May 2016 Archives

Doing Good

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Today's reading: Galatians 6:6-10

I decided to spend one more day on Galatians 6:6-10 because it contains one of my favorite commands--to not grow weary of doing good (vs. 9). I ask God every day to make me aware of and show me how I can help someone in need. So whenever I read Galatians 6:9-10, it brings a smile to my face and gives me an extra dose of enthusiasm to get out there and make a positive difference in someone's life this very day.

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (vs. 10).

What's one example of you "doing good" for someone in the past week? Will you join with me in daily asking God to make us aware of "doing good" opportunities and then act on them? Tami

Full Support

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Today's reading: Galatians 6:6-10

Paul includes as part of his instruction to love and support one another, the specific command to provide support (goods, food, financial help, etc.) to those who are in a teaching/preaching position. This directive is found in verse 6. It's an important verse inserted in the middle of this chapter that we can easily read over and miss. It states: "Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches." This frees up and allows those people whom God has called to teach to fully devote their time and energy to serving God and helping others draw closer to Him. Thank you, Paul, for the reminder that we need to be aware of and providing for this important group of people.

Is it your practice to regularly support those who are in full-time ministry--your pastors through tithing at church, missionaries here and abroad, para-church ministries that spread the Gospel message and teach God's Word? Tami

Remarkable God

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Today's reading: Psalm 89:5-18

As part of recognizing who God is and praising Him, in verses 5-18 the psalmist spends quite a bit of time describing God, looking to God as the Creator of all things and a God who is powerful, mighty, faithful and just. What I liked about this passage is how the psalmist's praising of God gives us a fairly detailed picture of God, and points us to His greatness.

What are one or two things you learned or noticed about God from the psalmist's descriptive words in verses 5-18? What stood out to you the most about God? Tami

Glorify--Always

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Today's reading: Psalm 89:1-4

In the first four verses of Psalm 89, the psalmist is praising and glorifying God. But what we discover when we read through the remainder of this psalm is that the psalmist's circumstances aren't good, and his aim in the psalm is actually to ask God for help--to take action--in a distressing situation. So often when we find ourselves in distress, our prayers consist primarily of our pleas to God to help us and fix our situation with little, or even no, praising, thanking or recognition of God for who He is. So these opening verses serve as a good reminder and example of our need to glorify God in and through every circumstance.

How does starting out your prayers with thanksgiving and praise impact your attitude, thinking and ultimately the requests you put before God? Tami

Being Love

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Today's reading: Galatians 6:1-5; Colossians 3:12-13; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As a Christ-follower we are called to love others, which means loving in and through many different situations. The command to love people in a general sense, isn't too difficult. But when those near and dear to us are experiencing tough times, determining how to demonstrate love can be more challenging, particularly when the difficulty a person is going through is the result of a poor or sinful choice. In Galatians 6, Paul gives us some practical words on showing love in these situations. Our loving should include restoring a brother or sister in Christ who has stumbled with a gentle, kind and tender approach, as well as coming alongside to help and lend support in difficult times.

What experience have you had with "bearing one another's burdens," either providing support to someone or receiving support from someone else? Why is it so important to restore someone with a spirit of gentleness? Tami

Internal Duel

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Today's reading: Galatians 5:16-26

The moment we accept God's gift of salvation by receiving Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of us. Yet even though we have the power of God within us, we're still human and our sinful nature (our flesh) is fully intact. Paul alerts us to this fact in verse 17 where he tells us about the never-ending tension between the Spirit and the flesh and how our flesh wants to keep us from doing right. That being the case, it is our constant duty to choose to conduct ourselves in a manner that is right and pleasing to God. Thus Paul's charge to walk in the Spirit, live by the Spirit and display the fruit of the Spirit.

What are some things that help you live by, and keep in step with, the Spirit? What encouragement do you draw from Paul's teaching in verse 24 that as a believer in Christ we have "crucified the flesh with its passions and desires"? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 5:1-15

Today as I took in and considered Paul's words in Galatians 5, I was drawn to verses 13-15. At the start of chapter 5, Paul is writing about having freedom in Christ and what that means. He then concludes with the message that placing our faith in Christ and having freedom in Him means we should be loving and serving one another. Verse 14 conveys this well:

"For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

What does "loving your neighbor as yourself" mean for you personally? Are you intentional about putting this command into practice? What's one example of how you have shown love to a "neighbor" in the past week? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 4:21-31

As we come to the end of Galatians 4, Paul turns to Jewish history as a way to illustrate and help the church in Galatia more fully understand the change Christ's death and resurrection has brought about. What Jesus did on the cross has freed or released us from being under the Law and put us in a position to be the recipient of God's grace and His gift of salvation.

