September 2012 Archives

Seals to Trumpets

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Revelation 8:1-12

Today the seventh seal is opened and we move into the first four trumpet judgments. No part of the earth escapes these judgments. They're horrible, and deliver destruction and death like we've never seen or experienced before. What a clear demonstration of God being in control and His complete and unmatched power. And then, just when we're thinking it can't get any worse, these chilling words let us know that there's more to come... "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth" (vs. 13).

The goings on in Revelation 8 gave me a jolt. I don't want anyone to have to experience the horrific things we read about here. So what does this passage tell us about the importance of knowing, following and belonging to Christ? Who do you know that doesn't yet know Jesus? What can you do to change that? Tami W.

Uncover the Layers

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Zechariah 9:9-17

We're taking a break from Revelation today and looking at prophecy from Zechariah 9. The Book of Zechariah was written to the Jews of Jerusalem who returned from captivity. But no worries, because there are plenty of lessons here for us as well.

I read Zechariah 9:9-17 several times. In my first read through I found myself focusing in on the details of this passage--what was happening with the Jewish people and Zechariah's words to them regarding the future. But as I went back and read these verses a couple more times, my focus switched from the details of Zechariah's message, to God. I was actually a little surprised at how much information Zechariah 9:9-17 provides us about Him.

So read Zechariah 9:9-17 again but this time with a specific focus on God. Then, tell us what you saw, how it impacted you and what you can do with this information. Tami W.

Silence in Heaven

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Revelation 7:13-8:5

As we move into Revelation 8, the seventh and final seal is opened by Jesus. This act reveals the next set of judgments, the trumpet judgments. These seven judgments are much worse than what we've seen thus far. They're more intense, more devastating, more destructive. As soon as the seventh seal is opened and before the trumpet judgments begin, we're told that heaven falls into complete silence for 30 minutes (perhaps an indicator of the terrible judgment to come or to allow the prayers of the saints to be heard?). In the middle of this ominous silence, the saints who are around the throne are praying, and we're told their prayers rise up before God.

So what does this passage tells us about the importance and power of prayer? What does it show us about God receiving our prayers? Tami W.

Mercy in the Middle

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Revelation 7:1-17

Death, destruction and judgment are what we see in Revelation 6. So you might be expecting more of the same in Revelation 7, but not so. Judgment is put on hold. You see, Revelation 7 is all about the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles during the seven year Tribulation. Even in this time of judgment, God still wants to reconcile people to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ (vs. 14). Pretty incredible.

So what does this passage show/tell us about God? Tami W.

The Fifth of Seven

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Revelation 6:1-17

The scroll with seven seals is now being opened by Jesus, the Lamb who was slain. This starts the first of three sets or cycles of judgments (seals, trumpets and bowls) that will be unleashed on the earth and its inhabitants. Six of the seven seals are opened in chapter 6 (the seventh will be opened in chapter 8).

But it's the fifth seal that caught my attention. When that fifth seal is opened, John sees under the altar "the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the witness they had borne" (vs. 9). It's hard for us to imagine this as things are in the here and now in the U.S., but this is definitely something we need to think about and consider. These people (and it appears to be a large number because they cried out in a "loud voice") DIED because they chose to follow and proclaim Christ.

So what does this fifth seal show us about our witness? What are some things we can do to help us stand firm for Christ no matter what the circumstance? Tami W.

Revelation 5:1-14

There's a lot going on in Revelation 5. We're introduced to the scroll with seven seals, Jesus appears as the Lamb, we see the four living creatures and the 24 elders again and now added in are angels en mass.

Now I know I just talked about worship yesterday, but the worship taking place here in this passage practically jumped off the page at me. Did you notice how large a portion of this chapter is dedicated to worship? It was so intense and "every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea" was participating. A pretty good indicator for us of the importance of worship.

So any new thoughts on worship after reading Revelation 5 today? Do you see any changes coming for how you might worship? Tami W.

Focused Worship

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Revelation 4:1-11

Can you imagine day and night, never ceasing worship? Because that's exactly what we see in Revelation 4:1-11, and it's awesome. Look at the words that are continually on the lips of these six winged, eye-covered creatures, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (verse 8). And then, the words of the 24 elders. "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created" (verse 11).

So what did you see/learn about worship from Revelation 4:1-11? How might we draw on these examples with regard to our own worship? Tami W.

