's afraid of losing his youngest son Benjamin, whom Jacob believes is the only living son from his favorite wife, Rebekah. So Jacob puts off the request until the drought and food situation forces his him to take action. You see, Jacob doesn't see or understand that God is orchestrating things for his ultimate good. So in this situation, his procrastination served to prolong a wonderful revelation that Joseph was alive, as well as a precious reuniting of his family.

Do you struggle with procrastination? Is there something that God has placed on your heart to do that you're putting off today? What helps you take action once you know that God is asking you to help someone, step out and try something new, talk with someone, face a challenging situation, etc.? Tami

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Before God

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Today's reading: Psalm 10:1-18

Psalm 10 is a petition by David imploring God not to delay in taking action against evil people, and to rectify trouble-filled situations brought about by them. As part of his plea, David describes the wickedness and sinful acts and thinking of those who aren't following God. The common thread running throughout David's description in verses 2-11 is the attitude or belief that "There is no God" (vs. 4), and that they can do as they please because God doesn't see what they're doing (vs. 11). It's a pretty accurate and sobering depiction of what can happen to anyone when we choose to push God aside and elevate ourselves to the position of being our own god.

What does this psalm reveal about the dangers of choosing to put ourselves and our desires above God? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 9:1-20

In Psalm 9, David is proclaiming God's wonderful deeds--things He has done for David personally, and more comprehensive actions He has taken concerning people and nations. My favorite portion of this psalm is David's confident declaration found in verses 9-10.

"The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you."

Thank you, David, for the reminder of God's faithful protection and provision.

What does God being a "stronghold in times of trouble" mean to you? How have you experienced God being your stronghold? Tami

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Holding Back

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Today's reading: Genesis 42:12-38

Joseph was thrown a curve ball, if you will, by the appearing of his brothers. I can only imagine the flood of emotions he must have been feeling as he looked up and realized that the brothers who had wished for his death, and then attacked and sold him into slavery years earlier are now bowed before him seeking his assistance. It's a perfect scenario for pay back--for Joseph to exact revenge for his unjust treatment. But that's not what we see because Joseph's heart was given to God. That doesn't mean he didn't struggle mightily. He absolutely did, as evidenced by his rough demeanor and odd treatment of his brothers, and then his weeping after hearing them talk of sinning against him. But because God was Joseph's foundation, Joseph was able to push aside the temptation to take revenge against and harm his brothers. Instead, he proceeds cautiously. He holds back, keeping his identity secret as he investigates and learns more about his brothers and family, all in preparation for revealing his identity at a later time.

What did you learn from Joseph about coping with old wounds and dealing with people who have hurt you? What does this chapter reveal about the importance of forgiveness? How did forgiveness impact Joseph's thinking and the actions he took concerning his brothers? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 42:1-11

When Joseph was a teenager, he had two dreams which seemed to indicate that he would rise above and rule over his brothers and family (see Genesis 37). He didn't understand the dreams at the time, but fifteen or so years later when Joseph is governor of Egypt and his brothers are bowing before him seeking to purchase grain for their family, the light bulb goes on for Joseph. Memories of those strange dreams in which his brothers were bowing to him, now make sense and are perfectly clear.

We've all heard the phrase "Hindsight is 20/20." From Joseph's story and my own experiences, that statement has proved true time and again. So often God communicates things to us that we don't understand in the moment--repeatedly impresses a specific thought or idea on our heart, puts someone in our path who delivers a precise message to us, gives us a sign through an event or a dream, repeatedly directs our attention to a particular set of scriptures. At the time, we may question it, do a little soul searching and pray, but we're unable to make sense of it. But then as we continue to move forward (days, weeks or even years later), something happens, and at that moment, and we're able to look back and understand what God was communicating and in the process of doing.

What is God communicating to you that you don't fully understand today? Is it your practice to look for these small validations that He has a good plan for you? Will you trust Him in the interim? Tami

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Unusual Way

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Today's reading: Genesis 41:37-57

Joseph couldn't have imagined, nor would he have chosen, the unusual, painful and lengthy path God used to move him from being his father's favorite son in the land of Canaan to Pharaoh's highest and most favored leader in Egypt.

The life story of Joseph is one of my favorites. Joseph's example gives us lesson after lesson we can draw on and put into action in our own lives--but then, there's what the storyline reveals about God. The thing that stands out most prominently to me is how God's way of doing things is so different from ours. I was reminded, as I took in Genesis 39-41, of God's sovereignty over all things, and the complexity and all--encompassing makeup of His master plan. Yet, at the same time, how God is acutely aware of every minute detail of our lives and orchestrates them to guide and move us, and draw us closer to Him.

