October 2019 Archives

Focus Changer

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Today's reading: Genesis 12:10-20

One of the quickest ways we can get off track spiritually is to let fear penetrate our minds. If we don't nip fearful thoughts and the feelings that accompany them in the bud, they will immediately grow like weeds, taking root and pushing out good, right and wise thinking. Fear changes our focus. Instead of keeping our eyes on God and His faithfulness, it turns our focus inward, consuming our thoughts with what might happen and how we, not God, can control our circumstances.

Fear got the best of Abram as he, Sarai and his family members encountered extreme and difficult circumstances while they were following God's directive to move to a new land. Abram allowed fear for his life (via famine and by the hands of the Egyptians) to take root in his mind. As he focused on himself and how he could handle the situation rather than consulting with God, he made unwise decisions which led him to act sinfully before God, his wife and family, and the Egyptians.

When you allowed fear to flood your thinking in the past, how did it impact your focus and decision making? How did it impact your relationship with God? Is there something that has you feeling fearful today? Will you turn it over to God and trust Him to carry your through your situation? Tami

Abram Went

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Today's reading: Genesis 12:1-9

Today we arrive at the account of Abram and Sarai. Abram (or Abraham as he will later be called) is the man God chooses to be the foundation of the nation of Israel. That means he is also a foundational person to Christianity. As such, it's important that we know about his life journey and the relationship he had with God through it all.

Abram was a great man of God. Because of this, and because of the fact that he is such a familiar figure, there is a tendency for us to simply take Abram's actions for granted when we read the account of his life journey. But while Abram was a Godly man, he wasn't perfect by any means. Abram struggled with emotions, thoughts and actions just like we do. As I read today with Abram's humanness at the forefront of my mind, three words stood out to me.

"So Abram went. . ." (vs. 4)

These three words convey much. I tried to imagine myself in Abram's shoes when he received the word from God to pick up and move his entire family. This was no small charge. Even in today's world with vehicles and moving companies, moving is a huge undertaking (trust me, my husband and I have moved a couple of times in the past six years, and it has never been easy or fun). Abram was on foot, with herds of animals and his extended family—AND he didn't even know where God was going to take him. Following God's instruction meant Abram's life (not to mention the lives of those in his family) was going to be turned upside down. That had to be scary. But Abram took God at His word. Thus we see that in trust and obedience, "Abram went, as the LORD had told him" (vs. 4).

How do you tend to respond when God asks you to make a change or prompts your heart to move in a different direction? What encouragement do you draw from Abram's example? Are you willing to trust God even when you can't see the full picture of His plan for you? Tami

Adam to Babel

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Today's reading: Genesis 1-11

Before we move on to Genesis 12, where we meet Abram and begin the detailed story of the nation of Israel, let's take today to look back and think about what God revealed to us through the accounts in Genesis 1-11 of Adam through the tower of Babel.

While there were many good lessons in these chapters, the one lesson that stood out prominently to me was the sinfulness of our human hearts, and how our choosing to do what we want versus what God has for us grieves God. These past weeks reading and considering Genesis 1-11, this passage from Jeremiah 17 kept coming to my mind:

"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve." (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NLT)

Thank you, God, for your Word and the lessons it contains for our daily lives. Forgive us for when we have chosen our way instead of yours, and as we move forward, guide and direct our choices so that we can live more fully for you.

What significant lesson or message did God impress on your heart as you read through and considered the accounts in Genesis 1-11? How will you respond (or have responded) to this message? Tami

True Colors

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Today's reading: Genesis 11:1-32

Shortly after Noah, his family and all the living creatures exit the ark, God gives dominion of the earth to Noah and his sons and issues the command to them to multiply and fill the earth (see Genesis 9). But as generations are born and the earth begins to be repopulated, mankind again chooses to go after its own thoughts and desires instead of looking to and following after God. Rather than dispersing to fill the earth that God had so freely given them, Noah's descendants band together, elevating themselves with the purpose of acting in direct opposition to God.

"Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4)

As He had done in the past (with Adam and Eve and then in Noah's time), God intervenes, upholding His promise to refrain from flooding the earth as a consequence for sin.

What does this account show us about human nature? What does it reveal about our need for God and the consequences of turning away from Him? What's one thing you learned or noticed about God from this passage? Tami

When I Am Afraid

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Today's reading: Psalm 56:1-13

David certainly had his fair share of distress and hard situations. And thankfully for us, he wrote about them. I love how so many of David's psalms let us know that we too are going to encounter difficulty as we live for God. But more importantly, I'm thankful for the example David gives us of how to respond when we're in the middle of hard and distressing circumstances.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?. . . This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you." (vs. 3-4, 9-12)

Whatever you're going through today, God knows, and He cares. So make use of these powerful words from David. Say them out loud as a prayer to God, and use them as a reminder that God is near, trustworthy and is for you! Tami

Declaring Trust

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Today's reading: Psalm 55:1-23

As someone who suffered with anxiety in a big way for a good number of years (and who still has a propensity toward anxiousness), David's circumstances and what he writes in Psalm 55 truly connect with me.

David's earthly circumstances are less than optimal. He is restless, afraid, trembling, overwhelmed with horror and longing to escape his current situation (feelings and emotions often experienced with anxiety). But even in this emotional state, David knows in his heart that God is his answer. So he pours out his concerns to God and then ends his song of concern with a reaffirming declaration of his trust in God.

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you." (vs. 22-23)

Do you talk candidly with God about feeling worried, overwhelmed, anxious or afraid? Why is this important? How does telling God that you trust Him influence your thinking and actions? What circumstance or situation do you need to give over to God today? Tami

Promise Fulfilled

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Today's reading: Genesis 10:1-32

Genesis 10 is another chapter dedicated to genealogy. And while it may not be the most exciting read, it's important because of the family lineage it records. It also provides confirmation that God did in fact populate the earth through Noah and his sons as set out in Genesis 9:1 ("Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.") and Genesis 9:19 ("These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed."). What a faithful and trustworthy God we serve.

What does Genesis 10 reveal about God's plan and His attention to detail? Why is it important for us to know about these things? What's one promise God has fulfilled for you? Tami

Postflood, Part 2

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Today's reading: Genesis 9:18-29

As part of his "new normal" life, Noah chooses to become a farmer who grows and harvests grapes and then makes wine from his grape crop. Genesis 9:21 tells us that at some point, Noah gets drunk and lays naked in his tent. His youngest son, Ham, comes in and sees him. Rather than covering his father and doing what he can to help, Ham leaves and then proceeds to tell his two brothers what he has just witnessed. Shem and Japheth then take action. They enter Noah's tent to cover him up, taking care not to look at and be disrespectful to their drunk and naked father.

Two lessons stood out to me from this incident. The first lesson was the commandment that God would formally issue to Moses years later—honor your parents. Ham was disrespectful to Noah while his two older brothers honored him with their actions.

The other lesson I took away from this account has to do with helping others who have given in to temptation. For whatever reason, Noah made the decision to consume the wine he produced from his vineyards in excess, and as a result, he lost control of his senses, which led to him sinning. His two oldest sons serve as a wonderful example of coming alongside to help someone who has stumbled or is actively sinning. Upon learning about their father's poor choice and condition, they respectfully and lovingly help him get back on his feet, literally and spiritually.

Has anyone ever helped you get back on track? Who do you know (a family member, a neighbor, a church friend or a coworker) who is in need of a helping hand, a listening ear, a word of encouragement or direction? How can you be a modern day Shem or Japheth to someone in need today? Tami

Postflood, Part 1

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Today's reading: Genesis 9:1-3

After the subsiding of the flood waters, Noah and his family start their "new normal" lives. A big part of this new normal is God's express instructions that Noah and his family can now eat anything on the earth.

