July 2010 Archives

Zechariah 9:9-17

We're taking a break from Revelation today and looking at prophecy from Zechariah 9. The Book of Zechariah was written to the Jews of Jerusalem who returned from captivity. But no worries, because there are plenty of lessons here for us as well.

I read Zechariah 9:9-17 several times. In my first read through I found myself focusing in on the details of this passage--what was happening with the Jewish people and Zechariah's words to them regarding the future. But as I went back and read these verses a couple more times, my focus switched from the details of Zechariah's message, to God. I was actually a little surprised at how much information Zechariah 9:9-17 provides us about Him.

So read Zechariah 9:9-17 again but this time with a specific focus on God. Then, tell us what you saw, how it impacted you and what you can do with this information. Tami W.

Revelation 7:13-8:5

As we move into Revelation 8, the seventh and final seal is opened by Jesus. This act reveals the next set of judgments, the trumpet judgments. These seven judgments are much worse than what we've seen thus far. They're more intense, more devastating, more destructive. As soon as the seventh seal is opened and before the trumpet judgments begin, we're told that heaven falls into complete silence for 30 minutes (perhaps an indicator of the terrible judgment to come or to allow the prayers of the saints to be heard?). In the middle of this ominous silence, the saints who are around the throne are praying, and we're told their prayers rise up before God.

So what does this passage tells us about the importance and power of prayer? What does it show us about God receiving our prayers? Tami W.

Revelation 7:1-17

Death, destruction and judgment are what we see in Revelation 6. So you might be expecting more of the same in Revelation 7, but not so. Judgment is put on hold. You see, Revelation 7 is all about the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles during the seven year Tribulation. Even in this time of judgment, God still wants to reconcile people to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ (vs. 14). Pretty incredible.

So what does this passage show/tell us about God? Tami W.

Revelation 6:1-17

The scroll with seven seals is now being opened by Jesus, the Lamb who was slain. This starts the first of three sets or cycles of judgments (seals, trumpets and bowls) that will be unleashed on the earth and its inhabitants. Six of the seven seals are opened in chapter 6 (the seventh will be opened in chapter 8).

But it's the fifth seal that caught my attention. When that fifth seal is opened, John sees under the altar "the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the witness they had borne" (vs. 9). It's hard for us to imagine this as things are in the here and now in the U.S., but this is definitely something we need to think about and consider. These people (and it appears to be a large number because they cried out in a "loud voice") DIED because they chose to follow and proclaim Christ.

So what does this fifth seal show us about our witness? What are some things we can do to help us stand firm for Christ no matter what the circumstance? Tami W.

Revelation 5:1-14

There's a lot going on in Revelation 5. We're introduced to the scroll with seven seals, Jesus appears as the Lamb, we see the four living creatures and the 24 elders again and now added in are angels en mass.

Now I know I just talked about worship yesterday, but the worship taking place here in this passage practically jumped off the page at me. Did you notice how large a portion of this chapter is dedicated to worship? It was so intense and "every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea" was participating. A pretty good indicator for us of the importance of worship.

So any new thoughts on worship after reading Revelation 5 today? Do you see any changes coming for how you might worship? Tami W.

Focused Worship

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Revelation 4:1-11

Can you imagine day and night, never ceasing worship? Because that's exactly what we see in Revelation 4:1-11, and it's awesome. Look at the words that are continually on the lips of these six winged, eye-covered creatures, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (verse 8). And then, the words of the 24 elders. "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created" (verse 11).

So what did you see/learn about worship from Revelation 4:1-11? How might we draw on these examples with regard to our own worship? Tami W.

P.S. If you want to know more about John's vision in Revelation 4, (who, what, where, etc.) then join Dr. Kroll and me for Back to the Bible today. You can listen 24/7 at www.backtothebible.org.

His Name Alone

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Zechariah 14:1-21

Ok. Let me just say right up front that Zechariah 14:1-21 is kind of a tough passage. It's prophecy and there's just a lot to take in. The Book of Zechariah is the story of God's people returning to their homeland from captivity. And the last chapter (14) is prophecy about the Second Coming of Christ. So Zechariah 14:1-21 is giving us a Jewish perspective on things to come in the distant future, with a focus on Israel and what will happen to her during this time.

So you might be wondering if there are take aways for us from this passage. Absolutely! One thing I was drawn to was verse 9 where we're told "And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one." What a wonderful reminder of God's sovereignty and that there will be a day that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

The good news is that as Christ-followers we already know and recognize Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords. (How about an "Amen" to that?) So what can we do to make sure we're committed, submitted and worshipping at all times? Tami W.

