February 2016 Archives

Doing Required

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Today's reading: James 1:22-25

If there's anything I've learned over the years, it's that I need to take action after someone tells me how to do something or I read instructions. Otherwise, I forget things, I get confused, I skip vital steps. I've taken in valuable information but rendered it ineffective because I didn't establish and reinforce it through taking action. Here's an example from this past week. The word processing program on my home computer keeps locking up. My husband discovered how to solve the problem (which has to do with an automatic recurring update) and has told me how to fix it at least five or six times. But because I've never sat down at the computer and actually executed the fix myself, I'm stuck if my husband isn't home and the problem occurs (which happened yet again a couple of days ago). It's foolish on my part. I absolutely know there is a fix, but I can't recall it well enough to implement it because I've never taken the time to be a "doer."

It's the same way with God's Word. We need to read God's instructions to us, but we then need to put what we've read into action. Reading, reflecting on, and responding to God's Word is what grows our relationship with God, strengthens our faith and brings about positive life change.

When you read your Bible do you ask God to show you truth and then help you put what you've read into action? How were you a "doer of the Word" last week? Will you join me on an intentional journey to be a "doer" this week? Tami

Pleasing with Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 69:29-36

After starting the weekend in Psalm 69, I decided to stay here one more day because there's quite a bit we can learn from David in this song of affliction. As we come to the end of the psalm, David turns to praise even though he's experiencing extreme affliction and difficulties. I was especially drawn to verses 30-31, where we're shown that God desires our hearts and the praise that flows from our heart's love of Him, more than anything else we could ever give Him.

"I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs."

What impact does praising God when you're going through difficult times have on your thinking, attitude and actions? Have you offered God heartfelt praise this weekend? Tami

God Knows

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Today's reading: Psalm 69:1-36

The first three verses of Psalm 69 hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. As I read I was thinking "Wow, God, You certainly know what I'm feeling today." You see, my husband and I have been praying about a situation for quite a while now and we have yet to receive an answer. So David telling God how his "eyes grow dim with waiting" absolutely resonated with my heavy heart. But God is so good, and as I continued reading with that heavy heart, He drew my attention to verses 13-16, where David affirms to God that even in the middle of his affliction and feeling weary with waiting, he trusts God and knows that He will answer in His perfect timing. I don't believe it was a coincidence that I am blogging on Psalm 69 today. "Thank you, God, for encouraging and comforting me with Your Word!"

What encouragement and comfort did you draw from Psalm 69? Tami

Today's reading: James 1:19-21

When we go through trials--when something unexpected happens, someone takes advantage of us, we're mistreated or abused--our human impulse is to react in anger. But God wants and expects us to respond differently. The clear message James delivers in verse 19, that we should be "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger," is a vital one for us as followers of Christ, but responding in this manner can feel like a tall order especially when the going gets rough. Thankfully God is with us and we can draw on His strength to help us respond appropriately.

What benefits have you experienced when you've responded to a bad situation by being quick to hear and slow to speak or get angry? Why is following this command so important when we're dealing with people who don't yet know Christ? What about with other Christ-followers? Tami

Wholly Good

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Today's reading: James 1:13-18; 1 Corinthians 10:13

The phrase "God is good all the time" popped into my mind as I took in James 1:13-18 where James makes it absolutely clear that God is in no way involved in, nor is He the author of, our sin. Rather, our choice to do wrong comes from within, stemming from our sinful nature. But, God in His goodness, is right there to help us overcome.

Identify one thing you learned about God from James 1:13-18? From today's verses, what stood out to you about sin? Tami

Eternal Focus

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Today's reading: James 1:9-12

James addresses a number of points concerning going through trials and tribulation in James 1. In verses 9-12 he makes it clear that all Christ-followers, regardless of our status here on earth, will experience testing and difficulty. James then encourages, and reinforces the importance of, having and maintaining a mindset focused on eternity where God has promised to give the reward of the crown of life to those who stood firmly through life's trials.

How does God's Word help you keep your focus on God and eternity in difficult times? What about having Christian friends, and being involved in church? What encouragement do you draw from knowing that there will be rewards in heaven related to our trials here on earth? Tami

For the Asking

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Today's reading: James 1:2-8

When we find ourselves facing a difficult situation or hard pressed in the middle of a trial, we need God's wisdom so that we can navigate through our circumstances in the best way possible. So how do we go about acquiring godly wisdom? We ask for it--we fix our eyes on God and wholeheartedly ask Him for wisdom. And God, being the incredible Father that He is, will "generously" give it to us. Thank you, God!!

