April 2012 Archives

Face Plant

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Matthew 26:30-71

Are you like me? Have you ever pulled a Peter? You know what I mean, declaring that you are going to follow Jesus with every effort you have, or proclaiming that you are going to tell everyone about Jesus, or that you're going to _______ (you fill in the blank), and then, you fall flat on your face in failure. Yeah, it's pretty awful.

So what happened to Peter that he flipped from "I will never fall away" (verse 33) to swearing "I do not know the man" in verse 74? What does Peter show us about us? And how can you use Peter's face plant to help you avoid doing the same? Tami W.

Necessary Pain

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Psalm 119:65-72

The message and words of Psalm 119:65-72 so resonated with me because this passage basically describes my experience a number of years ago of straying from God and needing to go through affliction to get me back on track with Him. The affliction I'm referring to is severe anxiety, and I won't hesitate to tell you, how much I did not enjoy it. Yet, I wholeheartedly agree with the Psalmist that it was good because having to deal with anxiety and panic attacks got my attention and made me realize just how much I needed God.

So what about you? Can you join the Psalmist in saying "it is good that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes"? And if you're in the middle of a hard situation right now, what encouragement does this passage offer? Tami W.

Psalm 119:129-136

I had the opportunity to speak to a group of ladies last weekend in Mountain Home, Arkansas on growing spiritually through Bible engagement. (Arkansas was beautiful, by the way, both the countryside and the people.) So the moment I read Psalm 119:130 "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple," my heart did a little jump because that process of unfolding moving to understanding is a wonderful description of Bible engagement.

There's not a one size fits all way of engaging God's Word (receiving/taking it in, reflecting on it, and then responding). So I'd like to know how you "unfold" scripture? What's your favorite way to meet God and learn about Him through His Word? Tami W.

More Like Paul

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Acts 28:17-31

I know I write about this A LOT, but it's important. I just couldn't help but focus on Paul's bold witness again today. Over and over again, we see Paul proclaiming Christ. I love it! And what I love the most is that Paul is not just talking to those he happens to encounter, he's intentional. He seeks people out and then he "goes to town." The Jewish leaders in Rome had no idea Paul was in prison there for proclaiming Christ. But Paul, in his boldness, contacts them and tells them what has happened to him and why he is there. Then, he invites them back to tell them about Jesus and, boy, does he ever tell them. "From morning until evening he expounded to them testifying to the Kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus. . ." (vs. 23). Wow!

We're not all cut from Paul's mold, but God calls us all to share Christ with others. So how are you fulfilling this call? How can you be a little more like Paul going forward? Tami W.

P.S. One more thing, did you notice how Paul didn't let his circumstances lessen his witness? Verse 30 says "He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance."

buoy

Acts 28:11-16

After much travel on many ships, Paul finally arrives in Rome. And when he got there, "the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage" (Acts 28:15). I am thankful for this verse because it gave me some good insight about encouragement. It showed me how important encouragement is. It showed me that I need to be tuned in and looking for opportunities to be an encourager even to people I don't know personally (like these men that came to Paul). And lastly, it also showed me that even strong, courageous, bold people (like Paul) need support and encouragement.

So how important is receiving encouragement from a brother or sister in Christ to you? Who can you offer some encouragement to this weekend--your pastor, a lay leader at your church, your spouse, a child, what about someone you don't really know that well? Don't hold back because as you encourage others, you'll be encouraged too. Tami W.

Malta Style!

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Acts 28:1-10

I love going to someone's house or staying in a hotel where I know I'll receive outstanding hospitality. Well, hospitality to the max is exactly what the people of Malta showered on this ship wrecked group here in Acts 28. Verse 2 says "The native people showed unusual kindness. . . " and this continued through the group's leaving. "They also honored us greatly and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed" (vs. 10). Impressive, don't you think?

So how are you doing in the hospitality area? Is it your practice to show "unusual kindness" to others? Think for a minute or two and find at least one person you can show kindness to this week. Tami W.

P.S. Thought you might enjoy a picture of Malta to help you imagine where all this hospitality took place.

Knowing the Truth

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Acts 27:39-28:6

Paul and company survive the ship wreck and find themselves on the Island of Malta. The people there welcome this stranded bunch and treat them with kindness. But when Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake, their thinking about him changes. They immediately jump to the conclusion that he is a murderer getting his "punishment." Then, when Paul doesn't even get sick from the bite, they do a 180 and believe he is a god.

The way the people of Malta responded got me thinking about living and functioning without the benefit of God's Truth. Bottom line, without God, our thinking, particularly concerning spiritual matters, is skewed.

