November 2017 Archives

Standing the Test

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Today's reading: James 1:12-18

The Bible is quite clear about the fact that as followers of Christ, we will encounter and experience hardships, trials, persecution and difficulties of all sorts. James 1 certainly reinforces this message, but it also lets us know--with certainty--that when the hard times come, we can persevere. And as we draw on God's strength and stand firm, God takes note and will reward us with the crown of life in eternity.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him" (vs. 12).

What are some things that help you "remain steadfast under trial"? What role does the Bible play? What about prayer? Christian friends? Church? What encouragement do you draw from knowing that there will be rewards in heaven related to standing firm in and through earthly trials? Tami

True and Lasting

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Today's reading: James 1:9-11

With December just around the corner, we're now right in the middle of the most money focused time of year--Christmas. Everywhere you look there are online ads, television commercials, radio spots telling and bombarding us with the message that we need and deserve more, and of course, that they have it all for us at the best price. So as I read James 1:9-11 this morning, it felt like a little breath of fresh air that provided some needed perspective.

"For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits" (James 1:11).

"Thank you, God, for this small but needed reminder that pursuing anything but You is ultimately a wasted and useless effort. Help us, God, to resist the commercial pull surrounding us and instead make this Christmas season about highlighting You."

What helps you keep a proper perspective during this commercially crazy season? How are you highlighting the message of God's love this Christmas? What's one thing you can do over the next few weeks to help others see how pursuing God is what brings true and lasting joy? Tami

Wise in Trials

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Today's reading: James 1:2-8

We need wisdom--godly wisdom--more than anything else when we find ourselves facing a difficult situation or hard pressed in the middle of a trial. So how do we go about acquiring godly wisdom? We ask for it--we fix our eyes on God and humbly and wholeheartedly ask Him for wisdom. And God, being the incredible Father that He is, will "generously" give it to us. Thank you, God!!

How are you encouraged or comforted by knowing that God freely offers His wisdom to His children when we ask for it? 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

Count It Joy

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Today's reading: James 1:1-4

The Book of James is a short Book, but does it ever pack a punch with its candid words and many practical lessons.

I pretty sure I'm not 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 result of going through trials. So although my tendency is to grimace as I read James 1:3-4, I always end up nodding my head in agreement with James' words of instruction. 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. Help me lean fully on You and be joyful as we walk together through this trial and I grow through the experience."

What helps you keep a joyful attitude when the going gets tough? How have you seen your faith grow as a result of going through a trial or difficult season? What does this passage reveal about the source of our joyful heart and attitude? Tami

Attentive

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Today's reading: Psalm 56:8-11

Psalm 56:8 always brings a smile to my face and touches my heart because it reminds me of how acutely aware God is of every detail of my life. How amazing to know that God keeps track of my tossings and doesn't simply see my hurts and concerns, but collects my tears in His bottle. Thank you, God, for how You love, care for and value me!"

How does knowing that God is aware of every one of your hurts and concerns (counting your tossings, collecting your tears, recording them in His book) encourage you? What does this verse convey about how much God loves, cares for and values you? Tami

Declaring Trust

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Today's reading: Psalm 55:1-23

David's earthly circumstances are less than optimal in Psalm 55. He is restless, feeling afraid and trembling, overwhelmed with horror, longing to escape his current situation. In this state, David pours out his concerns to God, but then he ends his song of concern with a reaffirming declaration of his trust in God.

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you" (vs. 22-23).

Do you talk candidly with God about feeling worried, overwhelmed or afraid? Why is this important? How does telling God that you trust Him influence your thinking and actions? What circumstance or situation do you need to give over to God today? Tami

Ascribe

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Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 16:23-36

Verses 28 and 29 of David's song of praise recorded in 1 Chronicles 16 begins with the command to "Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength," and to "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name." The word "ascribe" basically means to recognize, credit and/or attribute a quality or characteristic. So in his song/poem David is specifically directing us to recognize God for His wonder, splendor and magnificence, and then includes a variety of ways to do this in the verses surrounding and following verses 28 and 29.

