June 2010 Archives

Intense Message

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Jude 8-16

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew something very important and it was critical that you relay that information to another person? How would you deliver a message like that? Most likely with urgency, persistence and passion. Well that's definitely the tone I picked up as I read Jude 8-16. Jude wants to make sure we (Christians) don't overlook the seriousness of false teachers and teaching and just how dangerous that can be for us.

So what are some of the behaviors and descriptions Jude gives to alert us to false teachers/teaching? And how can we use this information going forward? Tami W.

Stand Strong

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Jude 5-7

As promised, we're going to jump in and look at and consider Jude a few verses at a time. We only have three today (verses 5-7) and they continue to build on verses 3 and 4 where Jude lays out the central warning and message of this book--the problem of false teaching and teachers--and urges believers to stand strong against false teaching. In 5-7 we see examples of God's past judgment on false teachers and those who have fallen victim to that thinking and teaching.

So how do we recognize false teachers and teaching (any red flags)? And what does standing strong against this (contending for the faith) look like? Tami W.

Only 25

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Jude

Tiny, short, 25 verses...what am I referring to? Jude, of course. Last Friday the P4 challenge was to read the entire book of Philippians in one sitting. I hope you were able to do that and that it was helpful. Well, this week we're covering the book of Jude--both on P4 and Back to the Bible. (Our radio series is "Jude's Guide to Religious Phoneys." So join Dr. Kroll and me if you get a chance.)

So to help us get the most out of Jude, would you read the whole book--all 25 verses--instead of just 1-4 today? Then, we'll spend the rest of the week breaking down and analyzing these verses.

So how was the overview of Jude? What was the main message you took away from it? Tami W.

Keep it Right

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Psalm 74:1-23

I read Psalm 74 a number of times as I prepared to write for today. Each time, I was drawn to Asaph's pointing out of how their enemies were insulting and dishonoring to God. But here's the thing, I kept saying to myself but wasn't Israel guilty of doing essentially the same thing? And then I started thinking about us and how easily we can fall into that camp as well.

So how do we guard against letting our hearts and attitudes become distant from, dishonoring and even insulting to God? Tami W.

Psalm 72:1-20

Solomon's very first words caught my attention today. "Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king's son" (Psalm 72:1, NLT). The verses that follow then seem to support this request with examples and illustrations of what Solomon is thinking this looks like for him and his kingdom. Well I'm certainly not a king (or queen) and I'm guessing you're not either, but this same request of loving God's justice and righteousness should be on our hearts as well.

So what does loving God's justice and righteousness mean? What might it look like put into practice in your life? And how do we make this a desire of our heart? Tami W.

Philippians 1-4

Have you ever tried reading one entire book of the Bible in one sitting? Now that might sound a little daunting, but for the most part (excluding big books like Ezekiel, Isaiah, Psalms, etc.) it isn't. It's actually a great way to read your Bible, and with books like Philippians that are letters, it makes total sense. Think about it. If you got a letter in the mail today, how would you read it? I highly doubt you'd read it a paragraph or two a day until you finished it up at the end of the week. No way, you'd read the entire letter.

So here's a little challenge for us today. Would you give 10-15 extra minutes to God and read the Book of Philippians like a letter--from beginning to end? I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how helpful this will be. Then, tell us about it--Was it beneficial? Did you see something this time through that maybe you missed reading the book in pieces? Did the book make more sense? Whatever your experience, tell us about it. Have fun with the challenge. I can't wait to see your comments! Tami W.

Philippians 4:10-23

Paul hits a tough issue here in Philippians 4:10-23--contentment. Paul is telling the Philippians how thankful he is for their help and support but he also wants them to know that having things (money, comfort, good food, etc.) isn't important when it comes to living for Christ. Now notice (verse 11) Paul doesn't just say that he was content; he says that he "learned" to be content in whatever his circumstances were. So that tells me that being content is a process, a discipline for us.

So let's talk about "learning to be content." How do we accomplish this? What's your experience been in this area? What's happened to your contentment level as your relationship with the Lord has grown? Tami W.

Philippians 4:1-9

With the way I'm wired (type A to the max) there are times when I get stressed, tense and even have bouts with anxiety. When I find myself in one of those times, I like to go to Philippians 4:6-7. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Every time I read them (which is quite often) I get this message: Hey, Tami, give it to Me. Relax because I've got you covered. And then my response is, Oh, yes, I knew that. Thank you, Lord, for your loving reminder and for giving me your peace. My situation may not change, but my perspective always does.

