November 2011 Archives

Always Reliable

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2 Timothy 4:1-18

Paul knows he's likely facing the end of his life as he writes this letter of 2 Timothy. So the first thing we see is Paul urging Timothy to preach the Word and carry on ministry. Paul then does a look back at his life and shares his experiences as a help to Timothy. He talks about fighting the good fight and finishing well and even recounts a number of situations where individuals didn't stick with him and his work for the Lord in that good fight. But then he ends with these encouraging words: "But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it" (vs. 17).

What did you learn from Paul in this passage about doing ministry? How has the Lord stood by you and strengthened you as you've worked for Him? Tami W.

In the Game

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game plan

2 Samuel 15:1-37

Today we get a look at a pretty sad chapter in David's life. David's son, Absalom, has set into action a conspiracy to take the throne away from David. So David is forced to leave Jerusalem...literally running for his life. Talk about devastating. This had to be about rock bottom for David. But here's what I noticed, David didn't allow his circumstances, as awful as they were, to take him out of the game spiritually.

So what did David show you about staying in the game spiritually in and through hard situations? Was there something in particular that David did, or didn't do, that you found helpful? Tami W.

God of Seeing

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Genesis 16:1-16

Sarai is jealous and behaving very badly. So a pregnant Hagar, wanting relief from her awful situation, runs away into the wilderness. Next thing you know, the angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and instructs her to return and submit to Sarai (that had to be hard to swallow). But the angel also gives Hagar some hope by giving her a preview of her son's future. Hagar obeys, and then we see this statement "You are a God of seeing. . .Truly here I have seen him who looks after me" (Genesis 16:13). I have to say, I was impressed by Hagar's response here.

So what did you learn from Hagar? How has God been "a God of seeing" for you? Tami W.

P.S. We're starting a new series today on Back to the Bible, God Loves You Even When... Good reminders for all of us. Join us online!

We Can Make It

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Psalm 129:1-8

Prolonged and severe hardship seems to be the backdrop and setting of Psalm 129. Having grown up in farm country, I actually cringed when I read "The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows" (vs. 3). What a vivid description of suffering. It's pretty clear that life is not at all rosy for the psalmist, yet his next words declare the Lord's righteousness (vs. 4). All I can say is--wow.

So how can/will you draw on Psalm 129 for encouragement this week? What do the psalmist's situation and his words show us about dealing with difficulty, suffering and hardship? Tami W.

A Good Fear

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Psalm 128:1-6

Two times in Psalm 128 we see that "fearing" the Lord is a good thing. "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!" (vs.1). "Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord" (vs. 4). So it's important for us to understand what "fearing" the Lord means. The most common definition or understanding is to be afraid, alarmed or concerned about danger. In my mind, that doesn't fit or really make sense here. What does make sense for me is fear meaning reverence, awe and respect.

So what does "fearing" the Lord mean to you? How do you demonstrate this to the Lord? What about to those around you? Tami W.

So Good. So Loving.

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Psalm 147:1-20

God is good! is what came to my mind as I read Psalm 147. This passage tells us so much about God and His goodness and greatness. When you think about it, it's pretty incredible how God, who "determines the number of the stars" and names them (vs. 4) and who is "abundant in power" and whose understanding is beyond measure (vs. 5) loves, cares and provides for each and every one of us. What a privilege to be a child of God!

So think about your relationship with God--not just right now, but also in the past. Why is it "good" and "fitting" for you to sing praises to God (vs. 1)? Tami W.

Record of Love

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Psalm 116:1-19

I was touched by the way the psalmist simply pours out his heart to the Lord in Psalm 116. This is literally a song of love that is filled with thankfulness. All this week on Back to the Bible we've been considering living a life of thanksgiving. And, telling God how much we love Him and are thankful for all He's done for us is most definitely part of that process.

So when's the last time you poured all the love in your heart out (verbal or written) directly to the Lord? Would you take a little time today and do that (like the psalmist did here)? And, of course, I'd love to hear the outcome of your "loving" conversation with God. Tami W.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all the P4ers here in the U.S! We'd love for you to share what you're thankful for on yesterday's blog post. While you're there, you can take a look at some pictures I posted.

Bring on the Thanks!

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Psalm 100:1-5

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" (Psalm 100:4). I say Amen to that! Wanna join me? Think about it, how can we go wrong if we follow these instructions? When we're thankful and operating with a thankful heart, things are just better because there's basically no room for things like negativity and pity parties that pull us off course and can get us into trouble.

