December 2014 Archives

Beautiful Picture

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Today's reading: Proverbs 31:10-31

Proverbs 31:10-31 is an absolutely beautiful depiction of what it looks like to be a godly woman. I love the richness of this passage and how the verses give us instruction concerning actions, thoughts, intentions, attitudes and words.

Ladies, what's one characteristic of the Proverbs 31 woman you want to build and strengthen in your life, and why? Men, what's one characteristic of a wife or mother from Proverbs 31 that you value, and why? Tami

Acting for Others

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Today's reading: Proverbs 31:1-9

The need to help others and to watch out for people who may not be in a position to take action or adequately protect themselves was the message that came across loud and clear to me from Proverbs 31:8-9.

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all those who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Would you say you're someone who stands up for, defends and helps others who need assistance? What's one example of how are you living out Proverbs 31:8-9? Tami

Every Word

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Today's reading: Proverbs 30:1-33

The author of Proverbs 30 is Agur son of Jakeh, and as such we see a slightly different writing style compared to prior chapters of Proverbs. I was intrigued by the way we were presented with groupings of three and four items for consideration, and spent some time thinking through each of those. Even so, there was one verse, not part of these groupings, that stood out above everything else.

"Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him" (vs. 5).

The moment I read it, God's absolute goodness, and words like reliable, trustworthy, accurate and dependable filled my mind.

What did this verse reveal to you about God? What words came to your mind? Tami

Embrace It

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:73-80 (Yodh)

Today as I read Psalm 119:73-80 it was almost like there was a new verse in this section that I had never read before. Now, of course, that's not the case. I simply hadn't noticed, and thus not focused on, verse 79 before. What an important message it delivers.

"Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies."

Part of being a follower of Christ is witnessing to and helping others grow spiritually (both by our actions and our words). I am enthusiastic about this responsibility and wholeheartedly believe we need to embrace it.

When people hear you talk and observe your actions, do they see Jesus? How can you live out this verse--even more--today, next week, and beyond? Tami

Good Problem

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:65-72 (Teth)

Have you ever noticed how hard times seem to draw us (or drive us, depending on our heart and attitude) closer to God and His Word? That's certainly been my experience. So when I read verses 67 and 71, my thinking was, Boy, have I ever lived this.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word."
"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes."

Have difficult circumstances prompted you to spend more time in God's Word? Can you join with the Psalmist in saying that going through affliction was good because it taught you more about God and His Word? Tami

A Good Quiet

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Today's reading: Proverbs 29:1-27

I'm a talker, so it's no surprise that, once again, I was drawn to the verses that addressed controlling our words and speech--verses 9, 11 and 20. I found the words of verse 11 especially powerful, "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." What a good reminder that when we find ourselves in the middle of an emotional circumstance or a touchy situation, our best course of action is to keep our words in check.

I've been on both sides of the fence--I've vented fully and I've chosen to stay quiet and hold my tongue. Quietly holding back is definitely better.

So what's your experience been with "quietly holding back"? What helps you keep your words in check when you feel like venting fully? Tami

Merry CHRISTmas!

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Today's reading: Luke 2:1-21

Merry Christmas everyone! I wish each of you a blessed and Christ-focused day.

Last week the small group my husband and I are part of had our Christmas party. Our leader presented each person with this question: Besides Jesus, who would you choose to be in the Christmas story and why? There were a number of different answers, and each one got me thinking about the what, when, why, how and especially the miracle of Christmas.

So what about you? Who would you choose to be in the Christmas story and why? When you finish answering, send a thank you prayer to God for sending His only son to be our Savior. Tami

Jesus' Coming

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Today's reading: Matthew 1:18-25

I always like to read the Scriptures telling of Jesus' birth at Christmas, even though I am very familiar with the story. Why? Because each time I read even part of this account, I discover something new and it serves as a refresher course for me about God's sovereignty and love and His perfect plan of salvation.

So as you read about Jesus' birth and His coming to earth as our Savior, ask God to show you something a little different than you've noticed before. I'd love to hear your results. Tami

Walking Right

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Today's reading: Proverbs 28:1-28

Proverbs 28 has much to say about observing and upholding the law and having integrity. It reads like a commentary of sorts on doing what's right. As I read I noticed that walking was used as a descriptor and illustration in three verses. Verses 6 and 18--walking in integrity, and verse 26--walking in wisdom.

