November 2019 Archives

Kind and Charitable

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Today's reading: Genesis 18:1-8

Abraham was intent on living his life in a way that honored and pleased God, and this mindset permeated and hence motivated everything he did. As we come to Genesis 18, we find Abraham at the entrance of his tent looking out over his land, eager for any opportunity to serve that God would put before him that day. When Abraham sees three men have come to his home, he immediately takes action, running (at the ripe old age of 99) to greet them and offer food, rest and accommodations.

Both he and Sarah willingly and joyfully opened their home, extended kindness and shared what they had with these men. I love this example and the reminder it provides that God is pleased when we are kind, generous and offer help to those around us.

Who do you know that has a kind and charitable heart for people, and what sorts of things do they do? When was the last time you invited someone into your home—for a meal, for coffee or even just to get to know them better? Do you look for opportunities to be hospitable and to extend God's love to others? Tami

Nothing Impossible

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Today's reading: Genesis 17:15-27

God's thoughts, His timing and His way of doing things are different than ours. I clearly know this, yet somehow I continue to be "surprised" when what I'm thinking doesn't quite match up with God's plan. Although the Bible doesn't expressly say it, I wonder if Abraham struggled with this as well.

When Abram is already an old man with no children, God tells him that he will have offspring as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15). Years pass before God appears to Abram again, when he's now 99 years old. This time God delivers the message that he will be the father of nations through a son by his 90-year-old wife, Sarai. What?! This certainly isn't the succession plan we would have come up with in our human thinking. But as Abraham's and Sarah's story drives home—nothing is impossible with God!

Do you have a God-given dream or desire that seems impossible to you? What encouragement does God's interaction with Abraham provide? How does this account resemble the interaction between Mary and the angel in Luke 1:37 ("For nothing will be impossible with God.")? Tami

13 Years

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Today's reading: Genesis 17:1-27

Thirteen years pass between the end of Genesis 16 (and the birth of Ishmael) and the first verse of Genesis 17. During this time, Abram pushes faithfully onward. Chapter 17 begins with God appearing to Abram to institute a second covenant and to put into action the covenant made with Abram in Genesis 15. This time when God speaks, however, He's more specific about the blessing being bestowed. He tells Abram that he will be the father of many nations through a son from Sarai, changes Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah, and puts in place the covenant of circumcision. Abraham doesn't fully understand the "whats, whys, hows or whens" of what God is telling him (similar to Genesis 15). Yet he listens to God, accepts everything he is told and obediently acts on God's instructions.

What's the most meaningful lesson you learned from Abraham's example? When you don't fully understand how God is moving, what helps you keep your eyes on God and take Him at His word? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 57:1-11

David is on the run from Saul, and in this dangerous situation he fully relies upon God and His protection. He literally surrenders his life and its circumstances to God. This psalm depicts such a beautiful picture of complete reliance and trust. David is so confident in God and grateful for His provision that he proclaims his thankfulness to God with exuberant and boisterous praise—all in the middle of a time of great distress and hurting. I love it!

How has choosing to thank and praise God when you're in the middle of a life storm strengthened and helped you through the situation? How did it impact your relationship with God? For what (and how) will you thank and praise God this weekend? Tami

Stormy Refuge

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Today's reading: Psalm 57:1-11

Even though David is being hunted by Saul and his men, his trust in God remains strong. As he begins Psalm 57, David's tone is confident. I love how he declares to God that he is claiming Him as his refuge until the terrible circumstances around him subside.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by." (vs. 1)

When and how has God been your "refuge till the storms of destruction have passed you by"? When you tell God that you will sing and give thanks to Him regardless of your circumstances, how does it reinforce your thinking and, in turn, bolster your attitude and actions? Tami

Messes

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Today's reading: Genesis 16:1-16

Sarai taking matters into her own hands creates quite a messy situation—for her, for Abram and most certainly for Hagar, who didn't really have a say or choice in the matter. But thankfully, God is much bigger than, and in no way limited by, the messes we find ourselves in.

Hagar was placed in a bad situation by Sarai, and not surprisingly, that situation took a turn for the worse after Hagar got pregnant. To escape from an angry and bitter Sarai, Hagar runs away into the open countryside, a dangerous and desolate place.

Hagar was low emotionally and thought she was on her own. But God was right there by her side, guiding, protecting and providing for her.

What messes have you found yourself in—either by a poor decision you made or a poor choice made by someone else? How did God guide, protect and/or provide for you in and through one of those messy situations? What's one thing the account from Genesis 16 showed you about God? Tami

Control Issue

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Today's reading: Genesis 16:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-8

Although Abram and Sarai desire to have children, Sarai is barren. After years of trying to conceive, Sarai decides to take matters into her own hands instead of trusting that God was aware of the situation and had a plan and purpose for her.

Now let me interject here. If you feel like pointing your finger or shaking your head at Sarai, hold off. Because honestly, haven't we all done this at some point or another—taken matters into our own hands? I certainly have, and more than once. When circumstances aren't moving along like we think they should, our self-centered and sinful human nature rises us and urges us to push God aside, seductively whispering, "You know what's best for you." The temptation for us to be in control of our personal world has been around since the beginning of time, and it's powerful. But when we give in to this temptation and run ahead of God, it's always to our detriment. And yes, I'm speaking from experience.

In your current life circumstances or season of life, what helps you wait patiently when you're ready to move or make a change but God hasn't yet fully cleared the way? What does Sarai and Abram's example from Genesis 16 reveal about the dangers and consequences of making decisions based on our feelings and circumstances? Tami

Believe and Trust

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Today's reading: Genesis 15:1-21

Genesis 15 lets us see (with detail) one of the most important dialogues in the Bible—the private, personal and candid conversation between God and Abram where God covenants with Abram that he will have a son, that this son will have offspring as numerous as the stars and that Abram's heirs will possess the land.