What comfort do you draw from knowing that God's wisdom is freely available to you? Why is keeping our eyes fixed on God at all times so important? Do you need to ask God for wisdom for a situation you're going through right now? Tami

Joyful In Trials

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Today's reading: James 1:1-4

After spending some concentrated time over the past several months reading through and considering 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings, we're going to turn to the New Testament for a few weeks, starting with the Book of James. It's a short Book, but does it ever pack a punch with it's many practical lessons.

I pretty sure I'm alone when I say that I don't enjoy experiencing trials. In fact, I try to avoid them at all costs. Yet when I look back over my life, the times when I have grown and matured the most spiritually, are clearly the results of going through trials. So although I tend to grimace whenever I read James 1:3-4, I have to nod my head in agreement with his words. That doesn't mean I'm going to ask God to give me trials, but it does mean that when they come (and they will) that I can say to God with confidence, "I trust You, God, and know that You are growing me through this experience. Please help me be joyful as You walk with me through this trial."

What are some things that help you keep a joyful attitude when things are tough? How have you seen your faith grow as a result of going through trials? Tami

Our Forever God

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Today's reading: Psalm 68:1-35

There is quite a bit going on in Psalm 68 which puts before us a praising of God for what He will do, what He is doing and what He has done. What I particularly liked about this psalm was all of the little pieces of information about God and His character that are woven into the psalmist's praise. These three things are what stood out to me prominently:

  • That God, in His goodness, has and will provide for the needy (vs. 10);
  • That God is great and powerful beyond our human comprehension--"The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands . . ." (vs. 17); and
  • That God, who is our salvation, bears us up daily (vs. 19).

I can't adequately tell you how encouraging these three specifics were to me as I read today. Thank you, God, for showing and reminding me, yet again, that You are trustworthy, You are capable, and that You have every detail of my life securely in the palm of Your hand! Tami

From What's Inside

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Today's reading: 1 John 4:7-21

Recently, I've been working on some Bible study lessons that are looking at love and affirming others. One of the key points is how we can't give something that we don't have. It makes total sense when you think about it. But how often do we really think about the fact that we need to be filled, and then continue to fill ourselves, with God's love (taking in His Word and believing wholeheartedly His words of love to us) so that we can do our best in giving love to others? Probably not that often, if you're anything like me. So this morning, I was thankful for 1 John 4:7-21 and the message woven throughout this passage of how being filled with God's love equips us to love others.

Do you have a favorite verse or passage that reminds you of God's great love for you? How does knowing that God loves you--completely and just as you are--help you extend love to those around you? Tami

Consistent Command

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Today's reading: Romans 13:8-10; Mark 12:28-34; Leviticus 19:18; Galatians 5:13-15

The command to love our neighbors is found throughout the Bible. I selected a handful of passages containing this command for us to consider as we finish out our designated Valentine's week here on Powered by 4. I particularly liked Paul's approach to love in Romans 13:8 where he tells us that love is the only thing we should be "owing" another person. It definitely got me thinking about my approach to giving love in a slightly different way this morning.

What does the command to "love your neighbor as yourself" mean to you? What are your thoughts on Paul's statement about "owing" love to others? Tami

Loving Through Actions

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Today's reading: 1 John 3:11-18

Loving God and people is a core principle of being a Christ-follower, which is why we see teaching on love and the command to love others in many places throughout the Bible. The Book of 1 John is one of the places where we're given specific instruction about what it looks like for us to love other people. John lets us know that loving those around us needs to go a step beyond our words and prayers to include taking action, whenever that's possible.

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth" (vs. 17-18).

In the last two weeks, how have you demonstrated love to someone around you "in deed and in truth"? How is reaching out and helping another person also helpful to you? Who can help today? Tami

All About Love

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

As part of the apostle Paul's letter to the young church in Corinth, he provides instruction on the functioning of the body of Christ (chapter 12) and then builds on this teaching with a discussion about the importance of embracing God's love and demonstrating it to others in chapter 13. Paul's message is clear that everything we do should be based on, and motivated by, love.

What does 1 Corinthians 13 show us about God's view of love? Would you describe yourself as backing up your words with loving actions? What's one example of how you have recently shown love to a family member? Friend? Neighbor? Coworker? Tami

Love Is--Part 2

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

With Valentine's Day falling on the first day of the week yesterday, I decided to blog about love and make this coming week Valentine's week in honor of love here at Powered by 4. So today, we're taking one more look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Yesterday I asked you what one thing stood out to you most from this passage. So today, tell us another point about love that moved your heart from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Then, take a few minutes and recall how you have experienced and/or demonstrated love "bearing and enduring all things." Tami

Love Is...

