November 2009 Archives

Hosea 1

When's the last time you read Hosea? Yeah, me too. So I thought December would be a great time to jump in and read somewhere out of the ordinary. Here goes....

Now before we get into Hosea, it might be helpful to get some information and context for this book. Below are two paragraphs from Dr. Kroll taken from our Calling America Bible.

Why You Should Read Hosea
The book of Hosea is the touching story of a man who loved his wife completely even though she left him and their children for adulterous relationships with other men. It provides the Bible's most vivid, personal picture of the steadfast love of God for His people. God knew Hosea's wife, Gomer, would be unfaithful to him long before they were married, but God still encouraged the marriage because He knew Gomer's sin was no match for His unfailing love. This is the perfect book for anyone who needs to know that no sin is so great that God's forgiving love is not greater still.

If You Don't Read Hosea, Here's What You'll Miss:
• An almost unbelievable example of a man who was willing to be obedient to God without any explanation for the strange things God asked of him (Hosea 1-3).

• When Hosea redeems the one he loves from a salve auction, he demonstrates God's endless love for His Covenant People (Hosea 3).

• The poignant reminder that sin has a way of coming back to bite us: "They sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:7).

• The basis for one of the most prominent Old Testament quotations used by the apostle Paul for the hope of future resurrection (Hosea 13; 1 Corinthians 15).

• Discovering that although God won't fail to discipline His own people for their sin, nevertheless He encourages them to repent and be restored, because as long as there is still God, there is still hope (Hosea 14).

Ok, that should help you get started with Hosea. No questions from me today. Just have fun jumping in with your reading, and don't be shy if you have questions. Discussion is what P4 is all about! Tami W.

P.S. You probably noticed that there weren't any questions attached to the reading today. That was by design. We're trying a few different things in December.

We're taking Ephesians 5:20 to heart the next few days. November 26 is Thanksgiving here in the United States. So starting today through Sunday, the 29th, the focus is on EVERYTHING in our lives that we're thankful for--that means the big, the small and whatever is in between.

Ephesians 5:20 clearly instructs us to give thanks always and for everything, so let's do it---together. I'll start us off with a something I'm thankful for today and then it's your turn. Plus, we'll have postings from a number of our P4 support team as well. We'll have one continuous "I'm Thankful For...." blog for the next five days. So don't be shy. Tell us what you're thankful for each day as the holiday weekend progresses. I'll be commenting daily and I really want to hear from you too.

Ok, on to my first "I'm Thankful For" entry.

This Thanksgiving Jeff (my hubby) and I aren't doing the norm. Usually we have a big family get together, but that's just not possible this year. However, it's worked out kind of cool because we're having several special guests to our house and I am thankful that they would share this day with Jeff and me. Our special guests are: my nephew Brodie, who is driving all night Wednesday from college in Oklahoma; Jeff's brother Brent, who loves to torment my three dachshunds; a long time friend, movie fanatic, and a co-worker from BttB, Barb; and a new friend who just moved to Nebraska to work at BttB, Jenni. So there's my first "I'm Thankful For" post. Now let's hear from you all!!!!

Psalm 95

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand." (Psalm 95:6-7, emphasis added). These two verses really drew me in this morning, particularly as I thought about being part of this flock of sheep. How privileged I am (we are). :)

So what does being part of this flock and under God's care mean to you? Any examples to share with us during this week of Thanksgiving? Tami W.

1 Chronicles 16:7-36

Wow. As I read 1 Chronicles 16:17-36 my heart rejoiced. The more I read, the more joyful I became. About half way through this passage, I literally wanted to sing what I was reading, only I didn't have a tune to go along with it in my head. This is truly a remarkable song of thanks and praise to the Lord.

Now I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think we'll ever write a song like David's, but that's alright because God isn't looking for how eloquently we praise Him or if our words are impressive to others. God just wants our hearts--He desires our love and devotion.

