October 2017 Archives

Today's reading: Proverbs 15:33

"The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor."

What does this verse convey about the importance of putting God first and valuing others? How would you explain the relationship between being humble and having honor? Tami

Captive Thinking

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Today's reading: Phillippians 4:8

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8)

Philippians 4:8 is a regular read for me. Why? Because I believe following this verse is key to godly living. Our minds are powerful. The thoughts and conversations we have with ourselves literally determine our moods, our actions and the words we speak. That's why Paul directs us to take our minds captive by focusing on and thinking about good and right things.

How intentional are you about making sure your mind and thoughts are focused on good and godly things? Why is this so important? What's one example from the past week where intentionally focusing on good and right things has helped you (respond better to someone, have a more joyful day, draw closer to God)? Tami

P.S. Because this is such a key verse for godly living, we're going to spend the next few weeks taking a more in-depth look at some of the areas on which Paul instructs us to focus. So the rest of this week, we'll be focusing on honor--what it means, what the Bible tells us about honor, how we can live honorably.


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Today's reading: Psalm 48:1-14

Psalm 48 is a song recognizing and celebrating Jerusalem, or Zion, as God's chosen, special and holy city. What I saw I as progressed verse by verse through this psalm was a depiction of a mighty city, but more importantly a city chosen by a loving God committed to protecting and defending His people. I love the proclamation of the final verse that God is "forever and ever" and "will guide us forever" (vs. 14).

How has God been your protector and defender? What encouragement do you draw from verse 14 and the proclamation that God is forever and will guide us forever? Tami

Loud in Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 47:1-9

Celebratory psalms always bring a smile to my face, and Psalm 47 definitely falls into this category. It's a rallying of God's people to corporately recognize and esteem Him--publically, with joy, and through actions (clapping and singing) of loud praise!

What does praising God look like for you? Is it your practice to publically praise Him? What's one way you can loudly praise God this weekend? Tami

Full Court Press

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Today's reading: Philemon 8-21

If you're a basketball fan, or familiar with the sport at all, you're likely familiar with the term "full court press," a phrase describing how the team who is not in possession of the ball applies defensive pressure on the opposing team from the moment they take possession of the ball until possession changes, either through a turnover or a score. "Full court press" is the phrase that popped into my mind as I considered Paul' s letter to Philemon. While the situation is not a game environment, Paul is applying steady and constant pressure to Philemon to do what Paul believes is the correct thing with regard to Onesimus. He draws on his relationship with Philemon, personally and as fellow believers, to persuasively and lovingly prompt him in the action he needs to take.

What's one lesson about dealing with conflict or a challenging situation that you learned or noticed from Paul's petition to Philemon? How important is our tone when we engage in difficult interactions? What about our demeanor when we're talking with someone face-to-face? Tami

Today's reading: Philemon 4-7

In verses 4-7 of Philemon, Paul gives us a glimpse of the man Philemon. It is evident from what Paul writes that he holds Philemon in high regard. Paul considers him a special friend. He's thankful for Philemon's love of God and His witness for Christ, and Paul's heart is genuinely touched by Philemon's good and helpful conduct toward other believers.

Is it your aim or goal to "refresh the heart" of others, and especially the heart of your brothers and sisters in Christ? How have you encouraged, supported, demonstrated kindness to someone in the past week? How will you refresh someone around you in the coming week? Tami

Today's reading: Book of Philemon

We're going to spend the rest of this week looking over and considering the Book of Philemon, a letter written by Paul to a fellow believer named Philemon whose slave, Onesimus, had run away.

Although there are only 25 verses in this short Book, there are plenty of lessons for us to discover. But before we delve in to look for those lessons, let's spend today simply reading through this letter focusing on the details provided to give us some context. This will help us gain a better overall understanding of what is going on and allow us to get the most out of this Book.

I'll get us started. Here are several things I took note of from Philemon:

  • Paul is writing from prison;
  • The relationship between Paul and Philemon is personal, which explains the personal approach of the letter;
  • Paul's letter doesn't reveal anything about the why, when or how of Onesimus' running away from Philemon;
  • Paul has a deep love for both Philemon and Onesimus.

