July 2017 Archives

Not Required

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Today's reading: Ephesians 2:8-9

Our salvation is not dependent on us doing good things ("working") to earn God's favor. Instead, the Gospel message is all about faith. If we choose to place our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be saved.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (vs. 8-9).

Ephesians 2:8-9 lets us know that nothing we do in our own strength can ever save us. Once we've placed our faith in Christ, however, doing good things as we represent God to the world should be a goal and a standard for living.

How would you explain faith versus "works" (doing good things) to someone who doesn't yet know Christ based on Ephesians 2:8-9? What helps you keep a proper perspective on working for and doing good things for God? Tami

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Rejecting Fear

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Today's reading: Psalm 27:1-14

Fear is a powerful emotion that can pull our attention right off of God--if we allow it. What I find so attractive about this psalm is how David is able to stand firm even though he's experiencing some difficult and scary circumstances. Instead of giving in to fearful thoughts and feelings, he claims God as his light, salvation and stronghold.

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (vs. 1)

What encouragement do you draw from this passage? When life throws you a curve ball and fearful thoughts come crashing in, is it your habit to turn to God and His Word? Do you have a particular verse/passage that helps you stand firm and overcome fearful thoughts and feeling afraid? Tami

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Walking Well

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Today's reading: Psalm 26:1-12

David's greatest desire is to please God. So as he opens and closes psalm 26, David tells God about his past and present integrity and commits to continue in this manner. In verse 1 he states, "I have walked in my integrity and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering." He then describes his present right living to God in the body of the psalm before closing with the forward looking declarations of "I will walk in my integrity" and "I will bless the LORD" (vs. 11-12).

What does walking in integrity mean and look like in your life? What's one example? Going forward, will you join David in declaring "I will walk in my integrity"? Tami

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But God

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Today's reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

Ephesians 2:1-10 is arguably one of the most well-known and often used passages to present and explain salvation. The portion of this passage that we see quoted most frequently is found in verses 8-9, and what a powerful message those two verses deliver. But as I read Ephesians 2:1-10 today, my eyes kept coming back to verses 4-5 because of the descriptive view they provide of God and His plan of salvation.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved..."

What stood out most to you about God from this passage and why? What does this passage reveal about our human nature, our need for God and our purpose on earth? Tami

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Prayer Matters

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Today's reading: Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul was a prayer warrior. He knew the power and importance of prayer, and as a result, constantly talking with and bringing requests to God was part of his daily life routine.

Paul's example in the area of prayer is something we would all do well to follow. One thing that repeatedly stands out to me from Paul's prayers (and we see it here in Ephesians) is his diligence in praying for others. And his prayers contain more than what I call the typical earthly needs requests (health, finances, jobs, relationships). Paul's requests also include spiritual matters--requests for God to help and move people forward in the areas of spiritual knowledge, wisdom and growth--all critically important things for believers.

When you pray for yourself and others, is it your practice to ask God for help with spiritual matters--spiritual growth, wisdom, knowledge, discernment? Why is this important? How will you draw on Paul's example in Ephesians 1:15-23 going forward? Tami

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God's Family

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Today's reading: Ephesians 1:1-14; Galatians 4:1-7

We're going to spend the next couple of weeks reading through and considering Ephesians. This Book is one I turn to often because it is rich with lessons, examples and teaching. I'm excited for what God is going to reveal to each of us as we work through its six chapters.

Both Ephesians 1:1-14 and Galatians 4:1-7 let us know that we are children of God, that God chose us and adopted us, and that we are sons (and daughters) and heirs of God. Talk of being a child of God or being part of the family of God is common in Christian circles. But how often do we really stop and take time to consider what a privilege being a child of God is and what that really means--not only to us but to God? These passages caused me to do that today. It was a good exercise that prompted a thankful prayer to God for His incredible love.

What does being a child of God (an heir) mean for you personally? What does Ephesians 1:3-14 show you about how much God values and loves you? Tami

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Final Look

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1-16

We finished reading the Book of 1 Corinthians yesterday, but before we move to a new Book, let's use today to take a look back over and consider some of the lessons and wise words we received through Paul from 1 Corinthians.

This time as I read through 1 Corinthians, Paul's words on spiritual gifting and his encouragement for us to use our spiritual gifts to the fullest resonated with me. My husband and I recently moved so we're now attending a new church. Part of the process for us over the last few months has been finding where we can and should be serving in this new body of believers. That being the case, 1 Corinthians 12 served as an encouragement and good confirmation about how we have been proceeding.