This week is Thanksgiving here in the United States. (But even if you're not doing P4 in the U.S., anytime is a great time to give thanks.) So let's focus on expressing our thanks and praise to God this week. I'd love to hear any ideas or plans you might have on going "above and beyond" with thanking and praising the Lord. Tami W.

A gift like no other

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Acts 1:1-11

In Acts 1:1-5 we see Jesus informing the disciples that they will soon be receiving the Holy Spirit in a new way ("you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" verse 5). We actually see that in Acts 2. This is referred to as the day of Pentecost. It was pretty incredible and it changed the relationship Christ-followers would have with the Holy Spirit from that day forward. Now, the Holy Spirit indwells us immediately when we accept Christ as our Savior. The moment we surrender our lives to Christ, we get the benefit of the Holy Spirit living in us as a guide and helper. What an incredible gift.

Even so, if you're like me you probably don't sit around pondering or thinking about the Holy Spirit residing in you. I tend to take that for granted. So how can we change that? How do we take full advantage of the Holy Spirit (with all His power) residing in us? Tami W.

Move over Thomas!

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Luke 24: 36-53

We always hear about doubting Thomas--like the rest of Jesus' followers were so strong and right there for Jesus, but...Thomas?...well. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Thomas gets a bad wrap. So as I read Luke 24:36-43 today, I smiled because it's pretty clear Thomas wasn't the only doubter. In fact, this passage indicates that everyone present had doubts.

So what does this passage show us about having doubt as we follow Christ? How about some discussion on overcoming or working through doubts when they come our way? Tami W.

Is your heart on fire?

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Luke 24:1-35

I love reading the accounts of how Jesus showed himself to his followers after his resurrection and particularly Luke 24 which contains that famous walk to Emmaus. My favorite part of this story is right after the two realize they had been with Jesus and they say "'Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?'" (verse 32). Every time I read how their hearts burned within them it prompts me to think about where my heart is when it comes to Jesus.

So how about joining me in this thinking process? When was the last time your heart burned in connection with Jesus? Why was that? And what can we do to keep that fire burning? Tami W.

Don't be a Pilate

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Luke 23

Every time I read about the crucifixion and surrounding events, I'm perplexed and frustrated by Pilate's behavior. As silly as this may sound, even though I know how the story ends, I find myself thinking Don't do it Pilate. Don't do it. Just do the right thing! (I told you it was silly.) Well, of course, he doesn't. Pilate comes to the right conclusion--that Jesus is innocent--yet he chooses to make the wrong decision--to let Jesus be crucified. His behavior really highlights just how much influence others can have over us if we're not careful.

Peer pressure is tough. So how can we guard against not allowing people and/or things to negatively influence our decisions? I'd love to hear your thoughts (or even some examples) on doing the right thing regardless of our circumstances. Tami W.

Luke 19:28-48

If someone were to ask you to describe God, what would you say? When I thought about that question today here's what I came up with: powerful, mighty, loving, all knowing, in control, forgiving, sinless, just to name a few. What didn't come to mind was what we see in Luke 19:41. Here is the Son of God (who shares the same characteristics as the Father) grieving and weeping for Jerusalem.

God's character is rich. So how can we get a more complete picture of who God really is? Tami W.

snow globe

One of the things I love about my job at Back to the Bible is that I get to work with other Christians doing work for the Lord. What a privilege. However, working at a ministry where all my co-workers are Christians means that I don't have a lot of opportunity to mingle with people who don't know Christ. Add to that the fact that I also lead worship at my church, so much of my time away from Back to the Bible is also spent with fellow Christians, and you can really see that I don't get a lot of face time with people who aren't Christ followers. That can bum me out--particularly when I see example after example of Jesus seeking out and spending time with lost people.

So consider this today. How much interaction do you have with people who don't know Christ? And, are you making the most of those opportunities? How can we break out of what I like to call our "Christian snow dome" and get more involved with people that need to know Jesus? Tami W.

Me not worry...?