Okay--it's your turn! Read back through Philemon and write down and/or note as many specifics as possible. What information and details did you notice as you read Philemon? Tami

Joshua Wrap Up

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Today's reading: Joshua 1-24

Well, we did it! We read through and considered the entire Book of Joshua. I enjoyed our time in this packed full, historical Book and hope you did too. Learning from Joshua's examples was good, and we always benefit from the message of trusting God in and through all circumstances. So before we move on, let's take today to think back over the entire Book of Joshua and the lessons it provided for us.

What was the most significant lesson you learned or saw from Joshua's leadership? Identify one lesson you found beneficial from the example of the Israelites. Tami

Your Influence

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Today's reading: Joshua 24:14-28

Growing up, Joshua 24:15 was a verse that I literally saw every single day. You see my parents had a plaque secured over the doorbell to the main entrance to our house with this verse on it. So whomever came to our door would know immediately that we were Christians who were committed to following and serving God. Although I didn't realize it at the time, my parents' choice to post and live by that verse impacted me greatly. So guess what I have in my home today, years later? A wall sign of Joshua 24:15 that declares to those who enter my home:

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

Although my parents have both passed on and are with the Lord, their legacy lives on. I am grateful for their godly example and how their choices and lifestyle have influenced, and continue to influence, my choices and lifestyle today.

Identify one example in the past two weeks of you living out Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." What does Joshua's impact on those around him suggest about the impact you have on your family? In your church? Workplace? School? Neighborhood? How much thought have you given to the legacy you're leaving for your family and those around you? Why is this important? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 46:1-11

I love the overarching message of Psalm 46 that we can stand strong and not live in fear because God is our foundation and fortress. But it's the very first verse that I find so attractive and encouraging.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

What comforting words for those times when life feels like it's raging around us and our circumstances seem like they're out of control.

What verse or portion of Psalm 46 moved your heart today, and why? Do you think of God as being your "fortress"? How has God been "a very present help in trouble" to you? Tami


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Today's reading: Psalm 45:1-17

Psalm 45 is a beautiful love song full of imagery depicting Jesus. It can be, however, a bit challenging to understand. That being the case, I read this psalm numerous times so I could spend extra time reflecting on the many descriptive and symbolic phrases and words. What I found was that each time I read through a section or portion, I would see more and more about Jesus.

Three verses drew my attention--verses 2, 4 and 6. Verse 2 because of the way it shows us that Jesus is above all men and full of grace; verse 4 because of how it points out that Jesus' cause is one of truth, meekness and righteousness (I especially loved this); and verse 6 because of the repeated recognition of the importance of, and Jesus' love for, righteousness.

What stood out to you about Jesus from this psalm, and why? Did you notice or learn anything new from this song filled with imagery? Tami

Leave It Behind

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Today's reading: Joshua 24:1-33

With Joshua now nearing the end of his life, he gathers all the tribes of Israel to deliver a message he has received from God. He reminds the Israelites of their long relationship and history with God, and how it was God who brought them to and then gave them the Promised Land. Joshua then challenges the people to leave their past behind by choosing to live fully and wholeheartedly for God. All of Israel renew their covenant with God saying to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey him alone" (vs. 24). After Joshua dies, Israel continues to serve the Lord throughout the lifetime of those who had experienced all the Lord had done.

Have you made a decision (chosen) to leave your past behind in order to wholeheartedly follow after the Lord? If so, have you specifically made this declaration to God? Have you verbalized it to others? How does telling God and others about your choice helpful and of benefit to you? Tami

Final Reinforcing

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Today's reading: Joshua 23:1-16

With peace throughout the land and Joshua now well advanced in years, Joshua calls together all the elders, leaders, judges and officers of Israel to address and instruct them about following God. He reminds them of how they have seen and experienced God's goodness, provision and protection. ("The LORD your God has fought for you against your enemies" (vs 4)). Next, he charges them (as he had done many times in the past) to be very careful to follow God's Law, and to continue to hold tightly to and love God. He then concludes with a warning about the adversity and disaster that will come if the people turn away from God to follow the customs of the foreigners remaining within and around them.

