April 2013 Archives

Teach Me

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Psalm 119:25-48

As a Christ-follower, my desire is to live fully for God. And for that to happen, God's Word has to be my foundation, which means I need to be in the Word, considering what God is saying and revealing to me, and then putting what I learn into action in my daily life.

That's essentially what I see the psalmist saying in Psalm 119:25-48. He most certainly gets that knowing God's Word and putting it into practice is a must. He recognizes that it's God's Word (statutes, law, rules, testimonies, commandments, precepts) that provides him with strength, peace of mind, security, joy. So what does the psalmist do to get a better understanding of God's Word? He goes right to God and says "teach me your statutes" and "make me understand the way of your precepts" (vs.26 and 27).

Have you ever asked God (or how often do you ask God) to teach you or help you when you read His Word? How has God responded? Let us hear your story. Tami

Gotta Engage

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Psalm 119:1-24

Psalm 119 is probably my favorite chapter of the Bible. Why? Because my need for God and His Word are front and center. Now hopefully, you've picked up on the fact that I am passionate about engaging the Bible (receiving, reflecting on and responding to God's Word). Well, that's exactly what Psalm 119 is all about. So for the next week we're going to engage Psalm 119 in bite-sized chunks together. Every verse is packed full of rich information, so this should be fun.

What did you observe or discover about God's law from the first 3 sections of Psalm 119 (Aleph, Beth and Gimel)? Based on verses 1-24, what are the benefits of knowing and keeping God's Word? Tami

God LOVES You!

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Psalm 81

Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you read, a particular thought or message will just stand out to you? Well, as I read Psalm 81 today it seemed like verse after verse just showed me how deep God's love is for us. I was particularly moved by verses 8-10 where God is telling us if we simply listen to Him, if we surrender and open our hearts, He will be our all. (Thank you, Lord!)

So what are you doing to accept and reciprocate God's love? What can we do to help us be better listeners to God and what He has for us? Tami

Take Notice

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Psalm 80

Every word, every phrase, every sentence of God's Word is important. But when God repeats the same phrase or thought, emphasizing it in a chapter or a book, I definitely want to take note of that. Three times in Psalm 80 we see "Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!" (verse 3; see verses 7 and 19). So I thought about these words and asked myself How often do I respond and cry out to God like this? Well I do....but not always, and that's not the best way to proceed.

So what can we do to keep at the forefront that God alone is our restorer and provider and that we should be calling upon and seeking Him in all things? Tami

Loved and Noticed

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Daniel 10:1-21

As we begin Daniel 10, Daniel has a vision that terrifies him of "a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist" (vs. 5). Now this "man" speaks with Daniel and how he addresses Daniel stood out and spoke loudly to me. In verses 11 and 12 we see "'O Daniel, man greatly loved. . .'" and then "'Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.'" And then in verse 19 "'O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you, be strong and of good courage."

What an affirmation of Daniel's dedication to living a godly life no matter what. Daniel's trust in God and his obedience to Him did not go unnoticed by God.

What does this passage show you about God's love for you and His interest in your life? How does knowing that God notices what you do, impact your daily choices? Tami

Sincere Petition

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Daniel 9:1-19

Daniel got me thinking this morning about the importance of how I approach God and speak with Him through prayer. I was struck by Daniel's absolute attitude of humbleness, his sincere seeking of God's mercy and his recognition and praising of God for who He is.

So how do you approach God and speak with Him? Are praise and confession a regular part of your prayers? If so, have these practices changed the types of things you pray for? How will Daniel's prayer influence your prayers this week? Tami

Right Now

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Daniel 8:1-27

Well, Daniel's dreams continue to bring our focus to end times. Today we're at Daniel 8 and we're given quite a bit of information about the Antichrist including the spiritual climate leading up to and during the period of his rule. Overall it's a time of godlessness, where followers of Christ will be persecuted and sin and will prosper. Not a pretty picture.

What does this passage show you about the importance of living boldly for Christ right now? And how will that impact what you do this week? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Tami

Loud and Clear

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Daniel 7:1-28

Prophecy moves front and center as we hit chapter 7 of Daniel. Here we see the first of Daniel's very detailed visions or dreams that give us a glimpse of the future and end times. (Many of the same things Daniel writes about here John also details in the Book of Revelation.) Now there's a lot to take in in Daniel's dream and, like Daniel, I don't fully understand it all. But as I read this chapter one message came through loud and clear to me--God is mighty, all powerful, in control and eternity belongs to Him.

