February 2012 Archives

No Memory Lapse

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Don't Forget

Deuteronomy 8:11-14; Proverbs 3:9-10

Have you ever noticed how we ask God to provide for us, and bless our efforts, and then when He does, our tendency is to start taking credit for it. Before we know it, whatever increase or success God sends our way is because of our efforts, our intellect, our initiative. I've certainly done this and apparently the Israelites were prone to this sinful and foolish behavior as well. That's why in Deuteronomy 8:11-14 Moses is reminding the people of God's provision and then cautioning them about forgetting the Lord.

So how do we guard against forgetting the Lord when He blesses us with plenty? How are you honoring the Lord with your wealth? Tami W.

A Good Busy

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busy crosswalk

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Being diligent in doing our part is the call Paul puts out in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. He's basically telling us that once we become a Christ-follower, we shouldn't just sit around thinking about heaven and waiting for Christ to return. Rather, we need to be an active worker. Now that's going to look different for each of us because we're all in different places and circumstances in life.

So what did you learn about "working" from 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15? Was there a reminder or call to action that spoke to you? Tami W.

Rich...for God

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piggy bank

1 Timothy 6:17-19

For the next few days we'll be looking at scriptures that deal with money, how we handle it, how God views it, etc. Today our passage is 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and it's talking about people that have money and what God's expectations are for them. What I like about these verses is that they let us know that it's not a sin to be financially prosperous as a Christ-follower, and they show that God expects anyone with money to use it for His glory. Verse 18 really nails it on the head. "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share." I say Amen to that!

So these verses only apply to you if you've got $250,000 in the bank or you make $150,000 a year, or you're a millionaire, right? Think again. God has generously given much to all of us, some just have a little more than others. So how are you using your riches for God? Are you generous and ready to share when the opportunity presents itself? I'd love to hear some of your experiences and stories. Tami W.

P.S. For more on the whole topic of money and resources, check out this week's Back to the Bible series, What God Wants You to Know about Money.

lighthouse

Psalm 137:1-9

So much of Psalms is praising and celebration, but that's not the case with Psalm 137. It's one of the more somber psalms. There was definitely a heaviness on my heart as I read. But even in the tough reading (maybe I should say especially in the tough) there are important lessons for us to learn. The Israelites have been invaded and captured and they are being taunted by their captors. That highlights for me that there are consequences for our sinful actions. But I also see that God is still there, in and through the tough times.

So can you identify with the emotions and words of the psalmist? How has God stood by you when you, for whatever reason, have landed in a hard or dark season of life? Tami W.

Psalm 136:1-26

There's one phrase you can't miss when you read through Psalm 136. "His steadfast love endures forever." The more verses I read with this closing phrase, the more I realized how this would be kind of a neat way for us to remember and recognize God's love for us.

So think about the phrase "His steadfast love endures forever" and how that's true for you. Then, imagine you're adding a verse to Psalm 136 by filling in the blank below. Tami W.

To him who _________________________, his steadfast love endures forever.

Here are two for me:
To him who gave me the gift of music, his steadfast love endures forever.

To him who gives me joy--in all circumstances, his steadfast love endures forever.

Growth Opportunities

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Luke 24:13-34

So often when we get to the account on the road to Emmaus, our focus goes to the two walking. So today I decided to focus on Jesus and see what I could learn from His words and actions. Now I have to be honest, nothing jumped off the page at me the first time I read through this passage. So I read it again, only this time much slower. I actually paused after a good number of the verses to do some analyzing and considering. That made a big difference. I'm glad I took that time because what I noticed was how Jesus knew Scripture and was ready and prepared to talk with anyone about God. What an example for us.

Jesus' actions revealed to me that I need to be alert and looking for opportunities to talk with others about God, Jesus and Scripture, particularly other Christians--encouraging them, helping them grow, maybe even moving into a mentor role with someone. It's pretty cool when you think about it--Christians helping, supporting and encouraging each other to grow closer to Christ.

So how does this passage reinforce the importance of being in and knowing God's Word? What opportunities do you have (children, family members, friends) to help someone else grow closer to Christ? Tami W.

True Colors

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paint splatter

Luke 23:1-25

Jesus has been arrested and is now before Pilate and the true colors of the Jewish leaders are shining bright. I focused on the Jewish leaders as I read Luke 23:1-25, and although I knew what was coming, I still felt disbelief and disgust at their sinful and awful behavior. They wanted what they wanted (Jesus to be crucified) and they were going to use any measure to get that. So they lie to Pilate and when he doesn't do what they want they step up the intensity until we see them and the crowd at fever pitch screaming out "Crucify him! Crucify him!" What a depiction of rampant sin.

