September 2018 Archives

Embrace It

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:73-80 (Yodh)

Today as I read Psalm 119:73-80, verse 79 and the message it delivers moved my heart powerfully.

"Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies."

Part of being a follower of Christ is witnessing to and helping others grow spiritually (both by our actions and our words). I am enthusiastic about this responsibility and wholeheartedly believe we must embrace it.

When people hear you talk and observe your actions, do they see Jesus? Do you talk with others about your faith? If not, what holds you back? How can you live out this verse--even more--today, next week and beyond? Tami

Good Problem

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:65-72 (Teth)

Have you ever noticed how hard times seem to draw us (or drive us depending on our heart and attitude) closer to God and His Word? That's certainly been my experience. So when I read verses 67 and 71, they resonated with me. I particularly identified with verse 71 and found myself thinking, Boy, have I ever lived this.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word" (vs. 67).

"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes" (vs. 71).

Have difficult circumstances prompted you to spend more time in God's Word? Can you join with the psalmist in saying that going through affliction was good because it taught you more about God and His Word? Tami

Discerning King

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 2:13-46

With David now gone and Solomon on the throne, Adonijah comes back into the picture. He's not satisfied. He still wants to be king, but he's afraid of Solomon. As a result, Adonijah adopts a passive-aggressive approach. He tries to manipulate the situation to ultimately put himself in a place where he might be able to challenge Solomon's kingship again down the road.

Solomon, however, is discerning. He sees right through Adonijah's scheming, and will have none of it. Holding true to his word ("And Solomon said, 'If he [Adonijah] will show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the earth, but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.'" 1 Kings 1:52), Solomon deals swiftly with Adonijah and those who had aligned with him, and in so doing unequivocally establishes himself as king over Israel.

What does this passage reveal about our human nature and how harboring a discontent or disgruntled attitude can impact and harm us? What did you observe about discernment from the examples of Bathsheba and Solomon? Tami

Never Too Late

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 2:1-12

David's track record as a father wasn't a good one. But as he nears the end of his life, we see an improved David in the area of fatherhood. With Solomon now King of Israel, father David steps up to the plate. He meets with Solomon and gives him instructions and guidance, encouraging and reinforcing with him the absolute need to follow God wholeheartedly in order to live well and rule over Israel rightly.

No matter what we've done, it's never too late to change and make our lives and the lives of those around us better. Yet all too often, we stay stuck in our negative patterns of behavior because we've given in to the unhealthy way of thinking that it's too late. One way to combat this lie is to shift our focus from the past to what can be, and then put in place steps (even if they are small ones at first) to get there.

Do you ever feel like it's too late to change in a particular area or too late to make a better life for yourself? We've all been there (or are there) and this way of thinking has a way of creeping in and pulling us off track. So let's combat this powerful lie. Let's each ask God to help us take our thinking captive to focus on what can be as we follow Him. God has an incredible plan for your life. Take a step toward it today! Tami

Keep the Charge

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 2:1-12

One of the last things David does before he dies is give a powerful charge to his son, Solomon, as the new king of Israel. David instructs him to stand firm and be faithful to God above all else. It was a wise and crucial instruction for Solomon, but it's also a wise and crucial instruction for us today, thousands of years later.

"[K]eep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies...that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn..." (1 Kings 2:3, ESV)

What does "keeping the charge of the Lord your God" look like for you in a typical week? How does (or would) striving to live out this command impact your day-to-day life? Tami

Still Leading

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 1:28-53

David is struggling physically in his old age, and because of this, he hasn't kept a watchful eye on what's going on around him. This opens the door for Adonijah to underhandedly gather supporters and take the throne. But David isn't done as a king or a leader. While he may be physically disabled, his mind is still sharp. So when the situation with Adonijah is brought to his attention, he looks to God and then draws on his vast leadership experience to immediately put into play an impressive plan that completely derails all Adonijah and his supporters have done.

In this crisis situation, David keeps his eyes on God which allows him to wisely and confidently handle the situation. And as is his life-long habit, as soon as Solomon is on the throne, David addresses God, thanking Him for his blessing and protection.

How do you tend to respond when presented with a crisis situation? Is turning to God your first (default) reaction? Is it your habit to thank God as soon as He answers a prayer? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 1:1-10, Proverbs 29:17

Because the account of David's life and family doesn't end in 2 Samuel, we're moving into 1 Kings to continue following this storyline.

