March 2010 Archives

John 20:19-31

It's shortly after Jesus' crucifixion as we start our reading today, and the disciples are in a locked room because they're fearful of the Jews. Now they are still together as followers of Christ, but they're laying low and afraid, and I'm guessing not entirely sure what to do. Then, Jesus appears and boy do things change. The disciples "were glad" (verse 20), encouraged and then empowered with the Holy Spirit.

So have you ever felt like the disciples? I sure have and sometimes I still do. Here are a few things that have tripped me up in the past: Being fearful about sharing the Gospel, uncertain about getting involved in a ministry at church or taking a leadership role over a project, or maybe I'm just not seeing what I expected in a circumstance and that scares me a little as I try to determine what to do next.

Whatever the circumstance, how can we push fear and uncertainty aside and draw on the Lord for enthusiasm, encouragement and strength to help us through? Tami W.

Fan the flame

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Luke 24:13-35

Almost every time I read Luke 24:13-35, my attention is drawn to verse 32 where Cleopas and his companion talk about how their hearts burned within them as they walked and talked with Jesus. So today, I decided to take a few minutes to really think about this "burning within" as it pertained to my own Christian walk. I asked myself things like, Have I truly felt that burning within for Christ? When have I felt that way? What caused my heart burn within me? And finally, What did I do as a result? This was a good exercise for me. The more things I recalled, the more encouraged, recharged and motivated for Christ I felt.

So would you take a few minutes and think about your heart burning for Christ and what that means for you? Then, let's consider together things we can do to fan the flame and increase our desire and actions for Christ. Tami W.

John 20:1-18

Easter is coming up this weekend, so all this week on Back to the Bible we're Finding Hope in Jesus' Resurrection by looking at the experiences of different people who encountered and interacted with Jesus after his resurrection. Today our focus is on Mary Magdalene.

I saw hope throughout our passage today, starting right off with Mary's discovery of the empty tomb and concluding with Mary telling the disciples that she had seen and spoken with Jesus (can you imagine having that experience?). But verse 17--where Jesus tells Mary, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"--just jumped off the page for me as a message of hope.

So how do you see hope in this passage? Were you drawn to verse 17 like me or did some other verse speak to you? Tami W.

Mark 15:1-47

Every time I read the crucifixion story I'm ashamed, embarrassed and saddened by the horrible way the people treat Jesus. It's awful and reveals pretty clearly our sinful nature. But here's the thing that struck me today. The Jewish leaders, the soldiers, the people from the crowds were all so arrogant and confident that they had defeated Jesus. But that wasn't the case at all. God was in total control and every single thing that happened was according to His plan.

So when things seem crazy in our lives and we can't understand what's happening or why, how could we apply this passage? Any examples of a time when after the fact, you could totally see and understand God's hand in a situation? Tami W.

Mark 14:32-72

We're looking at the crucifixion story from Mark this weekend. Our account begins with Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane and ends with a mini trial in the court yard of the high priest. Jesus behaves incredibly throughout. What an example.

Unfortunately, we can't say the same about Peter. From start to finish, he pretty much fails miserably. So as I read I was kind of focused on Peter and then I got to verse 72. The rooster has just crowed for the second time and reality hits. This is what follows: "And he [Peter] broke down and wept." I felt sad immediately--for Peter but also for me because I could so identify with his failures. I've certainly been there. Haven't we all? Well, this passage ended on a down note, but Peter's story doesn't end here. Peter was restored and he went on to do tremendous things for the Lord.

So what does this passage and Peter's story show us about us? Our walk as a Christian? Our relationship with the Lord? Our service? Tami W.

Important bodies

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Ephesians 5:15-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:17-20

How often do you think about your body as not being your own and being a temple to the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:19). I'm guessing not that frequently, if you're anything like me. So I was glad that Paul brought these things to my attention today. You see, Paul's message here in 1 Corinthians 6:17-20 is really something we need to realize and think about as we live out our lives in bodies that belong to the Lord.