Would you describe yourself as an "ascriber" of God and His glory and strength? How have you recognized the wonder of God in the past week? Who have you recently told about God's power, strength and magnificence? Who can you tell this weekend? Tami

Giving Thanks

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Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 16:8-22

With this being Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., we're going to spend today and tomorrow looking at and considering the song of thanks composed and sung by King David when the ark of the covenant was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:8-36). In addition to being quite a beautiful musical poem, it also puts before us various examples of ways we, too, can give thanks to God.

We give thanks to the Lord when we:

  • Talk with Him and tell Him thank you;
  • Tell others the amazing things He has done;
  • Praise Him through our singing;
  • Revel in the name of the Lord and place our confidence in Him;
  • Seek God's presence and strength;
  • Remember what He's done for us as His children.

What would you add to the list above of ways you give thanks to God? Will you join me in verbally giving thanks to God today? Tami

Telling Thanks

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Today's reading: Psalm 9:1-2

"I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High" (Psalm 9:1-2).

When I think about giving thanks to God, the first thing that comes to mind is thanking God (telling Him "thank you") as I talk with Him through prayer. But there is more than one way to give God thanks, and I was reminded of that by the opening verses of Psalm 9. After declaring that he will give thanks to God, David makes the statement that he will "recount" or tell of all of God's wonderful acts. I particularly like this way of expressing thanks to God because as we publically thank God, we're also being a witness. As we talk about how God has watched over, cared, protected and provided for us, we're highlighting God and His goodness and love to those who hear us.

How verbal are you about what God has done and is doing for you? Why is this important? Will you join with me in being intentional to thank God in front of others this week? Tami

Personal Offering

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Today's reading: Psalm 95:1-11

Psalm 95 is a call for each of us to offer our personal thanksgiving to God. Here are some of the ways the psalmist tells us we can accomplish this call to action. By:

  • Singing unto to the Lord;
  • Making a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation;
  • Coming into His presence with thanksgiving; and
  • Worshipping, bowing down and kneeling before our Maker.

What does you giving thanks to God look like--in a corporate setting like church? What about when you're with family? How about when you're spending time one-on-one with God? Identify some of the benefits of regularly offering up your thanks to God. Tami

Giving Thanks

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One thing that can be said of David is that he was consistent about thanking God for His love, protection and provision. Psalm 138 is a great example of this. The very first verse of this song establishes a tone of gratitude that carries throughout the psalm, even as David writes about being in the middle of difficult circumstances.

"I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise" (Psalm 138:1).

Describe what you giving thanks to God with "your whole heart" should look like. What will you give thanks to God for today? Why is it important for us to continue giving thanks to God when we're in a difficult situation or season? Tami

Backward Confidence

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Today's reading: Psalm 54:1-7

As David finds himself in yet another dangerous situation on the run from Saul, he calls out to God to protect and defend him. In the middle of dire circumstances, David recalls Who God is and how He has delivered him through all of his troubles in the past. As a result, we see a confident, trusting and expectant David even when he is surrounded by danger and chaos.

When has God delivered you from trouble in the past? How does looking back and recalling His protection and provision help you in the present? Tami

Presenting Jesus

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Today's reading: Psalm 53:1-6

It's not uncommon to hear someone make the comment that people are inherently good (television, classrooms, social media). That's simply not the case. We are all born with a sinful nature that dominates and rules our hearts and thinking...until we come to know God and receive Christ as Savior. From that point forward, God's Spirit dwells within us, giving us the power to overcome the negative pull of our human nature so that we can live rightly for God.

Who do you know that doesn't yet know and have a relationship with Jesus? Will you step out and introduce them to Him this week? Tami

Freedom

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Today's reading: John 8:31-32

As we finish out the week thinking about God's truth, I felt we had to look at and consider John 8:31-32 which says:

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

These two verses convey much. First, our need to be taking in, considering and living out God's Word. And, second, that when we choose to spend time with God through His Word, a major benefit to us is spiritual truth which gives us spiritual freedom (freedom in Christ).

