May 2014 Archives

Today's reading: Psalm 73

Have you ever been where Asaph was in Psalm 73--envious of the people of the world and their perceived prosperity? It's pretty easy to let your mind go there, especially when you've been diligent in serving and following the Lord yet you're struggling. You just can't seem to make ends meet financially, one thing after the other seems to go wrong, you or a loved one gets a bad report from the doctor--you get the drift.

So the next time we're tempted to give in and have a pity party, what can we do to take our eyes off of us and our situation and focus them instead on God and His provision and protection? Tami

Blind Spots

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Today's reading: Luke 6:37-42

Jesus really hits having a critical attitude and spirit head on in Luke 6:37-42. Every time I read this passage, I'm convicted. As much as I don't want to admit it, I fall into a critical mindset way too easily. Maybe you do too?

So what's going on when we choose to focus on someone else's "speck" rather than our own faults and shortcomings ("log")? What can we do to help us be more tuned in to our blind spots? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 6:27-36

I find Jesus' words in Luke 6:27-36 nothing short of challenging. His message is absolutely clear that we are to love even those who are our enemies and do good to them. Thankfully, Jesus doesn't stop there. He then goes on to give us a number of examples, explanations and things to consider. What a call to action!

So what are some of the qualities of the person who loves even their enemies? What are some of the benefits of loving, doing good and praying for people who aren't necessarily kind or good to us? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 6:12-26

Jesus selects the twelve apostles and then He and the twelve come down from the mountain where, once again, a crowd is waiting. It's at this point that Jesus puts forth two different scenarios--blessings and woes. Definitely some good things to think about and consider today.

What do verses 20-26 show us about having God as our focus versus living for having things in the present? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 6:6-11

The Pharisee's are at it again in Luke 6:6-11. They are fighting mad Jesus has basically challenged them by healing someone right in front of them on the Sabbath. My attention was drawn to the strong words found in verse 11. "They were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus."

So what does this passage show us about the dangers of giving in to jealousy? What about how people react when they sense they may be losing power or control? Tami

Holiday Review

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Today's reading: Review of Luke 1-6:5

Since many of us are celebrating Memorial Day today, we're having a review day on P4. Let us know what you've learned so far after reading Luke 1-6:5. What has stood out or challenged you in a new way? Take a minute and let us know. It's encouraging for all of us to hear what God is doing in your life! Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 72

Solomon's very first words caught my attention today. "Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king's son" (Psalm 72:1, NLT). The verses that follow then seem to support this request with examples and illustrations of what Solomon is thinking this looks like for him and his kingdom. Well I'm certainly not a king (or queen) and I'm guessing you're not either, but this same request of loving God's justice and righteousness should be on our hearts as well.

So what does loving God's justice and righteousness mean? What might it look like put into practice in your life? And how do we make this a desire of our heart? Tami

A Good Mix

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Today's reading: Psalm 71

It's so important that we come to the Lord and talk with Him when we're distressed, overwhelmed and burdened. It's also important that we give Him our praise. But when I'm stressed out and overwhelmed, I don't necessarily feel like praising. But here's what I've found. As I'm talking with God and telling Him exactly what's happening in my life, as I release my burdens, it's like the Lord takes that space and fills it right up with thankfulness and praise. I love that because then I find myself just like David here in Psalm 71--praising God for who He is and what He's done and what's yet to come in my life.

Has this been your experience? What helps you praise in the middle of tough circumstances? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 6:1-5

Sometimes I wonder if the Pharisees ever sleep... Yes, that's a joke, but here they are again challenging the actions of Jesus and His disciples. This time for picking a small amount of grain and eating it on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are saying "No," what's happening is inappropriate. Jesus, on the other hand, very authoritatively conveys "Yes."

What does this passage show us about Who Jesus is, and His authority? Tami

Something New

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Today's reading: Luke 5:33-39

The Pharisees are irritated because they don't think that Jesus' disciples are fasting and praying enough. So they ask (more like confront) Jesus about it, and I'm pretty certain the response they received wasn't at all what they were expecting. Jesus makes reference to himself as the bridegroom, and then offers a parable with examples focused around old versus new.

What do Jesus' words reveal about His coming and God's plan of salvation? Tami

Loud Example

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Today's reading: Luke 5:27-32

Just a few verses for us to read today, but boy, were they powerful. What a wonderful reminder of God's immense love for us, and that no one is too far gone (too "sick" to use Jesus' analogy) to be forgiven.

How should we think of and act towards people who don't yet know Christ? What did Jesus show you in verses 31 and 32? Tami

Helper Friends

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Today's reading: Luke 5:17-26

Of all the people we see in Luke 5:17-26, it's the four friends of the paralyzed man who really captured my attention. I was struck by their commitment and dedication, and their absolute determination to help this man get in front of Jesus--even though the task proved to be difficult, requiring a somewhat complicated and atypical solution.

