February 2014 Archives

Left-handed Man

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Today's reading: Judges 3:12-30 

Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man is our second judge. Ehud initially planned and took action on his own. Then after killing Eglon, he rallied the people of Israel to follow him telling them "the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand" (vs. 28). As I read through this account, the courageousness of Ehud stood out to me. What he did was no small task and it was very dangerous. But God was with him through it all.

What does this passage show us about relying on God in difficult situations? What can we learn from Ehud about rallying other Christians to help with accomplishing God's work? Tami

Othniel

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Today's reading: Judges 3:7-11 and Judges 1:11-15 

Today we begin to look at the specific judges (or spiritual leaders) God put in place for Israel. Othniel, Caleb's nephew, is the first judge. This is the second time we read about him, the first being in Judges 1:11-15. What I noticed is that God will use people and circumstances to refocus our attention on Him. That has certainly been my experience a number of times.

How about you? Has that been your experience? I'd love to hear your story. Tami

Enter the Judges

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Today's reading: Judges 2:16-3:6 

The Israelites have walked away from God and are behaving horribly, yet God is moved by their terrible circumstances and provides judges to save them. So you'd think the people would turn from their sinful ways and return to God--right? Not quite. Judges 2:19 is sad and telling. "But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways."

So what does this passage reveal about the human heart? About God's heart? Tami

Prone to Wander

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Today's reading: Judges 2:1-15 

For a lot of years, I stayed away from reading much in the Old Testament. Somewhere along the line I had convinced myself that it was difficult reading, not particularly relevant, maybe even a little boring. But I was WRONG. So when I finally read through Judges, I was captivated with the story and surprised at how the attitudes, actions and thinking of the world today lined up almost exactly with what I was reading. So, I'm looking forward to taking in this rich Book of Judges over the next few weeks, and hope you enjoy the read as well.

The first fifteen verses of Judges 2 remind me of a movie preview. What we see here will play out time and again throughout the Book--that we are prone to wander off from God and do our own thing, and then when we hit bottom, cry out for Him to rescue us.

So what did this passage show you about not obeying God? What does verse 10 reveal about how quickly a family, and a nation, can turn away from God? Tami

Judges

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Today's reading: Judges 1-2:10 

Hello everyone! Since Tami is finishing up her time at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, I'm taking her place today on the blog. As you may know, we're launching our study on the Book of Judges today, so I'd like us all to take a look at Judges 1-2:10 which sets the scene and paints a picture of the background of the book.

After you read this first section of Judges, take a minute and share with all of us what, if anything, stood out to you. Then tomorrow, Tami will be back and we'll move ahead with a more detailed look at the next section of scripture.

And if we haven't mentioned it in awhile, thanks for making P4 a part of your spiritual growth journey. Meredith

The Mark of Integrity

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Today's reading: Psalm 26 

David talks about walking in integrity in Psalm 26 and then he gives us some examples of that. Things like not sitting with men of falsehood (vs. 4), proclaiming the Lord to others (vs. 7), and loving God's house (vs. 8).

So what does walking in integrity mean to you? What does it look like in your life? Give us some examples (like David did). Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 25 

I don't have a life verse or scripture, but Psalm 25 is definitely a top 5 for me. I can't tell you how many mornings I turn there to start my reading. It gives me focus and helps me get the right attitude (or maybe I should say attitude adjustment) for my day.

So what are some of the attitudes displayed here in Psalm 25? Is there one in particular that you might grab onto and put into practice today? Tami

Final Reflections

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I hope you all enjoyed the last two weeks in Colossians. Before we move on to Judges on Monday, I'd love to hear what God revealed to you as you took in and considered the Book of Colossians.

For me, the passage that I kept coming back to was Colossians 3:1-17, and particularly verses 16-17, with Paul's instruction to "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" and then to "do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." These words continued to impress on me that to model Christ and live a godly life, I must be intentional in spending daily time in God's Word and then press toward the goal of doing everything for the Lord as I move through my day.

