December 2013 Archives

Necessary Partners

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Today's reading: 3 John 

John spends most of his time in 3 John talking about the appropriateness of supporting and providing for people in ministry. He's actually quite passionate about it. He starts with the positive command to give our help and support. "Send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God ... we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth" (3 John 6, 8). But then we see John's unhappiness and irritation with a man in the church who refuses to help workers for Christ and is preventing others from helping (vs. 10).

What did this passage show you about caring for and supporting people doing ministry? Is supporting others in ministry part of your giving? What about your church? Does it support outside ministry? Tami

Wise Warning

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Today's reading: 2 John 

Today we're considering the tiny little Book of 2 John which contains both encouragement and a warning. John encourages the recipient of this letter (and us) to walk according to God's commands but then provides a stern warning to be on the alert for false teaching--with the specific instruction to NOT invite false teachers and/or teaching in to our homes. Wise words then and wise words now.

So how can/do you guard against false teachers and teaching coming into your home (tv, internet, cell phone, in person)? How important is it to regularly be taking in God's Word? Tami

A Bowed Down Life

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Today's reading: Psalm 146 

One phrase stood out to me as I took in Psalm 146. "The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down" (vs. 8). That same phrase was also part of Psalm 145 that we read yesterday. Psalm 145:14 says "The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down." Based on these two verses, I'm pretty sure me being "bowed down" to God is important. So I took a little time this morning and considered what all "bowed down" could mean for me. I also thought about how my "bowing down" is really significant to having a right relationship with God.

So what does "bowed down" mean to you? Why do you think your being "bowed down" is so important to God? Tami

Purposeful Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 145 

There's no question that God wants and expects our praise. But Psalm 145 also makes it clear that our praise has a secondary purpose--to inform others about God and His goodness. Verse 4 tells us how one generation should speak well about God's works and share God's mighty acts with another generation. Then in verses 11-12 David again talks about how we should speak about God's glory and power and His mighty deeds to children.

So what does your praise look like? Are you using your praise to tell and show others about God? What are some examples of "directed praise"? Tami


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Today's reading: Luke 1:26-38; 2:8-14 

Today our focus is on the heavenly participants in the events surrounding Jesus' birth. Think about the angel's messages and actions. What do they show us about God? What do they show us about proclaiming Christ and praising God? Tami

P.S. With 2014 fast approaching I wanted to let you know what to expect from P4 in January and encourage you to invite others to join P4 along with you. Starting Monday, January 6, our main focus will be reading through books of the Bible, passage by passage. We'll begin with 1 and 2 Timothy and then we'll likely turn to an Old Testament book. (If you're reading this on the blog and would like to get our daily P4 email, you can sign up here.)

Thanks for being part of P4. I'm looking forward to reading and learning with you in 2014. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday!

Learning from Wise Men

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Today's reading: Matthew 2:1-12 

Put yourself in the place of one of the wise men. What did they learn about God from their journey and encounters with Herod and then Jesus? What can we learn about worship from the wise men? What about staying the course God has for us when the journey seems long and we run into obstacles? What did the account of the wise men show you about God? Tami

In Shepherd's Shoes

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Today's reading: Luke 2:8-20 

Imagine yourself as one of the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20. What did their encounter with the angel and the multitude of the heavenly host reveal to them about God? What about their meeting Jesus? What example do the shepherds provide for us? What did Luke 2:8-20 show you about God? Tami

P.S. Merry Christmas, everyone! Would love to hear how you're celebrating today!

Joseph's Visions

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Today's reading: Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15 and 19-23 

Today we turn our focus to Joseph. What did Joseph's dreams show him (and us) about God? What did you learn from Joseph about being obedient and trusting God? Tami

Through Mary's Eyes

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Today's reading: Luke 1:26-56; 2:16-20 

This being Christmas week, we're going to do something a little special. For the next five days we're going to read specific parts of the Christmas story, each day, considering the experience and example of different participants. We'll start with Mary and then move on to Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men and finally the angels.