His Name Alone

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Zechariah 14:1-21

Ok. Let me just say right up front that Zechariah 14:1-21 is kind of a tough passage. It's prophecy and there's just a lot to take in. The Book of Zechariah is the story of God's people returning to their homeland from captivity. And the last chapter (14) is prophecy about the Second Coming of Christ. So Zechariah 14:1-21 is giving us a Jewish perspective on things to come in the distant future, with a focus on Israel and what will happen to her during this time.

So you might be wondering if there are take aways for us from this passage. Absolutely! One thing I was drawn to was verse 9 where we're told "And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one." What a wonderful reminder of God's sovereignty and that there will be a day that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

The good news is that as Christ-followers we already know and recognize Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords. (How about an "Amen" to that?) So what can we do to make sure we're committed, submitted and worshipping at all times? Tami W.

We Can Rejoice

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Paul gives us an incredible shot in the arm in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I particularly love verses 13 and 14 where Paul sets out so clearly that as believers we have hope in all circumstances, even death, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Both my dad and mom have passed away, and even though they've been gone a number of years, I still miss them a lot. Yet, while I mourn the fact that they are no longer here and actively part of my life, at the same time, I can rejoice because they both knew the Lord and I know they are with Him. (Thank you, Lord!!)

The last verse of our passage instructs us to "encourage one another with these words." I say "Amen to that!!" So how can we use this passage for encouragement this weekend--first for ourselves and then for others? Tami W.

At the Throne

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Revelation 4:1-8

Today, we undergo a shifting of gears if you will. We're moving into chapter 4 of Revelation and as we do that we are moving from things that took place in the past to things that are to come in the future. Our setting is no longer on the earth but in heaven, and we're moving into the judgment portion of Revelation.

Revelation 4:2 introduces us to God seated on the throne. John provides us with quite a description of God, His throne and all that is around the throne. What he describes is definitely not of this world. It's absolutely majestic and it so highlighted for me God's glory and power and holiness.

So what did this picture of God on the throne convey to you? How can we utilize what we learned about God from this passage in our lives today? Tami W.

Wide Open

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Revelation 3:19-4:2

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). What wonderful, loving words from Jesus to the church of Laodicea. And they're coming immediately after He has given them a stern rebuke, He's warned them about being disciplined and He's called them to be zealous in repenting. Pretty amazing, don't you think? That even when we're not where we should be in our relationship with the Lord, He still loves us and desires to know us and for us to know Him?

So wherever you're at with your relationship with Christ today, what can you do to make it better? What can you do to make sure the door of your heart is wide open and that you're actively at the table "dining" with Christ? Tami W.

Keep the Heat

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Revelation 3:14-22

You know that saying about keeping the best for last? Well, we're at church number seven, Laodicea, and the message they receive is definitely not the best. It's pretty bad. Jesus tells the church at Laodicea that because they are neither hot nor cold but are lukewarm, that He will spit them out of His mouth (Ouch!). He then warns them about being disciplined and calls for them to be zealous in repenting.

So how do we keep from becoming lukewarm and distasteful to Christ? What are some things we can do to "take our spiritual temperature" from time to time? Tami W.

Way to Go Philadelphia!

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Revelation 3:7-13

The message to the church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) gave me an instant lift. I loved the reminder of keeping God's Word and proclaiming Christ. But where that lift really hit was when I was reminded that we can do significant things for the Lord without being significant ourselves or belonging to a big, powerful church. "Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (verse 8).

So regardless of your position, title, authority or power, what are some things you can do for the Lord this week? Plan one action/set one goal and then tell us about it. Tami W.

Resuscitation Needed

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Revelation 3:1-6

"You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1). These are piercing words meant to get the attention of the church at Sardis. Jesus is not pleased with their works and He calls them to remember and repent.

So this church was alive spiritually at some point but has since allowed that passion for Christ to slip away. By appearances though, they're still operating and functional, but their motivation, their passion, what fuels them is no longer living actively for Christ.

So let's think about how we, individually and as a church body, get started down that path from being alive and vibrant to a near death state. What are some things that might cause this? And on the flip side, what are some things we can do to live vibrantly for Christ? Tami W.

No Guesswork

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2 Peter 1:3-21

The Bible isn't a compilation of made-up stories and predictions put together by a handful of men. Instead, it is the account of eyewitnesses to Jesus (people who were there and saw what happened) and not only that, but were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the message God wanted shared. Peter lays this out pretty clearly in 2 Peter 1:12-21. What a good and helpful reminder for us of the origin and reliability of every single word of the Bible.