So what did God impress on your heart from Colossians? I'd love to hear about your favorite passage, including the why. Tami

Partners in Faith

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Today's reading: Colossians 4:7-18 

Sometimes I have a tendency to speed read or skim over the signing off portion of Paul's letters. But if it's included in the Bible, then God obviously intended for us to read and learn from it. So I took my time reading through verses 7-18 considering all the different people, their relationship with Paul, how they functioned together, etc. A number of things stood out to me, but the main thing that came across crystal clear, was the value and benefit of being connected with other believers--from one-on-one relationships to believers functioning together in a large body, even in different churches.

What did this passage show you about body of Christ? Who has been a Christian friend and support for you over the past year? (Think of an actual face or two.) Tami

Wise Approach

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Today's reading: Colossians 4:5-6 

As I read back through Colossians 4 yesterday, verses 5 and 6 drew my attention. So I decided we'd take a more focused look at these two verses before moving on to wrap up Colossians.

Paul gives us instruction on dealing with people who don't yet know Christ. He advises us to be mindful of our actions, and specifically focuses in on our words.

So what instruction about our words and communication did you see from these two verses? What's the connection between being gracious and seasoned with salt? Tami

P.S. This week we'll finish Colossians and then on Monday, we're moving on to the Old Testament Book of Judges. This is one of my favorite Books of the Bible because it gives us a glimpse of real people dealing with the same struggles we deal with today. So I hope you'll join me on my trek through Judges!

Steadfast in Prayer

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Today's reading: Colossians 4:2-5 

One constant theme with Paul is the importance of prayer--praying for others and also asking others to pray for him. So here, again, Paul is encouraging and urging these believers to utilize the power of prayer.

So based on this passage, how important is it to pray for our church leaders and other Christ-followers? Who will you pray for this week? Tami

Surrendered to Christ

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:18-25 

For whatever reason none of us seem to like the word submit. But the life of a Christian really is about submission and it starts with each of us surrendering our hearts and lives to Christ. So when we reach Colossians 3: 18-25 Paul is simply laying out a properly functioning family, starting with Christ at the head.

So was there something from this passage that spoke to your heart today? How are you submitting to God and working heartily for the Lord?
Tami

P.S. If you struggle with the word "submit" I encourage to talk to God about it. Ask Him to change your heart.

Personal Hygiene

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Today's reading: Psalm 24 

David lets us know plain and simple that we have to have clean hands and a pure heart if we want to be in the presence of God. "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart..." (Psalm 24:3).

So what does having clean hands and a pure heart mean to you? And how do we attain, and then maintain, this in our lives? Tami

Extreme Desire

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Today's reading: Psalm 19 

David gives us some things to consider about God's instructions, decrees and commands and how they impact and play out in our lives in Psalm 19:7-11. As I was reading I found myself saying "Yes" and nodding my head in agreement that God's instructions are perfect and trustworthy, right and clear, making us wise. But after I read verse 10 I paused. It's here that David tells us God's commands and instructions are more desirable than even the finest gold and His Words are sweeter than honey. I had to ask myself, Tami, do you truly believe this (because it's easy to say "yes" and not really mean it)? Do you desire God more than anything else? And does your life reflect this? Well I do really believe this, but if I'm honest, I don't always act like I do. I fall. I stumble, and I'm guessing you do too.

So I'm curious, does David's description of God's commands, instructions and decrees match up with how you approach and feel about God's Word? And if we're struggling in this area or just not quite there, how can we work on getting to that place where we desire God and His commands more than all the rich things of this world? Tami

Everything

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:17 

I couldn't move on in Colossians without drawing our attention to the key verse of Colossians 3:17. Since the verse speaks powerfully all by itself, make sure and read it through a few times asking God to direct your thoughts.

