August 2012 Archives

Love Via Action

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1 John 3:11-24

God has really been laying loving others on my heart the past several weeks, and I've been trying to be extra tuned in for any "loving others" opportunities that He places before me. So John's bold call for us to love one another in 1 John 3 absolutely resonated with me--particularly verses 17 and 18. "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" (Great question, John!) "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

So how do you show Christ's love to others? This weekend, would you make it a goal to put God's love into action and help someone in need? Tami W.

Copy Cats

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1 John 2:1-6

John warns us about sinning and challenges us to live righteously in 1 John 2:1-6. Two things he said spoke to me about how we can accomplish right living. The first was the importance of keeping God's commands. "But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected" (vs. 5). And the other was how if we say we abide in Christ we "ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (vs. 6). Now I love this call to action, but it can be a tough one to consistently live out.

Think back over your day yesterday. What's one thing you did that reflected or imitated Christ? Where didn't you reflect Christ? Why the different response? Going forward what would help you be more consistent? Tami W.

All Sinners

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1 John 1:1-10

Throughout 1 John, John proclaims Jesus and salvation. In the first four verses of chapter 1 he tells us several different ways that he heard Jesus, he saw Jesus, and that he knew Jesus personally. Basically John is establishing for us that he isn't proclaiming Christ based on hearsay or some article he read. He was an eyewitness to Jesus' life and His message.

Well, once John has established this foundation, he doesn't waste any time telling us about Jesus and salvation. In verse 7 he states: "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." And then verse 9 says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

There are plenty of people who'll tell you they are going to heaven because they're good, they're hard workers and they don't sin. How might you use 1 John 1:5-10 to tell them about their need for salvation? Tami W.

The Secret

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Philippians 4:10-20

It's pretty clear from Paul's comments that living for Christ doesn't mean we won't experience difficulty and trouble and times of being in need. But then Paul makes this statement. "I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all thing through him [Christ] who strengthens me" (Phil 4:12-13).

So are you making the most of Christ and the strength only He can offer? In the past two weeks, how has Christ been "the secret" for you to have strength in hard times? (Get specific.) Tami W.

Precious Peace

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Philippians 4:1-9

Nothing is better than having the peace of God. Yet, all too often I find myself without it because my focus has shifted over to the things I haven't gotten done on my "to do" list or I'm fixated on some of the not so perfect circumstances that have popped up in my life. So it was good for me to read Philippians 4:1-9 today because Paul addresses having God's peace head on and his words helped me start my day with a proper focus. Thank you, Paul!

So how will you put Paul's instructions about getting God's peace into action today? What was the most powerful thing about God's peace that you noticed from this passage? Tami W.

Pep Talk

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Philippians 3:12-4:1

Paul is the ultimate encourager (which I love), and when we get to Philippians 3:12-4:1 we see his passion regarding living rightly for Christ and continuing to push forward in all we do for Him. But in the middle of his encouragement--his pep talk, if you will--Paul brings our attention to those who don't know Christ. And at this point, we see his sadness over these lost souls.

"For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things" (Philippians 3:18-19).

So as you "press on" for Christ today would you ask the Lord to help you recognize and be mindful of those around you who don't know Christ? Knowing that their "end is destruction" what will you do? Tami W.

No Confidence

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Philippians 3:1-11

Normally, we think about having confidence as a good thing. But when it comes to having confidence in our flesh, that's not the case. Why? Because once we turn our lives over to God, our confidence is in Christ. Paul puts it this way "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh" (vs. 3).

So what does putting "no confidence in the flesh" mean to you? What helps you keep your confidence in the right place--in Christ? Tami W.

Relationship Needed

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Philippians 2:19-30

Relationships were important to Paul, and today we get a glimpse of two relationships that were special to him. Timothy was a chosen co-worker of Paul's, yet their relationship went well beyond simply work. Based on Paul's words there was obviously a strong friendship and bond between them. Epaphroditus was apparently sent by the Philippians to Paul, and I love how Paul refers to him as "my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier and your messenger and ministry to my need. . ." (vs. 25).