So how has your relationship with God caused a change in your thinking? What does this passage show you about the need to tell others about God and His Truth? Tami W.

Acts 27:1-38

Paul is now on his way to Rome to present his case to Caesar, but travel in Paul's time, was no easy undertaking. The way to Rome was by boat and the weather and conditions end up being dangerous. Paul warns the centurion in charge and others on the boat that they should not sail on further, but his advice is ignored. Almost immediately a storm hits and the lives of everyone on the ship are in jeopardy. Paul again offers advice and also encouragement, and this time, his suggestions are noted and followed.

So what did you learn from Paul about offering advice that you believe is in alignment with God and His plan? What did you see about responding when your advice isn't recognized or followed? Tami W.

I Love You Lord

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Psalm 18:1-50

The very first verse of Psalm 18 captured my heart today. "I love you Lord, my strength." And then the next 49 verses just expanded on verse 1 giving me an up close look at David's thinking and his heart. I appreciate so much how David expresses his love by putting before us examples of God's faithfulness and involvement in all aspects of David's life.

So take a few minutes today and consider your love for God. What does God mean to you? Why do you love Him so much? Tami W.

Don't Hold Back

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Acts 25:23-26:32

On Thursday I wrote about Paul's repeated bold witness to Felix. Today the circumstances have changed and Paul only gets one opportunity to talk about his faith with King Agrippa--but does he ever go for it. Paul doesn't hold back one bit. I love the dialogue and the candidness we see at Acts 26:24-29 between Paul and Festus and King Agrippa and Paul.

So when was the last time you talked with someone about what it means to follow Christ? Whatever approach or method you take to witnessing, what can you do to make it a little bit bolder? Tami W.

Tell it Again

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Acts 25:1-22

Paul has now been in prison over two years and here he is defending himself against false charges yet again, only this time before Festus, the new governor. Festus doesn't know what to do with Paul so he asks him if he wants to go back to Jerusalem and address his accusers face-to-face. Paul declines and appeals to Caesar. And so...the saga continues.

So what are you learning from Paul about patience, generally? What about patience when it involves doing the Lord's work? Tami W.

Witnessing Lessons

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Acts 24:1-27

Paul is in Roman custody before the governor, Felix in Acts 24, and a slick talking hired gun for the Jews has presented a completely bogus, trumped up case against Paul. As is typical, Paul keeps his cool and calmly and logically addresses and rebuts every false charge. Felix doesn't "buy into" the case against Paul so he sends the Jews away, but keeps Paul in custody (odd, don't you think?) It's what follows, though, that caught my attention today.

In verses 24-27 we see that Paul met with Felix and his wife and talked about faith in Jesus. We also see that Paul met regularly over a period of two years with Felix freely discussing spiritual matters with him. That's pretty amazing--while in custody, Paul witnessed to Felix over and over. And verse 25 shows us that Felix absolutely listened and considered what Paul had to tell him.

Acts 24 doesn't tell us whether Felix ever made a decision to follow Christ. My guess is that he didn't. That had to be disappointing for Paul after he was so diligent in proclaiming Jesus during his imprisonment. Plus, I have to think that on some level, Felix and Paul became friends.

So take a few minutes today and consider Acts 24 with a focus on witnessing. What did you see? And how will you draw on it going forward? Tami W.

Calm Courage

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Acts 23:1-11

As the reader, I find Paul's situation in Acts 23:1-11 a little unsettling (Ok, actually a lot unsettling). Yet, Paul doesn't seem unsettled, afraid, or anxious at all. He remains calm and continues to tell his story. And, I really liked how he assessed the situation and deliberately brought up resurrection to divide his persecutors. (He's a smart one that Paul.)

It's not fun to be in a situation where the heat is being turned up and it's out of your control. But Paul gave me a few options to consider for the next time I find myself there. So what about you? What did you learn from Paul today? Tami W.

Standing Firm

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Acts 21:37-22:29

Have you ever noticed how grounded and solid Paul is when it comes to his relationship with the Lord and his call from God? It was really noticeable for me again today as he is speaking to the people that are rioting against him. The Roman soldiers have actually rescued Paul from being beaten by the people, yet Paul isn't shaken and he doesn't back down. There's no change in his demeanor, his message, his approach.

So what can you do this week to be more like Paul--at work, at home, with your friends? Tami W.

Full Force Ahead

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Acts 21:1-26

Paul received some pretty tough news on his travels--that he was going to be bound and arrested for the sake of spreading the Gospel (vs. 10-11). But did it change his plans? Did it dilute his enthusiasm for the Lord? Absolutely not. How Paul responded was impressive. "What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (vs. 13).