Reading about these friends brought to mind a few friends of my own who have gone above and beyond for me. I am grateful for that handful of close Christian friends, and don't know what I'd do without them. But this account also prompted me to examine myself and how I am as a friend. I considered: Am I like these men? Am I willing to help others--even if that means giving up personal time or maybe taking off of work? If I know something is going to be physically or emotionally demanding do I shy away from helping or do I jump in to help? Am I willing to stick with my friend when the difficult situation doesn't resolve itself quickly?

How important is it that we seek out and develop close Christian friendships? When have you gone "above and beyond" to help a brother or sister in Christ? What was the result? Tami

Excited Telling

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Today's reading: Luke 5:12-16; Matthew 1:40-45

After being healed by Jesus, this former leprous man immediately went out and freely told others about his life changing experience with Jesus. Matthew 2:45 tells us "he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news..." I love how this man, being physically healed by Jesus, couldn't keep this miracle to himself.

What example does this man provide for those of us who have been spiritually healed--who have received Christ as our Savior? When is the last time you talked to someone about Jesus? Will you join me in making it a point to tell at least one person about Christ this week? Tami

At All Times

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Today's reading: Psalm 70

I don't like asking for help and feeling "poor and needy" (verse 5). I much prefer being independent and feeling confident and self-sufficient. Can you relate? I've found, however, that I benefit from and need those hard and challenging experiences because that's when some of my most intimate times with the Lord occur. With that said, however, I really want and need good fellowship with the Lord in all times.

So how can we work on consistently having intimate and meaningful times with the Lord in all seasons? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 69:19-36

Through thick and thin, praise the Lord. David tells us in Psalm 69:30 "I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving." Now when David writes this he is dejected and asking for help and deliverance. But he doesn't allow his circumstances to impede his praise. I love this example.

So how are you praising the Lord in song and magnifying him with thanksgiving? And, if you have a story about continuing to worship and praise God in and through tough times, encourage us with it. Share your story! Tami

Yes...But

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Today's reading: Luke 5:1-11

Jesus gets a little creative and uses Simon's (Peter's) boat as a place to teach from when a crowd follows Him to the edge of the lake of Gennesaret. When He concludes his teaching to those on the shore, Jesus instructs Simon to let down his fishing nets. Simon, who was unsuccessful in his fishing efforts earlier in the day, isn't eager to comply and basically responds with one of those uh huh, yes...but answers before doing what Jesus requested. What happens next is that Simon has the catch of all catches. He has so many fish in his nets that he has to call for additional help. Hmm...You've got to love how Jesus works.

Well, my mental reaction to reading this exchange was ouch, because I've responded the same way (more than once) to something God has put before me--with hesitancy and skepticism. And, when that happens, it ends the same way too--with me needing to ask for forgiveness. :( I can't go back and change the past, but I can do better as I move forward. Thankfully, each new day brings with it opportunities to respond well to God.

So what is God calling you to do today? How will you respond? Tami

Healer, Teacher

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Today's reading: Luke 4:31-44

Today we get a look at Jesus, both as a healer and a teacher. What I liked about this passage and the different situations was all the details that Luke provides about Jesus.

So what did you learn about Jesus from the two healing accounts in verses 31-41? What else did you see about Jesus from verses 42-44? Tami

Expectations

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Today's reading: Luke 4:14-30

The people of Nazareth were expecting Jesus to do good things for them. But when Jesus lets them know that He isn't there to "fix" everything, there is an immediate and radical shift in their attitudes, thinking and actions. Verses 28 and 29 are quite revealing. "When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff."

What are your expectations of Jesus? What should we expect based on Jesus' words in this passage? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 4:1-13

Yesterday we focused on the devil and the tactics he used in Luke 4:1-13. Today we're returning to that same passage but this time being intentional to concentrate on Jesus--His words, actions, physical state, surroundings, etc.

So was there anything in particular that stood out to you about Jesus from this passage? What did his responses to the devil show you about resisting temptation? Tami

Tempted

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Today's reading: Luke 4:1-13

The account of Jesus being tempted by the devil is rich with examples and lessons for us. That being the case, we'll spend a couple of days here. Today, my focus zeroed in on the devil, and specifically his words and tactics. I re-read the passage a number of times each time trying to recall times I've given in to temptation and why. It was a good exercise and I trust it will help me be more tuned in the next time I'm tempted.

So what observations do you have about the devil's approach and tactics? How can you use today's passage to help you defeat temptation going forward? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 69:1-18

Psalm 69 tugs at my heart. David is pouring out his hurts, his fears, his frustrations to God and the emotional way he communicates draws me in. And even though the tone is heavy, I find it refreshing because it is so open and honest. Plus, it shows me very clearly David's complete reliance and trust in God.