Did Daniel's dream get you thinking about what the future holds? What did this vision show you about God and eternity? Tami

Bright Light

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Daniel 6:1-28

Today we reach Daniel 6 and the well-known lion's den incident. It had been a while since I had read this account and, boy, did it hit me powerfully. I couldn't help but notice the incredible example Daniel was at the time--to the king, to the other officials, and, no doubt, to the people he had contact with each day. He was truly a bright light for God to many people. And what an incredible example and encouragement he is for us today--to be steadfast in following the Lord, living a life that shows and tells others about Him.

So how did Daniel's lion den's experience encourage you today? What can you do this week to shine brightly in your unique setting and situation? Tami

Strong Emotions

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Psalm 79

As we start Psalm 79 the Israelites are calling out to the Lord. Their situation isn't good. They've gotten out of sync with God and as a result, other nations have come in and defiled God's temple and "laid Jerusalem in ruins" (vs. 1). Then we see these telling words "How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire?" (vs. 5).

So what does Psalm 79, and specifically verse 5, show us about God's love and desire to have a relationship with us? Tami

Psalm 78:40-72

Psalm 78 is rich with information about God. And it's all right there for us to take in. Did you notice how almost every verse in Psalm 78:40-72 talked about and showed us God's actions, emotions and power? There was so much there I ended up going back and looking at this passage a number of times.

What do these verses tell us about God's heart for us? His faithfulness? How about the things that we do that break His heart? Tami

Daniel 5:1-31

Today we meet Nebuchadnezzar's son, king Belshazzar, and immediately we're shown that Belshazzar has a huge problem with...you guessed it, pride. Belshazzar is showing off by having a great feast with thousands of dignified guests and apparently the big party isn't satisfying him quite enough. So Belshazzar commands that the holy items his father took from God's temple in Jerusalem be brought out so he and his lords, wives and concubines could drink from them. And so they drank, and "praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone" (vs. 4).

Next thing you know, the fingers of a human hand appear and write a message on the wall of the king's palace. Creepy, right? Well, this scares Belshazzar--to the point that his limbs give way and his knees knock together. So he calls for his "wise" men to interpret the writing, but no one except Daniel is able to interpret the writing. Daniel reminds Belshazzar of how God dealt with his father's pride and then chastises Belshazzar for ignoring these things and choosing to exalt himself before God. Then Daniel tells him what was written on the wall: that the days of Belshazzar's kingdom are numbered, that Belshazzar has been weighed in the balance and found wanting, and that his kingdom will be given to the Medes and Persians. (vs. 26-28). The only response we see from Belshazzar is rewarding Daniel for interpreting the dream. So no repentance, no remorse. And that very night, he is killed.

So what about you? Have you ever experienced a wake-up call from God--your own "writing on the wall" equivalent? What was it like? How did you respond when confronted with your sin? Tami

Daniel 4:1-37

King Nebuchadnezzar had a HUGE problem with pride. He was totally high on himself and his accomplishments.

As we reach chapter 4 of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has another disturbing dream. As with his first dream, only Daniel is able to interpret it, and the news isn't good. The dream foretells that Nebuchadnezzar will be humiliated and disgraced by being forced to dwell with the beasts of the field and eat grass like an ox. Daniel tries to get Nebuchadnezzar to repent to avoid the consequences of his sin, but the king ignores Daniel's counsel. So the dream becomes reality. Verse 33 tells us "He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws."

None of us want to be brought low because of our pride. So how do you discern when pride is raising its ugly head in your life? And when you recognize prideful thoughts or actions, how do you deal with it? Tami

Daniel 3:1-30

What a strong message from Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego--Our trust is in God, regardless of whether or not He chooses to keep us from being thrown into the fiery furnace. We've all encountered (and will encounter again) "fiery furnace" situations, and trusting God in and through these situations is so crucial.

One "fiery furnace" for me was when my husband, Jeff, got cancer. It caught me off guard since Jeff wasn't even 40 yet. But I decided early on in this tough situation that I had to trust God completely. So I prayed for Jeff's healing and let God know that I didn't want to lose my precious husband, but then acknowledged that God was in control, that His plan was bigger and better than mine and that I would trust Him no matter what happened. As soon as I prayed that prayer, it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. And over the following months of chemo, radiation and sickness, God gave me peace. And in case you're wondering, it's been ten years now, and Jeff is with me and cancer free. Thank you, God!

