August 2018 Archives

I Love Because

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Today's reading: Psalm 116:1-11

The psalmist declares his love for God and then, in the remaining verses of his song, provides what the lawyer side of me would call supporting documentation for this love.

"I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me . . ." (vs. 1-2)

As I read through the verses of this psalm, my thoughts kept going to the opening phrase: "I love the Lord, because . . ." So I spent a few minutes pondering my love for the Lord and how I would finish that statement.

I was drawn to the message found in verses 6 and 7 because the psalmist's words resonated with me. You see, my husband and I have had to deal with a number of difficult circumstances over the past five years. But God was right there with us, and He sustained and grew us spiritually through it all. As I write today, we are in a place (spiritually, physically and emotionally) that I could never have imagined just a few years ago. God has certainly "dealt bountifully" with us!

So here's where I landed for my "I love because" statement: I love the Lord, because when I was low He sustained me; in His goodness, God has dealt bountifully with me.

What's your "I love because" statement? Take a few minutes and finish this statement: "I love you Lord, because _____________________________________________." Tami

Consequences

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 12:15-31

There are always consequences when we sin. And in today's passage, David experiences that first-hand. With regard to this instance, the consequences are particularly painful and distressing. But the pain and distress of the sickness and death of his first son with Bathsheba, humbles David and brings him to a state of complete repentance. While this account is sad and difficult to read, it delivers a needed reminding message of the damaging consequences of our sinful choices--not only to us personally, but to those around us, who more often than not are the people dearest to us.

How has God used a consequence(s) to move your heart to repentance? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-15

Nathan gets the unpleasant (but absolutely necessary) task of confronting David about his sinful actions with regard to Bathsheba and Uriah. Knowing that this interaction will be a difficult one, Nathan starts off with a metaphor that David can easily understand, and then uses that fictitious story to directly and candidly confront David about the horrific wrong he's done and the consequences that will follow. It's a thought-provoking exchange that provides an example of corrective confrontation done well, from both the giving (Nathan) and receiving (David) parties.

What's one thing you learned or saw from either Nathan or David about corrective confrontation-giving, receiving and/or responding to correction? What does this account show about the value of having strong, godly friends and mentors? Tami

No Immunity

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27

I'm thankful for the realness of the Bible and how through His Word God lets us see and learn from the examples and life situations, both good and bad, of those who lived before us. So while the entire account of David and Bathsheba is disheartening, there are important lessons that we can draw from this story--the most significant one for me being that absolutely no one is immune or exempt from sin.

I find this passage difficult to read because, honestly, it's a little unsettling to see David, God's anointed and the man after God's heart, giving in to his sinful desires and falling so hard so easily and quickly. I can't read this story and not consider the fact that I'm no different than David--absolutely susceptible to, and capable of, great sin. "Thank you, God, for showing us this portion of David's life story which provides a hard but needed cautionary reminder."

What are some other lessons about sin that you saw or learned from David's thinking and actions? What was the most important lesson for you, and why? Tami

Hard Life Lessons

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 10:1-19

The account of the relationship between David and the Ammonites after the death of the king of Ammon is sad, yet filled with a number of beneficial life lessons. The first lesson I noticed is that there may be times when our efforts to extend kindness to another person won't always be received properly.

But the majority of the lessons, and where I chose to focus today, came from the example of Hanun and the snowball effect of his poor choices as a new and inexperienced leader.

Here are the lessons that stood out to me from this disastrous, unnecessary, deadly account:

  • Who we choose as friends and advisors is critical. Surrounding ourselves with wise, godly people is a must.
  • When we're unsure about a circumstance, and particularly someone's motivation, we need to do a little digging and assess the facts of the situation so we can respond properly.
  • Our response to others should never be demeaning or degrading.
  • It's better to admit we've made a mistake than get into a fight over our foolish and/or wrong actions.
  • Fear is powerful and can cloud and distort our judgment and thinking.

What lesson(s) did God impress on your heart from this account? What lesson stood out most prominently to you, and why? Tami

Completed Words

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

Words are cheap. It's easy to tell someone we'll lend a helping hand or pray for them. But putting our words into action requires follow through and effort, and many times what we say and promise to do just doesn't happen.

One of my favorite parts of David's life story is his reaching out to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. Way back in 1 Samuel 20, David and Jonathan promise they will support and uphold each other, and David specifically promises that he will show kindness to Jonathan's family in the future (see 1 Samuel 20:12-17 and 42). Well, as we reach 2 Samuel 9, years have gone by and David who is now king, is in a position to follow through on his earlier promise to Jonathan, and he does just that. He holds true to his words and follows through on the promise he made to his closest friend. And what's so extraordinary about this account is that David doesn't just show kindness to Mephibosheth. Instead, he goes above and beyond--giving back all of Saul's property (can you imagine how massive this had to be?), putting in place servants to work the land, and providing for Mephibosheth to always eat at his table. These words from verse 11 capture and convey David's faithful and committed heart.

