"WORD TO LIFE" AUDIO DEVO

"Word to Life" is a weekly audio devotional, covering one solar calendar year, beginning at the biblical first week of the year - Passover/Easter Week. It features 2 minutes of highly realistic and engaging Scripture drama followed by 2 minutes of exposition by Steve. It's perfect for family, school or small group devotionals. There are also a few extra WTL Devotionals at the bottom of this page.

 

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Got joy? An excerpt from Mark 4 reminds me of what it means to be truly joyful. How do I lose my joy? How can I get it back? And how I can keep it longer?

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Did God hate Goliath? By no means! In what would seem to have been David’s greatest moment of fear, he expressed his greatest act of love…to GOLIATH. He shared not only the love of Jesus, but also His power, with the man who was going to be the cause of his own heinous demise. In David’s weakness, Christ’s power was perfected. May we all go and do the same today.

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It seems I'm always being tempted to chuck the Word of God in favor of a newer, broader, more “relevant” Gospel. But just like the new Volkswagen Beetle, that Gospel design may be a bit more mainstream, but it’s much less memorable.

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Satan tells me the same lie he told Eve in the Garden. Sure my stuff is a little different from hers, but the pride is the same. She had a tree. I have kids.

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This week a look at Mark 2 reminds me that when it comes down to it, Jesus wants the same thing that I want; to be loved for Who I am, not just for what I can do.

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As Neil Young would say, "It's better to burn out, than fade away."This week, another look at the account of Joseph & Judah from Genesis reminds me that when it comes to my Witness, it's better to be hated than simply dismissed.

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If there's not cool music playing under the prayer, or a slick, well-produced devotional to make the old boring Word of God more “relevant”, then it's just too...still. Too small. Too simple for my life. And yet, God says that's exactly where His power is.

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A powerful teaching on modesty is Matt5_14-16, where Jesus reminds me of the main motivation behind it. Like Joseph in Egypt, it’s ok to shine a light on myself, as long as I’m re-directing that light back on Christ, to the praise of His glory and the postponement of my own. If I can keep that one thought in mind, it is much easier for me to discern how to dress.

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Watching and listening to Con O' Neill, the fine actor who plays Paul in the mini-series "The Bible", it's easy to see that he is "not far from the Kingdom of God". This week, the "The Pros of Con" looks at a seeker's quest for faith in something other than the Truth...and where I, as an evangelist and discipler, fit in.

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Jesus said, "if you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be given you, to the glory of the Father." The account of Joseph and Judah from the Book of Genesis reminds me of that truth over and over again. And occasionally, so does a trip to the store with a 4-year-old.

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I understand the saying, “No pain. No gain,” when it comes to my physical disciplines. But what about my spiritual ones? Today another look at the Parable of the Sower reminds me that abiding in the Word is not easy, but the profit far outweighs the price.  

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"With God nothing is impossible..." not only applies to my circumstances, but to me. This week, a closer look at the story of Joseph and Judah reminds me once again that God has no "Plan B".

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In the heat of the day’s rush, people will often take advantage of my turn signal. Some will even have outright contempt for it. But I must keep on using it. You never know who might let me in.

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If Satan’s greatest victory was in convincing people he doesn’t exist, then his second greatest victory was in convincing people he doesn’t know Scripture. This week, a look at Satan’s first words to Eve in the Garden reminds me that his primary means of destruction is my own ignorance. 

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Witnessing is about making the light of Jesus in me so conspicuous, so lovely, so unexpected, people can't help but ask,

"What IS that?"

The next time "Pilate" puts me on trial, or possibly goes so far as to injure me verbally or even physically, may I give an unexpected response, and let Jesus' Spirit work a great thing through it.

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Trusting Jesus in times of trouble is more counter-intuitive to me than I would like to admit. But thankfully, He has given me an example of how to do it; and a promise of peace when I do.

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The Bible is not where I will find Jesus. It is where Jesus will find me. It's where my will begins to conform to His. And where I begin to know the greatest love imaginable. I only have to make myself available to Him. This week, a look at Mark 13 reminds me where my attention should always be.

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When Jesus cleared the Temple of the moneychangers, He was arguably at the height of His popularity. He was crucified only four days later. Unlike the Pharisees, He was much more concerned with offending His Heavenly Father than people.

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If I really ponder Jesus' words for very long, I can't help but see that the best gift this life will ever have to offer...is the next one. This week, another look at Mark 10 reminds me that real “Life” hasn’t even started yet.

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The Word of God is where the power is. It is literally where Jesus is. But when it comes to knowing Him and loving Him, I often find myself looking for answers elsewhere, instead of in the dirt next to Mary at His feet.

