August 2011 Archives

Full Steam Ahead!

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Philippians 3:12-4:1

The past is just that--past, over, done--and no matter how much we want to, we can't go back and do things over. Going forward, however, is a completely different story. We can (and should) learn from our past and then work all the harder as we move down the road to eternity. That's the message I picked up on from Paul's words in Philippians 3:13-14. "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and staining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

So what is it that you should be straining forward to accomplish for the Lord today? What does "pressing on" look like for you and your life? Tami W.

None Whatsoever

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Philippians 3:1-11

Paul tells us straight up that as Christians we "glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. . ." (Philippians 3:3). That's a wonderful verse and I'm all about glorying in Jesus. However, if I'm honest, I have to tell you that not putting confidence in the flesh is an ongoing struggle for me. I know God is in control and I absolutely want my life to be surrendered to Him. Yet, so many times, (particularly when something unexpected happens) my initial response is to draw on my own strength. Can you relate?

So what are your thoughts on obliterating our confidence in flesh? What do you do that helps you to stay focused on Christ so that you're not responding based on your own strength? Tami W.

Comrades

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Philippians 2:19-30

The importance of Christian friendship and fellowship hit me front on as I read Paul's words in Philippians 2:19-29. Paul is sending a message about the return of Epaphroditus and Timothy, but woven in through the details of travel we see these words about Timothy "how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel" (vs. 22). And then these words about Epaphroditus, "Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier" (vs. 25).

So what does this passage reveal to you about the role of Christian friendship? What can you do to develop in this area--both being a friend and seeking out Christian friends? Tami W.

Tremble

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Psalm 114:1-8

"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord. . ." (Psalm 114:7). I found Psalm 114 a good reminder of God's authority, power and sovereignty. Reading this passage, there's no doubt that God is in control of everything, and we need to recognize this and operate accordingly.

So how do we develop an attitude of reverence (trembling) toward the Lord? What do you do to keep who God is at the forefront as you go about your life? Tami W.

Psalm 113:1-9

Praise the Lord is the big call to action in Psalm 113. The psalmist takes the first three verses giving us that call and then spends the final six verses of the passage giving us reasons for our praise.

So I thought it would be fun to answer the call to praise today and I'm hoping you'll join me. Consider the statement below and fill in the blank with something specific to your life.

I praise the Lord because _______________.

I thought I'd start us off with a couple of my praise items: 1) I praise the Lord because He loves me even in those times I don't act very loving to Him. 2) I praise the Lord because He has allowed me to use my love of music and singing outside of my full time job with Back to the Bible. Tami W.

Philippians 2:12-18

Paul talks about us "shining as lights in the world" in Philippians 2:12-18. So I started thinking about what being a shining light means and this hit me--being a shining light ultimately means we are representatives, public relations specialists of Christ (I like that title, by the way). And, that being the case, our "shining" needs to be a way of life (a standard or default) for us as Christ-followers.

So do you see yourself as a public relations specialist for Christ? What are some things you do or have done to fulfill this role? Tami W.

Be a Copycat

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Philippians 2:1-11

Although Paul wasn't familiar with the word "copycat," that's pretty much the charge he gives us in Philippians 2:1-11. Simply put, our directive and goal should be to model Christ in all areas, but specifically in humility. Given our human nature, being humble and responding in humility is a pretty big assignment, but definitely where we need to be at and worth every bit of effort.

When you think about being humble, what characteristics, attitudes and actions come to mind? What do you do (or have you done) to get and then maintain an attitude of humility? Tami W.

To Live

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Philippians 1:19-30

To live is Christ is Paul's message in Philippians 1:19-30. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. . ." (vs. 21-22).

So what does "to live is Christ" mean to you? What are some examples of it from your life? Tami W.

Advance It

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Philippians 1:12-21

You know the saying that people are either half full or half empty? Well, Paul is definitely in the half full category and then some. Even when he's in a bad place, like prison here in Philippians, his focus is on God and the good that he can accomplish and do for God through it all. Thus, his words in verse 12 "I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. . ."

Paul's words caused me to think about how a number of hard circumstances in my life (my husband's cancer and my mom's last two months in a hospice facility) provided my husband and me with many opportunities to share the gospel. Neither were situations we would intentionally seek out or ask for, but in hindsight we're thankful for how we were able to share our faith in Christ as a result.

So what's your experience been with sharing your faith in tough times? How will you draw on Paul's example to help you advance Christ the next time you find yourself in a less than optimal situation? Tami W.

