March 2011 Archives

POWERFUL!

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Hebrews 4:11-16

God's Word is POWERFUL and I don't ever want to lose sight of that fact. So I was grateful for the wonderful reminder today from Hebrews 4:12-13 about how the Bible is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and that it cuts between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and reveals our thoughts, desires and intentions. That's a lot to take in, but the writer of Hebrews isn't done yet. When we get to verse 13, he drives home this message home by telling us straight up that nothing we do or think is hidden from God. "But all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

So how can we use this passage to help us with our Bible reading and study, with our personal time with the Lord, even to help us understand us better? And on the flip side, how can we use this passage to encourage and help us to share God's Word with others? Tami W.

One Important Day

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2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Paul gives us a little preview and a pep talk of sorts in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 about living now but looking toward our heavenly home. I found his words about being in good spirits, walking by faith and not by sight, and making it our aim to please God very encouraging. The most important verse for me, however, was verse 10. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."

So what does 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 show us about the importance of living to please God? How can we use our knowledge of the Judgment Seat of Christ as a motivator in the here and now? Tami W.

P.S. Dr. Kroll has just started a 3 week series on the Judgment Seat of Christ, Salvation and Eternal Rewards. This is information we all need to know. So if you're not already listening, I encourage you to join us for the rest of these important messages.

More than Motions

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1 Corinthians 3:8-9; 9:23-27

Do you ever feel like you're just plodding on and going through the motions, thinking things like What exactly is it that I'm doing for You Lord? Or Am I accomplishing things and making headway? Well I've certainly been there and I still find myself in this frame of mind from time to time. So Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 gave me a good reminder, plus a little prod to refocus, that I am in fact in a race and as such, I need to be making the most of my efforts.

So what do these passages tell us about the importance/significance of the race we are in? What can we do to make sure we're running with focus, purpose and intent? Tami W.

Slaves

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Romans 3:23-26; 5:6-9; 6:20-23

Our passages today are all about salvation (and great to use for witnessing, by the way). Each one plainly lays out that we are all sinners but that Christ died for our sins so that we might have the free gift of eternal life (Thank you, Lord!). Now when we get to Romans 6: 20-23, Paul talks about our being "slaves of God." Definitely something worth thinking about.

So what does being a slave of God mean for you? What does it look like in your life? What would you like it to look like? Tami W.

P.S. This is day one of an important series titled Facing Your Final Job Review which takes an in depth look at the Judgment Seat of Christ, salvation and eternal rewards. You seriously don't want to miss out on this series.

Psalm 104:1-35

I love all things nature. So Psalm 104 with all its detail about the heavens, sky and earth really resonated with me. It was a great reminder of God's complete control of all of our world, not to mention how involved He is in all that's going on and taking place around us.

So what did Psalm 104 show you about God? Was there a particular verse or phrase that spoke to you today? Tami W.

Risk Taker

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Mark 15:42-16:18

Most of us are familiar with the name Joseph of Arimathea because this was the man who used his family tomb to bury Jesus. Now if we look closely at what Luke tells us here in Luke 15:42-46, we'll see that this was a big task and step of faith for Joseph. Joseph was a "respected member of the Council" (vs. 42), and as we know, Jewish leadership was the force behind getting Jesus crucified. So Joseph of Arimathea risked much by stepping out and associating himself with Jesus.

So when is the last time you stepped out and risked your comfort, your friendship, your status, your whatever, on Jesus? What can you do to take an even bolder stance for Christ going forward? Tami W.

No Questions

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Luke 19:28-44

Israel Blog 2011

As I read the account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the disciples and their actions and responses caught my attention. As the account goes, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for the Passover. As he arrives at the Mount of Olives he tells two of the disciples to go into the village of Bethany where they will find a colt. He instructs them to untie this colt and bring it to him, and if anyone asks what they're doing they are to tell them that "The Lord has need of it."

Now this strikes me as an odd request. When has it ever been the norm to just take someone else's possession (animal or whatever) "because the Lord needs it"? Yet, the disciples don't react, object or even question Jesus about the matter. They simply do what Jesus instructs them--and it all works out perfectly. Hmm...definitely something to think about.

So how do we get to the place where we respond like these two disciples--particularly when we don't fully understand what God has put before us? Tami W.

P.S. Our Back to the Bible tour group visited the Mount of Olives today. We started with a group photo and then walked a little ways down the hill where we stopped for some teaching from Dr. Kroll. The Mount of Olives provides quite a spectacular view of Jerusalem so I've posted a couple of pictures for you on our Facebook page.

God is my _______.

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Psalm 62:1-12

Israel Blog 2011

David tells us in Psalm 62 that his soul waits for God alone. He then goes on to describe what God means to him specifically and personally. It's quite a list: God is David's rock, his salvation, his fortress (vs. 2); his hope (vs. 5); and his mighty rock and refuge (vs. 7).