What was your favorite chapter and/or message from 1 Corinthians, and why? What was one new thing you learned as you read through this letter to the believers in Corinth? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24

Paul wraps up his lengthy and instructive letter to the believers in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 16. He's still providing instruction at this point, but his tone is now more relaxed. What I appreciated most about Paul's sign off was how he took the opportunity to, once again, encourage and reinforce the faith of this group of young believers.

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love" (vs.13-14).

Good advice for the Corinthians and good advice for us today!

Like Paul, who can/will you boost up and encourage to stand firm in their faith this week? How will you put 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 into practice? Tami

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Humble Heart

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Today's reading: Psalm 25:8-9

Psalm 25 is one of my favorites because it's packed full of helpful teaching and examples we can draw from. Yesterday we looked at David's example of repeatedly asking God to teach him His ways (vs. 5-6). Today, my attention was drawn to verses 8 and 9 and David's emphasis on being humble, a key component to godly living.

"Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way" (vs. 8-9).

How would you describe having a humble heart? Do you find that you are more teachable when your attitude is one of humility? How do you acquire and then maintain a humble attitude and heart? Tami

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Teach Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 25:1-22

Psalm 25 is a favorite of mine. I turn to it frequently, using it as a model for my talks with God and also as a reminder that God is personal and desires to interact and have a relationship with me. David knew this too. Did you see how he asks God a number of times to "teach" him and "lead" him?

"Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation..." (vs.5-6).

When was the last time you made it a point to ask God to teach you from His Word? Why is this important? How has God responded when you've asked Him to show you His truth? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-58

When we reach 1 Corinthians 15:12, Paul's corrective instruction focuses in even further on the issue of the resurrection of the dead. Using his typical logical approach, he presents and reinforces the reality of Christ's death and resurrection as factual proof of resurrection, and then moves on to offer encouragement and hope with the promise that as followers of Christ, we will one day have an incredible resurrected body. I was particularly invigorated by Paul's description and words of victory in verses 50-58.

What did you notice or learn about your future spiritual body from this passage? What encouraged you most from verses 50-59, and why? Tami

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Passing Along

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Paul turns to the issue of resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15 to address faulty thinking that had crept in through some false teaching. What immediately grabbed my attention from this chapter was Paul's approach. He reminds the believers at Corinth of what was true and right by plainly conveying (passing along) what he had experienced and knew was truth. This was a great approach for dealing with and correcting the problem at hand, but it's also a great approach for us to use when it comes to telling others about salvation through Christ.

Do you think about witnessing to others as a passing along of what you know about Christ and have experienced as a result of receiving Him as your Savior? Why is telling your story (testimony) an effective tool for evangelism? How does telling your story benefit both you and the person(s) you're talking with? Tami

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All Building

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-40

Paul takes a good amount of time discussing the gifts of tongues and prophesying in 1 Corinthians 14. The church in Corinth was struggling in this area, so Paul lays out how each of these gifts function, being quite specific about differences, benefits and drawbacks. What stood out to me from this discussion was the core and underlying message of the importance of building up the Church, and how all gifts are to be used for that purpose. These words particularly caught my attention. In verse 12 Paul states "strive to excel in building up the church," and in verse 26 he says "Let all things be done for building up."

When you think about using your gifting, is it with the goal of building up the Church (local and worldwide)? How are you using your gifting to support and advance your local church body? Tami

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All About Love

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Paul builds on his teaching to the young church in Corinth with a discussion about the importance of embracing God's love and demonstrating it to others in chapter 13. What I like most about this chapter is how Paul takes great care to help us understand exactly what love is, describing what it should look like as we interact with others.

What does 1 Corinthians 13 show us about God's view of love? What stands out to you the most about how Paul described love from this passage and why? In what area(s) are you strong about demonstrating love? In what area(s) could you grow stronger? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

One of things I really enjoy doing is baking decadent cookies. I've had fun experimenting with cookie recipes for quite a few years, and it didn't take me long to realize that there are certain ingredients that are absolutely crucial to the foundational makeup of the cookie.

I see that same sort of thing when I read about the importance of having love in 1 Corinthians 13. As a follower of Christ, love MUST be at our core. Living out our lives with love is an absolute necessity.

Based on 1 Corinthians 13, how important is it that we operate with a mindset and attitude of love? Looking at verses 4-7, in what area do you struggle with demonstrating love, and why? What's one example of how you've been love (as described in verses 4-7) to someone in the past week? Tami

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Clean and Pure

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Today's reading: Psalm 24:1-10

The importance of living rightly before God (having clean hands and a pure heart) stood out strongly to me as I took in Psalm 24.

"Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (vs. 3-5).

How would explain having clean hands and a pure heart to someone who doesn't yet have a relationship with God or is a new believer in Christ? What measures do you take to get and then maintain clean hands before God? Tami

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Personal God

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Today's reading: Psalm 23:1-6

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

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

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

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

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Many=One

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Using the example of the human body (something we're all familiar with), Paul continues to teach about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. His practical teaching drives home the point that God's design is for all followers of Christ (regardless of age, race, gender, status) to function and work together as one body or group. And the beauty of God's design is that every single part is equally important and absolutely necessary for that body to function at its best.

What did you learn about your role in the body of Christ from this passage? What important position or function do you believe God gifted you to fill? Would you say that you're currently using your gifting to the fullest? If not, what do you need to do to function at your best within your local church body? Tami

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Common Good

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Paul turns his attention and instruction to the subject of spiritual gifts when we reach 1 Corinthians 12. The first thing he writes to the Corinthians concerning this important area is how he doesn't want these believers to uninformed. I smiled when I read this because that means we're going to learn a few things (not be uninformed) through this chapter. "Thank you, Paul!!"

As Paul delves in, he immediately sets the groundwork for spiritual gifts telling us that these special talents and abilities are directly from God, that they come in a variety of forms, that every person who is a Christ-follower is uniquely empowered with gifting and that we are to use the gifts we've been given for the common good.

In what area(s) are you spiritually gifted? How are you contributing to the "common good" with your unique gifting? Tami

P.S. If you've never done a spiritual gifting assessment, I suggest you do this as it can be quite helpful in providing insight into how you can best serve God through your church body. Many churches offer classes on gifting (a great option), and there are also a variety of online resources available. If you choose to self test via the web, be mindful of the source you select, and keep in mind that the quality of assessments will vary.

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In Remembrance

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 11:1-34

When we reach 1 Corinthians 11, Paul continues to answer questions from the Corinthian's that are pertinent to functioning as a Christ-follower in their current society and culture. When he gets to the issue of the Lord's Supper (communion), his tone turns quite stern as he provides needed perspective and corrective instruction about properly carrying out this important observance.

Depending on our upbringings, we will likely have different experiences with, and ideas about, communion. I was raised in a church-going, Christian family, and accepted Christ when I was eight years old. So from a young age, I was taking communion and knew that it represented a remembering of what Jesus did for me on the cross. Even so, I didn't fully grasp the significance of communion until I was quite a bit older and started searching out and spending time taking in God's Word. It was at this point that I truly realized the significance of this special time of remembering and recognizing Christ's sacrifice, and exactly what that meant for my eternity and eternity for all mankind.

What does taking communion mean to you? How does reflecting on what Christ did for you on the cross prepare you for taking communion? Tami

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No Offense

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

As we close out 1 Corinthians 10, once again, Paul addresses our freedom in Christ. As he did previously, he reminds us that because we are followers of Christ, there will be times when our best course of action will be to forego our right to do something (exercise our freedom) in order to prevent turning someone away from a relationship with Christ, or to avoid causing a fellow believer to stumble or falter. Verses 31-33 summarize his message well.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved."

Are you willing to forego certain things (taking part in an activity, going particular places, watching or listening to certain movies or music) because of how it could negatively impact someone else? What's one example where you have lived out or put into practice Paul's instruction to "do all to the glory of God"? Tami

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Worship God

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

Paul gives clear and express instructions to "not be idolaters" and to "flee from idolatry" in 1 Corinthians 10. In other words, he's telling the Corinthians (and us) that our worship should be reserved for God and God alone as our sovereign and loving Father.

What are some things that can become idols for you if you're not careful? How do you guard against pushing God aside to pursue worldly things? How does reading your Bible, going to church and having Christian friends help you keep God as your top priority? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 22:1-31

We've all been there at some point--going through a difficult time when the things that we're experiencing feel pretty awful and they just don't make sense. One of the best things we can do when we find ourselves in this type of situation, is to talk candidly with God, asking Him to help us trust Him and to sustain us as we move forward. That's what we see with David in Psalm 22. It was comforting to read David's back and forth prayerful conversations with God about his circumstances. In essence David asks God "Are You here--because this seems like craziness. Where are You?" But then, David steps back, takes a breath and gathers his thoughts to say "I know You're still here, God. I know You're faithful and trustworthy, so help me stand strong." "Thank you, David, for this heartfelt example."

