May 2013 Archives

No Satisfaction

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Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

There was a period in my life where I was living exactly as what's described in Ecclesiastes 5:13-17. My primary goal in life was to make more money and have more things. Yet the more I made and the more I got (whatever that next thing was that I thought I had to have), I was never satisfied. Within days, sometimes even hours, that high feeling would be gone and I'd have a new goal to get--you guessed it--more. I was in a vicious cycle but I couldn't see it at the time. So Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 was good to read this morning because it made me think back on those former days and served as a strong reminder and caution that I need to be extra careful when it comes to how I think about and use the money that God has provided.

So how would you describe your attitude and thinking about money? What warnings or cautions did you see in Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 about money? Tami

Big Hearted

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big gift

2 Corinthians 9:1-15

God wants us to be generous with what we have--for the benefit of others and as an act of thanksgiving to Him. And, when we're generous with others, God is generous, in return, with us.

So this passage got me thinking about the benefits of being generous. One of the biggest benefits I've found is that looking for opportunities to be generous to others immediately shifts my focus off of me and my circumstances. So my life becomes less about me and more about others. Plus, when I'm helping someone out or giving to a ministry or toward a needy cause, I feel more in tune with God and it's an encouragement to me.

So what are some benefits you've experienced through being generous to others? What can you do to be generous this week? And to whom? Tami

Proverbs 3:9-10; Deuteronomy 8:11-14

The word "security" popped into my mind as I read and considered our passages for today. God's Word is clear that our security comes through Him, not money. Yet somehow, we get this turned around, and if we're not careful we start thinking the more we have ($ in the bank, big house, new car, the best clothes...), the better we are. Moses hits this head on in Deuteronomy 8:11-14 as he warns the Israelites to not forget God when they get nice houses and their possessions have multiplied.

So what is it about having money that makes us feel and think that we're secure? What do you do to keep a proper perspective about money? Tami

Our Part

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2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Being diligent in doing our part is the call Paul puts out in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. He lays out pretty boldly that we should be an active worker, pulling our weight so as not to be a burden to others. Now we're all in different places and circumstances in life, so what being a worker looks like is going to be different for each of us.

So what did you learn about "working" from 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15? Was there a particular verse or phrase that spoke to you from this passage? Tami

Rich...for God

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1 Timothy 6:17-19

For the next few days we'll be looking at scriptures that deal with money, how we handle it, feel about it, how God views it. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 talks about people that have money and what God's expectations are for them. What first strikes me about these verses is that they let us know that it's not a sin to be financially prosperous as a Christ-follower. They also show that God expects us to use what we have for His glory. Verse 18 really nails it on the head. "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share." I say Amen to that!

So these verses only apply if you've got $250,000 in the bank or you make over $100,000 a year, right? Think again. God has generously given much to all of us, some just have a little more than others.

So how are you using your resources for God? Are you generous and ready to share when the opportunity presents itself? How have you been "rich in good works" in the past week? Tami

P.S. This week's Back to the Bible series is all about money...how to earn it, save it spend it and give it away. I encourage you to listen since money affects all of us in so many ways.

Real

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Psalm 86

I love the Psalms written by David. You never have to wonder what's on his heart because he tells it like it is. His relationship and communications with the Lord are open, honest and real.

So what can we do to capture the attitude and approach of David? How can we use and draw upon this psalm to help us with whatever our circumstances are today? Tami

Psalm 85

Psalm 85 is a petitioning of the Lord for restoration. The psalmist is looking back, recalling a time when God restored Israel and asking God to respond similarly in the present. It gives us a glimpse of the thinking and mindset of the writer, as well as yet another good look at God.

So what can we learn and put into practice from this psalm? What does Psalm 85 show us about God? Tami

Only Faith

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Galatians 5:1-6

Paul hits, once again, keeping the law versus having faith in Jesus Christ in Galatians 5:1-6. I found his words in verse 6 powerful. They seemed to jump off the page at me. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love."

Based on all the passages we've read this week dealing with faith and works, how would you explain to someone their need for faith in Christ? What would you tell them about works? Tami

Faith...First

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Romans 3:1-31

Reading Romans 3 took me back to my attorney, practicing law days. Let me explain. The way Paul lays out Romans, it's not the easiest read. But all the detail we need is there laid out very logically.

