April 2015 Archives

Today's reading: 1 Peter 2:1-3

If there's one thing I've learned over the past 10 years or so, it's that spiritual growth is a journey. The other thing I've come to realize is that spiritual growth doesn't just happen--it requires intentionality. That's the message that struck me as I took in the first few verses of 1 Peter Chapter 2. Peter is instructing us to be intentional about putting away worldly thinking and actions, and telling us to seek spiritual nourishment through God's Word.

What are you currently doing to move yourself down the spiritual growth road? Are you intentional about spending time in God's Word? Praying? Being in a Bible study? Tami

Holy Living

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Today's reading: 1 Peter 1:13-25

Before I jump into our passage for today, I have to say that I am really enjoying 1 Peter. For whatever reason, I tend to hang out more in the Books written by Paul (which are excellent), but Peter's words and style are hitting me refreshingly this week and I hope you are having a similar experience. Alright, now on to today's passage.J

Peter puts before us a call to conduct ourselves rightly--"to be holy in all our conduct." But with this call he also provides us with some "hows" to living a holy life.

  • Prepare our mind for action
  • Be sober-minded
  • Don't be conformed to our former ways
  • Focus on and have hope in Christ's return
  • Have reverence for what Christ did for us
  • Live with hope and faith in God

What does the charge to "be holy in all your conduct" mean to you? Describe what living out this command looks like in your life. Tami

Without Seeing

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Today's reading: 1 Peter 1:3-12

Because the opening verses of 1 Peter are so rich, I decided to stay with them one more day. As I read over our passage again this morning, what was conveyed in verses 8 and 9--that although we weren't eyewitnesses to Christ's life, death and resurrection, we still love and believe in Him and the eternal life He freely gives--stood out to me as an amazing display of our faith.

So how would you explain verses 8 and 9 to a person who doesn't yet know Christ personally? Tami

Living Hope

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Today's reading: 1 Peter 1:1-12

Today were starting into 1 Peter. This short Book is rich with encouragement for believers to joyfully stand strong in a world that doesn't embrace God's ways or those who are living for Him.

As we take in the first two verses, we see Peter's greeting to a group of Christ-followers who are in a tough situation. They are exiles who have been removed from their homeland and are surrounded by, and living in, cultures that don't acknowledge or follow God. Thus, Peter immediately jumps in with encouragement, reminding this group of the "living hope" they have through Christ's resurrection and the fact that they have an "inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading" kept in heaven for them (vs. 3-5). But the added boost of encouragement comes in verse 6 with Peter's call to be joyful. "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials..."

Did Peter's words lift your spirits today? What encouragement do you draw knowing that as a believer you, too, have a "living hope" and an imperishable, unfading inheritance kept for you in heaven? Tami

We Can Sing

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Today's reading: Psalm 137:1-9

Even when times are tough and we're struggling, we can have joy in the Lord when we keep our eyes on God and continue to praise and sing to Him. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to church or a worship service downhearted and struggling to the point that I didn't want to sing or participate in the service, but left with a different attitude and heart because I listened to the message and sang to the Lord (many time with tears) and God met me right where I was at.

What role has remembering God's goodness played in helping you maintain a joyful heart, particularly in difficult circumstances? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 136:1-26

Each verse of Psalm 136 puts before us either a description of God or a description of a mighty deed God has done followed by the phrase "his steadfast love endures forever." So 26 times in Psalm 136 we are told that God's love is steadfast and His love endures forever. Pretty powerful.

So if you were to write a verse or two modeling those in Psalm 136, what would you say? Let's complete the sentence below by filling in the blank portion.

I've written one to start us off. (Tami's verse: To him who watched over me even when I thought I knew better and wanted to do things alone; for his steadfast love endures forever.)

Now it's your turn. Give it some thought and have fun!

___________________________________________________; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Joshua Look Back

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Today's reading: Joshua 1-24

Well, we did it! We read through and considered the entire Book of Joshua. It had been a while since I read through the whole Book, and I'm glad we did because I found the time we spent in this packed-full, historical Book beneficial. I learned from Joshua's examples and the message of trusting God in and through all circumstances was a reminder that I needed.

