December 2009 Archives

Me...a teacher?

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Titus 2

Titus is a letter of instruction from Paul to Titus. But it's also instruction for us. This little book, and particularly chapter 2, is filled with examples of what it looks like to live out life as a follower of Christ. When we get right to the end of chapter 2, Paul tells Titus that he must declare and teach these examples and encourage other Christians to do them.

So, here we sit 2,000+ years later. What are we doing to teach and encourage each other in the Body of Christ? Can you do more? And what might that be? Tami W.

A three day nugget

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Titus 1

For the next three days we're reading Titus. This is a great little book and one that we can learn much from. Typically I read our entire passage for the day and then I go back and look for a particular verse, an idea or something that really catches my attention to write on. Well today was different because as soon as I read the first verse, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about--being a slave of God (or a servant of God depending on what version of the Bible you're reading).

So what do you think being a slave for God looks like according to Titus 1? Do you consider yourself a slave for God? Why? Tami W.

Obadiah

Well today, we're reading the shortest book in the Old Testament, Obadiah. But short doesn't mean we're not going to find an important message. Now as you get into Obadiah, it may be a little difficult to unwrap. So here's what's going on.

What we're seeing today is the result of people not letting things go--in other words, holding grudges. Dr. Kroll explains it wonderfully in the Calling America Bible. "The Edomites, descendants of Esau, couldn't bring themselves to forgive the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, because their ancestor had been swindled out of his birthright. This single-chaptered book illustrates that when we hold grudges, we always hurt ourselves more than the person we hold a grudge against."

Thinking back over my life experiences, I have to say those words are so true. I can't think of one grudge that ever did me any good. Even so, I still want to go there when I think someone has wronged me. Can you relate? So what can we do to help us work on letting go, forgiving (regardless of whether the other party asks for it) and getting on with what's important to God? Tami W.

I LOVE the Lord!!!

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Psalm 116

I found Psalm 116 tender and moving. It illustrated so beautifully how God watches over us and cares about each of our lives and needs. As I reached the end of the chapter, I found myself right with the Psalmist. My heart was crying out I love you Lord!

So if you're with me (and the Psalmist) fill in the following blanks (and then send it back as a blog response). I love the Lord because _______________________. I will offer __________ to the Lord for all He has done for me. Looking forward to seeing your responses!! Tami W.

Psalm 118

Psalm 118 is perfect for all of us who may need a little boost after a crazy holiday weekend. (That would be me, by the way). It's all about the Lord's goodness and love--verse after verse of examples of the awesome God we serve coupled with praise and prayer. The more I read the more refreshed, recharged and rejuvenated I felt. Was that your experience as well?

Psalm 118 begins and ends with these same words. "Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good" How have you experienced the goodness of the Lord this year? How have you expressed your thanks? Tami W.

Take Him at His Word

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Psalm 110

It seems like we hear (we're told) quite often that we can trust God and that God never changes. So it was good today to see that promise spelled out clearly in Psalm 110. "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind." (verse 4) I also love the fact that we see an amazing promise in the very next verse in these words "The Lord is at your right hand."

So what does the Lord being at your right hand look like or mean for you today? Tami W.

Matthew 2

It's Christmas day and I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christ than to read the account of his birth. We're on to Herod and the wise men today in Matthew chapter 2. You'll notice the shepherds aren't mentioned here. So if you want a more complete picture, turn over to Luke 2. I always find it helpful to read the two accounts together.

Did you enjoy reading the Christmas story? I hope we never tire of reading about Jesus, the ultimate gift.

Well, Merry Christmas Everyone! Just for fun I'd love to hear about a gift you've received that has touched your heart. It doesn't have to be this year either. It can go way back. I thought about this myself and here's mine. It's a small bronze sculpture that my dad and mom gave me when I graduated from law school. I showed horses when I was growing up and barrel raced with an appaloosa horse named Gi Gi. My parents took a photo of me and Gi Gi barrel racing to a man that did sculptures and had him recreate the photo right down to the spotting on Gi Gi and the red hat and chaps I wore. It was such a meaningful gift for me because it captured something that I absolutely loved and that my parents loved as well. Now that both of my parents are gone, it's even more special. Ok, now it's your turn.

Matthew 1

Christmas is finally upon us so we're going to read the Christmas story in Matthew for the next two days. We jump right into ancestry and family trees which can be slow and a little dry to read. But this lineage is there for a reason. So I encourage you to read through it (slowly) thinking about the progression of generations. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the information you find throughout. And, of course, I'd love to hear from you about what you discover or just any thoughts you have on Matthew chapter 1.

