May 2018 Archives

Following God

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-27

Today we get our first glimpse of Saul, a handsome and tall young man whom God is about to anoint as the first king of Israel. But what captured my attention in this chapter wasn't Saul--it was Samuel. I was struck by Samuel's relationship with God. Samuel is now an old man, and his walk with God is strong. He continues to seek God, listen intently to Him and then precisely follow every instruction he receives. What an inspiring example.

What does your relationship with God look like? Is it your daily practice to seek, listen to and follow God? How have you seen your relationship with God change and grow over time? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 8:1-22

"Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it."

There's a lot of wisdom and truth in this well-known statement, and it certainly describes the scenario taking place in 1 Samuel 8. After years of God's protection and provision with Samuel judging Israel, once again, the people's hearts have turned away from fully following God. They want to be just like the ungodly nations around them. So they demand from Samuel that he appoint a king to rule over them. Samuel is discouraged, but following God's instructions, he authentically warns the people about the significant troubles that will accompany being ruled by a king. The lengthy and straightforward warning falls on deaf ears, and the people flat out refuse to follow Samuel's advice. As chapter 8 concludes, God instructs Samuel to go ahead and give the people exactly what they think they want. (If this were a movie, you'd be hearing some music like the theme from Jaws right now. Bad things to come.)

What does the example of the Israelites reveal about our spiritual journey and following God? Identify two or three common things that draw and/or pull us away from godly thinking. When, or in what kind of situation, are you most likely to take your focus off of God and be influenced by the world? Tami

The Lord Only

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 7:1-17

As Samuel becomes the judge over Israel, the people are in a poor state--spiritually speaking. Although they are God's chosen people, they aren't devoted to God and they certainly aren't wholly following or serving Him. But Samuel, being a godly leader, changes that through his calling of the entire nation to cast out their foreign gods and to "direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only..." (vs. 3). The people embrace Samuel's appeal, and in turn God responds, mightily delivering them from the Philistines and restoring the cities that had been taken from them. Quite a contrast to the scenario in 1 Samuel 4.

Would you say your heart is directed toward the Lord and that you are wholly serving Him? What sorts of things can pull your focus off of serving God? How do you guard against them? Tami

Unseeing

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 6:1-21

In 1 Samuel 6, we again get a look at the Philistines' thinking with regard to the ark of the covenant, along with how they handle its return to the Israelites. The Philistines were clearly knowledgeable about God's prior dealings with the Egyptians on behalf of the Israelites, and on some level, they were fearful of God and even acknowledged that they needed to make amends for their wrongful taking of the ark.

Chapter 6 fleshes out what I mentioned last Friday about the Philistines knowing they were dealing with an all-powerful God, yet refusing to acknowledge, accept or submit to Him as the one true God. The accounts we've read over the past few days provide us with a picture of how sin can cloud our vision, especially when it is unchecked, ongoing and unconfessed, which can then keep us from recognizing, submitting to and serving God.

Do you keep a short account with God when it comes to asking for forgiveness for wrong actions, thoughts, words, attitudes, etc.? Why is this important? Tami

Bust Those Ruts

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Today's reading: Psalm 96:1-13

The very first verse of Psalm 96 urges us to sing a "new" song to the Lord. What a great reminder that our relationship with God is active and growing, and that not only do we have the freedom to be creative and spontaneous with God, but also that God enjoys it when are.

For the most part, we're creatures of habit, which means it's not too difficult for us to fall into a spiritual rut. Our praise, worship and interactions with God become routine, even mundane. We do and say the same things because it's what we know and what feels comfortable to us. So I invite you to join me in embracing this call to try something new as you interact with God this week.

What might singing a "new" song to the Lord mean for you personally? What's one thing you can do to interact with God in a fresh way this week (pray in a different spot, add some new worship songs to your playlist, talk out loud with God, change up what you're doing as you spend time in God's Word, etc.)? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 96:1-13

"Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!"

I'm a verbal person, so I'm drawn to the message running throughout Psalm 96 to verbally ascribe glory to God.

  • Verse 1: Sing to the Lord;
  • Verse 2: Sing to the Lord and tell of his salvation from day to day;
  • Verse 3: Declare his glory among the nations;
  • Verse 10: Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns."