So what about you? What lessons or reminders did you find beneficial from the Book of Joshua? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 24:29-33

The final few verses of Joshua provide us with information about Joshua's death and bring us to the close of an important era for the Israelites. The words of verse 31, what is expressly said and even what isn't, prompted me to think about Joshua's example of living a committed life for God, and the impact this one man had on an entire nation.

What does Joshua's impact on those around him suggest about you and your impact with regard to your family? Your church? Your workplace? Your neighborhood? Tami

Today I Choose

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Today's reading: Joshua 24:14-28

Joshua remained a strong and vibrant leader to the very end of his life. I love how in his final days we see him boldly challenging the Israelites to follow God wholeheartedly. One of my favorite verses (so much so that I have a large plaque in my house with Joshua's words displayed over my door for all who enter to see) is the call to action Joshua puts forth in Joshua 24:15.

"...choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Have you chosen today, whom you will serve? How are you living out the words of Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"? Tami

Good to Remember

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Today's reading: Joshua 24:1-13

Looking back and remembering God's provision and faithfulness is something we see taking place over and over throughout the Bible, and we see it in Joshua 24. Joshua gathers together all the tribes of Israel and, speaking on behalf of God, recalls and reminds the Israelites of God's sovereignty, plan and provision, beginning with the fathers of Abraham and continuing forward to the time in which the Israelites were now living.

Do you regularly recall and give thanks for the things God's has done for you? How important is it to you, and especially the next generation, that you remember and give thanks for His past faithfulness and provision in your life? Tami

For You

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Today's reading: Joshua 23:1-16

As Joshua is nearing the end of his life, he addresses the Israelites (as he has done many times before) reminding them of God's goodness, provision and protection, but also cautioning them about keeping their eyes fixed on God as they go forward. The words of verses three and eleven summarized Joshua's message well for me.

"And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you" (vs. 3).

"Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God" (vs. 11)

What has God done "for your sake" over the years? How has He provided and protected you? Tami

God Above All

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Today's reading: Psalm 135:1-21

As with many of the Psalms, we see a call to praise God in Psalm 135. And with this particular Psalm, we are also given a good bit of context for our praise--God making the heavens and the earth, His control of nature, God's watching over and delivering the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land. But what caught my attention were the words of verse 5, that the Lord is great and above all other gods, paired with verses 15-18 where we see a description and the outcome of following lifeless, manmade idols rather than the all-powerful, living God.

What encouragement did you draw from Psalm 135? How does the comparison between God and other gods influence and motivate you to praise today? Tami

Blessing God

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Today's reading: Psalm 134:1-3

Only three short verses in Psalm 134 with one call to action--bless the Lord.

So how will you do that this weekend? What are things that you do to "bless" the Lord? Tami

Conflict Resolved

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Today's reading: Joshua 22:10-34

One of the benefits of being part of a church body is having accountability, and that's what get a glimpse of with the interaction between the Israelites and the Reubenites, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh who returned to their land on other side of the Jordan. What I liked about this passage was how the larger body of Israelites handled the situation. While they were upset and ready to make war, they first confronted and spoke with the smaller group to ascertain the exact situation ("What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel..."). As a result, the Reubenites, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh were able to explain their actions and the situation was resolved peacefully.

What lessons did this passage show you about resolving conflicts, especially between brothers and sisters in Christ? Was there anything in particular that stood out to you about the functioning of a body of believers? Tami

Timeless Message

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Today's reading: Joshua 22:1-9

As the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh prepare to return to their homeland across the Jordan, Joshua addresses the group making sure they, once again, hear the message of the need to keep their eyes on God. It was good instruction then, and it's good instruction for us today.

"Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul" (vs. 5).

Would you say you are "careful" to follow the commands and instructions in God's Word? What does "clinging to God" look like for you? Tami

Every Word

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Today's reading: Joshua 21:1-45

Today we read about the Levites being given cities and pasturelands among the land given to the different tribes of Israel. I found this passage interesting because of God's instructions through Moses, how the cities of refuge were part of the cities given to the Levites, and how the cities themselves were distributed out among the tribes and lands. But even better than all the interesting details were the powerful final three verses of chapter 21. After years of wandering in the desert and battling other peoples and nations, God's plan for the Israelites is finished. Verse 45 spoke volumes to me.

"Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass."