As 1 Kings opens, David is an old man who is no longer physically strong. It's clear that his time on earth is drawing to a close and that a new king will soon be on the throne. Without David's knowledge, his son Adonijah elevates himself and claims the throne from David (Adonijah is the younger brother of Absalom who also took the throne from his father). It's not a good situation.

Although David is known for being the man after God's heart, he wasn't perfect be any means. He made plenty of mistakes, and that's especially evident in the area of being a father. David undoubtedly loved his children, but from what information we have, he was extremely relaxed when it came to disciplining his sons and holding them accountable for their actions. David's choice of inaction in this area had far-reaching, serious consequences (broken relationships, division, murder, civil war) --for both his immediate family and the nation of Israel.

Think back over the past few years to a time when you were held accountable/disciplined (either by a person or God) for your actions or words? How did you benefit from this corrective action? Tami

Our Portion

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:57-64 (Heth)

"The LORD is my portion..."

The opening words of Psalm 119:57-64 (Heth), caused me to pause to think about God being my portion and what exactly that means to me and the way I live my life--in private and before others. After declaring that God is his portion, the remainder of this stanza lays out what that means and looks like in the psalmist's life.

  • Keeping God's Word
  • Thinking on God's ways and being intentional to follow them
  • Remembering God's Law
  • Praising God
  • Recognizing God's sovereignty
  • Asking God to teach him more

What does God being your "portion" mean to you personally? How would you describe this to someone? In a typical day, what's one example of how you display God being your portion to others? Tami

FULL Comfort

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:49-56 (Zayin)

The older and wiser I get, both physically and spiritually, the more I realize and appreciate how I can take FULL comfort in God's Word. As I'm sure you've experienced, life isn't all smooth sailing. More often than not, difficult circumstances seem to be waiting around the corner.

In verse 50 the psalmist declares that God's promises give him comfort in the middle of affliction. In verse 54 the psalmist then recalls how God's statutes have been his "songs." This message served to comfort me this morning. Thank you, God for Your incredible love and for comforting us through Your life-giving Word!

Is it your practice to turn to God's Word for comfort? How has God's Word been a comfort to you in the past? Do you have a favorite "comfort" passage, story or verse that you turn to in difficult times (one of mine is Psalm 25)? Tami

Meaningful Giving

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 24:18-25, Proverbs 3:9-10

David's interaction with Araunah, and specifically his insistence about purchasing the threshing floor that would be used for an altar, functions as a good reminder about the importance of what we offer up to God. God wants us to give our firstfruits to Him--in other words, He wants us to offer up our best (something we value) to Him. David understood this well. He knew that building an altar to God on property that cost him nothing and then sacrificing oxen that were given to him, wasn't a sacrifice on his part at all and wouldn't honor or please God.

"Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10).

What's your practice or habit when it comes to giving back to God? Would you say you're a firstfruits giver? If not, what's holding you back? How have you experienced what's described in Proverbs 3:9-10 above? Tami

Seeking Forgiveness

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 24:10-17

Our sinful choices (actions, words, thoughts) impede our relationship with God. So in order to have and maintain a full and vibrant relationship with God, seeking forgiveness needs to be a regular course of action for each of us.

David understood the need to keep a short account with God. So as soon as his feels convicted about his actions in numbering the people, he seeks God to candidly and openly confess his sin and ask for forgiveness. It's an example we would all be wise to follow.

Is it your practice to keep a short account with God when it comes to asking for forgiveness? Why is this important? How does talking candidly and opening with God about your sinful choices help strengthen your relationship with Him? Tami

Receptive Listening

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 24:1-9 Proverbs 12:15

Even as a seasoned follower of God, David was still susceptible and gave in to sin. As we begin 2 Samuel 24, David decides to take a census of the people under his rule--without receiving specific directions from God or inquiring of God about whether he should take this action. It's a foolish act on David's part that results in disastrous consequences (as we'll see in verses 10-17).

What stood out to me as I read this passage was how Joab, the commander of David's army, is able to see that David's taking of a census isn't a good or wise decision, and how he attempts to intervene. After receiving instruction from David to number the people, Joab speaks up and questions David in an attempt to get his thinking back on track and correct a bad decision. However, David doesn't listen. Instead, he makes yet another poor decision in not being open to the advice of one of his most trusted leaders.