So according to Psalm 100, every day should be a day of thanksgiving for us. I'm totally up for that and thought it would be fun for us to share some of our thankfulness here on P4. So drop us a comment about what you're thankful to the Lord for this week. Tell us some big things, some little things, maybe even some odd or funny things. Then, if you haven't already done so, thank the Lord for these things too. Tami W.

P.S. This year I'm thanking God for many things. Here's just a sampling. From God's beautiful creation in my garden or on my travels, to my favorite color of green (notice my Bible), to my husband and family, to frosted wedding cake (my absolute favorite dessert!), to delicious berries each morning for breakfast--I am truly thankful.


Thankful for

Your God

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Psalm 95:1-11

There are a number of commands for us in Psalm 95. The first is for us to sing and come into the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving, and right after these, we see the reasons for doing this (the Lord is a great God, etc.). The next command I see is for us to worship and bow down to the Lord (vs. 6), and here's why. "For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand" (vs. 7). For me, this is the key verse in Psalm 95 because it gives us such an accurate picture of our relationship with God.

So what does it mean to you that God is your God and that you are a sheep of his hand? Based on your response, how will you sing, worship and bow down to Him today? Tami W.

From the Psalms

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Psalm 26:1-12

Well, it's Thanksgiving week here in the United States and Dr. Kroll is doing a week long radio series called Thanksgiving from the Psalms. So each day here on P4 we'll be looking at and considering the same Psalm Dr. Kroll is teaching on for that day. So if you can, join us for the daily programs.

David talks about walking in integrity in Psalm 26 and then he gives us some examples of that. Things like not sitting with men of falsehood (vs. 4), proclaiming the Lord to others (vs. 7), and loving God's house (vs. 8).

So what does walking in integrity mean to you? What does it look like in your life? Give us some examples (like David did). Tami W.

Critical Message

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Psalm 127:1-5

All I kept thinking as I read Psalm 127:1-2 is This is the message that is so lacking, (or maybe more accurately stated, ignored) in our world today. And it made me sad because understanding that unless the Lord is our foundation our living is in vain, is so critical for us individually, in our families, in our churches and for the nation in which we live.

So how important is it that the Lord be the foundation of your life? What can and will you do to help advance this important message, first with the people closest to you and then to broader circles? Tami W.

Easy Road--NOT

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Psalm 126:1-6

I dread going through tough times. But the fact of the matter is, I've been there before (plenty of times), and I know I'll be there again. It's just part of life and that's exactly what I see when I read Psalm 126--a clear message that hard times and circumstances, times of sorrow, times of hurt, times of loss, should be expected as we live for Christ. But the Psalmist doesn't stop on that downer note; He goes on to let us know that we have hope because the Lord will restore us. He will turn our tears into joy. Thank you Lord!

So what are your circumstances today--are you dealing with hard times, or is your situation pretty good right now? Either way, Psalm 126 has something for you. So how will you use and draw on it this weekend? Tami W.

Phrase by Phrase

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Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:18-21

I'm not a huge lover of Proverbs (yes, I know I'm in the minority), but I do love Proverbs 3:5-6. Talk about two powerful and foundational verses. So as I read them today, I broke them down phrase by phrase/thought by thought and did a little self-analysis. This was a good approach because it got me thinking about and considering my walk with the Lord and how I go about living my life.

I thought you might like to see what I did and work through some of it yourself. You might even think of other questions that you want to consider too. I hope you find this as meaningful as I did. When you get done, would you shoot me a comment or two about your experience? Thanks. Tami W.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
Consider: Does this describe me? Why or why not? What does trusting with all my heart really look like?

"Do not lean on your own understanding"
Consider: How often do I stumble in this area? Why? How do I fix my tendency to look to me instead of God in my decisions?

"In all your ways acknowledge Him"
Consider: How do I acknowledge God, both publically and privately? How can I improve?

"And He will make straight you paths."
Consider: How has God and His Word kept me on course in the past?

P.S. I'd love for everyone to listen to today's Back to the Bible program as we're talking all about our new online discipleship tool goTandem. Check it out and let me know what you think on the blog or on our Facebook page.