So what does this passage reveal about the importance of relationships within the Body of Christ? How important is it for you to be involved with other Christians? Tami W.

Shine On

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Philippians 2:12-17

Paul calls the Philippians (and us) to "shine as lights in the world" in Philippians 2:15. And all around that phrase, he gives us examples and provides us with context for exactly what he means. That being the case, I took a few minutes to just look through this passage and consider what I was accomplishing and how I was doing as a "shining light" overall.

How are you shining as a light in the world (think about specifics)? Would someone you don't go to church with or who isn't part of your immediate family know that you are a follower of Christ? Tami W.

More Like Jesus

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Philippians 2:1-11

It's our natural tendency to think about ourselves first. I can certainly attest to putting my needs, my wants, my family, at the top of my priority list. But as Christians, we should also be mindful of, concerned about and willing to help others. Paul puts it this way: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4).

So would you say verses 3 and 4 describe you? Why or why not? What can you do to be more intentional about recognizing the interests of others? Tami W.

Side by Side

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Philippians 1:27-30

Part of Paul's encouragement to the believers in Philippi is the instruction to "stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents" (vs. 27-28). What a great reminder of the need to work together and stay in fellowship with other believers.

So what benefits have you experienced when you've worked side by side with other believers? What are some examples of how you've "strived side by side for the faith of the gospel"? Tami W.

Honoring Christ

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Philippians 1:19-29

Paul is talking about living for Christ and encouraging the church at Philippi to do the same in Philippians 1:19-29. In verse 20 he makes this powerful statement: "it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death."

Think about your life and priorities. Is honoring Christ the driving force of your day? In the last week, what's one way you've honored Christ publically? What about privately?
Tami W.

Total Christ Focus

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Philippians 1:12-18

So Paul's in prison and one of the first things he wants people to know is that he's ok with that... Actually that he's rejoicing over this fact because his imprisonment "has really served to advance the gospel" (Phil. 1:12). What an example of putting aside all things "self" and living totally for Christ.

So has there been a time in your life when your circumstances weren't necessarily the best but you were alright with that because of what the Lord was doing? What helps you put aside "self" to live for Christ? Tami W.

P.S. Another quick reminder. If you missed any programs during the series What Keeps Me from Growing, you can still download all 10 studies FREE. Check them out!

Philippians 1:1-11

Paul is in prison when he writes to the church at Philippi. So you might expect that there'd be a hint of discouragement in his words. Not so! In fact, what we see is just the opposite. You've heard people being described as "half full" or "half empty" right? Well Paul goes beyond that. He's what I'd describe as "full and overflowing," and we certainly get that picture in Philippians.

So how is it that Paul can be so joyful in the middle of his not so good circumstances? What did you see in Paul today that will help you be (and stay) joyful? Tami W.

P.S. If you missed any programs in our recent series What Keeps Me from Growing, you can download all 10 studies FREE at backtothebible.org. We had such a great response from people telling us how this series really spoke to them personally, so be sure to take a look (or a listen).

Proper Focus

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1 Corinthians 10:13; 31

Today is the final day of Dr. Kroll's radio series What Keeps Me from Growing. Each day for the past two weeks he's been teaching on one of the top ten things we struggle with. So today's topic is overeating which is a biggie for me. I love food, and I absolutely look forward to eating, but sometimes I get fixated on it all. For example, I like celebrating with food. I find food comforting when I'm stressed or feeling down. And then there are parties, special events and socializing which almost always focus around good food. So all that to say, I need to be careful when it comes to eating and food because they can really pull my focus away from God, which is never a good thing.

So what are some specific things you do that help you keep your focus in the proper place--on God? How has God's Word helped you overcome the temptations we've looked at these past two weeks (worry, anger, laziness, selfishness, pride, lust, overeating, discontentment, critical attitude, gossip)? Tami W.

Dangerous Pride

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Proverbs 11:2; 29:23

Today on Back to the Bible and here on P4, we're looking at pride. I think it's safe to say that all of us struggle with pride on some level. My experience has been it's pretty easy to slip into that "me" thinking. That's a bad thing because when my focus is on me, it's no longer on God.