What Paul is doing is explaining how Christ's death and resurrection has changed things spiritually speaking. We no longer live under the law of works but are now under grace and the law of faith. That's a huge change that requires a complete shift in thinking for the Jews. "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (vs. 28). Paul then explains how the law doesn't go away or become meaningless because of what Jesus did. "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law" (vs. 31). So bottom line--our salvation isn't a result of our keeping the law. However, the law is still there for us to follow and uphold.

What did Paul and Romans 3 show you about how faith and the law work together? Did you find this passage motivating regarding keeping the law and doing good works? Why or why not? Tami

P.S. If you want to take a more in-depth look at faith and the Gospel, check out today's Back to the Bible program with guest speaker John Munro.

A Good Person

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Galatians 2:15-21

The first two chapters of Galatians really turned my thinking to people who don't yet know Christ as Savior. So many times when I'm talking with someone and bring up eternity and Jesus one of the first things they say back is "Well, I'm a good person." That statement is an indicator that this person thinks that what they do and how they live (their "works") is how they're getting into heaven.

But God's plan of salvation has nothing to do with our works and everything to do with placing our faith in Jesus. Paul spells this out in Galatians 2:16, "Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." And if you flip a few pages in your Bible to Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul also says this, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

So who do you know that is operating under the false belief that being a good person and doing the right things is going to get them into heaven? Would you be bold and use Galatians 2:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9 to introduce them to the true gospel? You could change where they spend eternity. Tami

One Gospel

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Galatians 1:1-10; 2:15-21

Paul doesn't hold back one bit as he writes to the churches in Galatia admonishing them because they have not held firm to the one true gospel--faith in Jesus Christ, period. Twice Paul states, let anyone who is preaching a gospel contrary to that of faith in Jesus Christ be accursed.

So how did Paul's words get you thinking about the gospel, specifically it's importance and how you and others are spreading it? Tami

Stay on Track

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Galatians 1:1-10

Hi, everyone. Some of you know that I work on the P4 team, and today I'm blogging in Tami's place, so let's get right into it. This week we're camping out in Galatians where we'll be taking a closer look at Paul's passionate letter to the Galatian church. His message was prompted by people distorting the purity of the Gospel. (This is a big deal to Paul...and it should be to us as well!) Paul's bottom line is this. The Gospel is salvation by grace through faith. It's not faith plus going to church, faith plus following rules, faith plus anything. He warns the Galatians to reject and run away from anyone teaching "a gospel other than what you accepted." This is a very important reminder in our world of options and have-it-my-way Christianity.

So why do you think our world has tendency to complicate or add to the Gospel? How do we stay on guard against teachers of a false gospel? Meredith

P.S. I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to the Back to the Bible programs this week featuring guest speaker, Dr. John Munro. His series is titled Getting the Gospel Right, and I think you'll enjoy his messages. (He has a really cool Scottish accent too!)

Action Required

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Colossians 3:1-17

As I start each day, it's my desire that how I go about my day (my thoughts and my actions) would be pleasing to God. So I found Colossians 3:1-17 an excellent read because it really lays out what a life that pleases God looks like.

Do you ever find yourself operating on this thinking--because I'm a Christ-follower I should just automatically be better? I do that sometimes even though deep down I know that's not the case. Living a life that's pleasing to God takes effort on our part. Paul doesn't say when we receive Christ we'll be loving, kind, patient, etc. He tells us to "put to death" and "put off" earthly desires and to "put on" Christ-like qualities. Putting to death, putting off and putting on require action, effort and, yes, work on our part.

So what are some of the actions/efforts you take to "put off" sinful desires? And on the flip side, what do you do to "put on" things like compassion, meekness, kindness, humility, forgiveness? Tami

Pure Children

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1 John 3:1-3

A couple of big things to consider in our three short verses today. First, the whole concept of being a child of God right now and in the future. And, second, as a child of God, keeping ourselves pure because God is absolutely 100% pure.

