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I just discovered a wonderful audio Bible website. I’m getting a six-day late start, but I’m going to listen through the entire Bible in a year. I listened to day one on Wednesday evening. This podcast included most of Chapters 1 & 2 of Genesis, 1 & 2 of Matthew, Psalm 1, and part of Proverbs 1. I’m excited about the plan and look forward to following it all year. I should easily catch up those few days I’m behind within a week. Find it at Daily Audio Bible. The website also offers a kid’s version that takes children through the New Testament. Both groups have community forums, chat rooms, prayer forums, and more. I’m thrilled to have discovered this website.

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Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

In the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses read the Ten Commandments to the people after he brought them down from the mountain where God gave them to Moses.

In chapter six Moses instructs parents to pass on the teachings and commandments of God to our children and our children’s children. Verses 4-9 are so powerful:

 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How powerful and convicting are these words! I’m divided over how I should punctuate that last sentence… Perhaps it should read, “How powerful and convicting are these words?” At question is the spiritual temperature of Christian people today in a land that has been blessed to the point that God’s people have taken him for granted.

Re-read verse 4. Is God really first in our lives? We don’t have the option of setting God on a shelf along-side our wide-screen TVs, and our other personal treasures and beliefs. First means first, as in number one.

Re-read and consider verse 5. Where are our hearts and our souls? Where do we put our energy and our strength? Are we giving God our all, or is he getting snacks along the way – like the biscuits we throw to our dogs every now and then?

Verse 7 should be written on the heart of every Christian parent.     “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Is this happening in our Christian homes today? Do our children hear about God and Jesus at home, or do we expect our Sunday school teachers to do all the teaching on the Sundays we happen to show up? I am thankful that I have known a few strong Christian parents who took this verse seriously, and their children are a living testimony to the fact that they did. But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the norm in many church-going families today. When was the last time you talked to your child about Jesus? How are you setting the example to put God first in everything? Have your children seen you reading your Bible today? Have they heard you pray? God holds parents accountable to instruct their children in matters of faith. If you love God with all your heart, you are teaching your children faithfully.

Father God, you have told us what you want us to know, but we haven’t always been willing to listen. Enable us to clean out our spiritual ears so that we may hear you. Help us to clean up our rusty dusty hearts so that we may love you fully. Never let us forget the price you had to pay just to get our attention, let alone to forgive us of all of our sins. Help us to draw nearer to you every day of our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

1 John 2:1-6 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Sin. Repentance. Forgiveness. Freedom from sin or freedom to sin again?

Jesus’ redemption on the cross is the greatest gift ever given. We ask for forgiveness and Jesus forgives us. It’s free. It’s a gift.

Read the passage above from 1 John 2:1-6.  According to verse one, the apostle John wrote this so that we wouldn’t sin. His goal was to help us to rise above sin. Then John added that IF we sinned, that Jesus would come to our defense speaking to God on our behalf.

We live in a time when sin is flaunted in public everywhere we turn. I quit watching TV years ago because it sickened me to see virtuous living ridiculed and sin exalted on a regular basis. Sadly, Americans have allowed the media to deaden our senses to sin so that tolerance of sin is now virtuous while standing up for morality is portrayed as bigoted and an affront to the world. Of course virtuous living is an affront to Satan, but now we have allowed Satan to cloud our vision.

We have been given a standard to live by. God has given us his word in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. Most homes have at least one copy of the Bible somewhere. People who identify themselves as Christian are likely to have several Bibles in various translations. But the percent of people, even Christians, who spend time daily, or even weekly or monthly reading God’s Word, is very low. We make great claims about how we believe in the Bible, but we don’t take time to read it for ourselves. We have allowed the self-serving elite of Hollywood redefine our values while we make our own assumptions about what the Bible probably says, or what it would say if God decided to re-write it today (as if even God had changed his mind).

Verses 5-6 in the above passage say “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” How can we obey his word if we don’t read it? How can we walk as Jesus did if we don’t take the time to learn how he walked?

All the spiritual praise in the world cannot cover up our blatant willful sin. God is merciful, but he is also just. He knows our hearts. We may have praise on our lips even while our hearts are far from him.

Yes, God forgives our sins, and he keeps forgiving. But repentance is agreeing with God that our sins are sinful. If we are not trying to overcome sin, we are making a farce of our repentance. God is not mocked. He knows our hearts.

Father God, thank you for your gift of salvation. Thank you that you were willing to make the sacrifice for us while we were yet sinners. In you mercy, enable us to come to You with our whole hearts. May our praise be sincere. Help us to trust You, the one who created us, to know what is best for our lives. Help us to accept Your commands and to walk in them. Help us to live by Your Spirit and to be empowered by it. And never let us accept any counterfit spirit or way of life as Your will. Give us Your discernment that we will always know Your voice. May our love for You be pure. Help us to order our steps in Your Word that we may please You in everything we do.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

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John 5:39-40 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens. Better yet, read it in more than one translation.

