January 2015 Archives

No Holding Back

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:145-152 (Qoph)

When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, when we're in distress, there's no better response than turning to God. So I was thankful for the example of the psalmist in these verses. Right off we see that he brings his situation to God and holds nothing back ("with my whole heart I cry"). We also see that he boldly asks God to help and save him, he is spending time meditating on God's Word, and that his focus on God is almost constant (rising before dawn and being awake before the watches of the night).

Think about times you've been in distress. What are some examples of things you've done? Have your responses paralleled those of the psalmist? Tami

Necessary Ingredient

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

One of things I really enjoy doing is baking cookies. I've had fun experimenting with cookie recipes for quite a few years, and it didn't take me long to realize that there are certain ingredients that are absolutely crucial to the foundational makeup of the cookie.

I see that same sort of thing when I read about the importance of having love in 1 Corinthians 13. As a follower of Christ, love must be at our core. Living out our lives with love is a necessity.

Based on 1 Corinthians 13, how important is it that we operate with a mindset and attitude of love? What are some examples of how you've lived out love as described in verses 4-7 this week? Tami

Indespensable You

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Using something we're all very familiar with--our bodies--Paul lays out an easy to understand example of how we are all uniquely gifted by God to function in the Body of Christ. My favorite part of Paul's physical body example is where he explains that even though some gifts may not seem as grand or glamorous as others, in reality, each gift or member is absolutely necessary ("indispensable") to the proper functioning of the Body as a whole. Then Paul follows with verses 25-26 where we're told that God composed the Body of Christ "that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." I was thankful for this reminder because if we're not careful we can lose sight of our indispensable role, which isn't good for us individually or for the Body.

How has God uniquely gifted you to serve and function in the Body of Christ? How does knowing the role you fill within the church body is indispensable impact your thinking and actions going forward? Tami

God of Variety

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

"Variety is the spice of life" is the phrase that popped into my head as I took in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, and specifically verses 4-6 where we're told there are varieties of gifts, varieties of service and varieties of activities--all coming from one God. How incredible to know that we are who we uniquely are by God's design, and that He wants us to use our gifting to serve Him fully.

Was there anything in particular that stood out to you about spiritual gifting or God from this passage? How are you contributing to the "common good" (vs. 7) with your unique gifting? Tami

In Remembrance

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 11:1-34

Depending on our upbringing, we will likely have different experiences with, and ideas about, communion. I was raised in a church-going, Christian family so many of my earliest memories are of being in church. I accepted Christ when I was eight years old, so from a young age, I was very familiar with communion and knew that it represented a remembering of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Even so, I didn't fully grasp the significance of taking communion until I was quite a bit older and was spending time taking in and studying God's Word. It was at this point that I truly realized the significance of this special time of remembering Christ's sacrifice and exactly what that meant for my eternity and eternity for all mankind.

What does taking communion mean to you? How does reflecting on what Christ did for you on the cross prepare you for taking communion? Tami

Others Focus

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

Once again Paul addresses our freedom in Christ followed by the reminder that because we are followers of Christ there will be times when we need to relinquish our rights to exercise that freedom in order to avoid turning someone away from a relationship with Christ or causing a fellow believer to stumble or falter. Verses 32-33 deliver the message well.

"Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved."

Putting the interests of others first isn't typically our first response. So what helps you to be mindful of accommodating others as a follower of Christ (i.e. not seeking your own advantage)? How do you maintain the mindset of doing all to the glory of God? Tami

Right and Righteous

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:137-144 (Tsadhe)

I love the proclamation of God and His Word found in Psalm 119:137-144. I couldn't help but notice the words right, righteousness and righteous were used six times in this stanza. My favorite verse was 142. What a powerful message.

"Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true."

How did the words of verse 142 impact you today? Was there a particular verse or phrase that encouraged and moved your heart? Tami

Tears to Action

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:129-136 (Pe)

The last several weeks I have noticed, more than usual, how our world is getting bolder and bolder about mocking God and His Word, and it has grieved me greatly. So Psalm 119:136 absolutely resonated with me as I read our passage for today.

"My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law."

But my response shouldn't stop at shedding tears. I need to make sure that I'm out proclaiming God and His goodness wherever I can to a dark and lost world.

Will you join me? Tami

God First

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

Idolatry can take on many forms depending on our personalities and life situations. A few examples that come to mind are things like: our job, our intellect, our physical appearance, having fun, food, our bank account, cars or a home, sex, our children, a spouse, a girl or boy friend, clothes, sports... you get the picture.

One of the greatest temptations is giving in to our desires (making idols) instead of putting God first. Speaking from experience, this usually happens incrementally. We give in to what we think is a small temptation and then it begins to grow, which is one of the reasons why we often lose sight of how this particular thing has become an idol to us, pulling our focus off of God and serving Him fully. But we can overcome. "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (vs. 13).

Take a look back and assess, with an honest eye, what some of the things are that have held idol status for you (or may still be holding that status). What hope and encouragement do you see in verse 13? Tami

Gospel Servant

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

Paul is passionate about living for Christ and spreading the Gospel message. So much so that he has willingly given up things he is entitled to because of his concern for the salvation of others. He doesn't want to impede or hinder anyone from hearing the message of Christ and surrendering their life to Him. Paul's words in verse 19 spoke volumes to me.

