September 2019 Archives

Creator God

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Today's reading: Genesis 1:1-31

In Genesis 1 we find the account of God creating the world. The account is a precise one in that it details the order of creation and shows us God's actions and thoughts.

One of my favorite things about the creation account is getting to see God's satisfied and pleased reaction after evaluating the product of His work. At the end of every day when God looks back over what He has created, we see this consistent declaration—that everything He had created was good.

  • "And God saw that the light was good." (vs. 4)
  • "And God saw that [heaven, sea and earth] was good." (vs. 10)
  • "And God saw that [vegetation] was good." (vs. 12)
  • "And God saw that [the sun, moon and stars] was good." (vs. 18)
  • "And God saw that [the sea creatures and birds] was good." (vs. 21)
  • "And God saw that [the livestock and earthly beasts] was good." (vs. 25)

And then, after creating mankind and observing the totality of His creation, we see the final and greatest declaration: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (vs. 31, emphasis mine).

As you read Genesis 1:1-25, what did you notice about God as Creator of the world? What did you learn about God's creation, and specifically mankind? Tami

Forever

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Today's reading: Psalm 48:1-14

Psalm 48 is a song recognizing and celebrating Jerusalem, or Zion, as God's chosen, special and holy city. What I saw I as progressed verse by verse through this psalm was a depiction of a mighty city, but more importantly I saw a city chosen by a loving God committed to protecting and defending His people. I love the proclamation of the final verse that God is "forever and ever" and "will guide us forever" (vs. 14).

How has God been your protector and defender? What encouragement do you draw from verse 14 and the proclamation that God is forever and will guide us forever? Tami

Loud in Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 47:1-9

Celebratory psalms always bring a smile to my face, and Psalm 47 definitely falls into this category. It's a rallying of God's people to corporately recognize and esteem Him—publically, with joy and through actions (clapping and singing) of loud praise!

Are you a public praiser of God? What does praising God look like for you? What's one way you can loudly praise God more than your normal routine this weekend? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 4:23-27

Proverbs has several verses that specifically address having honor (we've looked at them the past few days). But much of this book of wise sayings actually provides us with detailed instruction on how to acquire honor and live honorably. Last night I was looking back over Proverbs, and the passage below caught my attention as it pertains to living a life of honor.

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil." (Proverbs 4:23-27)

Thank you, Solomon, for reminding us that every choice we make matters as we strive to live honorably for God.

What's one example of how you were intentional about acting/living honorably this week? It doesn't have to be some big moment. Here's one for me: I saw a woman crying in the grocery store, so I stopped to find out what was wrong and then talked with and prayed with her. What are some other verses or passages in Proverbs that provide specific instruction on living honorably? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 26:1

"Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool." (ESV)

"Honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer or rain with harvest." (NLT)

What does this verse reveal about the relationship between thinking/behaving with Godly wisdom and having honor? Based on this proverb, why is it so important to regularly spend time with God through His Word and prayer? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 22:4

"The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4)

Why are humility and a reverence for God necessary components of living a life of honor? What does this verse show about how God views and values living honorably? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 21:21

Let's look at one verse today—Proverbs 21:21. We'll consider two translations of it to get our minds turning and thinking about living honorably.

"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor." (ESV)

"Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life!" (MSG)

What does Proverbs 21:21 reveal about the relationship between doing what we know is right and having an honorable and glorious life? Are you intentional about being kind to others? Would you say that living rightly is a priority for you? Why or why not? If not, what needs to change? Tami

Thinking about Honor

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Today's reading: Proverbs 15:33

The book of Proverbs has a number of verses that address having honor, so for the next several days, we'll be thinking about what Proverbs (and perhaps some additional passages) tell, instruct and show us about honor. Being honorable (respected and held in high regard because of our upright character and actions) is pleasing to God, and living honorably is a goal we should be intentional about pursuing.

"The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 15:33)

What does this verse convey about the importance of putting God first and valuing others? How would you explain the relationship between being humble and having honor? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 46:1-11

I love the overarching message of Psalm 46 that we can stand strong and not live in fear because God is our foundation and fortress. But it's the very first verse that I find so attractive and encouraging.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

What comforting words for those times when life feels like it's raging around us and our circumstances seem like they're out of control.