After reading Proverbs 28, how would you describe walking in integrity? Tami

No Lone Wolves

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Today's reading: Proverbs 27:1-27

It's not God's design for us to operate solo. As we live for Christ we absolutely need counsel, encouragement and fellowship from other Christ-followers. That's the message of Proverbs 27:17, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

How important is it to have one or two close Christian friends? How have you benefitted from "iron sharpening iron"? Tami

Intentional

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:57-64 (Heth)

As I took in Psalm 119:57-64, I couldn't help but notice how the Psalmist was intentional about taking in and knowing God's Word. We see him:

  • thinking and considering in verse 59,
  • remembering in verse 61, and
  • praising in verse 62

How, and in what manner, are you intentional when it comes to God's Word? Tami

Our Comfort

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:49-56 (Zayin)

The older and wiser I get, both physically and spiritually, the more I realize how I can take full comfort in God's Word. As I'm sure you've experienced, life isn't all smooth sailing. It often seems like difficult circumstances are waiting around every corner. So seeing the Psalmist's declaration in verse 50 that God's promises give him comfort in the middle of affliction, provided me with some comfort of my own this morning, and prompted me to tell God "thank you" for His love for me and for giving us His life-giving Word.

When has God's Word comforted you? Do you have a particular "comfort" passage, story or verse? Tami

Helpful Images

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Today's reading: Proverbs 26:1-28

The first twelve verses of Proverbs 26 are all about fools and their behavior. They are quite descriptive and function as a caution and warning for us against unwise actions, words and ways.

If you didn't spend much time on the first twelve verses, take another read through. What did you learn? What's one point or lesson that stood out to you? Tami

A Soft Delivery

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Today's reading: Proverbs 25:1-28

If you've ever experienced having a broken bone, you know that in most cases force is necessary for the break to occur. Bones are strong and hard, and they support the weight and movement of our bodies. That's why the words of Proverbs 25:15 caught my attention--"A soft tongue will break a bone." Solomon cleverly paired together two things that don't have a normal relationship with each other to point out and emphasize the impact we can have when we wisely choose not only our words, but how we deliver them.

What are the benefits of using soft words--both as a deliverer of the words and as a recipient? Is there a situation that needs a "soft tongue" approach from you today? Tami

Straighforward Talk

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Today's reading: Proverbs 24:1-34

So far in Proverbs we've read a bunch of verses telling us to be truthful with our words. Definitely wise instruction. But I particularly liked the way that instruction was presented to us in verse 26. "Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips." These few words immediately brought the genuineness of a loving kiss to my mind, which provided me with a slightly different than my normal perspective on speaking the truth.

In your experience, what are the benefits of being truthful in all that you say? Verse 26 describes an honest answer like a kiss. How might you describe giving an honest answer? Tami

Futile Pursuit

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Today's reading: Proverbs 23:1-35

The first several verses of Proverbs 23 warn us against pursuing wealth and making it our aim and driving force. Verse 4 tells us straight up not to labor to attain wealth, and then we get a glimpse of the futile nature of pursuing wealth and money in verse 5.

There was a time in my life where the words of verses 4-5 described how I was living. My goal, my aim in life, was to have material wealth. As a result, my mindset was something like: if I could just have "x" then life would be perfect. Then I'd attain "x" and feel satisfied--temporarily. Within a few days, and sometimes only a few hours, I had a new "x" that I just had to have and once again, I was off, focused on my new quest.

As I write today I'm thankful that God used some difficult circumstances to get me back on track, with my aim now being to serve Him fully.

Having things and using and saving money are all part of life. So what helps you keep the right perspective about money in this material-focused world? Tami

Bountiful Eyes

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Today's reading: Proverbs 22: 1-29

For the past few years God has impressed on my heart the need to help others around me. And that call was reinforced by a number of the verses in Proverbs 22. I was especially drawn to the beautiful wording of verse 9.

"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor."

Having a "bountiful eye" is important at all times, and with Christmas just around the corner what a wonderful time for us to be even more intentional and focused on sharing the things God has given us with others--possessions, money, time, and especially the message of Jesus and salvation.

