December 2011 Archives

God "Knows" You

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Psalm 139:1-24

Psalm 139 is truly a beautiful song. David does an exceptional job of showing us how intimately God knows and loves us. I LOVE this psalm. Yet there are parts of it that are a little scary to me. For example, knowing that God has searched and examined my heart and that He knows every detail about me--wow...yikes...I'm not even sure how to completely respond to that. Why? Because I know I'm a sinner and I don't like to think about sins I've committed let alone have God know about them too. Ouch.

Does knowing that God "knows" everything about you affect or influence your relationship with Him? How can you use Psalm 139 to help you deepen your relationship with God? Tami W.

P.S. Hey thanks for being part of P4 in 2011. It's sure been a privilege (and pretty fun) to engage God's Word with you. So as we say goodbye to 2011, would you consider supporting Back to the Bible financially as one of your resolutions for 2012? It's a wonderful way to invest in others, and yourself, eternally! Click here to give. Talk with you next year--like tomorrow! :)

In a Good Way

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James 4:4-10

Most the time when we read or hear someone talking about being jealous, it's not a positive thing. But as James reminds us to stay away from living like the world in James 4, he talks about God being jealous, and it's a positive thing. "Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'"?

So what does James 4:4-10 show you about God's love for you? What about God's desire for your devotion, attention, service? Tami W.

P.S. Hey P4ers, would you consider a year-end gift to Back to the Bible? You know we don't charge for this ministry, but there are costs and those costs are paid for by people just like you. Any gift you give will help us stay healthy and available to you and others in 2012. Pray about it, and thanks for being part of P4!

God is Love

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1 John 4:7-21

Being a Christ-follower = LOVE. That was the big message that hit me as I read 1 John 4:7-21. Verse after verse about God's love for us and us then delivering that love to others. The two key verses for me were 9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." And verse 12: "God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

So what is it you do to thank and recognize God for His love for you? How has, and is, God's love being "perfected" in you? Tami W.

P.S. I can't begin to tell you how valuable your financial support is to all of the ministries of Back to the Bible, including P4. So would you consider a year-end gift? (See links below.) Any amount will help us stay healthy and available to you and others in 2012. Thanks in advance for your gift, and God's blessing for your new year!

God of My Life

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Psalm 42:6-11

Even in the worst circumstances, God hasn't forgotten us. He hasn't abandoned us. Quite the contrary. Did you notice the words of verse 8? "By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life." I love that verse and particularly how the psalmist recognizes the personal nature of his relationship with God when he says "God of my life." And really, you see that throughout Psalm 42 with the way the psalmist tells God exactly what's on his heart.

What does God being "the god of my life" mean for you? Are you approaching and talking with God like the psalmist? Tami W.

Vital Need

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Psalm 42:1-6

Imagine this: it's a scorching hot summer day and you're outside doing yard work or sitting at a baseball game, maybe you're playing a round of golf. You haven't had anything to drink and you're getting thirsty. Now at first it's not so bad, but the longer you go without something to drink, the stronger your desire and need for it grows and eventually getting a drink becomes vital and urgent.

When I read Psalm 42:1-2 where the psalmist talks about longing and thirsting for God, what I asked you to imagine above is the image that comes to my mind. This is particularly powerful for me because I've had heat stroke a couple of times when I didn't take in enough water. It wasn't a pleasant experience and the same thing is true when our relationship with God becomes distant.

So here are a couple of things to consider. Does Psalm 42:1-2 describe your relationship with God? And, what does your soul panting after, and thirsting for, God look like (or what do you want it to look like)? Tami W.

Loving Expressions

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Psalm 84:1-12

I love the way the psalmist expresses his love and joy for the Lord in Psalm 84. His tone and attitude totally struck a chord with me. My absolute favorite verse was verse 2. "My soul longs, yes faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." And when I reached the end of the chapter, I seriously felt like standing up and shouting "Yes!" even though I was all by myself, sitting at my computer.

How would you describe the heart and attitude of the psalmist? So how did Psalm 84 impact you? Did it give you a shot in the arm like it did me? Tami W.

P.S. I invite you to listen to Back to the Bible and the series Becoming Intimate with God this week. It's packed full of good, practical teaching from Dr. Kroll, and I can't think of a better focus as we head into the New Year. Also, to all our Canadian P4ers, Happy Boxing Day! Hope you have a fun day off!

The Word

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John 1:1-18

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . ." (John 1:14). As we finish up an entire week of looking at Jesus coming to earth as Savior, John 1:1-18 is, in my eyes, kind of the icing on the cake. We've been reading about all the details surrounding Jesus' birth, but when we get to John 1, we get an in-depth, real look at Jesus.