What verse or portion from Psalm 46 moved your heart today, and why? Do you think of God as being your "fortress"? How has God been "a very present help in trouble" to you? Tami

Jesus

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Today's reading: Psalm 45:1-17

Psalm 45 is a beautiful love song full of imagery depicting Jesus the Messiah. It can be, however, a bit challenging to understand. That being the case, I took a look at a commentary and then read this psalm several times, which helped me reflect on the many descriptive and symbolic phrases and words. What I found was that each time I read through a section or portion, I would see more and more about Jesus.

Three verses drew my attention: verse 2 because of the way it shows us that Jesus is above all men and full of grace; verse 4 because of how it points out that Jesus's cause is one of truth, meekness and righteousness (I especially loved this); and verse 6 because of the repeated recognition of the importance of, and Jesus's love for, righteousness.

What stood out to you about Jesus from this psalm, and why? Did you notice or learn anything new from this imagery-filled song? Tami

Unhealthy Conflict

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Today's reading: Proverbs 17:1; Proverbs 17:14; 2 Timothy 2:24-25

Disagreements, conflict and tension are bound to happen when people come together with other people. It's just part of relationships. But while conflict is part of life (and is necessary and good in certain circumstances) our relationships shouldn't be dominated by strife (discord, fighting, friction, rivalry, etc.). Our relationships, and in turn our lives, will be at their best when we're striving for unity with a mindset of love and kindness toward others.

"Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." (Proverbs 17:1)

"The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out." (Proverbs 17:14)

How prone to strife are your relationships (work, home, school or extended family)? When conflict takes an unhealthy turn (damaging rather than necessary), how do you respond? What's one thing you can do starting today to decrease unnecessary and damaging conflict and strife from your relationships (live more like 2 Timothy 2:24-25 describes)? Tami

Ant Motivation

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Today's reading: Proverbs 6:6-8

With Philemon being such a short book and since we finished it up in the middle of the week, I thought it would be a nice change to spend a few days looking at some verses in Proverbs. Today, Proverbs 6:6-8 is our focus—all about that little and sometimes frustrating creature, the ant.

Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us to consider the ways of the ant. So I did just that. I spent a few minutes thinking about ants and how they behave. Here are a few of the words that came to mind as I considered the ant. Ants are active, diligent, task focused, tireless, persistent and motivated. Although I may not be a big fan of ants, thinking about them brought a smile to my face this morning. Solomon was spot on with his urging for us to look at and follow the example of the ant as we serve and live for God.

Will you join me in doing an ant comparison/assessment today? Here's the question for each of us to ask ourselves. On a scale of 1-10, how well am I work to apply myself fully and give my best efforts in all the tasks God has set before me? If you didn't score yourself a 10 (and I did not), identify why and then get a plan in place to start raising that number. Tami

Full-Court Press

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Today's reading: Philemon 8-21

If you're a basketball fan, or have some knowledge of the sport at all, you're likely familiar with the term "full-court press." This phrase describes how the team who is not in possession of the ball applies defensive pressure on the opposing team from the moment they take possession of the ball until possession changes, either through a turnover or a score.

"Full-court press" is the phrase that popped into my mind as I considered Paul's letter to Philemon. While the situation is not a game environment, Paul is applying steady and constant pressure on Philemon to do what Paul believes is the correct thing with regard to Onesimus. He draws on his relationship with Philemon, personally and as a fellow believer, to lovingly and persuasively prompt him to take the right action.

What's one lesson about dealing with conflict or a challenging situation that you learned from Paul's communication with Philemon? How important is our tone when we engage in difficult interactions? What about our demeanor when we're talking with someone face-to-face? Tami

The Person Philemon

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Today's reading: Philemon 4-7

In verses 4-7 of Philemon, Paul gives us a glimpse of the man named Philemon. It is evident from what Paul writes that he holds Philemon in high regard. Paul considers him a special friend. He's thankful for Philemon's love of God and his bold witness for Christ, and Paul's heart is genuinely touched by Philemon's good and helpful conduct toward other believers.

