Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Want to listen to the entire Bible in 1 year?

Update!  The NASB® Audio Bible in a Year is now live. 
Find the links on the right side of this page.

Hello everyone. I am trying to put together a plan which allows you to listen. through the entire Bible in one years time. It would be on a separate blog just like this one. Each day a link to an audio file would be posted on the blog. Each audio clip would speak out loud a few chapters. If you listen each day then in one years time you will have heard the entire Bible.

There would also be some additional ways to access the daily Audio Bible links. You could subscribe to receive them either by email or through an RSS feed.

I am currently in discussions with 3 different Bible organizations trying to accomplish this project. I am awaiting their permission to use their copyrighted material. Every e-mail correspondence has been positive. And I truly believe they have a heart to spread God's Word.

However this is not a done deal. I don't have permission yet. If you want this Audio Bible plan to succeed then please pray. Ask God to work out every detail. He can do it. Your prayers can make things happen that were not going to happen. Afterwards you can be glad because you were part of the victory. You can rejoice because you were part of God's good Word going forth. And you were part of blessing many people.

Thank you for your prayers,
God bless

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wisdom is a treasure - Seek it like silver

It is necessary for us to learn God's wisdom in order to live skillfully in every area of our lives. Today's devotion talks about our need to diligently seek and prayerfully ask for that wisdom. Although we will only be discussing Proverbs 2:1-6,  I recommend that you read the whole chapter.

 1My son, if you will receive my words
         And treasure my commandments within you, 
    2Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
         Incline your heart to understanding; 
    3For if you cry for discernment,
         Lift your voice for understanding; 
    4If you seek her as silver
         And search for her as for hidden treasures; 
    5Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
         And discover the knowledge of God. 
    6For the LORD gives wisdom;
         From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

In verse 1 the father addresses a couple of things. First, are you willing to receive God's Words?  Are you willing to both listen and act on what you are taught? In contrast Proverbs tells us the fool despises God's wisdom. The fool is neither willing to listen to God's wisdom nor to act on it.

Second, do you value God's teachings just like a treasure? Are you willing to frequently get into the Bible and store up His teachings within you? Will you meditate on those valuable teachings? Will those teachings be so valuable to you that they will guide your decisions? 

In verse 2 we see that obtaining both wisdom and understanding requires a decision on your part. You need to "Make your ear attentive to wisdom," and you need to  "Incline you heart to understanding."   Acquiring wisdom requires you to set your desire for it.

In verse 3 we see that obtaining wisdom requires dependence on God. We need to recognize that God is our teacher. We must pray and ask Him to give us wisdom. David recognized his dependence on God to teach him. Look at how he asked God to teach him in Psalm 119:18

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
         Wonderful things from Your law.

In verse 4 we see that in addition to prayer we need to make diligent effort. Seeking wisdom requires the same determined effort that is made by a person seeking silver or a hidden treasure. Those seeking these material treasures might get tired along the way but they don't stop seeking until they find their desire. In the same way we need to persevere in seeking for God's wisdom.

In verses  5-6 we find that our dependence and diligent effort will not be in vain. We will be taught by His hand and find valuable spiritual treasures.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)
NASB® Audio Bible in a Year blog

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Avoiding the Gang's enticement for easy money

Today's devotion encompasses several things. It speaks about avoiding bad company and it's deadly consequences. To be more specific it speaks about the dangers of joining a gang in order to obtain easy money. For being lured into these things leads to spiritual death and can result in physical death too. Please turn to Proverbs 1:8-19 so you can follow along.

In verse 8 we see one safeguard against being lured into this trap is listening to the Biblical teachings of godly parents. Note here the importance of the mother's teaching within the home. The child needs the teachings to be reinforced from both father and mother.

Starting at verse 10 notice the use of words that are plural such as: "sinners", "us", "we", "them", and "they". This may refer to a group of people. Since verse 11 states the group's desire to do harm to the innocent it is possible to label them as a gang.

And how are they enticing him. In a couple of ways. In verses 13-14 they are enticing the youth with fast and easy money. In verse 13 notice the use of the phrases, "all kinds", "precious wealth" and "fill our houses". The gang is painting a picture of obtaining various kinds of wealth that is of high quality and that is plentiful.

There is another enticing draw in verses 13-14. The youth is being offered the opportunity to be part of a brotherhood. They promise that everything that they obtain will be shared amongst themselves. We will all be one big family. But this promise of being a brotherhood is deceptive. They attack the innocent because they lack compassion. Since they lack compassion, how can the youth expect them  to fulfill their promise of being a tightly knit family?

The advice from the youth's godly parents is don't consent to go with them. Avoid their company altogether. Their deeds will boomerang back on them. It will take away their life. And you will suffer the same fate too if you align yourself with them. 

Here are a couple of additional safeguards against this type of temptation. Since the desire to be part of a brotherhood was part of the enticement, one counteragent would be developing a network of godly friends. Choose to meet that God given desire for fellowship with godly people. Another safeguard is to recognize that happiness can't be found in material things. I'll close with what Jesus said in Luke 12:15 

 15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.".  

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org
God bless
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bad company will corrupt your morals

In today's devotion will address the need to avoid bad company. The verse we will look at is 1 Corinthians 15:33

33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

What a powerful impact bad company can have on our walk with God. It can take a person who has good morals and cause those good morals to be weakened. Don't let yourself be tricked into thinking you are steadfast and can't fall. Don't be tricked into thinking you can keep the wrong kind of company and be unaffected. Obviously the potential is there to be tricked in this area otherwise the Bible wouldn't say, "Don't be deceived..." If we have that mindset that our walk will be fine while we keep bad company then we are deceived and our walk will suffer.