Be a Booster!

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Philippians 1:1-11

Paul is truly an encourager and we see that here in Philippians 1:1-11. As Paul begins his letter to the Christ-followers in Philippi, he immediately tells them how thankful he is for their friendship and partnership in the gospel, and that he is praying for them.

I don't think I've ever met someone who didn't enjoy receiving encouragement. I know I love it...especially when it's not expected. So think about the last time someone gave you some encouragement. How can/will you pass that on to someone else today? Tami W.

P.S. Dr. Kroll is starting a two-week series from Philippians today on Back to the Bible. Why don't you join us for the study?

Last Day Thoughts

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Psalm 119:161-176

I thought it was fitting that as we wind up Psalm 119 the Psalmist talked about rejoicing and praising the Lord (vs. 162, 164, 171, 175). And when you think about it, that's definitely an appropriate response after all the wonderful things we learned from Psalm 119 about God and His Word. So praise away!

So how did you enjoy your time in Psalm 119? What did you learn? Did God impress anything in particular on your heart? (The highlight for me was all the verses about delighting in God's Word. That will definitely be my focus this coming week as I read my Bible.) Tami W.

100%...Plus

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Psalm 119:145-160

The writer of Psalm 119 was, without a doubt, committed and dedicated to following the Lord. So when I got to verse 145 I smiled because it was like the Psalmist was saying to me "Hey, just in case you missed it, my heart...my whole heart...is given to the Lord." He then spends the next several verses showing us what that looks like in his life.

So what does giving your whole heart to the Lord mean for you? What are some examples from your own life or examples you've observed from others that you're working on? Tami W.

Psalm 119:129-144 (Pe and Tsadhe)

Commitment and passion for God and his Word radiated out from the words of the Psalmist in Pe and Tsadhe (Psalm 119:129-144). Out of these verses, there were two comments that spoke to my heart. The first was verse 131 "I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments," and then verse 139 where the Psalmist says "My zeal consumes me because my foes have forgotten your words." Those two verses certainly put an example and standard before us about our attitude toward God's Word and also how we go about living and serving the Lord.

So how closely does your attitude line up with what's described in verses 131 and 139? What can/will you do to continue to develop your love, longing and zeal for God's Word? Tami W.

Complete Servant

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Psalm 119:113-128 (Samekh and Ayin)

Serving the Lord is simply part of being a Christ-follower and there are plenty of opportunities to serve. Church is a good example. On a Sunday morning it's not unusual to open the bulletin or see a flyer letting people know about opportunities to serve in children's ministry, as an usher, in music ministry, as a greeter, etc. But as I read Psalm 119:121-128, I noticed that the Psalmist kept referring to himself as a servant, but he wasn't talking about serving. Now that got me thinking about what it means for me/us to be God's servant, and it dawned on me that serving by participating in church on Sunday or Wednesday or volunteering in the community or ________________ (you fill in the blank) is really just part of being a servant 24/7, seven days a week.

So what does being God's servant mean to you? What does that look like in your life? What might a co-worker, a neighbor or a family member say about you being a servant of God? Tami W.

How I Love

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Psalm 119:97-112 (Mem and Nun)

"Oh, how I love your law!" is the bold proclamation of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:97, and this statement lingered in my thoughts as I read the remainder of the passage. So I read Psalm 119: 97-112 again looking at the reasons the Psalmist gave for his love of God's law. Then, I spent a few minutes mulling over and thinking about loving God's law and what that meant for me. I love all the things the Psalmist writes, and I added some of my own reasons for loving God's Word too. Things like--God's Word gives me reassurance and peace when I'm feeling stressed, and whatever my circumstance, it provides absolute comfort for my heart.

So what about you? Why do you love God's Word? And, how is that love displayed in your day-to-day life? Tami W.

Your Delight?

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Psalm 119:73-96

The attitude and approach of the Psalmist captured my attention as I read Psalm 119:73-96 (Yodh, Kaph and Lamedh). Two times in this passage he states that God's law is his delight (vs. 77 and 92), and in a number of other verses he tells us how God's Word has given him life (vs. 93) and that his hope is in God's Word (vs. 74 and 81). There's no doubt in my mind that God's Word is everything to this man and that it is truly his first priority.

So where are you in comparison to the Psalmist? If you're in alignment with him, would you tell us how you got to this point? And if you're not in the same place yet, take a few minutes to think over and consider why that is. Ok, now what can you do to get there? Tami W.