Is it your goal to "refresh the heart" of others, especially the hearts of your brothers and sisters in Christ? What's one example of how you encouraged, supported or demonstrated kindness to someone in the past week? Will you join me in making it a goal to be intentional about refreshing and encouraging the people we each come in contact with this week? Tami

Today's reading: Book of Philemon

We're going to spend the next few days looking over and considering the book of Philemon, a letter written by Paul to a fellow believer named Philemon whose slave, Onesimus, had run away.

Although there are only 25 verses in this short book, there are lessons (plural) for us to discover. But before we delve in to look for those lessons, let's spend today simply reading through this letter and focusing on the details provided in order to give us some context. This will help us gain a better overall understanding of what is going on and allow us to get the most out of this book.

I'll get us started. Here are several things I took note of from Philemon.

  • Paul is writing from prison.
  • The relationship between Paul and Philemon is personal, which explains the personal approach and tone of the letter.
  • Paul's letter doesn't reveal anything about the why, when or how of Onesimus's running away from Philemon.
  • Paul has a deep love for both Philemon and Onesimus.

It's your turn! Read back through Philemon and note and/or write down as many specifics as possible. What information and details did you notice as you read Philemon? Tami

Trusting Continually

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Today's reading: Psalm 44:1-26

Psalm 44 is an earnest prayer offered to God during a time of distress and oppression. The psalmist begins his conversation with God by looking back at what God has done. Next he moves on to tell God how, despite the intense adversity and disgrace that has come upon them, he is committed to following Him. The psalmist then concludes his prayer asking God for deliverance.

My heart was stirred by the message conveyed in verses 6-8, where in the middle of intense distress, the psalmist remains unmoved and proclaims to God his steadfast trust in Him.

"For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever." (vs. 6-8)

What battles are you going through right now? Have you, are you and/or will you turn your situation over to God and tell Him, "I trust in you"? How does praising God in and through your storms impact your attitude and thinking and help you stay the course? Tami

Lead Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 43:1-5

The appeal made by David to God to "send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling" is a good and wise request (vs. 3). These words reflect an attitude of surrender to an all-powerful, all-knowing God who loves us greatly and has us in the palm of His hand—whatever our current situation.

Will you join me in putting this request before God today? Tami

P.S. Did you notice how the theme and tone of this psalm is similar to what David wrote in Psalm 42? David even uses the same closing phrase ("Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."). Whatever you're experiencing today, keep talking with God about it!

Constant Encourager

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:21-24

One thing I particularly like about Paul is how he is constantly intentional with his efforts to encourage others. Ephesians 6:21-24 is a good example of this. Even though Paul is in prison and uncertain of what is going to happen to him, he takes steps to ensure that he is still encouraging the Ephesians by sending his friend and helper, Tychicus, to keep them informed, to specifically raise their spirits and to provide support to this group of new believers.

Would you describe yourself as an encourager? Why or why not? How does encouraging someone else impact and benefit you? Will you join me in making an extra effort to encourage the people you encounter today, this weekend and beyond? Tami

Spiritual Armor

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

After instructing us to put on the whole armor of God, Paul then describes the components of this armor followed by the charge to pray at all times in the Spirit. As I thought about each of the pieces of this armor, I noticed that the significance of the Bible was prominent. Paul specifically singles out God's Word as the sword of the Spirit, but the Bible is also foundational to each of the other pieces of our spiritual armor.

  • Belt: We learn God's truth by taking in His Word.
  • Breastplate: We're guided and empowered to live rightly from what we learn from God's Word.
  • Shoes: It's through God's Word that we are equipped and ready to move forward as we serve.
  • Shield: God's Word helps us develop and maintain faith.
  • Helmet: The message of salvation, and thus our hope, comes through God's Word.

The message is clear—taking in God's Word and praying are essential for suiting up with the whole armor of God.