Take a few minutes to think about how knowing God's truth has impacted your life. What's an example of one of the freedoms knowing God's truth has given to you (For example-freed from feelings of guilt and shame, freed from some sort of addiction, free to love all people, freed from living in fear, etc.)? How often do you thank God for giving us His true and perfect Word to live by? Tami

Life Giving

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:142-144, NLT

I had the opportunity to speak on the subject of "truth" this past weekend at my church. As you might imagine, the focus of my talk was on the absolute and perfect Truth that is only found in God's Word, the Bible. The title of my message was "Truth is Life" because regularly taking in God's Word and putting each of the truths we encounter into practice is foundational and key to living a joy-filled, fully committed life for God.

"Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true. As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live" (Psalm 119:142-144, NLT).

How does spending time in God's Word impact or influence your daily life? As a follower of Christ, what does "truth is life" and David's words in verse 144 (help me to understand so I may live) mean to you? Tami

God's Useful Word

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Today's reading: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a foundational passage for me. I frequently read it because it reminds me of the precious and valuable gift that God's Word is to us, and because it reinforces how important it is to be intentional about filling our minds with God's true and perfect thoughts.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).

Do you view and think about the Bible as being a gift from God to you? How have you experienced what Paul sets out in this passage with regard to your own spiritual journey (Realizing what's true and what's wrong from spending time in God's Word; being motivated and equipped to do good things for God through engaging Scripture)? Tami

Perfect Truth

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Today's reading: Isaiah 45:19; Psalm 19:6-11

As we finish out this week, we'll be looking at a number of verses about God's Word and godly truth. Today's passages both tell us, straight up, that God's Word is true. I was particularly drawn to Isaiah 45:19 because this verse is a recording of God directly speaking to say: "I, the Lord, speak in truth; I declare what is right."

Do you believe that God's Word, the Bible, is truth? If someone were to ask you why you believe that the Bible is true, what would you say or how would you explain it to them? Tami

God's True Word

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Today's reading: Philippians 4:8; Psalm 119: 142, 151, 160 and 172

With the goal of taking our thoughts and minds captive for God, the first thing Paul instructs us to focus on is "whatever is true" (Phil. 4:8). Dishonesty is rampant in today's world-phone and email scams, fake news, cheating, corruption, deceitful business practices. But there's one place we can turn to, with confidence, to find absolute truth-God's Word, the Bible. It's there and only there that we never have to worry about or second guess the soundness of the instruction we're receiving.

"But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true (Psalm 119:151).

What message do these verses from Psalm 119 deliver about the truth and trustworthiness of the Bible? In a typical week, how much time do you spend focusing on and filling your mind with God's Word? Why is it important for us to regularly spend time engaging (reading, considering and then putting what we've read into practice) God's Word? Tami

Affirming God

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Today's reading: Psalm 52:1-9

Psalm 52 is David's response to Saul's ordering, and Doeg's carrying out of, the slaying of Ahimelech and the priests at Nob because they had given provisions to David and his men (see 1 Samuel 21-22). I can only imagine the heavy heart David must have had knowing that it was his actions that led to this tragedy. Because David is on the run from Saul, he is powerless to take action. So in this time of grief and distress, he turns to God reaffirming his trust and dependence on Him.

How has God been your comfort and refuge in a time of grief or distress? What impact does focusing on God and declaring and affirming your trust in Him have when you're troubled, worried or distraught? Tami

Pursuing Forgiveness

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Today's reading: Psalm 51:1-19

With a humble heart, David cries out to God asking Him for forgiveness. One of the things I like about this psalm is the perspective it provides about sin. I'm also drawn to the example it puts before us of honestly talking with God about our heart and actions. In verse 4 David says, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight..." This lets us know that whenever we sin, we are first and foremost sinning against and offending God. What a good reminder to help us think more about our actions and hopefully sin less often going forward. Then after confessing and putting forth his sin, David makes this beautiful request of God in verse 10. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

Is it your practice to regularly seek God's forgiveness? Why is this important? What most impacted you from David's example? Tami

God's Just Word

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Today's reading: Psalm 119:142-144 (NLT); Psalm 19:7-10; Philippians 4:8

For our final day following Paul's instruction in Philippians 4:8 to think about "whatever is just," I was drawn to Psalm 119:142-144 (NLT) and Psalm 19:7-10 (ESV) because of the way they each describe and explain God's Word as being just, true, right, pure and perfect. These passages make it clear that there is NOTHING better to fix our minds upon than God's Word!