So what did you learn or take in from the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3? The next time you're facing a "fiery furnace" situation, how will you draw on their example? Tami

Daniel 2:1-49

When you look around today, the message of "it's all about me and my personal gain" is everywhere. So Daniel's "it's all about God" example was definitely refreshing for me this morning. As we reach Chapter 2 of Daniel, king Nebuchadnezzar has been having disturbing dreams and he's demanding that his advisors interpret his dream. But there's a catch; Nebuchadnezzar won't tell anyone the contents of his dream. Instead, he expects his "wise" men to tell him what his dream was and then give him the interpretation of it, and if they can't, they'll be put to death. Impossible, right? Not for Daniel + God.

Daniel seeks God on the matter, and God provides. Daniel then meets with the king, tells him exactly what his dream was and interprets it. Very impressive, but what impressed me most was how the moment Daniel got the opportunity to speak, he gave all the credit and glory to God.

So as I thought about this passage, the big question I knew I had to consider was: Am I a Daniel? Which then led me to the more detailed questions of: When have I been a Daniel? When have I messed up and not been a Daniel, and why was that? And finally, What do I need to do to be more like Daniel as I go forward? Ok, now it's your turn to do a little comparing. Tami

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Daniel 1:1-21

For the next two weeks, we'll be reading in the Book of Daniel following along with the Back to the Bible radio series that's taking an in-depth look at the life of this amazing man. As we begin the Book of Daniel, Jerusalem has been overtaken by Babylon, and king Nebuchadnezzar has taken a number of the people of Israel captive to work for him in his court. One of those people is Daniel, a godly young man.

As soon as Daniel reaches Babylon, he's assigned a new name, charged with learning to read and speak a new language, and given a new royal food and wine diet. So not too bad, right? Not quite. The royal diet is a problem for Daniel because the food and wine he is being given violates Jewish law. So Daniel resolves that he will follow God and not defile himself (vs. 9). But remember, he's also under the authority of king Nebuchadnezzar, who has directed exactly what Daniel and those with him eat and drink. So there has to be a show down, don't you think? Not even close. Daniel is a wise young man and he responds and takes action in such a way that he is able to honor both God and Nebuchadnezzar. What an example.

So what did Daniel show you today? What did you learn from Daniel's approach and interaction with his overseer, Ashpenaz? What does this passage reveal about God's faithfulness in and through our difficult times? Tami

P.S. Check out the Back to the Bible program for more on Daniel!

Tell All

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Psalm 78:1-39

Let's say your favorite place to shop is having a storewide 50% sale or one of the best restaurants in town is having a buy one meal get one free special, would you tell your family and friends? Of course, and you'd probably tell some strangers too. We like to share good news.

What does Psalm 78:1-39 show us about the importance of telling others, and particularly our youth, all about God and what He has done? How can we make sure we don't lose sight of God's works and wonders? Tami

Yes, Trouble

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Psalm 77

When you think about it, hardships, trouble, tough times all describe what we should expect as we live out the Christian life, and we see that pretty clearly here in Psalm 77. Now I've lived long enough to know this--well. Even so, somehow, in the back of my mind there's still this little thought that life should be easy and carefree, and if and when I hit that rough spot, I can pray and God will fix it. Well that's not reality. It's not what God's Word tells us. So when I allow myself to indulge in this thinking, it pulls me off track from God and that, in turn, typically leads to disappointment and discouragement.

So how can we use Psalm 77 to keep us on track with God and encourage us when we're in the middle of tough times? What does it tell us about taking our troubles, concerns and problems to the Lord? Tami

Proclaim It!

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2 Timothy 4:5-8

We're in 2 Timothy today looking at a portion of a letter Paul wrote to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4:1-8 Paul is giving instruction to Timothy about preaching the Word and making sure he understands how important this is.

