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Posts tagged ‘NASB’

Do You Really Believe God Is Good?.


woman praying
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The successful outcome of our lives revolves around one thing: our view of God’s nature. What we believe about the nature of God shapes our attitudes, our choices, our relationships and our expectations.The foundation of our faith must rest in this reality: God isgood.

David said of God, “You are good and you do good” (Ps. 119:68, CEV). This must be our most basic worldview and our permanent mindset, no matter what happens. We can’t let life paint our view of God. Rather, we must let this correct view of God paint our view of life.

When things don’t go our way, we have a choice: to question God or to believe that God’s goodness will somehow turn it around. What we believe at that moment has the power to change everything. That’s why it’s so vital to establish your view of God as He truly is: infinitely good beyond our wildest dreams or expectations!

Our faith in God’s goodness renders powerless the negative circumstance in our life. When we know how good God is, we know the bad thing in our life doesn’t stand a chance. Nevertheless, as soon as something bad happens, many people ask, “Where is God?” But the better question to ask is, “Where am I?” The answer is: in the hands of a good and loving God. When you realize that, no matter what is going on around you, everything is going to be all right!

When God and your problem are in the same room, one of those things has to change. Since God’s nature never changes, your problem will! Good always overcomes evil (Rom. 12:21).

Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living” (NASB).

Are you tempted to despair—to give up on your miracle, your marriage, your kids or your job? Are you tempted to give up on giving or in believing your breakthrough is coming? The strength to keep going doesn’t come from willpower but from the assurance that you will see God’s goodness show up.

It’s coming!

Storms surely come in life, but don’t let them paint your view of God. See every obstacle through eyes that are laser-focused on God’s goodness, and you will respond with confidence and peace. Remember, the outcome of our life is not determined by what happens to us but by how we respond. Our assurance in God’s goodness is what will lead us to respond with faith and confident expectation!


Gregory Dickow is the founder and pastor of Life Changers International Church, one of the largest churches in the Chicagoland area. He also is the host of The Power to Change Today—an international television ministry that reaches a potential audience of more than 900 million households weekly.

How Can I Get Started Studying the Bible?.



by IFL’s Pastoral Ministries

Question: I’m a new Christian, and I want to learn more from the Bible. I have an old Bible that belonged to my grandmother, and it’s difficult to understand. Where do I begin? How can I get more out of reading the Bible?

Answer: It’s great to hear about your desire to read God’s Word. Many Christians long to know more about the Bible, but like you, they feel frustrated because of the strange words and unusual writing styles. If you’re reading an older version, such as the King James Version, the Bible can feel particularly foreign to you. How can you begin to understand what you are reading?

The first step is to purchase a Bible that you can use at home and at church. You might ask your pastor what version he uses when he preaches. It’s helpful to own a copy of the same version so that you can follow along during his sermon.

Many people want to know which Bible version Chuck Swindoll uses. He preaches from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) because he believes that this version represents the most accurate translation of the original text. The Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew and Greek, with a few sections in Aramaic. Therefore, any English Bible is a translation, and as such, it reflects the translators’ philosophy. Some Bibles present a nearly word-for-word translation, while other versions offer a looser, more contemporary translation.

The NASB translators determined to keep their version as literal in regard to the original text as possible. This is the genius of the NASB, but we must also recognize that for many people this is a drawback, since the literality may produce a rather wooden rendering. The NASB is not as smooth nor as idiomatic as other translations.

Although Chuck preaches from the NASB, he owns other versions and reads them occasionally. In recent years, he has come to highly regard the New International Version (NIV).

Every version has virtues and limitations. Some Bibles contain study notes to help you understand the text or articles to help you apply what you reading. To learn more about Bible versions, you might read The Complete Guide to Bible Versions, by Philip W. Comfort. This book provides a list of the various versions of the Bible along with a quick overview of the history and philosophy of the translation.

The Bible is not a typical book; rather it is a collection of sixty-six books written during various times and by different authors. With an ordinary book, you begin on page one and read to the end. But because the Bible is a collection of books, you may approach it differently. Here are a few approaches to reading the Bible:

Scheduled Bible Reading

Many people follow a Bible-reading schedule, such as one of the schedules listed on the following Web site: http://www.bibleplan.org. Imagine that Bible reading is like taking a bus tour of a large city. On a bus tour, you cover a lot of ground without spending too much time in any one place, and that’s what scheduled reading should be. The idea is to become familiar with the major themes, stories, and chronology of Scripture. Then, if you want to study a particular passage, you can “get off the bus” and spend focused time in that specific place.

Devotional Study

Think of the Bible as a long banquet table full of delicious entrees. You may step up to any section and select a morsel of truth. Christian devotional books take this approach. Each day the book includes a meditation on a verse or two to guide your reading.

