November 2013 Archives

An Enduring Love

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Psalm 136

There's one phrase you can't miss when you read through Psalm 136. "His steadfast love endures forever." The more verses I read with this closing phrase, the more I realized how this would be kind of a neat way for us to remember and recognize God's love for us.

So think about the phrase "His steadfast love endures forever" and how that's true for you. Then, imagine you're adding a verse to Psalm 136 by filling in the blank below. Tami

To him who _________________________, his steadfast love endures forever.

Here are two for me:
To him who gave me the gift of music, his steadfast love endures forever.
To him who gives me joy--in all circumstances, his steadfast love endures forever.

Deliver the Message

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Psalm 136:1-3, 26

Four verses from Psalm 136 begin with the command to "give thanks" to God. So let's spend some time today thinking about giving thanks to God.

First, why are you thankful for God? And second, how do you express and show thanks to God? Tami

Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 139

Well, if you live in the U.S., today is Thanksgiving. That being the case, for the next two days we're going to focus on being thankful. Today, I selected Psalm 139 for our reading because it lets me know that God knows me, He understands me and He loves me completely. For that, I am thankful.

So what about You? Is there a particular verse or passage that makes you thankful? And why? Tami

Sealed

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2 Corinthians 1:18-22; 5:1-10

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that God has "put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." In other words, when we receive Christ as Savior, our salvation is, at that same instant, sealed and forever confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

So as a Christ-follower, how does knowing that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit encourage you? Make you thankful? Confident? Tami

Deliver the Message

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2 Corinthians 5:11-21

There's no doubt about it, we are all called to tell others about Christ--our family, friends, co-workers, even complete strangers. Yet so often, we just don't do it. And most of the time our lack of sharing is based on fear--fear of rejection, fear we won't say the right thing, fear of failure. So I found Paul's message in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 not only a good reminder, but also an encouragement to get out there and tell people about Jesus. Two phrases were key for me today. First, verse 19 where Paul tells us that God has "entrust[ed] to us the message of reconciliation." How awesome is it that God would entrust each of us to further His plan? And then verse 20 where Paul says very plainly "we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us."

Take a few minutes today to think about what being an ambassador or representative for Christ means. How will/can you deliver God's message of salvation this week? And to whom might you convey it? (Remember, the message is for everyone, even those we don't know.) Tami

Our Account

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2 Corinthians 5:1-10

One day in the future, each of us will individually stand before the Lord (the Judgment Seat of Christ) and give an account of how we lived our lives (which is both sobering and exciting). What a motivator to live totally surrendered and committed to Him, walking by faith and focused on pleasing God.

So think back over the past week or so. Would you say your walk has been more driven by faith or by sight, and why? What can you do today that is pleasing to God? Tami

Above All

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Psalm 135

Yesterday "bless the Lord," today the command is "praise the Lord." And, right after issuing this instruction, the psalmist goes on and gives us example after example of why God is worthy of all our praise.

So I thought it would be good for us to join the psalmist today by making verse 5 our own, if you will. You can do that by finishing this sentence:

For I know the Lord is great and above all gods because _______________.
Tami

Bless the Lord

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Psalm 134

The call to action is clear in Psalm 134--"Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord" (vs. 1). And then in verse two we see the command again, only this time with some specifics. "Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord." Ok, bless the Lord is for us today.

So how are you blessing the Lord? What does "lifting your hands" mean for you? Is it a literal lifting of your hands or something else? Or maybe both? Tami

No Defeat

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2 Corinthians 4

Paul begins and ends 2 Corinthians 4 with the declaration "we do not lose heart," and in between these bookend statements he delivers a message of hope for our daily living for Christ. Yes, we will experience hardship when we follow Christ, but God is in control and He has us covered.

  • Afflicted--but not crushed
  • Perplexed--but not driven to despair
  • Persecuted--but not forsaken
  • Struck down--but not destroyed

To repeat Paul, "So, we do not lose heart" (verse 16).

What encouragement did you draw from 2 Corinthians 4 today? What helps you "not lose heart" as you live daily for Christ? Tami

New is Better

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2 Corinthians 3

Sometimes I find that Paul can be a little difficult to understand, and that was the case today with 2 Corinthians 3. It took me two or three reads to really get my mind around what Paul is telling us about the greatness of the new covenant we have through Jesus. Verses 7-11 were helpful in highlighting that we no longer operate under the law but now live freely in the Spirit.

