September 2019 Archives

The Person Philemon

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Today's reading: Philemon 4-7

In verses 4-7 of Philemon, Paul gives us a glimpse of the man named Philemon. It is evident from what Paul writes that he holds Philemon in high regard. Paul considers him a special friend. He's thankful for Philemon's love of God and his bold witness for Christ, and Paul's heart is genuinely touched by Philemon's good and helpful conduct toward other believers.

Is it your goal to "refresh the heart" of others, especially the hearts of your brothers and sisters in Christ? What's one example of how you encouraged, supported or demonstrated kindness to someone in the past week? Will you join me in making it a goal to be intentional about refreshing and encouraging the people we each come in contact with this 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 fellow believer named Philemon whose slave, Onesimus, had run away.

Although there are only 25 verses in this short book, there are lessons (plural) for us to discover. But before we delve in to look for those lessons, let's spend today simply reading through this letter and focusing on the details provided in order to give us some context. This will help us gain a better overall understanding of what is going on and allow us to get the most out of this book.

I'll get us started. Here are several things I took note of from Philemon.

  • Paul is writing from prison.
  • The relationship between Paul and Philemon is personal, which explains the personal approach and tone of the letter.
  • Paul's letter doesn't reveal anything about the why, when or how of Onesimus's running away from Philemon.
  • Paul has a deep love for both Philemon and Onesimus.

It's your turn! Read back through Philemon and note and/or write down as many specifics as possible. What information and details did you notice as you read Philemon? Tami

Trusting Continually

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Today's reading: Psalm 44:1-26

Psalm 44 is an earnest prayer offered to God during a time of distress and oppression. The psalmist begins his conversation with God by looking back at what God has done. Next he moves on to tell God how, despite the intense adversity and disgrace that has come upon them, he is committed to following Him. The psalmist then concludes his prayer asking God for deliverance.

My heart was stirred by the message conveyed in verses 6-8, where in the middle of intense distress, the psalmist remains unmoved and proclaims to God his steadfast trust in Him.

"For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever." (vs. 6-8)

What battles are you going through right now? Have you, are you and/or will you turn your situation over to God and tell Him, "I trust in you"? How does praising God in and through your storms impact your attitude and thinking and help you stay the course? Tami

Lead Me

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Today's reading: Psalm 43:1-5

The appeal made by David to God to "send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling" is a good and wise request (vs. 3). These words reflect an attitude of surrender to an all-powerful, all-knowing God who loves us greatly and has us in the palm of His hand—whatever our current situation.

Will you join me in putting this request before God today? Tami

P.S. Did you notice how the theme and tone of this psalm is similar to what David wrote in Psalm 42? David even uses the same closing phrase ("Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."). Whatever you're experiencing today, keep talking with God about it!

Constant Encourager

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Today's reading: Ephesians 6:21-24

One thing I particularly like about Paul is how he is constantly intentional with his efforts to encourage others. Ephesians 6:21-24 is a good example of this. Even though Paul is in prison and uncertain of what is going to happen to him, he takes steps to ensure that he is still encouraging the Ephesians by sending his friend and helper, Tychicus, to keep them informed, to specifically raise their spirits and to 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 weekend and beyond? Tami

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, I noticed that the significance of the Bible was prominent. Paul specifically 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.

The message is clear—taking in God's Word and praying are essential for suiting up with the whole armor of God.

How intentional are you about engaging God's Word (reading, reflecting on it 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

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 (action required) 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 the evil forces and schemes that are prevalent all around us.

How often do you think about the fact that battling against the 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/spiritual warfare encourage you today? Tami

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 or 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.

(Note/disclaimer: I believe the instruction Paul gives here is to be applied to safe relationships only. Paul is NOT telling us to be doormats or spineless or that we should put ourselves in or acquiesce to a dangerous situation. What he writes is not meant for abusive or toxic relationship situations. Staying safe must always be a priority!)

What's one benefit you've experienced when you've chosen to yield and/or submit to a boss, a spouse or another person in a family relationship? How can your willingness to submit or yield to someone else provide a Godly example? How might it even open the door for you to be able to share the Gospel message of Christ? Tami

Teamwork

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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 we read and consider Ephesians 5:22-33 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 who have chosen to come together in love and support one another.

"Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (vs. 33)

What does this passage reveal about the importance of love in a marital relationship? What does it show about how love functions to unite husbands and wives together and strengthen relationships? Tami

Hope Prevails

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Today's reading: Psalm 42:1-11

Psalm 42 reads like a back and forth dialogue between hope and fear. But as David talks to himself about God, recalling His goodness and faithfulness and His steadfast love and protection—hope prevails! It wins the day. As David intentionally focuses on God and what he knows is truth, he is able to push aside his doubts and fears and confidently proclaim, "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (vs. 11).

