July 2009 Archives

July 31st

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Proverbs 11:1-17

We have true hope. Over the past two months I've been walking with my mom through cancer and hospice. That journey ended this past week with my mom going to be with the Lord on Tuesday. So as I read Proverbs 11 verse 7, it practically jumped off the page at me. It says "When the wicked dies, his hope will perish." My mom lived for the Lord. She loved Him with all her heart. So when she found out that she had terminal cancer and just a few weeks to live, she wasn't shaken. She possessed the hope of eternal life that only a relationship with Jesus Christ can provide.

Would you take a few minutes today and think about the hope you have as a follower of Christ? This hope has been at the forefront for me over this past couple of months and it's made me realize what a privilege it is to be a part of the God's family. It's also given me the opportunity to share that hope with others. Tami W.

P.S. Thank you for praying for me and my family during this difficult time.

July 30th

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John 21:15-25

Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? DO YOU LOVE JESUS? The scene here in John 21 kind of reminds me of a coach's half time motivational speech. Three times Jesus hits Peter with "do you love me?" It's pretty clear that Jesus wants Peter's full and complete attention, dedication and efforts (He wants that from us too, BTW).

I hear people say all the time "so and so is really on fire for the Lord." (My response to that is "Amen!") But what does being on fire for the Lord look like? And what does it mean for you and me specifically? Now this will look different from person to person depending on your personality and gifting. So what are you doing (or what could you start doing) that would prompt someone to say "Wow,             (fill in your name here) is really on fire for the Lord!" ? Tami W.

July 29th

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John 20:30-21:14

Take the plunge. I smiled as I read John 21:7. For as much as Peter messed up, he also had some shining moments and this depicts one of them. In John 21, several of the disciples are out fishing. Jesus appears on the shore and calls out to them. When Peter realizes it is Jesus, he is overjoyed. So much so that he doesn't wait for the boat but instead throws himself into the sea (or as the NKJ says "plunges himself into the sea") and swims to shore. Quite the response wouldn't you say?

So how do you respond to Jesus as you go about your everyday life? If you're anything like me, there are definitely those excited and overjoyed times. However, there are also times when I just don't have it. Any thoughts on having more of those "take the plunge" responses? How do you keep yourself "plunge" ready? Tami W.

July 28th

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Doubting Thomas---Hmm.... It's a very familiar account. One people like to refer to and use in lessons about faith and believing. But after reading John 20:19-31 I found myself wondering why we single out and kind of hammer Thomas so much? Yes, the other disciples believed, but did you notice that they had the benefit of seeing Jesus' hands and side? (See verse 20 "When he [Jesus] had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.") In verses 27-29 Jesus appeared to the disciples again (with Thomas present) and he addressed Thomas specifically about his hands and side. Thomas saw and believed exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" (Thomas did not touch Jesus.)

So what are your thoughts on this passage? Has your perspective shifted any concerning Thomas or the other disciples? Tell us about it. Come on. I went out on a limb, now it's your turn. :) Tami W.

July 27th

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Mary-Who would have thought? There's a lot going on in John 20:1-18 but every time I read this passage I find myself thinking about the participants in and the sequence of these critical events. I find it fascinating (and even a little perplexing) that Mary Magdalene was the first person to whom Jesus appeared and spoke to instead of one of the disciples. Plus, she delivered the message that Jesus was risen to the disciples.

So any thoughts about how or why God used Mary? Or maybe something completely different jumped out at you from this passage? Either way, tell us about it. It's always good to see how others are thinking and processing as they read the Bible. Who knows, maybe your comment will spark some additional conversation here at P4. Tami W.

July 26th

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His actions on our behalf are astounding. Psalm 66 basically starts off marveling about God's awesome deeds. And then when we get to verse 5 we see that God "is awesome in his deeds towards the children of man." So that thought--that God does awesome deeds for us and specifically for me--stuck in my mind as I read on. Then I hit verse 16 "let me tell you what he has done for me." That got me thinking about and remembering what some of those incredible deeds were. There were plenty--like giving me my husband and sustaining our marriage, bringing me to Back to the Bible for my work, and guiding me to an incredible church where I can participate and use my gifting--just to name a few biggies.