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." (vs. 3)

Prior to this point, the only command we see about what to eat is back in Genesis 2. Verses 9 and then 15-16 of that chapter say:

"And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. . . The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden.'"

This change in diet we now see with Noah intrigued me. So I looked at a commentary, which explained the change as likely being a result of the lack of vegetation in a world that was basically starting up again from ground zero. That made sense to me. Although Noah had all he needed to start over, right off the ark there wouldn't have been full-grown plants and trees with the ability to bear mature grains, seeds or fruit. The world as Noah and his family knew it was no more. It was truly a fresh beginning and a new time.

But in that new time the one thing that hadn't changed was God. He was still there—in control of all things and watching over and providing for Noah and his family.

What do these verses reveal about how God loves, cares and provides for His children? What's one example of when God has provided for you and your family in a time of change or in a new season of life? Tami

Superior Mankind

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Today's reading: Genesis 9:1-17

As we saw in the creation account, God once again sets mankind apart and above all other beings on the earth. After taking in the pleasing worship of Noah, God blesses Noah and his family and expressly tells them that He has placed them above and given them dominion over all things. God then puts in place a new law dealing with murder and again shows Noah and his sons the importance of mankind with the reminder that "God made man in his own image" (vs. 6).

What does this passage show about how God values you and the depth of His love for you? How does knowing that you were made in God's image make you feel? What encouragement did you draw from Genesis 9:1-17? Tami

Priorities

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Today's reading: Genesis 8:20-22

After many months cooped up in the ark, Noah, his family and all the living creatures with them are once again free to walk about on the dry ground of the earth. I can only imagine the excitement and hustle and bustle of activity as everyone and everything made their way out of the ark into the fresh air and sunlight. Noah, of course, was directing it all. And as the leader of the world, he could have allowed the circumstances and his responsibilities to consume him. But that's not what we see. Noah doesn't let the commotion taking place around him pull him away from God in the slightest. Instead, once Noah's feet hit dry ground, he worships and gives thanks to God—and God is pleased.

On a scale of 1-10, how much focus and importance do you place on worshipping God? And how do you worship God? In other words, what does you worshiping look like? What benefits do you reap when you stop all activity to focus on and worship God? Tami

Backward Confidence

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Today's reading: Psalm 54:1-7

As David finds himself in yet another dangerous situation on the run from Saul, he calls out to God to protect and defend him. In the middle of dire circumstances, David recalls who God is and how He has delivered him through all of his troubles in the past. As a result, we see a confident, trusting and expectant David even when he is surrounded by danger and chaos.

When has God delivered you from trouble in the past? How does looking back and recalling His protection and provision help you in the present? Tami

Presenting Jesus

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Today's reading: Psalm 53:1-6

It's pretty common to hear someone make the comment that people are inherently good (on television, in classrooms, on social media, etc.). That's simply not the case. We are all born with a sinful nature that dominates and rules our hearts and thinking. . . until we come to know God personally by receiving Christ as our Savior. From that point forward, God's Spirit dwells within us, giving us the power to combat and overcome the negative pull of our human nature so that we can sin less as we strive to live rightly for God.

Who do you know that doesn't yet know and have a relationship with Jesus? Will you step out and introduce them to Him this week? Tami

Today's reading: Genesis 8:1-19

One of the things I love about reading the Bible is the way the various forms of text (poetry, narrative, laws, instruction, prophecy, history, etc.) show and reveal God and His character to us. And that's precisely what Genesis 8:1-19 did for me today. Almost from the beginning of the passage I found myself thinking about how wonderful and magnificent God is—His greatness and power along with the fact that He is sovereign over all yet at the same time gives attention to detail and provides extraordinary care for all of His creation (Noah and his family as well as every living creature).

"But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark." (Genesis 8:1)

God's magnificence is so incredible that it's beyond my full comprehension. And isn't that a precisely how it should be when it comes to such an incredible God?