So I'm curious, have these two little verses impacted you? Or did some other verse in Philippians 4:1-9 speak to your heart today? Tami W.

Like Me

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Philippians 3:12-21

Paul's "press on toward the goal" speech is one of my favorites. So as I started reading I figured I'd be talking with you about pressing on and straining forward. Instead, my attention was drawn to verse 17 and this statement, "Brothers, join in imitating me..." I started thinking about how bold those words were and if I'd be comfortable saying them. I wasn't too sure about that, so I tried to dismiss it because this was, after all, Paul. But here's where I landed. Once we decide to follow Christ, our lives should say "join in imitating me."

Paul wasn't perfect. He wasn't sinless. But he was passionate and sold out to following Christ. We can be too. So what does that look like and how do we get there? Tami W.

Philippians 3:1-11

Trust no one but yourself. I can do it all. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps. These are all common messages in the world today and they promote and push the idea that it's all about us and we can and should have confidence in our intelligence, our physical appearance, our talents, our money. Paul warns us about falling victim to this way of thinking in Philippians 3. "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh..." (verse 3).

So what can we do to reinforce and maintain an attitude of glorying in Christ and putting no confidence in the flesh? And if we find that our thinking has slipped back to confidence in us, how do we take care of the issue? Tami W.

Proverbs 15:19-33

Proverbs 15:19-33 reminds me of reading classroom lecture notes on wise and godly living--complete with dos and don'ts, advantages and disadvantages. It's loaded with good advice and information. The advice that grabbed my attention today was on counsel in verse 22. "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." That really got me thinking about where I go to get counsel and why. My number one place for counsel is God and His Word but as we can see, it's also wise for us to get counsel from other God-following people. For me that list would start with my husband. Other God-following people would be my pastor, a small group or Sunday school leader, Christian family members and friends.

We make plans every day and if we're not careful, our default position of relying on our own understanding will kick right in. So what can we do to make sure that we're actively seeking God's wisdom and counsel as we make our plans and live out our lives? Tami W.

Choose Wisely

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Proverbs 15:1-18

Speech seems to be the topic of the day in Proverbs 15:1-18. Did you notice how many verses either directly or indirectly related to our words? That highlighted for me just how important it is for us to be mindful of every single thing we let come out of our mouths. It all boils down to choice. We can use our speech wisely and be blessed or be a blessing to others or we can use our speech foolishly and cause damage. Verse 4 kind of sums it up for me. "A gentle tongue is a tree of life..."

So what did you take from Proverbs 15:1-18? Have any thoughts on speech? Or did something else grab your attention? Tami W.

Steady Eddie?

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Philippians 2:19-30

What an appealing picture Paul paints for us of Timothy and Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:19-30. I have no doubt from Paul's words that these two men were committed Christian friends and exceptional co-laborers for Christ. How sweet it must have been for Paul to have them as companions.

So what's it going to take for us to be more like Timothy and Epaphroditus? What might we do that would lead others to refer to us as "a brother (sister), a fellow worker and fellow soldier for Christ?" Tami W.

Philippians 2:12-18

Paul's instruction to "Do all things without grumbling or questioning" because we are to shine as lights in the world is a good one--especially for me this week. You see as much as I'd like to tell you that I'm always a bright, shining light to the world, I can't. Sometimes my light flickers, and my most recent "flicker" was just a few days back. I was traveling for work and having difficulty with flights. It had been a long day and then it happened, I totally lost my cool with some young lady just doing her job as I went through security. I know, shame on me. :( Afterwards I just kept thinking What kind of picture did you paint for that young lady of being a Christian? I sure wish I had thought of Philippians 2:14-15 before I acted.

So how can we draw on Paul's wise words today? And what are some things we can do to keep our light shining steadily before the world? Tami W.

Model It

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Philippians 2:1-11

Paul is pretty clear in Philippians 2:1-11 that we need to model Christ, and he lays out a number of things for us to strive towards. He instructs us to not act out of rivalry or conceit, to count others more significant than ourselves and to focus on and pay attention to the interests of others. Now I don't know about you, but typically my first inclination is to think about all things me. (It's that old human nature again.) So getting in line with Paul's directive--putting my interests, my wants, my well-being aside, is going to take some effort and intentional action on my end.

So what's it going to take for us to put others needs and interests above and before ours? Think about this. What might putting this into practice look like as we're out in public--maybe driving in traffic, grocery shopping, eating out? What about at school, work, home or church? Tami W.

Fruitful Labor

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Philippians 1:12-30

Paul spends quite a bit of time on living for Christ in the second half of Philippians 1. In verse 20 he tells the Philippians that it is his expectation that "Christ will be honored" in his body. He then goes on to explain that living in the flesh for Christ means "fruitful labor" for him (verse 22). That got me thinking....