I took a few minutes to consider how these people got to this point, and then I thought about myself and how I (really all of us) can fall right into acting this way when we give in to temptation and allow whatever our sinful desire is to take over and drive us. (Ouch--right?)

So what are some of the things that are driving the Jewish leaders to their sinful actions here in Luke 23? Now think about yourself. What are some of the things that tempt and drive you to sin? How can this passage help you going forward? Tami W.

Beauty of Routine

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coffee cup

Luke 22:31-62

Sometimes when I read scripture, something small, and not a main point, will almost jump off the page at me. That happened when I got to Luke 22:39 in our passage for today. "And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives. . ." These four words "as was his custom" drove home how important having a routine is when it comes to our relationship with God. In this case, Jesus had a routine of praying and also a routine of going to a specific place to meet with God. Both good things.

Unfortunately, it took me a long to time to grasp just this. But I can say without a doubt that my relationship with the Lord improved greatly once I finally put my mind to meeting with God each day at a specific time and place to read my Bible. My routine is in the morning. Right after breakfast, I fill up my coffee cup, scoop out a tablespoon of peanut butter, sit at my kitchen table and read my Bible. This is perfect for me and it didn't take very long at all for this to become my habit.

So what's your experience with having a routine for meeting with God? What works (or doesn't work) for you and why? Tami W.

Lousy Tenants

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vineyard

Luke 20:9-19

Before we get started today, my name is Paula Lube. I usually write for, and produce the Back to the Bible radio program, and today I'm filling in as a "guest blogger" for Tami who is attending the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Please keep Tami and everyone at this important convention in your prayers!

OK, lousy tenants. Here we go ...

In this parable Jesus speaks to a nation that repeatedly rejected God and His messengers. He even targets the scribes and chief priests present that day who would have brought Him down in short order if they hadn't feared the public outcry against them.

That's the context. So, here's a question: Why did the land owner put up with the horrible treatment of his messengers? And how might that relate to us today? Love to hear your thoughts. Tami will be back tomorrow! Paula L.

For the Lost

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Luke 19:1-27

Two key points stood out to me from the account of Zacchaeus. First, that Jesus isn't just interested in "good" or "religious" people. He came for ALL. "For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

The second point was how most people are open to, and interested in, talking and learning about Jesus. Now if you listen to television programs or the daily news, you'll hear otherwise. But my experience has been that people are absolutely open (and willing) to engage in a dialogue about Jesus. I get to meet a lot of people as I travel for work, and I have yet to have anyone ask or tell me to stop talking about Jesus or my faith. In fact, many times they start asking me question after question and the conversation goes on for quite a while. I know I blog about sharing Christ a lot, but I can't stress enough how important this job is. Plus, we're called to do it.

So what did you learn from Jesus in Luke 19: 1-27 regarding witnessing? What encouragement did you draw from Zacchaeus' story about telling others about Christ? Tami W.

Keep 'Em Coming

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prayer

Luke 18:1-14

Would you say you're a persistent prayer? Is it your practice to cry out to God "day and night" with your prayer requests? I considered these questions for myself and had no problem concluding that I need to improve in the prayer area as a whole and be more persistent and dedicated when it comes to important matters. Reading this parable of the persistent widow provided just what I needed--some encouragement, but also a challenge to step up my prayer time and frequency.

Why is it important for us to be both consistent and persistent in praying? How much of your relationship with God involves praying? Tami W.

Asking and Giving

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Luke 17:1-10

There's something about forgiveness. It can be so sweet, but it can also be really difficult. Let me explain. When someone forgives us, it feels great and we love forgiveness. But asking for forgiveness is difficult and granting forgiveness can be even tougher, especially if the person asking you to forgive them has hurt you deeply or if they are a repeat offender. So many times it's easier, maybe even feels better, to hold on to our hurt and anger, than to follow Jesus' directive that "we must forgive" (Luke 17:4).

So what's your "M.O." (mode of operation) when it comes to forgiving? Why is it so important for us to forgive? Tami W.

Present Decision

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Luke 16: 19-31

A pretty sad account in Luke 16:19-31--sad for Lazarus before death and extremely sad for the rich man after death. But I'm thankful for this passage and what it shows us about eternity and making a decision to follow Christ. The main message that stood out to me (there were actually a number of things that caught my eye) was that we need to make a decision now for Christ because there are no second chances after death.