What did you see or learn about God from Genesis 8:1-19? What are three character qualities of God that stood out to you from this passage? Tami

TRUST

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Today's reading: Genesis 7:1-24

After learning of God's decision to "bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven" (Genesis 6:17) and seeing instructions for the building of the ark, in Genesis 7 we are provided with specifics concerning Noah's animal tasks and then given details concerning the actual flood itself. It's a sobering passage, with verses 21-24 being particularly difficult to take in.

I tried to imagine myself in Noah's shoes (or even those of one of his family members'). Emotions had to be running high. Nothing like this had ever been seen or experienced before. I can only begin to fathom how horrific it had to have been to know about for many months, and then to actually witness, the death of not only those close to you (relatives, neighbors, coworkers, etc.) but also cities and countries full of men, women and children. By the time I reached the middle of this passage, one word—TRUST—was in my mind. And as I continued through the end of the chapter, the importance and impact of trusting God above all else filled every inch of my thinking. I am convinced that without fully trusting God, Noah and his family could not have endured and survived through this situation.

When do you find it most difficult to surrender a circumstance to God and trust that He has it under control? Is there a situation that you need to turn over to God today? What does (or would) fully trusting God look like in your life right now? Tami

Serving Well

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Today's reading: Genesis 6:9-22

The account of Noah and the ark is arguably one of the most recognized stories from the Bible. At first glance, it's appealing because there are animals, a big boat and a miraculous, beautiful rainbow. But when we really stop to think about this story, what takes place is quite horrific. All but eight people living on the earth were destroyed because of the great wickedness of man.

It's a regular part of my prayers that God would help, guide and empower me to live rightly and blamelessly (we looked at this yesterday) and that He would use me to accomplish His purposes. And I'm guessing Noah prayed something similar thousands of years ago. So as I took in this life-altering account today and considered the tasks and responsibilities God placed on Noah's shoulders, the weightiness of that regular prayer for guidance to live well hit me full force. Thank you, God, for the reminder of my need to be fully prepared to do whatever tasks you put before me—those I find enjoyable as well as the ones I find difficult.

What's one thing you learned about serving God from Noah's example in Genesis 6:9-22? On a scale of 1-10, how attuned would you say you are to God's prompting to serve Him in a particular area or task? How are you (in what ways or areas) serving God right now? Tami

Blameless

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Today's reading: Genesis 6:9

"Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)

Although short, Genesis 6:9 contains important information and ultimately a good lesson about living well for God. This verse tells that Noah was righteous. In other words, he was living rightly (good, moral and honorable). Verse 9 also tells us that Noah walked with God, which tells us that Noah had a relationship with God by talking with Him through prayer and committing to following His ways. But right in the middle of the verse we're told that Noah was blameless, and that word—blameless—is what drew my attention today.

Being blameless makes Noah sound pretty incredible, and I'm confident that he was. But being blameless doesn't mean that Noah was perfect or that he didn't sin—only one person can make that claim, and that person is Jesus. That being the case, the identifying/descriptive word blameless lets us know that when Noah sinned (when he messed up, behaved poorly, spoke harsh or unkind words, etc.), he was quick after the fact to recognize his sin and then confess it to God and ask for forgiveness.

I'm thankful for Noah's story, and particularly the short verse of Genesis 6:9, because of its wonderful example of how to live well for God.

Is it your practice to keep a short account with God regarding your wrong choices, thoughts and/or actions? Why is this important? When we regularly confess our sin and ask for forgiveness, what's the impact on our relationship with God? Tami

Sin and More Sin

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Today's reading: Genesis 6:1-8

After the passing of thousands of years, chapter 6 of Genesis brings us forward to the generation of Noah. At this point in time, there are hundreds of thousands of people inhabiting the earth, and as the number of people has increased, sin has also flourished and increased exponentially. Verse 5 is particularly saddening because it goes beyond outward actions to reveal the extremely sinful and dark condition of our hearts when we are not in relationship with God.

