January 2013 Archives

Lover of???

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2 Timothy 3:1-17

Paul gives us quite a list of attitudes and behaviors in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that are not pleasing to God. I didn't see one thing in this list that isn't rampant today. Watch some television, go to the movies, surf the net and you'll find them all. Now I'd love to say that as Christians we no longer have to concern ourselves with these behaviors, but that's just not the case. We aren't immune to any of the sinful things on Paul's list and they can and will creep in and take us out of the game if we're not careful.

So how do we stay a strong "lover of God"? How do we guard against slipping into these ungodly attitudes and behaviors? Tami W.


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2 Timothy 2:14-26

Paul charges Timothy (and us) to present ourselves to God as an approved worker. Then a few verses later he gives us the example of a useful vessel. Paul points out how our composition may differ (gold, silver, wood or clay) but lets us know that's okay because what's really important is that we are useful to God with whatever makeup we've been given.

Think about your unique makeup and how God has gifted you. What does being a useful vessel for God mean and look like for you. How do you plan to get there? Tami W.

Good Soldier

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2 Timothy 1:15-2:13

Paul uses a common example in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 to explain how we should be operating and navigating our life as a follower of Christ. He charges Timothy with being a good soldier for Christ, with the reminder that a soldier's goal is to please the one who enlisted him. So true.

So what does being a soldier for Christ mean to you? What can we do to make sure we keep our focus on pleasing Him? Tami W.

No Backing Down

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2 Timothy 1:1-14

We'll be spending this week in 2 Timothy lining up with Dr. Kroll's radio series titled 2 Timothy: Paul's Encouraging Words. (Join us if you can!) As we start 2 Timothy Paul is giving instructions to Timothy and encouraging him to be bold for the Lord. In verse 8 Paul hits him head on with these words, "Do not be ashamed about the testimony of our Lord..." A good challenge for Timothy, and for us today.

So what does being bold for the Lord look like or mean for you? What can/will you do this week to take your boldness for Christ to the next level? Tami W.

Steady...to the End

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Genesis 50:14-26

As we finish out the final chapter of Genesis, Joseph's brothers are afraid that with Jacob out of the picture, Joseph will retaliate against them. But their fears are unfounded because Joseph was a man of his word. He had already told his brothers (Genesis 45) not to be dismayed at their bad actions because God had sent him ahead to provide for the family. And here in Genesis 50:19-20, Joseph reiterates that even stronger. "'Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. . .'" My response as I read these verses was Wow, Joseph. You are truly the real deal. I want to be more like you.

So, how do we go about being more like Joseph? What are some things you can do (or need to do) to be more forgiving, to be a person of your word, to be more loving to family and others around you, to be less focused on circumstances and more focused on pleasing God? Tami W.

P.S. If you had any big "takeaways" or "aha moments" from Joseph's story, I'd love to hear them.

Death and Family

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Genesis 49:28-50:14

Reading about Jacob's death struck a chord with me today. Both of my parents have already passed away so I've experienced and gone through what Joseph is dealing with here in Genesis 49:28-50:14. There were a number of things that I noticed. First, was how Joseph honored Jacob both in life and in death. And, I loved how Joseph wasn't embarrassed to openly show his emotions and his deep love for his father. Finally, this passage was also a nice reminder for me of the importance of taking care of family.

So what does this passage show us about the whole process of aging and death, particularly as it pertains to family? How can you use or draw on these verses when it comes to dealing and coping with the death of a loved one? Tami W.

Fruitful Branch

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Genesis 49:16-28

As we finish reading Genesis 49:16-28, Jacob continues to address his sons. He eventually gets to Joseph in verses 22-26, and what Jacob has to say is quite descriptive and really reinforces all that we've seen of Joseph so far. Plus, the wording Jacob uses gives us another way to look at and consider Joseph. "'Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall'" (Gen. 49:22).

So what did Genesis 49:22-26 show you about Joseph? How can we be more like Joseph, a fruitful bough (branch), when it comes to living for the Lord? Tami W.

Said...In Love

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Genesis 49:1-15

Jacob calls all his sons together for his final words in Genesis 49, and, boy is he ever candid with them. He tells his sons to listen to him and then he informs each one individually what they can expect going forward. Jacob's approach is straightforward and his words are very telling when it comes to each son's character. As hard as it may have been, Jacob didn't pull any punches. He told/revealed the ugly and undesirable things right along with the good characteristics.

This got me thinking about how we have a tendency to not see, maybe overlook, or simply have an inaccurate perception of what we're like and how we operate. So even though it may be hard to hear, it's good to have someone like a spouse, a parent, a friend, or even a child speak candidly with us...in love.