So what did 2 Corinthians 3 show you about the new covenant we have through Christ versus the old covenant (the law)? Was there a verse or passage that was particularly helpful or meaningful to you? Tami

Sweet Scent

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2 Corinthians 2:14-17

I am passionate about the need to share Christ with others. So I was drawn to Paul's description of us being a fragrance of Christ. As I thought about what being an aroma of Christ meant, baking cookies immediately came to mind since this is something I enjoy. I bake some killer gourmet chocolate chunk cookies, and when I'm baking them there isn't anywhere in the house where you can escape that wonderful smell of melting chocolate blending perfectly together with hot butter, sugar, flour and eggs. It's tantalizing which makes it hard to wait for them to come out of the oven so I can savor and enjoy them fully. That's the picture Paul is painting for us in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 when he describes us as being a fragrance and aroma of Christ to those around us.

So how often do you (or do you) think of yourself as "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (verse 15)? What does being "the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere" (verse 14) mean and look like for you? Tami

Love Motivated

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2 Corinthians 2:1-4, Ephesians 4:15

As I read 2 Corinthians 2:1-11, Paul's instruction for us to "speak the truth in love" from Ephesians 4:15 came to mind. Paul is doing just that to the believers at Corinth, letting them know that while his prior communication to them was difficult for him, it was necessary because of his great love for them. "For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you" (verse 4).

Based on these passages, how valuable is honest communication? How important are the words you choose and the manner in which you deliver them? Tami

Godly Evidence

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2 Corinthians 1:12-24

Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 1:12 drew me in and got me thinking about how my life and actions do or do not demonstrate that I have chosen to follow Christ.

"For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you."

As you think about your life as a follower of Christ, what's one example of how you have behaved with simplicity and godly sincerity in the past week? Tami

Sweet Unity

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Psalm 133

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). You know, there really is nothing like having harmony. But the unfortunate thing is, more often than not, unity seems to be in short supply. (What's the deal with that do you think?)

So how are you fostering and contributing to a spirit of unity in your family? In your church? At your work place? Tami

More than History

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Psalm 132

Psalm 132 is filled with details about a time in history when things operated very differently than in the present. Even so, there's still plenty we can learn from this psalm that is useful to us today. I found that when I kind of stepped back and took a more "big picture" approach, there was really quite a bit here for me to consider. For example, the references to David's words and actions provided a good illustration of living vibrantly for God.

So here are a couple other "big picture" things to consider: What does Psalm 132 show you about the importance of praising and worshipping God? What does it reveal to you about God's character? Tami

God of Comfort

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2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Paul's message in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 had a soothing effect on me today. How wonderful to know that God is "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort" who, not only comforts us when we're afflicted, but then empowers us to be able to comfort others who are experiencing affliction.

How has God been a comfort to you in past? In what ways are you comforting others? Who do you know that could use your help today? Tami

Support the Work

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1 Corinthians 16

As Paul's concludes to his letter to the Corinthians, he leaves a reminder (a challenge, really) to support fellow brothers and sisters doing the Lord's work--both financially and through other actions. But the main emphasis here is on financial support. And since this is a big deal to Paul, and it should be important to us as well.

So how are you doing at offering support for the Lord's work in the church or around the world? Do you view your financial giving as an act of worship? Tami

It All Counts

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1 Corinthians 15:35-58

The second half of 1 Corinthians 15 focuses on the amazing promise that one day death will be no more. It's ugly grip on humanity will be conquered by the power of God, and believers in Christ will forever be in the presence of the Lord. This is the hope we have if we've put our faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross on our behalf. What an incredible promise to fix our thoughts upon while we wait for His return!

But what especially stood out to me was verse 58. "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." As we go about our days--sometimes getting caught up in the dailyness of it all--this verse reminds us of the watchful eye of God. He sees what we do--the way we serve, the way we speak in love, the way we obey. Every word, thought, action--He sees it all. May that be an encouragement to each of us today as we live godly lives and run the race He's set out for us.

How are you living your life in a way that pleases the Lord? (It's an encouragement for all of us to hear how God is using you, so don't feel like you're bragging. All the glory goes to God!) Do you need to adjust your perspective or your actions as you strive to live a life pleasing to the Lord? Meredith, P4 team member

Alive

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1 Corinthians 15:1-34

Paul quite thoroughly summarizes and reaffirms to the Corinthian believers exactly who Jesus is and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:1-34. It was a great read.

So based on Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:1-34, why is Jesus' resurrection so important? Was there anything specific that stood out to you from this passage? Tami

To Strengthen All

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1 Corinthians 14

Paul spends a lot of time on spiritual gifting in 1 Corinthians 14. I found the entire chapter helpful, and was particularly drawn to Paul's closing verses (16-29) where he instructs us to use our gifting to strengthen the whole body. "Let all things be done for building up" (verse 26).

So think back over the past couple of weeks. How have you contributed to the building up of the body of Christ? Now think forward to this coming week. What can/will you do to make sure you are helping to strengthen fellow Christ followers? Tami

Contentment

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Psalm 131

One message came across to me from Psalm 131--that I should be content in the Lord. I get that sense from verse 2 "But I have calmed and quieted my soul..."