So what did you see about Jesus in John 1:1-18 that was significant to you and why? Tami W.

P.S. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day. And thanks so much for making time to be part of Powered by 4. I love learning and growing through the Bible with you!

Hugely Obedient

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Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph is the focus today as we continue our jaunt through the Christmas story this week. And let me tell you, I'm impressed. Mary's situation was a tough one for sure, but honestly, so was Joseph's. And he, like Mary, responded admirably. The angel of the Lord tells Joseph in his dream to go through with his marrying Mary, and Joseph did it, no questions asked. He "did as the angel of the Lord commanded him" (Luke 2: 24).

I want to be like Joseph--responding in obedience to whatever the Lord's call. But the truth is, I don't always achieve that. Well, we can't change the past, but we can be proactive going forward. So what can we do (or what are you already doing) to help us (you) respond obediently? Tami W.

Fitting Response

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Matthew 2:1-18

The wise men's actions when they came into the presence of Jesus provided me with a good and refreshing reminder of the appropriate way to respond to and treat Jesus...the Son of God...and our Savior. Verse 11 tells us that when the wise men saw Jesus they fell down before Him, worshipped and offered Him valuable gifts.

So what does your worship look like? What about your offerings? Are you presenting your best to Jesus? Tami W.

For Everyone!

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Luke 2:25-38

Yesterday the angel's words about "good news. . . for all the people" (Luke 2:10) caught my attention and got me thinking about Jesus coming to die for the sins of every single one of us. Well, as we get to Luke 2:25-38 today, we see this information again, but this time through Simeon. "For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel" (vs.30-32).

The shepherds, Simeon, Anna--all proclaimed Jesus as Savior once they were "introduced" to Him. As a follower of Christ, we've been "introduced" to Him as well. So, you know the question I have to ask. Are you proclaiming Jesus as Savior to those around you? How? What can you do to be even bolder this Christmas season? Tami W.

For All the People

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Luke 2:1-20

Luke chapter 2 is one of the best known passages in the Bible. Every Christmas pageant, tons of Christmas sermons, dramatic readings about Christmas--typically include or focus, in some manner, around Luke 2. So as I opened my Bible to prepare my blog on this very familiar passage, I'll be honest, I was thinking Here we go again with Luke 2. What in the world am I going to blog about? So I sat there for a couple of minutes and then decided I would read the verses slowly and carefully 2-3 times considering and searching out exactly what God would show me. As I did that, I kept coming back to verse 10 "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people," and specifically the phrase "all the people."

So take a few minutes and rethink this familiar passage. What do the angel's words communicate to you about Jesus coming to earth? Do you see any connection between the angel's "for all the people" and the fact that this message was delivered to lowly shepherds? Tami W.

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

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Luke 1:46-55

Pretty much every time I read Mary's song of praise (Luke 1:46-55), I'm impressed and amazed with Mary's beautiful heart and attitude (and I do mean BEAUTIFUL). Her situation was downright scary. After all she was pregnant and not married in Bible times! Yes, she knew the prophecy about the Messiah and after her visit from Gabriel she knew she was a huge part of that...even so, in my mind, not knowing the details of how things were going to happen or play out had to be a little unsettling. So what do we see from Mary? Absolute praise, absolute thanksgiving for God selecting her to be part of His plan and, most importantly, absolute confidence in God.

Oh to be like Mary! So let's talk about that. When the unexpected hits or our plans don't play out quite like we'd like, how can we respond like Mary? What are some things you do to keep your focus on God when the going gets rough? Tami W.

Impossible?? No Way!

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Luke 1:1-38

Well, it's finally here--Christmas week. So for the next several days, we'll be reading through and considering different Scriptures about Christ's coming to live among us as Savior of the world.

In Luke 1:1-38 Zacharias and Mary each get a visit from the angel Gabriel with "a baby is coming into your life" news. Pretty shocking. Pretty surprising. Pretty awesome, particularly for Mary. After all, she was young, a virgin and being told that she was going to conceive by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God. Sounds a little crazy...until Gabriel makes this declaration: "'For nothing will be impossible with God'" (vs. 37). (Thank you, Gabriel, for this encouraging reminder today.)

So what did Gabriel's "nothing will be impossible" declaration communicate to you?
Tami W.

P.S. All this week on Back to the Bible is our special Voices of Christmas teaching and drama. It's a perfect fit for Christmas week. Hope you can listen!

Sweet Unity!

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Psalm 133:1-3

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). You know, there really is nothing like having harmony. But the unfortunate thing is, more often than not, unity seems to be in short supply. (What's the deal with that do you think?)

So how are you fostering and contributing to a spirit of unity in your family? In your church? At your work place? Tami W.

