August 2017 Archives

Ephesians Lessons

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Today's reading: Ephesians 1-6

Thank you for spending the last few weeks reading through and considering Ephesians with me. This Book is one I turn to often for practical instruction and direction. As I looked back over this packed full letter of instruction and encouragement, I was drawn to Ephesians 5:1-21 and Paul's directives to walk in love, to be careful about walking wisely and to willingly submit ourselves to one another as we live for Christ--three principles I/we need to be actively practicing.

What lesson or message spoke to your heart most prominently from this Book, and why? Identify one thing that God revealed or showed you for the first time or in a fresh way from Ephesians. Tami

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:21-24

One thing I particularly like about Paul is how he is constant and intentional with his efforts to encourage others. Ephesians 6:21-24 is a good example. Even though Paul is in prison and uncertain of what is going to happen to him, he takes steps to ensure that he is encouraging the Ephesians by sending his friend and helper, Tychicus, with news and to specifically raise the spirits and provide support to this group of new believers.

Would you describe yourself as an encourager? Why or why not? How does encouraging someone else impact and benefit you? Will you join me in making an extra effort to encourage the people you encounter today, this week and beyond? Tami

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Spiritual Armor

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

After instructing us to put on the whole armor of God, Paul then describes the components of this armor followed by the charge to pray at all times in the Spirit. As I thought about each of the pieces of this armor, the significance of the Bible was prominent. Paul specifically highlights and singles out God's Word as the sword of the spirit, but the Bible is also foundational to each of the other pieces of our spiritual armor. (Belt--we learn God's truth by taking in His Word. Breastplate--we're guided and empowered to live rightly from what we learn from God's Word. Shoes--It's through God's Word that we are equipped and ready to move forward as we serve. Shield--God's Word helps us develop and maintain faith. Helmet--the message of salvation, and thus our hope, comes through God's Word.)

So taking in God's Word and praying are essential and necessary for suiting up with the whole armor of God.

How intentional are you about engaging God's Word (reading, reflecting on and putting it into practice)? What about praying? Is it your habit to "pray at all times"? Why are these two things essential to us as Christ-followers? Tami

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With God

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

Paul closes out his teaching to the believers in Ephesus with the instruction to put on the whole armor of God. This is, no doubt, an important and powerful passage for us to understand and put into practice in our daily lives. Paul's words in verses 11 and 13 stood out to me as I read through this scripture.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (vs. 11).

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (vs. 13).

How encouraging to know that as followers of Christ (with God), we have the power to stand firmly against and not be overcome by evil forces and schemes that are prevalent all around us.

How often to you think about the fact that battling against spiritual forces of evil is part of day-to-day living? How does knowing that you have the ability to stand firmly and strongly against the devil encourage you today? Tami

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Yielding

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:1-9

Paul's final instruction about walking in love in Ephesians 5 is to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (vs. 21). So it's no surprise that we continue to see that principle of submitting, obeying and yielding when Paul turns his instruction to specific relationships like husband--wife, parent--child, master-slave (employer-employee in modern times). While we may struggle with the idea and practice of submitting to one another, the fact of the matter is that in order for us to have healthy, functioning relationships, yielding and submitting have to be part of the mix.

What's one benefit you've experienced when you've chosen to obey, yield and/or submit to someone (depending on the type of relationship)? How can your willingness to submit or yield to someone else be an example of the Gospel? Tami

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Overflowing Love

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Today's reading: Psalm 31:1-24

David has a wonderful way of expressing his feelings and thoughts to God as he goes through many different life circumstances, and we certainly see that in Psalm 31. I couldn't help but notice that even in the middle of a distressing situation, David's calling out to God overflowed with his love for God, trust in God, and gratefulness for Who God is and what He has done. My heart was especially drawn to David's final words in verses 23-24.

"Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!"

Why is it important for us to be open and honest with God about our feelings and needs? How does telling God that you love and trust Him impact your mindset and outlook? Was there a specific verse or phrase from David's song that moved your heart, and why? Tami

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Coming Joy

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Today's reading: Psalm 30:1-12

As I read through Psalm 30 today, the worship song "Trading My Sorrows" by Darrell Evans, which talks about turning over our sorrow, shame and pain for the joy of the Lord, came to mind. Both David's song and "Trading My Sorrows" deliver the message that when we go through times of trial and hardship, we can still be joyful because God is our helper, healer and restorer, and our dark times won't last forever.

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (vs. 5).

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness..." (vs. 11)

When and how has God sustained and walked with you through a trial or hardship? What encouraged you most from this psalm, and why? How might you use this psalm to boost someone's spirits? Tami

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Teamwork

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Teamwork

Today's reading: Ephesians 5:22-33

Paul's instruction concerning marriage in Ephesians 5, particularly the charge for wives to submit to their husbands, can spark a bit of controversy. But when Ephesians 5:22-33 is read and considered as a whole, what we see is the description of a properly functioning marital relationship. It's a picture of teamwork and partnership between two very different people coming together in love and supporting one another.

What does this passage reveal about the importance of love in a marital relationship? How does love function to unite husbands and wives together? Tami

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Love Walk

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Today's reading: Ephesians 5:1-21

Paul calls all believers to be imitators of God and to walk in love as Christ loved us (Ephesians 5:1-2). He then, true to form, turns to describing and providing instruction about what walking in love means and how it should manifest itself in our lives. Here are some of the things that stood out to me about what walking in love should look like in my life. Walking in love means being:

  • Moral, upright and good;
  • Thankful;
  • Wise with words and actions;
  • Pleasing to God;
  • Careful;
  • Efficient with time;
  • Praise-filled; and
  • Willing to put the interests of others first.