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Today's reading: 1 Corinthians 13:2-7

Happy Valentine's Day! Since today is Valentine's Day, we're going to break from our normal routine of looking at a psalm and instead focus on God's definition of love as found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

I love this passage and turn to it regularly for a reminder of what loving others should look like. Today the phrase "love is not irritable" stood out to me. Love is such a strong emotion and because of that, often times the people we love the most anger us the most, too (And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not currently in an argument or angry with my husband. LOL!) So let's use this phrase as a reminder to be aware of our emotions and keep them in check on this special day dedicated to loving others.

What stands out to you the most about what love is from this passage and why? (And if you have more than one thing, hang on to it because we're going to continue with our love theme for the next week) Tami

Making God Known

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Today's reading: Psalm 67:1-7

Psalm 67 is a prayer that broadly asks for God's grace and blessing. It begins with a focused request for blessing on God's people and then the focus turns to a request for God's love and salvation to reach others. So in other words, the psalmist is asking God to use the blessing He has poured out on Israel to highlight God and His gift of salvation to the rest of the world.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations" (vs 1-2).

In the past week, would you say that your actions and words have "made God known" to those around you? What's one example of how you've demonstrated God's love to someone else? Tami

Enough

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 24:1-25:30

The final two chapters of 2 Kings are sad ones for sure. After years and years of God cautioning the leaders and people of Judah about judgment that would come as a result of their sinful ways, God finally takes action. I'm not sure who coined this phrase, but as I read the accounts of these last kings, the saying "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity" came to my mind. The recurring and predominant theme of the kings of Israel and Judah who came after David was one of unwillingness to surrender to, and follow after, God. And that decision to elevate themselves and their desires above God, proved disastrous.

Is there an area(s) in your spiritual life that's in need of repair or a change? What does this passage reveal about God's character, and how He uses hard circumstances and other people to get our attention? Tami

Personal Choice

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 23:31-37

Despite being raised by a good and godly father, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim both choose to do "evil in the sight of the Lord" after Josiah's death. This now familiar scenario from 1 and 2 Kings once again highlighted for me how following God truly is a personal choice, and that no matter our efforts and example, we can't make someone have a relationship with God.

It's not uncommon to hear someone say that they are a Christian because they grew up in a Christian home, or that they've attended church most of their life. But the fact of the matter is, while these are good things, they don't guarantee or equate to us having a personal and saving relationship with God. It is absolutely God's desire for each of us to have a relationship with Him (Romans 10:9-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-6), but that decision is in our hands and under our control because of the free will with which God created us. (Romans 10:9-13)

So what's your current position with God? Have you made a personal decision to receive Christ as your Savior? Who can you share God's message of love with this week? Tami

P.S. If you'd like to listen to a message about God's love for us and His free gift of salvation that I recently gave at a conference, click this link. http://servantsoasis.org/meet-jesus/

With All

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 23:21-30

The reign of Josiah was like a breath of needed, fresh air for the people of Judah. From start to finish, he was completely devoted to both personally seeking after and serving God, and leading the people under his authority to do the same. As we reach the end of the account of his reign, the words of 2 Kings 23:25 sum up Josiah's life perfectly.

"Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him" (vs. 25).

How would you describe the condition of your heart and soul concerning God? Are you like Josiah, pursuing God and His ways with all your might? What spiritual legacy are you putting in place? Tami

Words Into Action

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 23:1-20

After the discovery and reading of the Book of the Law, Josiah is convicted about how the people of Judah have sinned against God, and decides to do all he can to change the situation. The first thing he does is gather the people together at the house of the Lord to read the Book of the Law to them so that they can hear, and be prompted by, God's Word for themselves. Josiah and the people then make a covenant before God "to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book" (v. 3). Immediately after this, Josiah puts these words into action as he vigorously sets to work to rid the country of all foreign idols. It was a massive undertaking of undoing many wrongs that had been put in place by many kings who had reigned before him.

Saying we're committed to following God needs to be followed by living it out. But sometimes putting what we say into practice can prove more difficult than we imagined, and if we don't take appropriate action, our relationship with God will suffer. Josiah understood this completely. He knew that it was critical that he take action in order for himself and the people to truly and fully live for God.

