December 2017 Archives

God Not Wealth

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Today's reading: Psalm 62:9-12

After declaring his dependence on and trust in God in Psalm 62:1-8, David then shifts his focus a bit to remind and warn us about treasuring wealth. What and how much we have (possessions, status, money) doesn't have any bearing on our relationship with God. No matter our wealth or position, we need to recognize that God is in control and our job is to do what we know is right as we live for Him.

What helps you maintain a biblical perspective on money when the message of the world is all about getting more and more money? Tami

Steady With God

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Today's reading: Psalm 62:1-12

Two times in Psalm 61 David proclaims his total dependence on God. With bold words he tells us that God alone is his strength and shelter in troubled times, and that his trust in God keeps him strong and steady.

"He [God] alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken" (vs 2). "He [God] only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken" (vs. 6).

If someone asked you, "Why trust in God?" how would you respond? What personal experience(s) could you share with them where God was your shelter, help and strength? Tami

Love Lessons

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Today's reading: 1 John 2:7-17

John writes about what our love needs to look like in 1 John 2:7-17. He first addresses how we must be love-filled for other people, an age-old commandment (loving our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:17-18)) that has now come into the world through Jesus.

Then, Paul's love focus takes on a negative tone as he issues a strong caution paired with the command to "not love the world or the things in the world" (vs. 15-17) because they are not from God and contradict His will and ways.

What does "loving your brother" mean for you? In the past month, how have you shown God's love to the people around you (family, co-workers, friends)? How does taking in God's Word equip you to both love others and combat the alluring pull of the world? Tami

Learning and Walking

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Today's reading: 1 John 2:1-6

Once we receive Christ as our Savior, it should be our heart's desire to keep and follow the commandments God has given us in His Word. In other words, a natural response to being in relationship with God is a noticeable change in our behavior.

"[B]ut whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." (vs. 5-6).

Would you say that it's your desire to keep and follow the instructions found in God's Word? What does this passage reveal about the importance of regularly reading, considering and then putting into practice what you've learned from the Bible? How have your thoughts and actions changed as you've learned and absorbed more and more of God's Word? Tami

Goodness and Light

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Today's reading: 1 John 1:5-10

1 John 1:5-10, and specifically 1 John 1:9, is a well-known passage and one often used to tell someone about God's offer of salvation. But when I read these verses today, what stood out so prominently to me was this statement from verse 5: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." I immediately thought of the expression, "God is good all the time. All the time God is good." It's a truth that we can lose sight of as we navigate the busyness of life, and even more so when our life circumstances feel like they are swirling out of control. So I am grateful for John's reminder that God, and God alone, is goodness and light.

What's one example of how you have experienced God's goodness in the past month? How does recalling God's goodness help you when you encounter difficult circumstances? How would you explain 1 John 1:5, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" to someone who doesn't yet have a personal relationship with God? Tami

Testify

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

Today we're turning to 1 John, which I felt would be a good follow up to the Christmas story. In the first four verses, John boldly testifies about Jesus. He makes a point of conveying how he and the disciples witnessed God in the flesh, and then broadcasts about their experience.

Is it your practice to tell (testify to) others about your experience with Jesus? Why is talking about what you've experienced spiritually a good way to share Christ? Tami

Merry CHRISTmas!

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Today's reading: Luke 2:1-21

Merry Christmas, everyone!! Thank you for being part of Powered by 4 with me. I'm praying that each of you have a God-focused and God-filled day!

At a Christmas gathering a few years back, each person had to answer this question:

Besides Jesus, who would you choose to be in the Christmas story and why?

I was intrigued by the various ways people answered this question, and hearing the whys behind the choices caused me to think a bit deeper about the whole Christmas story—the what, when, why, how and the miracle itself. At the time, I chose one of the shepherds because of the encounter with the angels and then having the privilege of being the first to meet baby Jesus. This time around, though, I'm choosing one of the wise men because of how they were able to see and experience age-old prophecies come to perfect completion.

So what about you? Besides Jesus, who would you choose to be in the Christmas story and why? And once you've answered the question, send a thank you prayer to God for sending His only son to be your Savior. Tami

Shepherds and Wise Men

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Today's reading: Luke 2:1-21; Matthew 2:1-12

I never get tired of reading about the shepherds' encounter with the angels and the wise men's dedicated journey to find Jesus. My favorite part of each passage is what took place when each group encountered the Christ child. The wise men fell down, and they worshipped and offered gifts. The shepherds verbally proclaimed Christ, "glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them" (Luke 2:20). What a beautiful picture!