So how can we keep a "temple" mindset from day to day? And how should we be taking care of and maintaining our "temple"? Tami W.

Romans 15:14-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I found myself kind of sitting on the edge of my chair as I read Romans 15:14-21. Paul's words conveyed total, almost over the top, enthusiasm for the Lord and his job of sharing the message of Christ. I loved it. Paul's words really connected with me. Listen to this: "In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me..." (verses 17-18).

Now I want to join that bandwagon. How about you? So how do we get and maintain enthusiasm like Paul when it comes to serving the Lord and spreading the gospel message? Tami W.

Not of this world

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1 Corinthians 2:6-16; John 14:23-27

Earthly wisdom vs. Spiritual wisdom is really laid out for us in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, and they are most certainly not the same. We all have access to earthly wisdom, but only those of us who have accepted Christ as Savior have access to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The more I read this morning, it really hit me what a priceless gift the Holy Spirit is. Did you notice verse 12? "That we have received ...the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God." And then there is verse 16 where we're told that "we have the mind of Christ." Did you catch that? We have the mind of Christ. WOW!

So what does having the mind of Christ mean for you? What can we do to utilize this wisdom? Tami W.

Romans 8:13-17; 26-27

As is typical, I read a couple of different versions of our passage and I found myself really liking the language of the ESV (English Standard Version) in verse 13 where it tells us that we can "put to death" our flesh, our sinful acts, our "deeds of the body" if we live according to the Spirit. Those words--put to death--triggered a pretty good image.

So what kind of action will it take for us to live according to the Spirit and stop being controlled by that old sinful nature? Tami W.

Spirit of Truth

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John 16:7-15

Have you ever thought that if only Jesus were here with us today we'd be able to see things more clearly or maybe understand something better? I know I have. But Jesus makes it clear in John 16 that his returning to the Father was necessary and a good thing for us because if he didn't go away the Holy Spirit (our "Helper") would not come to us. (vs.7). And then Jesus says this: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth." Now there's a promise I want to grab onto.

So how do we make the most of the Holy Spirit living in us and guiding us in our lives? Any examples of the Holy Spirit being your "Helper"? Tami W.

P.S. Today starts week two of the series The God Within: What the Holy Spirit Does on Back to the Bible. If you haven't gotten the opportunity to listen yet, I encourage you to join us for the program this week. It's really a great study and it's packed full of information on the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 63

I find myself reading Psalm 63 frequently. I'm drawn to it because it lays out so descriptively what an intimate relationship with the Lord looks like. For me, it's kind of like a mini tutorial for interacting with God. Right off the bat I see that I need to earnestly seek God and that my desire and thirst should be for Him (and that's just in the first verse).

So did Psalm 63 prompt you to think about your relationship with the Lord? Was there a particular verse or thought that you found helpful? Tami W.

1 John 3:19-4:21

"And this is his [God's] commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us" (1 John 3:23).

There seem to be four main areas where we have the opportunity to live out this "love one another" command--with family, with friends, at work and at church. (maybe a fifth if we include interacting with strangers). So I figured it'd be appropriate for us just think about how we're doing where love is concerned. Are we acknowledging it, giving it, receiving it? I love (no pun intended) to receive love, but depending on my mood or what's happened in my day, I don't always reciprocate love. I need to work on that.

It's absolutely clear from our reading today that loving is important. So take a couple of minutes to just consider your relationships and how you're interacting with the people around you. How might you improve on giving as well as receiving love? Tami W.

One approved

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Ephesians 4:11-14; 2 Timothy 2:15-19

Once we accept Christ as our Savior, when we become part of the Body of Christ, people should notice a difference in us. That difference may not be huge to start out, but as we grow in our relationship with the Lord, it should become more and more noticeable.

Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we should do our best to present ourselves to God as "one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." That verse hit me powerfully this morning. So much so that I've decided to print this verse out and put it in the front of my Bible so I can read it each morning. (Thank you Paul, for this daily call to action.)