So let's open our eyes wide this coming week and look for opportunities to help others. Is there someone in need where you work, in a neighborhood or area you drive by each day, at church, at the school where your kids attend? When you're out shopping at the grocery or home improvement store, take in who is around you and if there's an opportunity for you to give back in some manner.

I'd love to hear any "bountiful eye" experiences you've had recently and as you have them this week. Tami

Spread Christmas Joy

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:41-49 (Waw)

If you've been part of Powered by 4 very long, you know that I believe we are all called to tell those around us about Christ. So as I read Psalm 119:46 it brought a smile to my face and got me thinking about how Christmas really opens the doors for us to share Christ with others.

I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame..."

Think about it--people who don't normally attend church come out for Christmas Eve services, we hear songs about Jesus' birth day after day on the radio and in stores, it's common to see manger scenes on display in yards and in our homes, we send and receive Christmas cards with baby Jesus, angels and Scripture verses on them. Jesus is in plain view like no other time of the year, so what a wonderful opportunity this provides for us to speak boldly about Jesus coming to earth as our Savior.

So have you been talking with others about Jesus this Christmas season? Take a few minutes to get a plan in mind for how you can be extra intentional about sharing Christ these remaining days of December. Start with inviting someone to church and then go from there. Tami

Empty Things

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:33-40 (He)

The message of the world at Christmas is focused on us--what things we want, what gifts we receive and the presents we purchase for others. It's easy to get caught up in it all. And even if we don't start out with this focus, as the season progresses and we're bombarded with advertising, we can get pulled into letting all the buying and receiving of "stuff" overshadow the real reason for celebrating Christmas--Christ Jesus coming to earth as our Savior. So Psalm 119:36 and 37, served to re-ground my thinking for my heading out to do a little Christmas shopping this weekend.

"Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways."

What message do you see from Psalm 119:36-37? What are some things that help you keep from getting caught up in all the Christmas buying hype? Tami

No. Notta. None.

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Today's reading: Proverbs 21:1-31

Proverbs 21 starts and ends giving us reminders of who God is. I particularly liked the bold and absolute declarations in verse 30. "No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD."

What did you see from Proverbs 21 (and particularly verses 1-2 and 30-31) about God's power, wisdom and control? Tami

Actions Matter

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Today's reading: Proverbs 20:11

Our words reveal a lot about us. But how we act actually communicates who we are and what we believe and stand for much more than what we say. That's the message that came across to me from Proverbs 20:11 and it's a good reminder that people are watching and taking note of how we live as a follower of Christ.

What message have you communicated through your actions so far this week? What's one positive message you've demonstrated in the last couple of weeks? Tami

Be a Lender

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Today's reading: Proverbs 19:1-29

There are quite a number of verses that tell and show us that loving people and being generous with those in need should be our practice as a Christian. But these words from Proverbs 19:17 caught my attention and gave me a little something more to ponder. "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord..."

What does Proverbs 19:17 reveal about God and what He values? Based on this verse would you describe yourself as a "lender" to the Lord? Tami

Living Securely

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Today's reading: Proverbs 18:10-11; Psalm 16:8-9

Equating security with how much we have--money in the bank, property, possessions--is the message of the world and it's a temptation we all face. But possessing money and things can be fleeting. At best, they are temporary. True security is found only in the Lord.

What message(s) did God impress on your heart as you read Proverbs 18:9-10 and Psalm 16:8-9? What are some things you do to keep your perspective in check when it comes to money and possessions? Tami

Vital and Valuable

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Today's reading: Proverbs 17:1-28

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17).

I'm a people person which translates to connecting to a lot of people and having quite a few people I call friends. But out of this group, I have two best friends--my husband Jeff and my sister Ginger. They are the people who immediately came to mind as I read Proverbs 17:17. Why? Because they have demonstrated time and again loving me at all times (even when I haven't been very loveable) and standing beside me through times of adversity. The relationship of "friend" that I have with each of them is vital and invaluable to me.

Who would you call a true friend from your past and present? Have you told them lately how much you appreciate and value them? What are some ways you can return friendship to them this Christmas season? Tami

Solid and Sound

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:25-32 (Daleth)

The sustaining power of God's Word, when we embrace it and live according to it, was the primary message Psalm 119:25-32 impressed on me as I read this passage today.