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

So what did God show you from Colossians 3:17? Share with us some ways you can make sure you're "doing everything in the name of the Lord." Tami

Dwelling Richly

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:15-17 

This phrase "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" caught my attention as I read through Colossians 3:1-17 this morning. So when I finished the passage, I went back and re-read verse 16 a number of times, considering what I needed to do to make sure that the words of Christ are dwelling richly in me, and then what exactly Christ's words dwelling richly in me should look like. Here are a few of the things I landed on.

First and foremost, regularly engaging God's Word (receiving, reflecting on and responding to it) is foundational--it's a must for me. If I'm not familiarizing myself with God's Word and learning from it, there's no way Christ's words can dwell in me, let alone dwell in me richly. Then as far as what living this out should look like, it boils down to me putting into action what we read in verses 12-14--being kind and loving to others, putting other's interests before my own, operating with honesty and integrity as I go through my day, being aware of other people who may be in need and then doing something to help ... and the list goes on and on.

So what about you? What are you doing to ensure that the words of Christ are dwelling in you richly? And how are you living that out in your daily life? Tami

Putting On

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:12-14 

As we move further into chapter 3 of Colossians, Paul gives us a list of specifics to "put on" as followers of Christ. As I read through and considered each of these qualities, I found myself evaluating how I was doing with each of the listed items. I felt like I generally do a pretty good job with being kind and having a compassionate heart. Patience, however, can be a struggle for me as I'm a get it done, go-getter type of person. Humility and meekness can slide right out the door, if I'm not careful. And things like putting on love and bearing with one another require me to be mindful and intentional if I'm going to do them to the full.

So how are you doing with Paul's "putting on" list? What roles do church and God's Word play in helping you grow in these areas? Tami

Today's reading: Colossians 3:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17 

Living a Christ-centered life takes effort and intentionality on our part. Paul made that pretty clear by his use of many action verbs in Colossians 3:1-11.

Verse 1--"seek the things that are above"
Verse 2--"set your minds on things that are above"
Verse 5--"Put to death therefore what is earthly"
Verse 8--"you must put them all away"
Verse 9--"you have put off the old self"

What are you intentional about doing that helps you "set your mind" on things above? In the past week what did you do to "put away" or "put to death what is earthly"? Tami

Do Not

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Today's reading: Colossians 2:16-23 

Regulations, legalism and man-made rules are just a few of the names for what Paul warns us against in Colossians 2:16-23. Our salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ--period. Nothing additional required.

In Galatians 2:16 Paul states, "yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ . . . because by works of the law no one will be justified."

So what did Colossians 2:16-23 show you about making judgment calls with regard to another person's salvation? What caution about legalism can we see from is verse 23? Tami

I Love You, Lord

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Today's reading: Psalm 18 

The very first verse of Psalm 18 captured my heart today. "I love you Lord, my strength." And then the next 49 verses just expanded on verse 1 giving me an up close look at David's thinking and his heart. I appreciate so much how David expresses his love by putting before us examples of God's faithfulness and involvement in all aspects of David's life.

So take a few minutes today and consider your love for God. What does God mean to you? Why do you love Him so much? Tami

Cool Plates

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Today's reading: Psalm 16 

The other day as I was driving I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me said "Psalm 16." So the next morning when I was having breakfast I opened my Bible to Psalm 16 (I wonder if this license plate prompted anyone else to open God's Word? Hope so.). It's a beautiful psalm full of many wonderful reminders. And the one that spoke loudest to me this particular morning was "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you" (vs.2). It just hit me how personal God is and how much He loves me. Yet, I still wander and start operating on my own which is foolish as well as dangerous. All that to say, I need to dedicate time to growing my relationship with God through His Word.

So what did you see about having a relationship with God from Psalm 16? What was one thing that stood out to you about your part of this relationship? Tami

Wealthy for God

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Hey everyone! Since we consider P4 a community ... a family, really ... we wanted to say a quick word about today's blog. Tami was ready to continue on in Colossians, but she came down with something and is feeling quite under the weather. So, today's blog is actually a re-run. It's a great one though, so hopefully you find it challenging. And, as always, we'd love to hear your comments. Say a quick prayer for Tami if you think about it! -- Meredith, P4 team member

Today's reading: Proverbs 9:17-18; Psalm 10:3-11 

Both of our passages for today paint a picture of faulty, distorted thinking and the sinful attitudes we harbor when our focus and goals become having money and possessions. I'm sure you've heard this time and again, but money itself isn't bad (after all God created money). The problems come when our priorities get messed up and we place having money and things before God.