So if being "one approved...rightly handling the word of truth" is our goal, what are some things we can do to get us there? (Remember, our lives are in process.) What does being "one approved" look like realistically in our day-to-day lives? Tami W.

P.S. By the way, we're still on the topic of the Holy Spirit on the Back to the Bible program. The series runs through the 26th, so take a listen.

Sealed

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2 Corinthians 1:18-22; 5:1-10

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that God has "put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." In other words, we're sealed by the Holy Spirit.

For the next two days on Back to the Bible, Dr. Kroll is teaching on the Holy Spirit sealing us and what that means. And on today's program we see that our sealing signifies identity, ownership, security and value. I encourage you to listen to get a complete explanation and all the details from Dr. Kroll.

As a Christ-follower, does knowing that you're sealed by the Holy Spirit encourage you? Make you thankful? Confident? Tami W.

I want the power

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Romans 8:1-11; John 14:15-17

I don't know if you're like me, but I don't typically sit around thinking about and considering how powerful the Holy Spirit is. But as I read Romans 8:1-11, that's exactly where I landed. For whatever reason, I hadn't noticed before the numerous references to and/or examples of the power of the Holy Spirit in this passage.

  • verse 2--the law of the Spirit of life;
  • verse 5--living according to the Spirit;
  • verse 6--setting our minds on the Spirit;
  • verse 9--we are in the Spirit;
  • verse 11--the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead.

So now with our attention fully on the Holy Spirit and His power, a couple of questions come to mind. Are we drawing on, and taking full advantage of, the power of the Holy Spirit living in us? And if we're not, what can we do or change to make that happen so we can live our lives to the fullest? Tami W.

Luke 3:15-22; Acts 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Three short passages for the day, but short doesn't necessarily compute to easy. We're reading about being baptized by the Holy Spirit--very important, but it can be difficult to comprehend.

So here's my challenge to you. Would you listen to, or read the transcripts of, the Back to the Bible program today (The Holy Spirit Baptizes You)? Yes, it will take some extra time, but it'll be worth it. You see, Dr. Kroll does an outstanding job of teaching all about being baptized by the Holy Spirit--what is it, what it means, when it happens, why it's important--just to name a few.

Then, once you've listened (or read), come back and talk. Was being baptized by the Holy Spirit what you thought? Or did you learn something new? If so, what? Tami W.

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
The God Within: What the Holy Spirit Does

John 3:1-8; Galatians 5:22-25

Well we're starting a new two week series on the Holy Spirit today on Back to the Bible. It's called The God Within: What the Holy Spirit Does. I encourage you to tune in and take part in these great studies with Dr. Kroll. We'll learn all about the Holy Spirit--Who He is, His role, what a helper He is to us, and more.

So what did you observe or see about the Holy Spirit in John 3:1-8 and Galatians 5:22-25? Did anything in particular grab your attention? Why? Tami W.

P.S. Check out two great resources we're offering to expand your understanding of the Holy Spirit.

Good emphasis

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Psalm 62

One of the things I notice about Psalm 62 is that several key ideas are repeated and emphasized for us.

  • For God alone, my soul waits
  • He only is my rock and salvation (hope); my fortress
  • I shall not be shaken

All incredible reminders that God has us and our lives covered. I had a few rough days this past week, so coming to Psalm 61 yesterday and 62 today was good for me.

So how might we put Psalm 62 into practice in our day-to-day lives? How can we draw on these incredible words and let them be our guide? Tami W.

Psalm 61

We're back in the Psalms over the weekend before we start into a new set of Scriptures dealing with the Holy Spirit on Monday (be looking for that). Psalm 61 is a good one. It mirrors where I'm at many times--crying out to God when my heart is faint--knowing that He is my refuge and strong tower. As part of David's psalm, he asks, "Let me dwell in your tent forever." Now I bet I've read that phrase here and elsewhere a hundred times, but I've never really thought about it.