So how can we make sure we're listening and open to what others tell us about ourselves? How might you go about telling someone something difficult...in love? Tami W.

Reinforcement Needed

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Don't Give Up

Genesis 48:1-22

Jacob and Joseph have some personal time together in Genesis 48:1-22. Jacob is very near the end of his life and he asks to see Joseph and his two sons. When Joseph arrives, Jacob looks back on his life and recalls all that God has done, not only for him and his family, but also for Abraham and Isaac. He then reminds and encourages Joseph that God will be with him (vs. 21).

Now Joseph was strong in the Lord. As we've read through his story here in Genesis, I can't recall once where he got off course in his walk. Even so, Jacob encourages Joseph and reinforces his trust and faith in God. This was a good reminder to me about how much I/we need other Christians. Everyone, even those people who appear to be strong, on fire and committed to the Lord, needs Christian encouragement and reinforcement.

So where, or from whom, do get your reinforcement? Who can you be an encouragement and reinforcement for this week? How will you go about this important task? Tami W.

Christian Business

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Genesis 47:13-31

If Joseph were living today, he could appear on one of those business reality shows and win hands down. Joseph was wise, confident, focused, he listened to people, he was trustworthy, fair, and didn't operate on favoritism. No doubt about it, Joseph's life and actions show us a thing or two about leadership and being a Christian person involved in business.

So what was one thing that stood out to you about Joseph in this passage? In what areas do you need to model Joseph, and what can you do to start working on that? Tami W.

How Sweet It Is

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Genesis 46:28-47:12

Joseph and Jacob and all of Jacob's family are finally reunited in Genesis 46:28-47:12. This is a very tender passage and I can just picture it in my mind. So now that the family has arrived, Joseph introduces them to Pharaoh and basically takes care of, and provides for, everyone. (Nice job, Joseph!) Joseph could have held a grudge against his brothers and let that influence him in a number of ways. But that's just not what we see--at all. What a great example for us in our relationships.

So what did you see or learn from Joseph about the importance of family, forgiveness and reconciliation? Tami W.

Big Move

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Genesis 46:1-27

You might say that Jacob takes the plunge in Genesis 46. He loads up his entire family and all his possessions and sets off for Egypt. Quite a big and scary undertaking. But Jacob didn't have to go it alone. God was with him all the way and even gave reassurance to Jacob telling him to not be afraid because He [God] would go to Egypt with Jacob and make him a great nation (Gen. 46:3-4).

So how has God reassured you in the past? How will you seek out and listen for the Lord's reassurance and guidance today? Tami W.

Genesis 45:16-28

When Pharaoh learns about Joseph's family, his response is wonderful--"It pleased Pharaoh and his servant" (Gen. 45:16). Pharaoh then instructs Joseph to bring his entire family to Egypt and generously offers to give this foreign family the best of the land. That's pretty amazing, and we can see God's hand in it all. But Joseph also played a major role in this outcome. Everything about him reflected his foundation in, and love for, God--his words, his actions, his attitude. Pharaoh and those around Joseph saw it day after day and it clearly had an impact.

So what kind of impact are you having on those around you? What are some things we can do to be more like Joseph? Tami W.

Genesis 45:1-15

My favorite part of the account of Joseph is when Joseph finally reveals to his brothers who he is and there's a family reunion of sorts. The storyline is good and Joseph's words and actions are so impressive. Now, typically, I'd focus there. But, today something different captured my attention. As I sat considering this chapter, thoughts of God's greatness and his goodness flooded my mind. The events of Jacob's and Joseph's lives didn't just happen. It was all part of God's master plan, and He and He alone is the orchestrator and conductor of that plan.

So Jacob, Joseph--and each of us--are all instruments or players in that plan. Now the difficult thing about this is that we aren't privy to all the details. So, we have a tendency to doubt and question and underestimate God's power and ability when circumstances don't make sense to us. I guess what I'm trying to say is, we evaluate God based on our limited vision. I can't tell you how many times after coming through a tough situation I've looked back and thought Oh, that's what you were doing God. I sure didn't understand it then, but I get it now and I'm thankful.

So what will you do this next week to do a better job recognizing God as the master planner, orchestrator and conductor of your life? How will you use this passage to build your trust in Him? Tami W.

