August 2013 Archives

Psalm 109

You know how we always hear how when we pray we should just talk to God? Well that's true, but if that's not how you were raised or you're not entirely comfortable or accustomed with that idea yet, then this is a great psalm to read because David is really talking to God. And once he starts talking, he lets go. He doesn't hold anything back. He tells God everything.

Talk about a picture of pouring out your heart to God. And did you notice how as David gives over his burdens, fears and concerns to God that his attitude and demeanor change? What began as a desperate crying out for help ends with a bold recognition of God's love, protection and sovereignty.

So what did you learn from Psalm 109? How can you draw on and use this passage in your relationship and communication with God? Tami

On Our Side

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Judges 7:16-25

The routing of the Midianites by Gideon and his tiny band of faithful men has to be one of the most impressive battles in the Bible. The weapons of choice for Gideon's group are almost laughable if we didn't know the outcome--trumpets, smashed jars and torches. I just love the unique and creative ways God works on our behalf and how He reveals himself to us.

What encouragement can we draw from Judges 7:16-25? How might we use this passage when it comes to battles we're facing or simply our work and service for the Lord? Tami

All for the Lord!

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Judges 7:1-18

Gideon takes on the massive forces of the Midianites with only 300 men. "And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore with abundance" (vs. 12). Now this sounds impossible, but it was exactly by God's plan and design. When the dust settled, all would know that God was in control and that nothing is too difficult for Him. Gideon was victorious--yes--but the victory was from the Lord.

So what does Judges 7:1-18 show us about our accomplishments for the Lord? How can we use this passage to help us give the glory to God? Tami

Spoken Dependence

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Nehemiah 4:7-20

Before we consider today's passage, here's a little background on The Book of Nehemiah. This Book is the account of Nehemiah working for the Lord to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As the Book begins, Nehemiah is in exile serving king Artaxerxes when he gets news that Jerusalem is in shambles. "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire" (Neh. 1:3). Nehemiah is broken hearted and grieved by this news, so he asks the king's permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls. The king grants Nehemiah's request, but almost immediately upon returning to Jerusalem, Nehemiah runs into fierce opposition. That brings us to our passage today, Nehemiah 4:7-20.

What stood out to me was Nehemiah's absolute dependence on God, and how he repeatedly verbalized that dependence. We see that in verse 14 "And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people 'Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughter, your wives, and your homes.'" And also in verse 20 "In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us."

How would you describe your dependence on God on a day-to-day basis? How often do you verbalize your trust in, and dependence on, God to others? Why is speaking about your dependence on God important? Tami

In Every Situation

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Nehemiah 1:1-2:6

Nehemiah is living in exile serving as a cupbearer for a foreign king when he gets word that the city of Jerusalem, both the remaining Jews and the physical city, are basically in shambles. "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire" (Neh. 1:3). This news weighs heavy on Nehemiah so he prays. Then later when the opportunity presents itself, we see another prayer from Nehemiah right before he asks the king to allow him to return and rebuild the city walls and gates.

So what did Nehemiahs prayers reveal to about approaching God, spending time with God, calling out to God, what you might say to God? What was the most significant thing that stood out to you about prayer from this passage? Tami

Our Rock

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1 Corinthians 10:1-13

As Paul was talking in 1 Corinthians 10, these words caught my attention: "spiritual food," "spiritual drink," and most importantly, "spiritual Rock." And then, the last few words of verse 4 really hit me "that rock was Christ." That prompted me to ask Am I living like Christ is my rock? My immediate answer was Yes, absolutely. But then I stopped and really contemplated. Guess what? My answer changed to Most of the time, but not always. You see, the truth of the matter is that while I love and trust the Lord, there are still times when "Tami" takes the reins and tries to do things in her own strength. Whenever I do that, I'm not putting Christ first and letting Him be my rock.

So what does Christ being our spiritual Rock mean to you? How is that reflected in your day to day life? Tami

Confident Heart

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Psalm 108

As we begin Psalm 108, David is pumped up about God and His unfailing love and faithfulness. I found his energy and enthusiasm contagious as they radiated out from his words. But it was the very first verse of Psalm 108, where David tells God that his heart is steadfast and confident in Him, that really impacted me. It caused me to think about my history with God and also do a little self-examining of my heart.

So what gives you confidence in God? Can you proclaim (like David) that your heart is confident in Him? Tami

Pay Attention

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Psalm 107:23-43

The key verse for me from Psalm 107 was verse 43. It's here we're told that the wise will pay attention to the things set out previously in this psalm and thus see and consider the steadfast love of the Lord. Sometimes it's easy just to read and not really consider all that's right there before us. Maybe we're distracted when we read or we're rushing or we're approaching our reading like a task rather than an opportunity to connect with God. Whatever the case, verse 43 is a good reminder that Psalm 107 (actually all Scripture) is rich with information and we need to take it in, consider it and then do something with it in our day-to-day life.