Was there something specific that you saw or grasped from Luke 16:19-31? After reading this passage what are your thoughts on you getting out and telling others about Christ? Tami W.

Lost and Found

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Luke 15:1-31

Jesus' parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost (prodigal) son in Luke 15 are rich with information for us to learn from and draw on. The predominant message I noticed today was that God rejoices every time someone repents and comes to know Him. But when I look a little deeper within that message I also see how much God loves and cares for us, and that He values relationship and desires to have one with us.

So how important is it that we tell others about having a relationship with Christ based on Luke 15? Did you learn anything about your relationship with God (or maybe I should say God's relationship with you) through these stories? Tami W.

Loved and Valued

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love

Luke 12:22-31

Well, I selected the passage for today a few weeks back and had no idea that it actually fit pretty well with Valentine's Day. I love it when things like that happen.

Jesus is talking to the disciples in Luke 12:22-34 about not being concerned and anxious about earthly things/needs like clothes and food. "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing" (vs. 23). Then Jesus puts forth some examples of common things--ravens, flowers, grass--and points out how God is diligent in taking care of all of these lesser things. Definitely something for us to consider.

So what do Jesus' words in Luke 12:22-34 reveal about how God loves and values you? In verse 32 Jesus says "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." What does that verse mean for you today?
Tami W.

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day! Make sure and share God's love with someone today.

Following Jesus

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Footsteps

Luke 9:51-62

Jesus interacts with three people about following Him in Luke 9:57-62, and although each scenario is a little different, there was one main message that came through for me--following Jesus is costly. In other words, being a Christ-follower requires sacrifice on my part (things like time, relationships, money and comfort, to name a few).

So what did you learn about following Jesus from Luke 9:57-62? What's your experience been when it comes to the cost of following Christ? Tami W.

Least=Great

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Luke 9:46-50

So the disciples are arguing back and forth about who is the greatest and Jesus responds with these words: "he who is least among you all is the one who is great" (vs. 48). Ouch! Talk about convicting.

So how do we guard against slipping into the mindset that what we're doing for Christ somehow makes us special or better than someone else? What are some things you do to keep your focus on being a servant of Christ? Tami W.

Majesty

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Luke 9:37-45

I never get tired of reading the accounts of Jesus healing hurting people. Today it's a boy possessed by a demon that throws him on the ground in convulsions. When Jesus approaches the boy, He rebukes the demon and the restored boy is returned to his grateful father. How awesome is that? I love it, and I also love the final verse in this account. "And all were astonished at the majesty of God" (vs. 43).

So what does God's majesty mean to you? How have you experienced God's majesty in your life? Tell us about it. Tami W.

P.S. If you'd like more details about the healing of this boy, take a look at the parallel accounts in Mark 9:14-29 and Matthew 17:14-21.

Lose to Win

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Luke 9:18-36

Jesus' words in Luke 9:23-27 drew my attention today, and particularly verses 24-25. "'For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'" What a powerful message that hits dead on our worldly thinking today--I need to have more, live for the moment, look what I have and what I've accomplished...

So how are you living out Jesus' message in verses 23-27? What helps you? What hinders you? What can you do to improve in this area? Tami W.

Traveling Light

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Luke 9:1-17

Empty Suitcase

I travel a lot and I'd never intentionally leave on a trip with no bag, no money and no extra clothes. Yet, that's the exact instructions Jesus gives to the disciples when He sends them out to "proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal" (Luke 9:1-6). Think about that. Jesus' instructions had to be a little unsettling, even scary, for the disciples. Even so, they responded in obedience. They literally lived out their trust in Jesus.

So what did you learn from Luke 9:1-6 about trusting God and responding to His call to action (whatever that may be)? What about from verses 10-17? How are you living out your trust in Jesus? Tami W.

Different "Believes"

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Luke 8:40-56

Jairus comes to Jesus pleading for his daughter's recovery. Why? Because he believes that Jesus can save her life. But then he gets word that his daughter has died and his mindset concerning the situation and Jesus changes. So much so that when Jesus tells Jairus and his wife that their daughter "is not dead but sleeping" they laugh. "And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead" (vs. 53).

Wow, what's up with that? I considered that question and came to this conclusion--that Jairus and his wife believed that something was significant about Jesus and that he could help their situation, but they didn't yet believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah.

There are a lot of people today in the same place spiritually as Jairus and his wife. They may say they believe in God or a higher power, they may respect Jesus, be intrigued by Him, even acknowledge that his life was significant. But, they don't know and believe in Jesus. They haven't received Him as Savior.