Over the years, how have you observed or witnessed God's goodness, provision and protection of the country where you live? How have you personally experienced His goodness? What's one example of God "fighting for you"? What does Joshua's repeated charge to Israel and its leaders "to be very careful to follow God's Law" convey about our need to consistently be taking in God's Word? Tami

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Today's reading: Joshua 22:10-34

After receiving Joshua's message, the eastern tribes set off for their homeland. Upon reaching the region of the Jordan, they build "a large and imposing altar" (vs. 10). When word of the altar reaches the western tribes, they get angry and rally together in preparation for war. Before engaging in warfare, however, a group of delegated leaders from the western tribes confront and question their relatives about their actions. They ask the eastern tribes, "How could you turn away from God and build an altar for yourselves?" and then remind them of how turning from God has been disastrous and harmed Israel in the past (vs. 15-20). The leaders of the eastern tribes are able to explain their actions and the intent behind them, which was not a turning from God. Rather the altar was an altar of witness to function as a reminder for generations to come.

How much thought have you given to the legacy you're leaving for your family and those around you? Why is this important? How important is it to you, and especially the next generation, that you remember and give thanks for His past faithfulness and provision in your life? How are (or can) you help build a great generation that chases the presence, power and promises of God? What lesson(s) did you see or learn from this passage about resolving conflicts? Tami

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Today's reading: Joshua 22:1-9

As the eastern tribes (Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh) prepare to return to their homeland east of the Jordan, Joshua addresses the group making sure they, once again, hear the message of the need to keep their eyes on God and to live according to His law and instructions.

"But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul." (vs. 5).

Would you say you are "careful" to follow the commands and instructions in God's Word? What does "serving God with all your heart and soul" require of you? What does this look like in your day-to-day life? Tami

All Complete

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Today's reading: Joshua 21:1-21

Although the Levites weren't allotted their own portion of land, they were given cities and pasturelands among the land given to the different tribes of Israel. So as we read through Joshua 21, we're given the details about these cities, 48 in all with their pasturelands. Joshua 21 concludes the distribution of all the land to the Israelites. How fitting that when we reach the end of this chapter we find three powerful verses, 43-45, laying out how ALL the promises God had made to Israel had come to fruition.

"Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass" (vs. 45).

What encouragement did you draw from Joshua 21, and why? How has reading the Book of Joshua, and especially verses 43-45 of chapter 21 today, impacted your thinking about trusting God? What have you learned about God's power, control and timing? Tami

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Not in Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 44:1-26

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

I was drawn to the words and message conveyed in verses 6-8. My heart was moved by how in the middle of intense distress, the psalmist remains unmoved and proclaims to God his steadfast trust in Him.

"For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. (vs. 6-8).

What battles are you going through right now? Have you, are you and/or will you turn your situation over to God and tell Him "I trust in You"? How does praising God in and through your storms impact your attitude and thinking, and help you stay the course? Tami

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Lead Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 43:1-5

The appeal of the psalmist to "Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!" (vs. 3) is a good and wise request to put before God. These words reflect an attitude of surrender to an all-powerful, all-knowing God who loves us greatly and has us in the palm of His hand-whatever our current situation.

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

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God of Refuge

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Today's reading: Joshua 20:1-9

After the allotting of the land is completed, God instructs Joshua to put in place cities of refuge. These were designated cities (six in all) where those who unintentionally, unknowingly or accidentally took the life of another human being could go as a place of refuge from relatives seeking revenge. In order to be admitted into a city of refuge, the person who had killed was required to present their case to the elders at the city gate. At a later date, they were then tried by the city's local assembly for judgment. As long as the person stayed within the confines of the city, they would be shielded from any avenging parties.

When someone wrongs you or a family member, what's your first instinctual or gut response? What does the creation of cities of refuge reveal about the difference between man's heart and God's? What's one example of how has God protected you when something you've said or done unintentionally caused harm to someone or something? What does this convey about God's love for you? Tami

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Today's reading: Joshua 19:1-51

After surveying the land, the people return to Joshua with their reports. He then casts lots to finish apportioning the land. Land was allotted to the remaining seven tribes in this order: Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Dan. In the final verses of chapter 19, the people of Israel give Joshua his own inheritance, the city of his choosing, which was Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim.