For Hard Times

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Psalm 119:49-72

As we move on to Zayin, Heth and Teth, our three sections from Psalm 119 today, the Psalmist starts talking about God's Word during times of difficulty and affliction. Three verses were key for me. "This [God's Word] is a comfort in my affliction. . ." (vs. 50). "The Lord is my portion, I promise to keep your words. . ." (vs. 57). "It is good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes" (vs. 71).

So what did you learn about God's Word during hard times from Psalm 119-:49-72? The next time you're experiencing difficulties (and for some of us that's right now), how will you make verse 71 a reality? Tami W.

Teach Me, Please

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Psalm 119:25-48

Teach me your statutes and give me understanding came across loud and clear in Psalm 119:25-48. In fact, the Psalmist presents the Lord with this specific request two separate times in just a few verses. That shows me that as I read and take in His Word, I should be asking for God to help me reflect on it and then respond by living in a manner that pleases Him.

So I'm curious, how often to do you ask for God's help when you read scripture? What's your experience been with asking Him to teach you and give you understanding? Tami W.

Front and Center

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Psalm 119:1-24

For the next week we're going to look at Psalm 119 and do some Bible engagement together (receive/read, reflect/consider, respond to/put into action). I absolutely love Psalm 119. The focus of every eight verse section of this chapter is God's Word. It's so packed full of rich information that I could spend days in it.

What did these first 3 sections of Psalm 119 (Aleph, Beth and Gimel) reveal to you about God's law? What does the Psalmist show us about our thoughts and actions concerning God's Word? Tami W.

Suit Up!

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Ephesians 6:10-24

The armor of God is such a great passage. I find it encouraging but also a little scary at the same time. It's encouraging because we're told point blank that when we put on the armor provided by God, we can "stand firm" (Eph. 6:13) against Satan and evil forces. So what's the scary part? Well, it's the reality that we are, in fact, facing and wrestling against spiritual forces of evil.

So what's your suit of armor look like? Is it complete? Well taken care of? In need of repair? As we get dressed with our normal clothes each morning, how can we make sure we're also suiting up with our armor? Tami W.

Ephesians 6:1-9

Yesterday we looked at the husband-wife relationship (Ephesians 5:22-33). Today Paul sticks with relationships, but he expands to include parents and children and bosses and workers. So we've looked at three different categories of relationships. Interestingly though, it seems to me that there is quite a bit of overlap and similarity in Paul's message to the people involved.

So how does Paul's teaching here compare with what we saw in Ephesians 5:22-33? What is one thing you can apply (put into action) from this passage? Tami W.

Two Way Street

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Ephesians 5:22-33

Although Ephesians 5:21-33 is often viewed as controversial, anti-woman and restrictive, I don't find it that way at all. When you really jump into these verses and consider the passage as a whole, not pulling out portions by themselves, you'll see that all Paul has done is describe for us a properly functioning marital relationship. It's really a wonderful picture of teamwork in marriage--two very different people loving and supporting each other.

What did Ephesians 5:21-33 show you about the husband-wife relationship? What about Christ's relationship with the Church? Tami W.

Star Performer?

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Ephesians 5:1-21

Paul doesn't pull any punches and that's certainly true in Ephesians 5:1-20. His opening words pretty much lay it out for us. "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Ephesians 5:1).

As I thought about this charge from Paul, the game Cranium came to mind. Cranium is a board game played in teams where the teams have to solve problems based on categories. My favorite category is called "Star Performer." How it works is one person from the team draws a card with a person's name on it. They then have to act out, with or without using phrases like a famous line from a movie or "I was married to ____" to get their team members to correctly guess the person. It's a ton of fun...unless you're the chosen actor and you aren't familiar with the person on the card. You're basically stuck.

So, back to Ephesians 5:1. Paul tells us to be imitators of God. But just like in Cranium, in order for us to imitate God, we have to know who He is and things about Him. So where does that happen? Through His Word because that is where God reveals His heart and mind to us.

How often do you really think about imitating God? How can you be more intentional about this? What are some ways you imitated God in the last week? Tami W.

Ephesians 4:17-32

Paul does an outstanding job of laying out for us what our new self or life in Christ should look like. But rather than just telling us to "do this" or "do that," he compares and contrasts our old life (old self) without Christ, which is pretty ugly, with our new self--our new life, new heart, and new actions. He paints a vivid and powerful picture for us.

So what did you learn about putting off the old self and living for Christ? And was there anything in particular that prompted or spoke to you about putting on the new self? Tami W.