So why is easier to see pride in someone else rather than ourselves? If you've taken the opportunity to listen to Dr. Kroll's message today, did you learn anything about pride that surprised you? Tami W

Me...Second

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James 4:13-17

James makes it pretty clear that nothing good comes out of selfish ambition. "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice" (James 4:16). So I gave some thought to being selfish and what exactly selfishness is. I came up with this: Selfishness = putting me before everything and everyone, including God.

So this week I'm committing to hit my selfishness head on. I'm going to intentionally step back into that second place spot and put others around me first. How about joining me? Who you can put first this week--in your home, at work, at school, at church? Tami W.

Look Inside

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Luke 6:37-42

Jesus is very clear in Luke 6:37-42 that it's not our job to go around judging and condemning others. Yet, have you noticed how this is very much our tendency? Honestly, it's a lot easier for me to look at someone else and be critical than it is to step up to the plate and take an honest look at my own heart and actions. But, that's exactly the point Jesus makes when he talks about removing the log from our own eye before we even concern ourselves with the speck we think we see in someone else.

Based on Jesus' words in Luke 6:37-42, what will you do differently the next time that critical attitude raises its ugly head? What can you do right now to proactively look for your logs?
Tami W.

To Be Content

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Philippians 4:10-13

For the past week on Back to the Bible and P4, we've been looking at and considering different areas of struggles and temptations. (If you didn't get a chance to listen to any of last week's programs, I highly recommend going back and catching them. And, then join Dr. Kroll and me as we finish up this helpful series.)

Today we're looking at discontentment. Now I'd rather not tell you this, but discontentment is something I struggle with. When I was in college and then during my early married years, my discontentment focused around getting money and having more things. Over the past several years, my struggle with discontentment has to do with what I'm doing and accomplishing in my own eyes. You see, I'm a very driven person--one of those type A, always on the go people. So my tendency is to look at what I've done or am doing from a critical perspective rather than a positive one. And this can really slide me into a discontent attitude if I'm not careful and daily engaging God's Word.

We can experience a discontent attitude concerning a variety of things. So how do you stay content? What role does God's Word play? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Tami W.

Facing the Battle

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Deuteronomy 20:1-8

I thought it would be good to get a boost of encouragement from the Old Testament this weekend, and Deuteronomy 20 just seemed to hit the nail on the head for me.

There are many days when what we're dealing with in life (whatever that may be and it's different for all of us) feels like we're facing, head on, an "army greater than our own" (Deut. 20:1). But that shouldn't matter according to Deuteronomy 20:1-8 because we're told over and over do not be afraid because the Lord is with us. (Thank you, Lord, for those reassuring and comforting words.)

So what did you see or learn about fear from Deuteronomy 20:1-8? What is it in your life that feels like a battle? And how can you draw on this passage to deal with it? Tami W.

Matthew 9:35-37; 15:32-39; 20:29-34

Today we get three slightly different pictures of compassion through Jesus' actions and words. In Matthew 9:35-37 Jesus demonstrates compassion by teaching the crowds and healing the sick. In Matthew 15:32-39 he feeds 4,000+ people who have been following him and taking in his teaching. And in Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus' compassion leads him to give sight to two blind men in Jericho.

So Jesus shows compassion first and foremost by teaching. He also shows compassion by helping people when he sees they are in need. And He is responsive to specific requests and needs that are brought to his attention (like with the two men in Jericho). Bottom line--compassion combined with action is a must for us as a Christ follower.

So how do we develop a compassionate heart and attitude? What are some ways you have (and do) show compassion to others? Who might you show compassion to even today--and how?
Tami W.

Gatekeeping

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Paul, talking about a life that is pleasing to God, very plainly tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 that we are to "abstain from sexual immorality."

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

So how do we live out 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 when we're surrounded by the worldly message that sex is good, it's fun and if it feels right to you, you should be participating in it? What are you allowing to come into your life (or your families' life) through music, television, reading, internet, movies, cell phones? Tami W.

Shut the Trap

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Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Timothy 5:13

Some of the biggest hurts in my life are the result of gossip--words directed at me or about me from others and, yes, even my own words about someone else foolishly spoken.