What does this passage reveal about our sinful nature and sin in general? How often do you think about the ways your wrongful acts and thinking impact your life circumstances and also your relationship with God? What does Genesis 6:1-8 reveal about our desperate need for a savior? Tami

Affirming God

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Today's reading: Psalm 52:1-9

Psalm 52 is David's response to Saul's ordering, and Doeg's carrying out of, the slaying of Ahimelech and the priests at Nob because they had given provisions to David and his men (see 1 Samuel 21-22). I can only imagine the heavy heart David must have had knowing that it was his actions that led to this tragedy. At this point, David is on the run from Saul, so he is powerless to take action. In this time of grief and distress, he turns to God to reaffirm his trust in and dependence on Him.

How has God been your comfort and refuge in a time of grief or distress? What impact does focusing on God and declaring and affirming your trust in Him have when you're troubled, worried or distraught? Tami

Pursuing Forgiveness

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Today's reading: Psalm 51:1-19

With a humble heart, David cries out to God asking Him for forgiveness. One of the things I like about this psalm is the perspective it provides about sin. I'm also drawn to the example it puts before us of honestly talking with God about our heart, attitude and actions. In verse 4 David says, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." This lets us know that whenever we sin, we are first and foremost sinning against and offending God. What a good reminder to help us think more about our actions and hopefully sin less often going forward. Then after confessing and putting forth his sin, David makes this beautiful request of God in verse 10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

Is it your practice to regularly seek God's forgiveness? And when you do, how candid are you with God about how and what you're feeling and thinking? What impacted the most you from David's example, and why? Tami

Getting to Noah

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Today's reading: Genesis 5:1-32

Do you ever read something in scripture and think to yourself, "I wonder why God included this in the Bible?" I know I sure have, and I still do sometimes. One area about which I used to ask this question is genealogies, or family trees. I didn't particularly like to read through these lists and would often skim over or skip them altogether.

But then one day it hit me that every word God recorded in the Bible is important to God, and that all that God has written has a purpose and is meant for me to read. This "aha" moment changed my perspective and, in turn, how I approach genealogies and other portions of scripture that contain lists and numbers such as detailed laws and instructions (like those found in Exodus regarding sacrifices, worship and the tabernacle). That being the case, I now slow down and take some extra care when I read these types of passages, looking for what I can garner from this information that God has specifically placed in the Bible for me to read and know.

Why do you think God includes genealogies as part of scripture? In other words, why are they important, and what can we glean from seeing lineages? Why do you think God included the family tree from Adam to Noah at this point in the Bible? What's one thing you learned, noticed or discovered from this family tree? Tami

Gracious God

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Today's reading: Genesis 4:1-26

Life as they knew it changed drastically for Adam and Eve after choosing to sin against God. But while Adam and Eve changed—God did not. His love for them remained steady and strong. So we come to Genesis 4, where, with God watching over and protecting them, Adam and Eve are living outside of Eden working the land and starting their family with the gift of their first sons, Cain and Abel.

As Cain and Abel grow, Cain chooses to work the land as a farmer and Abel elects to be a shepherd. All seems well, but the sin that was birthed through Adam and Eve is now actively in the world. We see it in this text through the offering Cain made which was not pleasing to God, Cain's jealousy toward and then murder of Abel, and Cain's disrespectful and unrepentant attitude after the fact. As with Adam and Eve, God disciplines Cain, but His love remains steady and strong.

What did God's interactions with Cain reveal to you about God? What about what He desires from us? How He watches over us? His discipline? His steady love for us? Tami

Personal God

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:8-24

Yesterday we focused on details and lessons about sin from our reading of Genesis 3:8-25. And while I'm grateful for these lessons, what I appreciate even more about this account is the picture it gives us of God along with what it shows us about the special relationship God has had with mankind from the very beginning of our world.