Who do you know that exhibits walking in love well? What have or can you learn from their example? What about walking in love stood out to you most from this passage, and why? Tami

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No Opportunity

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:27

Right in the middle of Paul's detailing what putting on the new self looks like and entails, we see a more general, catch all instruction in verse 27 to "give no opportunity to the devil." I particularly like this verse because it lets us know that putting on the new self applies to every single area of our lives, not just the things that Paul chooses to highlight in this passage. This short verse also serves as a good reminder that the while the devil is actively looking for ways to pull us off course and away from God, we have the power to stand firm and say "No."

We all have areas of weakness. So what are those areas in which you tend to struggle (spending money, speaking harshly, critical spirit, lust, wanting more "things," gossip, prejudice, jealousy--to name a few.) What do you need to do, starting right now, so that you're not giving any opportunity to the devil to tempt and lead you down the road to sinning in these areas? Tami

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:17-32

Paul reminds, charges and challenges the believers at Ephesus (and us today) to be actively intentional about putting off our "old self" (our past worldly way of living) and putting on the "new self" (godly way of living).

One of the things I like about Paul's teaching is how, more often than not, his directives are also instructive. So immediately after issuing the charge to put on the new self, he then provides examples and descriptions of what this new, fresh and different way of living should look like.

What changes have you noticed/seen in your life (actions, lifestyle, words, thinking) since receiving Christ and turning your life over to God? How does taking in God's Word contribute to you putting on the new self? Tami

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One

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:1-16

Paul's message turns to the need of having and maintaining unity among believers in Ephesians 4:1-16. To help drive home his point, he highlights the word "one" by repeating it numerous times as he explains unity.

"There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call--one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (vs. 4-6).

Paul then turns to the functioning of the body of Christ, setting out how when this group is in unity, "it makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (vs. 16).

Is it your goal to be in unity with other believers, especially those in your local church? How would you describe the way you are functioning within the body of Christ? What's one thing you can do over the next few weeks to foster, promote and/or maintain unity within your church? Tami

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Giving Glory

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Today's reading: Psalm 29:1-11

In the first two verses of Psalm 29 David issues the command to give glory to and worship the Lord. Then in the verses that follow, David does just that. He records, describes and proclaims through the words of his song example after example of God's magnificence, power and splendor.

Is it your practice to acknowledge God's sovereignty and praise Him for Who He is as you go about each day and take in what's happening around you? Why is this important? Tami

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Helped

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Today's reading: Psalm 28:1-9

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." (vs. 7).

When we read verses that state or convey that God is our help, many times our tendency is to equate the word "help" to fixing, solving or changing our physical situation. But that's not necessarily the case. In fact, more often than not, it isn't the case. What I'm learning more and more is that when I turn to God and trust Him with my circumstances, the "help" I receive is His peace. And when I have His peace, it's then that my heart can exult and I can give Him thanks--regardless of my circumstances.

Think back over the past few months. When and how has God been your help? When you choose to trust God with your circumstances, how does it impact your attitude, actions and outlook? Tami

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:1-3

Immediately after praying for spiritual strength for the Christ-followers in Ephesus, Paul tells each of these believers to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling of which you have been called" (vs. 1). Some of the things that "walk" or manner of living includes are an attitude of humility, acting with gentleness, responding with patience and bearing with one another in love--all with the mindset of creating unity throughout the body of Christ.

How would you describe your daily "walk" as a follower of Christ? Are there any additional qualities you might use to describe living in a worthy manner for Christ? How does having a goal of unity help you walk worthily? Tami

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Complete Love

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Today's reading: Ephesians 3:14-21; Job 11:8-9

There's a lot of talk about the love of Christ in Christian circles. But how much do we truly comprehend about God's love? In Ephesians 3:17-19 Paul writes about being rooted and grounded in love and having the strength and power to understand the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ's love for us. I like how Paul breaks down the word love into tangible (and understandable) components--breadth, length, height, depth. God's love is rich, whole and complete, and there is no place that it does not reach.

How would you describe the love God extends to and lavishes upon each of us? What's one example of how you have experienced the deep, high, low and wide love of God? Tami

P.S. Last week (July 27) my blog talked about spiritual prayers for our Christian friends. If you're not quite sure how to go about doing that, read back through Ephesians 3:14-21 taking note of how Paul prays a complete prayer all about spiritual matters for the believers in Ephesus.

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Stewards of Grace

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Today's reading: Ephesians 3:1-13

In Ephesians 3, Paul relays to the believers in Ephesus how God called him to deliver and take the Gospel message of Christ beyond the Jews to the Gentiles. As he explains this calling, he writes about God's grace--receiving the gift of God's grace and being made a minister of it in verse 7, and being a steward or agent of the message of God's grace in verse 2.

Paul's talk of being a steward spoke powerfully to me today because of the reminder it provided that I, too, am a steward for God (and you are as well if you've received Christ as your Savior). All believers are charged with spreading the Gospel message (see Matthew 5:13-16; Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20), which makes us stewards of God's amazing grace.

Do you think of yourself as a steward (agent or caretaker) of the Gospel message of Christ? Why is this important? How active are you about telling others about God's love, grace, forgiveness and free gift of salvation through Christ? Will you tell someone about Jesus today? Tami

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With Purpose

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Today's reading: Ephesians 2:10

"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Our significance to God flows all the way down to our work. How cool is it that each and every one of us--according to God's plan--are masterpieces created with good work to do? I love this verse because it lets me know that God didn't just create us on some whim. Instead, He lovingly created us with a definite purpose.

Do you think of yourself as being a worker for God? What are some of good things God has put before you to accomplish? How does knowing that you were created "in Christ Jesus for good works" encourage or motivate you today? Tami

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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 August 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2017 is the previous archive.

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