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Luke 12:22-48

Me not worry--are you kidding? Well apparently not because the definite message in Luke 12:22-34 is STOP WORRYING! Now I love this passage. As I read it, I even find myself nodding in agreement with many of the verses, thinking Yep, that's exactly right. I don't need to be caught up in worry. Do you do this too?

So here's the big question. If I (we) love Luke 12's instruction on worry, then why am I (are we) so good at worrying? I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can fully take hold of these verses and regularly put them into practice. Tami W.

November 15th

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Luke 9:28-43

Make the most of every mountaintop experience. Peter, James and John clearly had a mountaintop experience in our passage today and I love that we got a little glimpse of it. It got me thinking about how many times we have mountaintop experiences as we live out our Christian walk. There's nothing like them while they last. But you know, as do I, that these high points are only for a time.

So here are some things to consider when it comes to those mountaintop times. First, how can we harness our experience and put it to good use after the fact? And, second, it's easy to stumble and fall once our mountaintop experience ends. So how can we guard against that? Tami W.

November 14th

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Luke 9:18-27

Go ahead and ask. So many places in the New Testament we see Jesus saying things that the disciples don't understand. Yet, we seldom see them stepping forward to tell Jesus, "Hey, we don't understand," or "We're confused by what you just said. Could you explain that?" That strikes me as odd as I sit here 2000+ years later reading the story. But when I put myself in their shoes and then think about the passage, the disciples' quietness makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't have wanted to look like I didn't "get it" in front of Jesus either.

Now I used to react this same way at church and even with my Bible reading. But at some point it dawned on me that the only way for me to grow and learn was to just be real. So I started asking questions in my small group when I didn't understand something. (Funny thing, I discovered quickly that I wasn't the only person that didn't get it all.) But most importantly, I began talking more openly with God, telling Him what I didn't understand and asking Him for help as I read His Word. What a difference that made.

So let me leave you with this encouragement today. We aren't going to understand everything we read in the Bible. That's ok and it's normal. So take those opportunities to talk with God and grow your relationship with Him. He'll love it and so will you! Tami W.

November 13th

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Luke 9:1-17

Serve it up!!! Today when I read Luke 9:1-17, I found my attention going to the story of feeding the 5,000 and how the disciples behaved. In verse 12 we see that Jesus and the disciples have been with this huge crowd of people all day and the day is finally winding down. The disciples were apparently tired because they come to Jesus and suggest to him that they send the crowd away. But Jesus surprises them with this response, "You give them something to eat." You see, the disciples were focused on themselves--they had been with the crowds for hours, they were weary, they were ready to call it a day. Jesus, on the other hand, was focused on the people and their needs, both physical and spiritual.

Why is it that our first thoughts are typically about ourselves? You know what I mean--Does this request fit into my plans? What will this new task require of me? How can I squeeze this into my schedule? The truth is, it's not about us. And Jesus shows us clearly that serving others should definitely be a priority, and many times serving means sacrifice on our part.

So how are we doing with the whole serving thing? Sometimes I'm really good and other times...well...not so much. What are some things we can do to improve in this area and keep serving at the forefront? Tami W.

November 12th

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With Veteran's Day just behind us, I thought this would be the perfect time to let all of you know about a new outreach we just launched through 411God. It's called Hope for the Heroes and is specifically designed to reach at-risk military service men and women with a daily 1-minute phone call right from the Bible.

As I've recently learned more about the high suicide rates among current soldiers as well as veterans, I really believe Hope for the Heroes will bring hope and healing to men and women who are breaking apart inside because of what they've seen and experienced.

So, I'll let you check out the website where you can find more details. There's a video right on the homepage that I think will really grab you. Also, I'd love for you to share Hope for the Heroes with friends or family members. Or, if you're on Twitter, maybe you could tweet about it. If blogging and Facebook are more your style, post a link to the website (www.hopefortheheroes.com). We're all about getting the word out to as many people as possible (especially those with ties to the military). Thanks for taking time to check it out yourself too! Tami W.

