August 2020 Archives

A New Season

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Today's reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Life is made up of many different seasons that come and go, and Solomon articulates this well in Ecclesiastes 3. As I write to you today, God has moved me forward into a new season.

A couple of times over the past few months, I've mentioned in my blog that I was in the process of starting a new business of baking and selling gourmet cookies and that I was waiting on God's timing to take it to the next level. Well, that time has come. In just the last four weeks, God has opened doors in a mighty way, which means that I will be opening a fulltime storefront soon (thank you, God!).

But with this new season, another season is coming to an end. I am forever grateful for the opportunity God has given me with Powered by 4 for over ten years. Authoring P4 has stretched, challenged, and grown me spiritually, and it has brought me incredible joy. For each and every one of you who are or have been part of P4, thank you for allowing me to speak into your life and for joining me in this Bible engagement journey. I am going to miss our daily interactions.

So here's my signing off final challenge:

Please continue to make spending time in God's Word a top priority! God is not distant, nor is He silent. He has given us His Word, and He will guide, direct, teach, encourage, and sustain each of us when we open up our Bibles and spend time with Him there. Tami

Pain for Good

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Today's reading: Psalm 118:1-29

The opening verse of Psalm 118 issues the command to "give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!" As part of the psalmist's giving of thanks, he recalls the "deeds of the LORD," which interestingly include his severe discipline (vs. 17).

As I look back over my life, I can clearly see how God has used discipline to teach and grow me spiritually. Those experiences were painful, but good came from each of them. So like the psalmist, I can proclaim:

"You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" (vs. 28-29)

Take a few minutes to recall how God has taught and grown you spiritually through both good and painful times. Then follow the lead of the psalmist and tell God thank you for His steadfast love in all situations. Tami

Praise God!

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Today's reading: Psalm 117:1-2

Psalm 117 has only two short verses, which give the command for ALL to praise the Lord.

"Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!" (vs. 1)

What's one example of how you publicly praised the Lord this past week? When you pray privately, do you offer words of praise to God? Tami


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Today's reading: Esther 10:1-3

The final chapter of Esther highlights Mordecai. And honestly, when you look back at this book, Mordecai is as much a key player in saving the Jews as Esther. It was Mordecai that sent the challenging message to Esther telling her that perhaps she had been chosen as queen "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). Those same words also applied to Mordecai, because God had also placed him right where he was at this time for the specific purpose of saving the Jews.

Neither Esther nor Mordecai had any idea that they were going to be used by God in such a significant way. But because they had their eyes fixed on God and they trusted in Him, they were ready and willing to do what was necessary when they encountered situations that called for action.

Are you ready should God ask you to do something out of the ordinary for Him today? Take a minute to think about the phrase "for such a time as this" as it pertains to you personally. What is it that you can do right now in your unique situation to serve God to the best of your ability and, in so doing, impact your family, neighborhood, or city? Tami

Today's reading: Esther 9:19-32

After the Jews were allowed to defend themselves and get relief from their enemies, they came together for a "day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday" (vs. 19). Shortly after, Mordecai recorded all the events that took place surrounding the Jews and sent letters throughout the kingdom instituting and establishing this celebration, which came to be called the Feast of Purim.

I always find this passage interesting because I've had the opportunity to be in Israel and observe Jewish families celebrating Purim. It's a family affair with the children dressing up as the characters in the story—little girls as Queen Esther, boys as Mordecai or King Ahasuerus. From what I could gather, fellowshipping around food is also a component.

Purim is still being observed thousands of years after God used Esther and Mordecai to save the Jewish people. I love this because the account of God's provision and love for His people is being remembered, retold, and passed on year after year, generation to generation.

Is it your practice to look back and remember how God has provided and moved on your behalf? Identify one or two spiritual landmarks in your life. How are you passing on or will pass on the message of God's goodness to the next generation? Tami

BIG Provision

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Today's reading: Esther 9:1-10

Esther 9:1-10 is a difficult and harsh passage because of the violence and death that takes place. Whenever I read this account, I have to make sure I keep in mind that this is an historical account from several thousand years ago that took place in a culture vastly different from today's world.

God's provision and the way in which He protected the Jews stood out prominently to me today. As I look back over my own life and think about many accounts in the Bible, I can see that oftentimes the way God moves and answers our prayers is so much different than what our limited human minds envision. The Jews had asked God to help and protect them, and He absolutely did—in His BIG and unique way.

Rather than God simply safeguarding the Jews as the designated day of Haman's edict played out, He provided complete and ongoing protection through the edict from Mordecai, which gave the Jews a protective status and allowed them to go on the offensive against those who hated them and planned to do them harm.

"On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them" (vs. 1).

What's your experience with God making provision, and especially unconventional provision, for you and your family? How does knowing that God's ways are different—bigger, more creative, and beyond our human thinking—impact your prayers going forward? Tami

Family Matters

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Today's reading: Esther 8:1-17

One of the things I like about the book of Esther is the up close and personal look at a number of different relationships it provides. And because God created us to be relational, taking time to consider the relationships in Esther—family, marriage, business/work, friendship—can give us insight to help us navigate the relationships in our own lives.