The Christmas story is one we are all super familiar with. So how can we approach it with fresh eyes this year and beyond? And, just because I'm curious, who is your favorite character in this story and why? Tami W.

Tough love

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Zephaniah 3

Well, today is our last day in Zephaniah as well as our last day reading minor prophets (at least for now). As we start in with chapter 3, we're still seeing judgment and discipline. But the further we move into the chapter the better it gets. It's been tough going up to this point, but God is so good and we see that goodness displayed starting in verse 9 and continuing to the end of the chapter. I love how Zephaniah concludes with a message of restoration, hope and joy.

So let's wrap up Zephaniah by applying it to our lives today. What does this chapter and/or book show us about our relationship with the Lord? What encouragement can we take away from Zephaniah? Tami W.

It can really get us

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Zephaniah 2

Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." I couldn't help but think of that verse as I read Zephaniah 2, and particularly verse 10. "This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts."

Have you ever noticed how when we read about or see pride demonstrated in the scriptures, it's typically not good? Well that lets me know we need to be aware of and striving to avoid prideful behavior, not to mention prideful thinking, which is much easier to overlook and/or hide because it's not visible.

I know, this is tough stuff, but we all deal with it. (Trust me. I'm well acquainted with pride.) So what are some ways we can keep our pride in check? Tami W.

Zephaniah 1

Do you ever look back and wonder why you did something? Well, that's kind of where I've been the last week or so with our P4 readings. You see, I was just adamant that we should read in the Old Testament and look at some of the minor prophets in December. So now, here we are and I have to be honest with you, this has been some tough reading. I've struggled a little with the heaviness of it all. As I read Zephaniah 1, I groaned and thought Here we go again. (Maybe that was your reaction too?) So I asked the Lord to help me and to show me what He had for me from Zephaniah today. I'm so glad I did that. I read chapter 1 again and this is what I came away with: God will not be ignored. He is jealous for our hearts and ultimately all of mankind and creation will recognize Him. That means God and God alone had better be my first priority.

So what did you get out of Zephaniah 1? Has God impressed a particular message on your heart as we've worked through Hosea, Micah and now Zephaniah? Tami W.

What a finale

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Micah 7

We're closing out Micah today and what a final chapter this is. Chapter 7 starts so heavy. You can just feel Micah's dejection and depression. So much so that it was difficult to read. But I'm so glad I kept going because Micah's words in verses 7-9 are incredible. (I also loved the final message delivered in verses 18-20.) You see even in the middle of horrible times Micah tells us he has confidence in the Lord, that he has hope. "But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." (Amen, Micah!!)

So what are you going through today? This time of year can be pretty stressful--finances, travel, gifts, family, time--you name it. So let's model Micah as we go through this holiday week. Whenever we start feeling stressed, overwhelmed, depressed (you put in the emotion) let's recite, or better yet, pray, Micah's words from verse 7. Let's focus on the Hope we have as followers of Christ. Tami W.

Say the words

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Micah 6

If you've ever been wronged in a relationship, you know how awful it feels, particularly when the other party doesn't seem to want reconciliation. That's what I see in Micah 6. The words of the Lord are heart wrenching. "'O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!'" (verse 3) Now this might seem odd, but try reading verses 3-5 out loud. When I did this, it made this passage even more real.

So how did reading this out loud impact you? When you talk with the Lord today, will it influence the conversation? How so? Tami W.

Christmas in Micah?

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Micah 5

I thought reading Micah 5 was fitting today since we are so close to Christmas. It's definitely not where you'd expect to find information on Jesus and Christmas, but it's there in verses 1-5a which ends with "And he shall be their peace." Did you know that verse 2 actually tells us the exact location of Jesus birth--Bethlehem Ephrathah?

Read Micah 5:1-5a one more time. Where do you see Jesus? Did you learn anything new about Him? Tami W.

Take action

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Micah 4

In Micah 4:12, Micah describes the nations that are against Israel and are not following the Lord. He says this, "But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan..." I couldn't help but think how this really describes our world today. So many people are confidently doing their own thing, totally unaware of the Lord and His plan. That's sobering.

So what part do we play in all of this? How can we help others first, see their need to know the Lord, and then to seek out His plan for their life? Tami W.

Micah 3

Micah had a tough job as the deliverer of God's messages of judgment and destruction. He wasn't welcomed and what he said wasn't appreciated. In a popularity contest, Micah would have come in last place.

So why would I want to be like Micah? Take a look at Micah 3:8: "But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might." Strong words that demonstrate Micah's complete trust and confidence in God even in his difficult circumstances (and when he had a hard message to deliver). It's my desire to have that kind of trust and confidence as well.

So are you with me on being like Micah? How about some thoughts on developing, maintaining and displaying trust and confidence in God? Tami W.