Straight On

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Genesis 44:1-34

Joseph's game of cat and mouse with his brothers continues in Genesis 44:1-34. Once again Joseph arranges it to look like his brothers are dishonest, and he specifically sets up Benjamin. So now the brothers are back before Joseph and the penalty for Benjamin's "stealing" is for him to stay in Egypt as a slave. This is about the worst scenario there could be for the brothers. But, Judah steps us and takes action. He tells Joseph all the events and details leading up to Benjamin being allowed to come to Egypt and explains what would happen with Jacob if Benjamin doesn't return. Then Judah offers himself as a substitution for Benjamin. (Pretty courageous.)

So what did you learn from Judah about handling unpleasant business? How will you make sure you respond in the best manner possible the next time you have to deal with an unwelcome task or situation? Tami W.

Forced Hand

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Genesis 43:1-34

Jacob is still dragging his feet while Simeon is forced to sit in an Egyptian prison. And this might have been the scenario for a long time if the food situation hadn't continued to get worse for Jacob. As we start off in Genesis 43:1, we see that the severity of the famine forces Jacob to give in and send his sons, including Benjamin, back to Egypt. Now Jacob isn't happy about this, but God is at work in the situation, and in the end, it all turns out for Jacob's and his family's own good.

So has God ever forced your hand? What did He show you and what did you learn from the situation? Tami W.

In the Moment

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Genesis 42:18-38

Lots of emotions, reactions and actions in Genesis 42:18-38. Joseph is sad and hurting, his brothers are fearful and afraid and Jacob is distraught and unyielding. So what didn't I see? Anyone seeking God. This got me thinking about times when, in the heat of the moment, I allow myself to be driven by my emotions. Before I know it, I've responded to someone or to an important situation based on my feelings with no consultation of God. Not wise on my part.

So what is it that causes us to look to ourselves--our emotions, our feelings--rather than God? How can we do a better job of seeking God right away when something happens that triggers intense emotions like fear, anger and distress? Tami W.


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Genesis 42:1-21

Well, Joseph gets a surprise in Genesis 42:1-21. His brothers, every single one that threw him into the pit and then sold him into slavery, are in Egypt seeking to purchase grain, and they are bowing before him. Imagine that! Joseph's brothers don't recognize him. So Joseph proceeds, not revealing who he is and treating them fairly harshly. And the more he interacts with them, the more he finds out about his family.

So what do you think is up with Joseph here? The more I thought about it, I could understand Joseph's thinking and actions. Think about it. He hasn't seen his brothers in over 20 years, and the last time he saw them, they hated him. He doesn't have any clue what's transpired with his brothers. He doesn't know if or how they've developed or changed. So we see some investigating, probing and examining of his brothers. In my mind, that makes sense considering the situation. So Joseph's actions were a good reminder for me that there will be times when I need to be cautious and patient before I jump in and respond or act, and I need to be tuned in to when that may be the case.

So what spoke to you from this passage? What did you learn from Joseph or even Jacob and the brothers today? Tami W.

P.S. We're in the middle of a 3-week study on the life of Joseph. And if you'd like to go a little deeper, jump in to the series on Back to the Bible. It's called Joseph: Making Life Out of Lemons.


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Genesis 41:37-57

Joseph's life has taken a dramatic turn as we get to Genesis 41:37-57. He's no longer in prison but is now second in command in all of Egypt. Is God amazing or what? As Joseph is running Egypt, he also starts his family and we see that he and his wife have two sons. Joseph names them Manasseh and Ephraim and continues to honor God with the names he selects. It was the meaning of those names that touched my heart as I read today, and particularly the definition of Ephraim. "'For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'" This really got me thinking about how just because I may not be thrilled with my situation (I may even be hurting and feeling miserable) that doesn't mean God isn't using me in and through that situation for His purposes. Bottom line--we're called to be fruitful wherever we're at.

So where do you find yourself today? In a good spot, in affliction or somewhere in between? Whatever the case, how can you be fruitful in it? Tami W.

Use It!

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Genesis 41:1-36

Have you noticed how Joseph and dreams just seem to go together? Dreams were an important part of Joseph's life from the time he was a young boy--first his own dreams and then interpreting them for others. Joseph's insight (ability) concerning dreams was clearly given to him by God. Joseph recognizes this, gives God credit for his special gift and he is ready and willing to exercise and use this skill for God's glory (Gen. 40:8; Gen. 41:16).

So what are some of your unique skills and abilities? How can you or how are you using them for the Lord? How can you or how are you giving God the credit and the glory? Tami W.

Patiently Waiting

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Genesis 39:21-40:23

The rough road continues for Joseph as we get to Genesis 40. He's has been faithful in trusting and following God, and yet, he finds himself sitting in prison and he's been there for quite a while. So what do we see from Joseph? Not what you might think--no feeling sorry for himself, no anger--actually just the opposite. Joseph is patient and continues to honor and serve God.