Who are the people that speak into your life? On a scale of 1-10, how receptive would you say you are to receiving feedback, advice and/or counsel? What's one example where you benefitted from listening to godly advice and/or feedback? What does this account reveal about the importance of seeking God's direction in all of our actions? Tami

Mighty Serving

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 23:8-39

David surrounded himself with a group of remarkable men described as "mighty" in 2 Samuel 23:8. As we continue reading in chapter 23, more details and insight about these extraordinary men are provided. What amazing examples these men are for us as we serve God--at home, at work, at school, at church and as we're out and about interacting with others. Here are some of the qualities I noticed about these mighty, serving men:

  • Loyal
  • Focused
  • Determined
  • Passionate
  • Confident
  • Committed
  • Courageous

What qualities stood out to you about David's mighty men? Which of those qualities do you possess? Is there a specific area or quality you'd like to improve on as you serve God and represent Him to others? Tami

Final Message

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 23:1-7

As an old man who knows his life is coming to a close, David's dedication and commitment to God remains strong. As his final day on earth approaches, once again David openly and boldly proclaims God and His goodness, solidifying his legacy of a life dedicated to following after and living for God. As David speaks, he confidently reiterates and confirms the fact that God is sovereign over all, and that He blesses and upholds those who live righteously for Him.

What did this passage convey to you about being committed to and living fully for God? What legacy are you putting in place through your life choices right now? Tami


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Today's reading: Psalm 119:41-48 (Waw)

Taking in, understanding and living out God's Word brings with it many benefits. Here are some of the benefits I noticed from Psalm 119:41-48:

  • God communicates His love to us through His Word.
  • Knowing God's Word equips us to answer.
  • God's Word is truth in which we can place our hope.
  • We can live confidently when we are walking with God.
  • We can speak boldly to all about God's Word.
  • God's Word brings us joy.

What does this passage show us about the impact and importance of God's Word in our lives? Will you join me in asking God to "incline my heart to His Word" and "turn my eyes from looking at worthless things"? Tami

Leaning and Looking

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:33-40 (He)

After asking God to teach him, give him understanding and lead him according to God's Word, the psalmist then makes these two specific requests:

  • "Incline my heart to your testimonies..." (vs. 36) and
  • "Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things..." (vs. 37)

He's asking God to continue to generate in him the desire to fully engage with, know and then follow God's laws. The world around us has a way of pressing in to pull our focus away from God and how He wants us to live. So these requests are good ones that we would be wise to incorporate into our prayers.

What does this passage show us about the impact and importance of God's Word in our lives? Will you join me in asking God to "incline my heart to His Word" and "turn my eyes from looking at worthless things"? Tami

Lamp, Shield, Truth

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-51

It's clear from David's song in 2 Samuel 22 that he and God had a dynamic, interactive relationship. What a moving and beautiful reminder these words provide of just how personal and involved God is in each of our lives when we are in relationship with Him. As I read through this passage again today, I was drawn to the truths conveyed in verses 29-31 which say:

"For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God--his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him."

How is God (and how has God been) your lamp? When have you experienced being able to overcome or accomplish something that seemed impossible because of God's help? What's one example from your life when the Word of God has proved true? How has God been your shield and refuge? Tami

Telling God

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-4

God loves it when we tell Him how much we love, value, respect and need Him. It's one of the ways that we can give Him praise. In 2 Samuel 22, David is telling God just what God means to Him through a beautiful and personal song of praise (by the way, this particular passage with some slight variations is found at Psalm 18). I love the opening verses of this song/psalm where David is saying to God "You are my all. You are my rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, stronghold, refuge, my savior."

Let's take a few minutes today to think about what our relationship with God means to us and how we think about God. Then, like David, let's complete the phrase, "God, you are my ___________." Once you've done this, then make sure to tell God what He means to you. Tami


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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 21:15-22

In these final verses of 2 Samuel 21, we get a recap of a number of extraordinary battle encounters that took place with the Philistines. Each confrontation mentioned is with a Philistine who was a giant or a descendant of a giant. But the size and appearance of these "super" men didn't deter David or his men because they knew and trusted that God was fighting for and with them. What a great and timely reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. There truly are no giants that we can't face and overcome when we're following God and drawing on His strength. Thank you, God!!