So what did this passage show you about opposition to God's work and responding to it? And if you've had any personal experiences in this area, we'd love to hear about it. Tami W.

P.S. Today we begin a new series on Back to the Bible called Postcards from Paul. So if you're looking to go a little deeper into Acts, join us.

Shot in the Arm

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Psalm 91:1-16

Encouraging is the word I'd use to describe Psalm 91. The entire Psalm basically lays out the benefits of having a relationship with God, and there really is something for us to consider in every verse. For me, the last three verses, 14-16, were particularly moving. What a vivid picture of God's love and of His desire to be in relationship with us. Thank you God!!

What encouragement did you find in Psalm 91? Was there a particular verse that moved your heart today and why? Tami W.

Psalm 51:1-19

David is asking God to cleanse him and to create in him a clean heart and for God to renew a right spirit within him (vs. 10). And then he tells the Lord that he will honor, promote and praise Him, not with a physical sacrifice or a burnt offering, but with his actions and especially his words. Verse 16 tells us "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

So what does your "sacrifice" to the Lord look like? In the past week how have your actions and words honored, praised and promoted God? Tami W.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Today we learn that our importance, our significance to God, flows all the way down to our work. Ephesians 2:10 tells us "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." How cool is that, that each and every one of us--according to God's plan--has good work to do? I love this verse because it lets me know that God didn't just create us on some whim or simply because He could. He created us to be in relationship with Him and with a definite purpose.

So after reading Ephesians 2:10, what does the work you do for the Lord show you about your identity and purpose in Christ? What are those good works God has put before you to accomplish? Tami W.

*If you're subscribed to the daily P4 emails, it's easy to navigate to the blog so you can read everyone's comments or leave a comment of your own. Just click the P4 logo or the green blog title right in the email!

Still Significant

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John 3:16-17; Romans 8:31-39

The past three days we've looked at our significance to God through the creation story. Today we're in the New Testament considering passages that were written thousands of years after creation, and here's the cool thing--our significance to God hasn't changed one bit.

What do John 3:16-17 and Romans 8:31-39 show you about our worth and significance to God? Was there a particular verse or phrase that spoke to your heart today?
Tami W.

Genesis 2:8-24

Hopefully what you've read so far of the creation account has highlighted for you how significant you are to God. But we're not quite done. Today we move on to Genesis 2:8-24. Now, Adam and the rest of creation (plants, animals, bodies of water, the Garden of Eden) are in existence at this point, and what happens next, gives us even more to consider about how important man (humans) are to God.

So what additional things did Genesis 2:8-24 show you about your significance to God?
(Remember, we learned that we were created in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27). Then from Genesis 2:7 that man was formed by God's Hand and that we were given life by God's breath.) What is the most meaningful thing you learned from the entire creation account (Genesis 1-2) about your significance? Tami W.

Genesis 2:7

Our significance to God is what we're exploring this week on P4 (and Back to the Bible radio) and there's a lot for us to learn from the first two chapters of Genesis (the creation account). Today I focused on one verse, Genesis 2:7, "Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature". I was surprised at just how much there is to consider and learn in this one short verse. Now I could go on for quite a while with my thoughts on verse 7, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'll let the verse speak for itself.

So read Genesis 2:7, not just once, but several times, and ask God to show you something different each time. Ok, what did Genesis 2:7 show you about your significance to God, and why? Tami W.

Significance 101

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Genesis 1:1-27

"The Search for Significance" is Dr. Kroll's series this week on Back to the Bible. Now if you've ever wondered about your place in this world, your value to God, your purpose--then you'll definitely want to tune in and learn about why you and I are significant to God.

So read Genesis 1:1-27 with this in mind: How are we different than the rest of God's creation? What did this passage convey to you about who you are in God's eyes? Tami W.

Matthew 28:1-20

The very last verses of Matthew 28 caught my attention today. The scene is just after Jesus has risen and He is with the eleven disciples. Jesus first tells them to "Go and make disciples of all nations" and then He gives these instructions "Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." So really a two part command from Jesus--go and tell, and then teach.

So what does your "go and tell" for Jesus look like? What are you doing (or what can you do) to help other Christians grow in their relationship with God? Tami W.

P.S. Happy Easter!

Two Verse Focus

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Ephesians 2:1-10

Ephesians 2 is a powerful passage to me. I love how it lays out salvation so clearly. Now verses 8 and 9 are wonderful. We hear them often, and I'm guessing we're all pretty familiar with them. But for whatever reason today, it was verses 4 and 5 that grabbed my attention. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. . ."