We Can Rejoice

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Paul gives us an incredible shot in the arm in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I particularly love verses 13 and 14 where Paul sets out so clearly that as believers we have hope in all circumstances, even death, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior.

In the last year, both my mom and my mother-in-law have passed away, my mom last summer and my mother-in-law just ten days ago. My husband and I miss them both. Yet, while we mourn the fact that they are no longer here and part of our lives, we at the same time, rejoice because they both knew the Lord and we know they are with Him. I can't even imagine the awesomeness of what they are experiencing right now. (Thank you, Lord!!)

The last verse of our passage instructs us to "encourage one another with these words." I say "Amen to that!!" So how can we use this passage for encouragement this weekend--first for ourselves and then for others? Tami W.

At the Throne

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Revelation 4:1-8

Today, we undergo a shifting of gears if you will. We're moving into chapter 4 of Revelation and as we do that we are moving from things that took place in the past to things that are to come in the future. Our setting is no longer on the earth but in heaven, and we're moving into the judgment portion of Revelation.

Revelation 4:2 introduces us to God seated on the throne. John provides us with quite a description of God, His throne and all that is around the throne. What he describes is definitely not of this world. It's absolutely majestic and it so highlighted for me God's glory and power and holiness.

So what did this picture of God on the throne convey to you? How can we utilize what we learned about God from this passage in our lives today?
Tami W.

* For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Wide Open

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Revelation 3:19-4:2 

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). What wonderful, loving words from Jesus to the church of Laodicea. And they're coming immediately after He has given them a stern rebuke, He's warned them about being disciplined and He's called them to be zealous in repenting. Pretty amazing, don't you think? That even when we're not where we should be in our relationship with the Lord that He still loves us and desires to know us and for us to know Him?

So wherever you're at with your relationship with Christ today, what can you do to make it better? What can you do to make sure the door of your heart is wide open and that you're actively at the table "dining" with Christ? Tami W.

* For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Keep the Heat

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Revelation 3:14-22

You know that saying about keeping the best for last? Well, we're at church number seven, Laodicea, and the message they receive is definitely not the best. It's pretty bad. Jesus tells the church at Laodicea that because they are neither hot nor cold but are lukewarm, that He will spit them out of His mouth (Ouch!). He then warns them about being disciplined and calls for them to be zealous in repenting.

So how do we keep from becoming lukewarm and distasteful to Christ? What are some things we can do to "take our spiritual temperature" from time to time? Tami W.

* For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Revelation 3:7-13

The message to the church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) gave me an instant lift. I loved the reminder of keeping God's Word and proclaiming Christ. But where that lift really hit was when I was reminded that we can do significant things for the Lord without being significant ourselves or belonging to a big, powerful church. "Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (verse 8).

So regardless of your position, title, authority or power, what are some things you can do for the Lord this week? Plan one action/set one goal and then tell us about it. Tami W.

* For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Revelation 3:1-6

"You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1). These are piercing words meant to get the attention of the church at Sardis. Jesus is not pleased with their works and He calls them to remember and repent.

So this church was alive spiritually at some point but has since allowed that passion for Christ to slip away. By appearances though, they're still operating and functional, but their motivation, their passion, what fuels them is no longer living actively for Christ.

So let's think about how we, individually and as a church body, get started down that path from being alive and vibrant to a near death state. What are some things that might cause this? And on the flip side, what are some things we can do to live vibrantly for Christ? Tami W.

P.S. For more on Revelation, tune in to the Back to the Bible program. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD (includes a free reference guide to keep in your Bible).

No Guesswork

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2 Peter 1:3-21

The Bible isn't a compilation of made-up stories and predictions put together by a handful of men. Instead, it is the account of eyewitnesses to Jesus (people who were there and saw what happened) and not only that, but were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the message God wanted shared. Peter lays this out pretty clearly in 2 Peter 1:12-21. What a good and helpful reminder for us of the origin and reliability of every single word of the Bible.

So what confidence does 2 Peter 1:12-21 give us? How can you use or what are you going to do with this passage this week? Tami W.

P.S. For more on Revelation, check out the Back to the Bible program. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

No Escape

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1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 4:12-19 is all about suffering for being a Christian. Right away Peter gives us the hard news--that trials will be part of our lives and we need to expect them--but then he spends the next several verses encouraging us and letting us know what a privilege it is to suffer for the sake of Christ. I particularly liked verse 14 where he tells us that if we're insulted for the name of Christ, we're blessed because the Spirit of glory and God rests upon us.