In what are you trusting to ensure that you are in a right position with God? How might you explain God's grace to someone who doesn't yet know Christ? Is there an example from your life you could share with them? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 4:8-20

One of the things I notice about Paul's letter to the Galatians is how much he loved and was concerned about these people with whom he had a special relationship and spiritual bond. It was Paul who had introduced the people of Galatia to Christ, and then taught them about living for God. What stands out so prominently to me about Paul and the churches in Galatia is how he continued to guide, teach and care for this group of new Christ-followers even after leaving the area.

What does Paul's example show us about the importance of spiritual mentoring? Do you have someone you consider a spiritual mentor? How are you (or how might you start) helping other believers grow in their relationship with Christ? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 88:1-18

Life is tough, and no matter how hard we work to avoid it, difficulty and troubles will find their way into our life. When that happens, it's downright painful, and that's pretty much the picture we see in Psalm 88. The psalmist is in distress. He's dejected, his "soul is full of troubles," he's lost his strength, his "eye grows dim through sorrow," he feels helpless and rejected. Yet, even in this despondent condition, he continues to recognize God and cry out to Him for help.

How does talking with God about feeling hurt, discouraged, afraid or depressed impact your thinking and attitude? What did Psalm 88 show you about communicating with God in and through troubled times? Tami

Special City

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Today's reading: Psalm 87:1-7

Many things take place in and around the city of Jerusalem in the Bible. It's a special city in God's eyes, and that's precisely what is communicated through this short song.

What did you learn or notice about Jerusalem from this psalm? How might you draw on or use Psalm 87 as you read stories that take place in Jerusalem and/or reference or speak of this special city? Tami

Influenced

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Today's reading: Galatians 4:8-20

As we move further into Galatians, Paul continues to reach out to these relatively new believers to right their thinking and get them back on track spiritually. As I thought about the situation Paul is addressing, what stood out to me was the powerful influence the company we keep can have on our thinking and actions, and how that's especially true when we're not in a strong position spiritually speaking. That's why guarding our hearts and minds with God's Word is so very important. Because when we take in God's truth, it builds us up spiritually and empowers us to stand strong when we encounter false teaching and things that contradict how God desires for us to live.

What influence do your friends and family have on your thinking and actions? How are you influencing others? Are you filling your mind and heart with God's Word and relying on it to stand strong for Christ? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 4:1-7

As we move into Galatians 4, Paul continues to pound home the message that we are no longer under the Law because of what Jesus did for us--coming to earth, living a perfect and sinless life, dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. In verse 5 Paul tells us that Jesus came to "redeem those who were under the law," and as a result, when we choose to receive Christ as our Savior, we become an adopted child and heir of God. Thank you, Jesus!

How often do you think about being a child and heir of God? What do those terms mean to you personally? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 3:15-29

The Law was given to make us aware of our sin and to help us control and keep our sin in check. But our attempts to keep the Law (which, by the way, we are unable to do) will never be able to make us right with God (see Romans 3:20). The only way we can know God personally and have a relationship with Him is through placing our faith in Jesus Christ (believing that Christ died for our sins).

Are you still trying to keep the Law (be a "good person"; follow the "rules") or are you living by faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 3:1-14; Ephesians 2:8-9

Our salvation is not dependent on us "working out" or "doing" good things on God's behalf. Rather, the Gospel message is all about faith. If we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be saved.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Nothing we do in our own strength can ever save us, nor will it change our standing with God. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing good things because we belong to God and are dedicated to serving Him once we place our faith in Christ.

What helps you keep a proper perspective on working for and doing good things for God? Based on today's scripture passages, how would you explain faith versus doing and being good to someone who doesn't yet know Christ? Tami

Made Right

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Today's reading: Galatians 2:14-21

In the last few verses of Galatians 2, Paul does a wonderful job of explaining faith and grace and what Jesus' death and resurrection mean for us and our eternity. The message that we can never do enough good things to "work" our way into being made right with God came across clearly. Our justification and reconciliation to God is only through placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

Was there a particular verse or phrase from this passage that spoke to your heart, and why? How might you use this passage to talk about God's love and share Christ with others? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 86:1-17

I love the way David interacts with God. And in this particular conversation, I was drawn to the way that David intertwines praising God with his request for help, rather than making his prayer all about him and fixing his problems.

