April 2014 Archives

Unusual Arrival

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Today's reading: Luke 2:8-21

Joseph and an extremely pregnant Mary travel to Bethlehem in response to a census being imposed by Caesar Augustus. "And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn" (vs. 6-7). Definitely not what you'd expect for the Son of God.

What does how Jesus came to earth and the circumstances surrounding his birth reveal about God--His character, His love, His desire for relationship with us? Tami

Catch-up Day

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Today's reading: Luke 1-2:7

Do you ever need a catch-up day? A day to finish things you started or never got around to starting? Well, we're celebrating our first-ever catch-up day on P4, and you're invited! Since we just launched into Luke a week ago, we wanted to make sure you were all caught up since there are some really great things in the first two chapters. The other reason for our catch-up day is that Tami has been busy filming a video curriculum series all day today and wasn't able to sneak out to work on a new blog for tomorrow. It's a great opportunity, so we're excited for her ... and perhaps many of us are secretly excited about having a catch-up day!

So, take this freebie day to read up on Luke chapter one through verse seven of chapter two and see what God has to show you. We'd love to hear your comments on the blog as well. Thanks everyone! Meredith

Family Beginnings

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Today's reading: Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

Today we're looking at two passages that you're probably pretty familiar with since they deal with the birth of Christ. Luke is our primary passage (that's the current book we're reading through), but I thought taking in the passage from Matthew along with it would give us more background and information, particularly on Joseph since both passages focus primarily on him.

So what specific factual information do you see about Joseph, Mary and Jesus from these passages (there's a lot, so take your time and have fun with this)? What does Joseph show us about trusting God and obeying Him even when our circumstances don't seem to make sense to us? Tami

Big Deeds

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Today's reading: Psalm 66

Psalm 66 basically starts off marveling about God's awesome deeds. And then when we get to verse 5 we see that God "is awesome in his deeds towards the children of man." So that thought--that God does awesome deeds for us and specifically for me--stuck in my mind as I read on. Then I hit verse 16 "let me tell you what he has done for me." That got me thinking about and remembering what some of those incredible deeds were. There were plenty--like giving me my husband and sustaining our marriage, bringing me to Back to the Bible for my work, and guiding me to an incredible church where I can participate and use my gifting--just to name a few biggies.

So what are some of the awesome deeds God has done on your behalf? Think about it. Then how about living out verse 16 and telling us about some of your experiences? You'll be glad you did. Tami

Our God Is...

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Today's reading: Psalm 65

There's no doubt--God is our provider. What an awesome picture Psalm 65 paints of God. The more I read, the more I was impacted with the message that God is the maker and owner of everything and that He alone provides for me. I particularly liked verse 9 with God taking care of the earth, watering it and making it rich and abundant. And then the words "the river of God is full of water." I was comforted and my heart was calmed by this psalm.

So how did Psalm 65 strike you? Did God impress something on your heart as your read? Tami

Loud and Clear

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Today's reading: Luke 1:57-80

After many months of silence, Zechariah finally regains his ability to speak after Elizabeth gives birth to John. After not being able to talk for so long, Zechariah no doubt had a lot he could have said, but the first thing out of his mouth was about God. Verse 64 tells us "His mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God."

Read back through Zechariah's prophecy in verses 67-80. What do these verses show you about God? What did they show you about salvation? Tami

Song of Praise

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Today's reading: Luke 1:39-56

After learning of her pregnancy, Mary (who is a pretty remarkable young woman, by the way), visits Elizabeth. In response to Elizabeth's recognition of Mary being chosen to be the mother of Jesus, Mary openly and passionately praises God. In her beautiful song she acknowledges God for who He is and what He has done past, present and future.

So let's follow Mary's example today and do a little praising. Take a minute or two and think back over the past week or so. What can/should you be praising God for today? Tami

Willing Servant

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Today's reading: Luke 1:26-38 

Mary's response to the surprise message that she is going to give birth to Jesus, the Son of God, never ceases to amaze me. Think about it for a minute. Try and imagine yourself in her shoes as Gabriel delivers one shocker of a message that doesn't make earthly sense, not to mention that it would certainly place her in a not good position being pregnant but not yet married. But Mary isn't shaken. Her focus is clearly on God and she responds as a willing servant.

"'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word'" (verse 38).

How did Mary's example encourage you today? What actions or thinking might you model going forward? Tami

Incredible Answer

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Today's reading: Luke 1:5-24

Today we meet Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, and they are quite the couple. I liked how Luke provided us with so much detailed information about them. Here are few of the things that stood out to me--they were both living right before God, they were not young--in fact they were very old, both had priestly lineage, and they had no children because Elizabeth was barren. Yet even though Zechariah and Elizabeth were old, Zechariah was praying about having a child. And then, when his prayer is answered quite miraculously, "'Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you will name him John'" (vs. 13), Zechariah hesitates and questions what he has been told.

