Tuesday, September 11, 2018

JoySightings and DayStarters Moving Locations

This is a really quick information podcast, recorded on my phone, because I am leaving for Indonesia in a few hours and I wanted to get this news to you.

The new web site for the JoySightings and DayStarters series WILL BE http://JoySightings.info. I am deleting the 134 episodes of DayStarters immediately, because I think that they are really messing up the search results for lots of listeners. So if you are listening to either of these series, please send me a message and tell me what series and number you were ready to listen to, and I will try to prioritize getting these ready for you. I will delete the 48 JoySightings episodes in a few days.

In a day or two from this posting, I hope that the iTunes/Apple Podcast app subscription link will be at the new web site: JoySightings.info.

For those who don’t know what these two series are, the JoySightings series are primarily a collection of Parables. Most of them are by Safed the Sage (the pen name of William E. Barton) who was a pastor in the Eastern USA over 100 years ago. He wrote his parables for the Sunday School Magazine he edited for the Congregational denomination. Another part of the JoySightings series are two wonderful children’s books by David and Karen Mains, Tales of the Kingdom, and Tales of the Resistance.

The DayStarters series was made at the request of Hannah, our daughter who is currently in Jakarta, Indonesia. She asked last year for 7 minute NT readings and a prayer to be made into separate podcasts. I chose the GNT recording series, and the books that I felt would be best for Ava and Joel who were 8 and 7 years old last year.

I recently moved the GNT series to a new podcast location, which is dailygntbiblereading.info.

One of the main reasons I have separated the original DBRP podcast into 3 podcasts is because of the terrible Apple podcast app, the native app that has the purple icon. For those of you who are using that app, I hope that the changes will eventually help you. But for some, like my son, David, the new GNT podcast when accessed in the Apple Podcast app still is not showing up in the proper order.

In my last news update, I recommended the Podbean app for all those who have trouble seeing the DBRP podcasts in the order you are listening to them. I was wrong about it not showing much advertising. It shows advertising all the time you are listening. However, if you are just listening and the screen is off, you won’t see the advertising. Podbean only shows the most recent 200 episodes, so it can’t find all the episodes for a whole 365 day year.

The very best app for listening to the DBRP (now three different podcasts) may be the one you have on your phone already: your favorite web browser. Just keep a tab perpetually open that has one of our  three sites. All three sites will be listed at the original site: dailybiblereading.info.

Here is a link to our most recent letter giving our prayer requests for my time in Indonesia. I was supposed to be on my way today already this morning. But the Lord evidently had different plans. I am thankful for a little more time at home, and for being able to give this news to you just before leaving. My letters are normally posted at the Digging Deeper Daily Facebook group which is also linked here in the episode notes.

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GNT Podcast Moving Locations

Hi, friend!

This is to let you know that I have moved the GNT Bible Podcasts (the Good News Bible podcasts) to a new location. The way to subscribe to the GNT podcast series has changed. This is being done primarily to help the many folks who listen via the Apple podcast app or iTunes. This will make it so that listeners of the GNT podcasts won’t have unlistened to NLT podcasts cluttering their display. If you are listening to the NLT series, do nothing. If you listen on the Apple Podcast app,soon you won’t have the GNT podcasts cluttering your display. If you listen to the NLT series, just continue as you have before.

If you are a listener to the GNT series, the new website address just adds GNT to the name: That new GNT website is now DailyGNTBibleReading.info. If you listen on an Apple device, going to that site should present you with a link to subscribe so you can then find the GNT series in the podcast app.

For those of you actually listening to this podcast on an Apple device, open the episode notes and click on the iTunes/Podcast App subscription link, and you will be able to subscribe to the GNT podcast series with another tap. HERE’S the LINK.

This change also means that I am discontinuing the dedicated DBRP podcast apps for Android and Apple. I am not sure how long the current apps will continue to work. (Probably not long.)