In this passage Jesus is talking to the Jews who were critical of Him and who would not believe his message. He was talking to people who knew the Scriptures, people who were diligent in studying them. Yet He was still critical of them because they would not accept His testimony about who He was, the Son of God.

This passage applies equally well to us today. There are those who diligently read their Bibles and there are those who never read them. It is easy for the “readers” to get puffed up in their minds thinking they are superior to the non-readers or the every-now-and-then-readers. I know that I have often caught myself feeling a bit smug when the pastor reads the scripture for his sermon and I discover that is was a passage I had at some point in time highlighted it in my Bible. I have been guilty of taking pride in how fast I can locate a particular scripture passage during a worship service. And then a sense of conviction comes over me and I feel about one inch high.

The test of salvation has nothing to do with how many Bible verses I have read or can locate at the drop of a hat or can quote from memory. And even though the study of scripture is good and necessary for a healthy relationship with Jesus, it isn’t the first thing. The first thing is to accept Jesus into your heart, and the second is to apply His truths to your life.

Have you welcomed Jesus into your heart? Have you allowed Him to sit in the driver’s seat of your life? If not, He is waiting for you to invite Him in. Don’t worry about using the right words, it is your heart He is interested in, not words. He will pick up where you leave off and show you the way.

Jesus we love you and want to know you better. Help us to love you more. Grow us up in our faith and enable us to seek you with our whole hearts.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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The following blog inspired me to write this post: http://windowstomysoul.blogspot.com/2008/10/searching-for-deeper-life.html

Romans 1:17 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Where do you find your confidence? your security? your trust? your faith? Are these not one and the same? In this fast changing world we live in it is easy to become fretful when we find the cost of living rising so fast. We watch grocery and gasoline prices rise while our savings diminish and we feel a loss of security.

I am facing what I call a “premature retirement.” My position as librarian in a small school is coming to an end in December. My school has been consolidated with a larger school and we have a new building. I was offered another position at a small school an hour away from where I live, and at today’s escalating gas prices, I refused. But I was able to convince them they needed me through December to help consolidate the two libraries into one. I am now facing an early retirement with less than the number of years required for full retirement and with a sizeable deduction for the fact I’m not quite 65. I live in a very small town with a high unemployment rate. All this is to say I know what it is like to be anxious and nervous about tomorrow.

But all my anxious thoughts and worries are an affront to God who has promised never to leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) So I must come back to my first question and apply it to myself: Where do I find my confidence? my security? my trust? my faith? My heart tells me I should put my confidence, my security, my trust, my faith in God. In my heart I know this is true, but I need God’s help to take my eyes off my bank account and to keep them on Him. Like Peter who could walk on water until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves, (Matthew 14:30) I must learn to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of dwelling on the things that worry me.

Our verse for today reminds us to look to the message of the Gospel to find our righteousness. This is where we are to put our faith. We can’t live by faith until we find it in Jesus and in his teachings.

It helps me to look at the ways God has intervened for me in the past. I can recall several critical times in my life when He pulled me out of a crisis at the last minute in a most unexpected way. If He did it then, He can do it again.

So here I am looking to Jesus to pull me out. Something is still amiss. Shouldn’t I be looking to Jesus for the sake of being close to Him? If I’m looking to Jesus only for a rescue of my finances, I’m not really looking to Jesus, I’m looking through Him at myself. It is time to lose myself in Him, time to spend quality time with Him, time to seek Him with all my heart for the pure joy of knowing Him better each day.

Heavenly Father, help me to truly focus my eyes on You and seek to do Your will in everything. Help me to look above the cares of this world to see Your hand at work in everything, and to rest in Your peace.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 11:5-7 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Verse 6 tells us that we cannot please God without faith. We must believe that God exists. If this verse were a stand-alone verse many pseudo Christians could claim they have faith because they believe there is some kind of god out there who does good things for people. But this is not the measure of faith this verse is talking about. This verse is refering to the kind of faith that changes our lives. Let us consider the verses that come before and after this verse.

Verse 7 tells of Noah’s faith. Noah believed God when He told him He was going to flood the entire earth. It would be hard enough for us today to believe and trust God enough to start building an ark. But we must consider that the people in Noah’s day had never seen rain. Up to this time, God had used streams of water coming out of the earth to water the land. (Genesis 2:4-6) The first rain recorded in the Bible is the onset of the great flood, a rain that lasted 40 days. Noah’s ark-building project was no simple task either. It consumed his life for possibly 100 years while the corrupt people of his day taunted him.

Verse 5 refers to the faith of Enoch. This man is not as well known as Noah, but he was definitely well known to God. There are four verses that cover Enoch’s life in Genesis 5:21-24 that tell us he was the father of Methuselah, and that he walked with God for 300 years and then was no more. Hebrews 11:5 enlightens us on exactly what that meant – Enoch did not die, but went with God directly to heaven. I imagine it would be like going for a walk with God and deciding not to go home but to stay with him.

Returning to verse 6, I would like to revisit the last part of the verse. God desires to bless those who earnestly seek after him. How richly blessed was Enoch who walked with him until he was no more.

Read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 to learn of more giants of faith from the Bible, and consider how you might allow God to stretch your own faith.