On a scale from 1-10 (Paul being a 10), how would you describe your fervor or passion for spreading the Gospel message? What would being "a servant to all that I might win more of them" look like in your life? Tami

Giving Up

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

My middle and high school days came to mind as I took in 1 Corinthians 8. You see, not being a stumbling block to others was something my parents were mindful of and practiced. As a result, there were a number of things that I was not allowed to do or participate in as I was growing up. I, of course, would question these decisions which led to many conversations about how our family had chosen not to do certain activities so as not to be a stumbling block to someone else. I didn't care for those decisions at the time, but now many years later, I totally understand my parents' concern. And guess what? I am following their example.

As you interact with other believers are you mindful of, and sensitive to, those who may not fully understand their freedom in Christ or view it differently than you? What role does love play in not being a stumbling block to others? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

We get quite a dose of instruction on relationships and marriage from Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. As I read, the underlying message that stood out to me was one of priorities, in that we must live for Christ first, and all other relationships then follow.

So what are some things you do to keep Christ first when it comes to your relationships? If you're married and your spouse is also a believer, do you talk about and work together on keeping God first in your marriage? Tami

For the Lord

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-19

One of the struggles of the church in Corinth was sexual immorality. So as we reach 1 Corinthians 6: 12-19 we, once again, see Paul addressing this problem by very plainly letting us know that as followers of Christ, our bodies are meant for the Lord.

"The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (vs. 13).

Do you think about your body as being meant for the Lord? How does knowing that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit impact your thinking, and ultimately actions? Tami

Servant

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:121-129 (Ayin)

The fact that I am a "servant" of the Lord came across clearly today. I was drawn to verses 124-125 and the requests of the psalmist who has identified himself as a servant.

124Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
125I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!

When you think of being a "servant" of God, what types of things come to mind with regard to actions, words and thoughts? What does being God's servant mean for you? Tami

I Hope

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:113-120 (Samekh)

One verse seemed to leap off the page at me this morning as I read Psalm 119:113-120.

"You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word" (vs. 114).

When you read the phrase "I hope in your Word," what came to your mind? How has God been your hiding place and shield? Tami

Work it Out

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

How sweet it would be if we lived in a perfect world with no arguing, fighting and definitely no lawsuits. But the reality is we live in a sinful world filled with sinful people which means there is going to be conflict and disputes will arise--even among brothers and sisters in Christ. So I found Paul's urging for believers to work disputes out among themselves a good reminder. As followers of Christ we are called to live by a higher standard, which includes striving for unity with other believers. The words of verse 7 really drove this message home for me.

"To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you."

What are the benefits of believers working out their disputes with regard to the individuals involved? What are the benefits for the church body? What message does it send to those who don't yet know Christ but who are watching and taking notice of our actions? Tami

Strong Message

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Paul delivers a strong message against sexual immorality within the church in 1 Corinthians 5, and uses the example of leavened versus unleavened bread to help us better understand how unchecked sin can negatively impact an entire body of believers.

So what does Paul's message reveal about God's view of sexual immorality? Tami

Imitators

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4 that apostles of Christ should be considered servants of Christ and stewards of the life-giving message of God. He then goes on in verses 10-13 to explain and show us how living as a devoted disciple isn't a cozy or comfortable assignment, and then urges us to be imitators of him in verse 16.

How would you describe being a disciple of Christ to a new believer? What does being a disciple look like in your life? Tami

Partners in Work

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

Paul turns back to the issue of divisions within the church in 1 Corinthians 3. This time around, however, he goes into more detail by setting out how we are all God's servants and fellow workers, and how we function in different roles within the Body of Christ. For me, verses 5-9 were key. The example of planting and watering was easy to understand, and Paul, as he does at the beginning of 1 Corinthians, makes it clear that God is the purpose and power behind all we do.

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth" (vs. 6-7).

So how would you describe your serving in the Body of Christ? Do you see yourself as being a coworker, or in partnership with other believers? What are some ways you give God the glory as you serve Him? Tami

Wonderful Spirit

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Paul turns his attention to the Spirit of God in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. He provides us with information about the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and in so doing, also reminds us that upon receiving Christ as our Savior, the Spirit dwells within us, guiding, directing and giving us understanding and spiritual discernment. Paul's ending words in verse 16 put before us quite an incredible picture. "But we have the mind of Christ."

As a follower of Christ, how mindful or aware are you of the Holy Spirit's presence and working in your life? What encouragement do you draw from this passage? Tami

Lamp and Light

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:105-112 (Nun)

We see it on cards, wall hangings, calendars, as part of songs and screen savers.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

I was thankful today that God turned my attention, once again, to this well-known verse to remind me of how critical His Word is to my life.

How did Psalm 119:105 speak to your heart today? How has God's Word been a lamp to your feet? Tami

Understanding

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:97-104 (Mem)

The correlation between taking in and learning God's Word and having understanding and godly wisdom came across powerfully as I read Psalm 119:97-104. Four times in eight verses we see this relationship.

  • Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies... (vs. 98)
  • I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. (vs.99)
  • I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. (vs. 100)
  • Through your precepts I get understanding... (vs 104)

How have you experienced what is described and set out in the verses above? What's one example of how knowing God's Word equipped you to handle a situation with understanding and wisdom? Tami

Loft Not Needed

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I'm out and about, I like to talk with other believers about their experiences sharing Christ--do they share, how often, how have people responded, what hinders them? One thing that I hear frequently is how people are hesitant to speak up and share because they don't think they'll be able to answer questions that someone might pose to them, and they don't believe they can present the Gospel message with eloquence. Fortunately, neither of these things are a requirement for us to be able to share Christ. If we ask God to help us represent Him, He will give us courage and supply us with the right words for the specific situation.

What did you learn about sharing Christ from Paul's words and example here in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5? Tami

Boast Away!

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Paul's message in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 wonderfully highlighted God--His wisdom, greatness, power, control of everything, and His plan of salvation. As I read my thoughts were, Oh, how incredible you are, God! How I love and need You. So I found verse 31, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord," quite fitting and motivating today.

Is it your practice to boast in the Lord? How can you do some boasting about God this week--at work, school, standing in line, eating at a restaurant, at home with your family, at church? Tami

Flipped Focus

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Paul addresses some discord that has arisen within the church body in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. Drawing from his letter, the believers in Corinth are letting their personal preferences for specific teachers (traits, mannerisms, personalities) cause divisions among them, which in turn, is taking their focus away from the vital message of Christ.

We all have preferences. It's part of how we're wired. So how do you keep personal preferences in check when it comes to the preaching and teaching of God's Word (and other things) at church? How might you help and respond to someone whose strong personal preferences may be pulling them off target? Tami

Thankful Boost

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

January can be a gloomy time. Winter is now full upon us with shorter days, colder temperatures, less sunlight, plus the holidays and the emotional high of family gatherings and celebrations that comes with them are over. So Paul's reminder in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 of what God has already done for us through Christ and what He is doing and will do--"sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 8)--helped refocus my thinking on good and godly things which, in turn, gave me a needed boost today.

What encouraged you from Paul's "thanksgiving" in verses 4-9 today and why? Tami

Hello Corinthians

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

As we head into the first full week of this brand new year, we're also starting a journey through the letter of 1 Corinthians. Our reading for today, the first three verses of 1 Corinthians, is Paul's greeting to the Christ-followers in the city of Corinth. However, being quite the communicator, Paul often uses standard parts of his letters--greetings and closes--to guide, inform and instruct.

What message(s) or instruction do you see in these first three verses of 1 Corinthians? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 119:89-96 (Lamedh)

Having been raised in a Christian family and in church as long as I can remember, I have been taught and know quite a lot about God. So if I'm not careful, sometimes I find that I skim over passages that talk about something I am familiar with. So, for example, on my first read through Psalm 119:89-96 I breezed through verses 89-91. But then I went back, slowed down and with intentionality read and thought about the amazing information about God we're being shown in each of these verses. It was a good reminder and refresher for me of God's greatness.

So what did you notice, remember or discover about God from Psalm 119:89-96? Tami

Holding Fast

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:81-88 (Kaph)

When we're going through tough times--experiencing painful changes, struggling with relationships, feeling mistreated, dealing with health issues or physical problems--we can still stand strong when we choose to keep our focus on God and the truths found in His Word.

How has choosing to hold fast to God's Word helped you in difficult circumstances? What comfort do you find in the words of verse 86--"All your commandments are sure"? Tami

Action Living

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Today's reading: Colossians 3:1-17

As a follower of Christ, I want to live a life that is pleasing to God. But living that "pleasing" life requires intentionality with regard to my focus and thinking as well as my actions and words. Paul communicates this through his "putting off and on" examples in Colossians 3:1-17, which is a passage I frequently read to help me stay focused on living fully for Christ. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:17.

"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 are some actions or efforts you take to "put on" good things like compassion, kindness, humility and forgiveness? What about "putting off" worldly desires? Tami

P.S. Monday we're starting into 1 Corinthians, one of Paul's letters to the church in Corinth. So be sure to check in.

Today's reading: Proverbs 1-31

After spending the past several weeks reading through Proverbs, I thought it would be good for us to take a day to look back and consider what we discovered and learned from this packed-full Book.

There were a number of themes that resonated with me, but the verses on wealth and money spoke strongly to me. I didn't realize to what extent until this past weekend when my husband and I went to see the movie, "The Hobbit." As the movie unfolded, I found myself sitting in the theater thinking back to what Proverbs had to say about money as I watched how gold, jewels and wealth impacted the characters in the film. My husband and I even had a conversation about what was depicted in the movie and how it related to Proverbs on the drive home from the theater.

So what were one or two themes or messages that God impressed on your heart as you read through Proverbs? Tami

P.S. Happy New Year!

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 January 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2014 is the previous archive.

February 2015 is the next archive.

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