As I went back and re-read these verses, there were a number of things that caught my attention beyond just the recalling of historical facts. I learned some things about God, about us and about the two-way interaction between God and us and us and God.

So what did you see, learn and/or take away from Psalm 107? Tami

Complete Peace

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Philippians 4: 6-7; Mark 4:35-41

Jesus can calm our troubled hearts and bring us peace in any situation. Knowing this can be very freeing--provided I grasp on to this truth and rely on it as I go through my daily life. When I do that, I don't have to be afraid or worry about tomorrow because I know that God is already there and He has everything covered.

When crisis hits, do you trust God with all your heart? How do you keep your eyes on Him? Tami

Peace in the Storm

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Mark 4:35-41; 1 Peter 5:7

Even when we're doing what God has asked us to do, storms can come. That's the scenario we see today in Mark 4:35-41. The disciples are taking Jesus across the sea of Galilee, as Jesus has requested, and then a violent storm comes up which threatens to capsize the boat. The disciples are scared, frantic. They're freaking out, and no matter what they do they can't fix the situation. (I've been there--not in a boat, but in my own crisis. What about you?) But then they go to Jesus who instantly handles the situation. He "rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark 4: 39).

What did Mark 4:35-41 show you about storms coming into your life? What did you learn about navigating through difficult situations? How will you respond the next time a storm moves in? Tami

1 Peter 4:15-19

When I was in college, I took an upper level class where a big part of the professor's teaching focused around his views on history and the Bible and what he believed were problems with the Bible. There were at least two people in the class who totally disagreed with the professor, me and a guy whose name I can't remember. Right from the beginning of our classes the guy would stand up for the Bible and challenge the professor. And every time he did, the professor would demean him in front of the class.

So what did I do? Nothing. Oh, I complained privately to my husband, but as I sat in the class, I chose to remain silent because I was afraid and ashamed. And then I regurgitated exactly what the professor wanted to hear on the test so I could get a good grade. :( Yes, I was a Christian, but at that particular point in my life I wasn't reading God's Word, I had stopped attending church and I certainly wasn't seeking God or trying to grow my relationship with Him. As a result, I wasn't prepared, equipped or of the right mindset to stand strong for God and glorify Him.

"Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name" (1 Peter 4:16).

So what's your experience with what we're told in 1 Peter 4:16? When trials come, is your mindset to glorify God? If not, what can you do to change that? Tami

Not Exempt

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2 Timothy 3:10-12; 1 Peter 1:3-8; Romans 5:3-4

We should expect difficult situations, to be treated poorly, and, yes, to experience pain and suffering because we've chosen to follow Christ and live a godly life. Now that doesn't sound like much fun, but I can honestly say that even though I haven't enjoyed those difficult situation or painful times, good has come from them. Through some pretty awful situations God has taught and grown me spiritually and ultimately drawn me closer to Him.

How has going through suffering and enduring trials developed your Christian character? What lessons have you learned? Tami

Suffering Savior

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1 Peter 2:19-25

No one suffered like Jesus. Think about it. Jesus bore the weight of the world's sin (which includes my sin and yours) as He was brutally murdered on the cross.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

So what does Christ's suffering show you about how much He cares for you? What does it reveal about Jesus understanding your pain and suffering? Tami

Being Thanks-filled

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Psalm 107:1-22

Psalm 107:1 gives us a clear directive to "give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." And it's not just found in verse 1. This theme is repeated and carried throughout the remainder of the psalm. That tells me then, that I need to take note of this charge to give thanks and make sure I'm complying with it. So I took a couple of minutes and just thought about the how, why, what and when of my giving thanks. I asked myself things like: How am I doing in the "giving thanks" category? Do I fully embrace God's goodness and that His steadfast love endures forever? Does my daily life reflect a thankful attitude toward the Lord? What does me giving the Lord all the thanks He's due look like?

So take a couple of minutes to consider your "giving thanks" today. What does it look like? How might it be even stronger? Tami

Unwavering Praise

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Psalm 106:29-48

As we reach the end of Psalm 106, we get a little clearer picture of the circumstances in which this psalm was written. In verse 47 the psalmist makes the request of "Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations." So from the sounds of it, Israel is not together as a nation but has been scattered and is in exile. It's a tough and sad situation. But even so, the psalmist begins and ends with a call to praise and give thanks to the Lord.

So what does Psalm 106 show us about the how, when, why and where of praising the Lord? How can you use this psalm to help you continue to praise whatever your circumstances? Tami

Ultimate Example

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1 Peter 2:19-25

Yeah, right. That can be my non-verbal thought response to someone telling me they understand how I'm feeling (trying to comfort me) when I'm going through something tough and awful. Ever been there? But with Jesus, it's completely different. Jesus is called the Man of Sorrows and He suffered unimaginably for my sins, your sins, and the sins of mankind. He fully understands suffering and pain, and is the supreme example for us when we suffer and go through difficult times.

