June 2018 Archives


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Today's reading: Psalm 100:3-5

Verse 3 of Psalm 100 is one of my favorite verses in the psalms because of the message it conveys and the visual it provides of God being our shepherd and us being His sheep.

"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."

What does Psalm 100 convey about God's character? What does verse 3 reveal about God's love and care for us? Tami

You Serve

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Today's reading: Psalm 100:1-2

At the beginning of Psalm 100, we're issued the call to "serve the LORD with gladness," with examples of making a joyful noise and singing. But serving with gladness can be demonstrated in many other ways as well--having a grateful heart, a loving attitude, helping others or speaking encouraging words. The list goes on and on.

On a typical day, what does you serving the Lord with gladness look like? What's one thing you can do this week to step up your glad serving? Tami

Representing God

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 17:38-58

From the moment he arrives on the battle ground, David is an outstanding representative of God. As I started reading our passage, it hit me that David's decision to stand up to and face Goliath truly provides us with a wonderful example as we represent and stand up for Christ in the world today. So I started jotting down the things I noticed from David's example that I could put into practice. Here are a few of the things I came up with:

  • He was confident in God
  • He didn't hesitate
  • He didn't concern himself with comparisons
  • He didn't question the situation
  • He used the tools he was fimilar with
  • He "ran toward the battle"
  • He remained humble
  • He finished strong

What encouraged you the most from David's example? What's one thing you learned from David's example about representing God that you can put into practice? Tami

Change Agent

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The account of David and Goliath is arguably one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. I remember hearing it as a little girl in Sunday school and singing songs about David and his sling and stones. But before we turn to the incredible confrontation between David and Goliath, we're going to spend today looking at the first part of 1 Samuel 17. As I took in the details of the passage, my attention was drawn to how God used David, a young man who wasn't even part of Saul's troops, to be the change agent that a distraught and intimidated Saul and army needed.

Try to picture the scene in your mind. Two opposing large armies with a valley between them had been set up for at least 40 days. BUT... the Philistines have a giant, super warrior named Goliath, who had struck fear in the Israelites through his daily routine of morning and evening taunts and challenges. Then David enters the picture. Arriving on the battle field with food for his brothers, he hears one of Goliath's rants and is immediately moved to action. Unlike those around him, David takes a bold stand for God, reminding and encouraging Saul and his troops that they are the army of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26-36). David then volunteers to take on Goliath, confidently assuring Saul that God will deliver him (1 Samuel 17:37).

What does this passage show about how God often uses the most unlikely people to accomplish His work? Do you see yourself as being God's agent for change? How can you be a change agent for someone who's discouraged, searching for direction, or needing support or a nudge to take action? Tami

Turning Back

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

After Saul received the message that God has rejected him as king (see 1 Samuel 15:10-34), he goes through the motions of repenting and acknowledging to Samuel that he sinned when he was put on the spot, but not truly repenting at a heart level. So when we reach 1 Samuel 16:14-23 we see that the Spirit of the Lord has departed from Saul, and as a result, he is mentally and emotionally distressed.

The solution to Saul's problem seems so obvious--he needs to turn back to God and seek forgiveness. But that doesn't happen. It's a sad picture because Saul never seems to give any consideration to seeking forgiveness as a remedy for his tormented state of mind.

What does Saul's situation show us about choosing our ways over God's? What does this account reveal about the impact of having an unrepentant heart and living with unconfessed sin? Tami

Look Inside

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As Samuel journeys to Bethlehem to seek out and anoint the next king, his expectation is that God is directing him to an impressive man--one who is physically fit, muscular, tall and good looking. But Samuel is in for a surprise. When he believes he found the man who fits this "impressive" list, God rejects him. I never get tired of reading God's words to Samuel when Samuel assumes that Eliab, David's older brother, is God's choice for the next king.

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart'" (1 Samuel 16:7).

Whether we realize it or not, we all get caught up in outward appearances. I know I certainly do. So I was thankful for this reminder that God isn't concerned about what we look like on the outside. He's looking inside--at our hearts--and what He desires most is for us to love, follow and serve Him fully.