So what are some of the awesome deeds God has done on your behalf? Think about it. Then how about living out verse 16 and telling us about some of your experiences? You'll be glad you did. Tami W.

July 25th

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Are you righteous? Eight times in Proverbs 10:19-32 Solomon talks about "the righteous." Now, in this day in age, that word "righteous" isn't necessarily perceived as good, especially outside of Christian circles. But it's a completely good thing here in Proverbs. In fact, we should be striving to attain this quality.

Take a few minutes and look at this passage again. Is there a particular verse about being righteous that motivates you? If there is, what are you going to do with it? Tami W.

P.S. I really like verse 28 "The hope of the righteous brings joy." This lets me know how important it is for me to stay positive, focusing on the hope only my relationship with Christ can provide. When I do that, I will have joy and I can also pass it on to others.

July 24th

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God cares about our details. As Jesus hung on the cross, he was bearing the weight of all the sins of humanity. Try as I might, I can't even imagine how difficult and awful that was. Yet right in the middle of saving the world, here come verses 26-27. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!'" What an amazing example of God's love and compassion. What a picture of His caring heart.

So how did these two verses come across to you? What are your thoughts on God being interested in the details of your life? Tami W.

P.S. If you have any examples, we'd love to hear them.

July 23rd

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So, I'm reading John 19:1-17, and a few words about Pilate caught my attention. In verse 8 I read, "When Pilate heard this statement (that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God) he was even more afraid." I didn't recall reading that Pilate was afraid earlier so I went back and read John 18 again and even the passages concerning Pilate in the other Gospels. I didn't find anything. That caused me to spend a few minutes just thinking about Pilate and the event and experience through his eyes. I'd never done that before and it was a good exercise because it made this passage richer and more meaningful for me.

In this very familiar story, what was it that caught your attention today? Did it enhance your understanding of the crucifixion at all? How about telling us what you uncovered? Tami W.

July 22nd

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Not of this world. Jesus tells Pilate in John 18:36 that His kingdom is not of this world. That's so important for us to know and understand and then keep at the forefront of our minds. M

Yet sometimes I just don't operate that way. Why? Well, the influence of this world is powerful. We do reside IN this world and that requires us to work in it, buy things in it, raise our families in it, etc. So for me, if I'm not careful, I'll be going somewhere or doing something and realize that I'm letting worldly things dictate my thinking and actions. Now this doesn't just occur when I happen to miss a day of reading my Bible or when I'm out of town and have to miss church. The world is constantly pushing in at us and its messages are not the same as those God has for us.

We don't have a choice about living IN the world. God placed us here. But being OF the world is our choice. It's under our control and it takes effort. It doesn't just happen. So how do we NOT LIVE like we're OF the world? Reading God's Word is a definite start, and you're doing that if you're participating in Powered by 4. (yea!) But beyond that, what are some things you are doing, or what will you do to make this a reality? Tami W.

July 21st

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We don't always get it. I read John 18:1-27 differently than I've ever ready it before today (Tuesday). In the past I've focused mainly on Peter and his denial of Christ. But this time I thought about what Peter and the other disciples must have been experiencing and feeling. Jesus had told them he was going to die, so they knew what was coming. Yet as everything started to unfold, they didn't fully understand. I can really relate to this right now as I walk with my mom through cancer and hospice. I know she is going to be with the Lord soon. But at the same time, I don't fully grasp all the hows and the whys of what's taking place. I know that God is in control, though, and that I can rely on Him to get us through.

So have you had any of these "not fully understanding" experiences? Or maybe you're in one right now? What are some ways we can draw on the Lord and keep Him as our focus? Tami W.

July 20th

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Relationship, relationship, relationship. When I read John 17, I was moved by the love and concern Jesus showed for his disciples and for all who will ever believe in Him (that's you and me, by the way) in his prayer. I just kept thinking, This passage is really laying out a loving, intimate relationship of which I am a beneficiary. How awesome is that???