We all have our own unique circumstances. So think about your situation and answer this question: On a typical day, what are some things you do that would be examples of you honoring Christ in your body and fruitful labor? One thing I do almost every morning is pick out a shirt and tie for my husband and then I iron the shirt so when he gets out of the shower, everything is ready to go. It's a small thing, but it's a way I can show Christ's love to him at the start of the day. Ok, now it's your turn. Tell us what you're doing or maybe what you plan to do this week. Tami W.

Joy to the Max

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Philippians 1:1-11

Do you remember that children's song "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart"? I used to love singing that song in Sunday School--but I didn't fully understand the "joy" part until years later when I finally got serious about seeking God in His Word.

For the next two weeks we'll be in Philippians here at P4 and on Back to the Bible as Dr. Kroll teaches us about "Discovering the Joy of the Journey." I hope you can join us for these studies because as the title suggests, it's all about joy--acquiring it, keeping it, spreading it, living it out...

So here we are at the beginning of Philippians, and one of the first things Paul mentions is his Christian friends bringing him joy. Would that be your experience as well? How have your friends brought you joy? What can you do to return the favor? Tami W.

Level Out

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1 Kings 19:1-18

One of my favorite Old Testament stories is the dual between Elijah and the prophets of Baal (see 1 Kings 18). It was a total rout that ended in the slaying of all the prophets of Baal, an amazing victory that only God could have orchestrated and accomplished through Elijah. It's right after these events that our reading for today picks up. Jezebel has just been informed that the prophets of Baal have been defeated and put to death. She is FURIOUS and sends a message to Elijah threatening his life. Then, Elijah panics. So what's up with that do you think? Just a few verses earlier Elijah is confident, bold and on fire for the Lord (no pun intended). Now Elijah is scared, he's depressed and he's on the run acting defeated.

Many times our biggest falls come immediately after a spiritual success or victory. With that in mind, what are some things we can do while we're experiencing the success to help us avoid falling off the mountaintop? Tami W.

Lessons Galore

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Genesis 37:2-28; 45:4-15

There are just so many life examples and lessons we can take from Joseph's story. In our two passages today, for example, I saw learning opportunities on parenting, family relationships, coping, responding to mistreatment, jealousy, forgiveness.... But the most important thing I saw was how God was present; He was in control and He was working through each and every situation.

So that's some of what I took from Joseph today. How about you? What learning opportunities did you see? Tami W.

Jonah 1:1-2:10

I'm so thankful that God isn't fickle like Jonah (or us for that matter)--that He doesn't show us love and favor one day and then change His mind and treat us differently the next. God never changes, and that is so evident from Jonah's story. All through this book we see God's continual love and pursuit of Jonah, independent of Jonah's heart, his attitude, his mood or demeanor. (Again, thank you, Lord!)

So what can we do to be more consistent (less fickle) in responding to God's love and the tasks He has for us? Tami W.

Pity Party

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Psalm 73:1-28

Have you ever been where Asaph was in Psalm 73--envious of the people of the world and their perceived prosperity? It's pretty easy to let your mind go there, especially when you've been diligent in serving and following the Lord yet you're struggling. You just can't seem to make ends meet financially, one thing after the other seems to go wrong, you or a loved one gets a bad report from the doctor--you get the drift.

So the next time we're tempted to give in and have a pity party, what can we do to take our eyes off of us and our situation and focus them instead on God and His provision and protection? Tami W.

2 Timothy 4:6-18

People are...people (human) and we see that pretty clearly from 2 Timothy 4:8-16 today. Some will stand strong with us in God's work, some will work with us for a season and still others will desert or even oppose us. Yet, we're all part of the Body and called to work together for Christ.

So how can we use 2 Timothy 4:8-16 to help us keep on keeping on with people--other brothers and sisters in Christ--as we do the work God has for us? Tami W.

2 Samuel 15:1-37

It's hard for me to even imagine the emotions David must have been feeling as he was forced to leave his home and city because of Absalom's conspiracy to be king. This is most certainly one of David's darkest days, yet his response was exceptional. It spoke volumes to me about his relationship with the Lord. Look at verses 24-26. In the middle of an awful situation, we don't see David losing his cool. He isn't panicked or flustered. Instead we see composure and complete trust and submission to the Lord. "'But if he [the Lord] says, "I have no pleasure in you," behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him'" (verse 26).

