May 2010 Archives

Riding It Out

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Acts 27:13-38

So Paul and a couple hundred other people are on the ship headed to Rome and a big storm hits--and I do mean BIG. Did you notice the way Luke describes this event? He says the ship and passengers were "violently storm-tossed." describes how they had to throw cargo and tackle overboard just to stay afloat and tells us that "all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned." No question about it, this was a scary, life-threatening storm. And as conditions worsened and people's fear factors went through the roof, Paul was at his best. He was the ultimate encourager and basically held everyone together.

What are some practical things we can do to draw on and hold fast to God when the bad times hit and all we see are turmoil and chaos? How can we be an encourager to others who are in the middle of the storm with us? Tami W.

Speak Up?

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Acts 27:1-12

Well Paul is now on his way to Rome via ship, and the journey is dragging out and getting longer and more dangerous with each passing day. It's at this point that Paul, not a seasoned sailor, speaks up and warns the centurion that he (Paul) believes and senses that continuing the trip would be dangerous, even to the point of loss of life. (verse 10). No one pays any attention to Paul's words, however, and as we'll see tomorrow, a wreck is indeed in the making.

So how do we determine when or if it's appropriate to step up and give our advice? What about when someone gives us advice? How do we determine if it's godly and should be followed? Tami W.

Not Our Plan

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Acts 25:23-26:32

I loved the way Paul defended himself before King Agrippa. Paul was certainly bold, as is typical of him, but this presentation was also passionate. As I read, I could almost hear Paul's voice full of emotion and energy and enthusiasm because he was proclaiming Christ. Preach it Paul!!!

But what really caught my attention today were the statements by Festus and Agrippa acknowledging Paul's innocence. Festus, "'I have found that he had done nothing deserving death.'" (25:25). King Agrippa, "'This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment'" (26:31). (See also 23:29 where the Roman Tribune came to the same conclusion.) So it may seem a little odd that Paul wasn't released. Until you factor God into the equation.

So when our plans are falling apart, when things are happening that just don't make sense to us, how do we keep in mind that God is in control, He knows exactly where we're at, what's happening and, oh yes, He's got us covered? Tami W.

Acts 25:1-22

Imagine being arrested unjustly and then being held for several years with no indication that things are going to change. Pretty awful, and that's exactly what Paul's situation is today in Acts 25. Yet, we don't see Paul asking "How long, God?" or "God, what's up with this?" Instead, he simply keeps pressing on, living out his life for Christ, right where he's at. Paul provided some perspective for me today. His example made me realize just how impatient I can be when things don't happen on my timetable. It was convicting...and I have some work to do.

So how can we work on pressing on and living our lives on God's timetable? What can we do to keep the "What's up with this?" and "Why not now?" questions out of our conversations with God? Tami W.

Straight Talk

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Acts 24:1-27

Paul is once again put in a position where he must defend himself. This time he's in front of Felix, the Governor, and the Jewish leaders have brought in a high powered, "hired gun" named Tertullus to put Paul through the ringer and do him in. But, as usual, Paul is all over it and he handles the situation quite brilliantly. He sets the right tone--he's polite and respectful, he doesn't jump in and try to refute Tertullus mid stream. He even starts his rebuttal with, "I cheerfully make my defense." (Cheerful? I had to smile at that.) And then, he very plainly lays out the facts for Felix which includes the real point of contention--that he is proclaiming Christ.

So what did you observe from Paul's response? How can we draw on Paul's example the next time we find ourselves in the middle of conflict? Tami W.

Take Heart

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Acts 22:30-23:35

Paul's in a bad spot. He's caused a riot or two, he's under arrest of the Roman government and the Jews are trying to kill him. Pretty intense. Even so, here's what I don't see in Paul--anxiousness, fear, doubting, panic, irrational thinking. Instead, he responds quite calmly and logically. His trust in God is evident, and he's at peace with his situation.

So what can we do to push reactions and responses like fear, doubt and anxiousness aside? And then, how do we begin working on having peace--regardless of what we're going through? Tami W.

Tell It

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We can definitely learn a thing or two from Paul. Take today's scripture (Acts 21:27-22:29), for example. Paul is being attacked (physically and verbally) by the Jews for following and preaching Christ. As a result, he's been arrested and the situation is extremely volatile. So Paul asks to address his accusers. At this point, you'd expect him to argue his case, to lay out the facts about who Jesus is and why they need him as Savior. But Paul takes a different approach. Instead of debating and arguing, he simply tells his story--he gives his testimony about how he came to know Christ. And the sweet thing about that is every person there not only heard, but they listened to Paul's entire testimony.