God blesses people in different ways. What's one example of God blessing you as you've followed after and served Him? How does Joshua's blessing encourage you to living a life that pleases God? Tami

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Doing Our Part #2

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Today's reading: Joshua 18:1-28

After allotting land to the tribes of Judah and Manasseh, there remained seven tribes who hadn't yet received their apportionment. "The land lay subdued before them" (vs. 1), so battling for the land was no longer an issue, but the people weren't taking any action to move forward and take possession of the land. Drawing on his leadership skills, Joshua confronts the people asking them, "How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the god of your fathers, has given you" (vs. 2)? He then creates and administers a plan which leads to a final distributing of the land.

When or in what circumstances are you most likely to lose sight of God's desire for you to "do your part"? How does remembering what God has done for you in the past help keep you focused and on track spiritually? What does this passage reveal about the importance of having strong Christian leaders/mentors/friends who can support and motivate us to keep moving forward when we're struggling? Tami

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Doing Our Part

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Today's reading: Joshua 17:7-18; Ephesians 2:10 (MSG)

God wants and expects us to do our part as we live out our lives following Him. We see that with the Israelites throughout the Book of Joshua. God tells them that He has given them the Promised Land, but He doesn't usher them into a land that is conquered and prepared for their every need. Instead, God requires them to arise and go and take the land. Ephesians 2:10 conveys well the essence of God's desire for us to "do our part."

"He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing" (MSG).

Although the territory allotted to Joseph's descendants was large, they were unhappy with it. They complain to Joshua about only receiving one lot when they are such a large and blessed population. Joshua acknowledges their size and strength, and then directs them to clear out the forest and hill country to give them adequate space (instructing them to "do their part"). Balking at this directive, they point out that the Caananites living in the land have chariots of iron. Joshua restates the directive to clear the land, and reassures them about their great numbers and might and how they will possess the land to its farthest borders.

Do you think of yourself as a worker for and with God? Why is this important? How do we benefit when we "do our part" with God? What does God sharing the workload with us convey and communicate about how God views and feels about us as His children? Tami

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Daughters of God

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Today's reading: Joshua 17:1-6

After allotting land to the people of Ephraim (Joshua 16), Joshua turns to the people of Manasseh. As he is assigning and distributing portions, the daughters of Zelophehad come forward to assert a claim for their deceased father's portion of the land (inheritance) which Moses had promised to them years earlier. Joshua acknowledges and accepts the petition, and gives a portion of land to Zelophehad's daughters.

One of the things I like about this passage is how it reveals and demonstrates God's love, concern, care and provision for women. In this time and culture, women didn't have many rights, yet God took note of their situation and gave Moses special instructions to ensure the care of this group of daughters. I also like the example of how these women approached and managed an awkward and difficult situation. For whatever reason, they hadn't received the allotment God had promised them through Moses. So they come forward, united as a group, to respectfully remind Joshua of what had been promised to them, and in so doing, assert their claim for land.

How have you experienced God's love, concern, care and provision (as a man or a woman)? When you don't receive something you've been promised, how do you tend to respond? Why is keeping calm and being respectful so important when we find ourselves in a situation of conflict? Tami

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:2

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:2)

One of things I love about David's writing is how he uses common, everyday experiences to describe his feelings for and about God, and what living for God looks like. So when we read at the start of Psalm 42:2, "My soul thirsts for God," memories of times we've been thirsty come to mind--how we feel when we're outside on a hot summer day, after a vigorous workout, while we're eating a meal, when we wake up in the morning. And those memories, through association, then help us better understand how we should feel about God. In other words, we should desire and crave God just like we desire and crave water.

Think about and recall a time when you were thirsty. Based on that memory, would you say that you are "thirsty" for God? Describe what you think being thirsty for God should look like on a day-to-day basis? Tami

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Hope Prevails

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:1-11

Psalm 42 reads like a back and forth dialogue of hope versus fear. But as David talks to himself about God, recalling His goodness and faithfulness and His steadfast love and protection, hope wins the day. As David intentionally focuses on God and what he knows is truth, he is able to push aside his doubts and fears and confidently proclaim, "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (vs. 11).