So today, put yourself in Mary's shoes for a moment. What did Mary's encounter with the angel Gabriel reveal to her (and us) about God? What did you learn from Mary about responding to God's call? What about praising God even when we may not fully understand our circumstances? Tami

Our Awesome God

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Today's reading: Psalm 144 

David is a powerful communicator. It only took me two verses to get pulled into what he was saying. His description of God totally grabbed my heart: my rock, my steadfast love, my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer.

So take a few minutes today and think about David's very personal description of God. How has God been your rock, steadfast love, fortress, stronghold and deliverer? Tami

Honest Conversation

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Today's reading: Psalm 143 

David is so real, so genuine with God. I love how he speaks openly and honestly with Him. David pours out his heart to God but he also recognizes God for being God and asks Him for instruction and direction.

So what does the way David talks with God show you about his relationship with God? How did Psalm 143 speak to you about your relationship with God? Tami

Born of God

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Today's reading: 1 John 5:1-20 

John hits on salvation one more time in 1 John 5, making sure we understand this amazing gift. In verse 4 we see that through our faith we overcome the world; in verse 11 that God gave us eternal life through Jesus; and finally in verse 15 that we may know that we have eternal life.

What encouragement did you receive from this passage today? What stood out to you and why? Tami


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Today's reading: 1 John 4:7-20 

Love. Love. Love. It's all about love--that's John's message in 1 John 4:7-20.

So what did you learn from this passage about God's love? What did you learn about our love? Tami

Love in Action

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Today's reading: 1 John 3:1-24 

Earlier this week I received a generous unexpected gift. I was grateful and immediately thanked God for His provision. Then I proceeded to call my husband and my sister to tell them about this gift and proclaim God's goodness. About 45 minutes later (as I was exiting the Christian bookstore) a disabled man approached me abruptly in the parking lot wanting me to buy some stickers. I didn't really look at him and told him no, that I didn't want any stickers and kept walking. He followed and once again put the stickers in front of me and I, once again, said no and got in my car. The man then approached several other people with the same result. I sat there observing him for about 30 seconds and then it happened. I was convicted. God had been so generous with me yet I couldn't even pay attention to this disabled man, let alone his request for help. So I backed out of my parking space waiting for the opportunity to catch the man's attention. When I did, I motioned for him to come to my car window and I gave him some money. As I pulled away and started driving back to the office, I was ashamed and asked God to please forgive me for being so self-centered and selfish, particularly after He had just been so free and generous to me.

So when I read 1 John 3 this morning, it was no surprise that verses 17 and 18 jumped off the page at me. "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth" (vs. 17-18).

We all have "the world's goods" to some degree. So this Christmas season, how can you demonstrate God's love to those around you, and especially to those in need? Now get more specific, who might you start helping today? Tami

Working on the Walk

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Today's reading: 1 John 2:1-27 

John starts out 1 John 2 with yet another reminder about salvation through Christ. He then immediately lets us know that once we've received Christ as Savior we're to be following God's commands and the example lived out by Christ.

So thinking specifically about the rest of this week, what will you do or in what way will you "walk" like Jesus? How will you demonstrate God's love to others this Christmas season? Tami

100% Good

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Today's reading: 1 John 1

We're going to spend the next few days reading and considering 1 John chapter by chapter. But I encourage you to read the entire book up front before we begin moving through it in chapters to enhance our more focused look at chunks of this encouraging book.

As John starts this letter, he lays a foundation for the message he's going to deliver by letting us know that he is an eyewitness to Jesus. It's like he's saying Hey you can trust what I'm saying here because I have seen, touched and spent time with Jesus. He then starts right in telling us what he has learned--that God is 100% good: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (vs. 5); that we are all sinners: "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves" (verse 8); and that through Christ, God will forgive us: "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (verse 9).