And don't think that all of your Bible learning will prevent you from drifting. The bad company will outweigh your wisdom and knowledge and understanding. Remember that God granted Solomon great wisdom but that wisdom did not keep him from turning to other gods. And why did Solomon turn to other gods? It was because of the wives he married. His wives were a source of bad company. Their company corrupted his morals and turned his heart away. The passage that tells us about Solomon's wives corrupting him is found in 1 Kings 11:4

4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

This teaching must be kept in balance. On one hand we need to avoid bad company. And on the other hand we need to be around those that are not healthy spiritually in order to show them love and share the gospel with them. Ask God to show you the proper way to keep this balance in your situation.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)
God bless
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do you love your neighbor?

Before we start this short devotion lets look at the two most important commandments that God gave us. In fact every command that God expects of us can be summed up in these two central commands.  They are found in Matthew 22:35-40

 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
38"This is the great and foremost commandment.
40"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

I like to evaluate myself from time to time and see how my walk is doing. I ask myself several questions.  Am I growing in loving God? Am I growing in loving my family? Am I showing kindness to my co-workers? Am I showing love to my neighbors?

As I think on these things, I have to be careful that I don't set aside growing in love for my neighbors. It  is a big teaching. In fact half of what Jesus teaches in this verse is loving our neighbor. If I'm not growing in this area I'm missing the broad side of the barn. 

How often do you do good to your neighbor ? Do you know them by name?
I am not saying these things to make anyone feel bad. If you are falling short then make a plan right now to show some kindness this week. Have your mind ready to act.  Ask God for wisdom on how to be kind this week. Then act on it.

Before you move on from this devotion to do something else please stop. Stop and don't think about anything else until you make a plan of how you will show kindness towards your neighbors this week.

I hope this stirs someone up to show love.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)
God bless
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teachers and friends that encourage our growth

Growing in obedience to the Lord is essential for all of us. And one necessary thing for growth is a balanced spiritual diet. We need to hear all of God's counsel in order to reach full maturity. But, without even being aware of it, we can find ourselves in a place where we are not hearing all of God's Word.

All of us need encouragement. And it is natural to gravitate towards those who encourage us. This is good. But while we obtain one thing necessary for growth we must be careful not to neglect other areas. One of those areas is our need to be told to turn from our various sins. We need  Pastors and Christian friends in our lives that won't shy away from telling us to repent.

We may have a steady diet of dynamic teachers with wonderful gifts of encouragement. But some of these teachers rarely or never speak about our need to repent. Teaching that does not incorporate turning from sin lacks spiritual nutrition. So we must examine the sources of spiritual teaching and determine if we are being fed a well balanced diet.

Here is a way to determine if you are lacking spiritual nutrition in this specific area. Take  a pen and paper with you when you listen to your favorite teachers. Week after week write down how often did the teacher talk about turning away from sin. If you find that your teacher rarely or never speaks about sin then your spiritual diet is lacking. And you'll need to do one of two things in order to correct your diet. You may need to either get your teaching elsewhere or you may need to supplement your current teaching with other well balanced teaching. Ask God to guide you in your unique situation.

The same applies to friends. Make sure that you have at least one friend who is willing to confront you when you are sinning. Being confronted may not always be comfortable. This type of friend can prevent us from straying. And if we have already sinned they can help restore us.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)
God bless
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Make God smile today

The purpose of this devotion is twofold. The first is to realize that God's children can please Him. And the second is developing a mindset where we consciously choose to make Him glad.

Before we start I want to make sure the words "please God" are not misunderstood. When I say "please God" I am not suggesting that you can earn Heaven. Because the only way to Heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So for sake of confusion lets look at this devotion from the standpoint of someone who has already received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The Bible tells us many wonderful things. One wonderful thing is the knowledge that we can please Him. Lets first read Hebrews 13:16.

16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

This verse talks about doing good and sharing. And there is no mistaking the last three words in this verse "God is pleased." But at what point in time do our actions please Him. If we look carefully at this verse we'll find we can please Him right now. The word "is" talks about the present time not some point in the future. "God is pleased" as He watches us show love. It is so encouraging to know that we can make God smile today. ( note: in Matthew 25:14-30  there is mention of our master being pleased with us at a future date as a result of faithful service )

And we should make pleasing God one of the motives of our actions. We can set one of our motives to be a blessing to people. And we can set another to please God. Whenever possible, I like to set my motives before I actually show kindness. Lets use an example of giving some cookies to my neighbors. I first set my motives as to why I am giving them. I make a conscious decision that I will express love. I do self-talk and determine in my mind, "I will do this to make God smile and I will do this to bring good to my neighbors."

Additionally, it is a good thing to set our motives to please God while doing routine tasks. Why? One reason is to build our love for Him. The more we act on love the more it becomes part of our character. Another reason is to maintain a joyful attitude. When we do a task as an expression of love to God we can rejoice in  that task . And when we rejoice in our work it can keep routine tasks from becoming monotonous or burdensome.

Finally, lets sum things up. Start with a conscious decision to make the motivations of your heart to bless others and to bless God. Then realize that your expression of love is bringing good to others and is pleasing God too. Then, rejoice over the good you are bringing to people and the gladness you are giving to God. As soon as you are done reading this devotion I encourage you to show love towards God. Bless Him, do something that is pleasing in His sight and make the Lord smile!

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)

God bless
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