Is it your practice to verbally ascribe glory to the Lord? Why is this important? Take a couple of minutes to think about how you can up your game in this area. How can/will you give God credit and glory this weekend? Tami

God of Israel

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 5:1-12

After the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant and place it in their temple to Dagon, they immediately begin to experience and learn that the God of Israel is more powerful than their man-made god. Then in fairly short order, the people at large experience the power and control of God first-hand, through the infliction of tumors on those residing wherever the ark was moved--clearly a display of God's power, might and control. Yet, rather than responding by recognizing God as the only true God who is sovereign over all, the Philistines' response is one of fearful rejection ("'Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.'" [vs.11]).

What did you learn about God from the Philistines' encounter with the ark of the covenant? What does this chapter show us about how we can perceive God and the things taking place around us? How will this help you talk with people about who God is and the things happening in the world? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 4: 1-22

After suffering a defeat in battle against the Philistines, the Israelites are perplexed by God's seeming inaction. So they send for the ark of the covenant, assuming that its presence would give them victory over their enemy. They were wrong. The Philistines ended up severely routing them, with 30,000 Israelites dying in round two of the battle.

The Israelites were operating on what I'll call an "insurance policy" mindset. In other words, they weren't devoted to or following God, yet their expectation was that God should and would act on their behalf when they needed it. After all, they were God's chosen people, so of course God should protect them.

This kind of mindset can be disastrous for us as well, and I'm speaking from experience. There was a period of years in my 20s and 30s where I lived according to this "insurance policy" approach. I did whatever I wanted and placed God on the back burner. However, if I encountered something difficult, then I would turn to God for help. That strategy didn't work well for me. Like He did with the Israelites, God allowed me to fall--hard--to get my attention. As I look back, I'm thankful for God's love and continued pursuit of me (and yes, my hard fall experience) in those extremely self-focused years.

What is your mindset when it comes to who God is and the role He plays in your life? What are one or two things that help you have and maintain a mindset of following after and serving God, rather than thinking about God as a convenience or safety net? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Yesterday as I read 1 Samuel 3, God focused my attention on Eli's hardened and unyielding heart. But today as I read this same passage, it was the attentive, receptive and responsive heart of young Samuel that drew my attention. What a contrast between these men who were both in the service of God at the temple.

Once Eli explains to Samuel that who he hears calling him is God, Samuel is expectantly tuned in and attentive to God's voice. Then when God calls him, Samuel immediately receives God's message. First thing the next morning, Samuel obediently delivers the entire scary and extremely difficult message God gave him to Eli ("So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him" [vs. 18]).

What an appealing example young Samuel provides for us. God, help me be like young Samuel--attentive, receptive and immediately responsive to Your prompting and instructions.

When it comes to being attentive to God's guidance, calling and direction, how would you say you are doing? What would help you be even more tuned in to God? What about being more receptive and responsive? What's one lesson you noticed or learned from Samuel's example? Tami

Indifferent

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Eli's indifferent attitude toward God left me with a heavy heart. Rather than humbling himself before God and asking for forgiveness upon hearing God's message of judgment through Samuel, Eli maintains his detached and distant stance. It's a sad picture that serves as a reminder that our hearts can grow spiritually cold when we're not nurturing our relationship with God and seeking to grow spiritually.

What are your habits when it comes to maintaining and nurturing your relationship with God? How often do you talk with God? How often do you read His Word? Why are both so important? Tami

Your Influence

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 2:12-26

As we finish up chapter 2 of 1 Samuel, we learn about Eli's two grown sons. Although they were in the position of priests, Eli's sons were disrespectful and defiant toward God and the things He values.

The overwhelming stance of the world today communicates "what I do only impacts and matters to me," and as a result, people choose to do what they want when they want, with little to no consideration of how it impacts or influences others.

Eli's sons operated by this worldly mindset. Both held the high position of priest, and in that esteemed and public position, they intentionally thumbed their noses at God. They did what they wanted when they wanted to through their refusal to follow the established practice for obtaining meat and by having sexual relations with women who were serving at the tent of meeting. They were highly visible, negative influencers. Think about it--if the priests aren't acknowledging God or following Him in any way, why would the people?