How will you worship and praise Christ this Christmas—and beyond? What's one thing that stood out to you about the shepherds? What about the wise men? Tami

Joseph Focus

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Today's reading: Matthew 1:18-25

Today, our Christmas story focus is on Joseph. Like we did yesterday, take some time to sift through the passage and consider all the details in it. Read it a couple of times, and try to imagine yourself in Joseph's shoes. Think about how Joseph may have felt, why he responded like he did, how this situation would have impacted his life during this time period—you get the picture.

What's one thing that stood out to you about Joseph, and why? What did this passage reveal to you about God's ways? Tami

Mary Focus

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Today's reading: Luke 1:26-56

With Christmas just a couple days away, we're going to read through the primary passages of the Christmas story today through Christmas Eve on Sunday. The Bible is rich with details about Jesus coming to earth. But because we're so familiar with the basic storyline, we can overlook those wonderful details if we're not intentional about reading this miraculous storyline. We can learn so much from this love story when we sift through the passage with an inquisitive eye on the details.

Today our focus is on Mary. Read through Luke 1:26-56 once and then go back and read it again. But the second time, be intentional to read slowly. Look specifically for pieces of information to help you get an even fuller understanding of this miracle.

What stood out to you most about Mary? What did this passage reveal to you about God? Tami

Clear, Strong, Useful

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Today's reading: James 1-5

The Book of James is one I turn to often because of its clear, strong and useful instruction. It's not a particularly long Book, but it is packed full of practical teaching and advice that provides perspective paired with actions that I can put into practice immediately.

My favorite portion of this letter is James 3 and James' candid warning to us about what we do with our words.

What did God impress on your heart from the Book of James? What's one message or instruction that stood out most to you and why? Tami

Prayer Works

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Today's reading: James 5:13-20

Prayer is our direct line of communication with God. It's powerful, and it works.

I smiled as I turned to the final verses of James today where James reminds us about the power of praying with faith, and he urges us to take hold of that incredible power to pray.

"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working" (vs. 16).

How often do you talk with God? Do you pray with the expectation that God can and will respond to your prayers? Will you join me in praying more boldly, more focused and more often? Tami

Waiting...Patiently

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Today's reading: James 5:7-12

The Bible has shown me time and again, both with specific teaching and through examples, that God's timing is perfect. Yet waiting patiently for God to move or answer a request is one of my biggest areas of struggle, particularly if I'm wrestling with a difficult situation. I want resolution quickly. Despite knowing that God is in control and that He has only good plans for me, I can head down the road of feeling depressed or doubting God if I'm not intentional about taking my thoughts captive. So I'm thankful for James' reminder of God's love and compassion, and his encouragement to remain focused on God as I wait—with patience—on His timing.

When you're in a waiting period, do you have any scripture verses that you turn to for encouragement? Do you pray and tell God that you're struggling and need His help to stand strong? Do you reach out to Christian friends for support? How can/will you take your thoughts captive for God today? Tami

Right Kind of Rich

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Today's reading: James 5:1-6; 1 Timothy 6:9-10

The Bible addresses the topic of money a lot. It gives instructions, warnings, cautions and examples about using money. Money itself is not a problem, but it becomes a problem when we choose to focus on, desire and seek after money more than we focus on, desire and seek after God. Thus James' stern words against loving and pursuing money and possessions in James 5:1-6. It's God's desire for us to be rich toward Him (in our hearts and through our actions) rather than being rich according to the world's standards (having money and possessions).

Do you find it difficult to keep your focus on God in a world that is obsessed with wealth and possessions (especially now at Christmastime)? What helps you keep a proper perspective about the money and things you own? How are you using (or how can you use) what money and possessions God has given you to build up treasure in heaven? Tami

Moved

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Today's reading: Psalm 61:1-8

Words like mighty, warrior, leader, talented, king and powerful come to mind when I think about David (who authored Psalm 61). I picture him as a godly giant. He was, after all, a man after God's own heart. But being "all in" for God doesn't mean we won't have times when we feel discouraged, stressed, fearful, overwhelmed, even depressed.

"[F]rom the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint" (vs. 2).

Thankfully, we don't have to stay in a place of feeling faint-hearted. David demonstrates this in Psalm 60. With his focus solely on God, David tells God that he is struggling, recalls God's past faithfulness and then asks God to strengthen and protect him going forward. As he talks with God in this manner, his heart is moved. So much so that David's final statement is one of praise and continued commitment to serving God.

Do you reach out to God when your heart is heavy? What does that conversation typically look like? What impact does telling God your struggles and recalling how He has provided and protected you in the past have on your attitude and heart when you're in the middle of a difficult situation? Tami

With God

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Today's reading: Psalm 60:1-12

As king David writes about conquests, battles and wars, both past and yet to come, he earnestly exalts and praises God. His message is clear, that any victory Israel has had, or will have, is solely the result of God. I love how verses 11 and 12 capture the essence of David's song.

"Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes."

What encouragement do you draw from Psalm 60:11-12? Think back over the past year or two. What's one example of God walking with you and giving you victory in a difficult situation? Tami

If God Wills

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Today's reading: James 4:13-17; Proverbs 14:12

None of us know what tomorrow holds for us. And whether we want to acknowledge it or not, the fact of the matter is that our lives run according to God's timing and plan. Yet, so often we fall into thinking that we're in the driver's seat and the masters of our life. So we make plans without consulting God or seeking His will. And when we choose to take this course of action, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to live our life to the fullest.

What's your approach when it comes to making plans concerning next week, next month, next year? Are the words "if the Lord wills" part of your thinking as you prepare for the future? Tami

Necessary Component

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Today's reading: James 4:1-12 Psalm 25:9 Proverbs 3:34

Woven throughout James' warning against being friends with the world, we see the reminder (vs. 6) and then a call (in verse 10) to be humble.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you" (vs. 10).

In a world that tells us that we, and we alone, are the masters of our own life, how do you maintain a humble, God-focused heart? What does humbly serving God look like in your life (describe it)? Why is being humble a necessary and key component of the Christian life? Tami

Beware. Be Wise.

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Today's reading: James 4:1-12

"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?" (James 4:4)

The mindset of the world is certainly at odds with God's standards and values. But even though we reside in the world, we don't have to live and act like those of the world. When we keep our eyes focused on God and draw fully on the power of the Holy Spirit residing within us, we can live a life that is pleasing to God, and in so doing, be a bright and shining light for Him.

Living rightly for God is an everyday choice and undertaking. So how intentional are you about taking in God's Word and praying on a daily basis? What are some things you do (actions you take) that help you stand firmly for God when you're tempted to give in to the pull of worldly thinking? Tami

Marks of Wisdom

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Today's reading: James 3:13-18

While the world's definition of wisdom is equated with having knowledge that is academically acquired or gained through life experiences, godly wisdom is so much more. It goes beyond having acquired knowledge and insight to include our good and godly conduct. The wisdom we obtain from God is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" (vs. 17).

When you think about wisdom and ask God for it, what comes to mind? Are you asking for wisdom as James describes it in James 3:17? Why is peace an important element of godly wisdom? What did God reveal to you about wisdom from this passage? Tami

Power to Curb

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Today's reading: James 3:1-12

Our tongues are powerful, and we can turn them into weapons of destruction--in an instant. James 3:8 says, "no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." Ouch! Every time I read that verse and those surrounding it (James 3:1-12), I cringe because James is dead on correct. It pains me to admit it, but I can give plenty of examples of words that I have spoken that weren't God honoring--insensitive words, gossip, harshly delivered words, corrective words not spoken with love, reactive and retaliatory words of anger (you get the picture).

But our inability to completely tame our tongues doesn't mean we can't curb what comes out of our mouths in a pretty significant way. In fact, we absolutely can! It definitely takes effort, but if we commit to spending time with God by taking in His Word and talking with Him through prayer, getting better control over what comes out of our mouths will naturally follow. God wants and expects us to represent Him well with our words, and we can when our eyes, hearts and minds are focused on Him.

Do you think of your tongue as "a restless evil, full of deadly poison"? When are you more likely to allow negative or hurtful words to come out of your mouth? How does regularly spending time with God (reading the Bible and praying) influence your heart and ultimately your words? Tami

Heart to Mouth

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Today's reading: Psalm 59:1-17

In the middle of David's seeking God for deliverance and comfort as Saul and others are intent on his destruction, David specifically points out to God how his adversaries are sinning with their mouths.

"For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter..." (vs. 12)

What a good reminder of how so much of our sin is tied to the words we let come out of our mouths, and how what we say reveals the spiritual condition of our heart.

Think back over some of the words you've spoken this week. What did they reveal about your heart? How can and will you use the words you speak, today and in the coming week, to reflect a loving and God-focused heart? Tami

When Wrong Happens

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Today's reading: Psalm 58:1-11

Before David took the throne as king of Israel, he was on the run for his life from an irrational and unbalanced king Saul. I can't fully imagine how awful David's situation must have been. Yet he was able to stand strong and remain focused, in large part because of his constant and candid communication with God. Here in Psalm 58, David is holding nothing back. He pours out his frustrations to God about the sin taking place against him and around him, and then concludes his conversation by expectantly asking God to right the situation.

Is it your practice to talk candidly with God about the wrong and unjust things taking place around you and/or to you? How does putting these wrongs into words help you stay focused on God and His Word and responding rightly? Tami

Faith-filled Work

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Today's reading: James 2:14-26; Ephesians 2:8-10

Once we make the decision to follow God by placing our faith in Christ as our Savior, doing good works for God should naturally follow. In other words, once we have a personal relationship with God, God then expects us to do good works going forward as we serve Him--and, He already has in place a plan of good things for us to do.