More often than not, our limited human thinking prevents us from fully seeing and understanding what God is doing, largely because our focus tends to be on what's happening in our lives and the immediate circumstances taking place around us. But the story of Joseph shows us, time and again, that in all circumstances we can rest assured that God has a perfect master plan, and that He is actively watching over, moving and guiding us for our ultimate good.

How has God worked in an unusual way to move you forward and bring about something good in your life? Are you trusting God in your present circumstances? How has reading Joseph's story impacted your thinking about God and difficult life experiences? Tami

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Glory Giving

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Today's reading: Genesis 40:1-23

One of the things I love about Joseph is his diligence to highlight and give God the glory when he was brought into the spotlight because of the things he was able to do. Joseph was a slave in a foreign country with its own religion and gods. Yet each time he was given the opportunity, he intentionally and specifically highlighted his God. It certainly would have been easier, and much safer, for Joseph to have simply interpreted the dreams of the baker, butcher and Pharaoh and then taken all the glory for himself. The opportunity to promote himself was undoubtedly present, but Joseph kept his eyes on God and didn't entertain the temptation. He honored God by giving Him all the glory, and in so doing, was a witness to those around him.

How often do you think about the fact that God is the author and giver of all of your abilities and talents? Do you publically recognize Him for it? Why is this important? Think back over the past month or so. What's one example where you've given God the glory for something you were able to do? Tami

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What's Right

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Today's reading: Genesis 39:1-40:9

While Joseph was in Potiphar's house, he did what he knew was right--taking care of Potiphar's possessions and business affairs all the way to refusing the invitation of an affair from Potiphar's wife. Yet even though he acted rightly, Joseph gets the raw end of the deal and finds himself unjustly thrown into prison. Now you might expect to see an angry Joseph with a bad attitude once he lands in prison, but not with Joseph. Instead, he continues to trust God and do what he knows is right.

The first few verses of Genesis 40 reveal that Joseph had gotten the attention of the captain of the guard (in a good way), and was assigned to help with Pharaoh's chief cupbearer and baker when they were put under house guard. True to form, Joseph embraces his assignment. When he notices the two men seem unsettled, he immediately asks them what's wrong and then offers to interpret their dreams after verbally recognizing God as the author of their visions.

How does Joseph's example of choosing to do right, regardless of his circumstances, encourage you today? What helps you stay the course and continue doing right things, especially in difficult situations? Tami

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Our God

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Today's reading: Psalm 8:1-9

Psalm 8 is a wonderful declaration of the magnificence, power and glory of God, paired with a description of how God loves us so greatly. One of the things that came across clearly to me through this Psalm is how this mighty God is also personal. "Oh Lord, our Lord..." (verses 1 and 9).

What does it mean to you that the God who set the moon and stars in place is "your" God? How would you explain God being a "personal" God to someone who doesn't yet know Christ? Tami

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Our Shield

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Today's reading: Psalm 7:1-17

David is broken hearted over the unjust attack on his character by his enemies. In this state, he cries out to God, humbly reminding Him of his right heart and living, asking God to give him justice and then declaring how through it all God will be his refuge and shelter.

When someone wrongs us--treats us unfairly, speaks untruthfully about us, physically harms us--we want justice. Our human nature prompts us to strike back in some manner, but God tells us that He is judge and will make all things right in His timing. Thus David's confident and hope--filled words in verse 10.

"My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart."

When you experience unjust treatment, do you turn to God as your shield (shelter, refuge, protection)? Why is this so important? How would describe having an "upright heart"? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 39:1-23; 1 Corinthians 10:13

After working diligently and being elevated to the highest position in Potiphar's house, Joseph finds himself in a difficult and awkward situation with Potiphar's wife who has taken note of his "handsome form and appearance" (vs. 6). Potiphar's wife was apparently accustomed to getting what she wanted, as evidenced by her extremely bold and relentless pursuit of Joseph. But Joseph's response is impressive. After Mrs. Potiphar's initial advance, Joseph immediately rebuffs her proposition, telling her that he cannot sin against God or her husband. Joseph's words go unheeded and the advances continue--daily. Potiphar's wife then ups her pursuit to a physical level, and at this point, Joseph chooses to remove himself from the situation rather than give in to temptation.

Facing temptation, whatever that temptation may be, is part of everyday life. That being the case, Joseph's example is one we'd all do well to follow. Some of things that stood out to me about handling temptation from this account were:

  • Joseph didn't entertain the invitation to sin--at all. Instead, he immediately rejected the offer.
  • Joseph went beyond just saying "no" to voice the reasons for his refusal to Potiphar's wife in an effort to stop further advances. The verbalizing of his decision also served to strengthen his resolve.
  • Joseph made up his mind that he was not going to sin and he stood his ground.
  • When Potiphar"s wife intensified her advances, Joseph intensified his response by physically leaving the premises.