Micah 2

It's probably safe to say that no one enjoys being corrected and disciplined. I certainly don't enjoy it. I even get a little defensive--believe it or not. :)

Well Micah's audience didn't like it either. So much so that they told Micah to be quiet, to not preach or deliver his message of judgment. And then they informed him that what he was prophesying wouldn't happen ("disgrace will not overtake us" Micah 2:6). You see Micah's audience was so steeped in, and blinded by, their own sin that they were no longer objective. They refused to listen, let alone consider or act upon, the important message he had for them.

So when we're on the receiving end of a hard hitting message, how should we respond initially? What can we do after the fact to determine if the message is valid?

Now let's turn the table. What if we're in a position to deliver a hard message? How can we prepare for that and what might that conversation look like? Tami W.

P.S. I know this is tough to discuss, but it's important.

Say hello to Micah

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Micah 1

Here we go with Micah. As with Hosea, this probably isn't a book most of us have spent a lot of time in. But that's all going to change this week as we work through this little book together. :)

Thought you might be interested to know that Micah prophesied in the same general time period as Hosea. However, Micah's message was directed toward the Southern Kingdom, while Hosea's message was directed toward the Northern Kingdom.

So did you see any similarities between Hosea and Micah? Or maybe you picked up on something different? How about dropping me a note and telling me what you saw? Tami W.

Hosea 14

As I read Hosea 14 it was like a breath of fresh air. We've just read through 13 chapters, most of which laid out terrible treatment and sin against God. And then we get here and God lets us know that confessing and asking for forgiveness for our sin changes everything. What an awesome God we serve.

So did this chapter (or elsewhere in the book) reveal anything to you about forgiveness? How might we use this book to tell others about this incredible gift? Tami W.

Hosea 13

We're almost to the end of Hosea and here we are yet again face to face with idol worship and the people putting their desires and themselves at the forefront before God. It's like we're stuck in rerun mode except the story seems to get worse each time.

So what has God been communicating to you through all these "reruns" in Hosea? Tami W.

God wants you!

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Hosea 12

Well we're almost through Hosea. So how are you doing with reading, with the message, with identifying and thinking through how this book might help you? Wherever you're at, hang in there and keep reading.

As I started in on chapter 12 today I have to be honest, my first thought was Ugh, more charges and judgment. But when I got to verse 6, my attitude changed. ("'So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.'") You see that verse highlighted for me, not God's anger, but his commitment to, and pursuit of, us. All through Hosea we've seen example after example of how we turn our backs on God and persist in doing our thing our way. You'd expect God to say enough is enough and leave us to our own desires. But amazingly, He doesn't. Instead He tells us over and over "come back and depend on me."

I'm so thankful that God hasn't given up on me over the years. Without His pursuit, I can tell you I wouldn't be actively involved in my church (or even going to one for that matter) or part of a ministry like Back to the Bible. So what about you? What's your experience been with God's pursuit? Tami W.

He loves us even when

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Hosea 11

My parents and their treatment of me and my siblings when we messed up came to mind as I read Hosea 11. I can remember my parents being angry, frustrated and disappointed by things us kids did and they would let us know that. Yet at the same time, and even in the middle of discipline, my parents made it clear how much they loved and cared for us and that nothing we did would change that. That's exactly what I see here in Hosea 11. We see God's anger, His frustration, and then we hit this:

    "My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:8-9)

These words touched me. To think that God's heart recoils within Him concerning us. I'm so thankful that He is God and not a man and that He loves us in spite of us. Have you thought about that lately? Have you talked to God about that lately? Tami W.

Hosea 10

If you walked up to someone on the street and asked them what they wanted out of life, most, if not all, of them would tell you that they'd like to be successful and have money. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well that's definitely a prevailing message in our world today. Yet, when we look at Hosea 10 (and other passages like Luke 16:13, Hebrews 13:5 or 1 Timothy 6:10), we are definitely cautioned about the pitfalls of money. Hosea 10:1 spells it out clearly "But the richer the people get, the more pagan altars they build. The more bountiful their harvests, the more beautiful their sacred pillars." In other words, the more prosperous and wealthy we become, the more we tend to turn away from God. We like to think we're in control and that we are responsible for our good fortune. But in reality, God is in control of it all.

We all have to deal with money. So how do we keep it from killing our reliance upon, and relationship with, God? Tami W.

The BIG message

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Hosea 9

All through Hosea we see over and over God's anger at people choosing to worship inanimate idols instead of worshipping Him, the one and only living God. So the big message--Quit putting other things before God!