So I want to encourage you NOT to underestimate your story of coming to know Christ. Your testimony, even if you think it's boring or vanilla, might be just what someone needs to hear. So how can we work on being bold when it comes to telling our story? Is there someone you might share your story with this week?

Tami W.

There's A Cost

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Acts 21:1-26

Paul is cautioned two times not to go to Jerusalem and even warned specifically that he would be bound and delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. But Paul is not deterred. In fact, his response is pretty incredible. "For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (verse 13).

It most likely won't be a death threat, but we need to recognize that following Jesus comes with a cost, and that's always tough. So how do we prepare for this? What will it take for us to confidently forge ahead for Christ regardless of the cost? Tami W.

P.S. Check out "Postcards from Paul" starting today on Back to the Bible.

Me, A Tree?

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tree

Psalm 1:1-6

Am I a tree? And if I am, am I healthy, growing and producing fruit? Those are some of the thoughts I had as a result of reading Psalm 1. Think about it. Can you visualize a strong, leafed out tree, full of fruit? It's a beautiful picture of what we can be if we're delighting in, and meditating on, the law of the Lord.

So, fellow trees, what does delighting in the law of the Lord look like? And how can we keep God's law in our minds throughout the day and night? Tami W.

Psalm 25:1-22

I don't have a life verse or scripture, but Psalm 25 is definitely a top 5 for me. I can't tell you how many mornings I turn there to start my reading. It gives me focus and helps me get the right attitude (or maybe I should say attitude adjustment) for my day.

So what are some of the attitudes displayed here in Psalm 25? Is there one in particular that you might grab onto and put into practice today? Tami W.

180 Degrees

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Ephesians 1:3-6; Galatians 4:3-8

Enslaved by sin to being a son and heir of God. What a beautiful depiction of our lives as a Christian.

So what's the importance of this status change we see in verse 7? What does the phrase "no longer being a slave, but a son" mean for you personally? Tami W.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Patience and waiting are difficult things for me. You see I'm a MAJOR type A and that means I'm usually doing or working on accomplishing something. So as I read Isaiah 40:28-31, a smile came to my face because I was reminded--once again--that waiting on the Lord is the wise way to operate through life. I came away with this: If the Lord is truly the everlasting God (and he is), then I (we) certainly don't need to be in such a hurry.

So what are some of the benefits of waiting on the Lord? How can we use Isaiah 40:28-31 to help us slow down (chill out) and wait on the Lord? Tami W.

Do Our Part

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Psalm 5:1-12

I don't know how many times I've asked God to direct my path and lead me in His ways. So David's petition to "Lead me in your righteousness" really resonated with me today. But here's the thing. Asking God to lead us is wonderful, but it requires action on our part, too. You see God speaks (communicates) to us through His Word. So it's when we read our Bible that we hear from God--that's how we learn about Him and His righteousness.

So how did God speak to you from Psalm 5 today? What did you learn about His righteousness? Tami W.

John 1:1-16

John 1 tells us a lot about Jesus, particularly those first five verses. So I spent a few extra minutes today just going back and reading this chapter again, looking specifically for information about Jesus. I'm glad I took the extra time because it was definitely encouraging, particularly verse 5. It really spoke to me. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it."

So what did John 1 show you about Jesus today? Was there a particular verse or phrase that stood out to you? Tami W.

How earnest?

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Psalm 63:1-11

Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. I love the descriptive phrases of David's love for the Lord and the emotion and intensity David displays throughout the psalm. The very first verse where David says "earnestly I seek you" kind of hit me. I found myself thinking How earnestly am I seeking? Do these verses describe my relationship with the Lord?

So what does earnestly seeking God look like in your life? Is there something you can do today to earnestly seek Him more? Tami W.

Today is the start of a new series on Back to the Bible called "How to Find God in the Bible". Some really good stuff, so tune it!

Truth Seeker

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2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:3-5

God's Word is Truth. But as we see from 1 Timothy 6:3-5, contrary teaching to this Truth abounds. False teaching can be a huge snag or pitfall for us. That's why Paul lets us know that we need to be tuned in, and on the lookout for, false teachers.

