September 2010 Archives

Service Matters

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Nehemiah 11:25-12:26

A number of places in Nehemiah and again today in Nehemiah 11:25-12:26, quite a bit of time is spent showing us the names of God's workers and servants (both average people doing work for the Lord as well as formal workers such as priests and Levites) and their individual jobs or duties.

So what does this tell us about how God values our work and service?
Tami W.

Just Serve

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Nehemiah 11:1-24

Once again today we see lots of families, names and numbers. But it's what we see before we get to all the people information that caught my attention. The first two verses, Nehemiah 11:1-2, tell us what's happening and let us know why the names that follow are important, but they also show us something about sacrificing and serving the Lord. We see that the leaders of the people were already living in Jerusalem. But then we're given this bit of information. "And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem." This got me thinking about different times when I've been asked to do something I wouldn't have chosen to do, but I felt the Lord's leading and acted on it.

So what does Nehemiah 11:1-24 illustrate regarding serving and taking action for the Lord? What does it show us about supporting and affirming those responding to God's call? Tami W.

First to the Lord

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Nehemiah 10:1-39

Nehemiah 10 served as a reminder for me that it's good to stop and assess our attitudes, actions and work for the Lord because over time, they can start to slide. The idea of first fruits, giving our best up front to God, was a key point in this passage. I found that interesting because just last week I was thinking about this very topic and I actually took some time to look over and consider how I've been doing in that "first fruits" category. My conclusion was that my desire was definitely to give God my first fruits. That's good. But in reality, when I get crazy busy and distracted, there are times when God gets less than my best. That's not good.

So what about you? How are you doing in the "first fruits" area? What are some things we can do to stay on track when it comes to God getting our best all the time? Tami W.

Delight and Obey

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Nehemiah 9:15-38

The Levites retell in great detail the story of God bringing the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt to the Promised Land. As I took in this story I was reminded once again of the similarities between our attitudes and actions today and those of the Israelites way back. Two verses really hit home for me. "So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back. . ." (verses 25-26).

So what can we do to make sure we aren't falling into this same mindset of taking advantage of God's goodness but disregarding His instruction and guidance? In other words, how can you delight in God and at the same time obey? Tami W.

Look Back

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Nehemiah 9:1-15

As we move into Nehemiah 9, we also see the people of Israel moving into a season of confession with worship. Once again, God's Word is central to this gathering and what takes place there. "And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day" (vs. 3). After this the people then spend another quarter of the day confessing and worshipping. A key component of this time was recognizing who God is and all that He had done for Israel (verses 9-13).

So what does Nehemiah 9:1-15 tell us about the importance of looking back and remembering what God has done in the past? What does it show us about telling others? Tami W.

Front and Center

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Nehemiah 8:1-18

God's Word really drives chapter 8 of Nehemiah. The rebuilding is finished, the people of Israel have gathered together, and now Ezra the priest is reading the Law of Moses out loud to all. I love how the people are so eager to hear and take in what God has said to them.

So what insight does Nehemiah 8:1-18 give us about the Word of God? What does this passage tell us about our treatment of His Word? Our attitude toward it? Our need to know, understand and apply it? Tami W.

Nehemiah 7:5-73

Passages that consist of genealogies or are filled with lists of names and numbers are hard to read. The temptation is to skim over these verses or just skip them altogether. And I used to do that pretty consistently. But at some point it dawned on me that this information must be something I need to know, that I can draw on, or God wouldn't have included in the Bible. So now when I come to one of these passages I make myself slow down and then I read all the names by sounding them out phonetically (I actually find this kind of fun). That helps me to not skim or pass over any information. It also helps me think about and process what I'm reading and its importance to God and to me.

So I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the importance of Nehemiah 7:5-73? What can we take away from this passage in addition to the names and numbers of those who returned to Jerusalem? Tami W.

Not to Fear

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Nehemiah 6:1-7:4

The opposition grows even stronger as we come to Nehemiah 6:1-7:4. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem are determined to stop Nehemiah. But Nehemiah isn't taken in by any of their scheming. He is discerning and recognizes that these men are trying to instill fear in the workers (vs. 9) and him (vs.13-14; 19) to derail the rebuilding efforts and Nehemiah personally. But Nehemiah gives us a wonderful example of leading through all the difficult circumstances. He seeks the Lord, asks for strength and holds his ground.