Despite Joseph's removal from his position and being put in prison, doing what he knew was right was the best decision. Yes, it came with hardship, but God was with Joseph and used his time in prison to move him another step closer to his ultimate destination as second in command to Pharaoh.

What did you see or learn about managing temptation through Joseph's example? Is there a particular temptation you're facing today that you need to reject, or a situation from which you need to remove yourself? How does praying and reading Scripture help you resist temptation(s)? Tami

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With Us

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Today's reading: Genesis 39:1-6

Upon his arrival in Egypt, Joseph ends up at the household of Potiphar, a well-to-do officer of Pharaoh. One of the first things we read is that "the LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man" (vs. 2). This is then followed by verses telling us that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his household and all that he had (vs. 5-6).

At the point we turn back to Joseph's story in Genesis 39, his situation has definitely improved. In fact, it sounds pretty amazing. So much so that I tend to forget the horrific things that Joseph just experienced-being violently attacked by his brothers, sold into slavery and then hauled across the countryside as a prisoner away from his father, mother, family and friends. And even though he lands in a good situation when he arrives in Egypt, the transition couldn't have been an easy one. Joseph was by himself in a foreign country. That means a completely different culture with its own social structures, customs, styles and religious practices. The situation would have certainly been overwhelming, and I can only imagine the sense of loss and loneliness Joseph endured.

But then I come back to these all important words in verse 2, "The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man."

How have you experienced God's presence and His watching over you in/through a difficult situation? How did this passage encourage you today? Tami

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Sin and Grace

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Today's reading: Genesis 38:1-30

The account of Judah and Tamar is definitely not one of my favorites as far as the actual story is concerned. But when I look beyond the details and start focusing on God, what takes place through this chapter is quite appealing. Both Judah and Tamar foolishly and sinfully acted in their own self interests. Yet, when Judah repents of his behavior, what we see is God extending grace and then choosing to use Judah and his family in foundational and mighty ways.

How has God extended grace to you when you've chosen to make your own way rather than follow His? What does this account show about God's willingness to use flawed and sinful people for His purposes? What does this account reveal about God's perspective of our past actions, thoughts and behaviors? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 37:1-36; Proverbs 27:4

There's a reason jealousy is referred to as a green-eyed monster, and do we ever get a glimpse of that through the account of the early days between Joseph and his brothers. I have no doubt that family was important to Jacob's sons, but when feelings of jealousy sparked and then grew, rational thinking went right out the window. And with hatred running rampant, the situation turned all too easily to violence against Joseph.

What did you learn or see about jealousy from Genesis 37? Why is allowing jealousy to take root so dangerous? What does this account reveal about the contagious nature of negativity and the powerful influence of group think? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 37:1-4

As wise and good a man as Jacob (Israel) had developed into, he wasn't perfect. Just like you and me, he had his shortcomings and we see one of those shortcomings as we now turn to the storyline of Joseph in Genesis 37.

Israel had sons with several wives, but he didn't love all of his sons to the same degree. Verse 3 tells us that Israel loved Joseph, the son of his favored wife Rebekah, more than his other sons. And his special love and favoritism were evident (making Joseph a special multi-colored robe). As you can imagine, Joseph's preferential treatment didn't sit well with his brothers. In fact, it caused them to hate him.

What do these few verses reveal about the dangers of playing favorites--as a parent, teacher, leader, boss? How do you deal with, and what helps you control, feelings of anger and/or jealousy when you aren't treated the same as someone else? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 6:1-10

David is in a difficult place physically and emotionally. He's tired and weary, and in this state he humbly asks God for relief. Yet even though his circumstances seem dire, David doesn't lose heart in God. Instead, he is expectant for God to move on his behalf and confidently closes his prayer by proclaiming that the Lord has heard and accepted his prayer and that He would take action.

How does praying candidly to God influence your thinking, attitude and actions? Do you pray expectant prayers? In other words, do you believe that God hears your prayers and pray with the expectation that He will answer them? Why is this important? Tami

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Lead Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 5:1-12

David is what I like to call a prayer warrior. His example of constantly engaging with God through prayer is one we can definitely learn from. In this particular example, David's request in verse 8 drew my attention. It's a wise petition and one that regularly appears in David's conversations with God.

"Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me" (vs. 8).

Is asking God to lead you in doing right a regular part of your prayers? Why is this important? Tami

A Better You

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Today's reading: Proverbs 27:17

God created us as relational beings. That means we are designed and wired to be in relationship with others. One of the beautiful things about this is described in Proverbs 27:17.