So how can we guard against falling victim to false teaching? How can we use our Bible when someone starts suggesting, endorsing, or advancing something that doesn't seem quite right? Tami W.

So Much More...

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Colossians 1:15-20; 2:8

Have you ever noticed how the world, people today, want to minimize Jesus? Oh, they'll recognize him as a good person or a prophet of his time, but they don't want to go anywhere near acknowledging Jesus for who he truly is--the Son of God, our Creator and Savior. If you have questions or you want to show someone else who Jesus is, Colossians 1:15-20 is definitely one place to go. It's all about Jesus.

So what did Colossians 1:15-20 show you about Christ? How will you use this knowledge in your life today? Who do you know that could benefit from what's revealed in this passage? Tami W.

Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:18-21

Well known. Frequently quoted. Highly memorized. I'm referring to Proverbs 3:5-6. Only two little verses but, boy, do they pack some powerful advice. I couldn't help but feel a little convicted as I read them because, if the truth be told, I'm inclined to lean on Tami way too much. Sound familiar?

So what does acknowledging Him in all our ways really mean? And how do we get there? Tami W.

Titus 1:1-3

Paul is one consistent guy, particularly when it comes to how he corresponds in writing. So when I start reading one of Paul's letters (like Titus today), sometimes I'm tempted to speed read through those first introductory verses so I can move on to what I perceive to be the more important stuff. (Ever feel this way?) Well, when I (we) do that, we're really shortchanging ourselves.

In Titus 1:1-3 Paul essentially describes himself and how he sees his role as a Christ-follower. It's really quite a rich description. And as I slowed down and considered what Paul was saying, it got me thinking about my own role as a "servant of God."

Ok, now it's your turn. How do you see your role as a servant of God and follower of Christ? What does that look like in your day-to-day life? Tami W.

If someone you know has doubts about the Bible--what it is, why they should care about it, why they should read it--then 2 Timothy 3:16-17 would be a good place to take them. It's packed with information and answers these questions. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (Incredible verses!)

So what does "All Scripture is God breathed" mean for you and your relationship with the Lord? What does this passage tell us about the importance of knowing and following God's Word? Tami W.

John 8:25-30

The people in John 8:25-30 don't understand who Jesus is. So Jesus once again tells them, and a large part of this is Jesus talking about his earthly relationship with God the Father. It's a helpful explanation. Jesus tells the people "I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me....I always do the things that are pleasing to Him" (verses 28, 30). When you think about it, Jesus' words give us a model for living our Christian lives today.

So what do we need to do to get a mindset of not acting on our own authority, of submitting? And then, how do we live that out? Tami W.

Hebrews 2:1-4

Some pretty serious business today in Hebrews 2:1-4. We're warned about the risk of drifting away from God. Now at first read, "drifting away" may not sound too bad. After all, it's just a little drifting--right? WRONG. The minute we start falling away from God and His Word, it's a problem. Our thinking, our attitudes, our desires change and before we know it, our sinful nature is running the show.

So how can we guard against drifting away from God and His Word? What are some things we can do to get back on course if we realize we're in the middle of a drift right now? Tami W.

P.S. We're starting a new series today on Back to the Bible called "Is the Bible Really Your Authority?" I encourage you to check it out.

Not About Me

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John 17:1-26

Jesus' prayer in John 17:1-26 is such a beautiful example of genuine and heartfelt prayer for others. The more I read the more I realized (or maybe I should say remembered) that I need to be putting more than just my requests before the Lord. And believe me, that can happen pretty easily when things aren't going quite as I planned or my schedule is hectic or I've got a big project coming up or ... you get the picture.

What does Jesus' prayer reveal to us about the importance of praying for others? What from this prayer can we draw on and put into practice? Tami W.

P.S. After looking at seven different prayers and pray-ers this past week, did God show you anything new? Any "aha" or inspirational moments?

And another P.S. -- Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Luke 11:1-13

If we want some clear instruction on praying, then Luke 11:1-13 is certainly a good place to go. It's here we find the Lord's Prayer and Jesus instructing his disciples on how to pray. In verse 9 we see this, "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." I absolutely love this instruction because it shows that God is personal and relational. He's interested in, cares about and wants to hear our heart's desires.

So how can we make sure we're doing our part when it comes to bringing our requests before the Lord? If there's something holding us back, what do we do to change that? Tami W.

