June 2012 Archives

Yes, Ask

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man sitting alone

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

As Paul begins to wrap up his second letter he asks the believers at Thessalonica to pray for him, Silvanus and Timothy as they travel and teach God's Word. Such a simple and logical request. So why is it that so often I hesitate, or simply don't ask my Christian friends to pray for me? Well, sometimes I don't feel like I should bother them because they have plenty of their own issues. Other times I tell myself People don't want to hear your woes. And still other times, I just don't feel like rehashing with someone whatever it is that's going on. (All poor reasons, by the way.)

So what about you? Is it your habit to ask other believers to pray for you? If not, what holds you back? What's your experience been when you have asked someone to pray for you? Tami W.

Toeing the Line

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2 Thessalonians 2:13-18

As Paul encourages the believers at Thessalonica he also challenges them to "stand firm" and to hold to what they've been taught (vs. 15). I found myself thinking Amen to that, Paul! Why? Because standing firm is foundational for us, and it doesn't just happen. If we're not intentional about being in God's Word and continuing to grow our relationship with God, standing firm and holding ground won't happen.

So what do you do to stand firm and hold to what you've been taught? Do you have a routine? And what role does church play for you? Tami W.

Foreshadowing

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2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

When we think about end times, typically the Book of Revelation comes to mind. But there are a number of other places in the Bible that talk about end times and provide us with information about that period. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is one such passage. Paul is writing to calm people's hearts and put before them a correct understanding of what's going to take place in the future. To do that, he writes quite a bit about the antichrist (man of lawlessness).

So what did you learn about the antichrist and/or end times from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12? What did this passage reveal to you about God's plan and how it will unfold? Tami W.

Knowing God

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2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Today we move to Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica, and again, he addresses Christ's return and the judgment of those people who do not know God--punishment of eternal destruction (vs. 9). His words really drive home how critical it is for us to be actively telling others about Christ.

Now I know I sound like a broken record, but who do you know (think about a face) that needs Jesus? And what can you do to change that? Lastly, what does this passage show us about God's power, authority, and control? Tami W.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

As Paul concludes his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, he gives this group a pretty healthy dose of instructions. I could really identify with Paul's words in verse 12 since I work in a ministry and I'm also involved in my church. Here Paul tells us to respect our Christian brothers and sisters with whom we labor, both as co-workers and bosses, and to "esteem them very highly in love because of their work." Wise words for us to take to heart and put into action.

We're all human which means we have differing opinions, we get frustrated, we don't always get along...you get my drift. So how do we accomplish Paul's charge in verse 12 to respect, esteem and love? What works for you?
Tami W.

light

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Yesterday Paul told us about Jesus' return and showed us what we should expect to take place when that happens. Paul continues addressing Jesus' return in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 but now his focus is on how we live and act prior to that day. Paul starts out by telling us that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (vs. 2) and then goes on to remind us that as followers of Christ we are not in darkness, but are children of light (vs. 5).

I'm so thankful that I've accepted Christ as my Savior and I can say I am a child of light, but it was reading about the people living in darkness that moved my heart. Verse 3 very plainly tells us "While people are saying 'there is peace and security' then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." Absolutely sobering.

There are people everywhere in our lives who would experience the horror of what Paul lays out in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 if Christ returned today. So would you take a view minutes and think about who you know that's living in darkness and what you can do to change that? I know firsthand it can be scary to talk to someone about needing Christ, but it's so important. Ask God for His help and then take action. I know you can do it! Tami W.

No Death?

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clouds

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

I don't typically spend a lot of time dwelling on Jesus returning. So reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was good for me this morning. It delivered the clear message (and reminder) that at any time, literally any moment, Jesus could return and my current life would be over--without experiencing death. I have to say, that's pretty awesome.

So how does knowing that Jesus could return any moment impact you? Is it an encouragement? What about a motivator? Tami W.

God Pleaser

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Paul very directly lays out for us how to live a life that is pleasing to God in the first 12 verses of 1 Thessalonians 4. So for a little reinforcement, I thought it would be a good exercise to look for, and make a list of, all the things we should do, or shouldn't do, that please God. Just complete the sentence below with something you saw from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. I'll get us started. Then it's your turn.

A life pleasing to God means _________________.

Tami's response: A life pleasing to God means showing love to others.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

Paul wants to visit his friends, the believers at Thessalonica, and he expresses that desire in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13. But as he's talking about his longing to be with them in person, he also provides us with information about this church. We see that these believers are experiencing affliction (although we don't know the specifics). We also see that these people have maintained their faith in spite of their difficult circumstances. That's encouraging to me because if they were able to do it, I know I can do the same.

What do you do to maintain your faith when you're in difficult times? What role does God's Word play? Tami W.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

As Paul addresses the church in Thessalonica, he hits pretty hard on proclaiming Christ (which I love). Two verses really spoke to me. Verse 2, "We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict." And then verse 4 which says, "we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts."