Fear can be a powerful disruptor. So what can we do to guard against letting our fears interrupt or even stop our efforts and work for the Lord? Tami W.

People Matter

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Nehemiah 5:1-19

We just started a new series from Nehemiah on Back to the Bible called Effective Leadership for the 21st Century. (If you haven't joined our study yet, check it out.) But what we see in Nehemiah 5 today is key for us as Christians whether or not we're in a leadership position. You see Nehemiah valued people. So when he discovered that many were struggling and suffering and not able to take care of their families, he stepped up and did something about it. He also made sure he and those working with him were not over indulging.

So what can we do to make sure we are valuing others and that we're sensitive to, as well as acting upon, their needs? Did you see anything from Nehemiah's example that you could put into practice? Tami W.

Stay the Course

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Nehemiah 4:1-23

You want to serve the Lord. So you seek His guidance, you plan and get things in order and then it happens--opposition surfaces. Sometimes it's head on and very direct. Other times it's subtle. And those road blocks come in many forms. Through disgruntled people (like here in Nehemiah), or things like broken equipment or not enough help or inadequate finances. (The list goes on and on depending on the situation.) Well the temptation is to give up, to stop the work we're doing. But Nehemiah 4:1-23 shows us a better option, one of seeking God and His protection and pressing on even when the opposition seems huge and overwhelming.

So what did you notice from Nehemiah 4 about dealing with opposition? What might you do today, this week, this month to stay the course when it comes to doing work for the Lord? Tami W.

All Hands on Deck

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Nehemiah 3:1-32

Nehemiah 3:1-32 read a little bit like a broken record, but it was effective in how it showed me over and over how wonderful it can be when Christian brothers and sisters work together. As I finished up this chapter, two messages were clear in my mind. 1) teamwork, teamwork, teamwork; and 2) as part of the team, I need to make sure I'm doing my part.

So what did Nehemiah 3 show you about teamwork within the Body of Christ? What are some ways we can foster and encourage teamwork both within our local church and within the larger Church? Tami W.

P.S. Today we kick off our Nehemiah series on Back to the Bible. So be sure to tune in.

Wise Approach

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Nehemiah 2:1-20

As we begin Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah is serving before king Artaxerxes. The king notices Nehemiah doesn't seem himself, so he asks what is wrong. Nehemiah seems surprised by the inquiry and we're told that he was afraid (vs. 2). Even so, he tells the king all that is on his heart--very respectfully and with humility. The king then gives Nehemiah leave to return to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls. Now at this point we've already seen some leadership skills from Nehemiah, but once he arrives in Jerusalem, we really see his leadership skills surface. I took a few minutes and wrote down some of the leadership qualities I saw. I came up with 8 or so. One that caught my attention was how he investigated the circumstances before sharing his heart with others and taking action. Another was his positive approach even though the situation was dismal.

So what did you observe from Nehemiah? How can you use Nehemiah's example in your life (as a parent, supervisor, teacher, pastor, husband, _______ you fill in the blank)? Tami W.

Hello Nehemiah

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Nehemiah 1:1-11

Today we start a 3 week journey through the Book of Nehemiah. We'll also be starting a 3 week series on Back to the Bible on Monday called Nehemiah: Effective Leadership for the 21st Century. So plan to join Dr. Kroll and me on Monday because there's a lot to learn from Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 1 introduces us to the man Nehemiah, a Jew living in captivity with the job of cupbearer to the king. As we start out, Nehemiah has just received disturbing news about the Jews who remained in Jerusalem and the run down condition of the city. Nehemiah's heart is heavy, so he does the only thing he is able to do at this point--he prays. And what a tender, sincere prayer it is.

So what did you see in Nehemiah's prayer that you might put into practice with your own prayers? Was there a particular action by Nehemiah or an element of his prayer that caught your attention today? Tami W.

Benefits Galore

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Psalm 103:1-22

Psalm 103 tells us to "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits" (vs. 2). The Psalm then goes on showing us many of those benefits. I love the reminders in verse 4 that we are redeemed from the pit and then verse 12 where we are told that our sins are removed "as far as the east is from the west." Thank you, God!