What "giant" (a person, a situation, a fear) are you currently facing? Will you turn your "giant" over to God and then trust Him to help you face and overcome it? What encouragement did you draw from these verses? Tami

Inquiring Approach

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 21:1-14

Today's passage, 2 Samuel 21:1-14, is a difficult one. What takes place seems extremely harsh and, honestly, it doesn't make sense to me, even after doing some commentary research. So I'm not going to try to explain the whys of David's actions in this situation, realizing that there are going to be elements of God's plan and things that I read in the Bible that I do not fully understand. That isn't to say that I won't have a better understanding the next time I read this passage (since God reveals more and more to us as we continue to take in His Word), but for today we're going to look at and consider David's initial response to the famine Israel was experiencing.

What did come across clearly from this passage was David's example of seeking God's direction--something he did regularly. After experiencing famine conditions for three years, a period that has now gone beyond a typical cycle of drought, David discerns that the situation may be from God. So we see him seeking God and asking him for direction, "David inquired of the LORD" (VS. 1). God answers David's inquiry, and true to form, David takes action following God's prompting.

How often do you seek God's direction (do you inquire of Him) as you navigate life? Why is it important to inquire of God regularly--in all circumstances? Tami

Wise Listening

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 20:1-26

Once again we see Joab being controlled by his anger as he kills Amasa (whom David has appointed over the army). Joab then turns his focus to pursuing Sheba who is revolting against David. When Joab reaches the city of Abel where Sheba is gathering men against David, a "wise woman" seeks Joab out and offers him advice. Surprisingly, Joab, a man known for being a fierce warrior, leader and independent thinker, listens to this woman and agrees to back off on attacking the city when she tells him that she will make sure the offender, Sheba, is killed. The woman follows through on her word, which dissipates the situation and results in the saving of the entire city of Abel.

What a wonderful reminder of how important it is for us to be cautious about responding based only on the emotions we're feeling in the moment, and how we need to be open to receiving suggestions, counsel and feedback from others.

How do you typically respond in the heat of the moment? Do you seek God's counsel before you take action? Are you willing to listen to advice from others when your emotions are running high? Tami


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Today's reading: Psalm 119:25-32 (Daleth)

One message from Psalm 119:25-32 resonated loudly with me today--God's Word MUST be our foundation. The psalmist's request to "give me life according to your word" (vs. 25), and then his appeals for God to teach him His laws and statutes (vs. 26 and 29) and help him understand His precepts (vs. 27) conveyed this well.

Are you committed to taking in and then living out God's Word? In a typical week, how often do you spend time reading your Bible? If someone asked you why reading your Bible was important to you, how would you respond? Tami

Eyes Wide Open

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:17-24 (Gimel)

When you read God's Word, what's your approach? Do you want and expect to learn as much as possible from it? I'm guessing your answer is like mine--"Yes!" So what's a good approach to take for this happen? Psalm 119:18 gives us a wonderful example. The psalmist clearly loves God's Word and desires to know and understand it more and better. So as he readies himself to take in God's Word, he specifically asks God to help him.

"Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law."

Is it your habit to ask God to "open your eyes" before you read your Bible? Read Psalm 119:17-24 again, but this time pray and ask God to open your eyes to something you didn't see before. I'd love to hear the outcome. Tami

Grateful Exchange

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 19:24-30

When David returns to once again take his place as king, one of the first people he encounters is Saul's grandson and Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. (As you recall, we read back in 2 Samuel 9 how David took Mephibosheth in, restored his family's land, and basically treated him as one of his own sons after the death of Saul and Jonathan.)

As I took in the exchange between these two men, I was moved by the depth of Mephibosheth's love, as well as his concern, for David. Rather than being pleased with David's dethroning by Absalom (like Mephibosheth's servant Ziba led David to believe), Mephibosheth is devastated by this turn of events. His appearance, actions and words are telling.

How can you be a "Mephibosheth" this week? Who needs to hear how much you love them and how grateful you are for the part they've played in your life? Tami

Return Encounters

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 19:16-43

As David returns to Jerusalem, he encounters three people: Shimei, who cursed and disparaged David as he fled from Absalom; Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, someone David loves like a son, but whom he believes has turned against him because of a false report; and Barzillai, the elderly man who helped and provided for David and his men as they fled.