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus was a master at teaching through illustration, and the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector praying in the temple is one of the best in my book. In just a few short verses, Jesus makes it clear that it's all about our hearts, and God desires a humble heart.

So how do we move down the road from being like that Pharisee (full of pride and arrogance) toward the tax collector (have mercy on me) as far as our hearts and attitudes are concerned? Tami W.

Habakkuk 3:1-19

Did you find Habakkuk's prayer a little challenging? I sure did. So to try and get some context and understanding, I decided to go back and read what led up to the prayer in the first two chapters of the book. This was helpful because it showed me what was taking place around Habakkuk and what he was experiencing. So as I read his prayer again, I had a much better understanding of Habakkuk's humble approach and his complete recognition of God's greatness and power.

So how can we make sure that we're approaching God with humility and that God and His greatness are at the foundation of our prayers? And what impact might this approach have on our hearts? Tami W.

Dedicated

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2 Chronicles 6:12-42

Solomon's prayer to dedicate the Temple isn't a prayer that I've paid much attention to in the past. For whatever reason, I had never really stopped to consider it too carefully. So I spent some time reading and re-reading this prayer and thinking about Solomon, his actions and what was taking place here. The first words out of Solomon's mouth caught my attention and set the tone for the whole passage. "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth..." (verse 14). Yes, Solomon was dedicating the Temple, but his words revealed a heart dedicated to God as well.

So how can we make sure our hearts and prayers reflect an attitude of "there is no God like you"? What will you say to God today that will let Him know just how much He means to you? Tami W.

Acts 6:1-15; 7:51-60

Stephen gives us quite the example in Acts 7:51-60. As he's being stoned to death, his last words are a prayer in which he asks the Lord to not hold his killers' sin against them. Wow. Not what you'd expect.

Asking the Lord to forgive someone who's wronged us and not hold their sin against them is probably not the norm for most of us. It's definitely not something I regularly practice. Most of time I'm just working on me forgiving the person and I don't think about or get around to asking God to forgive them. So I guess I (we) have some work to do.

So what's it going to take for us to ask God to forgive someone who has hurt us? Any thoughts on making this a regular practice going forward? Tami W.

Daniel 9:1-19

Daniel's prayer for his nation is powerful and moving. There's no pomp or fluff. We do see, though, things like sincerity, repentance, humility and definitely passion, both for the Lord and Israel. But did you notice what prompted this incredible prayer? In verses 2 and 3 Daniel tells us that he was reading the "word of the Lord" and as a result he "turned his face to the Lord God seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes." What a good reminder of the value of reading God's Word.

So what are some ways we can incorporate and draw upon God's Word as we pray this week? Maybe you already do that. If so, encourage us with an example. Tami W.

P.S. "The Power of Praying People" is the series this week on Back to the Bible. I invite you to join Dr. Kroll and me for a great week of studies.

Psalm 138

Have you ever stopped to take note of just how often and in what circumstances David praised the Lord? It seems like David praised through it all--the highs, the lows, the in betweens. So if we follow David's example then whatever we're experiencing, we can still praise God--and not just for the present, but for things from the past and even things yet to come.

So how about a little praise-a-thon today? We'll start with some of the same words David used in Psalm 138, but then let's fill in the blank with our own praise to the Lord. Be as broad or as specific, as big or as small, as you want. Our goal is just to let God know how much we love and appreciate Him. Here goes. You fill in the blank at the end.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart. I give thanks and praise Your name for _______________.

Now I love to praise the Lord so here are just a couple (because I could fill a page) of my praises today.

- I give thanks and praise Your name for the much needed rain You provided this week and the abundant beauty You've given us this springtime.
- I give thanks and praise Your name for healing my husband's cancer and every precious day you give us together.

Now it's your turn. Let the praises begin!! Tami W.

2 Samuel 22:1-57

David is exuberant and praising the Lord through song here in 2 Samuel 22. But it wasn't so much the praise element of this passage that caught my attention today as it was what this song reveals to us about God. As we get into and read this chapter, the more we see and learn about God and His character and attributes. Right away in verses 2-3 we see that God is our foundation (our rock, our fortress). Verse 7 shows us that God is a listener. He's a protector in verses 8-16 and a rescuer in verses 17-20. You get the picture.

So what did this passage show you about God? What would you add to the list of: foundation, listener, protector, rescuer? 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 May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2010 is the previous archive.

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