Abram was committed to serving God, and as such, it was his regular practice to look for and listen to God's instruction and guidance. So when God speaks to him through a vision, it's not surprising that he responds in a familiar manner. He talks openly and honestly with God—expressing concerns about his circumstances, inquiring of God about His plan and asking how it will come about. And God likewise responds in a personal manner, reassuring Abram by giving him examples and even providing him with many details of future events and happenings that will be part of the fulfilling of God's promise to Abram.

I was drawn to the exchanges between God and Abram in this chapter because of what they reveal about God, His love for mankind and His desire to be in relationship with us. But I was also struck by Abram's example. What God tells Abram must have seemed inconceivable to Abram given his circumstances (Abram is now well over 75 years old and Sarai is unable to have children). Even so, Abram trusted God. He took God at His word. Verse 6 tells us that Abram "believed the LORD, and [the LORD] counted it to him as righteousness." What an incredible example of faith!

What did you see and/or learn about God from this chapter? What stood out to you most from Abram's response and example, and why? Is there a circumstance that you need to trust God with today? If so, talk with Him about it. Tell Him what's on your heart, share your concerns, ask Him about it (whatever "it" is) and seek His input and guidance. Tami

Public Honoring

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Today's reading: Genesis 14:17-24

After Abram and his neighbors track down and defeat the kings who had taken the residents and possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, the king of Sodom reaches out to Abram to thank and honor him. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, also comes to recognize and offer a blessing to Abram. (Verse 18 tells us that Melchizedek was a priest of God Most High. See Hebrews 7 for more explanation on Melchizedek.)

Abram and his friends were heroes! Spirits were undoubtedly high after the defeat of the enemy kings. I can only imagine the extreme feelings of exhilaration, accomplishment and satisfaction they must have been experiencing. Yet when the spotlight is turned on Abram, he doesn't bask in it or look for personal gain. Rather, he immediately directs everyone's attention to God by verbally proclaiming Him as sovereign God over all, and he declines to accept the king of Sodom's offer for him to take the spoils of the victory.

When you are blessed by God—through an accomplishment, praise, an unexpected gift, etc.—do you thank God and offer verbal praise in front of others? How often do you speak of God and honor Him in public? Identify one or more benefits of publically honoring God. Tami

Vital Relationships

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Today's reading: Genesis 14:1-16

Because of war between the kings of several clans in and around Sodom, Lot and his family are taken captive when the enemies of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah prevail in battle. When word of Lot's capture reaches Abram, he immediately sets a plan of rescue into action, which includes two of his neighbors. Thankfully for Lot, he and his family and possessions are rescued and returned safely to Sodom.

The word "relationship" repeatedly came to my mind as I took in and thought about this chapter—the partnering and power relationships between the kings, the family relationship between Abram and Lot, and the friendship and ally relationships between Abram and his neighbors. All of these differing relationships highlight how God created us as relational beings. We need other people, and other people need us. Pretty much everything we do involves other people in some fashion. And when you think about it, many seemingly insurmountable tasks can be accomplished when we join together in relationship.

What relationships/friendships in your life (family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, business partners, etc.) do you view as essential? Would you describe yourself as a relationship builder? Why is this so important? How can or will you make the relationships you have even stronger going forward? Tami

For Me (and You)

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Today's reading: Psalm 56:9-11

I decided to stay on Psalm 56 one more day because of the powerfully encouraging and hope-filled message that fills this song from David. I was especially drawn to the last sentence of verse 9, which says:

"This I know, that God is for me."

No matter what you're going through right now, God knows and He is for you! So talk with Him. He's waiting with open ears, and you can tell Him anything and everything. In fact, that's what He wants. And as you converse, ask God to help you live more confidently because you know that He is for you. Tami

Attentive

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Today's reading: Psalm 56:8-11

Psalm 56:8 always touches my heart and brings a smile to my face because it reminds me of how acutely aware God is of every detail of my life (and yours as well). How amazing to know that God keeps track of each one of our tossings and doesn't simply see our hurts and concerns but also collects our tears in His bottle.

"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" (Psalm 56:8)

How does knowing that God is aware of every one of your hurts and concerns (counting your tossings, collecting your tears and recording them in His book) encourage you? What does this verse convey about how much God loves, cares for and values you? Tami

Today's reading: Genesis 13:1-18

As Abram and Lot and their families move on from Egypt, God continues to guide, protect and show His favor to them. God has blessed each man with many possessions (flocks, herds, people, money, etc.) to the point that the time has come for Abram and Lot to separate in order to adequately take care of the people and things God has given each of them.

I love it when Biblical principles and teachings are portrayed through someone's life example. And that's precisely what I noticed as I considered Abram's actions in Genesis 13. Numerous times Abram demonstrated instructions we're given throughout the Bible (such as the verses in Proverbs and the teachings of Jesus, Paul, John, Peter and James found in the New Testament). Here are some of the examples I noticed:

  • Abram's top priority was seeking after God.
  • Abram valued family.
  • Abram wasn't fixated on or worried about his wealth.
  • Abram put the interests of his extended family before his individual interests.
  • Abram was intentional about avoiding conflict with his relatives.

What's the most important lesson you learned or noticed from Abram's example, and why? What does this chapter reveal about the importance of family as well as having and maintaining good relationships with those in our family tree? 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 November 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2019 is the previous archive.

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