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

Do you think of yourself as being a worker for God? How does knowing that you were created "in Christ Jesus for good works" encourage or motivate you today? What's one example of how you have demonstrated your faith in God by doing a "good work" in the past month? Tami

Level Field

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Today's reading: James 2:1-13

There is no partiality with God. The phrase "level playing field" immediately came to my mind as I read and considered James 2:1-13. What a comfort to know that our wealth, social standing, race, gender, age, location, occupation--doesn't influence how God views, values or loves us. Thank you, James for this candid reminder of God's level standard, and how when we chose to deviate from it and exercise partiality, it is sin.

How does the way someone is dressed, the job or position they hold, the car they drive, the people they know or the home they live in, influence how you act around and toward them? What helps you model God's standard toward people (loving, valuing and treating them equally) rather than the following the standard of the world? Tami

Action Required

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Today's reading: James 1:22-25

A year or so ago, I was having problems with the word processing program on my computer not allowing me to print. It was super frustrating and hindering to my work. My husband discovered how to fix the problem (an upgrade glitch), and corrected the issue a number of times for me. He also told me how to correct this issue each time this happened. I listened to him, but because I never actually sat down at the computer and executed the fix myself, I was stuck if my husband wasn't home when the problem occurred. How foolish on my part. I absolutely knew there was a fix, but because I never took the time to be a "doer," what knowledge I had was pretty much rendered useless.

It's the same way with God's Word. It's vital that we read and take in God's instructions. But that's only part of the equation. We also need to consider what we've read and then take action (be a doer). In other words, we need to ENGAGE God's Word-meaning that we spend time reading the Bible, reflecting on it, and then responding to it. When we consistently follow this pattern, our relationship with God will grow, our faith will strengthen and our attitude, actions and words will change for the positive.

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" in the last week or so? Will you join me on an intentional journey to be a "doer" this week? Tami

Active With Good

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Today's reading: James 1:26-27

James highlights two areas in the final verses of James 1, and in so doing, provides some specific "doing good" instructions for us as followers of Christ. The first area is our speech, with the instruction to keep a close watch and a tight rein on what we say. The second area is helping those in need, with the instruction to reach out to people who aren't in a good position to help themselves like orphaned children and widows.

So how are you doing with living out James' instruction in verses 26-27? Do you give concentrated thought to keeping your words in check at work, home, school, when you're hanging out with friends? Is it your habit to extend help, in whatever form it is needed, to people around you who are hurting? Tami

Regulated Responses

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Today's reading: James 1:19-21

When we encounter trials--when something unexpected happens, someone takes advantage of us, we're mistreated--our human impulse is to immediately 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. While responding in this manner can feel like a tall order, God is with us and we can draw on His strength to help us slow down and process the situation and then respond in the most appropriate way.

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

Stormy Refuge

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Today's reading: Psalm 57:1-11

Even though David is being hunted by Saul and his men, his trust in God remains strong. So as he begins Psalm 57, David's tone is confident. I love how he declares to God that he is claiming Him as his refuge until the terrible circumstances around him subside.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by" (vs. 1).

When and how has God been your "refuge till the storms of destruction have passed you by"? Why is it important to praise God in and through the storms? When you tell God exactly what it is that you are going to do, how does it impact your attitude and actions? Tami Tami

Discarding Fear

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Today's reading: Psalm 56:1-13

David spent a lot years on the run from a murderous-minded king Saul. So he was well acquainted with danger and uncertainty and the feelings of fear that accompany difficult situations. Yet rather than focusing on his circumstances and allowing himself to be consumed by his fear, David leans fully on God, telling God that he trusts Him and His word completely.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (vs. 3-4)

Is it your habit to reach out to, and lean on, God when you feel afraid? How does talking with God and spending time in His Word help you combat and overcome fear? When you find yourself feeling fearful, do you have a verse or passage that helps you refocus your thoughts on trusting God? Tami

Prized Possession

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Today's reading: James 1:16-18 (NLT); Genesis 1:26-31 (NLT)

The message of God's exceptional love and goodness came across loud and clear as I read James 1:16-18. It was a excellent reminder for me because I have a tendency to lose sight of just how much God loves us (me). So reading James 18, with its clear and descriptive words (prized possession), gave me a needed perspective adjustment for my day. Thank you, God, for Your great and never ending love!

Do you think of yourself as being a "prized possession" of God? What does James 1:17-18 and Genesis 1:26-31 reveal about the special place we hold in God's heart and the how incredibly He loves 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 December 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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