November 2012 Archives

Focused Progress

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Matthew 25:14-30

There are two things that stood out for me from the parable of the three servants and talents in Matthew 25:14-30. (I won't rehash the story here since we just read it.) First is that the master divided up the talents or bags of gold or silver based upon each servant's ability. And second is that the master expected the servants to use what had been given to them to make or do even more. As I considered these two points, it dawned on me how important it is for me to stay focused on whatever task God has set before me and that I need to give my full effort to it. It's not too difficult to get pulled off course when I start looking at and comparing myself to someone else and their skills, ability and progress.

So what skills and abilities has God gifted you with? And how are you using your unique talents to invest in and grow the kingdom of God? Tami W.

Living Stones

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1 Peter 2:4-10

Today we get a little mini sermon of sorts on being God's people. Peter starts with the foundation--Christ--who is the living cornerstone, and then tells us that those who follow and believe in Christ "like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house."

So what does 1 Peter 2:1-10 show us about our relationship with Christ? How do you see yourself as being like a "living stone"? Tami W.

No Doubt

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Galatians 2:15-21

No one is justified or made right by obeying the law. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be justified. That message came through loud and clear in Galatians 2:15-21. And to emphasize this point even more, verse 21 says "for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

So many people today think that they're on their way to heaven because in their eyes, they're a "good" person. They have a job, pay their taxes, they help their neighbor, give to charity, go to church...and the list goes on and on. But no matter how large that list of good things done is, it can never get them to heaven.

So how will you use this passage to explain Jesus Christ and the importance of placing faith in Him to others? Tami W.

By Fire

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1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1:4-8

As Christians, we're all workers for the Lord. But how much thought do we really give to what that work is and how we we're going about completing it? Hmm...

We see pretty clearly in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 that the Lord cares about our work for Him. In this short passage we're told that on judgment day the work we've done will be tested with fire and whatever work survives the fire--that work that is acceptable and of quality--will be rewarded.

So what encouragement can we draw from these verses? How will you use 1 Cor. 3:11-15 to help you as you work for the Lord going forward? Tami W.

P.S. We're now into week 2 of Dr. Kroll's 3 week series on the Judgment Seat of Christ and eternal rewards. This is an incredible series, full of information we need to know about this important day in our future and what we should expect there. I invite you join us if you're not already listening.

Unseen and Eternal

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2 Corinthians 11:23-30; 4:16-18

I doubt any of us have endured the treatment Paul encountered for following Christ. Honestly, it's hard for me to imagine just what Paul describes he went through in 2 Cor. 11:23-30. So what impact does this all have on Paul? Maybe not what we'd think because Paul doesn't give up. He doesn't stop his bold proclamation of Christ. I love his words in 2 Cor. 4:16-17 that our troubles here in this world are small and temporary, but this present affliction is preparing for us an "eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. . . For the things that are unseen are eternal."

How can we draw on Paul's experiences and words here in 2 Corinthians to help us as we go through hardships?
Tami W.

P.S. If you, like Paul, have looked to the unseen and eternal to help you get through tough times, we'd love to hear about it.

Common Ground

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1 Corinthians 9:15-27

Paul is talking about how sharing and spreading the Good News, the Gospel (that Jesus died for our sins and rose again), is the most important responsibility he's been entrusted with. He uses the example of running a race with a prize of eternal rewards to help us understand just how important this is. Now sharing the Gospel might seem challenging, maybe even a little scary for some of us. So thankfully Paul shows us what he did to reach many, many people--he used the common ground approach. In other words, when he was with the Jews, he became as the Jews, when with the Gentiles, he became as the Gentiles, when he was with the weak, he became weak. He approached people where they were at, but (and this is an important but) he made sure not to be outside the law of God, but obeying the law of Christ as he did this (vs. 21).

So do you have any stories about how you've used this "common ground approach" to share the Gospel? We'd love to hear them. Who might you use this approach with going forward? Tami W.

Matthew 6:1-4; 19-21

Everything we do is motivated by something. Now here's the thing, there are proper and improper motivations, and since we're not perfect, we act on and respond to both. Jesus knew this and He points it out very clearly in Matthew 6:1-4. He also lets us know that it is only those good deeds we do with proper motivation that will be rewardable when it comes to eternity--when we are standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

So what are you going to do to make sure you're doing good and helping others with the right motivation? How can we use and draw on Jesus' words here in Matthew 6 to help us? Tami W.