So did 1 Peter 4:12-19 change your perspective on going through trials and suffering? What encouragement did you take from this passage? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Revelation 2:18-29

Tolerance was a BIG problem for the church at Thyatira...and it's a big problem for us too. In Revelation 2:18-29 we see that Jesus won't tolerate our tolerance when it comes to things that are contrary to God's Word.

So what can we do to guard against tolerating those things that are wrong in God's eyes? What are some checks we might put in place to help us be more aware of the messages around us and how they are impacting our thinking? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD (includes the Revelation Roadmap--a FREE reference card for your Bible containing a timeline of the end times & a glossary of terms).

Revelation 2:12-17

From the looks of Revelation 2:12-17 the church in Pergamum was surrounded by sin and evil yet they didn't let this stop them from standing up for and proclaiming Christ. "I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith..." (verse 13). Unfortunately, as the church was shining its light in this dark community, worldly thinking, practices and actions made their way right into the church body. Definitely not good. This is a serious offense and Jesus calls for repentance.

We're called to let our lights shine, as a church and individually. So what are some things we can do to help us hold our ground against the strong influences of the world as we're out there in it sharing Christ? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Rough Road

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Revelation 2:8-11

Our four short verses on the church in Smyrna are sobering. They're also a little scary because they let us know what we might very well encounter as Christ-followers. But then, a life of comfort and ease has never been part of the promise of being a Christian.

So what do Jesus' words convey about our ability to press on for Christ in the here and now (regarding poverty as well as persecution)? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Back to Love

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Revelation 2:1-7

If someone were to ask us what Revelation was about, we'd probably respond with something like "It's about the future." And that's true, but Revelation deals with the past and the present as well. Over the next few days we'll be focusing on seven messages to churches that were in existence at that time in the area we know today as modern Turkey. So this portion deals with the past. However, Jesus' words (His commendations and warnings) also apply to us today, both as a body of believers and individually.

Today we read about the church in Ephesus. Jesus commends this church for its works and endurance and its diligence in ferreting out false teaching. But a very serious charge follows--the church at Ephesus "had abandoned the love [they] had at first." This is unacceptable and Jesus calls them to remember and repent (verses 4-5).

No one plans or intends to fall away from loving God. So what causes this to happen and how can we guard against it? And if we find that we're heading down that slippery slope, what do we do to correct it and recapture that love? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Goodbye Prep

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Revelation 1:4-20

The past week has really been a prepping of sorts for Revelation but now we're jumping in. We've been circling around Revelation 1, and, yes, we're going to stay there one more day. (Just goes to show that we can read the same scripture over and over and keep learning, taking in and digesting.)

I read Revelation 1 several times this morning and every time I was drawn to the description of Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega and these words from Jesus, '"Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades'" (verses 17 and 18).

So as we head down this Journey through Revelation, what do Jesus' words convey to us about following Him and our future? Tami W.

P.S. Journey through Revelation week 2 starts today. Check it out!

Revelation 1:1-11

Right as we start Revelation, John tells us "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near" (verse 3). Now I'm loving this verse for a couple of reasons. First, because who doesn't want blessing? And second because it lets us know right up front that Revelation is meant for and has application for us in the here and now. (This is what I was referring to in yesterday's blog.)

So what are some ways we can make sure we're taking advantage of this offer of blessing? And what can we do to make sure we're looking for application as we read each day (blessed are those who keep what is in this book)? Tami W.

Sneak Preview

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Daniel 7:9-28

End times in the Old Testament? Yep. Daniel's dream in Daniel chapter 7 is like a sneak peak, a little overview if you will, of what's to come in Revelation. So you can consider this prep work as we gear up to really jump into the Book of Revelation next week on P4 and Back to the Bible.

Now I'm a firm believer that God doesn't put things in His Word just so we can have head knowledge. He puts things before us so we can draw on them and put them to use as we live for Him. So how can we draw on and use Daniel's vision and its interpretation in our lives today? I know, this is tough, but it's a question we'll need to keep before us as we work through Revelation. The temptation will be to let ourselves get caught up in all the details and the goings on and not step back and consider why it matters for us to know this information and what we should do with it. Tami W.

Of The Light

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1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Paul tells us that as Christ-followers we are "children of light, children of the day." (I love this imagery, by the way.) He then instructs us to "keep awake and be sober." So let's think about who we are and how we accomplish Paul's instructions.