I want to be more like David when that unexpected chaos comes into my life--and it always does. So how do we get there? How do we develop absolute trust and submission to God? Tami W.

Chain Reaction

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Genesis 16:1-16

Have you ever noticed how what may seem right in our eyes, can get us into trouble? That's the situation I saw as I read Genesis 16 today. Sarai and Abraham (good people by the way) didn't seek the Lord in some key decisions. So one bad decision (Sarai giving Hagar to Abraham) led to more poor decisions and sinful behavior. Now it's not too hard to point fingers here, but if we're honest, we operate just like this all too often.

So how can we get better, be more diligent, in seeking God's will for the decisions we make in our lives? And if we find ourselves in the middle of a chain of poor decisions, what action do we take to get back on track? Tami W.

P.S. Did you know that "God Loves You Even When..."? That's the title of our series this week on Back to the Bible. So why don't you join Dr. Kroll and me for these encouraging studies. I think you'll like them.

A Great Mix

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Psalm 71:1-24

It's so important that we come to the Lord and talk with Him when we're distressed, overwhelmed and burdened. It's also important that we give Him our praise. But when I'm stressed out and overwhelmed, I don't necessarily feel like praising. But here's what I've found. As I'm talking with God and telling Him exactly what's happening in my life, as I release my burdens, it's like the Lord takes that space and fills it right up with thankfulness and praise. I love that because then I find myself just like David here in Psalm 71--praising God for who He is and what He's done and what's yet to come in my life.

Has this been your experience? What helps you praise in the middle of tough circumstances? Tami W.

All Times

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Psalm 70:1-5

I don't like asking for help and feeling "poor and needy" (verse 5). I much prefer being independent and feeling confident and self sufficient. Can you relate? I've found, however, that I benefit from and need those hard and challenging experiences because that's when some of my most intimate times with the Lord occur. With that said, however, I really want and need good fellowship with the Lord in all times.

So how can we work on consistently having intimate and meaningful times with the Lord in all seasons? Tami W.

Just Right

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Acts 28:17-31

Have you ever noticed how God works in mysterious ways? I never cease to be amazed when I look back and see how God works things out perfectly. Go figure. Well Paul's situation definitely fits into the "mysterious ways" category. Paul could never have never planned his circumstances in Acts. Yet, they were just right and helped Paul's ministry. Think about it. Getting arrested took Paul right to the heart of Rome. It got him in front of a select audience, gave him a platform to boldly present the Gospel to the Roman and Jewish leaders, it highlighted his message and all the while he was protected. Kind of cool how God arranged things so nicely.

So knowing that God is in control, how do we recognize and accept that what God has for us is, in fact, right for us and then live it out to the fullest? Tami W.

Lend a Hand

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Acts 28:11-16

Twice in six short verses today we see Christian "brothers" stepping up to help other Christians. And the extra special thing about what we see here in Acts 28:11-16 is, these two groups of Christians aren't helping Paul because they know him. They've never met him before. Yet there they are giving him support and providing for his needs. What an excellent example. These verses got me thinking about my own actions, and I have to tell you, I felt that prick of conviction. Yes, my husband and I do help others, but we could--and should--be doing more.

So how can we be more tuned in and intentional when it comes to meeting the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, both people we know and those that we don't? Who might we help physically (moving, picking up groceries, baby sitting, etc.), or emotionally (praying for someone with a need) or financially if we're able? Tami W.

Stop That Jump

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Acts 28:1-10

Do you ever jump to conclusions and then find out after the fact that you're wrong? Yeah, me too, and it makes me feel stupid, not to mention, irritated after the fact. So seeing the Maltese people jump to wrong conclusions twice in Acts 28:1-10 (Paul must be a murderer and then Paul must be a god) was a good reminder to me about the importance of not relying on my own understanding.

So what are some things we can do to help us stop jumping to our own conclusions? How can we make sure we're approaching our day with the mind of Christ rather than the mind of ________ (put your name here)? Tami W.

Acts 27:39-28:6

I was struck by the actions of the centurion and the Maltese people today. The centurion, "wishing to save Paul," stops the soldiers from killing Paul and the rest of the prisoners on the ship. And the Maltese people welcomed, took in and helped the entire shipload of people who washed ashore on their island. Acts 28:2 says, "The native people showed us unusual kindness." Now none of these people are Christians, yet they all responded exceptionally when it comes to kindness. So that tells me that as a Christian, I should be responding at least to this level, and probably more.

So what can we do to ensure that we are approaching and responding to all situations with kindness and love? Is there someone or a situation you're aware of where you could show a little extra kindness and love this week? 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 June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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