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

As I look back over my life, I can identify a number of "sharpening" relationships. In other words, relationships where someone pushed me take that extra step in order to do my best, stimulated and challenged me to think outside the box, encouraged me to be diligent and to stay the course, taught me what was right or how to respond properly through their example. To some degree all of our relationships are sharpening. But there will be a few relationships that are extra special in that they that go above and beyond, and in so doing, move us closer to reaching our God-given and fullest potential.

How have you experienced or observed "sharpening" by another person? Who has been a significant "sharpening agent" in your life, and how have you grown as a result? What does this proverb reveal about relationships, and our need for friendships with good and godly-minded people? Tami

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Today's reading: Proverbs 17:1 and 14; 2 Timothy 2:24-25

Disagreements, conflict and tension are bound to happen when people come together with other people. It's just part of relationships. But while conflict is part of life (and can be a necessary and good thing in certain circumstances) our relationships shouldn't be dominated by strife (discord, fighting, friction, rivalry). Our relationships, and in turn, our lives will be at their best when we're striving for unity with a mindset of love and kindness toward others.

"Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife" (Proverbs 17:1).

"The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out" (Proverbs 17:14).

How prone to strife are your relationships (work, home, school, extended family)? When conflict takes an unhealthly turn (damaging rather than necessary) how do you respond? What's one thing you can do, starting today, to decrease unnecessary and damaging conflict and strife from your relationships? Tami

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Today's reading: Proverbs 11:17 and 25

Before turning to the life story of Joseph (which will take us to the end of Genesis), we're going to finish out this week in Proverbs looking at some verses that speak to relationships and how we function with other people.

I'm what you'd call a "people person." So I'm always drawn to verses and passages that give us instruction on how to live well and at our best with others. Proverbs 11:17 and 25 certainly do that.

"A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself" (Proverbs 11:17)

"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered" (Proverbs 11:25).

God designed us to function at our best in community. So when the attitude of our heart is to be kind to everyone we encounter, and our focus is on coming alongside others to help, inspire, encourage and sustain them, the benefits extend in both directions and community is strengthened.

When you think of being kind, what or who comes to mind? Describe what you having and displaying a kind heart looks like? On a scale of 1-10, where would you rank yourself when it comes to being someone who "waters" or pours into another person? What's one thing you can do to improve your "watering" skills? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 36:1-43

Although Genesis 36 may not be the most exciting chapter to read in the storyline of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, it is an important one because it displays a faithful God who keeps His promises. We've seen God's faithfulness to Jacob over the past few weeks, and now when we reach Genesis 36, we see that God has been faithful to Esau, too.

The detailed information given to us about Esau's family and descendants shows and highlights the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:5-6 that he would be "a father of a multitude of nations," it fulfills God's words to Rebekah when she asked God why her twin babies were struggling inside of her ("Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you shall be divided" (Gen. 25:23)), and Genesis 36 also shows the fulfillment of Isaac's words to Esau shortly after Jacob had stolen Esau's blessing ("Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: 'Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck" (Gen. 27:39-40)).

How does seeing that God faithfully provided for and watched over Esau encourage you today? What does knowing that God keeps His promises mean for you personally? How does it impact your thinking about God and His Word? How has God been faithful to you? Tami

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Pressing On

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Today's reading: Genesis 35:16-29

The second half of Genesis 35 records several sorrowful and difficult times for Jacob. Rachel, whom Jacob loved with all his heart, dies giving birth to Benjamin, Reuben commits adultery with Bilhah, and lastly, Isaac passes away and Jacob and Esau attend to his burial. This passage served to remind me that pain, hurt, sorrow, death and grief are inescapable parts of life, but with God as our foundation, we can endure and continue onward.

When and how has God sustained you through a time of great pain, loss or grief? How can you use your experiences in these areas to come alongside and help another person or share the Gospel with someone who doesn't yet have a relationship with God? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 5:1-3

The fact that David had a regular routine with God comes across clearly in the beginning verses of Psalm 5.

"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch" (vs. 3).

Is it your practice to start your day out by talking with God? If so, how does this impact the rest of your day? What are some of the benefits of having a consistent and regular routine with God? Tami

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Joy and Peace

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Today's reading: Psalm 4:1-8

Psalm 4 conveys a similar message to that of Psalm 3--that when we trust in and rely on God, we can have peace and joy no matter what our circumstances. Thank you, Lord!!

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (vs. 8).

