September 2013 Archives

Tired Baby

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Jonah 1:1-3; 1:17-2:10

The picture of a tired, small child fighting taking a nap came to mind as I read Jonah 1 and 2 today. Sleep is what's best and needed, but the child doesn't realize this. So he fights and resists the very thing he needs most.

Jonah is a grown man, but he's acting the same way as a tired child, fighting and resisting the plan God has for him. We do this too, by the way, when we're on the run from God. We think we know what's best. But in reality, we're not thinking properly and we're completely off track with God.

So what are you doing to keep God's plan front and center? How do you guard against being pulled off course from God? Tami

Forever Kind of Love

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Psalm 118

I could just feel the emotion, the excitement, the enthusiasm of the psalmist as he proclaimed God's love, goodness and greatness in Psalm 118:1-29. As I read I found myself saying a number of times, "Yes!" And nodding my head in agreement. How about you?

So what is it that you exuberantly proclaim about the Lord? Was there a particular verse or phrase that really moved your heart today from Psalm 118? Tami

A Quick Two

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Psalm 117

One short chapter made up of two verses. So when you saw our reading for today did you think Wow, this is going to be a light day? Well, if so, think again because we don't necessarily have to read a certain number of verses to have a meaningful time with the Lord. We can really go to town engaging God's Word (receiving, reflecting and responding) with just two verses--seriously.

For me, I started in right at verse 1 with the goal of stopping and thinking about those things I noticed and saw. The first thing I read was the command to praise the Lord and to extol him. So I thought about that and considered Do I praise and extol him? How? What does that look like? And should or can I be doing more? Then I moved on to verse 2 focusing on the phrases "great is his steadfast love toward us" and "the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever." Some of my thoughts were: Do I fully believe these statements? Why? Why not? And how can I embrace and live relying on them even more? Then, I spent some time just recalling different times when God has been faithful to me and has shown His steadfast love and thanked Him.

So that's what I did. Now it's your turn. How did you engage God's Word through Psalm 117 today?
Tami

Wake Up Call

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Jonah 1:17-2:10

So Jonah has been thrown overboard into the raging waters and swallowed by a great fish. It's at this rock bottom, low point that we finally see him wake up, snap out of it, and reach out to God. At first, Jonah calls out to the Lord in despair, but as he continues to pray his attitude turns to one of thanksgiving. When Jonah concludes, the Lord speaks to the fish and Jonah is spit up onto the dry land. Pretty incredible on a number of levels.

So what did Jonah's time in the belly of the fish show you about repentance? What about restoration of relationship with the Lord? Tami

Rescued by a Big Fish

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Jonah 1:17

The most well-known fact about Jonah's life is surely his run-in with the big fish that swallowed him up. And while at first glance it may seem that the fish was a player in Jonah's punishment--which may be true--the fish also rescued Jonah and kept him alive.

Even though Jonah was stubborn, God showed great patience and extended grace to him (by providing refuge in a fish) even when he didn't deserve it. God had great plans for Jonah and He has great plans for us as well. Our job is to respond with obedience and a willing heart.

Have you experienced a wake up call from God that changed your course? Has God ever extended grace to you even when you were running away? It'd be an encouragement to all of us to hear how you've seen God pursue you. Tami

Out of Whack

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Jonah 1:4-17

When we're on the run from God, when we're out of His will, not only will there be consequences, but our thinking and actions get out of whack. A look at Jonah on the boat in the storm provides evidence of this. The storm is raging. The other men on the ship are afraid and scrambling to keep the boat afloat and themselves alive. So what is Jonah doing--sleeping! Considering the circumstances, kind of crazy, don't you think?

So what does this passage reveal about the importance of staying in tune, and on track, with God? Tami

God Loves All

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Jonah 1:1-16

God's love is greater than I can comprehend and that love is displayed in a huge way through the account of Jonah. God calls Jonah to reach out to the "evil" people of Ninevah. Jonah doesn't love (or even like) the Ninevites and he doesn't want God to extend His love to this wicked city of people either. But as Jonah finds out, it's not his place to determine who deserves God's love and grace.

We all want our friends and family to know the Lord, that's a given. But what about all the other people...the not so loveable people...who live by you, work with you, sit in class with you, or who you run across at the grocery store? Today, let's take a few minutes to think about those people whom we don't "love" so much. They need God's salvation too, and God has called each of us to reach out to them. Tami

No Escape

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Jonah 1:1-6

Every time I read the Book of Jonah, I find myself thinking How ridiculous of you, Jonah. But then I come to my senses and realize that I've been there. I've acted the same way as Jonah (just didn't use a ship), thinking I could run away from God and that I could basically ignore Him. Like He did with Jonah, God got my attention through some difficult circumstances. It wasn't pleasant at the time, but it was necessary to bring me back to Him. And as I write today, I am thankful.

So have you ever tried to hide or run from God? Why? And what did you learn as a result? Tami

P.S. Our new Bible teacher, Dr. John Munro, is beginning a 2-week series on Jonah today on Back to the Bible, so I encourage you to take a listen.