These verses are good for us, too, because they also highlight the importance of the Bible and proclaiming God's Word. Now you might be thinking, But I'm not a preacher. Well, even if we're not preachers by vocation (and I'm guessing that's most of us) we still have a responsibility to spread the message of Christ, introduce people to the Bible and share Scripture with them when possible. And Paul's words in verse 7 tell me that this responsibility is for life. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

So what does fighting the fight, finishing the race and keeping the faith look like for you? How can we take part in combating people turning away from the Truth and going after what sounds good to them (vs. 3-5)? Tami

Our Offering

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Mark 12:41-44

We only have 4 verses to read and consider today, but those 4 short verses reveal much to us about giving--from both sides of the coin (no pun intended)--God's and ours. I could just visualize this woman and her sweet spirit and heart for the Lord. And her actions got me thinking about how easy it is to fall into a pattern of giving and kind of stop thinking about the why or how or reason for what we're doing.

Funny thing, but giving has been on my heart for the last few weeks and just two nights ago, my husband and I actually talked about our giving and making some changes. So I smiled a little when I read Mark 12:41-44 and then thought we could do some personal assessing together. Hope you're up for it? Here goes:

How are we doing when it comes to giving back to the Lord? (Now our passage dealt with money, but giving back also includes our time and efforts. So let's consider those areas as well.) Moving forward, what could each of us do to get us closer to the example of this widow? Tami

About Parents

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Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:1-4

Both of our passages today give us the command to "Honor your father and mother." Now when I was younger and still lived under my parents' roof, in my mind honoring my dad and mom basically meant obeying them. As I got older, got married and moved out, there was still that obey element, but I started to realize that honoring went deeper and included things like respecting what I had been taught even though I was no longer under their direct authority, and seeking out their instruction and input in life decisions. My dad and mom have both been gone for a number of years now. I miss them a lot. But even though I'm no longer able to talk with them, what they taught me continues to influence my decisions and actions, and as a result, I can still honor them. I love that.

So what has honoring your father and mother looked like in your life? Based on our passages today, how important do you think this is to God? Tami

1 Kings 9:1-5

After Solomon has finished rebuilding the temple, dedicated it and sacrificed offerings, the Lord appears to him a second time, and we get to see that interaction here in 1 Kings 9:1-5. (You can read the account of the first appearing at 1 Kings 3:5-14.) In this second encounter God affirms and recognizes Solomon's words and actions, and then offers (similar to 1 Kings 3) loving instruction and guidance to Solomon, telling him to walk with "integrity of heart and uprightness" and according to all that God had commanded (vs. 4). Those words were good for Solomon, and they're good for us as well.

So what does walking with integrity of heart and uprightness mean to you? How will you work on putting that walk into practice this week? Tami

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I LOVE to be loved. And I bet you do, too. We all need love. We all desire love. And we all need to be givers of love. So what better place to turn today than 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where we can learn a bunch about love from all sides of this passage.

So how are you doing when it comes to receiving love? What about with being a giver of love? What are some things you can do to get better in each category? Tami

P.S. Today we're beginning a series on Back to the Bible called Five Lessons Kids Learn by Example. And today's topic, love, goes right along with our P4 readings.

Get a Boost

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Psalm 76

Psalm 76 is a song recognizing and praising God for His greatness in the way He has protected Israel and "his dwelling place in Zion" (vs. 2). The psalmist, Asaph, then provides us with some specifics and details of this protection and wraps up the Psalm with a call to worship God.

So what does Psalm 76 tell us about God? How can we use this Psalm to boost our trust in and reliance upon Him? Tami

Lift Me Up

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Psalm 75

The primary message or theme of Psalm 75 is one of God judging with fairness ("with equity" vs. 2). But mixed in throughout this theme and verses I also picked up pretty clearly the message that God is most certainly in control (see vs. 2, 3 & 7). So even though we can fall into thinking that we're pretty powerful (vs. 4-6), really, it's not about us or our power at all.

So how can we draw on Psalm 75 to help us keep the right perspective so we can be empowered by God (not ourselves) and be "lifted up" by Him (vs. 10)? Tami

Unwavering

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1 Samuel 16:1-13

The account of David being anointed as the next king is one of my favorites because it shows us an incredibly faithful Samuel. What a great model Samuel provides for us when it comes to listening to God and trusting Him. Here's what I noticed. Samuel's trust in God wasn't moved or shaken by grief and disappointment (vs. 1 "How long will you grieve over Saul. . .?"), by fear (vs. 2 "If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.") or by uncertainty (vs. 6-13, God choosing David from Jesse's sons). I am thankful for this look into Samuel's life and for his example in a difficult situation.