More than History

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Psalm 132:1-18

Psalm 132 is filled with details about a time in history when things operated very differently than in the present. Even so, there's still plenty we can learn from this Psalm that is useful to us today. I found that when I kind of stepped back and took a more "big picture" approach, there was really quite a bit here for me to consider. For example, the references to David's words and actions provided a good illustration of living vibrantly for God.

So here are a couple other "big picture" things to consider: What does Psalm 132 show you about the importance of praising and worshipping God? What does it reveal to you about God's character? Tami W.

Wrap on Wisdom

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Proverbs 24:24-34

Well we're finishing out the week with some "sayings of the wise" (that's the heading in my Bible) today from Proverbs 24:24-34. (I really liked verse 26, by the way). Now hopefully you've enjoyed taking a closer look at wisdom the last few days. I certainly found it beneficial and, really, instruction on being wise and acting wisely is always timely.

So what was the one thing from our readings that was most significant to you about wisdom or being wise? Why? And how will you use it going forward? Tami W.

Proverbs 24:1-22

Two verses, Proverbs 24:3 and 4, just grabbed me today about wisdom. What a word picture they provided because everyone is familiar with a house and having rooms in it. I thought about my home and came up with this. First, it's really the core, the center, of my family and life. It's where my husband and I spend the majority of our time; it's where we rest, where we build our relationship; and the things we love and cherish are kept (or live) there. As I thought about this house analogy, I ended up asking myself this: If my earthly house is important to me, how much more should I be concerned with building and maintaining my "spiritual house"?

So what did verses 3 and 4 reveal to you about wisdom and your "spiritual house"? Anything else in Proverbs 24 grab your attention today? Tami W.

Reverse Approach

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Proverbs 18:1-24

There are a lot of good words that tell us about being wise in Proverbs 18. But did you notice how much of this chapter touched on speech and our tongues? But what I liked was there was example after example of how foolish people use their speech. Now I like this reverse approach of looking at foolish behavior instead of always reading about what is right because it lets me see the full picture.

So what did you learn about being wise with your tongue? Was there a specific verse that was meaningful to you? (Mine was verse 21). Tami W.

A Healing Tongue

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Proverbs 12:1-28

A picture of a wise person is what I found as I delved into Proverbs 12. Detail after detail to help me understand being wise--righteous, prudent, caring. Now there were two verses that spoke loudly to me--verse 18 that talked about the tongue of the wise being healing, and then verse 19 that said those who plan peace have joy. They communicated to me that what we say (or sometimes refrain from saying) and how we say it can be powerful. I see verse 18 and 19 really working together. Basically, a great help to getting a wise, healing tongue is for us to center our daily plan on peace.

So what does having a healing tongue look like for you? (I'd love to read some examples if you're up to sharing). And, any thoughts on planning peace? Tami W.

Take It In

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Proverbs 9:1-12

With Christmas and New Year's fast approaching, I thought it would be good to spend a few days this week looking at wisdom in Proverbs. So we're starting today with Proverbs 9. The first six verses of this chapter tell us a lot about wisdom. But what caught my attention most was that wisdom is available to everyone (vs. 3). And then in verse 12 we're told "If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit." Sounds great, right? But...not everyone is wise.

So here's the $100,000 question: What is it that holds us (you and me) back from pursuing, learning and storing up wisdom? Tami W.

Content

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Psalm 131:1-3

One message came across to me from Psalm 131--that I should be content in the Lord. I get that sense from verse 2 "But I have calmed and quieted my soul. . ."

So what does being "content" in the Lord (having a calm and quiet soul) mean to you? What does it look like in your everyday life? Tami W.

Sweet Forgiveness

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Psalm 130:1-8

Do you ever get into a mode where you feel lousy and start thinking I'm such a terrible person, how could God really forgive me? I go there sometimes, especially if I slip up and sin in an area in which I really know better (like with my tongue). So Psalm 130:3-4 hit me powerfully. "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared." These verses gave me encouragement to keep up the good fight and were an excellent reminder that I need to be thanking God continually for His forgiveness.

So what did Psalm 130 convey to you about forgiveness? How often do you thank the Lord for His forgiveness? Tami W.

Even in the Lows

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Psalm 13:1-6

From the sound of it, David is really in the pits as he writes Psalm 13. I could so identify with him because I've been there plenty of times. But even as dark as David feels his situation is, he doesn't lose sight of God's goodness and his need to praise God and be in relationship with Him. I love that because it lets me know that no matter my situation, but especially when I'm in the valley, I can still have joy and peace as a result of my relationship with God.

So what did you take in from Psalm 13 today? Did it prepare you for your next valley? Encourage you? Reveal something to you about God? Tami W.

Saying "No!"