When you're intentional about filling your mind with God's Word, what happens? If you were talking to Paul, what would you tell him about how regularly taking in God's just Word impacts and influences your thoughts, your moods, your actions, your words? Tami

Valuable Integrity

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Today's reading: Proverbs 10:9; 19:1

Two more verses today to give us additional insight on having a mindset of living justly (walking in integrity).

"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out" (Prov. 10:9).

""Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool" (Prov. 19:1).

What do these verses show about God's view of having integrity (choosing to live justly and rightly)? What impact does thinking about acting rightly and justly (with integrity) have on your actions? Tami

Just Living

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Today's reading: Psalm 72:1-20

Since we're focusing on justice and just living this week, Psalm 72 came to mind. This psalm of David puts before us a wonderful example of an attitude and heart for right thinking and living. David is seeking and asking God to help him be a just (moral, right, ethical, fair) leader. I particularly liked David's request that he "be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth" (vs. 6), because of how it shows that a key component of just living is having a kind and caring heart for others.

What's one thing you learned or noticed about justice and living rightly from this psalm? What does this psalm show us about the importance of and need for restorative justice? Do you pray and ask God to help you have a just mindset? Why is this important? Tami

Fair and Accurate

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Today's reading: Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10; Psalm 112:5

Included in Paul's Philippians 4:8 list of good things on which to focus, he tells us to think about "whatever is just." If you look up the word "just" in a dictionary or thesaurus, a couple of the words you'll see are fair and accurate. God's model is one of being fair and just, and He delights in us when we choose to follow His example.

"It is well with the man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice" (Psalm 112:5).

Based on today's verses, how important is thinking about being just (fair and accurate) and then acting justly to God? What encouragement do you draw from knowing that God delights in fairness, and shows favor to those whose lives demonstrate a standard of being just and fair? Tami

Honor Focused

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Today's reading: Philippians 4:8

We started out last week looking at Philippians 4:8 and Paul's charge to take our minds and thoughts captive (think on these things). We then spent Tuesday through Friday specifically looking at verses having to do with honor. So before we move on to verses that will help us think on "whatever is just" (Phil. 4:8), let's take today to review and consider what we learned or noticed about honor last week.

What stood out to most about being honorable or having honor from the verses we studied last week, and why? How did repeatedly focusing on what God says about honor, impact your thoughts, actions, words? Tami

Today's reading: Psalm 50:1-23

Psalm 50 makes it abundantly clear that God is in control and sovereign over all. Yet, this all-powerful, mighty and magnificent God wants us to willingly give Him our hearts, and desires for us to offer up to Him an earnest and genuine sacrifice of thanksgiving.

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!" (vs. 23)

How do you show God that your heart is given to Him? Describe what you do to offer thanksgiving to God. Would you say that the people who know you know that God is the desire of your heart? Tami

Foolish Confidence

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Today's reading: Psalm 49:1-20

"You need more! You need bigger! You need better!" Sound familiar? Of course. Everywhere we look--television, online, magazines, billboards, shopping malls--the message is that we need and deserve more. It's a foolish message, and one that can pull our focus off of God and steer us in a wrong direction if we're not careful. That's why I was thankful for the wise reminder in Psalm 50 about the dangers and pitfalls of choosing to focus on earthly wealth and riches.

"Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish" (vs. 12).

What helps you keep an eternal perspective in this material, money-focused world? Was there a particular verse that resonated with your heart, and why? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 26:1 (NLT)

"Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool."

What does this verse reveal about the importance of having godly wisdom? How are you pursuing wisdom? Why is it important to regularly spend time with God through His Word and prayer? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 22:4

"The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life."

Why is having humility necessary for us to have honor? What does this verse show about how God views and values having honor? Tami

Today's reading: Proverbs 21:21 (NLT)

"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor."

What does Proverbs 21:21 reveal about the relationship between doing what we know is right and having honor? Would you say that living rightly is a priority for you? Are you intentional about being kind to others? 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 November 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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