So what confidence does 2 Peter 1:12-21 give us? How can you use or what are you going to do with this passage this week? Tami W.

No Escape

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1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 4:12-19 is all about suffering for being a Christian. Right away Peter gives us the hard news--that trials will be part of our lives and we need to expect them--but then he spends the next several verses encouraging us and letting us know what a privilege it is to suffer for the sake of Christ. I particularly liked verse 14 where he tells us that if we're insulted for the name of Christ, we're blessed because the Spirit of glory and God rests upon us.

So did 1 Peter 4:12-19 change your perspective on going through trials and suffering? What encouragement did you take from this passage? Tami W.

Subtle and Dangerous

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Revelation 2:18-29

Tolerance was a BIG problem for the church at Thyatira...and it's a big problem for us too. In Revelation 2:18-29 we see that Jesus won't tolerate our tolerance when it comes to things that are contrary to God's Word.

So what can we do to guard against tolerating those things that are wrong in God's eyes? What are some checks we might put in place to help us be more aware of the messages around us and how they are impacting our thinking? Tami W.

Be the Influencer

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Revelation 2:12-17

From the looks of Revelation 2:12-17 the church in Pergamum was surrounded by sin and evil yet they didn't let this stop them from standing up for and proclaiming Christ. "I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith..." (verse 13). Unfortunately, as the church was shining its light in this dark community, worldly thinking, practices and actions made their way right into the church body. Definitely not good. This is a serious offense and Jesus calls for repentance.

We're called to let our lights shine, as a church and individually. So what are some things we can do to help us hold our ground against the strong influences of the world as we're out there in it sharing Christ? Tami W.

Rough Road

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Revelation 2:8-11

Our four short verses on the church in Smyrna are sobering. They're also a little scary because they let us know what we might very well encounter as Christ-followers. But then, a life of comfort and ease has never been part of the promise of being a Christian.

So what do Jesus' words convey about our ability to press on for Christ regardless of our circumstances? Tami W.

Back to Love

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Revelation 2:1-7

If someone were to ask us what Revelation was about, we'd probably respond with something like "It's about the future." And that's true, but Revelation deals with the past and the present as well. Over the next few days we'll be focusing on seven messages to churches that were in existence at that time in the area we know today as modern Turkey. So this portion deals with the past. However, Jesus' words (His commendations and warnings) also apply to us today, both as a body of believers and individually.

Today we read about the church in Ephesus. Jesus commends this church for its works and endurance and its diligence in ferreting out false teaching. But a very serious charge follows--the church at Ephesus "had abandoned the love [they] had at first." This is unacceptable and Jesus calls them to remember and repent (verses 4-5).

No one plans or intends to fall away from loving God. So what causes this to happen and how can we guard against it? And if we find that we're heading down that slippery slope, what do we do to correct it and recapture that love? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

Goodbye Prep

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Revelation 1:4-20

The past week has really been a prepping of sorts for Revelation but now we're jumping in. We've been circling around Revelation 1, and, yes, we're going to stay there one more day. (Just goes to show that we can read the same scripture over and over and keep learning, taking in and digesting.)

I read Revelation 1 several times this morning and every time I was drawn to the description of Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega and these words from Jesus, '"Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades'" (verses 17 and 18).

So as we head down this Journey through Revelation, what do Jesus' words convey to us about following Him and our future? Tami W.

P.S. Journey through Revelation week 2 starts today. Check it out!

Blessings for Us

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Revelation 1:1-11

Right as we start Revelation, John tells us "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near" (verse 3). Now I'm loving this verse for a couple of reasons. First, because who doesn't want blessing? And second because it lets us know right up front that Revelation is meant for and has application for us in the here and now. (This is what I was referring to in yesterday's blog.)

So what are some ways we can make sure we're taking advantage of this offer of blessing? And what can we do to make sure we're looking for application as we read each day (blessed are those who keep what is in this book)?
Tami W.

Sneak Preview

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Daniel 7:9-28

End times in the Old Testament? Yep. Daniel's dream in Daniel chapter 7 is like a sneak peak, a little overview if you will, of what's to come in Revelation. So you can consider this prep work as we gear up to really jump into the Book of Revelation next week on P4 and Back to the Bible.