Are you fully trusting God with everything that is going on in your life? Is it your practice to ask Him to give you peace and joy as you live for Him Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 35:1-15

God once again instructs Jacob to move his family and possessions, and Jacob obediently responds. This time the destination is Bethel, the place where Jacob encountered God in a dream on his journey to his mother Rebekah's homeland (Genesis 28).

Jacob's demeanor and his attitude toward God encouraged me today. I was especially moved by his verbal recognition and praise of God as being his ever-present help. "Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone."

When you start out each day, do you thinking about and recognize that God is with you wherever you go? Why is this important? What's one example of how God has been a present and answering God to you? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 34:5-31; Proverbs 20:22; Romans 12:17-19

When someone wrongs us, our gut instinct, driven by our sinful nature, tells us to get even. But two wrongs never equal a right. In other words, someone's wrong behavior toward us doesn't justify a similar response from us. God tells us in His Word to "repay no one evil for evil" (Romans 12:17), and that He will administer justice in His timing (Proverbs 20:22).

Jacob's sons were justified in being angry over what had happened to Dinah, but after learning of the offense, they failed to respond in the way they knew to be right. Instead, they allowed their anger to grow into rage, which then turned their thoughts and hearts to full blown hatred and revenge. It's a tragic chapter in the life story of Jacob's family.

This account is quite revealing about the influence that unchecked anger and resentment can have on our thinking and actions. Jacob's sons are indignant about Shechem violating the law of Israel (God's Law). Yet they then cheaply use that very Law as a pretense to lie to Hamor and Shechem and murder hundreds of innocent people. They shamefully and blatantly violated God's Law, and in so doing destroyed their witness for God and the reputation and standing of their family.

What's one lesson about anger and/or revenge that stood out to you from this account? How do you control the desire to get even with someone when they hurt you or your family? Is it your practice to turn angry situations over to God? Why is this important? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 34:1-4

Jacob's daughter, Dinah, takes leave of her family to mingle with and "see the women of the land" (vs. 1). Although the text of Genesis 34 doesn't specifically tell us why Dinah decided to seek out these women (to socialize, seek friendships, discover current fashions or trends), her actions placed her in an unsafe situation--physically and spiritually. And the choice to engage and interact with the ungodly culture around her, resulted in personal tragedy and, as we'll see in tomorrow's reading, the senseless killing of many people.

When I was growing up my dad and mom would frequently tell my brother and me "If you play with fire, you're going to get burned." They were reminding and cautioning us to be selective about who we were hanging out with and mindful of where we went and the situations in which we placed ourselves. The pull of the world is strong. Even when we don't intend to do anything wrong, putting ourselves in a risky situation is unwise--because we aren't always as strong as we think we are, and even if we don't give in to temptation, bad things can happen to us.

How much thought do you give to the places you go and the people you choose to hang out with? Do you think about possible temptations and the risks or dangerous circumstances you might encounter? Based on this account, why is this important? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 33:1-20

The account of the reuniting of Jacob and Esau is one of my favorites. Every time I read it, my heart is moved by the reconciling of two brothers who have been separated and at-odds with each other for many, many years. This story is rich with lessons about and examples of repentance, humility, forgiveness and reconciliation. But what stood out most prominently to me today was God's goodness to both Jacob and Esau, and His faithfulness to heal and restore this family in spite of their ugly and painful past.

What did you learn or see from this account about reconciliation? What about the importance of family? How would you describe the condition of relationships within your immediate and extended families? Would you ask God to help you restore relationships where needed? Tami

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Today's reading: Genesis 32:22-32

After reminding himself and God of the promises God had made to him, Jacob separates himself from his family giving him some alone time with God. What happens next is, what I find to be, one of the oddest passages in the Old Testament. A man (really an angel in human form) appears and he and Jacob wrestle with each other through the night. The wrestling match ends in an impasse, with neither party prevailing. But then the angel, to remind Jacob who he had been dealing with and perhaps to provide him with a lasting reminder of the event, touches Jacob's hip which immediately pops it out of joint (ouch). Jacob then demands a blessing from his heavenly visitor which results in the angel commending Jacob for his steadfastness and giving him the new name of Israel.

Jacob had already turned to God and was trusting Him to guide, direct and bring him through the impending meeting with Esau. So why the wrestling match with an angelic visitor? As I thought about and considered this odd encounter, it was Jacob's faith that stood out to me. Yes, his trust and faith in God were solid, but this all night power struggle served to grow and strengthen Jacob's faith even more. And as the morning dawns, we see a strong and encouraged Jacob who demands a blessing from God before heading out to face his brother.

How has struggling and wrestling through a difficult decision or situation served to strengthen your faith? Tami

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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 May 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2017 is the previous archive.

June 2017 is the next archive.

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