October 2018 Archives

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 10:1-13

Word of Solomon's extraordinary wisdom spreads across countries and nations, and as a result, the Queen of Sheba pays Solomon a personal visit (no small undertaking at this point in history). She's intrigued by the reports she heard about Solomon and decides to check out the situation in person.

One of the things I noticed from this passage was how the Queen's interest included more than just Solomon's intelligence. She was also intrigued about Solomon's God. Verse 1 tells us that she heard of Solomon's fame "concerning the name of the Lord." And when she arrived, she witnessed and experienced firsthand God's blessing on Solomon through his God-given wisdom and possessions. She also observed Solomon worshiping and offering sacrifices to the Lord. So the entire time of her visit, God and His goodness to Solomon and the Israelites were openly on displayed for the Queen of Sheba to see. Her words in verse 9 let us know she didn't miss the message.

"Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness."

How often do you think about the fact that you are on display as a representative for God in all aspects of your life? What opportunities do you have to show others--your neighbors, family, classmates, co-workers, friends--how God has been good to you? Tami

Healthy Resolution

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 9:10-28

Solomon worked closely with King Hiram of Tyre (who had been a friend of David's) in constructing the temple and his own residence. At the conclusion of these massive and involved building projects, Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. Sounds pretty impressive, but for whatever reason, Hiram wasn't happy with the cities. So what did Hiram do? Well, even though Solomon was extremely powerful and wealthy, Hiram didn't shy away from addressing the situation with him, and the manner in which Hiram chose to deal with Solomon showed wisdom on his part. First, and very importantly, he spoke to Solomon in person. And when he spoke, he was calm and respectful, with no hint of power plays, threats or mind games. Hiram spoke words of truth from his heart to his friend and business colleague, Solomon.

As much as we'd like to avoid it, sometimes it's necessary to confront another person. It's never easy, and confrontation in a business or work setting can also be quite awkward. That being the case, how we choose to approach and handle a difference of opinion or conflict is crucial. It can literally make all the difference in the world.

How do you tend to deal with confrontation (either as the person confronting or the person on the receiving end)? What's one lesson you learned or observed about relationships and/or confrontation from Hiram's example with Solomon? Tami

And Again

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 9:1-9

Even though King Solomon is the wisest man ever, God continues to remind him of the need to keep his heart and mind focused on, and devoted to, fully serving Him. And God doesn't only say, "Remember to follow Me." He includes as part of His reminding message the devastating consequences that will follow if and when Solomon and Israel choose to turn away from God.

If the wisest man to ever live needed regular communication about wholeheartedly following and serving God, what does that suggest about us? What does this passage reveal about our need to regularly be taking in and responding to God's Word and spending? Tami

Offerings

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 8:62-66

The sacrifices made to God at the conclusion of the dedication of the ark caught my attention. Solomon and the people spent a great amount of time and attention to offering back to God. An entire week was dedicated to this massively scaled process! While we are no longer required to make sacrifices to cover our sin because of Jesus' shedding His blood on our behalf (thank you, Jesus), we are still called to give back to God, and this example highlighted the importance of this undertaking (an act of worship) for me.

Is giving back to God--of your time, your skills and talents, your money--a regular part of your life? When you choose to give back to God, how does it impact your relationship with Him? What will you offer up to God this week? Could you do even more? Tami

Stormy Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:105-112 (Nun)

Three times in eight verses labeled "Nun," the psalmist references his difficult and problematic circumstances.

  • severely afflicted (vs. 107)
  • holds his life in his hands (vs. 109)
  • snares the wicked have laid for him (vs. 110)

It's pretty clear that things aren't going well in the psalmist's life. Even so, he doesn't let his difficult circumstances consume his thoughts or shake his foundation. Instead he's intentional about remaining focused on God and giving his time and affection to Him. The psalmist's reaching out to God with his proclamation of praise in verse 108 spoke loudly to my heart. I am thankful for this example and the reminder it provides that we must be diligent to seek after and praise God in all circumstances.

"Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules" (vs. 108).

How are you seeking after God in your current circumstances? What impact does choosing to praise God in and through our "storms" have on our attitudes and actions and relationship with God? Tami

Understanding

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:97-104 (Mem)

Throughout the stanza titled "Mem," the psalmist repeatedly writes of the understanding he has gained from taking in and then meditating on God's Word. Although I certainly recognize and know what the word "understanding" means, I decided to look up some synonyms, or alternative words, to give me an even better comprehension of what the psalmist is describing. Here are some of the other words for "understanding" that I found:

  • Knowledge
  • Discernment
  • Comprehension
  • Wisdom
  • Awareness
  • Insight
  • Prudence
  • Discretion
  • Judgement

What amazing benefits we get when we choose to spend time taking in, considering and then putting into practice God's Word.