However, be careful not to use the Bible like a crystal ball. Some Christians try to find a message from God by closing their eyes, flipping open their Bibles, and pointing their fingers at a verse. The flip-and-point method often leads to frustration, because the verse might not mean much to you. Or worse, it leads to error, because you may take the verse out of context and interpret it to mean something that the author never intended.

If you wish to read what the Bible says on certain topics like discouragement, hope, or eternal life, you can purchase a topical index, such as A Topical Bible Guide by Bob Phillips. This small book is worth its weight in gold! It contains verses on one hundred topics of interest, and you can pick a few verses to read as a devotional study for the day. Write down the verses on cards to carry with you, or look up and underline the verses in your Bible. You’ll be able to remember the verses more clearly when you know where they are found in your Bible.

Book Study

You can also select a certain book of the Bible to study. If you’ve never read the Bible before, you may want to look in the table of contents and find the book of Mark. Mark is a fast-moving account of Jesus’s life and is perhaps the easiest of the four gospels to understand. As you read a selection every day, ask yourself, “What is the author trying to tell me about Jesus in this passage?” Dig for the timeless principles that the Bible is teaching, and apply those principles to your life. For example, in Mark 1:21-28 when Jesus is casting out the evil spirit, He demonstrates His authority over demons. The author is teaching the truth that Jesus is the greatest authority in the physical and the spiritual realms, and you can feel confident in His power.

You may want to jot down the Biblical principles you discover in a notebook or prayer journal. As you examine the verses, ask yourself a few application-type questions.

  • Are there any promises that I can claim in these verses?
  • Is there a command that I need to obey?
  • Are there any sins that I need to avoid?
  • Is there an example to follow?
  • What encouragement or comfort may I gain?
  • What new perspective is God showing me?

God has given us His Word to nourish us through every stage of our Christian development. It is “pure milk” for newborn believers (1 Peter 2:2) and “solid food” for the mature (Hebrews 5:14). You can feed on the Scripture every day for the rest of your life and never exhaust its storehouse of nourishment. May God richly bless your study of His Word.

By Charles Swindoll/Insight for Living

Women Transforming the World.


woman-world-globeEditor’s NoteThis article, still applicable today, was originally published in 2000.

Women of God have always been at the center of His purposes.

Mothers of faith will play a vital role in establishing the course of Christ‘s kingdom.

It is the dawn of a new millennium—and the start of a significant new day for women in the church.

Speaking as a brother in Christ and a leader in the global prayer movement, I’m convinced there’s never been a more interesting, demanding or exciting time to be a Christian woman.

I believe the almighty God will do incredible things in and through the female gender during the next decade.

And when He does, society better watch out. A spiritual awakening is on the way!

As I’ve worked to encourage prayer around the world, I have had a tremendous opportunity to labor with many great women of the faith—gifted women who know how to wield spiritual authority on their knees.

I’ve seen this authority, through spirit-filled praying, bring heaven to earth and change the course of history.

Of course, women are known for their praying. They’re less known for exercising authority in positions of leadership in the church.

But I believe that in the coming days, there will be certain victories only women can accomplish. There will be certain places only women can get into.

And there will be certain roles in leadership that only women can fill.

This is a season when the Lord‘s apostolic order and authority are being established in a fresh new dimension.

God is renewing and restoring the apostolic gifting in the body of Christ, causing His leadership for the future to arise and be positioned.

He is releasing an anointing for spiritual breakthrough against the kingdom of darkness from region to region.

Women are key in this plan. In fact, God has always had an important position for women to fill, starting with the first woman, Eve.

The multiplication of life on earth could not have occurred until she was properly placed in God’s order.

And God’s heart for women has not changed.

Today, the Lord is longing for the female gender to be established with an authority and a sphere of influence—connected to and originating from Him—that will help bring about a multiplication of harvest in the kingdom and the reform of societies throughout the earth.

As many prophets are declaring across the body of Christ, a great move of the Holy Spirit is occurring among women in this new season.

Many women who have sensed a quiet nudging from the Lord to preach, teach, and evangelize cities and nations—but have felt too timid to take up the call—will find themselves released and liberated to go forth and proclaim, “The kingdom of our Lord is at hand.”

Psalm 68:11 describes this picture: “The Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host” (NASB).

The Hebrew word for “host” is tsaba or Sabaoth, which connotes a military group that is always victorious. Such a host should strike fear in the camp of the enemy.

Imagine being marched upon by countless determined “she-bears” proclaiming victory with every step!

SPIRITUAL MOTHERS 

We know that when the Lord ascended to heaven He gave gifts—listed in Ephesians 4:11and ordered in 1 Corinthians 12:28—that define His plan to legislate His authority on earth.

The first gift necessary to establish godly order is that of apostle.

When true apostolic authority is established in a territory, something important happens: Transgenerational vision is released.