Extreme Desire

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Psalm 19:7-11; Ephesians 2:8-10

David gives us some things to consider about God's instructions, decrees and commands and how they impact and play out in our lives in Psalm 19:7-11. As I was reading I found myself saying "Yes" and nodding my head in agreement that God's instructions are perfect and trustworthy, right and clear, making us wise. But after I read verse 10 I paused. It's here that David tells us God's commands and instructions are more desirable than even the finest gold and His Words are sweeter than honey. I had to ask myself, Tami, do you truly believe this (because it's easy to say "yes" and not really mean it)? Do you desire God more than anything else? And does your life reflect this? Well I do really believe this, but if I'm honest, I don't always act like I do. I fall. I stumble, and I'm guessing you do too?

So I'm curious, does David's description of God's commands, instructions and decrees match up with how you approach and feel about God's Word? And if we're struggling in this area or just not quite there, how can we work on getting to that place where we desire God and His commands more than all the rich things of this world? Tami W.

Powerful!

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Hebrews 4:11-16

God's Word is POWERFUL and I don't ever want to lose sight of that fact. So I was grateful for the wonderful reminder today from Hebrews 4:12-13 about how the Bible is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and that it cuts between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and reveals our thoughts, desires and intentions. That's a lot to take in, but the writer of Hebrews isn't done yet. When we get to verse 13, he drives home this message home by telling us straight up that nothing we do or think is hidden from God. "But all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

So how can we use this passage to help us with our Bible reading and study, with our personal time with the Lord, even to help us understand us better? And on the flip side, how can we use this passage to encourage and help us to share God's Word with others? Tami W.

P.S. To all those in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! As you look back over 2012, tell us what you're thankful for!

One Important Day

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2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Paul gives us a little preview and a pep talk of sorts in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 about living now but looking toward our heavenly home. I found his words about being in good spirits, walking by faith and not by sight, and making it our aim to please God very encouraging. The most important verse for me, however, was verse 10. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."

So what does 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 show us about the importance of living to please God? How can we use our knowledge of the Judgment Seat of Christ as a motivator in the here and now?
Tami W.

P.S. Dr. Kroll has just started a 3-week series on the Judgment Seat of Christ, Salvation and Eternal Rewards. This is information we all need to know. So if you're not already listening, I encourage you to join us for the rest of these important messages.

More Than Motions

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1 Corinthians 3:8-9; 9:23-27

Do you ever feel like you're just plodding on and going through the motions, thinking things like What exactly is it that I'm doing for You Lord? Or Am I accomplishing things and making headway? Well I've certainly been there and I still find myself in this frame of mind from time to time. So Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 gave me a good reminder, plus a little prod to refocus, that I am in fact in a race and as such, I need to be making the most of my efforts.

So what do these passages tell us about the importance/significance of the race we are in? What can we do to make sure we're running with focus, purpose and intent? Tami W.

Slaves

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Romans 3:23-26; 5:6-9; 6:20-23

Our passages today are all about salvation (and great to use for witnessing, by the way). Each one plainly lays out that we are all sinners but that Christ died for our sins so that we might have the free gift of eternal life (Thank you, Lord!). Now when we get to Romans 6: 20-23, Paul talks about our being "slaves of God." Definitely something worth thinking about.

So what does being a slave of God mean for you? What does it look like in your life? What would you like it to look like? Tami W.

P.S. This is day one of an important series titled Facing Your Final Job Review which takes an in depth look at the Judgment Seat of Christ, salvation and eternal rewards. You seriously don't want to miss out on this series.

A Shot in the Arm

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Psalm 91:1-16

If I had to describe Psalm 91 in one word it would be ... encouraging. The entire psalm basically lays out the benefits of having a relationship with God. Now there was something for me to consider in every verse, but I found the last three verses, 14-16, 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? How might you use and draw upon this psalm in this coming week? Tami W.

God is my...

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Psalm 62:1-12

David tells us in Psalm 62 that his soul waits for God alone. He then goes on to describe what God means to him specifically and personally. It's quite a list: God is David's rock, his salvation, his fortress (vs. 2); his hope (vs. 5); and his mighty rock and refuge (vs. 7).

So do you see and describe God as David does here in Psalm 62? Fill in the following blank with as many descriptors that come to mind. God is my _____________. Tami W.

Live Fully

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Philippians 3:12-4:1

Living your life fully for Christ takes work--which is why I love Paul's words in Philippians 3 where he tells us how because he belongs to Christ he's going to "press on" and "strain forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3:12-13).

So what does your pressing on look like? What role does "straining forward to what lies ahead" play in you growing closer to Christ? Tami W.