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

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Today's reading: Psalm 21:1-13

David is praising God for His power, strength and sovereignty, and in so doing recognizing how God has loved, provided for and watched over him his entire life. Since God loves, provides for and watches over each one of us too, to help me get a better understanding and feel for this Psalm I read back through verses 1-7, but this time I inserted my name wherever David had referred to himself. This made the passage personal for me. I was especially moved when I worked through verse 7 using my name.

I encourage you to make this Psalm personal as well. Go back and read verses 1-7 inserting your name where appropriate. I'd love to hear if there was a particular verse or phrase that impacted you, and why. Also, did anything stand out to you about God's power from this psalm? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

I decided to spend one more day in 1 Corinthians 9 so that we could consider the important message Paul delivers on living our lives with an eternal focus and mindset in verses 24-27. Using the analogy of running a race, Paul challenges and urges us to "run to win!" He then encourages us through his personal example of making the most of every step he takes as he lives for God and pushes forward toward eternity.

Do you think about your life as an ongoing race with the end point or goal as eternity? Why is this important? How does starting each day with an eternal focus impact and motivate you? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27

If we want to be effective in sharing the Gospel message, we need to be aware of who we're talking with, in the sense of the person's background, experiences and mindset. Why? Because it allows us to then adjust our approach to the particular person or group of people we're addressing, thereby making the message of God's love and offer of salvation more understandable and attractive. This is exactly what Paul tells us about in 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 when he writes about becoming a slave to all people while obeying the law of Christ. Verses 22-23 explain Paul's approach well.

"Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings."

So as we're out being advocates for Christ, we must stand firm and stay true to the Gospel message of Christ, but we may need to adjust or vary our approach depending on the specific person(s) we're talking with.

Do you take someone's background and experiences into consideration as you talk to them about Jesus and spiritual matters? How does being able to share Christ in a number of different ways benefit and impact you spiritually? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 9:1-18

Paul's apostleship (spiritual leadership) had come under attack from some of the believers in Corinth. So when we reach 1 Corinthians 9, what we see is Paul taking on and responding to this criticism. He wastes no time to remind the Corinthians that their believing in Christ was the direct result of his ministry. Then he turns to the issue of ministers of the gospel receiving financial support and provision for their work, laying out example after example for this standard principle.

Is it your practice to support your pastor/church financially and through your words? Why is this important? How will you be an encouragement to your pastor this week? Here are some suggestions: send an uplifting email, write a thank you note, take your pastor to lunch, send an encouraging text message, call and offer positive and affirming words. Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Philippians 2:3-4

Paul addresses yet another question from the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 8--can we eat food that has been offered as a sacrifice to idols? You see in this time and culture, idol worship was prevalent. So it wasn't uncommon for food offered to idols at temples or as part of a festival to be consumed or to be sold after the fact for consumption.

True to form, Paul lays out his response quite logically. He begins by pointing out that Christ-followers have knowledge of the one true God and belong to Him. Therefore, food offered to a manmade god or idol has no power or command over them. Yet even so, Paul tells the Corinthian believers that although they have the right to eat such food, the better course of action is to refrain, to put those rights and preferences aside, for the benefit of brothers and sisters in Christ whose foundation isn't yet solid and strong (new believers, those who haven't been exposed to much teaching).

Eating food offered to idols isn't a dilemma most of face in 2017. However, there are other areas where our actions can be a stumbling block to other believers and those we are trying to reach for Christ (dress, diet, speech, music, etc.).

That being the case, how mindful are you about being a stumbling block? Are you willing to put your interests aside for the spiritual benefit of another? Tami

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

Throughout the Book of 1 Corinthians Paul is responding to a variety of questions that the Corinthian believers have posed to him. But in this particular chapter, the fact that he's answering some specific questions is more noticeable as evidenced by the choppy feel of this portion of his letter.

I have to be honest, this chapter can be a bit challenging to understand. But knowing that Paul has spent a good amount of time addressing problems with sexual sins in the prior chapters provides some context as to why Paul may be writing some of the things he does in this chapter and even the tone with which he writes them. That being the case, I found it beneficial to read this chapter a number of times, making myself slow down to consider small portions at a time. It was a good exercise which helped me uncover some "nuggets" about relationships and marriage.

What's one "nugget" about marriage that stood out to you from this passage, and why? What about living as you are called? Tami

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I Trust

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Today's reading: Psalm 20:1-9

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

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

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

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Perfect

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Today's reading: Psalm 19:1-14

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

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

My favorite from this list is: Perfect--reviving the soul. Why? Because of the reminder that no matter my circumstance taking in God's Word will recharge, refresh and refuel me. /p>

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

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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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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2017 is the previous archive.

August 2017 is the next archive.

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