Rest

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Today's reading: John 6:15-17

After a full day of engaging with and teaching the masses, Jesus leaves the crowd and his disciples in order to have some alone time with God. Although there's not a lot of detail about this specific action on Jesus part, these few verses spoke loudly to me.

You see, over the past couple weeks my pastor has been teaching a sermon series titled "breathe" about carving out down time and planning for rest and margin. (If you'd like to take a listen, you can find the sermon series at www.ncclagrange.com.) The messages have been spot on and just what I needed to hear.

I'm a crazy "doer." I'm almost always on the go for God. Jesus's example makes it clear that having down time, rest and margin are necessary so we can function at our best as we live for God.

How much alone time do you spend with God in a typical day or week? Do you see this time as a priority? How would your personal and spiritual life benefit from a little more down time, rest and margin in your schedule? What step(s) do you need to take to make more rest happen? Tami

People-lover

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Today's reading: John 6:1-15

One of the things that always stands out when I read passages about Jesus is his love, care and compassion for people--and not just some people or certain kinds of people--ALL people. So as a massive crowd of people follow after and gather around Jesus, his attention instantly turns to the physical needs of the people (food and a place to sit). As Jesus quenches their physical needs, he prepares them to hear about and hopefully receive their ultimate need--salvation.

Do you share a love of ALL people with Jesus? What's one example of how you have shown God's love to someone in need (physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually) in the past weeks? How does coming alongside to help someone with a physical need often open the door for us to then share Jesus's salvation with them? Tami

Son and Savior

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Today's reading: John 5:18-47

Jesus's healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda didn't sit well with the Jewish leaders. In fact, all of Jesus's actions and what He was saying and teaching angered them to the point that they were seeking to kill him. So shortly after this particular healing incident, they confront Jesus in their anger.

Jesus doesn't shrink back or allow this powerful group to intimidate Him at all. Instead He responds mightily as he very clearly and specifically lays out a logical, understandable and evidence-supported case of exactly who He is--the Son of God who came to earth offering the gift of salvation to anyone who believes in Him.

While Jesus's entire response was powerful, I found the final portion especially moving. Jesus is very direct with these men and makes sure they know that they're not saved by knowing the scriptures or following the teaching of Moses. Rather, the ONLY way to spend eternity in the presence of God is through acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God and receiving Him as Savior.

What did you learn about Jesus from this passage? What stood out to you most about Jesus, and why? How might you draw on Jesus' words to tell and explain who Jesus is and why that's important to someone who doesn't yet have a relationship with Christ? Tami

Not About Religion

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Today's reading: John 5:1-18; John 3:16-17

Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) Jesus repeatedly places the needs of people (physical and spiritual) above following the rules of religion. That's why he chooses to heal the crippled man even though it's the Sabbath--because God isn't focused on, interested in or keeping tabs on how good we are at keeping manmade rules ("So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, 'It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed'" [vs.10]). God's primary concern is people and reaching them with His life-saving message of love.

When I worked for Back to the Bible a number of years ago, we had a ministry aimed at young adults called "Not Religion." The tag line for that ministry was, "It's not about religion...it's about a relationship." I LOVE that phrase and use it often as I talk with people about what being a Christian really means.

"'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him'" (John 3:16-17).

How do you explain being a Christ-follower and what that means to people? How might you use or draw on the phrase "It's not about religion...it's about a relationship" as you interact with someone who's negative or adversarial about Christianity? Tami

GREAT Peace

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:165 (Sin and Shin)

"Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble" (Psalm 119:165).

The words of Psalm 119:165 moved my heart today because they describe what I've experienced. When I'm in God's Word and focused on and trusting in Him, that's when I truly have great peace. What a comfort to know that no matter our circumstances, we can stand strong and not be pulled off course by what's taking place around us.

How does God's Word bring you peace? What's an example of when being in the Word kept you from stumbling? 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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