Now there's much more message packed into these first 10 verses. So take one more read through 1 John 1:1-10 considering:

+ What was one thing this passage revealed to you about God?
+ What was one thing it revealed to you about Jesus?
+ What was one thing it revealed to you about salvation?

My Refuge and Portion

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Today's reading: Psalm 142

Going through valleys and dark times is part of life--even as a Christian--and we see that loud and clear in Psalm 142. David is in a major valley and he is crying out to God. Why? Because as David writes, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (vs. 5).

So how do you compare with David? Do you fully believe that God is your refuge and portion? What does taking refuge in God look like in your life? Tami


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Today's reading: Psalm 141

David's prayer is a good one in Psalm 141. He's calling out to God concerning his situation and basically asking God to help him stay on the course of righteousness. But it's what David said as he started his prayer that really hit me. He says in verse 2 "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you..."

So what did verse 2 communicate to you? Did David's words give you a different perspective on prayer? Tami

Relational Footing

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Today's reading: The Book of Philemon

I decided to spend one more day considering Philemon because this short little letter provides such a rich example of Christian friendship and the function of relationship within the body of Christ.

So if you haven't already, read through Philemon again. And as you read consider the following questions. What can we learn from Paul about navigating emotional, sensitive, awkward and/or potentially volatile situations with other believers? What does Philemon show us about being open to receiving challenging or difficult words from a brother or sister in Christ? Tami

People Person

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Today's reading: The Book of Philemon

Paul treasured people and he valued relationships. We see that throughout Paul's letters and it's especially evident in the tiny Book of Philemon. Paul is petitioning his friend Philemon to receive back with open arms, and without penalty, Onesimus, Philemon's runaway slave who is a changed man because he received Christ after he left Philemon's household. What I see Paul doing throughout this letter is a drawing on his friendship and established relationship with Philemon to repair a strained relationship between two believers and right a not good situation.

So what did you learn from Paul about the importance of friendships with other Christ-followers? What are some of the benefits of having solid relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ?

A Searching Look

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2 Corinthians 13:1-10

Once again we see Paul admonishing (in a bold but loving way) the church in Corinth about sin going on within their members. As part of his warning Paul instructs these believers to examine and test themselves to see whether they are in the faith (verse 5). I read this passage three or four times and each time this instruction to assess our lives stood out to me. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense that we should regularly be looking inward, carrying out a heart check, about how we're living for Christ.

So how often do you look back and consider your faith and how you're living for Christ? How would making this a regular practice be of benefit to you?

Weak to be Strong

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2 Corinthians 12:1-10

This past Sunday, one of the points our pastor made was how when we're struggling and feeling helpless and weak, that's actually a good place to be because it's at this point that God's power is perfect, and Who God is--His greatness, His sovereignty, His control--is so evident. As I took in this message Sunday morning and as I read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 today, I sent up a thankful prayer for how my weaknesses keep me dependent and focused on Him.

"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).

So how have you experienced "for when I am weak, then I am strong"? I'd love to hear your story. Tami

Living Uncomfortably

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2 Corinthians 11

My experience living for Christ has been pretty cushy compared to that of Paul. I have never, ever, feared being beaten or imprisoned because I follow Christ and proclaim Him. Yet sometimes, I act that way--like when I choose to not speak up and take a stand on a moral issue or I choose not to tell others about Christ because I'm fearful of the way it will be perceived or a particular person will be offended. So reading Paul's account of the mistreatment and persecution he endured gave me a shot in the arm. Yes, I do tell others about Jesus and I do speak up and take a stand on moral issues quite a bit, but Paul's word drove home the point that I need to step it up and be considerably bolder--even if that means uncomfortable moments, mistreatment and suffering.

So what impact did Paul's words have on you today? Are you ready to join me in being even bolder for Christ? Tami

Is God Your Plan A?

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Psalm 140

Based on his descriptions, David's in a tough spot in Psalm 140. Even so, there's this total recognition that God is in control of it all. What a good example of complete reliance and trust in God. David's not looking anywhere else but to God for solutions. God is David's plan A.