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Even though I know the absolute Truth, Jesus, I all too often fail to express that belief to others. So then I let those around me sink into this bland world of apathy, where truth is whatever I make it. One color is basically indistinguishable from the next, unless I wear mine to show the difference. Otherwise, I am a resounding gong of conformity, not a bold statement of walking faith.

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BE HEAT. That’s an acronym for the description of love that’s given in 1Corinthians 13:7. “It BEars all things. It BElieves all things. It Hopes all things. It Endures All  Things.” It’s the best way to help meet physical needs in a storm, and it’s the best way to help meet spiritual needs anytime.

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Jesus knows and loves His disciples just as we really are. But at the same time, He expects us to do the same with Him. Only then will His power be made perfect in us…the power of His grace. Today, I ask myself who is in my life, right now, that I am not loving as Jesus has called me to love, simply because they are not who I think they should be.

The lowly Shepherds were the world's first street evangelists. They received the Kingdom of God as little children and proclaimed it without excellency of speech or of wisdom (1Cor2_1). Yet their witness is one of the most inspiring miracles of the Christmas Story.

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Mary doesn’t need wise, persuasive words to let Elizabeth know about Jesus. The baby in Elizabeth’s own womb (John the Baptist) does the job for her by taking a few literal "leaps of faith".

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What I need costs less than what I want.
What I need most, costs nothing at all.
This Christmas, I will want my Need.

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The birth of the Christ child brought two kinds of peace: 1) Peace with God (Romans 5:1) and 2) Peace with the world (John 16:33). May we all know both this Christmas.

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Cul de sacs are thought to be more peaceful than old-fashioned grid neighborhoods, because they are more isolated. But their real effect is more grid-LOCK and less peace when heavy traffic comes. This week, the story of Joseph & Judah provides the backdrop for a look at how I prioritize my fears.

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This week, as I thank God for His many blessings, I mustn’t forget to bless Him back. Yes, I should eat freely of every tree of the Garden, but I should also be generous and ready to share, and thus take hold of that which is truly life.

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God is a “Person”, just like me. And as such, He has a “love language”, just like me – namely, His Own Living Word, The Bible (aka Jesus Christ), Who spoke the world into existence in Genesis and continues to speak to me by that same Word every day. It's not always easy to understand. It certainly doesn't always make sense. But if I wanna love God the way HE wants to be loved, I gotta speak the language.

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In the wake of the only holiday to celebrate fear, Halloween, and in anticipation of the only holiday to celebrate humility, Thanksgiving, it's instructional to revisit one of the greatest conquests ever over fear and the humble reaction of the victor.

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The rich young ruler in Mark 10 was looking for a ‘salvation transaction’, i.e. - one he thought he could complete by advertising the right gifts in exchange for a place in heaven. He soon finds out that there is only one gift he can give that has any eternal value…himself.

The only one, it turns out, he can't afford.

Does that apply to me?

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In the Parable of the Sower, the sower sows the Word, not just the Scriptures. Jesus IS that Word, living and active. The more I know Him, the more I will love Him. To be sure, I need to re-commit myself daily to memorizing and pondering the Word of God much more than I do. But at the same time, I shouldn't get so pre-occupied with just reading the Word, that I forget to SOW it.

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Why would someone be attracted to ethnic cleansing? The answer is the same as it ever was: racial purity. But another look at Mark 10 reminds me that purity without Christ is impossible. It is a lie of Satan. And in the end, it will only lead to disappointment, bitterness and separation from Him.  

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Steve Jobs was once hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the man destined to “reverse the Curse” of Eden by providing the answers to human suffering through technology. But as we mark the 5th anniversary of his death this week, it’s important to remember that for all his exceptional brilliance and unparalleled innovation, in the end, Jesus requires only one answer of him: “Who got the glory?”

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Much like a good rain on an over-tended lawn, human efforts at revelation from the Holy Spirit pale in comparison to the much more powerful living water from heaven.

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FEAR was Adam and Eve's first response to being conscious of themselves in the Garden (i.e. their 'nakedness') and it remains the biggest obstacle in my relationship with God to this day. Today, I will dare to empty myself of myself, to care only about how I look in God’s eyes, and not man’s. I will dare to disappear into God’s glory.

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It’s fun to put on the Armor of God with my kids in Sunday School. But am I helping them do it the rest of the week too? David rejected the armor that Saul gave him. But he knew he still needed protection in battle, no matter how burdensome it may have seemed at times.

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The context of Matthew 5:42 is not Matthew 10:16. It is Matthew 5-7. When someone asks me to give from the abundance God has given me, it is not a matter of trusting the asker, but trusting Jesus.