"So Mephibosheth ate at David's table, like one of the king's sons."

When we follow through on what we say, what message(s) does that send to those we're dealing with? What about to people who are watching? How does being faithful to our commitments benefit us and others? Tami

Help and Shield

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Today's reading: Psalm 115:1-18

The repeated message that God is trustworthy and is our help and shield in verses 9-11 drew my attention today.

"O Israel, trust in the LORD!

He is their help and their shield.

O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!

He is their help and their shield.

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!

He is their help and their shield."

"Thank you, God, for this reminder that no matter what we are experiencing, we can trust You to be our help and shield!"

How has God been your help and your shield? Give an example. What helps you rely on and trust in God when life's circumstances seem out of control? Will you join me today in telling God that you trust Him completely? Tami

Song of Remembrance

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Today's reading: Psalm 114:1-8

The words of Psalm 114 are a looking back and remembering of the wonderful ways God has protected and provided for His children. It's an acknowledgement of God as THE all-powerful God, and His love for and goodness to the Israelites--a love and goodness that is also freely offered to us.

How often do you look back and remember the ways in which God has shown His love to you--protecting you, comforting you, providing for you? Take some time today to recall God's goodness, and then thank Him for what He has done for you. Tami

Dedicated Living

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 8:1-18

As we come into 2 Samuel 8, we get yet another example and lesson from David on what it looks like to be completely dedicated to living for God. David is a warrior set on conquering Israel's enemies and taking possession of their cities and lands, and God is with him. What was so prominent from this chapter was how David's actions and victories weren't about glorifying him--at all. Every action he took was for God and every item he acquired was dedicated to God, even when king Toi sent expensive gifts specifically for David (silver, gold and bronze). And David's dedication to God extended beyond handling material things to the people under his rule. As we come to the end of chapter 8 we're told, "David administered justice and equity to all his people" (vs. 15).

How does being dedicated to God impact you in areas like finances, work and/or family relationships? Think about living fully for God and what that should look like in our daily lives. Now think about your daily routine and practices. How do the two compare? None of us are perfect, so what are some areas or things that you need to work on? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-29

My heart was moved as I took in the beautiful relationship between God and David displayed so candidly in 2 Samuel 7--God blessing David with a covenant to establish David's house and kingdom forever, and David's reverent and humble response. I was particularly drawn to David's reply to God and read it through several times, stopping at different points along the way to more fully take in David's attitude, words and actions. David is so personal and intimate with God, yet at the same time, still recognizes God for who He is--our great and mighty Creator who is in control of every detail of the universe. As I closed my Bible, I was thankful for this example and the reminder that our all-powerful God is also personal.

"Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears" (vs. 22).

What does your time praying to and talking with God look like? How personal are those conversations? Is recognizing God and His greatness and thanking Him for all He's done a regular part of your prayers? Tami

Ugly Words

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 6:16-23, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 18:21

No relationship is without conflict. Why? Because this side of heaven, we're all flawed people. This being the case, being prepared to respond properly when our tempers flare and we need to confront someone or someone confronts us, would be wise on our part.

Anger is a powerful emotion that often times leads us to speak or spew ugly, hurtful words to others. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." Our ugly words can damage relationships beyond repair, and once spoken, those cutting words can never be taken back.

We get a glimpse of conflict handled poorly in 2 Samuel 6:16-23. Michal is angry with David, and in her anger is waiting to confront David as soon as he returns from offering before the ark and blessing the people. David isn't expecting an angry confrontation and immediately responds in kind with his own harsh and cutting words. The situation is a sad one, and at the end of the day, the relationship between this husband and wife has been damaged forever.

How do you tend to respond or react when you get angry with someone? Whether you're pausing for several seconds before responding or waiting even longer, how is waiting to confront or address a person who has offended you helpful when conflict arises? What's one lesson you learned about anger, conflict or confrontation from this passage? Tami

Celebrating God

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-23

Through both an initial and later scene in 2 Samuel 6, we get a vivid picture of celebrating before God from King David and the Israelites. There were songs, stringed instruments, percussion instruments and dancing, as well as offerings and sacrifices made to God. What stood out prominently to me was how passionate David was about and for God. This chapter prompted me to think about and assess how I celebrate and show my passion for God. Yes, Sunday morning worship at church immediately came to my mind, but I was stretched to consider how I might be more demonstrative about rejoicing, praising and celebrating God outside of a church service environment in my everyday life.