In other words, one generation’s vision for the establishment of the kingdom is passed on to the next generation, and from that generation it is passed on to the next.

Women have a critical role in this process. Although the gift of apostle is most commonly thought of as spiritual “fathering,” there is another dimension that includes spiritual “mothering” as well.

In fact, without both “mothering” and “fathering,” transgenerational vision is squelched, and the next generation of believers becomes dysfunctional.

I believe this is an hour in which God is raising up spiritual mothers. And just in time—for we all know how many times mothers have determined the course of human affairs.

Personally, I have always had a great love and respect for women who endure and overcome difficult circumstances.

I can easily relate to the Scripture in 2 Timothy 1:5 in which Paul encourages Timothy to “call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (NKJV).

I experienced a measure of hard circumstances and difficult times during my youth.

But with great joy I thank God for the endurance of a godly mother and the faith of a godly grandmother who imparted future strength to me.

The Bible is replete with examples of women operating in faith and changing the direction of families, cities and nations.

In the great “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11, the first woman of faith we find recognized is Sarah, a true spiritual mother.

The Word of God says, “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11).

At the age of 90 Sarah gave birth to Isaac, overcoming her physical inability because she judged God to be faithful to the Word He had spoken years before.

In Genesis 17:16, the Lord promised Abraham that He would bless Sarah and give him a son by her and that she would be a mother of nations. “Kings of peoples shall be from her,” He told him.

God confirmed His promise some time later when three angels visited Abraham and asked, “Where is Sarah your wife?” (Gen. 18:9).

When Abraham explained that she was in her tent, God said through the angel, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son” (v. 10).

Sarah, who was listening from behind the tent door, laughed; the idea seemed incomprehensible.

But God’s response was adamant: “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return…and Sarah shall have a son” (v. 14).

Sarah chose to believe the Lord, and by faith “received strength to conceive seed” (Heb. 11:11).

The word “conceive” means “to found, to produce, to lay a foundation.” When Sarah’s body was old, God produced within her the faith to lay the foundation of our covenant future in Christ.

I’m convinced we are going to see the passion of God rise up in His women of faith in the coming days, just as it did in Sarah.

This is God’s time for passion to hit the female gender—a godly, holy passion that will cause the foundation of the future to come into being.

These are days of supernatural conception and birthing. All around the world, from one territory to another, a spiritual travail is falling upon the church.

And women are in the forefront because they model conception, travail and birthing better than men.

I believe God is asking the same question He asked at Abraham’s tent, “Where are My Sarahs?”

He is saying, “I want to conceive My purpose in this hour to bring forth My inheritance in the nations.

I need Sarahs filled with faith who can conceive and give birth to this plan.”

PREPARED FOR VICTORY 

God also needs women who have been disciplined and prepared “for such a time as this” (Esth. 4:14).

The word “prepare” means “to make or get ready, to put together, to produce a frame for a future building, to gird oneself for action.”

Women who have been prepared by God will have the faith and boldness to overthrow the determined destruction of the enemy and lay the foundation for the future of the kingdom.

One of the greatest examples of godly preparation and ultimate victory is found in the book of Esther.

Even though she was an adopted orphan, Esther experienced the favor of God through discipline and preparation and was used by the Lord to save an entire people.

What an encouragement to women everywhere!

By receiving the spirit of adoption offered through the Lord Jesus Christ, any woman can be prepared for victory.

Even if she has felt totally abandoned, the Lord can raise her up and prepare her for that special moment when He will use her for the advancement of His kingdom.

Esther 2:9-13 explains that 12 months of preparation were necessary before a woman could be presented to the king.

That preparation consisted of two phases, one in which oil of myrrh was used and one in which beautiful perfumes were applied.

The myrrh represented endured bitterness that ultimately produced a beautiful fragrance.

After six months of wearing oil of myrrh, the woman was then given perfumes and other beautifiers that would enhance her appeal to the king.

After this extensive preparation, Esther appeared before the king and found favor in his sight. Soon she was exalted to the royal position of queen.

Today, women of faith can also gain great favor if they allow the anointing of God to rest upon them and the beauty of holiness to surround them.

If pain, pressure and bitterness can be endured and transformed into the beautiful fragrance of Christ, women can have great influence in days ahead.

In fact, I believe we are now seeing a generation of women arise that exemplifies the character of Esther.

Today godly, obedient, grace-filled women are being positioned to overthrow the enemies of the future!

GODLY WISDOM Women of faith always bring transformation to their neighborhoods, their cities and their nations.

In 2 Samuel 20 we find the story of two nations at odds with one another.

There are rebellion, anarchy, betrayal—many of the same problems we see from nation to nation throughout the world today.

In this case, a man named Sheba had led a rebellion against David, threatening the entire kingdom of Israel.

One of David’s mighty men, Joab, pursued Sheba to the walled city of Abel.