So what touched your heart today from Psalm 103? Any benefits you've experienced that aren't included here? What can we do to make sure we "forget not his benefits?" Tami W.

Difficult but Sweet

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Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 28:13

David gives us a mini lesson on confession and being forgiven here in Psalm 32:1-11. He starts and ends with encouragement, letting us know how awesome it is to be forgiven. But in between he addresses, head on, the hard part--acknowledging and confessing our sin to God. David definitely gives us plenty to consider, draw on and model.

So what do these verses reveal about the importance and the effect of confession and seeking forgiveness? Tami W.

From Both Sides

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Matthew 18:15-20

We've been looking at and considering our own temptation and sin for the last week or so. But with Matthew 18:15-20, we take a look at someone sinning against us. That's always difficult to deal with but even more so when the offender is a brother or sister in Christ.

So what did you learn from Matthew 18:15-20 about dealing with a fellow believer who has sinned against you? If we flip the situation to where we are the offending party, now what do we learn from this passage? Tami W.

An Ongoing Need

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Job 42:1-6; 1 John 1:9

John tells us straight up in 1 John 1:9 how to handle sin. "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You can't get much clearer instruction than that. But an example of confession and repentance would be helpful. Enter Job 42:1-6.

What do our passages today tell us about our need for confession and repentance as we live out the Christian life? How might we draw on Job's words when we need to confess and repent? Tami W.

No Separation

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Romans 8:31-39

Why is it when something bad happens, when things don't go the way we want or expect, our tendency is to question God and His love for us? Maybe we need to keep a note card with Romans 8:31-39 on it in our purse or pocket to help us not go there. You see, these verses are so clear. They leave no doubt that NOTHING can separate us from the LAVISH love of God.

So what can we do to embrace and make the most of the promises found in Romans 8:31-39? How can we use these verses to strengthen our relationship with the Lord? Tami W.

A Wealth of Information

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Psalm 78:40-72

Psalm 78 is rich with information about God. And it's all right there for us to take in. Did you notice how almost every verse in Psalm 78:40-72 talked about and showed us God's actions, emotions and power? There was so much there I ended up going back and looking at this passage a number of times.

What do these verses tell us about God's heart for us? His faithfulness? How about the things that we do that break His heart?

Tell All

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Psalm 78:1-39

Let's say your favorite place to shop is having a storewide 50% sale or one of the best restaurants in town is having a buy one meal get one free special, would you tell your family and friends? Of course, and you'd probably tell some strangers too. We like to share good news.

What does Psalm 78:1-39 show us about the importance of telling others, and particularly our youth, all about God and what He has done? How can we make sure we don't lose sight of God's works and wonders?
Tami W.

Expert Advice

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Matthew 26:36-41; James 4:7-10

If we want to overcome temptation, who better to look to than Jesus? In Matthew 26: 41 Jesus tells Peter to "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation." Wise words for us to take to heart.

So what are some ways we can "watch" for temptation--not just for those areas we know we're weak in, but all areas? How will you (or do you already) pray for protection against temptation? Tami W.

Killer Response

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Genesis 3:1-19

Eve's (and Adam's) actions show us much here in Genesis 3:1-19. They give us good insight about some of the processes we go through when we face temptation. As I read, I jotted down a number of things I noticed about how Eve responded to the temptation Satan put before her. One of the first things I noted was how she immediately rationalized that it was ok to do what God had explicitly forbidden. Have you ever done that? Cause I sure have and I can tell you first hand it's not too hard to go there. :(

So what did you notice about the ways Eve (and Adam) responded? How can we draw on their example to help us do a better job dealing with temptation? Tami W.

Be a Winner!

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Matthew 4:1-11

Satan is crafty and he is all over our weaknesses. So we need to be prepared to deal with all the temptations that come our way. And believe me, I do mean "all" and they will come--head on, subtle, big, small. Temptation is just part of life.

Ok, now to some good news. Temptation is beatable...It's manageable...It's defeatable! I know that because Jesus overcame temptation in Matthew 4:1-11. So if we draw on Jesus' strength and His power and then pair that with His example here, we can overcome too.

So how does knowing that Jesus was tempted encourage and help us as we face our own temptations? What tactics or strategies did you see in Matthew 4:1-11 that you might use moving forward? Tami W.