I LOVE the Lord

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Psalm 116

I found Psalm 116 tender and moving. It illustrated so beautifully how God watches over us and cares about each of our lives and needs. As I reached the end of the chapter, I found myself right with the psalmist. My heart was crying out I love you Lord!

So if you're with me (and the psalmist) fill in the following blanks (and then send it back as a blog response). I love the Lord because _______________________. I will offer __________ to the Lord for all He has done for me. Looking forward to seeing your responses!! Tami

I Will Trust

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Psalm 115

The opening call in Psalm 115 is to give God the glory for the sake of His steadfast love and faithfulness (vs. 1). This is such a good psalm, full of reminders of who God is and how we need to trust and rely upon Him in all circumstances. (How about an "amen" to that?) I was really drawn today to verses 9-11. So I went back and read them again but substituted my name in certain places to make it more personal. This really helped me focus on putting God first as I headed out for the day. Here's what I did and I thought you might like to try it too?

O (put your name here), trust in the Lord! He is your help (put your name here) and your shield. . . .(put your name here) fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is your help and your shield.

So what can you do today to let the Lord know that you trust in Him and that you believe He is faithful to be your help and shield? Tami

Incredible Exchange

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Philippians 4:6-7

Today we're taking another look at Philippians 4:6-7, but this time with a focus on verse 7. It's here where Paul tells us that when we give up our cares and worries to God, His peace will then guard our hearts and minds. Who doesn't want that? I can't fully explain this wonderful exchange of my worries for His peace, but I've most certainly experienced it over and over. Thank you, God!

So how have you experienced God's peace through prayer? Is there something you need to give over to God today? Tami

Not Mine

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Philippians 4:6-7

Even though I'm not what I would call a "worrier," stress and worry still seem to have a way of crowding in on me. When I find myself in that situation, one of my favorite passages to turn to is Philippians 4:6-7. It serves as a wonderful reminder that God is in control of my life, and that whatever cares and concerns I'm struggling with aren't mine anyways. How comforting to know that God's got every detail of my life covered and I can fully trust Him no matter the situation.

So do you turn to Philippians 4: 6-7 for help when you're bombarded with worry? What encouragement did you draw from this passage today? Tami

Use the Weapon

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Ephesians 6:18-20

Prayer is a key component of the armor of God. It's powerful. In Ephesians 6:18-22, Paul tells us that we need to be praying at all times in the Spirit and that we should be praying, not only for our needs and protection, but also for other followers of Christ.

So do you think of prayer as a weapon? How does prayer help you stand strong in the Lord? Are you praying for other believers? Tami

ASK

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Luke 11:1-13

Immediately after Jesus delivers the Lord's prayer, He lets the disciples know that God is expecting, and wants us, to ask Him for what we need. Jesus says very plainly in verse 9 "'And I tell you ask and it will be given to you. . .'" And then, in verse 13 He talks about how even those who are evil give good things to their children, concluding with "how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" So pretty clear direction from Jesus that when our focus is properly on God and doing His will, we ought to be bold in asking God for guidance, needs and instruction.

So today, let's examine our prayers and specifically the aspect of "asking" God for things. Is it your habit to ask for things? Assuming it is, what kinds of things are you asking Him for? How are you asking/what's your approach to asking? How do you make sure that what you're asking for is in God's will? Lots to consider. Tami

The Lord's Prayer

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Luke 11:1-13

Prayer was important, even to Jesus. The disciples knew this, so they asked Him to "teach us to pray." And Jesus responded with the Lord's prayer, which for both the disciples and us, is the perfect pattern for talking to our Heavenly Father.

So, there are a variety of things we can pick up from this prayer, but what stands out to me, and what I put into practice, is to recognize God first--in praise and thanksgiving--and then come to Him with my needs.

Now it's your turn--what stands out to you as something you can put into practice in your prayer life? I'd love to hear what you have to say! Tami

Trembling

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Psalm 114

"Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord..." (Psalm 114:7). I found Psalm 114 a good reminder of God's authority, power and sovereignty. Reading this passage, there's no doubt that God is in control of everything, and we need to recognize this and operate accordingly.

So how do we develop an attitude of reverence (trembling) toward the Lord? What do you do to keep who God is at the forefront as you go about your life? Tami

Psalm 113

Praise the Lord is the big call to action in Psalm 113. The psalmist takes the first three verses giving us that call and then spends the final six verses of the passage giving us reasons for our praise.

So I thought it would be fun to answer the call to praise today and I'm hoping you'll join me. Consider the statement below and fill in the blank with something specific to your life.

I praise the Lord because _______________.

I thought I'd start us off with a couple of my praise items: 1) I praise the Lord because He loves me even in those times I don't act very loving to Him. 2) I praise the Lord because He has allowed me to use my love of music and singing outside of my full time job with Back to the Bible. Tami

Needed Word

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2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12-13

This week we've focused in on two passages--2 Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 4:12-13. Both are loaded with helpful information to give us insight about the importance of God's Word.

So dig in and tell me what you learned. Tami

Living and Active

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Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12

Three short verses from three different Books, but they all point us to the power of God's Word. So take a few minutes to consider and mull these verses over and then work through the questions below.