So have you ever been surprised by God responding to an "unlikely" prayer request? How did you respond and why? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 1:1-4 

Now that we've finished reading through Judges (thanks for joining me in that, by the way), I thought it would be good to turn to a New Testament Book. So today is day one of our journey through the Book of Luke where we're starting by considering Luke's opening verses as an introduction for the Book. (As we get further into Luke and work through all 24 chapters, we'll also do some parallel reading from the other Gospels).

So what information did you draw from the introductory verses of Luke? What is Luke's purpose for writing this Book? Tami

The Tongue 101

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Today's reading: Psalm 64 

Our tongues are powerful weapons. As I read Psalm 64, I couldn't help but notice how the tongue (our speech) seemed to be a key focus. Verse 3 talks about tongues being like swords and how deadly words can be. And in verse 5, again we see talking about evil things. Then finally in verse 8, we see that God turns the tongues of the evil against themselves to bring them to ruin.

So after reading Psalm 64, how important is it that we watch our tongues? Any thoughts on how we should conduct ourselves when others are using their tongues against us? Tami

P.S. Happy Easter, everyone! Hope you're able to reflect on the amazing gift of forgiveness and salvation offered to us through Christ.

Earnestly Seeking?

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Today's reading: Psalm 63 

Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. I love the descriptive phrases of David's love for the Lord and the emotion and intensity David displays throughout the psalm. The very first verse where David says "earnestly I seek you" kind of hit me. I found myself thinking How earnestly am I seeking? Do these verses describe my relationship with the Lord?

So what does earnestly seeking God look like in your life? Is there something you can do today to earnestly seek Him more? Tami

Wrap on Judges

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Today's reading: Judges 21 

Today is our final day in Judges, and in chapter 21 we continue to see the fall out of the sinful actions, thinking and behavior which began in chapter 19 with the account of the Levite and his concubine. As we reach the end of this chapter and the Book we, once again, see these fitting words. "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (verse 25).

Think back over the Book of Judges. What was the predominant message God impressed on your heart from this Book? How has reading Judges impacted your thinking and actions? Tami

P.S. Today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Make sure you're in church this weekend. And, why not invite someone else to attend with you?

Clash of Clans

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Today's reading: Judges 20 

The sad and disturbing account of the Levite and his concubine continues and grows as we move into Judges 20. And by the time we reach the end of the chapter, almost the entire tribe of Benjamin is wiped out. As I read, I tried to imagine exactly what was taking place verse by verse. The battles themselves had to be awful, but making things even worse was the fact that this was a war between relatives, and it could have been avoided.

What does Judges 20 show us about pride and being unwilling to confront sinful behavior? What can we learn about dealing with relatives and family from this situation? Tami

Sobering

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Today's reading: Judges 19 

Judges 19 is a difficult and sobering passage to read. I struggle with the sinful abuse and death of the Levite's concubine and the callous actions and attitude of the Levite husband. Once again, we see exactly what people are capable of when they are not living for God.

So what lessons did God show you from Judges 19 today? Tami

Following "Right"

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Today's reading: Judges 18:1-31 

Numerous times throughout Judges we've seen the phrase "and they did what was right in their own eyes." We don't see those exact words in Judges 18, but we do see example after example of people living how they want to live rather than following God's ways and seeking to live according to His plan.

So what examples of "doing what was right in their own eyes" did you notice from the Levite and from the men of Dan? What's your experience with following your "right" instead of God's? Tami

Warped Thinking

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Today's reading: Judges 17:1-13 

Throughout Judges we've seen many times the phrase "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." We see that phrase again today, but here in Judges 17 some of the specifics of this improper thinking and living are revealed to us through Micah, Micah's mother and the Levite.

What do the three people in this passage show us about the blinding power of sin? Do you see any parallels to our world today? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 62 

One of the things I notice about Psalm 62 is that several key ideas are repeated and emphasized for us.

- For God alone, my soul waits
- He only is my rock and salvation (hope); my fortress
- I shall not be shaken

All incredible reminders that God has us and our lives covered. So coming to Psalm 61 yesterday and 62 today was good for me.

So how might we put Psalm 62 into practice in our day-to-day lives? How can we draw on these incredible words and let them be our guide? Tami

Tent Dweller

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Today's reading: Psalm 61 

Psalm 61 is a good one. It mirrors where I'm at many times--crying out to God when my heart is faint--knowing that He is my refuge and strong tower. As part of David's psalm, he asks, "Let me dwell in your tent forever." Now I bet I've read that phrase here and elsewhere a hundred times, but I've never really thought about it.

So if each of us was to make that request--Lord, let me dwell in your tent forever--what would we be asking for? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 16:22-31 

The Philistine royalty brought Samson out to "entertain" them at a feast where they were celebrating Samson's capture and defeat. They were praising their god (little "g"), Dagon, for giving Samson into their hands. But God (big "G") was in control and had different plans for the evening. In response to his prayer, God empowers a now humbled and blind Samson who literally brings down the house on the Philistine lords and guests, killing "more than those whom he had killed during his life" (vs. 30).