Nothing good comes from gossiping. Yet, it's a huge temptation, and one of the things that makes it so difficult to control and deal with is that it just seems to come naturally to us. I think that's why my mom used to tell me "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all."

So give some thought to overcoming gossip. What are some protections you can put in place to keep yourself from speaking words of gossip? What about those situations where someone else initiates gossip? How might you respond then? Tami W.

No Sluggards

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Proverbs 6:6-11; 20:4; 24:30-34

The word "sluggard" doesn't bring a pretty visual to my mind. Plus, it sounds awful. But the Bible uses that term numerous times referring to people who are lazy. Definitely food for thought.

So what did you learn from Proverbs about being lazy? How do we combat giving in to an attitude of laziness and keep it from becoming our norm? Tami W.

Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; 29:11

We all have it and experience it. It can be a good thing...or a bad thing. How we handle it is critical. What am I talking about? Anger.

We tend to think about anger or getting angry in a negative way, as being bad, even as sin--and all too often, that is the case. I can't even tell you how many times I've sinned as a result of my being angry. We've all been there. But as I read our three verses from Proverbs, I was reminded that anger itself isn't a sin, and how it can actually be a good thing.

Based on these verses from Proverbs and your own experience, how should anger function in our lives as followers of Christ? How can anger be useful? Tami W.

Let Go

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What Keeps Me from Growing

Psalm 55:1-23

On any given day I carry a variety of burdens, sometimes they're big and other times they're small. Either way, based on Psalm 55, and especially verse 22, I need to be giving them all over to the Lord. Yet, I don't always do that ...or it takes me a little while to let go and really give it over. Any of this sound familiar to you?

So why is it that we don't always take full advantage of this awesome promise? What are you hanging onto today that needs to be given to God? Let Him help because He's waiting. Tami W.

P.S. I'm excited about a brand new 2-week series starting today on Back to the Bible called What Keeps Me from Growing. Based on research from our Center for Bible Engagement, Dr. Kroll will be teaching on the most common temptations that hinder spiritual growth ... and, of course, how to overcome them. Be sure to visit backtothebible.org each day to download a study on the day's topic, including a Baker's Dozen of Verses to help you fight each temptation.

Your God

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Psalm 95:1-11

There are a number of commands for us in Psalm 95, but what I saw in verses 6 and 7 really resonated with me today. Verse 6 calls us to worship and bow down to the Lord, and verse 7 gives us the why. "For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand" (vs. 7). I love this picture of our relationship with God.

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

Lows and All

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Psalm 13:1-8

We've all been there--dejected, sad, despondent, discouraged. Well, that's kind of where David's at in Psalm 13. 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 a 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.

Shot in the Arm

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energy drink

Romans 8:31-39

If you feel like you're in need of a boost or a shot in the arm, then Romans 8:31-39 is a great passage for you. I think of it as one of those "energy drink" passages in the Bible. It's a complete pick me up. How awesome to know "If God is for us, who can be against us?" and that nothing--NOTHING--can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:3,35-39).

So what encouraged you from this passage? What does Romans 8:31-39 show you about the depth, strength and magnitude of God's love? Tami W.

Controlled Plan

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Romans 8:18-30

When things aren't going well, when they aren't going the way we think they should, it's not too difficult to slip into a mindset of questioning God, even doubting that He's in control. But Romans 8:18-30 provides solid evidence for us that God is, in fact, in control, He does have a plan and that plan is for good.

So how did this passage speak to you about God being in control, God having a plan and your role in that plan? Tami W.

Family Benefits

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Romans 8:14-17

Paul tells us point blank that if we've received Christ as our Savior, we are children of God and fellow heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:16-17). Now, being a child of God makes sense to me. I can understand it because I've been part of an earthly family all my life. But the idea of being a joint heir with Christ isn't so clear for me. It's pretty mind blowing to just think about getting an eternal inheritance, and that's before the sharing it with Jesus part.

So what does being a child of God mean to you? What does Romans 8:14-17 tell you about how God loves and values you? 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 August 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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