P.S. Oh, and don't forget to read today's passage--Luke 8:4-39. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions.

**You may have noticed that the reading and questions in the email today were a repeat from Wednesday. Sorry about that!! It was a simple human error (happens to the best of us, right?). Perhaps you enjoyed Luke 7 again, round 2!! If you'd like the questions for today, you can find them on the Power Plan page.

November 11th

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Luke 7:18-35

Here we go again. Now you might be thinking Didn't we just read this a couple of weeks ago? Because that's what I thought as I read Luke 7:18-35 this morning. But then I realized that the passage we read earlier was really Matthew 11:1-19. Now this is the same account, but a different author. So don't skip reading this parallel passage today. (Click here if you want to read or review my blog on Matthew 11 and the comments that followed).

Now I love it when there are parallel passages in Scripture. I find them very valuable. Would this be your experience as well? I'd love to hear how you have benefited from reading different accounts of the same event. And speaking of different accounts, did you learn anything from Luke's account that maybe you didn't find in Matthew 11? Or vice versa? Tami W.

November 10th

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Luke 6:20-36

Do unto others... I don't know how many times my parents pulled that phrase out as a reminder to me growing up that I needed to be kind, loving and forgiving to others regardless of the circumstances or how they treated me. Well that message makes perfect sense, but it's not so easy to put into practice. In fact, all of Luke 6:20-36 is tough. I read it and I definitely want to follow it, but wow, it's a tall order.

So let's talk today about putting this passage into practice. Have you had any successes (or even failures) that we could learn from? How can we daily love those who don't love us? Tami W.

November 9th

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Luke 5:1-16

By the end, Simon had it right. Wow, this passage really registered with me today. Here I was reading about how Simon interacted with Jesus, but it really brought my relationship with the Lord to mind.

Too many times I've found myself acting just like Simon. I know the Lord has something for me to do but I question, I postpone acting, maybe even argue a little before I actually get with the program and do whatever it is the Lord wants me to do. Then, just like in our passage, I'm surprised when what I've done turns out way better than I ever imagined (go figure). It's at that point that I, just like Simon, have to step back and ask for forgiveness for my sinful, disobedient attitude. Not particularly a fun thing, but thankfully, God is always right there to forgive me AND to graciously give me another opportunity to serve Him. (Thank you, Lord!)

Now I'm guessing we've all had a few "Simon experiences." So let's make it our goal to lessen the number of these occurrences. How might we go about accomplishing that? How about sharing something that's worked for you? Tami W.

November 8th

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Luke 4:31-44

So much power, yet so much compassion. The power and authority of God are everywhere in Luke 4:31-44. Jesus is teaching with authority, casting out demons, healing the sick and diseased with his touch. But, what really spoke to me and caught my attention was the compassion that just flowed through this entire passage. It left me with this thought and prayer: Thank you God for being so loving and caring and for how you love and care for me.

Would you take a couple of minutes today and think about how God has loved and cared for you? Then, talk with Him about it and, of course, let Him know how much you love and care for Him in return! Tami W.

November 7th

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Luke 4:14-30

So much for the home town crowd. Jesus returns to Nazareth in Luke 4:14-30 and he doesn't quite get the reception that you'd think. It starts out good, but then Jesus informs the crowd that he won't be performing any miracles or healing the sick. Well that goes over like a lead balloon and things get ugly--fast. You see the people weren't interested in knowing Jesus. They just wanted what Jesus could do and give them. Jesus didn't comply. He knew that what the crowd thought was best for them wasn't what they needed at all.

So how do we make sure we're not just running after what WE think we need? What can we do to get, and then stay, in alignment with what God has for us? Tami W.

P.S. Make sure and read the rest of Luke 4 tomorrow. Jesus' response to this group of people is quite different from today.