Who are the people you impact and influence? What's one thing you can do today to be a positive influencer as you demonstrate living for Christ? Tami

God's Pleasure

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Today's reading: Psalm 95:1-11

Psalm 95 issues a clear call to recognize God as being our God through songs of praise and worship before Him. But the closing verses of this psalm go a little further, letting us see that God takes pleasure in our praising, worshipping and seeking after Him.

How often do you think about your praise and worship being something that pleases God? How will you please God with your praise and worship this weekend? Tami

Just God

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Today's reading: Psalm 94:1-23

The words being lifted to God by the psalmist in Psalm 94 drew me in and spoke to my heart.The psalmist is upset and troubled by the sin and unjust behaviors he is observing and experiencing. So he cries out to God, pointing out the injustices taking place. Next, he offers a warning message to those around him, reminding them about who God is, and then concludes with personally recognizing and praising God for being his strength during these difficult times as he waits for God to move.

Is your heart grieved when you see people rejecting God and turning away from His instruction? Does what you see in the world around you motivate you to tell others about Christ? How is God your help and stronghold as you live in a world that isn't devoted to following God? Tami

Hannah's Prayer

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 2:1-11

Upon delivering young Samuel to Eli the priest, Hannah then expresses her love, thankfulness and respect for God through a beautiful, passion-filled prayer. For me, verse 2 said it all.

"There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God."

Is it your practice to tell God how much you love Him when you pray? How often do you recall and thank God for the things He has done? Is proclaiming your trust in God part of your prayers? Tami

God's First

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 1:21-28

Hannah and Elkanah's decision to give their precious son Samuel to God reminded me of what took place a little while after my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

I had recently walked with my dad through his battle with cancer (which took his life), and now my husband (Jeff) and I were receiving the same awful news from his doctor--cancer. At first, I was devastated. My first thought was that Jeff would end up dying just like my dad. But a few weeks into Jeff's chemotherapy, God helped me see that Jeff was His first, and as much as I loved my precious husband, God loved him even more. God had Jeff right in the middle of His hands.

It was a difficult prayer, but at that point I prayed and told God how much I loved Jeff and wanted to keep him--but I understood and accepted that Jeff was His first, and whatever the outcome of Jeff's cancer, I was fully trusting in Him. I can't explain it, but taking on this perspective and praying that prayer changed everything for me. Fear, worry and anxiety were replaced by a peace that I know only God can provide. Thank you, God, for helping me see that we are all Yours first.

What's your perspective when it comes to your children, your spouse, your parents, your siblings? Do you think of your loved ones (and yourself) as being God's first? Why is this important? Tami

Great Exchange

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-20; Philippians 4:4-7

My plan this morning was to move on to Hannah and Elkanah's faithfulness in giving Samuel to the Lord. But as I read back through the opening verses of chapter 1, God drew my attention to and impressed on my heart Hannah's changed demeanor and attitude after she poured her heart out to God. Hannah authentically shared her feelings of distress, despair and sadness with God and what took place is what I like to refer to as "the great exchange." That's when we give our worries, troubles and concerns to God, and in exchange He gives us His peace. Paul's words from Philippians 4 came to mind as I considered what took place with Hannah.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).

God is all about relationship, which means He wants to interact with us. He wants us to talk with Him and tell Him what is on our hearts. He wants to hear it ALL.

What does your typical interaction with God look like? Do you talk openly with Him about what's going on in your life--the good, the bad, your struggles, what you fear, what brings you joy, your dreams? If not, what's holding you back? What are you going to talk with God about today? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-20

1 Samuel begins with an introduction to a godly man named Elkanah and his two wives, Hannah and Penninah. Elkanah had several children with Penninah but no children with the woman he loved deeply, Hannah. The desire of Hannah's heart was to have a son, but for years (don't overlook this detail of years) she was unable to get pregnant.

The relationship between Penninah and Hannah was adversarial. Penninah reveled in Hannah's infertility, taunting and tormenting her about it. The situation was so bad that Hannah would weep and wouldn't eat. Then at some point, years into this scenario (notice the timespan of years again), Hannah goes to the temple and pours her heart out to God, asking Him to please give her a son. God hears Hannah's heartfelt request and answers--but not immediately (once more, take note of the timing). Verse 20 states, "in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel."