How intentional are you about engaging God's Word (reading, reflecting on it and putting it into practice)? What about praying? Is it your habit to "pray at all times"? Why are these two things essential to us as Christ followers? Tami

With God

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

Paul closes out his teaching to the believers in Ephesus with the instruction to put on (action required) the whole armor of God. This is no doubt an important and powerful passage for us to understand and put into practice in our daily lives. Paul's words in verses 11 and 13 stood out to me as I read through this scripture.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (vs. 11)

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." (vs. 13)

How encouraging to know that as followers of Christ (with God), we have the power to stand firmly against and not be overcome by the evil forces and schemes that are prevalent all around us.

How often do you think about the fact that battling against the spiritual forces of evil is part of day-to-day living? How does knowing that you have the ability to stand firmly and strongly against the devil/spiritual warfare encourage you today? Tami

Yielding

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:1-9

Paul's final instruction about walking in love in Ephesians 5 is to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (vs. 21). So it's no surprise that we continue to see that principle of submitting, obeying and yielding when Paul turns his instruction to specific relationships like husband/wife, parent/child or master/slave (employer/employee in modern times). While we may struggle with the idea and practice of submitting to one another, the fact of the matter is that in order for us to have healthy, functioning relationships, yielding and submitting have to be part of the mix.

(Note/disclaimer: I believe the instruction Paul gives here is to be applied to safe relationships only. Paul is NOT telling us to be doormats or spineless or that we should put ourselves in or acquiesce to a dangerous situation. What he writes is not meant for abusive or toxic relationship situations. Staying safe must always be a priority!)

What's one benefit you've experienced when you've chosen to yield and/or submit to a boss, a spouse or another person in a family relationship? How can your willingness to submit or yield to someone else provide a Godly example? How might it even open the door for you to be able to share the Gospel message of Christ? Tami

Teamwork

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Today's reading: Ephesians 5:22-33

Paul's instruction concerning marriage in Ephesians 5—particularly the charge for wives to submit to their husbands—can spark a bit of controversy. But when we read and consider Ephesians 5:22-33 as a whole, what we see is the description of a properly functioning marital relationship. It's a picture of teamwork and partnership between two very different people who have chosen to come together in love and support one another.

"Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (vs. 33)

What does this passage reveal about the importance of love in a marital relationship? What does it show about how love functions to unite husbands and wives together and strengthen relationships? Tami

Hope Prevails

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:1-11

Psalm 42 reads like a back and forth dialogue between hope and fear. But as David talks to himself about God, recalling His goodness and faithfulness and His steadfast love and protection—hope prevails! It wins the day. As David intentionally focuses on God and what he knows is truth, he is able to push aside his doubts and fears and confidently proclaim, "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (vs. 11).

When you're wrestling with fear and doubts, do you ever (like David) talk through with yourself what you know to be true of God? Why is it important to look back at what God has done for you when you encounter difficult circumstances? What's one thing that encouraged you from this psalm, and why? Tami

Helpful Talks

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Today's reading: Psalm 41:1-13

When we find ourselves under attack from others—people spreading lies about our character, doing things to harm us financially or hindering our success in a particular area—it hurts. David was no stranger to being treated poorly by others. We see his candid talking with God about the hurt and pain he is experiencing here in Psalm 41. I'm thankful for this example and was drawn to the way David ends his prayer with the self-reminder of God's love, faithfulness and provision.

"By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever." (vs. 11-12)

Is it your practice to talk candidly with God about your struggles, pains and hurts? When you're open and honest with God, how does it impact your attitude and actions? Tami

Love Walk

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Today's reading: Ephesians 5:1-21

Paul calls all believers to be imitators of God and to walk in love as Christ loved us (Ephesians 5:1-2). He then, true to form, turns to describing and providing instruction about what walking in love means and how it should manifest itself in our lives. Here are some of the things that stood out to me about what walking in love should look like in my life. Walking in love means being:

  • Moral, upright and good
  • Thankful
  • Wise with words and actions
  • Pleasing to God
  • Careful
  • Efficient with time
  • Praise filled
  • Willing to put the interests of others first

What about walking in love stood out to you most from this passage, and why? Who do you know that exhibits walking in love well? How can/will you walk well this week as you're: at the grocery store, in class, in line at the DMV, at a school event, in the break room at work and with your family? Be specific! Tami

No Opportunity

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:27

Right in the middle of Paul's detailing of what putting on the new self looks like and requires, we see a more general instruction in verse 27 to "give no opportunity to the devil." I like this verse because it lets us know that putting on the new self applies to every single area of our lives, not just the things that Paul chooses to highlight in this passage. But what I especially like is how this short verse functions as a good reminder that the while the devil is actively looking for ways to pull us off course and away from God, we have the power to stand firm and say, "No."