  • Verse 25: "give me life according to your word"
  • Verse 28: "strengthen me according to your word"
  • Verse 29: "put false ways far from me"
  • Verse 31: "I cling to your testimonies...let me not be put to shame"

How do you draw on God's Word to sustain and strengthen you? Think back over the past year. What's one situation in which God's Word steadied and comforted you through a difficult time? Tami

Clear Vision

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:17-24 (Gimel)

The Psalmist clearly loves God's Word and desires to know and understand it more and better. So much so that he asks God to open his eyes so that he is able to see all the incredible things God has for him.

Is it your habit to ask God to "open your eyes" before you read Scripture? Read Psalm 119:17-24 again, but this time pray and ask God to open your eyes to something you didn't see before. I'd love to hear the outcome. Tami

Committed

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Today's reading: Proverbs 16:1-33

Do you ever wonder about what and why you're doing something or how things are all going to fit together? I sure do. In fact, the last few months I've been there a number of times as I've gone through leaving a job I had for a long time and starting another with a new ministry. Although it's exciting and I can totally see God in and through it, there's still that part of me that grapples with the unknown and wanting a better sense of the overall plan. So I found Proverbs 16:3 comforting this morning.

"Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established."

Such a foundational verse. It provided a great reminder that when I focus on God and tell Him I want only Your will. Here I am. Guide and direct me, I don't have to concern myself with the big plan because I know He's got everything covered (both work as my paid job and work in the sense of all that's going on in my life).

What does committing your work to the Lord look like and mean to you? Is there any "work" you need to commit today? Tami

Oh Our Words

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Today's reading: Proverbs 15:1-33

Reading through Proverbs I can't help but notice the repeated instruction and cautions about our speech. It lets me know without a doubt that what I say and how I say it are important to God. As I took in and considered the verses of chapter 15, these words from verse 4 captured my attention and painted an appealing picture. "A gentle tongue is a tree of life..."

How would you describe a "gentle tongue"? What comes to mind as examples? What message does this verse convey to you? Tami

Slow It Down!

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Today's reading: Proverbs 14:1-35

We all experience anger. So it's important to be tuned in to that anger and respond to it appropriately. We see that message in the following two verses of Proverbs 14.

"A man of quick temper acts foolishly..." (vs. 17) and "Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly" (vs. 29).

A few months ago I was involved in a serious car accident that totaled my car (side note: I'm grateful for airbags because I'm not sure I'd be writing this today without them). Immediately after the collision one of the other drivers, who was instantly furious, began yelling obscenities at me. That morning I had just written a blog on how it is so important for us to respond well to situations we encounter because we are representatives of Christ and people in the world are watching and taking note. (Timely, wouldn't you say?) Well, instead of hastily responding in anger (and, yes, his behavior did make me angry) I quickly prayed and asked God to please help me respond how He would want me to respond. As soon as I did that, the anger went away which allowed me to respond calmly and even kindly. Thank you, God!

What's your experience been with responding hastily and slowly to anger? What helps you keep your anger in check, particularly when something unexpected happens? Tami

Older and Wiser

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Today's Reading: Proverbs 13:1-25

Once again today we see verses that point out the value of receiving and taking note of instruction. I was particularly drawn to verse 10. "By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom." You see, this verse brought to mind my teen years, and even part of my twenties. I was convinced that I pretty much knew it all (I was wrong, by the way), so I wasn't eager to receive much instruction and I certainly didn't like being corrected. Well, that attitude caused me to experience some of that strife mentioned in the verse, and as a result I gradually began to see the value of receiving instruction, correction and advice.

So does "older and wiser" describe your experience? How has taking in and/or seeking out godly instruction and counsel from others benefitted you? Tami

Healing Words

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Today's reading: Proverbs 12:1-28

My attention was drawn, once again, to the many verses dealing with our speech as I took in Proverbs 12. What comes out of our mouth is powerful, and we see that over and over again throughout the verses in Proverbs. That being the case, how much better is it to harness that power and use it for good? That's precisely what these words in verse 18 conveyed to me, "the tongue of the wise brings healing."

There's nothing quite like being on the receiving end of kind, encouraging words--right? So let's be intentional about using our words for good. Who can you offer encouragement, healing, building up or support to this week? 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 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2014 is the previous archive.

January 2015 is the next archive.

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