So do you see and describe God as David does here in Psalm 62? Fill in the blank below with as many descriptors that come to mind. God is my _____________. Tami W.

P.S. Our Back to the Bible Israel tour group stopped at En Gedi today. We saw many caves in the hillsides (the same hillsides where we know David and his men hid out from Saul). We also walked up to the spring at En Gedi (a waterfall) which was absolutely beautiful. We've posted a couple of my photos from En Gedi on our Facebook page so you can get a glimpse as well.

Humble Beginning

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Luke 2:1-21

Israel Blog 2011

Luke gives us a snapshot of Jesus' birth and what was taking place in the days leading up to this important event in Luke 2:1-21. Joseph and a very pregnant Mary travel to Bethlehem because of a census being imposed by Caesar Augustus. "And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn" (vs. 6-7). Definitely not what you'd expect for the Son of God.

So what does how Jesus came to earth and the circumstances surrounding his birth reveal to us about God--His character, His love, His desire for relationship with us? Tami W.

Matthew 11:20-30

Israel Blog 2011

Jesus is speaking in Matthew 11:20-30 and at the end of this passage He extends this invitation. "'Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'" (vs. 28). Now as soon as I read this verse I thought to myself This verse describes me...and it's for me. Yet I don't always make the most of this incredible invitation to give my burdens over to the Lord.

So what's going on in your life that's pulling you down (emotionally, spiritually, physically)? Now that you've read and considered Matthew 11:25-30, what will you do to make sure you're taking full advantage of this offer of rest? Tami W.

P.S. Yesterday we visited the ruins of the city of Capernaum which Jesus denounces in Matthew 11:20-24 because its people did not repent even though Jesus had taught and done many miracles in this area. I took a number of photos of the city as well as the olive presses that were excavated there. Take a look on our Facebook page.

Blessed are...

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Matthew 5:1-16

Israel Blog 2011

Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5:1-11 is know. as the Beatitudes. He makes a number of "blessed are" statements that tell us about those things that are important to God. What wonderful insight and direction for us concerning our attitudes and actions. I spent a few minutes considering each one of these statements and how I did or did not fit these descriptions. Verse 6 really spoke to me. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

So how can we work on developing a hunger and thirst for righteousness? And what does hungering and thirsting for righteousness look like for you? Tami W.

Cool Customer

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Acts 24:1-27

Israel Blog 2011

Paul is answering charges against him in Caesarea; what are those charges (24:2-8)? How does Paul respond (24:10-13)? What are the key points of his confession (24:14-21)? If you were challenged, what would be your statement of faith?

Paul is being held at Caesarea and is brought before Felix, the governor, for trial. The Jewish leadership wants to get rid of Paul. They are powerful and they present a bold, but entirely false case against him. Not a great situation to be in, yet Paul handles it wonderfully. First of all, he stays calm. And then, Paul logically presents his defense in a way that challenges the validity and truthfulness of the charges being lodged against him.

So what did you learn from Paul and his situation today? How can you use Acts 24 to help you respond to and deal with unpleasant situations and conflicts when they arise? Tami W.

No...to Yes.

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Jonah 1:1-6; 1:17-2:10

Israel Blog 2011

Jonah reminds me of a naughty child acting out against his parents. As we start into the short book of Jonah, God instructs Jonah to go to Nineveh and proclaim to the people their sinful living and ways. Jonah doesn't want to, so he ignores God's instructions and tries to run away. Well, as you know, Jonah ends up in the belly of the fish and it's in and through this terrible situation that he has a change of heart, crying out and turning back to the Lord.

So why is it that so many times we need to have that "belly of the fish" experience before we fully recognize and surrender to God? What can we do to work on this going forward? Tami W.

Joshua 1:1-9

Everyone wants to be successful. Walk into any bookstore or search online and you'll find hundreds of books on the topic, all with a little different take. Well thankfully we don't have to wonder about how to be successful in God's eyes because He tells us in His Word.

We're looking at Joshua 1:1-9 today. Moses has just died and the monumental task of leading the Israelites is now passing to Joshua. Here's what I love about this passage. God tells Joshua that He will not leave him or forsake. But He also tells Joshua that he must follow God's law if he is to be successful and prosper. Simply put, God tells Joshua to stay the course, focused on Him and His law. Joshua is not to veer off the path by turning to the right or the left. Now that's advice we can all take to the bank.

So what do you do that helps you stay focused on and following God's law and instruction? What are some things we can do to improve in this area? Tami W.

Me...Do What???

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Exodus 2:23-3:22

God appears to Moses through a burning bush to commission him to rescue the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God plainly and confidently tells Moses, "'Come, I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt'" (Exodus 3:10). But Moses isn't so confident. He hesitates and balks and questions his ability (which by the way, also serves to question God's decision making ability). Not a particularly good response.