If it's your desire to follow God and live according to His Word, what does putting that desire into action look like for you? What are the "idols" in your life that need to be discarded to clear the way for you to fully serve God? Tami

Powerful Words

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 34:8-21; 2 Kings 23:

At 24 years of age and after being on the throne of Judah for 18 years, Josiah turns to repairing the house of the Lord. As work is being done on the temple, Hilkiah the priest finds the Book of the Law of the Lord that was given through Moses and brings it to Josiah. Josiah immediately has the Book read to him, and how he responds is telling. As he hears God's Word for the first time, his heart (that is already given to God) is convicted and broken. In hearing the truth of God's Word, he understands God more fully and, in turn, how the people have sinned against God so terribly.

What a beautiful picture of reverence for God's Law and a heart that is surrendered to, and yearning for, God.

How would you describe your thinking about God's Word? Do you approach the Bible with a sense of reverence and awe? Do you ever take having easy access to God's Word for granted? Tami

Vibrant in Praise

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Today's reading: Psalm 66:1-20

As soon as I read the first few verses of Psalm 66, I started smiling because praising God through singing is one of my favorite things to do, and this psalm makes it clear that God likes that kind of praise too. If you've ever been unsure or wondered about how to praise God, Psalm 66 is a great place to go because it quite plainly tells us that we can be verbal and demonstrative with our praise, singing and shouting for joy to God.

"Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard. . ." (vs. 8)

How often do you praise God as it's described in Psalm 66--shouting for joy, singing, proclaiming what God has done? What does vibrant and joyful praising of God look like in your life? Tami

Abundant Provider

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Today's reading: Psalm 65:1-13

As I took in Psalm 65 today, the fact that God provides for everything we need seemed to jump off the page. In the beginning verses, we see God providing His grace and salvation, then we read of His calming strength and protection, and as we come to the end of the Psalm, His provision is shown through the description of the fertile and productive earth He's given us to live in. The fact that God is in control of all things was absolutely evident.

Do you view God as being your abundant provider? How has God provided for you and your family over the years? Would you join with me today in thanking God for being our all-powerful, all-providing God? Tami

Active for God

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 34:1-7; 2 Kings 22:1-2

Reading about king Josiah gave me a motivating shot in the arm today. What an example he puts before us. It's pretty incredible that after being thrust into leading a county, this young boy chooses to seek after and follow God, and then boldly takes action, ridding the country of its false gods and idols.

Does the phrase "actively serving God" describe you? What does you being active for God look like in a typical week? Tami

Your Influence

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 22:19-26

Although Manasseh turned to God in the latter years of his reign, there were many years where his life mocked and exhibited open defiance to God. These years of sinful living most certainly had a negative impact, both on his family members and the people of Judah. So although it's disheartening, it's no surprise to see that when Amon takes the throne, he chooses to follow in his father's early footsteps. "He abandoned the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD" (vs. 22).

Who are you impacting and influencing through your life example? What effect is your life having on those around you--family members, classmates, co-workers, neighbors? Tami

Too Far Gone

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Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 33:10-20; 2 Kings 21:10-18

There's no question that Manasseh's heart was full of sin. He was prideful and arrogant, and was determined to run his life without God. But Manasseh's sinful actions and his rejecting of God, didn't deter God from pursuing him. Using extreme and difficult circumstances, God got Manasseh's attention. And when Manasseh finally humbled himself and cried out to God for forgiveness, God responded wholeheartedly, even restoring him to leadership in Jerusalem. A pretty remarkable outcome for someone who was so far from God.

What does God's pursuit of Manasseh, and His willingness to forgive him, reveal about God? What does Manasseh's story show us about God's view of, and love for, people---especially those we might consider too far gone to be reached by God? Tami

Anything But God

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 21:1-9; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9

After spending the last week or so examining and learning from the godly king, Hezekiah, today we are introduced to the worst king of Judah--Hezekiah's son Manasseh. Despite being brought up in a godly environment, Manasseh chose to go down a different path than his father. He was absolutely intentional about turning away from God. It's as if he was devoted to following after anything but God, and as a result he "led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel" (2 Chronicles 33:9). It's a heartbreaking account, but as we'll see tomorrow, even the most evil people can be reached by God.

What does Manasseh reveal about our sinful natures and free will? What does this account show us about the pull and influence of the sinful world around us? Tami

Hezekiah in Review

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Today's reading: 2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 29-32

After spending over a week reading about and learning from Hezekiah, we're going to spend one more day looking back and reflecting on the life examples of this godly leader and king. My favorite portion of Hezekiah's story is his encounter with Sennacherib because in this distressing and dangerous situation, Hezekiah immediately and without hesitation turns to God. And, he leaves the situation fully in God's hands from start to finish. That's a lesson I need reminding of again and again.

What lesson(s) did God impress on your heart from the account of Hezekiah's reign? 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 February 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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