At some point or another you've probably had to play the waiting game. So what helps you continue to honor and serve God, particularly when you may not be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel of your situation? Tami W.

Part of the Plan

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Genesis 39:1-21

Injustice. That's the word that comes to mind every time I read the account of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Here's Joseph following God and doing the right things yet he still finds himself in a bad situation in Potiphar's home, and then an even worse situation in prison. However...when I step back and look at the whole story and how it plays out, it is so clear that God was absolutely in control and working mightily through each and every situation.

So what did you see from Joseph about experiencing tough situations, doing the right thing, temptation and trusting God? Tami W.

Far Reaching

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Genesis 38:1-30

We've all heard it, maybe we've even thought it or said it. My business is just that--mine. And what I choose to do isn't anyone else's concern. So many times we don't give much, if any, thought to how our actions might impact others. So we do what seems right for us at the moment. But that can be problematic, especially when sinful behavior is part of the mix. The account of Judah and Tamar demonstrates that pretty clearly. Judah didn't keep his promise to Tamar because it suited him. But as we see, his broken promise snowballed into more and more sin.

So what did this passage show you about the devastating effect of sin? Tami W.

Green-eyed Monster

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green monster

Genesis 37:12-36

There's a reason jealousy is referred to as a green-eyed monster, and boy, do we ever get a glimpse of that in Genesis 37:12-36. I have no doubt that Joseph's brothers were pretty normal people--hard working, logical, and that family was important to them--but when jealousy wormed its way into their lives, things changed. Rational thinking went right out the window--so much so that they were ready and wanting to murder Joseph (accept for Reuben).

What did Genesis 37:12-36 and the situation with Joseph's brothers reveal to you about jealousy and unchecked sin? Tami W.

Playing Favorites

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Genesis 37:1-11

There is nothing good about jealousy. It's poisonous and spreads like an infection eating away at your heart. And as we jump into the story of Joseph's life and that of his family, one of the first things we see is the damage jealousy causes. Joseph's father, Jacob, didn't employ good judgment when it came to his sons. He played favorites, and that planted the seed for jealousy between Joseph and his brothers. "Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any other of his sons . . . . [W]hen his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him" (Gen. 37:3-4).

Life isn't always fair and at some point, if you haven't already, you will either play favorites or be the victim of someone playing favorites. So how do you keep from making the same mistake as Jacob? And on the flip side, how do you keep from giving in to jealousy like Joseph's brothers? Tami W.

P.S. We're starting the series Joseph: Making Life Out of Lemons today on Back to the Bible. Join us for some great life lessons from God's Word!

Your God

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Psalm 95:1-11

There are a number of commands in Psalm 95. The first is for us to sing and come into the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving, and right after these, we see the reasons for doing this (the Lord is a great God, etc.). The next command I see is for us to worship and bow down to the Lord (vs. 6), and here's why. "For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand" (vs. 7). For me, this is the key verse in Psalm 95 because it gives us such an accurate 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.

Psalm 137:1-9

So much of Psalms is praising and celebration, but that's not the case with Psalm 137. It's one of the more somber psalms. There was definitely a heaviness on my heart as I read. But even in the tough reading (maybe I should say especially in the tough) there are important lessons for us to learn. The Israelites have been invaded and captured and they are being taunted by their captors. That highlights for me that there are consequences for our sinful actions. But I also see that God is still there, in and through the tough times.

So can you identify with the emotions and words of the psalmist? How has God stood by you when you, for whatever reason, have landed in a hard or dark season of life? Tami W.


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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 says you can have sex whenever and with whomever you want if it feels right to you? What are you allowing to come into your life (or your families' life) through music, television, reading, internet, movies, cell phones? 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.

To Be Content

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Philippians 4:10-13

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 that he has learned to be content whatever his situation may be. I'd like to join Paul in this statement, but I haven't mastered being content in all situations just yet. Being and staying content is a struggle for me. I'm a true "type A" person. I'm very driven--at work, at church, even with my hobbies--and that can lead me down the road to being discontent pretty quickly, particularly if I'm not spending adequate time with God in His Word.

We can experience discontentment in a variety of ways and on a number of levels. So what role does God's Word play in helping you be content? Do you have a particular verse or passage that you turn to when you're struggling with discontentment? Tami W.


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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 as I start out this New Year, I want to hit my selfishness head on. That means intentionally stepping back into that second place spot and putting others around me first. Care to join me? Who you can put first this week--at home, work, school, church? 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 January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

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