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Scripturally, it requires a whole lot of etymological gymnastics to believe in millions of years of evolution and believe the Gospel at the same time. Either sin and death entered into the world through the one man, Adam, and was washed away forever through the one man, Jesus, or it wasn't. This week, another look at Genesis 3 reminds me of when and where death began...and ended.

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The Feeding of the 5000 may be Jesus’ greatest physical miracle. It is the only one besides the Resurrection to have been recorded in all four Gospels. Yet in three of the four, it’s immediately followed by a time of great trial (the storm at sea). Whether I am “feasting” on the mountain top, or “living on the edge” of the boat in rough seas, there is truth in Mark 6.

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God encourages me to be bold in my prayers, trusting only in Him for my every desire, all while making those desires captive to Christ. It is an act of worship. In this way I can not only be content with whatever He gives me, but in fact joyous, because my will is being molded to His (Jn15:7-8). The point is to ask, and keep asking, expectantly.

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Is my painting of God "inside the lines"? This week, another look at the story of Joseph & Judah, and also at my daughter, the “Art Girl”, reminds me just how big and colorful God’s plans are meant to be…if I can somehow manage to stay out of the way.

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Pride. It is one of Satan’s most subversive and effective tools. It is also one of his stealthiest. Over and over again, the Bible says that taking pride in anyone other than God is detrimental to a healthy relationship with Him. This week, a look at Mark 12 reminds me where true, overcoming power comes from in my life and why it is so important to always give God the credit for that power.

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Jesus' call to receive the Kingdom of God 'like a little child' in Mark 10 is a call to humility, openness and a willingness to love others unconditionally. But it is also a prescription for how I respond to my own fears.

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Interrupting and shouting are 2 of the traits of an insecure mind, and we are ALL guilty of both, including Peter. This week, a look at Mark 8 examines why that is and how we can overcome it, no matter who or how old we are.

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It was the first sin ever committed. God mentions it numerous times in both Testaments. But do I take it seriously enough? A look at Joseph and Judah reminds me that even when I am walking with God, I still must guard my heart against pride.

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Every day I fight the Power of the Word of God by clinging to other, weaker sources of power. No other book, not by Lewis or Metaxas or Bonhoeffer or Mother Theresa or the Pope or any other human being can ever come close to having the supernatural power of the Word made flesh among us, Jesus Christ. The same Word that created life from a void 6,000 years ago, has the power to do the same thing in my heart today.

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The biggest obstacle to faith is not obsession with the treasures of this world. It is ignorance of the ones in the next. If I really understand the joy of what I have been given by God in Heaven, the joys of this world will indeed go dim. And the only strange part will be that it took me so long.

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God is in my acts of love, not fear. As long as I cling to laundry lists of fear and not lists of love, like Matthew 5:1-16, I will be hopelessly doomed to a life of segregation and bitterness. This week, a look at Genesis 45 reminds me that if I want to see God at work in my life, I must overcome my fears, no matter how hard that is.

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If I only made as much fuss about offending God as I do about offending my brothers and sisters, I'd do a lot less of both. This week, another look at the account of Joseph & Judah from Genesis reminds me that love has priorities…and I’m not the first one.

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38 Special sang, “Hold on loosely…but don’t let go”, Jesus says, “Let go and give it to me.” Am I recklessly abandoned to God? Or am I mired in a spiritual “slow lane”? A look at Mark 8 reminds me not only of what possessions are truly valuable in this life, but also of what I am to do with them. 

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Whatever is true, right, noble, pure, lovely, excellent, admirable, praiseworthy. I had it in the Garden. I’ll have it again in Heaven. And if I look closely enough, I just might catch a glimpse of it at my local T-Ball field this Saturday.

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Whether I'm a seeker or a believer, I should not be asking, 'What can Jesus do for me', but remembering what He has done for me. A look at Mark 2 reminds me that Jesus' greatest miracle was His death.

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My greatest need in this life is not comfort or peace or joy. It’s mercy. If I preach Christ as Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, or Great Comforter, without first preaching Him as The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, I am but a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.

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When Jesus declares Himself as the replacement for the Passover bread and wine, He transforms the very expression of God’s love from The Law to The Lamb, and sets the prisoners of that Law free by His grace. The question is, does that make you mad with love for Him…or just plain mad?

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As I celebrate Purim this month with my Jewish brothers and sisters, I’m reminded that sometimes God asks me to do the unreasonable thing; the ridiculous thing; the faithful thing. The less I am in relationship with Him through His Word and prayer every day, the less recognizable that thing will be. And the less courageous I will be in doing it.