So what does "being entrusted with the gospel" suggest about our need to be actively telling others about Christ? With that in mind, when was the last time you talked with someone about Christ? Tami W.

You=Example

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1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

When someone knows or discovers that you are a believer in Christ, your life becomes an example to them, whether you realize it or not. Paul lays this out in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 when he talks about how the people in the church at Thessalonica imitated him, and then he comes right out and tells these believers that they are examples in verse 7.

So does knowing that you are an example (for believers and also for those who don't yet know Christ) impact your behavior? How? Tami W.

Packed Wrap Up

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Colossians 4:2-18

Paul concludes Colossians with a few final instructions, and they're definitely ones we don't want to overlook. He starts off with a call to committed prayer as a whole and then asks them to specifically pray for him as he proclaims Christ. Then Paul goes on to tell us to "walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of our time" and to make sure our speech and the answers we give to people are gracious (vs. 5).

How we interact with people who don't yet know Christ is so incredibly important. So I'm grateful for Paul addressing this in verse 5.

So think about your personality--how you're wired, how you communicate. Then think about your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family, someone you know casually through your kids' sporting events, who doesn't know Christ. How are you walking in wisdom and making the best use of your time with them? Tami W.

Colossians 3:18-4:1

Every one of us is involved in relationships, and in Colossians 3:18-4:1 Paul gives us relationship instructions broken down by role. Now most of us are going to fall into more than one role. I certainly do. I'm a wife, I'm a worker with a boss, and I'm also a boss over other people. So there's plenty for me to learn from this passage about relationships generally, and how I should function in each of my roles.

What did Colossians 3:18-4:1 show you about fostering and maintaining relationships? Was there something specific about a role you fill that moved your heart from this passage? Tami W.

Dos and Don'ts

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Colossians 3:1-17

If you've ever wondered how to live as a believer of Christ, Colossians 3:1-17 is a great passage to read because Paul give us some pretty clear guidance. He starts with the negatives, the things not to do, and then turns to the positives, those things we should be doing. Verse 2 "set your mind on the things that are above," and verse 5 "put to death therefore what is earthly in you," spoke loudly to me. I love how they totally complement each other. When we have our minds on the things above, it's much easier to put earthly thinking aside.

So what do you do to set your mind on the things above? How do you keep your focus there as the day or the week progresses? Tami W.

P.S. Happy Father's Day!!

Colossians 2:16-33

Paul lets us know in his bold way that living the Christian life isn't about religion--following man-made rules and regulations--it's about having a relationship with Christ.

So what man--made "do nots" do you have a tendency to hang on to, and why? How do we move from rules to relationship? Tami W.

Walking Free

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Colossians 2:6-15

Paul's instructions for us in Colossians 2:6-15 are to "walk in Christ" (vs. 6) and to not let anyone take us "captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (vs. 8).

Take a few minutes and consider these two important instructions as they relate to your life and situation. What specifically have you done this week to walk in Christ? What are you doing to guard against being "taken captive" by false teaching and ideas contrary to God's Word? Tami W.

Colossians 1:24-2:5

God's call, His assignment for Paul, is to minister to the Church by teaching the Word of God and proclaiming Christ. Paul states in verse 28, "Him [Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ."

This verse got my mind churning on being mature in Christ. I asked myself and considered things like: What should being mature in Christ look like in my life? How do I get there? Is what I'm currently doing moving me in that direction? What role should, and does, my church play in my becoming mature in Christ? It was a good exercise.

So what are your thoughts on being mature in Christ? Are you further down the road to spiritual maturity today than last year? Last month? Last week? Tami W.

Big Picture

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Colossians 1:15-23

If you want a succinct description of Jesus--who He is, what He's done--Colossians 1:15-23 is a good place to read. From before our creation to Jesus as our Savior, Paul gives us a good big picture look at Jesus.

Did you learn anything new about Jesus from Colossians 1:15-23? What does this passage show us about Jesus' power, authority and deity? Tami W.

Never Done

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tree

Colossians 1:1-14

The little Book of Colossians is a letter that Paul writes to the believers in Colossae. Now apparently Paul has never met these people (see verses 3 and 9), but that doesn't stop him from praying for them and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord. For me, verses 9 and 10 were the most encouraging and powerful because they boldly put before us what our lives should look like as a believer in Christ. These verses delivered the message that as a Christ-follower we are never done growing. I love that because that means no matter where I'm at in my relationship with God, there will always be more I can learn and more I can do for Christ.

On a big picture level, how are you living out "bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God"? On a smaller scale, what's some of your "fruit"? How does bearing fruit teach you and move you closer to God? Tami W.

sprout

Philippians 4:10-23

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). How many times have you heard an athlete, a speaker, a performer, you name it, quote this verse? Tons, and rightfully so because it's a powerful verse. But given a little context, Philippians 4:13 takes on even more meaning and power. I love the larger, more complete message we get when we read verses 12 with 13 together.

    "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

So what do these verses reveal to you about God's provision and how He takes care of us? What do they show you about our need to surrender and rely on Him? Tami W.