As I thought about these passages and how I could apply them today, the phrase "living wealthy for God" popped into my mind as a personal goal. I spent a few minutes thinking through what I am doing to live well for God now, and then, how I could represent God even better in and through my present situation. It was a good exercise. So how about you? Would you say you're currently "living wealthy for God"? Is there more you could you do going forward? Tami

Alive and Thankful

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Today's reading: Colossians 2:6-15 

Ten amazing verses today that made me want to yell Hallelujah, thank you God! These few words from verse 13 delivered the big message for me, "God made [us] alive together with Him [Christ]." Reading in detail what Christ did for our salvation, gave me an extra boost to share my "Hallelujah and thank you, God" with someone else today. Will you join me?

So how would you describe being alive with Christ to someone else? What was your response to reading this passage? Tami

"Telling" Passage

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Today's reading: Colossians 1:24-2:5 

Paul is laying out how he has been called by God to teach and preach God's Word in Colossians 1:24-2:5. Well, even though we're not Paul and we may not be preachers by vocation, God expects all of us to be sharing His Word with those around us. So when Paul writes about making "the word of God fully known" (vs. 25) and when he says in verse 28 "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ," that motivates me to make sure I'm talking with others about God and His life changing Word.

How are you making the Word of God known to others? (Think of one example in the past week.) And going forward, how can you make God's Word known even more? Tami

All About Jesus

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Today's reading: Colossians 1:15-23 

Paul presents one subject for us in Colossians 1:15-23, Jesus Christ. It's a wonderful depiction, and I like how Paul gives us information about Christ with regard to creation and then salvation.

What did verses 15-17 show you about Christ and creation? What did verses 18-23 reveal about Christ and salvation? Based on this passage, how would you describe Christ to someone else? Tami

Hello Colossae!

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Today's reading: Colossians 1:1-14 

For the next week or so we're going to read through and consider the Book of Colossians. The writer of this Book is Paul (with Timothy) and his letter is directed to Christ-followers in the Colossae. Paul and Timothy have never met these people but have heard about them through Epaphrus, a fellow believer.

As this letter begins, Paul is encouraging this group of believers to continue walking in faith and growing in Christ.

So imagine yourself as one of the believers in Colossae who received this letter. Were you encouraged? Thankful? Excited? Tell us how these beginning verses impacted you and why.
Tami

In the Valley

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Today's reading: Psalm 13 

From the sound of it, David is really in the pits as he writes Psalm 13. I could so identify with him because I've been there plenty of times. But even as dark as David feels his situation is, he doesn't lose sight of God's goodness and his need to praise God and be in relationship with Him. I love that because it lets me know that no matter my situation, but especially when I'm in the valley, I can still have joy and peace as a result of my relationship with God.

So what did you take in from Psalm 13 today? Did it prepare you for your next valley? Encourage you? Reveal something to you about God? Tami

Don't Shy Away

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Today's reading: Psalm 10 

When you're in a difficult place, where's the first place you turn? David is struggling in Psalm 10. And the first thing we see him doing is turning to God with his concerns. David pours out his heart to God, and he doesn't shy away from what's troubling him. He is candid and forthright. Now my favorite thing about Psalm 10 is the transformation we see in David's tone and attitude. In the beginning verses David is asking "why?" with a sort of "What's going on?" approach. But as we reach the final verses, David is praising God and recognizing how God knows all, sees all and is in control of all.

So what did you learn or see from David through Psalm 10? After reading and considering this psalm, is there something (a circumstance, a relationship, an attitude) you need to candidly talk with God about? 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 February 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2014 is the previous archive.

March 2014 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.