Avoidable

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2 Samuel 11:1-27

I never enjoy reading the story of David and Bathsheba. But we need to see, read and learn from it. This story has much for us--plenty of examples of what not to do by looking at David's behavior, but also many examples of honorable and upright behavior through Uriah. Every time I read 2 Samuel 11, the fact that David chose to sin and that his actions were absolutely avoidable really stands out to me.

So what does the story of David and Bathsheba show us about temptation? How can we use 2 Samuel 11 to help us overcome temptation when it presents itself? Tami W.

P.S. All this week and next on Back to the Bible Dr. Kroll is dealing with the subject of temptation. This week our series is Learning to Manage Temptation and next week it's If You Fall, Don't Stay Down. If you get a chance, please join us.

Armor Up

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Ephesians 6:10-20

The armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-20, is one of my favorite passages. I've read it a zillion times, but I never get tired of it. I love it because the instruction we receive here is vital for us to live and function as strong Christians in this world that is so filled with evil.

So even if you've read Ephesians 6:10-20 a zillion times like me, would you take a couple of minutes and read through these verses again today? Then, tell us how you use them. Do you have a routine of putting on the armor each morning? What does that look like? Any stories about how this armor has helped you in the past? Tami W.

Hold On for Life

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Proverbs 4:10-16; 6:20-28

As I look around in today's world, it seems like the value and importance of instruction is diminishing. We've fallen into this way of thinking that we know it all and we want to do what we want to do. So I found Proverbs 4:10-16 refreshing. It really highlights the importance and value of instruction. I particularly liked verse 13. "Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life." I say, "Amen to that!!" God's Word is our source of instruction. And, it is absolutely critical that we take it in, we consume it, and then put it into practice in our lives.

Now since you're part of P4, I know you're taking in God's Word. That's good and it's step one. So next let's consider: what can we do to make sure we're holding on and guarding this instruction and then living it out to the fullest? Tami W

Yes, Trouble

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Psalm 77:1-20

When you think about it, hardships, trouble, tough times all describe what we should expect as we live out the Christian life, and we see that pretty clearly here in Psalm 77. Now I've lived long enough to know this--well. Even so, somehow, in the back of my mind there's still this little thought that life should be easy and carefree, and if and when I hit that rough spot, I can pray and God will fix it. Well that's reality. It's not what God's Word tells us. So when I allow myself to indulge in this thinking, it pulls me off track from God and that, in turn, typically leads to disappointment and discouragement.

So how can we use Psalm 77 to keep us on track with God and encourage us when we're in the middle of tough times? What does it tell us about taking our troubles, concerns and problems to the Lord? Tami W.

Be Careful

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John 4:1-26

The Samaritan woman at the well, John 4:1-26, is such a familiar passage. I don't know how many messages I've heard or lessons I've read that deal with these verses. Now the fact that I'm very familiar with this passage is a good thing, but if can also work against me if I'm not careful. Here's why. You see, when I'm really familiar with a story, my tendency is to just skim over it. Not today, however. There was no speed reading and I was very intentional in looking at and considering all that was going on in this passage.

So read through this passage again and as you do pay attention to how Jesus interacts with and responds to this woman. What do you see? What does this passage show us about how Jesus will respond to us? Tami W.

Give Up

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John 13:36-14:7

Jesus tells us "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1). A simple command yet one that we, many times, struggle to put into practice. Well, I can be pretty good at hanging on to my concerns and troubles and I'm guessing you probably do that sometimes too? So let's take Jesus at His word.

What can we do today to put this verse into practice--to give up our burdens, our concerns, and those things that frighten us? What does not letting your heart be troubled look like? Tami W.

The Perfect Tent

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Hebrews 9:1-14

Today Hebrews 9:1-10 gives us some insight and details of the regulations for worship for God's people in Old Testament times (before Jesus). Then we get to Jesus and there is a complete and abrupt change. "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption" (vs. 11-13). Wonderful verses that let us know our salvation is all because of the blood of Jesus.

So what does Jesus death on the cross, the shedding of his blood, mean for you? How can you draw on and use Jesus' sacrifice to help you as you go about your day? 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 September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2010 is the previous archive.

October 2010 is the next archive.

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