How has reading the Book of Joshua, and especially verses 43-45 of chapter 21 today, impacted your thinking with regard to trusting God? What have you learned about God's power, control and timing? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 20:1-9

Joshua implements and puts into place cities of refuge according to the instructions God had given to Moses about these cities many years earlier. The whole idea of having designated towns for those who had killed another by accident or without evil intent, seems a bit odd in today's society where we have laws in place concerning these types of "innocent" killings. As I took in this chapter, I was once again struck by how God protects and provides for us in all situations.

How have you seen God protect and provide for you and your family over the years? Was there anything in particular that moved your heart as you read about these cities of refuge? Tami

Complacent

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Today's reading: Joshua 18:1-19:51

Sometimes we can fall into a mindset of spiritual complacency where, for whatever reason, we stop moving forward and become content to basically tread water. That's the picture we see with the remaining seven tribes of Israel who hadn't yet taken possession of the land God had put before them for the taking. Joshua's words to this group were telling.

"So Joshua said to the people of Israel, 'How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?'" (Joshua 18:3)

So where are you at right now in your spiritual journey? Would you say you are more like this group of Israelites or more like Caleb who consistently sought after and served God? What helps you avoid a complacent mindset? Tami

Good and Pleasant

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Today's reading: Psalm 133:1-3

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

There is something extra special about Christ-followers operating in unity with one another. It's a truly wonderful thing to experience, and it is absolutely pleasing to God.

So how are you fostering and contributing to a spirit of unity in your church? With your church? What about your workplace? Tami

Devoted

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Today's reading: Psalm 132:1-18

Psalm 132 gives us a wonderful historical look back to the time of King David. I enjoyed how this Psalm reveals David's love for and dedication to God, and the picture it puts before us of living vibrantly for God.

What did you see from David about the importance of praising and worshipping and God? What did this Psalm reveal to you about God? Tami

Wholly Following

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Today's reading: Joshua 16:1-17:18

Chapters 16 and 17 deal with the allotment of land to the line of Joseph through the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Once again we see that the Israelites, and today specifically the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, either did not drive out the inhabitants of the land ("they [the Ephraimites] did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer..." 16:10) or they could not drive out those living in the land ("Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land." 17:12). Brian's comment on yesterday's blog touched on this. I like how he described what was going on as an issue of "incomplete obedience" that would be bring with it later consequences.

God wants us to follow and obey His Word fully. So what do you find helps you the most when it comes to obeying God and living fully for Him? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 14:1-15:63; Numbers 13:25-14:30

The Israelites continue to follow God's instructions as they divide the land God has given them west of the Jordan river. It's at this point that Scripture, once again, mentions Caleb, who was one of the spies Moses initially sent into the promised land (Numbers 13-14). Caleb was the only returning spy to recommend that the Israelites proceed to take the land. The Israelites didn't listen because the other spies, who were afraid, had recommended not proceeding according to God's direction. Here are Caleb's words found in Numbers 14:7-9.

"The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them."

Unfortunately, Caleb's words went unheeded and God judged the Israelites as a result, not allowing any of them living at the time to enter the promised land, except for Caleb.

In Joshua 14, it is now 45 years later and Caleb reminds Joshua of his faithfulness and asks for the promised inheritance given to him by God and Moses in Numbers 14. Not only this, but Caleb, at the age of 85, is still dedicated and faithful to God and tells Joshua that he is still strong and ready to drive the people out of the land before him. Caleb was truly a man following God.

What was the most important thing you learned from Caleb's actions and words in Numbers and Joshua? What does his example show us about serving the Lord as we grow older? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 12:1-13:33

We're taking in some big chunks of historical Scripture this week, and this type of reading (lists of facts and information) can be a little difficult to stick with and process. But since God included all this detail as part of His Word to us, it must be important to Him and important for us to know. So stay with me as we finish out Joshua. Let's look for things we can learn from these fact and detail heavy historical passages.

What did these chapters that recorded the defeat of many kings and the inheritance of lands reveal to you about God? What did they show you about Moses, Joshua and the Israelites? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 10:16-11:23

We've been, and will continue to read for a few days, some heavy historical passages dealing with war in a very different era than what we live in today. And even though I know and understand this was a different time in history, I still find these accounts difficult to read and, honestly, I don't fully understand them. But I know that God is sovereign and in control and that I can trust Him always. So as I read through chapters 10 and 11, what stood out to me was the relationship and communication between God and Joshua (and the Israelites), and how God was true to His word and stood firm with the Israelites as they kept their focus on Him and proceeded into the promised land.