So what did verses 4 and 5 communicate to you about God? What do they mean for you, personally? Tami W.

Matthew 27:15-66

Sinful behavior is abundant in Matthew 27:15-66. We see example after example of the people ridiculing, belittling, mocking, disparaging--rejecting--Jesus. I could almost feel the hatred and distaste for Jesus as I read. It was a powerful reminder for me of how lost our world is, and how much everyone needs Christ.

Take a minute and think about all the people you come into contact with each week--family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. How many of them need Christ? Now I know this may sound a little scary, but would you step out and invite one (or more) of these people to church this weekend? It could change their life forever. Tami W.

P.S. On this Good Friday, I hope you're able to take some time to reflect on the amazing sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.

*If you're wondering where your beloved P4 email is today, you'll need to sign up in the sidebar for our new delivery method. Hope you do :)

John 21:1-19

Have you ever felt distant or separated from God because of sin (something you've done or maybe something you've refused to do that God has put before you)? Well I've been there, and as a result, I could so identify with Peter's excitement and joy when he realizes that it's Jesus standing on the shore in John 21:1-19. Remember, this is all taking place after Peter turned his back on Jesus in the hours before the crucifixion. But now, Jesus is risen and Peter has the opportunity to make things right. What an important day for Peter.

So have you had a "coming back experience" with Jesus? How did that impact you? And what did you learn from it? Tami W.

P.S. We're making some changes to P4 starting tomorrow, so if you want to continue receiving your daily P4 emails, be sure to sign up near the top of the sidebar. Find out more.

John 20:19-31

It's shortly after Jesus' crucifixion as we start our reading today, and the disciples are in a locked room because they're fearful of the Jews. Now they are still together as followers of Christ, but they're laying low and afraid, and I'm guessing not entirely sure what to do. Then, Jesus appears and boy do things change. The disciples "were glad" (verse 20), encouraged and then empowered with the Holy Spirit.

So have you ever felt like the disciples? I sure have and sometimes I still do. Here are a few things that have tripped me up in the past: Being fearful about sharing the Gospel, uncertain about getting involved in a ministry at church or taking a leadership role over a project, or maybe I'm just not seeing what I expected in a circumstance and that scares me a little as I try to determine what to do next.

Whatever the circumstance, how can we push fear and uncertainty aside and draw on the Lord for enthusiasm, encouragement and strength to help us through? Tami W.

P.S. We're making some changes to P4, so be sure to check out this update so you're not left out!

Luke 24:13-35

As I read for the umpteenth time today the road to Emmaus passage, I asked the Lord to show me something I hadn't keyed in on before. So what happened? My focus went right to Jesus and how He reacted and responded to the sad and confused Cleopas and companion. The first thing I noticed was how patient Jesus was. He was also gracious and compassionate in the way He dealt with them. But the biggie for me was Jesus' attitude of "let me help you understand." Did you notice how much time Jesus spent explaining and walking these two through many things? I find that comforting and encouraging because what does that say about His love for, and desire to do the same, with us?

One other thing stood out to me was how Jesus gave us an excellent example to follow today. Like Him, we should be willing and taking advantage of opportunities to help others grow in their relationship with God. So the next time you're with a brother or sister in Christ who doesn't fully understand a scripture that you do understand, talk with them about it. Help them understand and grow.

So what did you learn about Jesus from this passage? How did the account of the walk on the road to Emmaus encourage you today? Tami W.

Aha Excitement!

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John 20:1-18

Today in John 20 Mary Magdalene discovers an empty tomb and then conveys what she's found to Peter and the "other disciple," John. Reading about how Peter and John ran together to the tomb and how John enters into the tomb and "saw and believed" moved my heart. It brought back memories of when I first had the realization of Who Jesus was (is) as well as memories about emotions I had other times when I had a particularly meaningful growth experience in my relationship with God. All good stuff.

So what moved your heart and why from John 20:1-18? Did you identify with Peter, John or Mary? What can you do this Easter week to let others know about Jesus? Tami W.

Psalm 69:19-36

Through thick and thin, praise the Lord. David tells us in Psalm 69:30 "I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving." Now when David writes this he is dejected and asking for help and deliverance. But he doesn't allow his circumstances to impede his praise. I love this example.

So how are you praising the Lord in song and magnifying him with thanksgiving? And, if you have a story about continuing to worship and praise God in and through tough times, encourage us with it. Share your story! 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 April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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