Did anything you read in John 17 change the way you think about your relationship with God? How can we use this chapter to explain Christ to others? Tami W.

July 19th

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Psalm 65

There's no doubt--God is our provider. What an awesome picture Psalm 65 paints of God. The more I read, the more I was impacted with the message that God is the maker and owner of everything and that He alone provides for me. I particularly liked verse 9 with God taking care of the earth, watering it and making it rich and abundant. And then the words "the river of God is full of water." I was comforted and my heart was calmed by this Psalm.

So how did Psalm 65 strike you? Did God impress something on your heart as your read? Tami W.

July 18th

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Proverbs 10:1-18

I could use a little help. :) Well we're now to that portion of Proverbs where Solomon is giving us short thought after short thought and most of them are not sequential or related. I don't know about you, but I struggle some with this format. I guess I'm more of a "complete passage" kind of reader. Because of that, I have a tendency to not focus as much on this second part of Proverbs.

So help me out. How do you approach this section of Proverbs? How can we make the most of this book? Tami W.

July 17th

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John 16:12-33

Curve balls can be SCARY!! Did you notice the disciples' reactions when Jesus told them he would be leaving them in John 16:12-33? They were unsettled (kind of like we are when something unexpected happens or when our plans change). But Jesus reminds them about the Holy Spirit and lets the disciples know that even though life will be different, it will still be very good. Hmm...does this seem familiar? Think about it. Our circumstances can seem very good, fruitful, etc., but then God changes things--for the better. Initially we can't see how the change could be better for us, but with a little time, it becomes evident that God really DID know what He was doing.

So how has God used change to carry out His plan and encourage your spiritual growth, even when it didn't seem like the change was going to be a good thing? Think about it because I guarantee it's happened. Tami W.

July 16th

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Today's passage is John 15:18-16:11.

Apparently I'm not PC. As I was growing up my parents would say things about how the world was changing and how Christianity was being attacked. I really didn't give it much thought then because being a Christian and going to church didn't seem to offend the people in my small home town. Well that was quite a few years ago and I have to say, I don't have that same sense today. All you have to do is turn on the television or the radio or pick up a couple of magazines to see Christians being freely and openly ridiculed and bashed. I've experienced it first hand as well. People are hostile towards Jesus and anything associated with Him. So when I read John 15 where Jesus is forewarning the disciples (and us) about being hated, I have to shake my head and say, "You're absolutely right, Lord."

So what do we do with these words from Jesus? How can we use them to our advantage? Tami W.

We're still going through the Book of John on the Back to the Bible program. So check it out...you can watch, read or listen...whatever you prefer!

July 15th

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Gardeners, Jesus is talking our language! Because I'm a huge gardener (my husband and I actually grow a few grapes and a bunch of other stuff), John 15:1-17 makes so much sense to me. It lays out a vivid description and an explanation of how vital it is for us to remain in Christ (stay connected and growing in Him). I find it rich with meaning and instruction.

So how about a couple of things to consider? What does the vine do for the branch? And how does that play into the branch (you and me) bearing fruit? Tami W.

July 14th

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We have a 24/7 house guest. In John 14:15-31 Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit--our Helper or Advocate. This passage was a good reminder for me of the important role the Holy Spirit plays in my life. I don't always give that a lot of thought. It's pretty incredible that God the Spirit resides in me and helps me navigate through life. (Thank you, Lord!)

So are you as grateful for the Holy Spirit as I am today? What has He helped you with lately? Are you taking full advantage of this awesome gift? Tami W.

July 13th

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John 14:1-14

You've got to love Philip! I was a little embarrassed for Philip as I read John 14:8. I mean, come on, how could he say "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us"? What was he thinking? Was he blind? But then it hit me that I do the same thing. Want a couple examples? Here they are. 1) Sometimes I read something in my Bible and I think I understand it, but then a few days later it hits me that I wasn't tuned in at all. It makes me wonder about myself sometimes (maybe like Philip). 2) Or, how about this example. I might be out and about and God puts an opportunity to talk about him in front of me, but I falter or just miss it completely. Then sometime later, I realize--oh, that's what I should have said.