How does consistently being in God's Word impact your relationship with God? What's the influence on your day-to-day life when you are fully focused on God and His Word? Tami

Easter Recap

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Today's reading: Matthew 26:1-28:20; Mark 14:1-16:20; Luke 22:1-24:53; John 18:1-20:30

Before we turn back to Joshua, let's take a day to reflect on the significance of what Easter weekend means for us as followers of Christ.

What moved me as I read these passages was Jesus' submission to God the Father paired with His demeanor and limited words through it all. There was no defending himself, no explaining, no anger. The message of God's will front and center came across powerfully. I came away from these passages with a fresh understanding of how I need to submit to God and follow His will and plan--period.

What there a particular verse, passage or message from the accounts of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection that moved your heart, and why? Tami

He is Risen!

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Today's reading: Matthew 26:1-28:20; Mark 14:1-16:20; Luke 22:1-24:53; John 18:1-20:30

If you haven't read completely through the account(s) of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection, today is the perfect day to do that. And, if you read the account(s) yesterday, ask God to show you a portion to read again today before you head out to church or after you return from hearing an Easter message.

Have a joy-filled Easter knowing Christ is risen!! And if you have a minute, tell us what God impressed on your heart this special Sunday. Tami

Today's reading: Matthew 26:1-28:20; Mark 14:1-16:20; Luke 22:1-24:53; John 18:1-20:30

This weekend, I have committed to reading the full account of Jesus' arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection in all the Gospels and am asking you to do the same with me. As we begin let's ask God to reveal to us new things we haven't noticed before as well as lessons and messages that He has for us.

So, no specific questions from me this weekend. But please do leave a comment or two about what God impressed on your heart as you read one or all of the accounts. Tami

Today's reading: Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46; Mark 14:32-42

As we begin this Easter weekend, we're putting our reading in Joshua on hold and spending the next few days looking at passages from the Gospel accounts taking in and learning about Jesus' arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The final hours before His arrest, Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. What a heavy time this is for Him. Jesus is fully aware of why He has come to earth and what is about to happen in the next few hours. He knows he is going to be arrested, beaten and mocked, and ultimately brutally crucified. And He struggles as the time for His crucifixion draws near. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus "began to be greatly distressed and troubled" (Mark 22:33), and Jesus says to Peter, James and John "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (Mark 22:34). And the account in Luke tells us that Jesus was in agony and was praying earnestly and that "his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44).

What moved my heart was the fact that even though Jesus' heart was heavy (and that doesn't even adequately describe it), He remains fully submitted to God the Father and to fulfilling His purpose.

"Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36).

What did you see or learn from Jesus' example in these passages? What do these accounts reveal about God's love for us and His plan of salvation? Tami

Active God

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Today's reading: Joshua 10:1-15

God's care for us and His involvement in our lives and circumstances stood out to me from the first fifteen verses of Joshua 10. This passage caused me to think about how when life gets busy and circumstances seem overwhelming, we can lose sight of the fact that God knows and sees it all and He is right there walking with us. I could see this clearly in verses 8-14. The Israelites are certainly engaged and fighting with the Amorites, but it's God who is in charge, actively guiding, participating in and controlling the battle. In verse 8 God tells Joshua not to be afraid because He has given the Amorites into the Israelite's hands. But then we see this in verse 10: "And the LORD threw them [the Amorites] into a panic before Israel," and this in verse 11: "the LORD threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword." And then God answers Joshua's call for the sun to stand still. What an amazing picture of a caring, active and involved God.

How often do you recognize God's control and involvement in your life and circumstances? What did you see from this passage about following and trusting God? What about His provision and protection? Tami

Today's reading: Joshua 10:1-15

Because of computer issues, Tami wasn't able to write a blog post for today. While we wait for her return, read the next section of Joshua and tune in again tomorrow, when all computer problems will be solved and Powered by 4 will resume as usual.

Thanks for your patience!
Jory Kauffman, P4 blog facilitator

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 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2015 is the previous archive.

May 2015 is the next archive.

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