What would happen if we looked at people with God's perspective? In other words, if we focused on each person's heart or spiritual condition instead of a person's outward appearance? Would you join me in making this a priority this week? No matter what someone looks like or what encounter we have with them, let's commit to seeing them through God's eyes--finding out their heart condition (spiritually speaking) and then taking action to help and encourage them to the best of our ability. Tami

Tough Love

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 15:1-35

My heart went out to Samuel and the situation in which he finds himself in 1 Samuel 15. Samuel, now an old man, is still seeking after and following God faithfully and wanting the best for the nation of Israel, but the same can't be said of Saul. After delivering clear instructions to Saul concerning the Amalekites, Samuel discovers that Saul has disobeyed God's directive. Disappointed, hurt, angry and frustrated, Samuel then turns to the unpleasant task of confronting Saul about his sin and telling him that God had taken Israel from him and given it to another who was better. A tough, hard day delivering and then carrying out a tough message for Samuel.

What do Samuel's words in verse 22, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams," reveal about God and what He values? What did you learn about obedience from this passage? Tami


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Today's reading: Psalm 99:1-9

Three times in the nine short verses of Psalm 99, we're told that God is holy (pure, righteous, set apart from any evil). Accompanying this declaration is the command to praise His name (vs. 3), exalt the Lord and worship at his footstool (vs. 5) and exalt the Lord and worship at his holy mountain (vs. 9).

Why is it important to know that God is holy? What are you going to do with the recurring instructions to exalt the Lord and worship Him? How will you put this into practice over the next week and beyond? Tami

A Joyful Noise

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Today's reading: Psalm 98:1-9

In Psalm 98, the instruction to sing joyous songs and praises to the Lord is a clear one. But in this particular song, the psalmist also includes an unusual description of nature praising God. In verses 7-8, we're told "let the sea roar...let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together."

This past week, I got the opportunity to experience this description of nature praising God firsthand. My sister and I had traveled to Seattle, Washington, to attend a conference, and while we were there, we took a few hours to drive out to Snoqualmie Falls. It was magnificent! Before we could even see the falls, we could hear and feel it. Immediately after stepping out of our car, the rumbling of the water surging over the rocky cliff and pounding into the river basin below could be heard even though we were over half a mile away. And as we walked through the forest to the lookout point, a heavy mist from the waterfall fell over our heads like rain. After viewing the falls from the lookout point, we then hiked down the mountainside to the river basin. As we trekked down the winding trail, the sounds of birds, bugs and other animals gloriously permeated the air.

A day or so later I read Psalm 98, and it hit me that I had indeed experienced the rivers clapping their hands and the hills singing for joy together, and oh how beautiful it was. If the rivers and hills can praise God that exuberantly, how much more can and should we--God's children--give God glory and make a joyful noise to Him? (Take a look and listen to this short video of Snoqualmie Falls that I took with my phone so you can have a little taste of the rivers clapping their hands.)

When you think about making a joyful noise to the Lord what comes to mind? What would it look like for you to "make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD" with abandon? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 14:24-52

Saul's thinking, and the way he interacted with his troops in 1 Samuel 14, definitely provide us with some insight on how to lead people. Unfortunately, that insight is mostly through a negative perspective rather than from a modeling of effective leading. The lesson that stood out to me the most from this passage (or what I recognize was least effective) was how Saul put his wants and interests before the well-being of the men in his army. The information and words of Saul contained in verse 24 reveal much.

"And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, 'Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.' So none of the people had tasted food."

The men of Israels army had been fighting hard, and they were weary. But rather than providing a much needed boost to his men--physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually--Saul is consumed with himself. He's frustrated with the current state of the battle, so he impulsively imposes a foolish, punitive oath banning any consumption of food until evening. Saul's actions and words convey that he was more concerned about himself and what he wanted than with looking after and helping the men under his care--the very men who were giving their lives to support and protect him.

What's one lesson about leading you noticed or learned from this passage? What does Saul's example teach us about considering the interests of others as we lead as parents, adults or teachers at work, with friends, at school or at church? Tami

No Doubt

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 14:1-23

Jonathan (Saul's son) and his armor-bearer stir things up a bit as we get into 1 Samuel 14. This duo single-handedly take on and defeat a battalion of the Philistine army, which then leads to a full blown battle that ends in victory for the Israelites. It's an unlikely scenario that at first glance seems a bit reckless on Jonathan's part. But Jonathan wasn't acting on his own strength. The words he speaks to his armor-bearer in verse 6 convey an unwavering, absolute belief and trust in God and His control and protection.

"Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few."