So what did you see about trusting God from 1 Samuel 16:1-13? Was there something Samuel did or said that you found helpful? Tami

Just Wait

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1 Samuel 13:1-23

I'm what many people would call an "eager beaver." Now that can be a good thing when it comes to getting things done at work or at home. But my eagerness is a bad thing when I revert to doing what I want when I want instead of living my life in submission to God and according to His plan. We see that big time with Saul in 1 Samuel 13:1-14. Saul knew it wasn't his place to offer a burnt sacrifice to God. But he gave into his fear instead of trusting in and waiting on God, and the consequences were great. "And Samuel said to Saul, 'You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue'" (vs. 13-14).

How difficult is it for you to wait for God's timing? What did you learn from 1 Samuel 13 about God's timing, and the importance of trusting in and waiting on God? Tami

Calloused

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1 Samuel 3:1-21

As I read 1 Samuel 3:1-21, it was Eli, not Samuel, who captured my attention. Eli has fallen away from God and out of His favor (see 1 Samuel 2:27-36). Yes, he's still the high priest, but he's not honoring God. Well, the Lord comes to Samuel in the middle of the night and delivers the heavy message that He [God] is going to fulfill all He has spoken against the house of Eli. The next morning, Samuel then repeats God's grave message to Eli, and Eli's response is simply "It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him" (vs. 18). All I could think was Wow. What happened to you Eli? This is God. Do you love Him? Aren't you going to ask for forgiveness?

So how do you think Eli got to this calloused, hardhearted point? How do we avoid going down the same wayward path? What are you doing to keep your relationship with God where it should be? Tami

Giving It Back

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1 Samuel 1:21-28

Hello everyone! My name is Meredith, and I typically I work behind the scenes on the P4 blog (where I love reading all your comments!). But today I'm filling in as a guest blogger for Tami and am excited to share a few thoughts with you on 1 Samuel. So, on to today's scripture.

Stepping out in faith can be scary, nerve-wracking, thrilling, satisfying...(fill in your most-common emotion). And that's exactly what we see in the last part of chapter one.

In verse 11, Hannah vowed to God that if He gave her a son she would "give him to the LORD." That's a bold promise...especially given how long Hannah waited for her beloved baby boy!

I don't know about you, but I was struck by the maturity of Hannah. Her desire was for her son to "appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever" (v. 22). And in an amazing act of faith, Hannah carried out her vow--entrusting Samuel (the son she prayed for vigilantly!) to the care of Eli the priest. Wow. It made me think, Am I willing to hold on loosely to the people, things, resources God brings into my life?

When you receive an outpouring of God's blessing, do you hold on tightly for your own enjoyment, or do you ask God how He might want you to give up or sacrifice those blessings to further His work, meet a need, etc?

Take a minute and do a personal inventory with me. What are some things God has entrusted to you (money, resources, skills, time, etc)? How are you giving those blessings back to God and using them in a sacrificial way? (I'll share some of mine in the comments section today.) Remember, your sacrifice can be an act of worship -- a way to thank God for all He's given you. --Meredith

P.S. Hope you're able to catch the Back to the Bible programs this week featuring guest speaker Wil Graham. He has lots more to say on today's topic, so I encourage you to listen.

Hannah's Faith

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1 Samuel 1:1-20

This week we have a special guest speaker on Back to the Bible--Wil Graham (Franklin Graham's son and Billy Graham's grandson). He's teaching on 1 Samuel with a series called Truth and Faith. So to go along with Wil's series, I'll be blogging from 1 Samuel and focusing on living by faith as well. I invite you to join us for these daily radio studies.

Today we meet Elkanah and Hannah, Samuel's parents. But as we start this Book, Samuel has not yet been born. In fact, what we see right away in chapter 1 is a distraught, barren Hannah who wants a son very badly. So what does Hannah do? She cries out to God, boldly laying her request for a son before Him. Verse 10 tells us Hannah was "deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly." Well, my heart goes out to Hannah, and God's did too. In verses 19-20 we're told that God remembered Hannah and that she conceived and had a son who was named Samuel.

What did Hannah show you about faith? What about talking with and trusting God? How will you follow Hannah's example going forward? Tami

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 April 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2013 is the previous archive.

May 2013 is the next archive.

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