So if you're feeling like a Philip today---you know we all do at some point or another--it's okay. What have your Philip experiences been? I'd love to hear them. And, how can we work at having fewer of them? Tami W.

July 12th

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Our tongues are powerful weapons. As I read Psalm 64, I couldn't help but notice how the tongue (our speech) seemed to be a key focus. Verse 3 talks about tongues being like swords and how deadly words can be. And in verse 5, again we see talking about evil things. Then finally in verse 8, we see that God turns the tongues of the evil against themselves to bring them to ruin.

So after reading Psalm 64, how important is it that we watch our tongues? Any thoughts on how we should conduct ourselves when others are using their tongues against us? Tami W.

July 11th

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Wisdom wins hands down! In Proverbs 9, we see descriptions of both wisdom and folly, and honestly, there's really no comparison. All I could think as I read was, who wouldn't want wisdom? But the question is, how do we acquire wisdom? Verse 4 says, "Let all who are simple, come in here [to wisdom's house]!" (NIV) And verse 10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

So what does putting those two verses into practice look like? Tami W.

July 10th

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John 13:21-38

Have you ever "pulled a Peter"? In one minute, then out the next. Sometimes I'm baffled at how I can be completely on fire for the Lord--telling Him how much I love Him and how I want nothing more than for my whole life to be about Him--and then, before even a day has gone by, I find myself doing or saying something that doesn't line up with my earlier intentions. That's right where Peter found himself, too.

No doubt Jesus delighted in Peter's heart to follow Him and He delights in ours when we do the same. But, Jesus knows our weaknesses and, thankfully, He loves us through it all. So here's the big question: how can we work on less Peter and more Jesus? Tami W.

July 9th

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What an example! And, no, I'm not referring to Jesus washing the disciples' feet. Alright, I know this passage (John 13:1-20) is primarily known for Jesus' actions and his example of serving others. But it wasn't the feet washing that caught my attention. Instead, it was the way Jesus handled himself when he knew exactly what was coming--betrayal and death by crucifixion. Jesus didn't panic. He wasn't afraid, nervous or angry. You see, Jesus knew that God the Father was in control and that all the things that were happening were part of God's plan.

Now you already know that life is full of hard circumstances and situations and that we can't always control what happens. That's just the way life is. But, we can control how we respond. So what can we take away from Jesus' example here in John 13:1-20 that will help us get through those hard times? Is there something you can put into practice right away? Tami W.

July 8th

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John 12:37-50

Judgment Day. Sounds a little scary don't you think? Jesus tells the people in John 12:46-47 that he has come as a light to shine in this dark world, that he came to save the world not to judge it. But then he goes on in verse 48 telling us that those who reject him and his message (in the here and now) will be judged (after they die) on the day of judgment by the truth he has spoken.

So what do you know about judgment day? Did you know that there are actually two different judgment days in the future (see John 3:18-21)? One is for non-believers (that's the one Jesus is referring to here in John 12:48) and it's referred to as the Great White Throne Judgment (see Revelation 20:11-15). The other is for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and it's referred to as the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is something you and I as Christians can and should look forward to. We won't be judged as sinners, but instead only as servants of the living God. All of us as Christians will individually stand before Christ as our judge. It's here where we will get our rewards. So you can see, this is literally the most important day in our future.

So with this being the case, do you think this should impact how we live out each day? Are there any changes you need to make? And, if you're up for sharing, what are some of those things? Tami W.

P.S. If you want more information on this incredibly important topic, check out Dr. Kroll's latest book called Facing Your Final Job Review and the corresponding CD or DVD series by the same title.