No Hiding

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Psalm 139:1-34; Psalm 37:18; Psalm 38:9

Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that God knows everything about me--my thoughts, my actions, my attitudes. That being the case, I need to spend a little time contemplating why it is that there are still times when I try to hide my thoughts and actions from God or I'm just not 100% honest with Him about what I'm feeling.

So what do these passages from Psalms show you about being open and honest with God? Tami W.

Your House

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Joshua 24:14-23

As Joshua takes the reins from Moses in Joshua 24 he calls the Israelites together and reminds them of the importance of following God and His commands. He challenges them to choose whom they will serve--God or some other foreign god. Then, to really make his point Joshua says this "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

This proclamation from Joshua is one of my favorites. My dad and mom had a plaque of this verse on the door coming into their house, and my husband and I have this verse hanging over the entryway into our living room as well.

So would you say that Joshua 24:15 describes you? How are you contributing to your household serving the Lord? Tami W.

Deuteronomy 31:9-13

How many times have you heard or read this verse? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (Deut. 6:5). I'm guessing many times, but did you know that right after this statement Moses commands the Israelites to diligently teach these words and other commands from God to their children? He then spells out what he means by the word teach--talk of God's commands when you're sitting in your house, when you're walking, when you lie down and when you get up. He's basically saying we need to be teaching God's Word and ways to our children non-stop.

How important is it that we share God's Word with younger generations? What role are you playing? What are some ways you "teach" God's Word and His ways to your children as a parent or grandparent, or children generally if you're not a parent? Tami W.

P.S. Take a listen to today's Back to the Bible program as author/speaker Jeffrey Dean talks more about reclaiming our youth for God.

To and For All

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Deuteronomy 31:9-13

Moses is nearing the end of his life in Deuteronomy 31. So he calls the Israelites together and announces that Joshua will be their new leader and gives them instruction. You see, Moses knew that in order for the Israelites to prosper as a nation they had to be following God and His Word. In Deuteronomy 31:12 Moses says "Assemble the people, men, women, and the little ones, and the sojourner within your towns that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God and be careful to do all the words of this law." In other words, everyone--from young to old--is to hear and follow the Law.

Take some time today to consider the different things Deuteronomy 31:9-20 reveals to us about God's Word. What does it show about the importance of taking it in? Understanding it? Putting it into action? What about who it's for?
Tami W.

P.S. I encourage you to check out the Back to the Bible programs this week as we welcome speaker and author Jeffrey Dean. Jeffrey speaks all over the country primarily at youth conferences, and he'll be talking about reclaiming our country, youth, homes, churches and lives for God. Hope you can tune in.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Just like our physical body, the body of Christ is made up of many different parts, with each one necessary for the body to function properly. I love that illustration. And pretty much every time I read 1 Corinthians 12:12-20 it gets me thinking about what specific body part I'm comparable to and how I'm functioning as that part. But body parts aside, the big thing for me from this passage is knowing that God uniquely gifted me for His purposes.

So how has God gifted you as part of the body of Christ? How are you using that gifting? And, are you functioning at full capacity? Tami W.

Scent of God

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2 Corinthians 2:12-17

A couple days ago I was reading in 2 Corinthians and these two verses jumped off the page at me. "But thanks be to God, who ... through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (2 Cor. 12:14-15). I'm a firm believer that telling others about Christ is a MUST for all of us. So reading how I am a fragrance and aroma of Christ gave me a boost to get out there in a renewed way.

Take a couple of minutes and think about what being an aroma of Christ could or should look like. Now, what do you need to do to make it a reality this week? Tami W.

Proverbs 12:16,18; 13:3; 14:29; 15:1

Yesterday we talked about having wisdom when it comes to family relationships. We're going to hit that topic again today because we're all part of a family (birth family, adopted family, church family) and it's important that we operate within that family to the best of our ability. For me, that means that I need to mindful of every word that comes out of my mouth (Proverbs 12:18; 13:3 and 15:1) and I also need to be mindful of how I act and react to others (Proverbs 12:16; 14:29).

So what have you learned from Proverbs that will help you interact and operate wisely with the different members of your family? Tami W.

Wise with Family

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wisdom and relatives

Proverbs 23:22; Proverbs 30:17; 1 Timothy 5:8

Family is special. But just because someone is part of your family doesn't mean disagreements, tension and frustration won't enter into those relationships. In fact, family relationships seem to be prone to problems. That being the case, we need God's wisdom to help us treat and interact with all the different members of our family in a good way--which, by the way, includes both blood relatives and relatives that become part of our family through marriage or adoption.