We don't know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before they chose to disobey God, but it's evident from the text that it was customary for God to interact and converse with them. God coming to the garden to spend time with Adam and Eve was not out of the ordinary. The sense I get from reading these first chapters of Genesis is one of beautiful communion and fellowship between God and Adam and Eve. God didn't create mankind and then leave us to figure out life on our own. He designed us to be in close relationship with Him—as our loving Father—and that's precisely what we see from the beginning of time as we know it.

Do you view God as being "personal" and wanting an intimate, interactive relationship with you? Do you talk with God each day? Is it your practice to spend time with Him in His Word? Why are these things so important? Tami

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about God's love for you and having a personal relationship with Him, I invite you to listen to this short talk I gave at a conference a few years ago. God loves you and is waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him!

Enter Sin

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:8-24

Adam and Eve's choice to break the one rule God had put in place for them introduced sin into the world and changed everything for mankind and all of creation.

Genesis 3:8-24 contains abundant information and lessons for us, so I encourage you to reread this passage looking for additional information and teaching moments. One of the first things that stood out to me from this passage was the immediate impact Adam and Eve's choosing to sin had on them—for the first time they experienced guilt, shame and fear. As a result, instead of looking forward to spending time with God (which was their normal habit), they hide from Him when He came to the garden. Then, when God very appropriately questions them about their actions, they choose to play the blame game rather than admitting they were wrong and asking for forgiveness.

What did you learn about the influence and impact of sin (wrongdoing) from this account? Why is it important for us to be aware of our sinful nature and our propensity to sin? What does God's exchange with Adam and Eve show us about the consequences that always follow choosing to sin? Tami

Crafty

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Today's reading: Genesis 3:1-7

As I've gotten older (and wiser), I find that I am more tuned in and give more thought to things like temptation, Satan and sin. That being the case, I spent extra time scouring over Satan's interaction with Eve in Genesis 3, looking for lessons that I can use to ward off Satan's attacks and resist sinful temptations when they arise. I read the passage several times, writing down things I noticed about Satan, including the tactics he used with Eve that he will also use to pull me off course. Here are some of the things I noted.

  • Satan is proactive and engages Eve in conversation.
  • Satan asks Eve questions to continue to draw her into conversation.
  • Satan employs a condescending approach, which puts Eve on the defensive. His disrespectful tone encourages and invites her to question God.
  • Satan plants seeds of doubt by using half-truths to sway Eve's thinking.
  • Satan fans the flame of Eve's desire to feel powerful and important and to be in control.
  • Satan uses common and good things (food and its beautiful appearance) as a way to approach and then subtly attack Eve.

How often do you think about the tactics Satan uses to pull you off course? Why is this important? Which of Satan's tactics (those you saw in Genesis 3 or others) are you most susceptible to, and why? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 50:1-23

Psalm 50 makes it abundantly clear that God is in control and sovereign over all. What drew my attention most in this psalm is how it shows us that this all-powerful, mighty and magnificent God wants us to willingly give Him our hearts and desires for us to offer up to Him an earnest and genuine sacrifice of thanksgiving.

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!" (vs. 23)

How do you show God that your heart is given to Him? Describe what you do to offer thanksgiving to God. Would you say that the people who know you can see that God is the desire of your heart? Tami

Foolish Confidence

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Today's reading: Psalm 49:1-20

"You need more! You need bigger! You need better!" Sound familiar? Of course! Everywhere we look—television, online, social media, magazines, billboards and shopping malls—the clear, bombarding message being directed toward us is: You NEED and DESERVE more! It's an enticing message, but it's also a foolish one that can pull our focus off of God and steer us in a wrong direction if we're not careful. Choosing to focus on and seek after earthly wealth and riches may bring us temporary satisfaction, but it has no eternal value.

"Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. . . Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish." (vs. 16-17, 20)

What helps you keep an eternal perspective in this material, money-focused world? Was there a particular verse from this psalm that resonated with your heart, and why? Tami

Valued

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Today's reading: Genesis 2:4-25

After giving us what I'll call the 50,000-foot view of creation in Genesis 1, Genesis 2 zooms in for an up-close and personal look at the creation of mankind—man and woman. Once again I was struck by the special consideration and also the extraordinary care and treatment God gave regarding man. My favorite thing about this account (and something that I need reminding of often) is how it highlights God's love and the incredible value we each have in His eyes.

"Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." (vs. 7)

What about the creation of mankind stood out to you most from Genesis 2, and why? What does this account reveal about our responsibility to work? What are two or three specific things from this passage that show you how valuable you are to God? Tami

Timeout

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Today's reading: Genesis 2:1-3

As we start into Genesis 2, we're told that God finished His work and then rested. Rest—that's almost a foreign concept in today's world. Everywhere we turn it seems like the prevalent message is "do more" or that "life is short, so pack in as much as you can." And I must admit, I've bought into that mindset entirely too much. I'm constantly telling people how busy I am and that my plate is so full. And if I'm honest, I overpack my days to the point that I rarely have time to just sit down in the evening and relax with my husband. I know it's not healthy and I say things need to change, but the crazy routine almost always prevails.

When I was growing up, my parents were pretty good about resting on Sundays. We'd go to church, come home for a family dinner and then the remainder of the day was spent doing relaxing and refreshing activities like going to the lake for a swim, napping, riding my horse, going for a walk or taking a drive with my family through the countryside. It was precious time spent well.

Genesis 2:1-3 convicted me as I looked at it numerous times this week. God took time to rest and so should we! It's not good for us to run (whatever run means for each of us) nonstop, 24/7. Our bodies and minds require rest, which means we need to make time to recharge and refresh. And when we do, it will put us in the best position to continue working well for God and as He intended.

What does rest look like for you? Are you (like me) in need of some rest today? If so, what step(s) will you take to get that needed rest? Tami

Hello God

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Today's reading: Genesis 1:1-31

The first chapter of Genesis is rich with information about God. But because this is where we're learning about the creation of the world and of mankind (totally awesome stuff), oftentimes we skim over the details about God without even realizing it. So before moving on to Genesis 2, I spent the last couple of evenings mulling over Genesis 1 looking at what it reveals about God, our awesome Creator.

As I started my reading, I asked God to show me things I hadn't noticed before. Then as I read through the chapter, I wrote down in the margins of my Bible the various details that caught my attention. And each time I read through the chapter (I read it several times), I added to my list. Below are some of the things I noted about God.

God is:

  • A visionary.
  • Orderly.
  • Organized.
  • Detailed.
  • An artist and vastly creative.
  • Deliberate.
  • A planner.
  • An emotional being.
  • A delighter in His work.
  • A delegator. (This one was my favorite. God handed over a BUNCH of responsibility to man. That conveys so much about how highly God values mankind when you think about it.)

Slowing down to look for and then list out these things about God helped me focus in on the incredible Author of creation. What a wonderful way to start into Genesis and our beginning.

I encourage you to go back and read through Genesis 1 again (maybe a couple of times) looking for what this rich chapter has to show you about God. What did you discover? What one thing stood out to you most about God, and why? Tami

Crowning Act

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Today's reading: Genesis 1:26-31

Man was God's crowning act of creation. After speaking into existence nature as we know it and creating all other living beings, God caps off His marvelous handiwork with the creation of mankind.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (vs. 27)

I never tire of reading the creation account, specifically the verses that lay out God's creation of man, because of the way these passages reveal the extraordinary love and care God has for us. On the sixth day, when God looks over all He has created (nature and living creatures PLUS man), we see this: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (vs. 31, emphasis mine).

What do the final verses of Genesis 1 show us about how God views and feels about each of us? What does this passage reveal about the significant value we have in His eyes? 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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