Think back over the past few weeks. How has God's Word guided you? Sustained you? Convicted you? Encouraged you? How are you experiencing the power of God's Word? Tami

God's Blessing

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Psalm 1

There's no waffling in Psalm 1. Following God's Word brings blessing from God--period. God isn't looking at our background, our education or our financial status. He simply wants us to follow Him.

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night" (vs. 2).

How much time do you spend delighting in the Lord and taking in His Word? What do you do to keep God's Word at the forefront as you go through your day? Tami

Front and Center

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Psalm 1

God's Word has to be front and center in my life--that's the message that came across loudly to me from Psalm 1. We see it plainly in verses 1 and 2. And then, to drive the point home further, the psalmist give us the wonderful tree example in verse 3 confirming that when our focus is on God and we're living out His Word, we can stand strong and flourish in and through all we encounter. What a comfort and encouragement.

Based on Psalm 1, how important do you think it is for us to be engaging (receiving, reflecting on and responding to) God's Word? How would you described "delighting" in the law of the Lord? Tami

Hugely Profitable!

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2 Timothy 3:14-17

For me, one of the most important passages in the Bible is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It leaves no room for doubt that the Bible is God's Word to us, and that we should be using and drawing upon His Word as we live the Christian life. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 again--maybe even a couple more times. What are your thoughts on the trustworthiness of the Bible? What do these verses show you about the relevance, practicality and usefulness of the Bible for you today? What about the importance of regularly being in God's Word? Tami

Righteous

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Psalm 112

After reading Psalm 112 there's no doubt that our goal should be to live as a righteous person, and we're given quite a bit of information on what that means and looks like. Now right in the middle of all this information and instruction are these awesome words, "For the righteous will never be moved ... He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord" (vs. 6-7). I say, "Amen to that!"

So how do you line up with the description of a righteous person as it is here in Psalm 112? Are there areas that need a little improvement, and if so, how will you go about doing that? Tami

All Kinds of Great

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Psalm 111

One thing is clear from Psalm 111--the Lord is to be praised. This is such a great psalm because that message of praise is the first thing we read. And then, just in case we missed it, the rest of the chapter pretty much lays out reason after reason why we should be thankful and praising.

Now I use the ESV for P4 and verse 2 says "Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them." But I also read the NLT today which talked about pondering the works of the Lord. It made me realize that although I study the works of the Lord in the Bible, I don't necessarily do a lot of studying or pondering of the great things the Lord has done in my life. So I took some time and I pondered, I thanked and I praised.

So take a few minutes today and think about (ponder) some the great things the Lord has done for you (And they don't have to be big, life-changing events) and send up some praise to the Lord. Then, would you tell us about one or two of the great things you praised the Lord for? Tami

Stay in the Game

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2 Samuel 15:1-37

Today we get a look at a pretty sad chapter in David's life. David's son, Absalom, has set into action a conspiracy to take the throne away from David. So David is forced to leave Jerusalem...literally running for his life. Talk about devastating. This had to be about rock bottom for David. But here's what I noticed, David didn't allow his circumstances, as awful as they were, to take him out of the game spiritually.

So what did David show you about staying in the game spiritually in and through hard situations? Was there something in particular that David did, or didn't do, that you found helpful? Tami

Passing the Baton

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2 Timothy 4:1-8

We get a good look at Christians ministering together and supporting one another with Paul and Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-8. Paul is the mentor, teacher and friend of Timothy. Paul knows he is nearing the end of his life and ministry, and as a result, we see him instructing, advising, challenging and, most importantly, encouraging Timothy to carry on for Christ.

So what can you do to follow Paul's example with others at home? School? Church? Work? Or, if someone has come along side you as a Christian mentor and friend, what about returning the favor? What can you do to encourage and help them grow? Tami

Beyond the Motions

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

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

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

Slaves of God

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

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

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

The Final Chapter

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Revelation 22:6-21

If you've ever skipped to the back of a book and read the final chapter first, that's what we're doing today with Revelation. And after reading these verses, two important reminders stood out to me.

First, I see a powerful and telling picture of Jesus as the Son of God, as our Savior and Redeemer, as our King. Revelation actually starts with Jesus telling us He is "the first and the last" (1:17) and it ends similarly (22:13) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

The second thing that stood out to me is that every person needs Jesus as Savior, and as a follower of Christ, I need to be BOLD about proclaiming the Gospel at all times. That means in my actions, but particularly with my words. I need to be a facilitator of the message we see in Revelation 22:17, "'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." Our world, our friends (and our enemies), our neighbors, our families, need Jesus.

What jumped out to you in these verses? Are you motivated to live differently? How so? Tami

Trust His Word

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Psalm 110

It seems like we hear (or we're told) quite often that we can trust God and that God never changes. So it was good today to see that promise spelled out clearly in Psalm 110. "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind" (verse 4). I also love the fact that we see an amazing promise in the very next verse in these words "The Lord is at your right hand."

So what does the Lord being at your right hand look like or mean for you today? 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 September 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2013 is the previous archive.

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