Growth Track

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Ephesians 4:1-16

As we start into Ephesians 4, Paul very plainly tells the Ephesians that unity in the church body, the family of God, is crucial and that God designed us to work together using our unique personalities, skills and abilities. For that to happen, though, we need to be growing and maturing in Christ. "We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (vs. 15).

Growing up is a process and it takes time. So how far down the road are you when it comes to "growing up in Christ"? What are you doing (or can you do) to move yourself further down that road?
Tami W.

Spiritual Focus

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Ephesians 3:14-21

Earlier this week on Tuesday, my blog talked about spiritual prayers for our Christian friends. Well, if we're not quite sure how to go about doing that, Ephesians 3:14-21 will help. It's here that Paul prays a complete prayer all about spiritual matters for the Ephesians.

So what does this passage show you about praying for spiritual growth and strength? How important do you think praying for spiritual things is based on what you've seen from Paul so far in Ephesians? Tami W.

Understandable

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Ephesians 3:1-13

Paul continues explaining how salvation through Jesus is available to non-Jews in Ephesians 3:1-13. But it's what Paul says before he really gets into this point that spoke to me. Typically I read the daily assigned passage a number of times as I consider what it is that I want to blog about. As I did that today, I kept coming back to verse 4. "When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ." (emphasis added)

Satan loves to fill our minds with all kinds of reasons why we can't or shouldn't read God's Word. Things like: I can't understand it; it's too difficult; I don't have much education so it's too deep; the Bible is really for Bible scholars. Well guess what? None of them are true. The Bible is God speaking directly to us, and it's how He reveals His heart and mind to us. Are we going to understand every little thing we read? Not likely, but we will understand some things. And really, that's part of the beauty of God's Word. The more we're in it, the more God reveals to us which, in turn, grows our relationship with Him.

How do you go about taking in and understanding God's Word? I know for me, it's really a process. What I mean by that is I can read the same passage several days in a row, and God will add to my understanding and show me something else each time I go back. What's your experience? Tami W.

Just One

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Ephesians 2:11-22

Paul's message, that we are all one in Christ, was pretty revolutionary at the time he was delivering it. But when I read Ephesians 2:11-23 today, it doesn't seem that way to me because things have changed over the years. All I've ever been taught or known is that we are one in Christ and there are no distinctions. Even so, it is so easy to let our prejudices (and yes, we all them) slip in and get in the way. Our mindset should be--one big happy family.

So are you with me on this? What are you going to do with what you learned in Ephesians 2:11-23?
Tami W.

Planned Work

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Ephesians 2:1-10

The message of Ephesians 2:1-10 is how through Christ we have been saved by God's grace and that our salvation is a gift from God and has nothing to do with our work or efforts. But, Paul also lets us know that once we've received Christ as Savior, our work and efforts do absolutely matter. In fact, the expectation is for us to work. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (vs. 10).

So what does being "his workmanship" mean to you? If you gave yourself a job review right now, what would you say about your workmanship? What could you improve on going forward? Tami W.

Spiritual Matters

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Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul is giving thanks and praying for brothers and sisters in Christ in Ephesians 1:15-23. There's no question in my mind that this is definitely important and something we should be doing. But as I read, it hit me that how Paul was praying for these friends wasn't necessarily the way I typically pray for others. You see Paul is asking for spiritual knowledge, wisdom and growth--critically important things for us as Christians. My prayers are more focused on my friends' earthly needs--finances, jobs, relationships, sickness. Paul helped me realize how important it is for me to be diligent in praying for spiritual matters too.

So how are doing when it comes to praying for spiritual matters for brothers and sisters in Christ? How will you draw on Paul's example in Ephesians 1:15-23 going forward? Tami W.

In Christ

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Ephesians 1:1-14

As I read Ephesians 1:1-14 all I could think was Wow, there's so much here to consider. Paul certainly doesn't waste any time jumping right in and telling us about salvation through Christ. Almost immediately he writes how God has "blessed us in Christ" (vs. 3). Then he spends the next eleven verses laying out all those blessings.

So what from this passage spoke to your heart today? And how will you use it going forward? For me it was "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us. . ." (vs. 7-8). These verses will help me be more tuned in and thankful about the incredible privilege of being "in Christ." I'll also use them as a prompter to share Christ whenever and wherever. OK, now it's your turn! Tami W.

P.S. We're beginning a two week series on Ephesians today on Back to the Bible. Join in the daily studies via radio, or listen online whenever you want at www.backtothebible.org.

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 August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2011 is the previous archive.

September 2011 is the next archive.

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