Is it your practice to regularly meditate on (consider, reflect, mull over) God's Word, and why is this so important? How has God's Word given you understanding? What's one example of how God's Word has made you "wiser"? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 8:22-61

Solomon offers a powerful prayer of dedication to God before the people after the ark is placed inside the temple. He begins by acknowledging God's greatness, and then fervently seeks God's continued guidance, provision and protection for Israel. A key element that I appreciate about this prayer is how Solomon openly recognizes and quite thoroughly addresses the problem of sin and the separation it causes between us and God. He then humbly asks God to hear the people's prayers for forgiveness and act upon them when future offenses occur. At the conclusion of his prayer, Solomon turns his attention to the people and issues the charge to let their hearts "be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day" (vs. 61). What a beautiful depiction of seeking after God.

What did you observe or learn about sin and forgiveness from Solomon's prayer? What does being "wholly true to the Lord" mean and/or look like for you personally? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 8:1-26

Upon the completion of the temple, Solomon gathers together a vast assembly--elders, priests, heads of tribes and family leaders. It was a monumental event designed FOR God to publically recognize and elevate Him for being the one and only sovereign God. Solomon led and directed the day, which included guiding the people in a time of remembering God's goodness, faithfulness and love, and reaffirming their commitment to wholeheartedly follow after Him.

Is it your practice to thank and exalt God as part of your prayers? How often do you publically praise God (inside and outside of a church service)? Why is it a good to look back and remember what God has done for us? What's one example of how God has shown Himself faithful to you or your family? Tami

Exceptional Care

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 7:13-51

Right in the middle of the details about the building of the temple, we read about Hiram, the man who created and manually fabricated all of the furnishing for the temple. Solomon didn't just hire anyone with working skills to work on this chief and crucial project. He sought out the most skilled and equipped person. Verse 14 tells us that Hiram "was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work." And what an impressive work he completed!

The two short verses today about Hiram (13-14) got me thinking about many work situations I've been part of as well as some personal ones where, for whatever reason, the most skilled person for a task or job hasn't been sought out. So often we're in such a rush to get a project done or we simply don't want to expend the effort, that we settle for something less. We may not be able to afford the absolute best all the time, but we would all do well to be intentional about seeking out the best possible option (people we select for positions or to help with projects, items we purchase, services we secure, etc.)

What do Solomon's example and Hiram's example reveal about giving our best efforts as we live and work for God? What does this passage show about Solomon as a leader? Tami

Blessed

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 7:1-12

As we move to 1 Kings 7, we get details of Solomon's residences, which we're told were constructed with the same quality workmanship as that of the temple. God clearly blessed Solomon with wisdom as well as riches, and Solomon constructed his dwellings in accordance with and in proportion to that abundant blessing.

This passage shows us that it's okay to have nice things as a follower of Christ--provided we keep a proper perspective about money and wealth. Building God's house was Solomon's first priority, and he was attentive, meticulous and eager to complete this project. It was only after finishing this important and massive construction project that he turned his attention to completing the construction of his dwellings.

Do you think of God as being the giver of all that you have? Do you consider what you have as a blessing from Him? What's one thing that stood out to you from Solomon's example of keeping God a first priority? Tami

Prone to Wonder

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 6:1-38

After putting thorough plans in place, Solomon turns to building the temple, the "house of the Lord." I love how we're given so much detail about the construction of this magnificent structure. I found myself pondering the size and magnitude of the building itself and also tried to visualize this special place from room to room as well as decoration and design. (If you'd like to see some model images of the temple, there are quite a few available online.)

But as grand as the description of the temple was, the LORD's communication with Solomon right in the middle of all of the details (verses 11-13) drew my attention. I asked myself, Why, in the middle of construction, does God give this reminder to Solomon? As I contemplated the purpose of this reminder, God impressed on my heart that temptations are always lurking around us, and even when our walk with God is strong, we are prone to stumble. That being the case, we absolutely need reminders to keep our minds and thoughts focused on God and His Word.

What sorts of things ("building projects") have the potential to pull your eyes off of God and His Word? Tami

God and Us

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:89-96 (Lamedh)

Psalm 119 gives us details about God and our relationship with Him, and that's particularly true with this stanza named Lemedh. Verses 89-91 highlight God and His greatness, and then the remaining verses (92-96) shine a spotlight on our relationship with God. My favorite verse from Lamedh is:

"I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life" (vs. 93).