But as Joab and his troops prepared to destroy the city to get to their enemy inside, “A wise woman cried out from the city: ‘Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, “Come nearby, that I may speak with you”‘” (2 Sam. 20:16).

I like this passage because we never know this woman’s name.

But Joab must have recognized the voice of wisdom and faith. He approached, answering, “‘I am listening'” (v. 17).

This woman recognized that her city was on a course of destruction.

She said, “‘I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?'” (v. 19).

This literally stopped Joab in his tracks and made him rethink his course of action.

Why would he destroy a whole city just to overtake one rebellious individual?

“‘Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city,'” Joab said (v. 21).

So the wise woman explained the situation to the people of the city, who promptly cut off Sheba’s head and threw it over the wall.

True to his word, Joab and his army withdrew (see v. 22).

Imagine: One woman’s wisdom and influence prevented the destruction of an entire city.

Expect it to happen again! God is raising up faith-filled, ‘no-name’ women who have the Word of God in their mouths—women who will speak the kind of wisdom that causes the preplanned paths of destruction within our cities to be turned around and redeemed.

There are many more biblical examples of women who exercised authority that resulted in historical change.

Lydia, mentioned in Acts 16, is a great model of a woman operating in the marketplace and causing the evangelization of a nation to occur.

I also love Moses’ mother.

She lived three months of faith that ultimately saved an entire nation (see Heb. 11:23).

Deborah was an established warrior who exercised wisdom and leadership for an entire generation (see Judg. 4 and 5).

Jael was just a normal housewife who single-handedly dealt the final blow to an enemy of Israel (see Judg. 4:17-22).

And Mary’s example in John 12continues to teach the church about servanthood and extravagant devotion.

Many women in past seasons have known they’ve had a call to influence and transform society.

Unfortunately, they’ve often attempted to move out of the boundaries and timing of God to enter into this authority.

This has produced confusion as well as a measure of reproach upon the whole corporate female gender.

But now, in this new time and season, God is preparing women to be leaders and spiritual mothers within His perfect plan, order, and timing.

These are the women who will change the course of the world for years to come—who will be the key conduits in the faith of the future.

And as women are positioned to accomplish their role on Earth, the full inheritance of God will become manifest.

Arise, women of faith, and transform your families, your cities, and your nations!

You have been chosen and prepared for such a time as this.

Read a companion devotional.

By .Chuck D. Pierce.

Cutting The Details.


I admire big-picture people, but I’m not one of them.

I’m naturally drawn to details.

Concise details give me clarity, and I appreciate it.

But on a day-to-day basis, if I’m not careful, those same details can make things more cloudy for me than clear.

It’s easy to get entangled in “stuff” these days—good stuff, and even great stuff, but all too often, much of it is just unnecessary excess.

I always want to squeeze in one last detail to “make progress,” which eats into my time for the next thing.

So often I’ve heard in my spirit “stop now,” but kept my foot on the gas anyhow, engaging one more idea, returning one more phone call, responding to one more email or text, or working just a few more minutes (hours) before I move on….

A friend recently told me I need to learn how to literally drop everything, for Jesus.

I listened, but got a bit defensive because I know all about putting an end to things—habits, lifestyles, etc.—for the Lord.

But she meant literally stopping whatever I’m doing at a particular time and actually doing it for Jesus.

It may sound trivial, but here’s my example: To put a hard stop on whatever responsibility I’m in the middle of, just to go to sleep at an earlier hour, somehow seems to be slack or even selfish if I think about it too long.

But when I re-direct those thoughts to God, and make the cut-off for Him—dropping everything in that moment just so I can shift all things to make time to be alone with Him—I become that Big-Picture person I so highly regard.

Clutter moves out and divine order takes over because the Big Picture, what’s most important in this life, is in clear view.

Getting to bed early may be a no-brainer for some.

But it’s one reason why so many are simply too exhausted for quality time alone with the Creator.

On the other hand, some of us turn in early every night and wake up before the sun only to get a head start on the grind again without giving God more than a nod or a quick “thank you.”

It’s good to acknowledge Him and be thankful.

It’s good to go to church or sing a song.

But He wants more.

Our Maker desires to be what truly comes first in our lives, not just in our words, but in our actions.

He wants us to enjoy Him—the one and only God, the Eternal Rock Himself—apart from His blessings.

He wants solid time alone with you and with me, consistently.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph 5:15-16 (NASB)

Sure we all have valid responsibilities that occupy our time, and I’m not saying to neglect them.

But I amsaying priority turns out to be exactly what we make it.

What’s yours?

This “dropping things” for My Father isn’t easy.

But I want His wisdom, and I want His will over mine so I can make the most of my time …and not have it sucked up by insignificant details.

Scripture Of The Day: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB)

By Lisa Birch.

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