Father God, help us to grow daily in our faith. Give us courage to accept the situations when our faith will be tested and help us to grow through them. Help us to sincerely and earnestly seek after you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Proverbs 3:13-18  Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

The world today puts great value on wealth and power. Unfortunately, even our churches give in to this kind of small thinking and give leadership roles to those who have “proven themselves” in the world. Out the window goes faith and even honor in too many instances.

But the true student of the Bible will come up with a different take on the source of true knowledge and wisdom. Read Proverbs 3:13-18. There is a wisdom that will bring riches, but not the kind that can be purchased with gold and silver. The riches include things money can’t buy: peace, joy, good will, a free conscience, respect and honor.

God is the giver of this kind of wisdom. It isn’t given to the greedy or to those hungry for power. It is given to those who are willing to seek it by spending time with him in prayer and by spending time searching through the scriptures for the lessons that only the Holy Spirit can teach us. And the riches gained from true wisdom include a relationship with Jesus Christ that will last through the end of our days on this earth and on into eternity. I’ll take riches of this kind over gold and silver any day!

Heavenly Father, incline my heart to seek thee more faithfully and deliberately. Help me to discern between Godly wisdom and the wisdom of this world, and help me to make seeking and applying godly wisdom a daily act of obedience to you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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James 3:10-12  Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

We were made in the image of God. How can we let our tongues get so un-godly? One minute we are praising God, the next we are cursing our brother who is made in the image of God.

I have often heard an expression that goes something like this: “When you get jossled what comes out of your mouth is what you are full of.” That is a frightening thought, but it gives us a clue about how to fix the problem. We need to fill our hearts and minds with those things that will bless others if they spill out when we get jossled. Spending time with Jesus and time reading his Word will help to fill our hearts with those things that will bless others instead of curse them.

Father God, lift our spirits and clean us up both inside and out in order to so fill us with your spirit that only good and uplifting things can spill out when our feathers get ruffled.

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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James 3:1-4 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

James warns of the risk of becoming a teacher. The teacher who doesn’t measure up to what he or she professes to believe can do more harm than the blatant sinner who makes no bones about sinning. Furthermore, teachers who teach false doctrine are dangerous. James tells us that teachers in general will be judged more strictly than the rest of the population.

“That’s not fair!” I’ve heard it said by teachers and pastors alike. They argue that they are fallible the same as anyone else. And there is some truth in that, but they had better be dilligent in their study and genuine in their faith or people will see right through them. Most importantly lives will be damaged by a slack teacher.

James then addresses the most difficult part of the body to keep under control, and that is the tongue. Perhaps that is why he begins this passage by referring to teachers – for it is chiefly through what they say that teachers do their teaching.

The rest of these introductory verses compare the size and significance of the tongue to the body, and contrast this comparison with that of a rudder to a ship and a bit and bridle to a horse. If a ship is going to reach it’s destination, the rudder must be kept under control. The same is true of a horse, bit and bridle. James is making a powerful statement about the importance of keeping the tongue in check. He continues this discussion in the next several verses.

Father God, impress upon our hearts the importance of our witness to those around us, whether we are intentional teachers or not. Help us to be aware of the possibility that people are watching to see if we say what we mean and mean what we say. Help us not to disappoint those who might look up to us, and help us to especially guard our mouths and what we say.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Mark 1:29-34 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

The first instance of Jesus’ healing as recorded in the Gospel of Mark was when Jesus healed Simon’s (later called Peter) mother-in-law. It didn’t take long for word to spread about this miracle, and soon people were bringing the sick and demon-possessed to Jesus to be healed.

It bothers me to hear people re-interpret the term demon-possessed as just another form of sickness, as if the people in Bible times lumped all the people with diseases they didn’t understand into one group and labeled them demon-possessed. A closer examination of this passage does not reveal that the demon-possessed were treated the same as the sick. I believe it is worth mentioning as well, that when Jesus drove the demons out he would not let them speak because they knew who he was. That statement wouldn’t have made any sense at all if a demon weren’t some form of being that had a will of its own. That is totally different from a disease.

It is unfortunate that the highly educated people of our time are so bent on minimizing the existence of the supernatural realm. It is even more unfortunate that now many of these same intellectual elete are opening their minds to the possibility of a spirit world through New Age thinking (which is nothing new at all – it is the ancient gods of the Middle East wearing new faces). Yet they have firmly closed their minds to the possibility that the spirit worlds that are taught in the Bible have any legitimacy at all. How foolhardy, to put it mildly.

The Bible has much to say about demonic activity, but the best passage for us to remember about it is this: “…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Read the whole passage in 1 John 4:1-6. Even though demons are powerful and can cause a lot of havoc, God is greater than all of them put together. Put your trust in God alone.

Father God, we thank you for your Son Jesus who showed us that you are a God who has the power to heal and the power to keep Satan and his demons in check. And we thank you that you have given us your Spirit to strengthen us so that we too may stand against the powers of this world. Keep us close to you so that we will always be mindful of where our strength comes from.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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