Would you describe yourself as believing that "nothing can hinder the Lord"? How does fully believing and trusting in God impact your day-to-day decisions and the way you interact with your family, co-workers and friends? How bold are you for God? Tami


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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 13:1-23

Only two years into his reign as the first king of Israel, Saul's heart has turned lukewarm (if even that) for God. It's a different scenario than what we first saw of Saul in 1 Samuel 11. As Saul gathers men together to fight against the Philistines, we see no mention of him seeking God's counsel. And a short time later when the Philistines rally with a massive army, Saul chooses to rely on himself rather than turning to and trusting in God. He takes matters into his own hands by presenting a burnt offering that was only to be conducted by God's prophet, Samuel. It was a decision that would bring catastrophic consequences for Saul.

When or in what type of situations are you most tempted to take action without seeking God's guidance? What did you learn or see from this account about the importance of trusting in and waiting on God? What's one thing that helps you stay focused on God and submit to His timing? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 12:1-25

Now an old man, Samuel addresses the Israelites one more time reminding them of who God is and then calling the nation to respect, serve and obey Him.

As I took in Samuel's passionate address, once again, his absolute commitment to God was apparent. From his earliest years to his final days Samuel wholly followed God--seeking His instruction, following His words and faithfully leading and guiding God's people. As I spent a few minutes thinking about Samuel's example, here are some of the descriptive words that came to my mind: unwavering, candid, steadfast, dependable, submitted, shepherd, caring, devoted, loyal, committed, honest, firm.

What is the most meaningful lesson you've learned from Samuel's example? What does Samuel's life show us about serving God in and through all our circumstances? What does his example show about serving God as we age? Tami

Superb Leader

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Superb Leader

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

Today we get a look at Saul's early leadership style, and I have to say, it is impressive. The Ammonites have taken control of the city of Jabesh-gilead, and the Ammonite leader, Nahash, has agreed to make a treaty with the people--with the condition that each person's right eye be gouged out as a way to disgrace Israel. (Talk about a picture of an arrogant bully). In desperation and with the hope of receiving aid from kinsmen, Jabesh-gilead sends word of their impending plight around the countryside.

When the message reaches Saul's community of Gibeah, the people are sad but no one suggests taking action to help. That all changes, however, once Saul hears about this horrific situation. He responds immediately, calling for the people of Israel to rally together to rescue the city of Jabesh-gilead. Saul then organizes the large group who responds, and they proceed to crush the Ammonites and take back the city. Then immediately after the victory, we get another glimpse of Saul's leadership when he refuses to allow the killing of a number of men who had opposed his leadership. Well done, Saul!

What did you learn from this account about understanding, helping and/or leading people? How will you use what you learned from this account to help you as you direct, lead and work with others? Tami

Foundation and Core

Today's reading: Psalm 97:1-12

Woven throughout Psalm 97 are a number of phrases and references to God being righteous. Verse 2 tells us that "righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne," and then in verse 6 we see "the heavens proclaim his righteousness..." What a comfort to know that God's foundation--His core and substance--is good, upright and just.

What encouragement and/or comfort did you draw from Psalm 97? What do verses 2 and 6 reveal about how God views and values doing right? Tami

Great and Mighty

Today's reading: Psalm 97:1-12

The incredible power, strength and might of God immediately came across to me as I began reading Psalm 97. Literally every verse contained at least one description or piece of information about God, and it all served to focus my attention on God's greatness. I definitely came away from my reading with a more complete picture of the incredible God we serve.

Take a couple of minutes and list out what you saw or learned about God from Psalm 97. Other than great and mighty, what are some words that you would use to describe God based on this psalm? Tami

Young King Saul

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 10:1-27

A young Saul is anointed king of Israel in 1 Samuel 10. But Saul didn't fully understand what was taking place, not to mention how and why it was going to play out going forward. Although Samuel anointed him as king, Saul didn't have a detailed roadmap of the situation or a play-by-play instruction manual to follow, and he was a little scared (hiding from the crowd in some baggage). Yet he listened to Samuel--God's representative--and obediently moved forward with the expectation that God would guide him along the way.

This passage is just what I needed today as I'm in the middle of one of these uncertain times. I am following God's prompting, and I know He is right here with me, yet because I can't see the full plan or how God is precisely working, my tendency is to hesitate, to question and, like Saul, to be a little fearful. So I'm thankful for the reminder 1 Samuel 10 provided--that I need to keep moving forward so I don't miss out on or have a lesser experience with what God has for me.

Have you ever felt like young Saul here in 1 Samuel 10, struggling because you don't fully understand or see all the details of God's plan? What things help you keep moving forward when you're not entirely certain how God is using the turns, twists, hills and valleys as contributors to your journey? Tami

About Me

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

About My Blog

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

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

May 2018 is the previous archive.

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