November 6th

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Luke 4:1-15

No one is exempt from temptation. Today's passage (Luke 4:1-15, the temptation of Christ) is probably one of the most well known passages in the Bible. Even so, I never get tired of reading it. I want every reminder I can get that temptation, and the sin that results when I give in, are always lurking, and the minute I let down my guard, I'm probably going to slip.

So let's tackle temptation head on today. Think about those areas in your life where you are most easily tempted to sin. Are there any specific things you can do that would be helpful? What can we do generally to make sure we're prepared to resist and deal with temptation when it comes our way? Tami W.

November 5th

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Luke 3:1-38

No sugar coating found here. I love it when I'm reading and without even trying a vivid image pops into my mind. That's exactly what happened today here in Luke 3. I could almost see and hear John preaching--and I do mean preaching! John was definitely bold in his approach and he didn't pull any punches. I actually thought he was pretty abrasive. But oddly enough, the people John was talking with weren't put off.

So the takeaway for me today was that I need to be bold for Christ. But that doesn't mean I have to use the same approach as John (whew) and neither do you. So what does being bold for Christ look like for you? Tami W.

November 4th

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And you thought it was hard....The second part of our reading today is where Jesus stays in Jerusalem after the Passover without the knowledge of his parents. When Mary and Joseph finally find Jesus, He is in the Temple dialoguing with the teachers. There is a conversation between Jesus and his parents and then they all return to Nazareth together. Verse 51 tells us that Jesus "went down with them [Mary and Joseph] and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them."

The last part of this verse grabbed me--the part about Jesus being submissive. I thought about that for a few minutes. At this young age, Jesus clearly knows he is the Son of God. We see that in verse 49 "'Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?'" Yet, Jesus doesn't pull rank. He willingly submits to the will of his parents. Simply put, he was obedient.

So if Jesus (the Son of God--just in case you forgot) was obedient to his earthly parents, what does that say about how we should respond to God's call, whatever that may be? Think it over and send me your thoughts! Tami W.

November 3rd

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It's a do over--kind of. Well, I was a little surprised when I pulled out my schedule for blogs this morning and saw Luke 2:1-21 as our passage for the day because we just did it last Wednesday (10-28). Apparently we didn't catch the duplication on our end. (Sorry about that, but I'm thinking God must have wanted us to read these verses again.) So I pondered writing yet another blog on this passage but decided against it. With our unique "do over" situation today I thought it would be a nice change for YOU to blog me (and the rest of P4) about Luke 2:1-21.

So would you take a couple of minutes and tell me something you learned, felt, questioned, liked from this passage. What did God communicate to you through Luke 2:1-21? Make this your blog today. I can't wait to read your thoughts! Tami W.

November 2nd

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Luke 1:57-80

Ordinary couple--with an extraordinary example. I read Luke 1:57-80 several times as I prepared to write for today, and it wasn't until about my third read through that it really hit me how incredible both Elizabeth and Zechariah were here. Their situation was undoubtedly exciting for them, but it was also highly unusual and out of the ordinary.

Now when things in my life aren't proceeding in a "normal" manner, even if it's good, that can cause difficulties for me like stress, fear and tension, and I pass those emotions on to my husband (and vice versa depending on the situation). Yet, we don't see that with Elizabeth and Zechariah. So I read back over Luke 1:57-80 yet again and looked for what they demonstrated. Here are a few words and phrases that I jotted down--trusted in the Lord, praised, bold witness, faithful, confident, steadfast.

So how can we work on consistently responding in these ways when things in our lives are running their normal course and when they aren't going as planned? Tami W.

November 1st

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Revelation 22

We can learn plenty from a name. Jesus tells us in Revelation 22 that He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." What do these names convey or communicate to you?

Throughout the Bible there are many names that refer to and describe Jesus. Is there one or maybe two of those names that have helped understand Jesus better or grow closer to Him? 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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About this Archive

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

October 2009 is the previous archive.

December 2009 is the next archive.

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