P.S. We're starting week two in our new series The 20 Most Important People in the Bible on Back to the Bible. Hope you can join Dr. Kroll and me this week. Today we're on person #15. Check out the program to see who Dr. Kroll selected as the fifteenth most important person in the Bible.

Philippians 4:2-9

Paul gives us straight forward instruction in Philippians 4:4. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."

So what does rejoicing in the Lord look like for you? (How would someone close to you describe your rejoicing in the Lord?) How do we accomplish the important "always" part of Paul's command? Tami W.

walking shoes

Philippians 3:12-4:1

I think Paul's on to something when he says in Philippians 3:13 "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." It's pretty easy to get hung up on the past (which, by the way, we can't change). And when we do that, we can really hinder the work God has for us going forward.

So are you "straining forward to what lies ahead"? How can you best "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus"? Tami W.

balloons

Philippians 3:1-11

Where's our confidence? That's the issue Paul addresses in Philippians 3:1-11, and he's quick to point out that as followers of Christ, our confidence should be in Him and Him alone. The world and our human nature, however, tell us just the opposite. They tell us to be confident in ourselves and our abilities. There's a constant tension between the two and it's up to us to make the right choice as we start out each and every day.

So how do we do that? What do you do to stay focused on Christ so that you're not responding based on your own strength? What does "gaining Christ and being found in Him" (vs. 8-9) mean for you? Tami W.

Working Out

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Philippians 2:12-30

Over the past few days, I've read Philippians 2 a number of times, and each time I've found myself stopping at verses 12-13 to consider Paul's telling the Philippians that how in his absence, they need to "work out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

What a good reminder that we can, and should, be growing our relationship with God on our own. Now don't get me wrong, being involved in church and Bible studies are good things for sure, but it's also good and necessary for us to seek God and spend time with Him one-on-one.

So what does you "working out" your salvation look like these days? What are you doing individually to grow your relationship with God? Tami W.

After Others

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Philippians 2:1-11

A call for humility that comes through loving people is Paul's message in Philippians 2:1-11. He clearly instructs us to consider other people's needs and in so doing, to be willing to put our wants and needs aside. Then, to drive his point home, Paul puts Jesus' example before us.

So do you find Paul's instructions in Philippians 2:1-11 difficult or challenging? What helps you put other's interests before you own? Tami W.

Representatives

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Philippians 1:19-30

Paul is very conscious of how he is living and behaving before others because he knows actions, many times, speak louder than words. Phil. 1:20 "It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death." I can think of a number of times when I let my emotions control me and as a result I behaved poorly--losing my cool going through airport security or saying something snotty when I've gotten poor customer service or having a little road rage reaction when someone cuts me off in traffic.

The bottom line is we're all representatives for Christ whether we realize it or not. That's why I tell myself each morning as I leave for work that I am a representative for Christ and I'd better do my best to represent Him well.

So how do we maximize honoring Christ in all we do? What does being a representative for Christ look like for you? Tami W.

Philippians 1:1-18

The importance of friends and partners in the cause for Christ came across loud and clear to me in the first 18 verses of Philippians 1. Right out of the gate, you can tell Paul is writing to friends, to people he loves and trusts. It gave me a sweet picture of how we need to support each other as Christians--through friendship, through prayer, and yes, even financially.

So how do you go about supporting fellow believers? What does your "partnership" look like? How do other believers support you? Tami W.

P.S. If you want to learn about "The 20 Most Important People in the Bible," join Dr. Kroll and me for Back to the Bible today through June 29. This is a brand new series and I know you'll enjoy it. Today, we begin with #20. Join us for the program to find out exactly who that is.

Praise Phrase

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Psalm 148:1-14

One message, actually a command, runs throughout Psalm 148--Praise the Lord! So, I thought it would be good (and fun) to do just that as a group today.

Take a minute to complete the praise phrase below. Then, post it as a comment on the blog.

Lord, today I praise you because ___________________________.


To get us started, here are a couple completed praises from me. Tami W.

Lord, today I praise you because You love me unconditionally.
Lord, today I praise you because You provide and fulfill my every need.

Detailed

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dandelion

Psalm 147:1-20

As I read through Psalm 147 I couldn't help but notice how God is all about the details. You might say His management style is hands-on and up close and personal. So much so that He heals our broken hearts and wounds (verse 3) and takes pleasure in us when we recognize Him for who He is and hope in His steadfast love (verse 11).

So how have you seen God in the details of your life? What does verse 3 ("He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.") mean for you today? Tami W.

Psalm 103:1-22

God is so good, and I am so NOT. Yet, He still loves me (and you, by the way). Honestly, the depth of His grace and mercy are hard for me to fathom. So I love it when I read passages like Psalm 103 that tell me point blank how much I am forgiven and loved. My favorite section of this psalm is verses 10-12. "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."

What did Psalm 103 reveal to you about your being forgiven? How will you show God today that you are thankful for His all encompassing, complete forgiveness? 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 June 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 2012 is the next archive.

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