Hebrews 2:1-4

Have you ever noticed how Paul is the master of huge, run-on sentences? Well, our reading today is exactly that--one crazy long sentence--but, true to Paul's form, it's also full of information. And right in the middle of this sentence, these four words jumped out at me and jogged my memory "...God, who never lies..."

Yesterday we looked at 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is breathed out by God..." And reading Titus 1:1-3 on the heels of 2 Timothy 3:16 really drove home the message of the trustworthiness of God and His Word, and it also gave me a shot of encouragement to be more diligent in my Bible reading.

So how did these two passages speak to you? How will they impact your Bible reading? Tami W.

Oh So Profitable!

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2 Timothy 3:12-17

For me, one of the most important passages in the Bible is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It leaves no room for doubt that the Bible is God's Word to us (to me), and that we should be using and drawing upon His Word as we live the Christian life. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 again--maybe even a couple more times. What are your thoughts on the trustworthiness of the Bible? What do these verses show you about the relevance, practicality and usefulness of the Bible for you today? What about the importance of regularly being in God's Word? Tami W.

You are...Who?

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John 8:25-30

Jesus' identity is the question of the day in John 8:12-30. As we start our passage, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and they don't understand who Jesus is. Jesus point blank tells them he is the light of the world (vs. 12) and that he was sent by the Father (vs. 16). Still, the Pharisees are clueless and they finally just come out and ask Jesus "Who are you?" Jesus responds yet again letting them know he was sent by God the Father.

So what do Jesus' words show you about God the Father? What about God the Son? How does this passage give you confidence in God's Word? Tami W.

Much Heed

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Hebrews 2:1-4

My need to hold on tightly to God's Word is what came to mind as I read Hebrews 2:1-4. These verses got me thinking about how easy it is for us to get off course. Now sometimes that change in course is intentional, but all too often it isn't. It just happens little by little (thus the word "drift"). And based on my experience, that kind of gradual drift can be very dangerous.

So what are some things we can do to check and see if we're drifting? And if we are, how do we deal it? What specifically will you do to "pay much closer attention" to God's Word this week? Tami W.

P.S. This week on Back to the Bible we're beginning a new series, Is the Bible Really Your Authority? Join us if you can!

Necessary Partners

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3 John 1:1-15

John spends most of his time in 3 John talking about the appropriateness of supporting and providing for people in ministry. He's actually quite passionate about it. He starts with the positive command to give our help and support "Send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. . . we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth" (3 John 6, 8). But then John goes on and records his unhappiness, his irritation with a man in the church who refuses to help workers for Christ and tries to prevent others from helping. (vs. 10).

So how did 3 John speak to you today? What did this passage show you about caring for and supporting people working for Christ in ministry? Tami W.

On the Lookout

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2 John 1:1-13

John didn't waste any words in getting the message across that we need to be on the alert for false teachers and guard our hearts and thinking against teaching that doesn't proclaim Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Savior.

What does 2 John reveal about our susceptibility to teaching that's not based on God's Truth? After reading this Book, how important is it that you're consistently engaging God's Word? Tami W.

We Have Overcome!

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1 John 5:1-21

I found 1 John 5 a good wrap up. It reiterated to me what it means to be in God's family and how being a believer of Christ (being born of God) we have victory over this world. Verse 5 says it all. "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" What an awesome promise. Yet, it's a promise I sometimes overlook when I find myself being torn and challenged by circumstances and things of the world.

So take a few minutes to read back through and think about 1 John 5:4-5. Can you use these verses as an encouragement or a confidence builder? And if so, how? Anything else in 1 John 5 that you find helpful? Tami W.

Advanced Course

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love

1 John 4:1-21

Yesterday the message of 1 John 3 was about loving each other as believers in Christ. And guess what? Love is the theme again today in 1 John 4. In fact, there's so much about love in this chapter, it reminds me of an advanced classroom course on love.

So what did 1 John 4 reveal to you about God's love? Our love? Love in general? Now, what are you going to do with this important information? Tami W.

1 John 3:1-24

As a child of God, the big message for me from 1 John 3 was about how I need to be loving others. Verse 18 really hit the nail on the head. "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." This verse tells me that loving others requires action on my part. Now sometimes that action will be spontaneous and spur of the moment, but other times my showing love will come through planning and intentionality. Both are important and part of living as a loving child of God.

So think back over the past week. Would the people you spent time with describe you as a loving child of God? Now think of one person in your family, one person at work, and one person from your church who need love. What is something you can do for each of them this week? Tami W.