So if each of us was to make that request--Lord, let me dwell in your tent forever--what would we be asking for? Tami W.

The WHOLE thing

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Ephesians 6:10-24

I never get tired of reading about the armor of God. It's vital for us to survive and thrive in our Christian walk. So as I read Ephesians 6:10-20 yet again today, I asked the Lord to show me something I hadn't focused on before. Well, God answered. I noticed that in the first three verses (10-13) Paul tells us twice to put on the whole armor of God. I'd never really noticed that word "whole" before but it makes total sense. If we fail to put on all of the parts, then we won't be fully protected or prepared to deal with the strategies of the devil.

So what can we do to make sure we're fully dressed with God's armor? And if we realize that we're deficient in one or more areas, how can we deal with and correct that? Tami W.

Ephesians 6:1-9

I was going to avoid it, but then figured why not? Let's just talk about submission. I'll be honest, I don't relish the idea of submitting to anything or anyone. I like being in charge and being my own boss. That's human nature.

As a Christian, though, I'm called to set that nature aside and submit. Submit to the Lord (first and foremost), then to my parents or my husband or my employer as the case may be. Now that can be a challenge because that nasty human nature is constantly trying to assert itself back into my actions and thinking.

So how do we get and then keep a submissive heart and attitude? Tami W.

13 hour clock

Ephesians 5:16-33

How many times a week do you find yourself thinking or saying, If I just had a little more time? Or, Why can't there be more hours in a day? Well I don't know about you, but I wish for expanded time a lot. Kind of silly, I know, because no matter how we come at it, there are only 24 hours in a day and once today is done, it's gone forever.

So when Paul tells us to look carefully at how we walk and to make the best use of our time because the days are evil (Ephesians 15-16), it caught my attention. Time is always an issue for me. I pack every minute of pretty much every day full. So I thought it would be good for me to take a closer look at how I'm handling my time.

So are you up for joining me in a little self assessment? Here goes:

  • How much of my time am I spending for the Lord?
  • Am I using that time wisely?
  • Could I be doing more?
  • Should I be doing more?
  • Is there something that's diverting my time (and attention) away from the Lord?
  • How do I balance my time between the Lord's work and my family? The Lord's work and my job?

I spent quite a little time thinking on this and the "should I be doing" and the "balancing time" questions hit me the hardest. I over extend myself "doing things" for the Lord (that's hard for me to admit to you, by the way). I know it, but I still allow it. So thank you Lord (and Paul) for Your words and prompting because I needed this gut check today.

So how'd you do with your assessment? Are there any time adjustments (less or more) in your future? Tami W.

Ephesians 5:1-15

Paul tells us to be imitators of God and to walk in love as Christ loved us as he starts Ephesians 5. He then goes on to provide us with a number of things we shouldn't do, that we need to avoid, as children of God. When we get to verse 9 and 10 we see this instruction, "Walk as children of the light . . . and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord."

So how do we do that? How do we discern what is and isn't pleasing to God--in our day-to-day lives and also when a specific circumstance or situation presents itself? Tami W.

Ephesians 4:17-32

I love it when the Bible really lays out specific details on how I should be living. Verse 22 tells us to put off the old self and to be "renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Then the passage goes on and gives us a bunch of examples of godly living, both positive and negative--things to do and things not to do.

How have your thoughts and attitudes been renewed or transformed as a result of accepting Christ as Savior? How do you see that being reflected in your daily life? How can we tackle those areas that still need some work? Tami W.

Growing up

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Ephesians 4:1-16

Paul talks about unity in the Body of Christ in Ephesians 4, and part of attaining that unity is us becoming spiritually mature. So what does that look like? Well, Paul tells us that our goal is to be like Christ. "We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (verse 15). But growing up is a process. I find it helpful to think about growing up spiritually as a journey. I'm on a road with my destination being living my life like Christ. But here's the thing. When we accepted Christ as Savior (whether that's six months, five years, twenty years ago) isn't necessarily an indicator of where we are on that road.