So what did 1 Peter 2:19-25 show you about suffering? What about Jesus' suffering stood out to you, and why? Tami

God at Work

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Romans 8:28; Job 42:2; Ephesians 1:11

Life isn't all smooth sailing. It's full of bumps in the road, difficult situations and sometimes, even devastating tragedy. But no matter what the circumstances, we can stand strong and have hope knowing that God is good, He is in control, and that He has a purpose for everything He allows to happen in our lives.

What encouragement do you draw from the passages today? How have you seen God work in your life through difficult circumstances? Tami

Results of Sin

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Genesis 1:31; 3:1-24

The world was good. God's creation was perfect. "And God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31). But things changed. Sin entered our world when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God.

So what did Genesis 3 show you about the consequences, effects and impact of sin? Tami

Total Goodness

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Nahum 1:7; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 136:1; Genesis 50:20

You've probably heard many times the phrase "Good is good, all the time" with the response "All the time, God is good." It's true, but sometimes when life comes crashing in, when bad things happen, we lose sight of just how loving, caring, and absolutely good God is. There are many verses throughout the Bible that show us God's goodness, but we can grasp plenty from the few we're reading today.

So what do these verses (especially Nahum 1:7 and Genesis 50:20) show us about being able to trust God and fully rely on Him? How have you experienced God's goodness when difficult times have come? Tami

God and Evil

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Genesis 1:31; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 5:19; 1 John 4:4

For the next two weeks we'll be taking a close look at Scriptures that deal with God, evil and suffering to go along with our new study series titled God, Evil and Suffering with Bible teacher Dr. John Munro (I invite you to join us for these powerful studies at www.backtothebible.org).

A number of things hit me today as I read, but what really stood out was the stark contrast between God (complete goodness) and Satan (complete evil) and the consequences of sin.

What do these passages reveal to you about God? What do they show you about Satan, sin, and the pervasiveness of evil in our world? Tami

Using the Past

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Psalm 106:1-31

Experience is a good teacher. So a big part of growing in our walk with the Lord needs to include looking back and drawing on our past successes and stumbles just like the psalmist does here in Psalm 106. But here's the thing. We have a big advantage over the psalmist because we have the entire Bible--full of examples of people's successes, failures, mistakes and stumbles--to draw from as well. Think about it. We have the ultimate guide to Christian living and knowing God's heart and mind right at our fingertips! That's pretty cool.

So how have you used past experiences to help you grow in your walk with the Lord? Have you found this beneficial? How can you make better use of your past experiences and the examples and particularly the experiences of people in the Bible going forward? Tami

Our Great God

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Psalm 105:26-44

If you haven't spent a lot of time in Exodus lately or you just want to brush up on the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt, then Psalm 105:26-44 is a great read. These verses give us a quick, but comprehensive, look at the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of captivity to the promised land. Now this is truly an amazing story. And what captured my attention was God and how His greatness was evident and displayed in every detail.

So what did learn about God from Psalm 105:26-44? How can we use this passage to help strengthen our relationship with, and trust in, the Lord? Tami

1 Kings 18:20-40

Today we read about God speaking to Elijah on Mount Horeb. Every time I read this passage, I'm struck by how God chose to speak - not through the wind and the fire, but in a calm, low whispering voice (vs. 12). There have been a number of times over the years when I've felt like I wasn't hearing from God. But as I look at this passage, I think maybe my expectations of how I would hear from God (loud voice, big reactions, specific outcome, etc.) got in the way of hearing His calm, soft response.

Do you have expectations of how you're going to hear from God? How do you clear the way to simply hear His voice? Tami

You Are Loved

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1 Kings 19:1-18

Elijah has just had the most incredible victory defeating the 450 prophets of Baal and announcing rain coming for the drought stricken land. He's seemingly invincible. But then, a death threat from king Ahab's wife Jezebel sends Elijah running scared, so much so that he even asks God to end his life. So how did God respond? Like a loving Father. What a beautiful picture of compassion and care as He walked with and sustained Elijah through this difficult situation.

So what does this passage tell you about how much God understands your thoughts and feelings? What about how much He loves and cares for you? And finally, what does it reveal about God's willingness to meet you wherever you're at? Tami

No Doubt

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1 Kings 18:41-46

So Elijah has defeated he prophets of Baal and now his attention turns to rain. (Remember, in verse 1 of chapter 18 God tells Elijah that He is going to send rain. This is a big deal since there hasn't been any rain for three years.) How Elijah handles himself and the situation impressed me. He was so confident in God. He absolutely trusted that God would keep His word. And even though Elijah's servant didn't report any signs of rain until the seventh time Elijah sent him to look, we never see doubt creeping into Elijah's thinking.