Now I don't have an idol like the golden calf we read about in chapter 8, but I have certainly made other things idols in the sense that I have allowed them to divert my attention away from God. So let's think about idols in our lives. I'll start a list with a few things I can let become idols and then you all chime in with some others. Here goes: Sports like golf or football (this is not just a guy idol), work, spending money, eating/working out....Ok, you get the gist. Now let's hear from you about other possible idols. (Please help me out here. I don't want to be the only confessor.)

Once we get a list going, let's do an assessment (each of us on our own) and see what areas in our lives need some shoring up. I'm looking forward to seeing the list grow because, if I'm honest, I'm sure there are other things that I need to be tuned into that can take my focus off of God. Tami W.

Hosea 8

We read today about Israel forgetting God. Now as we sit here today as Christ-followers forgetting God probably seems impossible. But don't jump there too quickly because things can change. Verse 14 says 'For Israel has forgotten his Maker' and verse 4 tells us ''They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew not.' What we're reading about in Hosea is a monumental turning away from Christ. It didn't happen over night; it happened little by little over time.

So how do we guard against that chipping away effect on our relationship with God? How can we ensure that He stays at the forefront of every part of our life? Tami W.

P.S. How are you liking Hosea? We're half way through. Any surprises? After reading it for the first week, I'd love hear any thoughts or comments you may have.

A blast from the past

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Hosea 7

One of my college literature classes came to mind as I read today. In this class our assignment was to read a story called "The Heart of Darkness" which, in my mind, really laid out how our human nature is sinful and wicked. As part of our class discussion, our professor asked us if we thought people were inherently good or inherently evil. Right away someone spoke up to say people were good but our environment and surroundings changed that. I was shocked at that response.

That was around 25 years ago, yet Hosea 7 brought that story quite vividly to my mind today as verse after verse displayed sinful, evil, wicked hearts and attitudes. Thankfully, our lives don't have to be ruled by sin because we have God and His Word and salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ!

So let's use Hosea 7 to keep us on the right track as we move forward. Was there anything that stood out as a caution or warning to you? What are some things we should strive to avoid based on this chapter? And the flip side to that, how about some things we ought to be doing? Tami W.

Oh, to know God

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Today's reading, Hosea 6, moved me. I loved the candid manner in which God's love for us is laid out. Verse 6 was particularly powerful "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." God is telling us that more than anything He wants us to know and love Him.

So what does "knowing" God look like for you? Is there something you can do to get to know Him even better? Tami W.

Hosea 5

Who's being confronted today? Israel's religious and political leaders. Hosea tells them quite candidly that God is holding them responsible for leading the people astray--a serious charge with serious consequences. Thankfully, this chapter is directed at leaders and not us, right? Think again.

We may not consider ourselves to be leaders because we're not in the pastorate or the head of some company, and I'm guessing most of us aren't political leaders either. But just because we don't wield a big title doesn't mean we're not influencing and leading other people.

So with that thought in mind, what can we learn from Hosea's reprimanding words in Hosea 5? How can we make sure that we're leading people in the right direction, toward God and His Word, at all times? Tami W.

Hosea 4

God really brings it on in Hosea 4. He lays out charges against Israel that are heart breaking--no faithfulness, no steadfast love, no knowledge of God in the land. The more I read, the sadder I became. Not just because of Israel, but because what I was reading pretty much describes our world today. So many people have little or no knowledge of God or they've chosen to set aside and forget the law of God. We need God now more than ever.

So here we sit, Christ-followers with knowledge of God and His Word. What should we be doing with this? What action can we take today to make a difference? Tami W.

It's never too late

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Hosea 3

Chapter 3 of Hosea is pretty straight forward. We're told right up front up what's going on and why. God had a specific message for Israel. But this little chapter has plenty for us today too.

Hosea 3 deals with relationships. We're all part of those, even if we're not involved in a marriage relationship like we see here. So what's in this chapter that we can apply to our relationships today? Do you see guidance? Hope? Direction? How so? Tami W.

Hosea 2

All I could think as I read the first 13 verses of Hosea this morning was How sad. What a terrible depiction of Israel and her treatment of God. It was depressing, but also convicting--a good reminder of just how independent and sinful our hearts are yet today. :(

That's why my heart began to soar as I read the rest of Hosea 2. Verse 14 spoke volumes to me. God is so generous, so good, so loving! I was humbled as the realization sunk in that God has ALWAYS loved me completely.

Sometimes I discount the vastness, that completeness of God's love for me. I think about past mistakes and sins and, before I know it, I start doubting and thinking to myself How could God love me because... (you fill in the blank)

So how do we let go of all the junk and simply accept God's incredible love? 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 December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2009 is the previous archive.

January 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.