What's one encouraging thing you noticed about God from this stanza? How have you experienced God's faithfulness enduring to all generations (vs. 90)? How would you explain God's Word (precepts) giving us life? Tami

Holding Fast

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:81-88 (Kaph)

When we're going through tough times--experiencing painful changes, having conflict in our relationships, feeling mistreated, struggling financially, dealing with health issues or physical problems--keeping our focus on God and the truths found in His Word enables us to stand strong. I like the example of the psalmist, telling God about the problems he is experiencing but then immediately letting God know that despite the hardships, God and His laws remain his foundation and stronghold.

How has choosing to hold fast to God's Word helped you in difficult circumstances? What comfort do you find in the words of verse 86--"All your commandments are sure"? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Kings 5:1-18

As we're learning more and more about Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, one of the things I notice (here in 1 Kings 4 and 5) is that Solomon was an incredible organizer and planner--two qualities that are very helpful when we're leading or taking on a project. Why is it that so often we get a goal or a project in our mind, and in our excitement we head off without being fully prepared? (I've certainly done it, and I'm guessing you have too.) Or, we've only planned a step or two ahead, and our strategy (whether we realize it or not) is to make decisions as they come up. That strategy may get us to the end of a project, but more often than not our lack of planning and organization leads to frustration (ours and those working with us), extra steps, the spending of extra money, and worst case scenario, a failed, unfinished or unattained project or goal. Not the case with Solomon.

What project or goal are you working toward that could use more planning and organization? What planning step(s) does Solomon use that you might implement now or the next time you take on a project? What does Solomon's example show us about the value of working and partnering with other people? Tami

God-given

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 4:20-34

The magnitude of Solomon's kingdom is portrayed for us throughout 1 Kings 4. I love that we get to see in detail what the fulfillment of God's promise to Solomon looked like in 1 Kings 3:11-14--to give him incredible wisdom, but also extraordinary riches and honor. It actually took me a bit to process and fully grasp the vastness of it all. The beginning words of verse 29, "And God gave..." stood out and highlighted for me God's greatness, His goodness, and first and foremost, that He is the giver of all things. What an incredible God we serve!

Do you recognize God as being the giver of everything you have-- your job, money, house, car, intelligence, family, etc.? Take a couple of minutes and write down all that God has given to you, and then thank Him for whatever is on your list. What's one way or an instance where God has shown you His goodness this week? Tami

Actively with God

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 4:1-19

The fact that Solomon was wise beyond his years came through clearly in the description of the structure he put in place to manage and run his kingdom. Solomon was organized, and the system he implemented was effective, efficient and good for the Israelites.

Reading about Solomon's administration immediately brought to mind a phrase from my women's Bible study group. The study we're working through is Mark Batterson's, "Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge." One of the points Batterson makes in this study is that, as we navigate life, we need to work like our situation depends on us, while we fervently pray like it depends on God. His point being that God wants and expects us to be an active participant in the plan He has for our lives. God is fully capable of doing everything for us, but that's not His mode of operation. Instead, He expects us to work with Him--using the skills, talents and abilities He's given us so that we can live our lives to the full for Him.

Is it your practice to work like your situation depends on you while praying like it depends on God? What's one example of you actively working with God in your current life situation? Tami

Careful Handling

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon's handling of a dispute between two mothers gives us a close up and detailed snapshot of Solomon employing his God-given wisdom in a especially delicate and tricky situation. Solomon had no factual way of knowing who was telling the truth. So rather than relying on his gut instinct or his best guess, he drew on the wisdom God had imparted to him by taking an unconventional approach. He was able to capitalize on the element of surprise to get an immediate, unrehearsed and genuine response from both women. Their reactions exposed the truth which allowed Solomon to then make the right decision.

How do you deal with people or situations when you're not certain about the facts or can't ascertain the truth? Do you ask God to give you wisdom when facing uncertain circumstances? What's one thing that you learned from Solomon's example? Tami

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Wisdom... Plus

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Today's reading: 1 Kings 3:1-15

God gave incredible wisdom and discernment to King Solomon. So much so that Solomon is known as the wisest man to ever live. But even before Solomon asks God for wisdom above all else, the picture we see is one of an astute young man.

As I contemplated this passage the question on my mind was this: What influenced Solomon so positively to get him to this point? David's steady and constant example of seeking after and following God, both personally and as king, wasn't lost on Solomon. Verse 3 tells us that Solomon loved the Lord, and the picture we get from today's passage is that this young man who was now king was choosing to live righteously.

"Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places."

Such a strong message is conveyed through verse 3 and our entire passage today. When pleasing God is our focus and desire, our thinking, actions and decisions are better.

What does Solomon's example show us about the importance and value of having wisdom and discernment? What does this passage reveal about what God finds pleasing in our lives? 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 October 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2018 is the previous archive.

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