So Elijah is an excellent example for us, but what I found most beneficial from this passage was what it revealed to me about God. I took a few minutes and made a list and came up with six things. The most prominent thing was that God is 100% trustworthy. But I also saw how God empowers people to do His will and that He is most definitely in control.

So take a few minutes and read 1 Kings 18:41-46 again. What did you learn about God from this passage? Write down what you saw and then send in a blog comment. I'd love to see what God revealed to you today. Tami

Who's Your Center?

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1 Kings 18:20-40

The question "What happened to the people of Israel?" captured my thoughts as I read 1 Kings 18:20-40 this morning. They had certainly lost their focus on God and as a result, had no faith. The whole passage highlighted for me our tendency to turn every direction but to God. As I look back and examine this tendency in my own life, every time I've taken my eyes off of God, my focus has immediately shifted to me--what I want, what I think will make me happy, or feel better or satisfied. And I might even experience those things short term, but in the long run I end up feeling empty, dissatisfied and disconnected from God.

So I have a daily choice to make between self-centered living where I call the shots, or God-centered living where I submit and depend on Him who is all powerful, all knowing, all loving and who has a perfect master plan.

What does a God-centered life look like and mean for you? What do you do (or can you do) to ensure that God is calling the shots in your daily life? Tami

Underdog?

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1 Kings 18:22-40

The people of Israel, under the leadership of king Ahab and his wife Jezebel, have turned completely away from God. The country is a complete spiritual mess. That's the backdrop as Elijah, God's messenger, boldly confronts the people and challenges them to choose between God and the other manmade gods they have been worshiping. So the scene as we reach 1 King 18: 22-40 is one prophet of God against 450 prophets of Baal. The numbers seem to be against Elijah, but in reality it's no contest at all because God is the one true God and He is in complete control.

I never get tired of reading the details of this showdown. I can imagine the scene and it gives me a shot in the arm to get out there and live openly and boldly for God.

So how did this passage impact you today? What did it show you about God and trusting in Him? Tami

Remember and Tell

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Psalm 105:1-25

Recognize God for Who He is and then tell others--that's the message that stood out to me as I began reading Psalm 105. This chapter starts with thanks, but then instructs us, almost immediately, to "make known his deeds among the peoples" and to "tell of all his wondrous deeds" (vs.1-2).

Now before I can tell others about what God has done, I have to remember and recall them myself. It's a great exercise to get our focus on God and to energize and encourage us on a personal level. And this remembering exercise will hopefully encourage us to tell others as well. (And here's the cool thing, when we share our experiences of how God has done wonderful things in our lives, we're witnessing!)

So take a few minutes and write down some of the wondrous deeds and works the Lord has done for you over the years. Read it over, maybe even read it out loud to yourself, and remember. Then, thank the Lord, and as you go about your day look for opportunities to tell others about God and His goodness to you. Tami

P.S. The P4 blog could be your first opportunity to tell others. I put a couple of things from my list below to get us started.

--Allowing me to lose a job which was unsettling and scary, but ultimately moved me to a better job and caused me to grow like crazy spiritually.

--Sustaining my husband (and me as his supporter) through some significant health problems the last 10 years.

--Guiding and strengthening us through a long period of trying to sell our house.

Every Detail

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Psalm 104

I love all things nature. So Psalm 104 with all its detail about the heavens, sky and earth really resonated with me. It was a great reminder of God's complete control of all of our world, not to mention how involved He is in all that's going on and taking place around us.

So what did Psalm 104 show you about God? Was there a particular verse or phrase that spoke to you today? Tami

One True God

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1 Kings 18:17-22

After being in hiding for three years, Elijah and Ahab once again meet face to face. Right off Ahab blames Elijah for the complete drought that has ravaged the country. Elijah stands his ground and immediately points out the real problem--that Ahab and the people had fallen away from God and were following Baal and Asherah. When we reach verses 20-21, Elijah calls out the people of Israel and challenges them to fully follow God. "If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."

How would you describe fully following God? How do you guard against letting other gods (money, popularity, position, possessions) pull your eyes off God? Tami

Doing Right

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1 Kings 18:1-18

Elijah instructs Obadiah, a god fearing man who works for king Ahab, to deliver the message to Ahab that Elijah was back and wants a meeting. (Now remember, Ahab wants to kill Elijah because of the drought Elijah declared across the land three years earlier. He's been feverously searching for Elijah but has had no success.) Elijah's request scares Obadiah because he knows how angry king Ahab is and that delivering this message could possibly lead to his death. But Obadiah also knows that Elijah is God's prophet and that he is delivering God's message. So he does what Elijah asks.

So what has helped you step out in faith when God's call to action is uncomfortable or scary? How important is prayer and looking to God's Word? What about seeking counsel from a godly friend? 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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This page is an archive of entries from August 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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