So what does being "content" in the Lord (having a calm and quiet soul) mean to you? What does it look like in your everyday life? Tami

Sweet Forgiveness

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Psalm 130

Do you ever get into a mode where you feel lousy and start thinking I'm such a terrible person, how could God really forgive me? I go there sometimes, especially if I slip up and sin in an area in which I really know better (like with my tongue). So Psalm 130:3-4 hit me powerfully. "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared." These verses gave me encouragement to keep up the good fight and were an excellent reminder that I need to be thanking God continually for His forgiveness.

So what did Psalm 130 convey to you about forgiveness? How often do you thank the Lord for His forgiveness? Tami

Preview Day

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1 Corinthians 14

Today we're trying something new. I'd like you to read 1 Corinthians 14 and take a few notes as you go along. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

- Are there any commands I need to pay attention to?
- What does this passage tell me about God?
- What is God trying to teach me through this passage?


When you're finished, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts. Then, on Monday, I'll take a closer look at chapter 14 and we can continue our discussion. Have a great weekend! Tami

What Love Is

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1 Corinthians 13

If you're wanting a straight-forward definition of love, then look no further than 1 Corinthians 13. There you'll find layer after layer of details about love from different angles. We're told what it is--patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, and also what it isn't--not envious or boastful, not arrogant or rude.

I find this passage uplifting and encouraging because it describes the perfect love Christ has for us. Yet at the same time, these verses are challenging and convicting because they lay out how I ought to be giving and receiving love. I want and intend for my love to be patient and kind (and all the other qualities we see here) but, truth be told, I don't always respond that way--even to the people I love most.

So take a quick assessment of how you're doing at loving others. What is one area in which you'd like to grow? Think about how you can put that in practice even this week. Then, tell us about it so, together, we can work on loving better! Tami

Many, Yet One

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1 Corinthians 12:1-31

Paul gives us a detailed illustration to explain and help us understand our spiritual gifting. First, Paul lets us know that all Christ followers possess spiritual gifts. Then he moves on and lays out how God's plan isn't for us to operate as a lone ranger with our gifting. The body of Christ is composed of many people with different spiritual gifts all functioning together.

So how has God gifted you? Are you utilizing this gift(s)? Are you a functioning member of the body of Christ? Tami

Remembered Sacrifice

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1 Corinthians 11:17-34

If you're a regular church goer, then you're probably familiar with taking communion in remembrance of Christ's death on the cross for our salvation. Paul addresses the church in Corinth in quite a reprimanding manner because they seem to have lost sight of what the Lord's supper represents and how us taking part in communion is an act of worship. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (verse 26).

So what does the Lord's supper and taking communion mean to you? Why is taking communion important? Tami

God First

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1 Corinthians 10:1-22

Paul directs the Corinthian believers' attention back to Moses and the Israelites to make the point that we must not put anything ahead of God. Verse 14 says it very plainly. "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry."

There are many things that can be an idol (having nice things, being popular, looking attractive to name few). And what entices me may not even appeal to you, and vice versa. So think about the way you're wired. What are those things or areas that can get in the way of your relationship with God? How do you deal with them and keep them in their proper place? Tami

Under the Weight

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Psalm 129

Prolonged and severe hardship seems to be the backdrop and setting of Psalm 129. Having grown up in farm country, I actually cringed when I read "The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows" (vs. 3). What a vivid description of suffering. It's pretty clear that life is not at all rosy for the psalmist, yet his next words declare the Lord's righteousness (vs. 4). All I can say is--wow.

So how can/will you draw on Psalm 129 for encouragement this week? What do the psalmist's situation and his words show us about dealing with difficulty, suffering and hardship? Tami

Good Fear

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Psalm 128

Two times in Psalm 128 we see that "fearing" the Lord is a good thing. "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!" (vs.1). "Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord" (vs. 4). So it's important for us to understand what "fearing" the Lord means. The most common definition or understanding is to be afraid, alarmed or concerned about danger. In my mind, that doesn't fit or really make sense here. What does make sense for me is fear meaning reverence, awe and respect.

So what does "fearing" the Lord mean to you? How do you demonstrate this to the Lord? What about to those around you? Tami

Winner Mindset

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1 Corinthians 9

Paul is passionate about the gospel. That comes across loud and clear in 1 Corinthians 9. And as we come to the end of chapter 9, Paul likens his calling and mission to that of an athlete successfully running a race. So when I finished reading the chapter, I paused and took a few moments to consider some of the characteristics of a successful athlete. Here are a few of the terms that came to mind: focused, determined, motivated, purposeful, driven, dedicated and, of course, passionate.

Take a couple of minutes to look back at your life to date as a Christ follower. Thinking about it in the context of a race, how would describe your journey so far? Are there adjustments you want to make going forward? How can you finish strong? 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 November 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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