So what does it mean to you to be a child of God right now, in the present? How does being a child of God motivate you to be and stay pure? And lastly, what are some things you do that help you stay pure? Tami

Known

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Psalm 139:1-24

Psalm 139 is truly a beautiful song. David does an exceptional job of showing us how intimately God knows and loves us. I came away with the clear message that God KNOWS me inside and out. He knows every detail about me--physically, emotionally, spiritually. Nothing is hidden from God and I cannot escape from Him. Pretty awesome, don't you think?

So what does Psalm 139 show you about God's love for, and interest in, you? How does God knowing everything about you impact your thinking about God as well as your relationship with Him? Tami

Ephesians 4:17-26

Paul is calling us to live righteously and in so doing to be a godly example through our actions and lifestyles in Ephesians 4:17-32. So how do we accomplish that? Not on our own, that's for sure. Verse 23 tells us "to be renewed in the spirit of your minds" or in other words to let the Spirit give us new thoughts and attitudes.

So how has being a Christ-follower changed your thoughts and actions? Is it your daily practice to ask God to guide and direct your life? Tami

I'm a Vessel

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2 Timothy 2:19-26

As I was reading Paul's words about living for the Lord and being a vessel, my immediate thought was That's me. I'm a vessel! And as I finished the passage with Paul's description of some of the qualities of a person who is an honorable vessel, I did a little assessing, looking back over the past week or so to see what kind of a vessel I had been. I checked myself against what Paul had written and also thought about what being a useful vessel for God could and should look like for me in my life situation.

So think about the past week or so, would you say you've been an honorable vessel for the Lord? How have you been useful for God's good work? What about the coming week? Tami

Walking Well

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Psalm 26

David's greatest desire is to please God. And that's what we see in Psalm 26. I love how David opens and closes by telling God that he will walk in integrity. He gives us a look at his lifestyle ... the things he does and does not do.

What does walking in integrity mean and look like for you? How would you describe your spiritual walk? Tami

Be a Seeker

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Psalm 24

David tells us that those who seek the face of God "will receive blessings from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:5).

What do you do to seek the face of God? How have you sought after God in the past week? Tami

Psalm 83

Psalm 83 is a crying out to God for action and justice. The psalmist, Asaph, lays out all the evidence, the offenses against God, of the surrounding nations and peoples. Then he boldly asks God, in a variety of ways, to intervene and handle the situation. Now I applaud Asaph's example here because so many times our initial response is to try and deal with wrongdoing or problems ourselves. Not the case here.

So how do we get to the point where we turn our difficulties and problems over to God no matter what? What's it going to take for us to absolutely trust that He will handle it? Tami

Always There

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Psalm 82

Psalm 82 is a little sobering. The words we read and the picture painted are definitely hard. But in these dark times we see the psalmist diligently seeking God as He asks for His help and rescue.

What does Psalm 82 show us about our relationship with God? How can we use and draw upon these verses in our prayer life? Tami

In a Good Way

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James 4:4-10

Most the time when we read or hear someone talking about being jealous, it's not a positive thing. But as James reminds us to stay away from living like the world in James 4, he talks about God being jealous, and it's a positive thing. "Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'?"

So what does James 4:4-10 show you about God's love for you? What about God's desire for your devotion, attention, service? Tami

God is Love

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1 John 4:7-21

Being a Christ-follower = LOVE. That was the big message that hit me as I read 1 John 4:7-21. Verse after verse about God's love for us and us then delivering that love to others. The two key verses for me were 9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him" and verse 12: "God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

So what is it you do to thank and recognize God for His love for you? How has, and is, God's love being "perfected" in you? Tami

Psalm 42:1-11

Life isn't going along smoothly for the psalmist in Psalm 42. He talks about his tears and how people are taunting him about following God. Quite clearly he is downhearted and in turmoil. But did you notice the words of verse 8? "By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life." I love that verse and particularly how the psalmist recognizes the personal nature of his relationship with God when he says "God of my life." And really, we see that throughout Psalm 42 with the way the psalmist tells God exactly what's on his heart.