Hannah's situation highlighted and turned my attention toward God's timing and how waiting is very often part of His perfect plan. I'm not the most patient person, so this passage served as a good reminder that regardless of what I'm feeling (discouraged, frustrated, helpless, forgotten, impatient, depressed, disappointed, etc.), God's plan and God's timing is always and will always be the right and best course of action for my life.

As you read Hannah's story, what did God impress on your heart about His timing and plan as it pertains to your life? Are you waiting for God to move in a certain area or circumstance? What encouragement did you draw from this passage? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 1-10

Thank you for reading through and considering the Book of Esther with me for the last couple of weeks. I hope you enjoyed this story that is rich in details and history, but also rich in lessons from the different characters in the account--King Ahasuerus, Haman, Esther, Mordecai, even the eunuchs. So, speaking of lessons, before moving on to another Book, let's take today to look back over this action-packed story and consider the valuable lessons we found in it.

This time as I read through Esther, the primary lesson that God impressed on my heart was how, regardless of our circumstances or season in life, we need to be ready, available and looking for every opportunity to serve and work for God, and then be willing to step up and take action when the time is right.

What did you learn from the examples (good or bad) of Ahasuerus, Haman, Esther and/or Mordecai? What was the most significant lesson God impressed on your heart from this Book? How will you utilize this lesson in your daily life? Tami

Beautiful Woman

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Today's reading: Proverbs 31:10-31

With today being Mother's Day, I decided to have us read and focus on Proverbs 31:10-31, which is an absolutely beautiful depiction of what it looks like to be a godly woman. I love the richness of this passage and how the verses give us instruction concerning actions, thoughts, intentions, attitudes and words.

Ladies, what's one characteristic of the Proverbs 31 woman you want to build and strengthen in your life, and why? Men, what's one characteristic of a woman from Proverbs 31 that you value, and why? Tami

P.S. Happy Mother's Day to all the varieties of moms and grandmas around the world. Thanking God for each of you and wishing you a special day!

God Reigns

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Today's reading: Psalm 93:1-5

Psalm 93's opening words are "The LORD reigns." The words that follow then give us a beautiful depiction of our reigning God. Here are some of the attributes of God that I noticed as I read through this praising psalm:

  • In control
  • Strong
  • Everlasting
  • Mighty
  • Trustworthy
  • Holy

Thank you, God, for reminding me that You are all we need, and that we can stand firm when we have the God who controls the universe on our side!

What comfort do you draw from knowing that God is our reigning God and that He has been established forever? What stood out to you the most about God from this psalm, and why? Tami

Ready

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Today's reading: Esther 10:1-3

The final chapter of Esther highlights Mordecai. And honestly, when you look back at this book, Mordecai is as much a key player in saving the Jews as Esther. It was Mordecai that sent the challenging message to Esther telling her that perhaps she had been chosen as queen "for such a time as this." And those same words also applied to Mordecai because God had also placed him right where he was at this time for the specific purpose of saving the Jews.

Neither Esther nor Mordecai had any idea that they were going to be used by God in such a significant way. Yet because they had their eyes fixed on God and they trusted in Him, they were ready and willing to act and do what was necessary when they encountered situations that called for action.

If God were to ask you to move and do something out of the ordinary for Him today, are you ready? Take a minute to think about the phrase "for such a time as this" as it pertains to you personally. What is it that you can do--right now in your unique situation or circumstances--to serve God to the best of your ability, and in so doing, impact your family, neighborhood or city? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 9:19-32

After the Jews were allowed to defend themselves and get relief from their enemies, they came together for a "day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday" (vs. 19). Shortly after this, Mordecai records all the events that took place surrounding the Jews and sends letters throughout the kingdom instituting and establishing this celebration, which came to be called the Feast of Purim.

I always find this passage interesting because I've had the opportunity to be in Israel and observe Jewish families celebrating Purim. It's a family affair with the children dressing up as the characters in the story--little girls as Queen Esther, boys as Mordecai or King Ahasuerus--and from what I could gather, the fellowshipping around food is also involved. So Purim is still being observed thousands of years after God used Esther and Mordecai to save the Jewish people. I love this because the account of God's provision and love for His people is being remembered, retold and passed on year after year, generation to generation.