What does this passage show about God's power, control and plan? Tami

Deadly Blister

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Today's reading: Judges 16:1-22 

My mom used to tell me "If you play with fire, you're going to get burned." Wise words from a wise woman. I wouldn't be surprised if Samson's parents had given him that same warning growing up. Samson knew Delilah's intent wasn't for his good. She was absolutely up front about it. Yet, he chose to play the deadly game anyway, and as a result--he got burned.

So how should we respond when we're confronted with temptation? What are things you do? Any verses come to mind about dealing with and overcoming temptation that are helpful to you? Tami

Weak Spots

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Today's reading: Judges 16:1-22 

All of us have areas of weakness. For Samson, a BIG one was women. We see that loud and clear in Judges 16, and regrettably Samson's giving in to lust and temptation ultimately cost him his life.

Are you tuned in to your weak spots? Take a minute to think about the things that tempt you. What are you doing to guard against giving in and falling spiritually? Tami

Unconventional

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Today's reading: Judges 15:1-20 

Samson is definitely a unique individual and his approach to defeating the Philistines was unique as well. As I thought about Samson's action, the word unconventional came to mind. He didn't rely on a military mindset or plan, and his weapons, foxes tied with fire and a jawbone, weren't typical either.

So have you ever taken an out-of-the-ordinary approach to accomplish a task God has placed before you? Tami

Hello Samson

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Today's reading: Judges 14:1-20 

Today we get our first look at Samson. He's an adult, but he certainly isn't behaving very maturely. Some of the words that came to my mind as I read were: self-centered, arrogant, disrespectful, hot-tempered. Even so, God chose Samson to be Israel's next judge, and it's clear that God was working His plan through Samson.

What does Judges 14 show us about how God operates and who God uses? Tami

Helloooo???

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Today's reading: Psalm 60 

God, are you there? Have you turned away from me? Have you ever had a time in your life (or maybe several) when you thought or asked that of the Lord? I have to admit that I have. In Psalm 60:10 we see David asking the Lord "Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies?"

So how should we proceed when something like this happens? I can think of several different responses, but I'm interested in yours. Tell me what's on your mind. Have a good one! Tami

Communicator

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Today's reading: Psalm 59 

David was anything but a wall flower. In fact, he was quite the communicator. I never cease to be amazed at how boldly he speaks to God. (see Psalm 59:11-13, for example) No matter what the situation, he seems to tell it like it is and doesn't beat around the bush asking for what he wants. Yet, in the middle of all this candid communication David always recognizes who God is and gives Him reverence and praise. A good example.

David's way of communicating with God is a good indicator for us about his relationship with God. We don't typically speak to someone so freely unless we know them and trust them. So that led me to ask How do I communicate with God? And what does that tell me? Well, sometimes my communication with God is right on. But other times, it's too me focused. So I need to work on that. How about joining me? Ask yourself these questions and then tell me what you come up with. Tami

Today's reading: Judges 13:11-25 

As we finish out Judges 13, the angel of the Lord has returned and is talking with Manoah, and he (the angel) repeats the same message and instructions he had previously given to Manoah's wife. I found the interaction between Manoah and the angel that then followed (verses 15-19) helpful in that it gave me a glimpse of how God works and thinks, which is quite different than our human thinking.

So what thoughts do you have about this encounter with the angel of the Lord? What did the angel's words, actions and demeanor show you about God? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 13:1-14 

For the next several days, we'll be reading about and considering the life of Samson, probably the best known judge of Israel. But before we turn to Samson, we're going to spend the rest of this week learning about and from his parents.

What struck me the most about Manoah and his wife was the absence of many responses or reactions you might expect to see. Samson's mom was barren. She and Manoah knew that, yet when this stranger (whom neither one recognized as being an angel) informs them of Samson's birth neither one showed any signs of disbelief, distrust, doubt, ridicule, skepticism. Instead, they simply believed. Manoah's words to the angel in verse 12 speak volumes. "Now when your words come true, what is to be the child's manner of life, and what is his mission?"

Imagine yourself in the place of Manoah or his wife. How do think you would have responded to this incredible news? What can we learn from Mr. and Mrs. Manoah today? Tami

25 More Years

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Today's program: Judges 12:8-15 

Not a lot of activity or intrigue in the final verses of Judges that we're reading today. That being the case, many times when I arrive at a section like this, I'm tempted to skim over it. Shame on me, because the fact of the matter is that God included these details for us to take in and consider. What's recorded here is obviously important to Him, so it should also be important to us.

So what do these few verses show us about God? What do they reveal about the nation of Israel during this time? Tami

Dangerous Pride

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Today's reading: Judges 12:1-7 

A low point is how I would describe what we read in Judges 12:1-7 today. On the heels of Jephthah losing his only daughter, the men of Ephraim (fellow Israelites) show up in an angry rage to kill Jephthah because they missed out on being part of the victory over the Ammonites. The situation escalates and at the end of it all 42,000 men are dead.

What does Judges 12:1-7 show us about pride? What role did pride play in this sad outcome?
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 April 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2014 is the previous archive.

May 2014 is the next archive.

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