What does God being "the god of my life" mean for you? Are you approaching and talking with God like the psalmist? Tami

Vital Need

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glass of water

Psalm 42:1-6

Imagine this: it's a scorching hot summer day and you're outside doing yard work or sitting at a baseball game, maybe you're playing a round of golf. You haven't had anything to drink and you're getting thirsty. Now at first it's not so bad, but the longer you go without something to drink, the stronger your desire and need for it grows and eventually getting a drink becomes vital and urgent.

When I read Psalm 42:1-2 where the psalmist talks about longing and thirsting for God, what I asked you to imagine above is the image that comes to my mind. This is particularly powerful for me because I've had heat stroke a couple of times when I didn't take in enough water. It wasn't a pleasant experience and the same thing is true when our relationship with God becomes distant.

So here are a couple of things to consider. Does Psalm 42:1-2 describe your relationship with God? And, what does your soul panting after, and thirsting for, God look like (or what do you want it to look like)? Tami

Psalm 84:1-12

I love the way the psalmist expresses his love and joy for the Lord in Psalm 84. His tone and attitude totally struck a chord with me. My absolute favorite verse was verse 2. "My soul longs, yes faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." And when I reached the end of the chapter, I seriously felt like standing up and shouting "Yes!" even though I was all by myself, sitting at my computer.

So how did Psalm 84 impact you? Did it give you a shot in the arm like it did me?
Tami

P.S. I invite you to listen to Back to the Bible and the series Becoming Intimate with God this week. It's packed full of good, practical teaching from Dr. Kroll.

Near and True

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Psalm 119:145-176

The psalmist lets us know over and over throughout Psalm 119 that even though he is afflicted, he is trusting in, and relying on, God's Word. So when I read verse 151 today, I smiled because this short verse really sums up why this man is so confident and solid in his relationship with in God.

"But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true."

What does this verse communicate to you? What encouragement can you draw from these words today? Tami

Your Desires

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Psalm 119:121-144

Throughout Psalm 119 we have repeatedly seen from the psalmist how much he loves God's Word. And today verse 131 jumped out at me. "I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments." I was struck by the depth of this man's desire for God's Word, and this caused me to spend a few minutes considering my relationship with God and how I think about and approach His Word. It was a good exercise which resulted in me asking God to help me desire Him and His Word above all else.

So how would you describe your relationship with God and your desire for His Word? Tami

Life Changing

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Psalm 119:97-120

One message came across loud and clear to me from Psalm 119:97-120--Engaging God's Word (receiving it, reflecting on it, and then responding to it) is life changing. So the more I'm in God's Word, considering it and putting it into action in my daily life, the better off I'll be spiritually.

What is the impact on the psalmist from being in God's Word? How has God's Word changed your thinking, attitudes and actions? Tami

salad

Psalm 119:73-96

I absolutely love salad. In fact, I have a big salad for either lunch or dinner (sometimes both) pretty much every day, and if I miss a day of salad, things just don't seem right. I've basically made salad an important staple in my daily life. So what does salad have to do with Psalm 119:73-96? Well, as I took in these verses, what hit me was how God's Word is a staple, really the key ingredient, to this man's daily living. There's no doubt that the psalmist absolutely loves God's Word (he "delights" in it). And I so appreciate the hungering for godly knowledge and understanding displayed in these verses and how this man fully gets that what he is seeking can only be obtained from God's Word.

So the questions I asked myself, and that I'm asking you to consider as well are: Do my attitude and thinking line up with the psalmist's? What am I doing, or what do I need to do, to make God's Word the key ingredient of my life? Tami

Take Comfort

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Psalm 119:49-72

As we reach Psalm 119:49-72, we clearly see that the psalmist is experiencing difficult circumstances. But what we see right along with that is how he is relying on and drawing from God's Word to get him through. Three verses caught my attention:

Verse 52: "When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord."

Verse 61: "Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law."

Verse 69: "The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts."

The psalmist even goes on to say that being afflicted was a good thing because it caused him to learn God's statutes.

When hard times come, are you drawn to God's Word? How has God's Word been a comfort to you? Is there a particular verse or passage that has helped (or is helping) you through a difficult situation? 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 May 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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