So often our tendency is to jump in and take control and try to solve our problems ourselves. Then, when things get really bad, we turn to God. So how do we change that? What can you do (or what do you do) to make turning to God Plan A? Tami

Our Purpose

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Psalm 138

Giving thanks to the Lord is definitely the driving message of Psalm 138. But within the main theme, I saw a couple of other secondary messages. Did you notice verse 8? "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me." As soon as I read this I thought How awesome is that? And this being the case, it would serve me well to make sure I'm tuned in to God's call and purpose for me, and that what I'm doing is God's plan and not mine.

Each of us is unique, which means God's purpose for you is different than His purpose for me. So what is God's purpose for you right now? How do we make sure that our work is in alignment with His plan for us? Tami

Captive Thinking

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2 Corinthians 10

Feisty is how I would describe Paul in 2 Corinthians 10, but I loved it. He is defending his actions and letting people know that everything he has done and is doing is because of his devotion and obedience to Christ. Did you notice his words in verse 5? They really helped paint a picture for me of how to live fully for God and got me thinking about what I do (or need to do more) to live out this verse. "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. . ."

So what are some things you do that help you "take every thought captive to obey Christ"? Tami

Open-handed Living

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2 Corinthians 9

It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I fully grasped that everything I have comes from God and ultimately belongs to Him. Now once I came to this understanding, I realized that I needed to be way more open-handed and generous with my giving, my time and my talents. It didn't happen overnight, but as I began to intentionally put generosity into practice, it was life changing. So as I read 2 Corinthians 9 today, I found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement. I love Paul's words about reaping what we sow and found verse 10 especially meaningful. "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

So what did 2 Corinthians 9 reveal to you about God's view on giving? What's your experience been when you have sowed generously? Tami

Wealthy Generous

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2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Paul commends the church in Macedonia for being extra generous in 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. The first thing that hit me was how these Christ-followers didn't allow their lack of earthly wealth to prevent or limit them in any way from being generous. What an incredible example. As I finished the passage, I couldn't help but pause and do some self-assessing about how I choose to spend the money and time that God has given to me to help other believers in need.

So what would it look like for you to be wealthy with your generosity today, this week, this month? Will you do it? Tami

Because of Love

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2 Corinthians 7

I remember my dad and mom telling me a number of times growing up that their disciplining me was as painful for them as it was for me. At the time, I didn't really understand (or completely believe) those comments. But as time passed and I became a little wiser, I got it. And as I think back now, I can see so clearly how the foundation for their correction was love and how they continued to love and affirm me through each of those situations. That's what I see Paul doing in 2 Corinthians 7. He references a prior letter that "grieved" the Corinthians, but has already told the Corinthians how much he loves them, and he makes sure they know his love hasn't lessened and that he is proud of how they have responded.

So what can we learn from Paul about the need for discipline and corrective instruction, the role of love in that process, and the importance of walking along beside those to whom we offer correction? Tami

Composed Reply

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2 Corinthians 6:1-13

When we choose to follow and proclaim Christ we should expect opposition and difficulty--sometimes even from fellow believers. That being the case, there may be times when we need to explain or defend our actions. We see that from Paul in verse three. "We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry."

So what can we learn from Paul's example and words in 2 Corinthians 6:1-13? Tami

Psalm 137

So much of Psalms is praising and celebration, but that's not the case with Psalm 137. It's one of the more somber psalms. There was definitely a heaviness on my heart as I read. But even in the tough reading (maybe I should say especially in the tough) there are important lessons for us to learn. The Israelites have been invaded and captured and they are being taunted by their captors. That highlights for me that there are consequences for our sinful actions. But I also see that God is still there, in and through the tough times.

So can you identify with the emotions and words of the psalmist? How has God stood by you when you, for whatever reason, have landed in a hard or dark season of life? 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 December 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2013 is the previous archive.

January 2014 is the next archive.

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