When you're wrestling with fear and doubts, do you ever (like David) talk through with yourself what you know to be true of God? Why is it important to look back at what God has done for you when you encounter difficult circumstances? What's one thing that encouraged you from this psalm, and why? Tami

Helpful Talks

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Today's reading: Psalm 41:1-13

When we find ourselves under attack from others—people spreading lies about our character, doing things to harm us financially or hindering our success in a particular area—it hurts. David was no stranger to being treated poorly by others. We see his candid talking with God about the hurt and pain he is experiencing here in Psalm 41. I'm thankful for this example and was drawn to the way David ends his prayer with the self-reminder of God's love, faithfulness and provision.

"By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever." (vs. 11-12)

Is it your practice to talk candidly with God about your struggles, pains and hurts? When you're open and honest with God, how does it impact your attitude and actions? Tami

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
  • Willing to put the interests of others first

What about walking in love stood out to you most from this passage, and why? Who do you know that exhibits walking in love well? How can/will you walk well this week as you're: at the grocery store, in class, in line at the DMV, at a school event, in the break room at work and with your family? Be specific! Tami

No Opportunity

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:27

Right in the middle of Paul's detailing of what putting on the new self looks like and requires, we see a more general instruction in verse 27 to "give no opportunity to the devil." I 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. But what I especially like is how this short verse functions 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. In what areas do you tend to struggle (spending money, speaking harshly, critical spirit, lust, wanting more things, gossip, prejudice or jealousy, to name a few)? What can you do/change today so that you're not giving any opportunity to the devil to tempt and lead you down the road to sinning in your "struggle" areas? Tami

Righteous Anger

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:26; James 1:20

"Be angry and do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26)

". . .for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:20)

Yesterday we looked at the negative side of anger, so today, I thought it would be good for us to consider how and when anger can be a good thing. Ephesians 4:26 actually commands us to "be angry and do not sin." This lets us know that anger, in and of itself, isn't a sin—unless we turn it into something sinful by letting pride and our self-centered motives drive our anger.

So when is our anger good and proper? When it's righteous anger. In other words, when our anger comes about because of and is directed toward an unjust situation caused by another person. Here are a few examples of righteous anger from the Bible:

  • When Jesus drove out the money changers who were defiling the temple (John 2:13-18)
  • When Paul confronted Peter about how he was conducting himself (Galatians 2:11-14)
  • When Nehemiah threw out Tobiah's furniture from the chambers of the house of God (Nehemiah 13:4-9)

When have you experienced righteous anger? What action(s) did you take as a result? Spend a few minutes considering the difference in you and your response when you have had righteous anger versus when your anger was self-centered and sinful. Tami

Deal with It

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Today's reading: Ephesians 4:26-27

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

We"ve all been there. We have an argument with our spouse, a friend, our parents, a sibling or a boss, and we are MAD. We stomp off to our bedroom, our office cubicle or our corner of the room, and we stew. We dwell on the situation, replaying the exchange of words over and over again, and as we do, our blood continues to boil and even gets a bit hotter. It's not a good situation, and if we don't choose to take control of our anger right then and there, what follows will likely be an ugly, sinful downward spiral.

Why is it important to take control of and deal with our anger right away? Think of a time when you didn't promptly deal with your anger. How did continuing to dwell on a negative situation impact you? How does choosing to hold on to our anger open the door for sin? Tami

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. Immediately after issuing the charge to put on the new self, he provides examples and descriptions of what this new, fresh and different way of living should look like.

What changes have you noticed in your life (actions, lifestyle, words or thinking) since making the decision to follow Christ and turn your life over to God? How does taking in God's Word contribute to you putting on the new self? Tami

Leaning in God

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Today's reading: Psalm 40:1-17

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry." (vs. 1)

The Bible is full of verses, passages and examples where either we're told or we see from what is written that God hears our cries, requests and prayers. Psalm 40:1 is one example of this. While I've always thought of God as hearing my prayers, I hadn't given much thought (if any) to how God actually listens. Let me explain.

Think about having a conversation with another person. If we're interested in the other person and what they are saying, what do we naturally do? We lean in. We incline or turn toward the person. That's the picture David puts before us in Psalm 40 of what God does when we talk with him through prayer. What an encouragement to know that God is interested in and attentive to each of us and that He is actively leaning forward, taking in every single one of our words!

Do you think of God and approach Him as an active and involved listener? Why is this important? What impact does knowing that God is actively listening to you have on your prayers? Are you inclining toward God as you listen for His responses? 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 September 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2019 is the previous archive.

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