So take a minute and consider how far you've come on your journey. Then, let's talk about how we can move further down the road. What are some specific actions you and I can take to grow our relationship with Christ and in so doing become more like Him? Tami W.

heart

Ephesians 3:14-21

The love of Christ. We hear that phrase all the time, but how much do we really understand and comprehend it? And even if we do have a good understanding of Christ's love, are we accepting and benefitting from it? I know, lots of questions, but those were just a few of the things that came into my mind as I read this morning, particularly when I got to verses 17-19 where it talked about being rooted and grounded in love and having the strength and power to understand the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ's love for us.

I certainly know that Christ loves me, but there are times when I struggle a little with accepting that love. And here's something else. As my relationship with the Lord grows, I find that my understanding of His love grows and expands as well.

So what does the love of Christ look like to you? And how can we experience that love to the fullest? Tami W.

Ephesians 3:1-13

I love Ephesians 3:12. It's just such a great reminder to me that because of Jesus, I (yes, little ole me) have open access to God. And even better, I can approach Him, come into His presence, boldly and with confidence. What an incredible privilege. Yet, I don't always take advantage of it.

How often do you come boldly and confidently into God's presence? If you're not pleased with your answer, what's holding you back? And, what can we do to remove those barriers and take full advantage of this awesome privilege? Tami W.

One Body

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Ephesians 2:11-21

Our passage for today (Ephesians 2:11-21) is rich--full of information we need to know and grasp on the Body of Christ. Now because there's so much packed in there, it can also be a little overwhelming (that was my first reaction anyway). At this point, I could have stopped and told myself there was just too much there to understand (And there was definitely a time in my life I would have done that). But not anymore. So here's what I did. I read the same passage in several different versions--four to be exact. I found that each version highlighted something different for me. So as I read, I picked up a little more and a little more and by the time I had read all four versions--no more feeling overwhelmed. I really got it--and what a sense of accomplishment.

So how about reading our passage in a couple of different versions today like I did? Yes, it'll take a couple of extra minutes, but I think you'll find it worthwhile. Then, tell us about it. Was it helpful? Did it cause you to think about different things? Did you see anything new? Tell us about your experience. Tami W.

It's a 180

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Ephesians 2:1-10

Have you noticed how lots of people today think that if they're "good" enough, if they make an effort to be law abiding and nice people, they'll go to heaven when they die? That may sound all good and fine, but it doesn't match up to what the Bible tells us. In fact, the Bible says just the opposite, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). So there we have it--our salvation has nothing to do with our works.

But here's the kicker. Once we accept Christ as Savior, works matter. How do I know that? It's right there in black and white in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works..."

So where are you at today? If you're not sure you're going to heaven, I invite you to accept God's FREE (no works required) gift of salvation.

If you've already saved, I encourage you to focus in on verse 10 and all the good works Christ has for us. And speaking of good works, what have you done this week, or even today, in that category? Tami W.

Ephesians 1:15-22

As Paul is jumping in and getting to the heart of his message, he lets the Ephesians know that he is praying for them and their walk with the Lord. One of the coolest feelings is when a fellow Christian (someone from church, P4, Facebook) unexpectedly lets me know that they've been praying for me and/or my hubby, Jeff. It means a lot and is such an encouragement. So you'd think that I would be diligent at praying for others--right? Well...the truth is, this is an area that I can definitely improve in. :(

So how can you and I be more tuned in to praying for our Christian brothers and sisters? What are some steps we can take to be more active pray-ers? Tami W.

In Christ

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Ephesians 1:1-14

We're starting a new book this week--Ephesians--and a new series on Back to the Bible called "Being a Christian Is Like Buying a Car." (Does that title pique your interest? It should. If you get a chance, listen in on the programs this week.) Many times through these first verses in Ephesians Paul uses the term "in Christ" or "in him."

Read verses 1-14 slowly, and maybe even a couple of times. What does being "in Christ" mean for you? 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 March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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