Now I'm a firm believer that God doesn't put things in His Word just so we can have head knowledge. He puts things before us so we can draw on them and put them to use as we live for Him. So how can we draw on and use Daniel's vision and its interpretation in our lives today? I know, this is tough, but it's a question we'll need to keep before us as we work through Revelation. The temptation will be to let ourselves get caught up in all the details and the goings on and not step back and consider why it matters for us to know this information and what we should do with it. Tami W.

Of the Light

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1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Paul tells us that as Christ-followers we are "children of light, children of the day." (I love this imagery, by the way.) He then instructs us to "keep awake and be sober." So let's think about who we are and how we accomplish Paul's instructions.

What does being a child of light mean for us? What does staying awake and being sober [self-controlled, alert] look like as we live out our lives? Tami W.

Different Time Zones

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2 Peter 3:1-13

By our nature, we're impatient (some of us maybe a little more than others). We want and like things on our timetable. Peter is tuned into this tendency we have and, as a result, warns us about doubting God's timetable. He reminds us in verse 8 "that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." But then encourages us in verse 9 with these sweet words: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

So what are some things we can do to help us remember that God's timetable is different than ours and that His is most important? Tami W.

Matthew 24:3-51

We're looking to Matthew 24:3-51 today to find out a little more about end times and the future. I found it interesting (and kind of comforting), to see that the disciples were asking Jesus the same question we ask today: "What will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" (verse 3). Jesus responds by giving them (and us) quite a bit of information--warnings, examples, instruction. And part of this information is that no one will know. "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (verse 36).

So how can we use Matthew 24:3-51 to help us live out our lives in the here and now? Tami W.

Jesus is Coming

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Revelation 1:9-20; 22:12-21

Every time I read Revelation my heart is moved, more than normal, for people who do not know Christ as Savior, primarily because of how this Book highlights clearly that Jesus' return is happening and that that time is near. These words spoke loudly to me this morning:

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates" (Rev. 22:14). And then this: "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price" (Rev. 22:17).

Revelation 1:3 tells us "the time is near" and Jesus' words at Revelation 22:20 are: '"Surely I am coming soon.'" Knowing this, how important is it for you to be out there--right now, this weekend, next week--telling others about their need for Christ? There isn't one correct or one specific way to share Christ. So take some time today to figure out what you're style is (your approach) and then ask the Lord to help you be bold for Him. You might even be able to use Revelation 22:14 and 17. Tami W.

Intro to Revelation

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Revelation 1:1-8

Today we begin an eight week--yes, you read correctly--an eight week trek through the Book of Revelation. Now if you're wondering why, it's because we're going to follow along with what Dr. Kroll is teaching on radio. The radio series is titled Journey through Revelation and if you're not already a Back to the Bible radio listener, I encourage you to join us for this exciting and helpful series.

Before we get to the "meat" of Revelation, John starts out by giving us some information to help us better understand this Book. Take a few minutes to go back and read Revelation 1:1-8 again and this time, pay specific attention to the details. What did you learn from these first few verses about this Book? What did these verses show you about Jesus? Tami W.

Sweet Victory

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1 John 5:1-5

Sometimes I lose sight of just how incredible it is to be a child of God and what that means for me in the here and now. So I was thankful for John's bold statement in 1 John 5:4. "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith." (How about joining me with a big Amen to that?!?)

Take a few minutes to re-read and consider 1 John 5:4-5. How does this passage encourage you today? What does it mean to you that you have "overcome the world?" Tami W.

P.S. Starting Monday, Dr. Kroll will be taking us on a Journey through Revelation for eight weeks on radio. I hope you can join us.

More Love

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1 John 4:7-21

John obviously felt quite strongly about God's love and us loving one another because he hits the whole topic of love again--full force--in 1 John 4. As I read, the fact that God's love for us is a given and unconditional came across loud and clear. (Thank you, God!) But as I shifted my thinking over to my love, the realization hit me that yes, while I do love others, there are still plenty of times where my love is conditional.

1 John 4: 11 says: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

Think about a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the equivalent of loving like God. Where would you say you land on this scale when it comes to loving others? Why? What can you do to move further up the scale towards that 10? Tami W.

P.S. If you're interested in the Book of Revelation, then you'll want to listen to Back to the Bible starting next week as we begin an in-depth radio series on Revelation.

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 September 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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