Is open, honest, and sincere communication with God the norm for you? What are some of the things that hold you back when you communicate with God? Tami

Powered Up

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Today's reading: Psalm 68:19-35

He's got the power. All through the Bible we read about God's power--that He is all powerful, He gives us power, not to mention many instances and demonstrations of His power. Psalm 68 is a good example of this: "Summon your power, O God." (verse 28); "Ascribe power to God ... whose power is in the skies." (verse 34); "he is the one who gives power and strength to his people." (verse 35).

So when we read scriptures about or hear someone referring to God's power, what comes to mind? How is God's power meaningful to you? How can we draw on and make the most of His power? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 3:23-38

Seeing a genealogy, a list of who came before who or a list of relatives, doesn't typically excite me--and I'm guessing I'm not alone here. :) But even though it can be a tough read, it's well worth the effort. I was reminded of that again today as I picked out quite a bit of important information from our passage.

So if you haven't already done so, go back and slowly read through the genealogy of Jesus from Luke 3. Did anything in particular stand out to you? Did you discover anything new? See any familiar names? What did you learn from this passage? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:29-33; Mark 1:9-11

Four short passages today all giving us a look at John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. Our main passage from Luke was pretty brief, so I spent the majority of my time in the verses from Matthew and Mark since they provide more detail. I took a few minutes to consider John--his role, his thinking, his actions. Then I turned my attention to Jesus giving thought to his words and actions, as well as God's response.

What's one thing you learned from the example of John the Baptist in these passages? How about from Jesus? What did these verses show you about God? Tami

Today's reading: Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-20

Yesterday we learned about John the Baptist from Luke 3:1-20. Today we're adding two parallel passages in Matthew and Mark that give us a little more information about John and his role of proclaiming Jesus.

John was definitely not the norm. What I noticed in these two new passages was the description of what he wore and ate. I tried to visualize John in my mind in contrast to the people coming out to hear him, and especially the "proper" Jewish leaders. It was quite the picture and that's before he speaks.

So what warnings or cautions did John express to those coming to where he was baptizing, and how do they apply to our world today? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 3:1-20

We're going to spend the next couple of days looking at John the Baptist--first in Luke today and then in some parallel passages in Matthew, Mark and John, which will provide us with additional context and information to draw from.

Many things strike me about John the Baptist, but the main thing that drew me in today was John's boldness in proclaiming Christ. He wasn't afraid. He was confident and didn't hold back. He spoke the truth to everyone. I love that because as Christ-followers, we are all charged with proclaiming the gospel message to those around us. So John's example motivated and encouraged me this morning to step it up in the area of presenting Christ to others. Thank you, John!

So how did John's words and actions impact you? What was one thing you noticed about how John proclaimed Christ? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 2:39-52

We typically look to Jesus the man for examples of how to live. Our passage today looks at Jesus the boy. But if you read these verses closely, He's already giving us examples even at a very young age.

So what examples did you see from Jesus today? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 68:1-18

God provides for the needy--that's you and me by the way. Do you ever have a morning where you feel a bit lack luster or just down? I'm generally an upbeat kind of person, but sometimes I wake up needing a kick start. Well Psalm 68 is perfect for those days (or any day, really!) as it focuses us on the goodness of God.

So how did God meet you through Psalm 68 today? Did any particular verse or thought give you a little kick start? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 67

Make this your day for praising. Psalm 67 is filled with praising God. And since it's the weekend, you might be spending time outside in your yard, on a bike ride or at a soccer game--but no matter where you are or what you're doing, you can praise God. While we sometimes equate praising God with singing, there are plenty of other ways for us to bring glory and honor the Lord.

So let's help each other get more involved and creative with our praising. What are some ways that you praise God throughout your days? Is there specific activity or place you go that brings praise to your lips or gives you an attitude of praise? Tami

God Working

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Today's reading: Luke 2:22-38

As I began reading Luke 2:22-38, my intent was to focus on the people in the passage--Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna. But by the time I reached of our reading, my focus was on God and how He was working in and through the situation. I found myself smiling, thinking of a number of times God has provided confirmation, direction and encouragement to me through a circumstance or situation I had no idea was coming.

So what did Luke 2:22-38 show you about God? Where do you see His faithfulness in this passage? Tami

Today's reading: Luke 2:8-21

Since there is so much going on in Luke 2, I decided to take another look at Luke 2:8-21 for today, only this time focusing on the shepherds.

What did you notice about the shepherds' response to the angel and to seeing Jesus? What does the angel delivering the news of Christ's birth to the shepherds reveal about God? 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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This page is an archive of entries from May 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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