What's one thing that encouraged you from this psalm, and why? When you're wrestling with fear and doubts, do you ever (like David) talk through with yourself what you know to be true of God? Why is it important to look back at what God has done for you when you encounter difficult circumstances? Tami

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Today's reading: Joshua 16:1-10

Today we move on to Joshua 16 and more records. It may seem a bit tedious, but stay with it.

Ask God to help you engage with this chapter and what's taking place. Then ask Him to reveal one point to you from this passage. Tami

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Today's reading: Joshua 15:13-63

We're continuing today with another passage that details the allotting of the land to the tribes of Israel. As I wrote yesterday, these types of passages tend to be less engaging as the action-filled storylines and narratives we've been reading in the previous chapters. Nonetheless, they are an important part of biblical history. So as you read, ask God to help you engage and to reveal something He has for you from this passage.

What does this passage reveal about God's faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to the Israelites? What does that suggest about God keeping His promises to us? What does today's reading show about God being interested in the details of our lives? Tami

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Important Records

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Today's reading: Joshua 15:1-12

Joshua 15-16 (as well as the chapters we'll look at next week) detail the allotting of the land to the different tribes of Israel. These types of passages are most certainly not as engaging to read as the action-filled storylines and narratives of the previous chapters. Yet, they are an important part of biblical history. These chapters record and lay out exactly what took place with the Israelites, which was a necessary and important part of record keeping for Israel. However, these historical records are also important for us today in that they provide us with a picture of what was taking place and they help us understand other scriptures.

As you read chapters 15 and 16 to finish out this week, ask God to reveal something to you from each passage. And remember, the fact that these records are part of God's Word means that they are important to God and should therefore be important to us.

What do these chapters reveal about God's faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to the Israelites? What does that suggest about God keeping His promises to us? What do these passages show about God being interested in the details of our lives? Tami

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Ageless Serving

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Today's reading: Joshua 14:1-15

The task of dividing and distributing the land west of the Jordan to the remaining nine and a half tribes fell to Joshua. When the people of Judah approach Joshua about their inheritance, Caleb steps up and speaks out, reminding Joshua of his past faithful service as one of the spies Moses sent to into the Promised Land, and Moses' promise to Caleb "'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly'" (vs. 9). Caleb is now 85 years old, but is as energetic, determined and courageous as he was 45 years earlier when he first entered the land. What an inspiration and example! As I finished up this passage, my prayer was for God to help me have the mindset and attitude of Caleb.

What does Caleb's example show about serving the Lord no matter our age? How did Caleb's trust in God impact his attitude and actions-as a 40-year-old man spying out the land, and as an 85-year-old asking for his inheritance? What does following the Lord "wholeheartedly" mean to you personally? What about Caleb (actions, words, attitude, beliefs, etc.) stood out to you most from this passage and why? Tami

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Steady God

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Today's reading: Joshua 13:1-33

Even after many battles and defeating many kings, there was still a large portion of the Promised Land to be taken over. With Joshua now being an old man, the Lord speaks with him about his age and the remaining untaken regions. God tells Joshua that He will drive out the inhabitants of the mountain regions, and then gives Joshua direction about the allocating of the mountain areas as an inheritance.

What does God's interaction with Joshua show about His continued faithfulness to Joshua and the Israelites? What does it reveal about God being aware of the details of our lives, and having a master plan to take care of and provide for His children? Tami

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Honest Talks

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Today's reading: Psalm 41:1-13

It hurts when people mistreat us--spread lies about our character, harm us financially, hinder our moving forward or succeeding in a particular area, ridicule us to others.

David was no stranger to being treated poorly by others. I am thankful for his example in Psalm 41 of candidly talking with God about the hurt and pain he is experiencing, and was drawn to the way he ends his prayer with the self-reminder of God's love, faithfulness and provision.

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

Do you talk with God about your struggles, pains and hurts? How does talking openly and honestly with God impact your thinking, attitude and actions? Why is it important for us to remind ourselves about and recall God's love, faithfulness and provision? 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 October 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2017 is the previous archive.

November 2017 is the next archive.

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