Is it your practice to look back and remember how God has provided and moved on your behalf? Identify one or two spiritual landmarks in your life. How are you passing on (or will you pass on) the message of God's goodness to the next generation? Tami

BIG Provision

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Today's reading: Esther 9:1-10

Esther 9:1-10 is a difficult passage because of the violence and death that takes place. So when I read this account, I always start by making sure I'm keeping in mind that this is a historical account from long ago that took place in a different country and culture and in a time that is quite different from today.

God's provision and the way in which He protected the Jews stood out prominently to me today. As I look back over my own life and think about many accounts in the Bible, often the way God moves and answers our prayers is so much different than what our limited human minds envision. The Jews had asked God to help and protect them, and He absolutely did--in His BIG and unique way. Rather than God simply safeguarding the Jews as the designated day of Haman's edict played out, He provided complete and ongoing protection through the edict from Mordecai, which gave the Jews a protective status and allowed them to go on the offensive against those who hated them and planned to do them harm. Verse 1 states: "...on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them."

What's your experience with God making BIG provision for you and your family? How does knowing that God's ways are different--bigger, more creative, beyond our human thinking--impact your prayers going forward? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 8:1-17

One of the things I like about the Book of Esther is the up-close and personal look at a number of different relationships it provides. And because God created us to be relational, taking time to consider the relationships in Esther--family, marriage, business/work, friendship--can give us insight to help us navigate the relationships in our own lives.

Family is prominent throughout Esther, but the message of family caring for, protecting and loving one another came across especially loud and clear for me today. Even though Esther was taken away from Mordecai and then elevated to the position of queen, she found a way to maintain their relationship despite the fact that she couldn't talk with him face-to-face. And the fact that Esther was queen didn't go to her head. Mordecai was precious to her, and she continued to look to him for counsel and advice and promoted him when the opportunity presented itself.

Likewise, Mordecai loved and treasured Esther. As a result, he was painstakingly diligent about keeping his relationship with her intact. Mordecai kept tabs on Esther and did whatever he could for her from outside the palace. "Thank you, God, for giving us the Book of Esther and the picture it provides of a healthy family relationship where You are the foundation."

What did you notice from Esther 8 and prior chapters about family? What does Esther 1-8 (and really the Bible as a whole) show us about the importance of family to God as well as His desire for us to love and care for one another? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 7:7-8:17

By the conclusion of Esther's second meal with the king, Haman's evil plot to kill the Jews is fully exposed and swift justice is rendered against Haman by order of King Ahasuerus. Haman is hung from the very gallows his pride had caused him to build for the public execution of Mordecai. The events of this day and what follows are quite amazing, with wrongs being righted in a relatively short time. Under the direction of Mordecai, a new edict is written which turns the tables for the Jews. They are no longer the hunted but are now empowered to go on the offensive to protect and defend themselves and their families from anyone who intended to do them harm.

The events that play out in Esther 7-8, drove home for me how God is our righteous and just protector. I am thankful for this reminder because we can lose sight of this fact and start to question God's goodness when wrong or bad things that happen to us aren't righted in our desired time frame. Throughout the Bible we are repeatedly shown and told that God is a God of justice and that He will make things right--in His time.

What encouragement does God righting the sinful acts of Haman bring you today? How might this account help you the next time you find yourself waiting on God's timing? What are one or two things that help you stay positive and focused on God's goodness when you're in a season of waiting? Tami

Intimate Love

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Today's reading: Psalm 91:1-16

While the words of Psalm 91 deliver a message of comfort and security, they also put before us an incredible picture of a mighty and powerful God who adores and cares for us as His children. So I encourage you to spend some more time in Psalm 91 today. Read through this beautiful song again, this time looking purposefully at what it shows you about God and your relationship with Him.

What does this psalm reveal about God's love? What does it communicate about the personal nature of God and His desire to be in relationship with us? Based on this psalm, what would you say God desires or wants from you? Tami

Protector God

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Today's reading: Psalm 91:1-16

Psalm 91 is such a beautiful description of God's provision and protection. I was drawn to verses 3-6 today.

"3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday."