From 20,000 Feet

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1 John 2:1-29

The second chapter of 1 John is LOADED with information, insight and guidance for us. So rather than focusing in on a particular verse or passage, I took more of a 20,000 foot overview approach. As I did this, I saw nugget after nugget of helpful and important information tucked throughout this chapter about living life as a Christian (vs. 3--I need to obey God's commandments, vs. 15--my love shouldn't be for this world) and about the security of our salvation (vs. 3--we can be sure we know Him, vs. 12--your sins are forgiven, vs. 13--you have overcome the battle with the evil one).

So what about you? What nuggets did you find in 1 John 2 about living the Christian life? What about the security of your salvation? Tami W.

Jesus

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light in trees

1 John 1:1-10

Today through Sunday we're going to work our way through 1, 2 and 3 John, one chapter at a time. As I jumped into 1 John 1 today, right away I was struck by all the information we're given about Jesus. So, I found myself going back and re-reading this passage a number of times--very slowly--focusing on Jesus and looking for what this chapter contained to show me more about Him.

So take a few minutes and read this passage again, slowly. What did you see about Jesus? Did you uncover anything new? Tami W.

Surrounded

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Psalm 125:1-5

Lately it seems like almost everywhere I look friends, co-workers, people at church are struggling with health problems, jobs, finances, relationships. So reading Psalm 125 was good because it gave me a needed reminder (plus a little boost) that God has got all the details of our lives covered, and because of that, we can stand firm. "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people. . . " (Psalm 125:1-2).

Did you get any reminders and/or encouragement from Psalm 125? How will you draw on and use Psalm 125:1-2 going forward? Tami W.

Our Help

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life preserver

Psalm 124:1-8

David tells us in Psalm 124:8 "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." But in getting to this final proclamation, he reminds the people of Israel how the Lord had protected them in and through many situations. I particularly liked the vividness of verses 2 and 3, "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive. . ."

Take a few minutes to think about how the Lord has protected, helped and sustained you. Then, finish the sentence below:

If it had not been the Lord who was on my side, then ________________________________.

Tami W.

Lessons from Jonah

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Jonah 1-4

The story of Jonah is rich with lessons for us to draw on and learn from, and we've been looking at this story chapter by chapter. But today our reading is the entire Book of Jonah. So if you haven't done this already, go back and read the entire story all at once, and ask God to show you something different than he did through the week.

What did God reveal to you through the story of Jonah? What was the most important thing God impressed on your heart? Tami W.

Selfish Child

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Jonah 4:1-10

After Jonah delivers the message to Nineveh he has his own little pity party because things didn't go the way he wanted. He's basically angry with God because God chose to spare Nineveh when they repented (Hmmm...isn't that what God did for Jonah, too?). Anyway, this selfish behavior continues when Jonah goes outside Nineveh to wait and see what will happen. Jonah's behavior reminded me of a spoiled child, and by the time I finished Jonah 4, I found myself thinking Maybe Jonah could use another dose of fish belly!

Now as much as I want to point my finger at Jonah, I know I've acted like a spoiled, selfish child and treated God poorly more than once in the past and I'm guessing you have too. So what are some things we can do to combat this kind of attitude and thinking? And, for those times when we do end up there, what do we do to get back to the right perspective? Tami W.

Never Too Far

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Jonah 3:1-10

So Jonah goes to Nineveh--as directed by God--and calls out the message the Lord gives him against this evil city. Now as soon as Jonah delivers the message, the people of Nineveh, including the king, believed and repented. Pretty amazing, not to mention, awesome, when you consider this was a "great city" that was doing enough evil that it "came up before" the Lord.

So what does the response of the people of Nineveh reveal to us about the importance of sharing God's Word with all people, and especially those who we might perceive as being too far gone or unreachable? Tami W.

Final Wake-up Call

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Jonah 2:1-10

So Jonah has been thrown overboard into the raging waters and swallowed by a great fish. It's at this low point that we finally see him wake up and reach out to God. Jonah calls out to the Lord, starting in despair but ending with thanksgiving. And when Jonah concludes, the Lord speaks to the fish and Jonah is spit up on the dry land. Can you even imagine this?

So any Jonah experiences in your past? And, if so, what did you learn from it? What did Jonah's time in the belly of the fish show you about repentance and restoration of relationship with the Lord? 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 November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

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