Family is prominent throughout Esther, but the message of caring for, protecting, and loving one another came across especially loud and clear for me today. Even though Esther was taken away from Mordecai and then elevated to the position of queen, she found a way to maintain their relationship despite the fact that she couldn't talk with him face-to-face. And the fact that Esther was queen didn't go to her head. Mordecai was precious to her, and she continued to look to him for counsel and advice, promoting him when the opportunity presented itself.

Likewise, Mordecai loved and treasured Esther. As a result, he was painstakingly diligent about keeping his relationship with her intact. Mordecai kept tabs on Esther and did whatever he could for her from outside the palace.

Thank you, God, for giving us the book of Esther and the picture it provides of a healthy family relationship where you are the foundation.

What did you notice from Esther 8 and prior chapters about family? What does Esther 1-8 (and really the Bible as a whole) show us about the importance of family to God, as well as His desire for us to love and care for one another? Tami

Made Right--On Time

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Today's reading: Esther 7:7-8:17

NOTE: It's always wise to keep in mind that what we're reading in Esther is an historical account from long ago. Her life took place in a very different place and culture and in a time where things operated nothing like our current world of today.

By the conclusion of Esther's second meal with the king, Haman's evil plot to kill the Jews is fully exposed and swift justice is rendered against Haman by order of King Ahasuerus. Haman is hung from the very gallows his pride had led him to build for the public execution of Mordecai.

The events of this day and what follows are quite amazing, with wrongs being righted in a relatively short time. Under the direction of Mordecai, a new edict is written that turns the tables for the Jews. They are no longer hunted but are now empowered to go on the offensive to protect and defend themselves and their families from anyone who intends to do them harm.

I am thankful for the reminder of how God is our righteous and just protector, because we can all lose sight of this fact and start to question God's goodness when bad things happen to us or things aren't made right in our desired time frame. Throughout the Bible, we are repeatedly shown that God will make things right—in His time. The challenge for us is to realize and fully accept that God's timing is almost always different from ours. That being the case, our course of action must be to continue to diligently pray and then trust that when God chooses to move, His timing is right—even if it's years down the road or beyond the years we have here on earth.

How might this account help you the next time you find yourself waiting on God's timing? What helps you stay positive and focused on God's goodness when things aren't going as planned or you're in a season of waiting? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 116:12-19

As the psalmist concludes Psalm 116, he considers how he should respond to the love and goodness God has shown him.

"What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?" (vs. 12)

It's a good and appropriate question that we should ask ourselves and respond to often.

Take a few minutes today to consider this question posed by the psalmist. How will you respond, or what will you give back to the Lord for the benefits He has shown you? Tami

I Love Because

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Today's reading: Psalm 116:1-11

"I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me. . ." (vs. 1-2)

As I read Psalm 116, my thoughts kept returning to the opening phrase "I love the Lord, because. . ." I spent a few minutes pondering my love for the Lord and how I would finish that statement.

I was also drawn to verses 6 and 7. Their message about being rescued from a low place and about how God deals bountifully with us resonated with me. You see, my husband and I experienced some unforeseen difficult circumstances six or so years ago. Like the psalmist, we were distressed. But through it all, God was right there with us. And although we didn't fully see it at the time, He was growing us spiritually in a huge way. As I write today, we are in a place (spiritually, physically, and emotionally) that I could never have imagined just a few years ago. All that to say, God has certainly "dealt bountifully" with us!

So here's where I landed for my "I love because" statement:

I love the Lord, because when I was low and feeling in despair, He never left me side. He supported, guided, and grew me. In His goodness, God has generously loved and cared for me.

It's your turn. What's your "I love because" statement? Take a few minutes and finish this statement: "I love you Lord, because _____________________________________________." Tami

Today's reading: Esther 7:1-6

Esther's "for such a time as this" moment has arrived, and with God as her protector and guide, Esther handles herself and the situation well. We're now to Esther's second meal and the final piece of her plan to reveal Haman's evil plot to King Ahasuerus and seek his favor and help. Showing wisdom beyond her years, Esther keeps her emotions in check as she humbly presents her request to the king, taking care to be accurate and factual with what she says. God's presence as well as His leading of Esther's every word and action are absolutely evident in this precarious situation.

How has God calmed your heart and guided you when you've faced a "mountain" situation? Is reaching out to God for His leading your default response when you encounter difficulty? What about when things are going well? Tami


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Today's reading: Esther 6:1-14; Proverbs 29:23; Philippians 2:3

Haman's prideful thinking and actions are intact and strong as we reach Esther 6. When the king asks Haman for advice about what should be done for someone the king wants to honor, Haman, true to form, immediately and without any deliberate contemplation surrenders to prideful thinking.

"And Haman said to himself, 'Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?'" (vs. 6).

With his next breath, Haman spurts out the recommendation of an elaborate and showy public display he believes is for his elevation and honoring. As we find out a few verses later, Haman completely misses the mark. He is forced to seek out, dress and crown, and then lead Mordecai (who he considers his utmost enemy) on the king's horse so he can be honored by all.