How do you approach and communicate with God when you pray? Do your prayers typically include an element of recognizing and praising God for His goodness, His love, His provision, His sovereignty and greatness? How does praising God as part of our prayers impact our heart, thinking, attitude and actions? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 85:1-13

A few weeks ago I blogged about prayer and wrote about how the women's Bible study group I'm in was working through the book "Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge" by Mark Batterson. Our group finished the book a couple of weeks ago, but have since decided to do it all over again because of how much each of us have drawn closer to God through our consistent and more focused prayers. One of the things Mark Batterson talks about in "Draw the Circle" is praying with and living in "holy anticipation" that God will move. As I took in Psalm 85 this morning, that phrase immediately came to my mind. As the psalmist puts forth his prayerful request, he recognizes God's past provision, acknowledges the poor state God's people are currently in and asks for God's restoration--and all of this done with confidence and "holy anticipation" that God will respond.

Do you pray with the expectation that God will respond? What does the phrase "with holy anticipation" mean for you? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 2:11-14

Standing your ground or speaking up for something you know is right can be difficult to do, particularly when others around you disagree with your position and they're outspoken and bold about it. It feels pretty awful when we're ridiculed, defiantly challenged or our opinions are automatically discounted because we follow God and the instructions and guidelines He provides us through the Bible. I've experienced this plenty of times (I'm guessing you have too), and like Peter in today's passage, I haven't always responded well. But while I (we) can't go back and change yesterday, I (we) can do better going forward. With God's help, we can stand strong, and even take ground, when we encounter something that we know is contrary to God's Word.

When and in what circumstances do you find it difficult to stand strong for God? What helps you be bold about your faith in Christ and following God's truth? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 2:1-10

As we move on to Galatians 2, Paul continues to lay out his case for apostleship, reminding the Galatians of his credibility and the fact that he was called by God to spread the gospel message and teach about Christ. So what we see is Paul providing an account of his actions, thoughts and words to the believers in Galatia who have been swayed by teaching that doesn't line up with the message of truth that they heard and learned from Paul. His testimony is strong, and reveals a heart dedicated to serving God well.

How often do you look back and recall your spiritual walk and journey? How does reflecting on our spiritual past help us move forward and grow spiritually? Why is it important to share our spiritual history with others? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 1:11-24

As we come to the close of Galatians 1, Paul is conveying to the believers in Galatia his personal encounter with God, and how that encounter resulted in a complete turnaround of his life. In verses 13-14 Paul talks of his former life and the terrible acts he committed against God as he pursued tradition and "religion." But then he tells of the total transformation to his heart and life and the calling he received from God to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles. The words of the churches in Judea that Paul passes on in verses 22-24 display the life-changing power of Christ well.

"And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, 'He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they glorified God because of me."

What does Paul's story reveal about God's love for us and His ability to reach and change the hearts and lives of all people? Do you share your testimony with others as a way to introduce them to Jesus? Tami

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about Jesus and His love for you, I invite you to listen to a short talk I gave about God's love and His desire to have a relationship with each of us at a recent conference. Here's the link. http://www.servantsoasis.org/meet-jesus/

Today's reading: Galatians 1:6-10

Paul's letter to the Galatians starts off a little differently than some of Paul's other letters. Rather than beginning with encouragement and commendation, Paul's first words after his greeting are words of reprimand to this group of Christ-followers because they were being influenced and swayed by false teaching and were turning to "a different gospel" than that taught by Paul, and consistent with God's Word.

False teaching was prevalent in Paul's day and it continues to be prevalent in our day as well. But thankfully, we have God's Word, the Bible, to help us stay on the right path. So when we hear, read or see someone who is teaching and telling us that they are proclaiming truth, we don't have to simply take their word for it. In fact, we shouldn't. We should be checking the teaching that comes before us against God's Word, which is the only place where we can be certain to find God's Truth.