As David interacts with each of these men, we again see a calm-mannered, level-headed approach. Here are a few things I noticed about David as he spoke with each man. First, and most importantly, he freely converses with these men, even two that seem to be his adversaries. Second, David lets each man speak freely and completely, and as they speak he actively listens to what each has to say. And lastly, after hearing from each man, he assesses and considers the information he's just received and then draws on it to arrive at his response.

Do you find it difficult to extend forgiveness to others? Does the degree or severity of the offense impact your willingness to forgive? When someone offers you a helping hand, is it your practice to thank them after the fact? Tami

Greater Good

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 19:9-15

After Absalom's death, the people are uncertain about how they should proceed, and they're questioning if they should once again look to David as their king. The situation is certainly a tentative one for David, but he handles it wisely and well. Rather than letting his bruised ego and hurt feelings drive him to seek revenge or spew angry threats at those who had followed Absalom, David's primary concern is for the greater good of Israel. Calm and humble in demeanor, his approach proves that David is seeking unity in order to bring the people of Israel back together.

Experiencing hurts and disappointment are unavoidable as we do life with other people. So we have a choice--we can either add to the hurts by responding in kind when someone hurts us, or we can be intentional about seeking out the greater good, whatever that may be for the specific situation.

What's one thing you learned from David's example about responding well to an emotionally charged or challenging situation? When you've been hurt, how does talking with God and spending time in His Word help you resist the urge to lash back? Tami

In the Grieving

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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 18:19-19:8

When the news of Absalom's death reaches David, he responds like a father. He's heartbroken and emotionally crushed, and openly weeps over the loss of his precious son. But David is still responsible for many people, even as a dethroned king. So although he is grieving, he has responsibilities and duties that he has to attend to.

This passage brought to mind when my dad passed away (quite a few years ago now). I was very close with my dad, and the fact that I could no longer talk or spend time with him felt awful. But even though I was sad and struggling, my mom was struggling even more, and I knew she needed my help and support. She was devastated over having to say goodbye to her husband of over 50 years. Her life would never be the same, and she was at a loss about how she would proceed. So I asked God to give me strength, and then helped my mom make immediate decisions as well as plans for her future. It was difficult but a necessary step for both of us.

What's one thing God impressed on your heart from this account? How has God helped you or someone you know in and through the grieving process? Tami

Our Work

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:23-24, Proverbs 14:23

With today being Labor Day in the U.S., I decided to take a one-day break from 2 Samuel and focus on two informative passages having to do with our work, Colossians 4:23-24 and Proverbs 14:23.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" Colossians 4:23-24.

"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty" Proverbs 14:23.

Do you think of your work (job, school, parenting, volunteering) as "serving the Lord Christ"? What does working heartily as for the Lord mean for you personally? How have you experienced the message of Proverbs 14:23? Tami

Storing Up

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:9-16 (Beth)

Psalm 119:11 talks of "storing up" God's Word in our hearts. My response to this verse? "Amen!" What an important and necessary message for us to embrace and put into action. When we know what God's Word says and have it stored in our hearts and filling our minds, we are better equipped to rightly handle any situation that life brings our way.

What are some ways you "store up" God's Word in your heart? What's one example of where knowing God's truth has enabled you to respond well in a difficult situation? Tami

God's Word--Our Life

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:1-8 (Aleph)

Psalm 119 is a psalm I turn to often because it's all about God's Word. This long chapter (it's actually the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses) is filled with encouragement and instruction to take in God's Word and then put it into action in our everyday lives. Psalm 119 is divided into 8 verse segments or stanzas, so that's how we'll move through it, 8 verses at a time.

The first stanza, titled Aleph, puts God's Word front and center in literally every verse. In my Bible, I've circled the word(s) used in each verse that represent God's Word.

  • Verse 1: law of the Lord
  • Verse 2: his testimonies
  • Verse 3: his ways
  • Verse 4: your precepts
  • Verse 5: your statutes
  • Verse 6: your commandments
  • Verse 7: your righteous rules
  • Verse 8: your statutes

The primary message I came away with from this opening stanza of Psalm 119 is: God's Word is life!

What stood out to you the most about God's Word from Psalm 119:1-8? Based on this stanza, what are the benefits of knowing and keeping God's commandments? What does this passage reveal about our need to read and study the Bible? 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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About this Archive

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

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