We all have areas of weakness. In what areas do you tend to struggle (spending money, speaking harshly, critical spirit, lust, wanting more things, gossip, prejudice or jealousy, to name a few)? What can you do/change today so that you're not giving any opportunity to the devil to tempt and lead you down the road to sinning in your "struggle" areas? Tami

Righteous Anger

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:26; James 1:20

"Be angry and do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26)

". . .for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:20)

Yesterday we looked at the negative side of anger, so today, I thought it would be good for us to consider how and when anger can be a good thing. Ephesians 4:26 actually commands us to "be angry and do not sin." This lets us know that anger, in and of itself, isn't a sin—unless we turn it into something sinful by letting pride and our self-centered motives drive our anger.

So when is our anger good and proper? When it's righteous anger. In other words, when our anger comes about because of and is directed toward an unjust situation caused by another person. Here are a few examples of righteous anger from the Bible:

  • When Jesus drove out the money changers who were defiling the temple (John 2:13-18)
  • When Paul confronted Peter about how he was conducting himself (Galatians 2:11-14)
  • When Nehemiah threw out Tobiah's furniture from the chambers of the house of God (Nehemiah 13:4-9)

When have you experienced righteous anger? What action(s) did you take as a result? Spend a few minutes considering the difference in you and your response when you have had righteous anger versus when your anger was self-centered and sinful. Tami

Deal with It

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:26-27

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

We"ve all been there. We have an argument with our spouse, a friend, our parents, a sibling or a boss, and we are MAD. We stomp off to our bedroom, our office cubicle or our corner of the room, and we stew. We dwell on the situation, replaying the exchange of words over and over again, and as we do, our blood continues to boil and even gets a bit hotter. It's not a good situation, and if we don't choose to take control of our anger right then and there, what follows will likely be an ugly, sinful downward spiral.

Why is it important to take control of and deal with our anger right away? Think of a time when you didn't promptly deal with your anger. How did continuing to dwell on a negative situation impact you? How does choosing to hold on to our anger open the door for sin? Tami

Today's reading: Ephesians 4:17-32

Paul reminds, charges and challenges the believers at Ephesus (and us today) to be actively intentional about putting off our "old self" (our past worldly way of living) and putting on the "new self" (Godly way of living).

One of the things I like about Paul's teaching is how more often than not his directives are also instructive. Immediately after issuing the charge to put on the new self, he provides examples and descriptions of what this new, fresh and different way of living should look like.

What changes have you noticed in your life (actions, lifestyle, words or thinking) since making the decision to follow Christ and turn your life over to God? How does taking in God's Word contribute to you putting on the new self? Tami

Leaning in God

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Today's reading: Psalm 40:1-17

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry." (vs. 1)

The Bible is full of verses, passages and examples where either we're told or we see from what is written that God hears our cries, requests and prayers. Psalm 40:1 is one example of this. While I've always thought of God as hearing my prayers, I hadn't given much thought (if any) to how God actually listens. Let me explain.

Think about having a conversation with another person. If we're interested in the other person and what they are saying, what do we naturally do? We lean in. We incline or turn toward the person. That's the picture David puts before us in Psalm 40 of what God does when we talk with him through prayer. What an encouragement to know that God is interested in and attentive to each of us and that He is actively leaning forward, taking in every single one of our words!

Do you think of God and approach Him as an active and involved listener? Why is this important? What impact does knowing that God is actively listening to you have on your prayers? Are you inclining toward God as you listen for His responses? 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 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2019 is the previous archive.

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