Consuming Power

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Today's reading: John 11:45-57

While many people celebrate Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead, some people--the Pharisees and chief priests--aren't pleased at all by Jesus's miracle. In fact, they were downright angered by it. Upon learning of yet another and even more astounding miracle from Jesus, the Jewish leaders are in an uproar.

Despite God's plan of salvation as foretold in the Scriptures playing out right before their eyes, they seem blind and/or extremely hardened to it, and they want nothing to do with Jesus.

Being in a position of power is a good thing when we choose to use the power we have appropriately. But when we allow the power we possess (and we all possess and have power of some sort) to go to heads, bad things happen. Our judgment slips, our perspective changes, and at some point, the decisions we make become about protecting and maintaining our power, even at the cost of hurting others. That's the situation I see in our passage for today. The positions of Pharisee and chief priest were important ones to the Jewish people, and the power they possessed had its grips on the hearts and minds of these Jewish leaders.

What's one thing this passage revealed to you about power? What are some things that help you keep a proper perspective on power and/or position? What's an example of how you handle or use the power or position you have well (at work, home, church, community)? Tami

Jesus Wept

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Today's reading: John 11:17-44

When Jesus finally arrives in Bethany, Lazarus's lifeless body has already been placed in the tomb and has been there four days. The family and community are in full grieving. Jesus first speaks with Martha and then Mary who both tell Him how if He had been there Lazarus would not have died. Twice in verses 33-38 we're told that Jesus was "deeply moved" by the mourning taking place--so much so that Jesus also wept for Lazarus... even though He knew that in just a short time He was going to bring his friend back to life.

Rather than simply swooping in and fixing the situation (which He ultimately did), Jesus chose to experience this sad and hard situation with Mary and Martha. He lovingly came alongside them, listened to their concerns, offered consoling words and grieved with them before going to the tomb where He acknowledged God the Father for His greatness and goodness and then called Lazarus back to life.

There are grieving and hurting people all around us, and oftentimes the holidays have a way of magnifying those hurts. So who will you show the love of Jesus to this holiday season? Who do you know that could use a listening ear, an encouraging card, an invite to coffee or lunch, a phone call or text letting them know they are on your mind and being prayed for, a helping hand around the house or yard or an invitation to join you for Christmas dinner? Tami

Different Ways

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Today's reading: John 11:1-16

One of Jesus's followers, Lazarus, becomes quite sick. His sisters, who are also followers of Jesus, send word to Jesus so He can come and heal Lazarus. But Jesus doesn't respond like they expect or how they want. When the news reaches Him, instead of jumping right up and attending to the matter, Jesus stays where He's at for two more days, and in that time Lazarus dies.

Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, yet he allowed each of them to go through an agonizing and painful situation (both physically and emotionally) before He took action and set things right.

This passage provides such a good reminder about how our perspective and desires typically operates differently from the way God works. I can think of numerous times when God allowed me to go through a hardship so that when I came out the other side, it was evident that He was in control, watching over and teaching me the entire time. While I don't enjoy pain, hardship and difficulties I can honestly say that these times have a way of showcasing God to me and drawing me even closer to Him.

What did you notice or learn from this account about God's ways, timing or perspective? What's one example of how you've learned and grown spiritually through a difficult circumstance or situation? How was God highlighted in and through the experience? Tami

Today's reading: John 10:22-42

As we come to the middle of John 10, Jesus has yet another encounter with a group of Jews in the temple. These men don't want to accept Jesus because He isn't lining up with their expectations. He isn't saying and doing things like they want. He's professing, teaching and modeling a different way to live. Simply put, Jesus is "rocking" their comfortable world and they don't like it. So although they absolutely see the incredible supernatural things Jesus is doing in their presence, they choose to cling to their prejudices and doubts, and thus we see these men challenging and verbally attacking Jesus with the hope of getting Him to say something that would lead to His demise.

Jesus knows what's going on, and responds to their calculated inquiries in His typical manner--graciously speaking truth. Yet, many in the crowd were angered and wanted to stone Jesus and have Him arrested. But not everyone had that response. Jesus's actions and the truth He spoke reached and changed many hearts.

"And many came to him. And they said, 'John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.' And many believed in him there" (vs. 41-42).

Once we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are His ambassadors--we are called to tell others about Jesus's free offer of salvation. But as we saw in this passage, not everyone we encounter will be open to or excited about our message. Some may be downright adversarial and even ugly to us. But as we graciously deliver God's message of life-giving truth, some will receive it and make a decision to follow Christ. So we must faithfully press on!

Why is keeping our composure and responding graciously so important as we engage in conversation with others about Jesus? Would you join me in asking God to help us view every person we encounter (even those behaving poorly) with His love this Christmas season? And then... let's ask God to help us be bold in delivering His message of love and hope to them. Tami

Surrounded and Strong

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Today's reading: Psalm 125:1-5

The first two verses of Psalm 125 are powerful! How awesome it is to know that God has us surrounded. And as a result, we can stand on solid ground and not be moved or shaken regardless of our circumstances or what is taking place around us. Thank you, God!

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore" (Psalm 125:1-2).

What encouragement and hope do you draw from these verses? What's an example of how God has "surrounded" you in and through a difficult circumstance? Is there something (a situation or area of your life) you need to turn over to God today so that you can stand strong with God's strength and not be moved? 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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