So often when we encounter difficulty, when we've been slugging through a painful situation, when we receive unexpected bad news--fear presses in and consumes us. What a comfort to know that God will deliver and cover us. And because God is our refuge, we are secure and can stand strong as the inevitable storms of life rage around us.

What comfort do you draw from this psalm? Was there a particular verse that moved your heart, and why? When and how has God calmed your fear in a time of difficulty? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 7:1-6

We're now to Esther's second meal and the final piece of her plan to reveal Haman's evil plot to King Ahasuerus and seek his favor and help. Esther's "for such a time as this" moment has arrived, and with God has her protector and guide, she handles herself and the situation well. Showing wisdom beyond her years, she keeps her emotions in check as she humbly presents her request to the king, taking care to be accurate and factual with what she says. God's presence, leading and guiding Esther's every word and action, were absolutely evident in this precarious situation.

How has God calmed your heart and led you when you've faced a "mountain" situation? Is reaching out to God for His leading your default response when you encounter difficulty AND when things are going well? Tami

Sleeping Less

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Today's reading: Esther 6:1-13

After enjoying one special dinner from Esther, on the eve of Esther's second feast for the king and Haman, the king is having difficulty sleeping.

"On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus" (vs. 1-2).

The first couple of verses of Esther 6 highlight for me the unique ways that God moves, communicates with and prompts us. Over the past several years, I've been experiencing something like King Ahasuerus did on this particular night--God wakes me up from time to time. And when those times happen, typically someone or something is on my mind that needs prayed for. What or who is on my mind doesn't always make complete sense to me at the time, but then the next day or perhaps a day or so later, it becomes clear why God woke me so I could pray. As much I enjoy my sleep (and I surely do), I'm happy to sleep less if it means hearing from and talking with God and praying for others.

What did this passage show you about God and some of the ways in which He chooses to communicate with, prompt and work through us? Have you ever sensed God rousing you from sleep? How did you respond? The next time you wake up in the night or have difficulty sleeping, I encourage you to talk with God and then respond to whatever He places on your heart. Tami

Today's reading: Esther 6:1-13; Proverbs 29:23; Philippians 2:3

As we come to Esther 6, Haman's prideful thinking and actions remain strong. So much so that when the king asks Haman for advice about what should be done for someone whom the king wants to honor, Haman, without any deliberate thought or contemplation, surrenders to prideful thinking.

"And Haman said to himself, 'Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?'" (vs. 6).

With his next breath, Haman spurts out the recommendation of an elaborate and showy public display that he believes is for his elevation and honoring. As we find out a few verses later, Haman completely misses the mark here. What a picture of how pride can weaken and impair our ability to think logically and respond rationally.

How might focusing on one of the verses below (or another of your choosing) help shift your focus from yourself to someone else? How will you combat prideful thoughts when they arise going forward? Tami

"One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor." (Prov. 29:23).

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Phil. 2:3).

"All That"

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Today's reading: Esther 5:9-14; Proverbs 8:13

Haman provides us with a detailed picture of being prideful in Esther 5:9-14. It's hard to miss the fact that he is completely consumed with himself. I found myself thinking, "He sure thinks he's 'all that,'" when I read verses 11-12 where Haman is telling his friends and his wife how important and special he is. Haman is so full of himself that he can't tolerate the fact that Mordecai isn't impressed with who he is, or that he's not fearful about refusing to worship Haman for his supposed greatness. So in this self-focused, self-worshipping state of mind, Haman's pride gets the best of him. So much so that it drives him to put in motion a plan for Mordecai's public execution. But as we'll see when we get to Esther 6, Haman's pride proves to be his downfall.

None of us are immune to pride. In fact, pride comes quite naturally to us (and yes, I am speaking from experience). So while it's easy for us to shake our heads and point our fingers at Haman, if we're honest, we're all capable of thinking and acting just like him. Thankfully, as followers of Christ, we can overcome the powerful pull of pride when we keep our eyes on serving God and draw on His strength.

In the past, how has pride impacted your thinking and actions? What helps you combat prideful thoughts when they surface? What did you notice or learn from this passage about the dangers and blinding effect of pride? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

Tami's New Book


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2018 is the previous archive.

June 2018 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.