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1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Every one of us is tempted every single day and usually numerous times. I wish that weren't the case, but it is. Now I dread that feeling of being tempted because pushing aside whatever it is that's tempting me is a struggle that I don't always win. So should I give up (because sometimes I feel that way)? Absolutely not! Because no matter what our temptation, we can overcome. How do I know that? Paul tells us this specifically in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

So how has God helped you in the area of temptation? How do you recognize and act upon "the way of escape" God will provide? Tami W.

Steady...Up and Down

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Genesis 37:12-28; 50:15-21

The story of Joseph's life spans Genesis from chapters 37-50, so what we're reading today gives us a glimpse of the beginning of his recorded story, when Joseph was sold into slavery, as well as the end, when Joseph is second in command of Egypt. Joseph's life and circumstances change dramatically numerous times between these two points. Yet Joseph's faith stays the course. There's no wavering whatsoever. Joseph trusted God completely--period.

So try to imagine yourself in some of Joseph's circumstances (being hauled to Egypt as a lowly slave, sitting in prison for a long time for a crime you didn't commit). Then think about how Joseph responded. How was Joseph's response to each situation possible? What did you learn from Joseph about keeping faith in God through adversity? Tami W.

No Other

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Deuteronomy 4:32-40

Moses, in detail, reminds the Israelites that God is God and that He is in control of everything...including the Israelites. He then gives them this command. "'Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other'" (Deut. 4:39). Amen! Preach it, Moses!

How do you convey to others that the Lord is God and there is no other beside Him? How do you demonstrate or show your belief to God? Tami W.

Worship God!

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Deuteronomy 4:15-31

Moses is speaking to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:15-31 and warning them about falling away from God and worshipping things other than God. Now this is life-impacting, critical information so Moses doesn't sugar coat anything. He is forthright, and very assertively lays out the destruction that will happen to them if they break their covenant with God. But Moses doesn't just play the heavy. He also talks about turning back to God with these words: "For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them" (vs. 31).

So how do you keep your worship focused on God? What are some things that pull you away? How has God been a merciful God to you in those times when you have fallen away and returned?
Tami W.

P.S. This week on Back to the Bible Dr. Kroll is teaching on Faith through Adversity. I invite you to join us for these powerful and timely messages.

Fear and All

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1 Kings 19:1-18

Elijah and the prophets of Baal is one of my favorite accounts in the Bible. Elijah's boldness and how he takes on the world for God totally energizes me. But then, we get to 1 Kings 19 and Elijah has a complete meltdown. He gets a death threat from Jezebel, fear takes over, and things just spiral downward from there. Hmm....So now what? Well, what I see is that Elijah is human, just like you and me. And the cool thing about getting a look at Elijah's big "down" is seeing how God sticks right with Elijah and lovingly speaks with and encourages him to continue doing His (God's) work.

So have you had any Elijah experiences? How has God lovingly stood with you when you've been fearful, dejected, hurting, alone?
Tami W.

Every Step

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Genesis 37:2-28; 45:4-15

We take a big picture approach to Joseph today through two passages. In Genesis 37 we learn of Joseph's dreams, the hatred of his brothers and that his brothers sold him into slavery. Fast forward to Genesis 45. Joseph is now second in command of Egypt. His brothers have come to buy grain during the famine, and Joseph reveals his identity to them. What a dramatic contrast in circumstances and quite the journey for Joseph between the two.

As I thought about it all, one clear message stood out to me--God had a plan for Joseph and He loved and sustained Joseph every step of the way through it.

So what does Joseph's story communicate to you about managing through your ups and downs? What did these two passages show you about God and your relationship with Him? Tami W.

Steady Love

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Jonah 1:1-2:10

Whenever I read the account of Jonah I inevitably find myself shaking my head--for two different reasons. First, because I'm irritated with Jonah, but then in amazement with God. Jonah was disobedient and outright defiant. As I see it, he was a total jerk to God. So how did God respond? With unwavering love. How awesome is that?!?

So what did Jonah's story reveal to you about God? Tami W.

Thank you, Asaph!

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Psalm 73:1-28

I found Asaph's words refreshing because he was so real in telling us about his struggles and the things he felt and thought. As he starts, his attitude is kind of "woe is me, life isn't fair, I've been dealt a bad hand" (I can relate because I've certainly been there). But then, Asaph comes to his senses. I love these words: "I was brutish and ignorant. I was like a beast toward you" (vs.22); "God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (vs. 25); and "But for me it is good to be near to God" (vs. 28). Thank you, Asaph for that much needed reminder!

So what from Asaph's words pressed on your heart today? What role does being in God's Word play in being "near to God"? 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 December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2011 is the previous archive.

January 2012 is the next archive.

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