We all know people who aren't saved. So who is it in your circle of influence (friends, family, co-workers) that needs to be introduced to Jesus as Savior? Whose name or face just came to your mind? Would you make it a priority to talk with them about Jesus this week? You can do it. Ask God to help you and give you the right opportunity and words. Then follow through with it. Tami W.

Stormy

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Luke 8:22-39

storm

Have you ever noticed how life is just...stormy? I know, silly question. Well we get a look at two very different "stormy" situations today. First, Jesus calms a literal storm on the sea, and then He heals a man whose entire life is a storm because he is plagued with many, many demons. Both situations were serious, yet neither was a problem for Jesus. I love that because it demonstrates God love for us and how much He cares about the details of our lives and what we are going through.

So what did these two accounts reveal to you about Jesus' love and power, and His ability to help you in and through your problems? Big or small, what's your storm today and have you turned it over to Jesus? Tami W.

Luke 8:1-18

seeds

The parable of the seeds is about God's Word in different scenarios. But instead of focusing on the "seed," I took a little time to think about the sower because I am one and so are you if you're a follower of Christ. Once we receive Christ as Savior, one of our jobs (and a highly important one) is to share Christ and God's Word with others everywhere, just like the sower here in Luke 8.

So take a few minutes and think about yourself as a sower, a dispenser or distributor of the message of hope found only in God's Word. What kind of sower are you? How much are you dispensing? Where are you dispensing? And finally, what does this parable reveal about what you can expect as you're out "sowing" for the Lord? Tami W.

Remove the Log!

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Luke 6:37-42

log

Jesus' words in Luke 6:37-42 are so true. Why is it that we are so good at seeing other people's short comings and sins but not so quick to see our own? All too often our tendency is to eagerly point the finger anywhere but at ourselves.

This is an important command from Jesus. I totally know that, yet, there are plenty of times that I fail to keep it. And I'm guessing most of us would fall into this category?

So how do we make keeping Jesus' command in verse 42 our norm? Our "logs" are all different, so think about what yours might be, and then consider what you can do to remove it/them. Tami W.

Do Unto Others

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Luke 6:27-36

Momma Said

Do unto others what you'd like others to do to you. I can't even count the number of times my mom said those words to me growing up. Here it is years later, and I find myself repeating those words and thinking about them pretty frequently. It's a lesson I've never forgotten. So where did my mom get this lesson? Luke 6:31. "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."

So what's your biggest challenge or struggle when it comes to loving your enemies and treating them how you'd like to be treated? How do we get to the point where what Jesus tells us in verse 31 is our default response? Tami W.

Saved Sinners

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Luke 7:18-50

In the last part of Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner at one of the Pharisee's houses and a "woman from the city who was a sinner" came to see Jesus. Her visit was certainly out of the ordinary. She was crying and washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair. She also put expensive oil on his feet and kissed his feet throughout this process. The Pharisee reacted...well, like a typical Pharisee. He was indignant and assumed Jesus didn't know what he was doing. Not so.

Jesus knew exactly what was going on. He knew this woman's background and he used it as a teaching moment. This passage communicated to me that Jesus' concern isn't with the amount or the type of our sin (Verse 47 "her sins, which are many"). We're all sinners. What's of importance to Jesus is our hearts and believing in Him. "'Your faith has saved you, go in peace'" (vs. 50).

What does Luke 36-50 reveal to you about forgiveness? What about Jesus' love for people? How can you use this passage to witness to others? Tami W.

Luke 7:1-17

If you've ever wondered what compassion really looks like, Luke 7:11-17 is a good place to go. The entire scenario oozes compassion.

Jesus is coming into a town and as he and the disciples arrive, they are met by a funeral procession. The funeral is for the only son of a widow, so it's a pretty sad situation. The mother who's lost her son is grieving and mourning and Jesus observes the situation. Now this woman doesn't ask Jesus for anything, yet Jesus has compassion for her and He acts on it.

So what does this passage reveal to you about Jesus care and compassion--both generally and specifically for you? What do Jesus' actions show you about responding and reaching out to hurting people? Tami W.

Known Fruit

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Luke 6:37-45

orange

I'm a huge plant grower and gardener so Jesus using the example of a tree and its fruit totally made sense to me. These words from verse 44 were particularly powerful, "For each tree is known by its fruit." They really highlighted the fact that others are watching what we do and how we live as a Christ-follower, and just how much we are identified by our actions.

Jesus is absolutely clear that each of us is known by the fruit we bear. So what is the fruit that you are known for? What uniquely identifies you as a follower of Christ? 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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This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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