So the next time God puts an opportunity before you that seems improbable, scary or overwhelming, how will you respond? What can we do to reduce or eliminate those "but...." or "You want me to do what?" responses out of our answers to God? Tami W.

P.S. Check out our Facebook page every day for new pictures & video of our Israel tour.

Right Here, Lord!

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Genesis 46:1-7

Jacob is our key person for the day. As we start Genesis 46 God is speaking to Jacob (Israel) through dreams to let him know that he is to take his family and possessions and move them to Egypt. Now I love the interaction between God and Jacob here. God calls "'Jacob, Jacob.'" And Jacob answers "'Here am I'" (vs. 2).

Now how Jacob responds here is what I love about this exchange. It's such an example for us. Here's what I noticed--first of all, that Jacob responded immediately. There was no hesitation, no reservation, no fear. Instead there is a sense of eager anticipation to hear from and converse with the Lord.

So what can we do to be more like Jacob? How do we get to the place where when God calls our immediate response is, "Here am I....Right here...Yes, Lord"? Tami W.

Blameless Walk

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Genesis 17:1-14

Well later today we'll be arriving in Israel with our Back to the Bible tour group (assuming our flight's on time and non eventful). So the next couple of days we'll read some passages dealing with Abraham, Jacob and Moses. Then, I'll start blogging about and sending back pictures of the places we've visited each day on the tour and hopefully give you a better sense of Israel and some of the scriptures we're reading.

Today we're reading about Abram in Genesis 17:1-14. This is the passage where God changes Abram's name to Abraham and covenants with him that he (Abraham) will be the father of many nations (vs. 4). But before God gives this covenant, He tells Abraham this, "'I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be blameless. . .'" (vs.1). Excellent words for us too, don't you think?

So do we recognize God as God Almighty and then walk before Him blamelessly? What does this look like in your day-to-day life? Tami W.

Firm Foundation

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Matthew 7:24-27

I can't read Matthew 7:24-27 without thinking of this song I loved to sing in Sunday School that talked about the rains coming down, the floods coming up and what happened to the houses built on the sand and the rock. (Do you remember that song?)

Jesus tells us here in Matthew that if we listen to and follow His words that we are like that wise man who built his house on the rock. In other words, Jesus is telling us that He is the rock--and He should be our foundation. And when that's the case, we can withstand whatever comes our way.

So what's your foundation look like today? How do we make sure we're keeping it in good shape--solid, strong, airtight? Tami W.

P.S. I'd like to ask for your prayers as our annual Holy Land Tour gets underway. Please pray for smooth flights today and tomorrow as our tour group meets in New York City and then heads to Istanbul. Looking forward to it! Watch the blog and the P4 Facebook page for the next 2 weeks to see photos and video of our tour!

Big Time Woes

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Psalm 102:1-28

The writer of Psalm 102 is definitely stressed and, in his own words, distressed. He's in a hard place. We've all been there, right? My attention was caught by how this man conveys what he's going through and what he's feeling so clearly to the Lord, and he doesn't seem to be holding anything back. But then, once he gets everything out, we see a shift in focus from himself and his woes to God and His greatness, eternality and faithfulness.

So how might you use and draw on Psalm 102 to help you respond and deal with hardship and, like the Psalmist, move from complaint to praise? What does this passage show us about how hardship can draw us closer to God? Tami W.

Proactive Living

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Psalm 101:1-8

David tells the Lord that he will consider and pursue a blameless life and that he will lead a life of integrity as he starts off Psalm 101 (vs. 2). He then goes on and talks about some of the ways he will accomplish these goals--not looking at bad or worthless things, not associating with evil things or lying people, seeking out other faithful and blameless people as friends.

So how about a little exercise today? Take a couple of minutes and consider what pursuing a blameless life and leading a life of integrity looks like for you. Then, write down (like David did) some of the things you won't do as well as some things you will to help you accomplish these goals. And, of course, let us know how you come out! Tami W.

Vital Directives

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

Paul instructs us to look carefully at how we walk and understand the will of the Lord in Ephesians 5:15-21. And in 1 Corinthians 6:17-20 he tells us that our body is not our own but a temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are to glorify God in our body.

What does walking wisely and glorifying God in your body look like for you (both spiritually and physically)? How will you put Paul's instructions into practice? Tami W.

Work Proudly

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

In Romans 15 Paul talks about how Christ is for both the Jew and the Gentile. Then in verses 14-21 he specifically points out his efforts of being a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. But Paul is quick to point out that what he has accomplished is in and through Christ.

"In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience--by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. . ." (vs. 17-19).