So how does (or has) God's Word help you with your family relationships? Are there any Scriptures that have been helpful to you? Tami W.

P.S. Today's Back to the Bible program is all about caring for aging parents. And since many of you are likely making decisions (or will be) in this area, I think you'll find some helpful encouragement.

Choose Wisely

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wisdom and friends

Proverbs 13:20

How much thought do you give to who you hang out with?

As I look back over the years, I'm surprised at how little intentional consideration I've given to exactly who my friends are. Now that doesn't mean that I didn't give any thought to the matter, I did. But had I been more careful about who I was choosing to spend time with, I'm certain I could have avoided some hurts and stupid decisions.

Gaining friends is a constant process. How will you follow the advice found in Proverbs 13:20 as you continue to seek out new friends? What can you do to impress the wisdom of Proverbs 13:20 as a parent, grandparent, Sunday School teacher? Tami W.

Young to Old

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wisdom and children

Proverbs 22:6

My dad and mom did their best to train me and my brothers and sister in the way we should go. They were following Proverbs 22:6, trying to raise us up according to God's Word and to teach us what the Bible says. I'm thankful for that because even now, as an adult (and, no, I'm not willing to concede that I'm "old" just yet) I find myself drawing on things that my parents showed and taught me from God's Word.

So how has what you've learned from God's Word in the past helped you navigate and make wise decisions maybe weeks, months or even years later? How important is it for us to store up God's Word to our hearts and know His ways? Tami W.

P.S. Today's Back to the Bible program is all about wisdom as it relates to children and parenting. We've also posted some bonus content all about discipline. I encourage you to check it out.

Seek. Search. Pursue.

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Proverbs 2:1-5

If you've ever wondered about wisdom--its purpose, value, benefits, origin, acquiring it--then Proverbs 2 is a great place to go because it's all about wisdom. Now there's no doubt that we need godly wisdom. But acquiring it takes action on our part. Proverbs 3-5 clearly tells us that we need to "call out for insight," to "seek it like silver," and "search for it as hidden treasure." And it's when we take this action that we "find the knowledge of God."

So how active are you when it comes to seeking out God's wisdom? In the past week what specifically have you done to increase your wisdom and knowledge of God? Tami W.

A Wise Tongue

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Proverbs 15:2; Psalm 13:3

Two insightful verses on wisdom and our words today.

"The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly." Proverbs 15:2

"Whoever guards his mouth preservers his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." Proverbs 13:3

Take a couple of minutes and re-read these verses. This time through jot down on a piece of paper what you see about how we use our words. And then share a couple things with us here on the blog. Tami W.

P.S. Here are a couple of things I saw. Proverbs 15:2--the more I use my mouth, the more opportunity I have to "pour out folly." Proverbs 13:3--I need to be mindful of every word.

Watch the Words

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Proverbs 15:1

Responding with soft words isn't my default when I get mad, I'm stressed out or my feelings get hurt. More often than not, my first impulse is to use my words to "make things right" in my eyes. Now that may make me feel better temporarily, but responding straightaway with harsh words rarely makes the situation better. In fact, I'd say about 98% of the time, I wish after the fact, that I had chosen different words, used a different tone and opted for different timing.

So how did Proverbs 15:1 speak to you today? Going forward, what can you do to make sure you're dispensing more soft responses when you find yourself in a difficult situation? Tami W.

Slow 'Em Down

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speech bubble

Proverbs 29:20

The older I get, the more I realize the wisdom of being slow to speak and sometimes not speaking at all. However, knowing and doing don't always line up because the older I get, I also have more opinions and I seem to like to share them. Sound familiar?

Proverbs 29:20 is crystal clear that it's wise to slow down the words coming out of our mouth. So what do you do to curb that powerful urge to respond immediately and freely? How has following Proverbs 29:20 been beneficial for you? Tami W.

"Wealthy" for God

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Proverbs 9:17-18; Psalm 10:3-11

Both of our passages for today paint a picture of faulty, distorted thinking and the sinful attitudes we harbor when our focus and goals become having money and possessions. I'm sure you've heard this time and again, but money itself isn't bad (after all God created money). The problems come when our priorities get messed up and we place having money and things before God.

As I thought about these passages and how I could apply them today, the phrase "living wealthy for God" popped into my mind as a personal goal. I spent a few minutes thinking through what I am doing to live well for God now, and then, how I could represent God even better in and through my present situation. It was a good exercise. So how about you? Would you say you're currently "living wealthy for God"? Is there more you could you do going forward? 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 November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2012 is the previous archive.

December 2012 is the next archive.

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