So what about you? What does celebrating God look like in your life? How could you do more? Tami

Holy Process

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-15

Once David becomes king over all of Israel, he arranges for the ark of the covenant to be brought to Jerusalem. Rather than having Levites carry the ark through rods on their shoulders, which was God's specified way to transport this holy object, David arranges for the ark to be transported in a wooden cart pulled by oxen. At some point in the transport journey, the oxen stumble, and Uzzah reaches out and touches the ark to steady it. This touching is a direct violation of God's instruction to the Israelites, and as a result, God strikes Uzzah down. David's initial response to this tragedy is anger, which then turns to fear and a halting of the ark being brought to Jerusalem until several months later.

This account is one that seems harsh because Uzzah's motives appear to be good--he was trying to protect the ark from falling. However, as I spent time contemplating what happened here and then dug deeper reading a commentary, this account made more sense to me. David and the Levites weren't following God's directives about the handling and moving of the ark in the first place. They weren't giving God and His holy ark the reverence and respect that were due. So the consequence was the unfortunate and unnecessary death of Uzzah as well as a delaying of the ark coming to Jerusalem.

How do you show reverence and respect to God? Give an example. When or in what type of situations are we most likely to take shortcuts or do something our way when God has instructed us otherwise? Tami

Naming God

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Today's reading: Psalm 113:1-9

I love the way the first three verses of Psalm 113 highlight the name of the Lord. Verse 3 is my favorite because it issues the call to "praise the name of the Lord" at all times.

"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!" (vs. 3)

Is it your practice to be verbal about "praising the name of the Lord" before others? How do you proclaim and praise God to your co-workers, neighbors, friends and family members? Tami

Rightly

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Today's reading: Psalm 112:1-10

Psalm 112 is basically a commending of living rightly for God. So what does living rightly look like according to the psalmist? Here are few of the qualities I noted as I read:

  • Revering the Lord
  • Taking delight in God's commands
  • Acting with grace and extending mercy
  • Being generous
  • Making honesty a lifestyle
  • Trusting in God and putting confidence in Him

As I looked over my list and read back through this encouraging psalm, verse 5 ("It is well with the man who lives generousl") and verse 9 ("He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor") really resonated with me. An important part of living for God is being generous with both our time and our resources as we help those around us in need.

Is being generous and helping people in need something you're intentional about? What's one example of you living generously for God in the past few weeks? Were there any other elements or qualities of living rightly that stood out to you from this psalm, and why? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 5:17-25

"And David inquired of the LORD. . ." (vs. 19). "And David did as the LORD commanded him. . ." (vs. 24).

Seeking out and asking God for guidance is something we've seen over and over looking at the life of David. And now with David being king of Israel, guess what? Nothing changes! Seeking God's direction and then following it is his standard operating procedure regardless of his circumstances.

How often, and in what circumstances, do you "inquire of the Lord"? How would you describe your "standard operating procedure" for navigating life? Is seeking God's guidance and then following His direction your habit or routine? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-16

I'm a type A, a go-getter. Once I'm given an assignment or set my sights on a goal, I'm all in, pushing full forward to achieve whatever it is I'm focused on or working toward. So waiting can be a challenge for me. When things don't progress as quickly, or in the manner I envision, I'm susceptible to frustration, discouragement and doubt. That's why I'm thankful for getting to see David's journey--in detail--and for the lessons his life story has provided over the past weeks. Many years pass and numerous difficult experiences transpire before David finally becomes king over all of Israel. And through it all, he stays the course spiritually, keeping his eyes on God and trusting His plan and timing. What an example.

Think back over what we've read the past few weeks, beginning with 1 Samuel 16 where David was anointed by Samuel. What have you learned about God's timing and trusting God from David's journey? Tami

Today's reading: 2 Samuel 4:1-12, Proverbs 11:3

While David was grieved over Abner's death, Baanah and Rechab, two of Ish-bosheth's captains (and who would have known Abner well), received the news of Abner's death and then immediately plotted how they could turn the situation to their advantage. With no regard for anyone but themselves, they murder Ish-bosheth and then present his head to David expecting David to reward them (similar to the scenario in 2 Samuel 1 surrounding Saul's death).

To their surprise and ultimate dismay, David refuses to entertain what they've done. Instead, he proclaims God's goodness and calls Baanah and Rechab out for what they are: "wicked men" who have taken an innocent life. As I considered this passage, David's devotion to God and his desire to live righteously, once again, came across loud and clear.

Is it your desire to live rightly for God? How are you demonstrating your commitment to godly living to those around you? What's one lesson or message that God impressed on your heart as you took in and considered this passage? 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 August 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2018 is the previous archive.

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