July 7th

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John 12:12-36

Love this life? Of course not. Never. I don't think so. Well...maybe just a little. Jesus tells the people in John 12:25-26 that those who love their life in this world will lose it but that those who care nothing for their life will keep it for eternity. In other words, living for (loving) the world is deadly for us spiritually speaking. I get that completely. Yet...I still find myself loving (or at least liking a lot) things of the world. Just from my normal routine I find that I "want" a new this or a new that and I start planning on how I can do more of x (you fill in the blank). When that happens, I'm letting myself get caught up in this temporary life instead of focusing on things with eternal value. We all do this to some degree because there is always that tension of being in the world but not of it.

So here's the million dollar question for the day: How can we guard against falling into that "loving this life" syndrome? How do we put into practice the correct balance between living in the world but not being "in love" with it? Tami W.

July 6th

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John 11:45-12:11

Do you have an agenda? The Pharisees and chief priests are focused. They have a preconceived notion about religion, a plan of how they think it should be, they're convinced it's right and they are determined to stick with it--period. Problem is, they were completely wrong and never even knew it or considered otherwise. That's scary. But here's the thing, it's exactly how you and I can get too if we let some idea or thing that's not from God consume us and become our agenda.

So how can we guard our hearts against an agenda that's not from God? I know this is a hard one, but it's important. Think about it and send me your thoughts. Tami W.

July 5th

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Ephesians 6:10-24

Do you think of yourself as being in battle with Satan and his forces? Well, according to Ephesians 6:10-20, as Believers in Christ we are, and we need to be prepared each and every day. We hear the phrase "armor of God" a lot, but how often do we really think about it and consciously "suit up" if you will? I can tell you, I don't do it daily. I get busy, distracted, you name it and it doesn't always happen. (Does this sound familiar?)

Satan doesn't let down so neither should we. How can we work on this together? If you've got a routine that works for you, we want to hear it. Tami W.

July 4th

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Ephesians 5:22-6:9

Submission--that dreaded word. Is it really that bad? Well here we are in that controversial passage (Ephesians 5:22-33) that a lot of us would prefer to just skip over. That's pretty much how I used to feel about it anyway. Funny thing, though, I've had a change of heart. Let me explain.

In the past I had a tendency to come at these verses with an attitude of entitlement. You know what I mean, approaching it like "I'm the boss of me, thank you." Because of that, I really fixated on verses 22-24 and never really bothered with the instructions for husbands. But I've come to realize that I need to read verses 22-24 with verses 25-33 to get the complete picture and message. My conclusion? This isn't a passage that devalues women or commands them to be doormats. Really, it's a picture of the incredible oneness of marriage. When I come at it with this mindset, it's quite freeing. It's the men that have the huge responsibility when you jump into these verses.

Alright, those are my thoughts. But I'm interested in yours. Now's your chance to ask, discuss, or whatever on this challenging scripture. Blog away!! Tami W.

P.S. I'm not just talking to women. Let's hear from some men too.

July 3rd

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Our walk is important. Paul is all over walking--our Christian walk that is, in Ephesians 5:1-21. He tells us to "walk in love" (verse 2), "walk as children of light" (verse 8) and to walk wisely (verse 15).

So how do we practically put it into practice? What does this kind of walk look like in our world today? Tami W.

July 2nd

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Ephesians 4:17-32

Oh boy, I definitely have some work to do! I have to be honest with you. Ephesians 4:26 is not one of my favorite verses. I'm fine with it in theory, but struggle with putting it into practice. I just don't always get done the instructions of "not letting the sun go down on my anger." :-( Can you relate?

Paul makes it clear how we should deal with anger. So why is it important to get anger taken care of in the short term (before the sun goes down)? And, lastly, any words or maybe an example for those of us who don't always get to that quick resolution? Tami W.

July 1st

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Ephesians 4:1-16

We're part of the team, but how our we doing as team players? You'd think functioning with unity in the body of Christ would be easy, right? Well....actually I'd say it takes some effort, and we can see that from Paul's instructions to us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness and patience" (Ephesians 4:2-3). (See what I mean? Do any of those things come naturally or easily to you? 'Cause they sure don't to me!)

Think about the body of Christ (locally, like in your church). What's your experience been thus far? Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions on how we (you and I) can be outstanding team players? Tami W.

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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This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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