What does being a child of light mean for us? What does staying awake and being sober [self-controlled, alert] look like as we live out our lives? Tami W.

2 Peter 3:1-13

By our nature, we're impatient (some of us maybe a little more than others). We want and like things on our timetable. Peter is tuned into this tendency we have and, as a result, warns us about doubting God's timetable. He reminds us in verse 8 "that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." But then encourages us in verse 9 with these sweet words: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

So what are some things we can do to help us remember that God's timetable is different than ours and that His is most important? Tami W.

Matthew 24:3-51

We're looking to Matthew 24:3-51 today to find out a little more about end times and the future. I found it interesting (and kind of comforting), to see that the disciples were asking Jesus the same question we ask today: "What will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" (verse 3). Jesus responds by giving them (and us) quite a bit of information--warnings, examples, instruction. And part of this information is that no one will know. "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (verse 36).

So how can we use Matthew 24:3-51 to help us live out our lives in the here and now? Tami W.

More Jesus

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Revelation 1:9-20

The charge to all of us yesterday was to look for Jesus in the first half of Revelation chapter 1. Today we move on to verses 9-20 and Jesus is everywhere here too. Now we're going to come back to Revelation 1:9-20 next week as we study the letters to the seven churches, but for today, let's continue to focus on Jesus. John gives us quite a detailed description of Him in verses 13-16, and Jesus also provides information about Himself in verses 17-20.

So, what did you take away from Revelation 1:9-20 about Jesus? How did what you read today build upon or add to what you saw from Revelation 1:1-8? Tami W.

P.S. This week Dr. Kroll is giving us some foundation and prep for studying Revelation before we really jump in. So check out today's program where he answers the question "Why study prophecy?"

Revelation 1:1-8

I'm excited today because it's day one of "Journey through Revelation" on Back to the Bible and P4. For the next 8 weeks, Dr. Kroll on BttB and us here on P4, will be taking an in-depth look at the book of Revelation. Now I like all of our radio series, but "Journey through Revelation" is definitely one you won't want to miss. So join us. From start to finish there will be 40 amazing lessons on Revelation.

Enough introduction--let's get started. The very first words of Revelation are key to understanding this book. Verse 1 says "The revelation of Jesus Christ..." That lets us know right up front that the Book of Revelation is coming from Jesus and it's all about Jesus.

So with that in mind and to get us started, what did these first 8 verses of Revelation show you about Jesus? Tami W.

Kind Words

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Proverbs 16:17-33

I noticed several verses dealing with both positive and negative speech in Proverbs 16:17-33. But the one that really caught my attention was verse 24, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." I asked myself Sweetness to whose soul and health to whose body? Here's where I landed--gracious words are definitely sweet and healthy for the person receiving them, but the giver of those gracious words gets that benefit as well.

So what do we need to do to generate more gracious words? What are some things we can to do to help us think about responding graciously in all situations? Tami W.

By His Plan

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Proverbs 16:1-16

The first few verses of Proverbs 16 talk about our plans and actions and the role God plays in all that we do and all that is taking place around us. It got me thinking about how easy it is for us to rely on our own limited understanding and, a result, start doubting when it comes to our lives and what we see taking place around us. Like questioning why something happened to us or maybe why it didn't? Or worrying about the ups and downs of the economy or trying to make sense of why the largest employer in our town just closed its doors (the list could go on and on). So reading these first verses, and particularly verse 4, "The Lord has made everything for its purpose..." and verse 9, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" was a good reminder that God is in control and that He is the creator, the holder and the implementer of the master plan.

So when we start going down that path of doubting and whys, what are some things we can do to get our focus back on the Master Planner and make sure our trust is in Him? Tami W.

Jude 1-25

We started off the week with me asking you to read all 25 verses of Jude in one sitting. Well, guess what? That's how we're ending the week as well. So would you, one more time, read Jude from start to finish? Now if you're thinking this sounds a bit redundant, then ask God to show you something you haven't yet noticed as you read. Now I love to do this because God always answers. Plus it's a good reminder for me that there is just so much of God's Word that I have yet to discover and ponder and put into practice.

So what did you take away from Jude today? What are you going to do with it? Tami W.

Jude 17-25

Jude does more than just sound the alarm and put out the warning about false teaching. He also gives us encouragement and instruction on standing strong and how we can and should help others do the same. I especially liked verses 20-21, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life."

So what does building ourselves up and keeping ourselves in the love of God look like as we stand strong for Christ? Tami W.

P.S. Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian bloggers!

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 July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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