So what does your work for God in and through Christ look like? What can you do to develop, and maybe even increase, that work going forward? Tami W.

Different Wisdom

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

I don't know anyone who would say they didn't want wisdom. But as we see in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 there's more than one type of wisdom--worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom. Paul lets us know that only those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, and thus have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, have spiritual wisdom. He then concludes chapter 2 and his words about spiritual wisdom with: "But we have the mind of Christ." How awesome is that???

So what did you learn from Paul today about spiritual wisdom and having the mind of Christ? What can we do to make sure we're taking full advantage of this amazing benefit? Tami W.

I'm a Child

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Romans 8:13-17,26-28

Paul is writing to believers in Christ in Romans 8. And when we get down to verses 13-17 he tells us in a number of ways that because we are Christ-followers being led by the Spirit, we are children of God. Verse 16 lays it out pretty plainly. "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. . ."

Now we hear and use that phrase--children of God--a lot in Christian circles. Yet I'm not so sure how much thought or consideration we give to it, aside from recognizing that when we receive Christ we become part of a family of believers.

So what does being a child of God mean to you? How would you explain it to someone who doesn't yet know Christ? Tami W.

Helper

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John 16:7-15

Just a few short verses today, but boy, are they full of helpful information about the Holy Spirit. If you've ever wondered about the benefits or the role of the Holy Spirit, this is definitely a good place to read.

So what did you learn about the Holy Spirit from John 16:7-15? How can you draw on what you saw about the Holy Spirit here in John 16 to strengthen your walk with the Lord? Tami W.

Psalm 89:24-52

Today we turn to the second half of Psalm 89 by Ethan the Ezrahite. We looked at the first 26 verses yesterday and we saw much praising of the Lord. Today we're focusing on verses 24-52 and now we discover that Ethan the Ezrahite's situation is a tough one. And much of the second half of this Psalm is Ethan pouring out the concerns and troubles on his heart to the Lord. At one point he even says "Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?" (vs. 49). So has Ethan changed his mind about God? No way. Psalm 89 ends with these telling words, "Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen."

So what can we learn from Ethan the Ezrahite? What does Psalm 89 show us about God and our communication with Him? Tami W.

By Mouth

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Psalm 89:1-26

Ethan the Ezrahite is the writer of Psalm 89 where we're reading both today and tomorrow. Ethan lets us know right up front his heart and message. "I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations" (vs. 1). And then, he goes on and he does exactly what he proclaims in verse 1. Now it's a given that our actions show Christ to those around us, but our words are also important. So l love how Ethan the Ezrahite specifically tells us that he will use his mouth to tell others about God and His faithfulness.

So how are you using your mouth to tell others about God's faithfulness? What opportunities do you have to speak to others at work, with your family, with friends, at the grocery store or wherever your day takes you? Tami W.

Living Example

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Ephesians 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:15-19

Paul urges the church in Ephesus to walk in a worthy manner for the Lord. He then goes on to lay out and describe what that looks like. Now the fact that Paul issues this challenge and gives us examples is a good indicator to me that this is how Paul is living his life. Plainly put, his talk and walk are in alignment.

So what does walking in a worthy manner look like in your life? Who might you urge to join you in this worthy walk? Tami W.

Airtight

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

Paul addresses the subject of being secure in salvation with the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 and 5:1-10. He tells the Corinthians that all the promises of God find their Yes in Jesus (vs. 20) and then goes on to say they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is their guarantee from God. Now the two words Paul uses here--"sealed" and "guaranteed"--caught my attention, particularly the word "sealed." We hear the word "guarantee" a lot, but not so much "sealed" as Paul uses it here.

So I took a couple of minutes to think about a common day example of something that's sealed to help me get a better picture of being sealed by the Spirit. The first thing that came to my mind was a freezer bag with a zipper seal. Remember those commercials where a bag full of bright red juice is held upside down over a person wearing white clothes and not one drop of juice came out of that bag? There was no doubt the bag was sealed, it was airtight, and not one drop was getting out.

So what does the Holy Spirit's sealing and guarantee mean for you? Tami W.

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

I really enjoyed reading what I'm calling Paul's mini lecture on the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:1-11. Paul does a good job of painting a picture for us of what walking and living in the Spirit means and looks like--both from a positive approach ("to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." vs. 6) and a negative approach ("the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God." vs. 7). I like that, because it allows us to get a complete and well-rounded look at this important issue.

So what did you learn from Paul today? Tami W.

One Spirit

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Acts 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Paul uses the example of our physical body and how its parts work together to help us understand that all members of the Body of Christ (believers) draw on and function under one Spirit. "For in one Spirit we were baptized into one Body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (vs. 13).

So what does this passage show us about the Holy Spirit? What about how we are to function working and serving together? 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 March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the previous archive.

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