What a picture Haman provides of how pride can impair our ability to think logically and respond rationally. What plays out between Haman and Mordecai in Esther 6 brought to mind these two verses.

"One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor" (Proverbs 29:23).

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

How aware are you of your prideful thoughts? Why is that important? How might focusing on Proverbs 29:23, Philippians 2:3, or another verse of your choosing help shift your focus from yourself to someone else? Tami

Sleeping Less

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Today's reading: Esther 6:1-13

After enjoying one special dinner from Esther, the king is having difficulty sleeping on the eve of Esther's second feast for the king and Haman.

"On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus" (vs. 1-2).

The first verses of Esther 6 highlight the unique ways God moves, communicates with, and prompts us. Over the past several years, I've been experiencing something like King Ahasuerus did on this particular night—God wakes me up from time to time. And when those times happen, typically someone or something is on my mind that needs prayed for. What or who is on my mind doesn't always make complete sense to me at the time, but then the next day or perhaps a few days later, it usually becomes clear why God woke me so I could pray. As much I enjoy my sleep (and I surely do), I'm happy to sleep less if it means hearing from and talking with God and praying for people in need.

What did this passage show you about God and some of the ways in which He chooses to communicate with, prompt, and work through us? Have you ever sensed God rousing you from sleep? How did you respond? The next time you wake up in the night or have difficulty sleeping, I encourage you to talk with God and then respond to whatever He places on your heart. Tami

All That

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Today's reading: Esther 5:9-14; Proverbs 8:13

The sin of being prideful presents itself front and center through Haman in Esther 5:9-14. There's no missing that Haman thinks highly of and is completely consumed with himself. When I reached verses 11-12, where Haman is telling his friends and his wife how important and special he is, I found myself thinking, He sure thinks he's "all that!"

Haman is so full of himself that he can't tolerate the fact that Mordecai isn't impressed with who he is, or that Mordecai isn't fearful about not worshipping him for his supposed greatness. In this self-focused, self-worshipping state of mind, Haman's pride gets the best of him, so much so that it drives him to put in motion a plan for Mordecai's public execution! But Haman's pride will prove to be his downfall (Esther 6).

None of us are immune to pride. In fact, pride comes quite naturally to us (and yes, I am speaking from experience). So while it's easy for us to shake our heads and point fingers at Haman, if we're honest, we're all capable of thinking and acting just like him. (I'm serious. Let that fact sink in a bit.) Thankfully, as followers of Christ, we can overcome the powerful pull of pride when we keep our eyes on serving God and draw on the power and strength of the Holy Spirit living inside us.

In the past, how has pride impacted your thinking and actions? What helps you combat prideful thoughts when they surface? What did you learn from this passage about the dangers and blinding effect of pride? Tami


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Today's reading: Esther 5:9; Matthew 5:13-16

I had intended to blog about Haman and pride today, but I didn't get past verse 9 because of what it tells us about Mordecai. Perhaps you took notice of it too? Esther 5:9 says:

"And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai" (emphasis mine).

In spite of the horrific edict and the upcoming planned mass killing of the Jewish people, Mordecai remained steadfast in his conviction to only bow to God. Facing a death sentence, Mordecai was able to stand firmly because of his faith and trust in God.

Being a Christ-follower and living according to God's Word is not popular. And in the present adversarial environment of the world, it's becoming more and more difficult. So it was good for me to take note of Mordecai's example of standing strong for God even though he was under intense persecution.

None of us like controversy, so it's tempting is to tell ourselves it's okay to step back and keep quiet because we know what we believe in our hearts. But God calls us to be a "light" to a world that needs Him—one that needs to know about His love for each of us regardless of our past, about His forgiveness and offer of salvation, and about His desire for us to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him.

"You are the salt of the earth. . . You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:13-14).

Do the people you regularly interact with know you are a follower of God? How are you representing Christ to the world around you? Will you join me in being intentional about speaking about Christ and showering God's love on ALL people you encounter, even those who don't like what you believe and stand for? Tami

Help and Shield

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Today's reading: Psalm 115:1-18

The repeated message that God is trustworthy and is our help and shield in verses 9-11 drew my attention today.

"O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield."

Thank you, God, for this reminder that no matter what we are experiencing, we can trust you to be our help and shield!

Identify a time when God has been your "help and shield." What helps you rely on and trust in God when life's circumstances seem out of control? Will you join me today in telling God that you trust Him completely in your current circumstances? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 114:1-8

The words of Psalm 114 are a look back and remembrance of the wonderful ways God has protected and provided for His children. It's an acknowledgement of God as THE all-powerful God and of His love for and goodness to the Israelites—a love and goodness that is freely offered to us as well.

How often do you look back and remember the ways in which God has shown His love to you—protecting you, comforting you, providing for you? Take some time today to recall God's goodness, and then thank Him for what He has done for you. 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 August 2020 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2020 is the previous archive.

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