Is it your practice to open up God's Word to search for and verify what constitutes truth? What does this passage reveal about the importance of being knowledgeable about God's Word? Tami

Today's reading: Galatians 1:1-5

For the next two weeks or so we'll be working our way through the Book of Galatians. Before we jump into the meat of this Book, let's take a day to camp out and get some context from the opening and greeting verses of this letter. You might be surprised at how much is packed into these five introductory verses.

What do the first five verses of Galatians 1 reveal about: Paul? Who the letter is for? God the Father and Christ? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 84:1-12

One of the messages that stands out to me from Psalm 84 is the praising and commending of God for being our provider, protector and shield. The words of verse 11 portray this well.

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

Do you view God as being your provider and protector? Think back over the past month or so. What's one example where God has provided something good for you? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 84:1-12

Psalm 84 is one of my favorite psalms because of the fervent way in which the psalmist describes his desire to be in God's presence. I especially like verse 2 which reveals a deep and strong relationship with, and love for, God. "My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God."

Would you describe yourself as being passionate for the Lord? Does your "heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God?" Tami

Today's reading: Philemon 8-25

As we move further into Paul's letter to Philemon, Paul puts before us a wonderful example of how to speak the truth in love and offer gentle instruction when dealing with a difficult situation. What stood out prominently to me was Paul's wise approach to a challenging and emotionally charged situation. Rather than issuing a directive to Philemon, Paul instead chooses to "appeal" to Philemon, in essence "arguing his case" throughout the letter, and in so doing, leading Philemon to respond rightly.

What's one thing you learned or noticed about conflict resolution from Paul's letter to Philemon? Did you see anything you'd like to put into practice the next time you encounter conflict? How does the approach and tone someone uses impact your response when you're at odds with another person? Tami

Today's reading: Philemon 4-7

In verses 4-7 of Philemon, Paul gives us a glimpse of the man, Philemon. It is evident from what Paul writes that he holds Philemon in high regard, considers him a special friend and that Paul's heart has been touched by Philemon's good and helpful conduct toward other believers.

Is it your aim or goal to "refresh the heart" of others, and especially the heart of your brothers and sisters in Christ? How have you encouraged, supported, demonstrated kindness to someone in the past week? How will you refresh someone around you in the coming week? Tami

Today's reading: Book of Philemon

We're going to spend the next few days looking over and considering the Book of Philemon, a letter written by Paul to a man named Philemon whose slave, Onesimus, had run away.

Although there are only 25 verses in this short Book, there are plenty of lessons for us to discover. But before we delve into looking at lessons, let's take today to simply ready through this letter, focusing on the details provided and getting some context so we can get the most out of this Book.

Look back through Philemon and write down and/or note as many details as possible. Then tell us a couple of things you noticed. I'll get us started. Here are three things I took note of from Philemon:

  • Paul's letter is quite personal;
  • The letter doesn't reveal anything about the why, when or how of Onesimus' running away from Philemon;
  • Paul has a deep love for both Philemon and Onesimus.
Okay--it's your turn! Tami

Today's reading: Titus 3:12-15

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, what struck me about Paul from today's passage was, once again, relationships. Paul was connected to all sorts of people--everywhere. I'm fairly certain Paul could strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone, which is why he was so effective at preaching, teaching and sharing the Gospel message. Paul also recognized the importance of working together with other believers, and was committed to fostering community and growing the Body of Christ.

Are you part of a local church body? How involved are you with other Christians? Why is this so important? Tami

Today's reading: Titus 3:1-11

Paul does a good job of putting before us two pictures of life--one that is based on a relationship with Christ, and another that is not. It's quite a stark contrast.

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior..." (vs. 4-6)

How often do you thank God for saving you? Who do you know that needs a new life in Christ? Would you ask God to help you be bold about sharing Jesus with others this week? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 83:1-18

From the sounds of this psalm, the Israelites are under attack. They're being subjected to sin and evil, and the situation is one where they don't have the physical resources or power to change things. So they do what they can. They petition God to act on their behalf and on behalf of His mighty name. What a good reminder that while we may not be able to change the situation around us by ourselves, we are not powerless. We have access to the God of the universe through our prayers. We can bring our petitions before Him with confidence knowing that He is in control of all things.

How does talking with God about circumstances that you can't control help your thinking, emotions and attitude? Do your prayers include asking God to contend with sinful situations in the world around you? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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