If you are using the Android app, then let me suggest that you install a better Android app. And if you would like to join the many people who have ditched the now-broken Apple podcast app, I have the same recommendation for you: I recommend Podbean. Here are some of its great features:

  • Podbean works on both Apple and Android.
  • It shows nicely formatted episode notes.
  • It is easy to follow/subscribe to the either the Daily GNT or the Daily NLT Bible Reading podcast. Just search by the podcast name.
  • There are good controls for listening speed and silence reduction, and even optimizing volume.
  • You can easily choose episodes to pre-download. I wish the Apple podcast app was this intelligent.
  • The app includes almost no advertising. The only advertising I see is for the Pro version which is 99cents per month. You only see that advertising in the settings and probably when requesting certain kinds of content.
  • Downside: Podbean won’t list really old episodes. It only shows the most recent 200 episodes. So if someone wants to start listening today starting at episode 1, they won’t find it. People wanting to start from Day 1 should probably use the website.

New info about listening on Alexa:
I figured out my problem with getting Alexa to play the DBRP on an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The Alexa skill invocation phrise is Daily Bible Reading. That won’t work out of the box. First start the Alexa app with the on-screen icon. Then find the Skills section, and manually type in the name of the skill, Daily Bible Reading. Then and only then will you be able to say, “Alexa, tell Daily Bible reading to play the newest episode.” (Otherwise Alexa keeps wanting to play an Audible Bible recording, which is most annoying.) Other skills are listed right on that page in the Skills section, which can be used for going back or forward x number of episodes, etc.

I will register a new Alexa skill soon for the GNT podcast.

There are many great podcast aggregator apps out there. A quick way to follow the DBRP on many apps is to supply the app with the rss feed (which is a special internet link). The rss feed for each podcast can be found right in the top information bar, among the icons, at our two web sites.

I’ll be leaving for Indonesia on the 11th of September, and be away from home until November 1. I’ll give another update on that soon. See the Digging Deeper facebook group, where I will try to share a picture or two.

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, July 29, 2018


Three more parables from The Wit and Wisdom of Safed the Sage:

  • The Quick and the Dead;
  • Hollyhocks and the Storm;
  • The Circus Procession

Check out this episode!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

July Twenty Eighteen: Let's do something new!

Hey everyone! Greetings!

Lot’s of news to share about ways to access the Daily Bible Reading Podcast, about changes to our Facebook group, and about better ways to share with friends about your Bible reading.

Let’s start with Alexa. Alexa is the voice activated device created by Amazon. One of the Alexa devices is called the EchoDot, and the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets are also equipped with Alexa. The DBRP has a registered Alexa skill, and the key activation phrase is Daily Bible Reading. So you should be able to say, “Alexa, tell Daily Bible Reading to play the newest episode,” or “Alexa, tell Daily Bible Reading to play episode 208.” You should be able to ask Alexa to subscribe to Daily Bible Reading.

Unfortunately, for some reason, it seems that Alexa works on the EchoDot device, but not on my 10 inch Kindle Fire tablet. This could be because I have disabled as much of the Amazon advertising as I can on my tablet. I haven’t been able to test with any other Alexa device. But I can tell in our publisher’s download statistics that the Daily Bible Reading skill has been used 297 so far. If YOU are one of the people who is using Alexa to listen to the DBRP, please tell me how it works for you and what device you are using. I would like to know if there is a way to ask Alexa to play the NL episode for a particular day, rather than the GN episode. Use the Contact link at dailybiblereading.info to send your message to me.

Because I thought that the Alexa invocation string was failing (because ‘Daily Bible Reading’ contains such common words), I asked our publisher to change it to ‘Digging Deeper Daily’. So far the change has not been implemented, and it may not be implemented. So if you use Alexa or get an Alexa device, I want you to know that the Alexa skill is now listed right on the banner at the top of our dailybiblereading.info site. If that skill ever changes, I will update the banner right away.

All Android devices now have a podcast app! This is big news, because around 66% of podcast consumption happens on Apple devices simply because the iPhone has a native podcast app. Unfortunately Google has not yet made their Android app visible by default on every user’s screen. If you want to use Google’s own native app to listen to the DBRP, the link is HERE in the episode notes. That link worked fine on my Android phone, but didn’t work the same way on my tablet. If the link leads you to the Play Store, install the Google Podcast App, open it, and then search for Daily Bible Reading. You will see the blue Digging Deeper Daily icon down a little way in the results. (And unfortunately it is not first in the results!)

I note that the episode notes in the Google Podcast App are (like Spotify) just a solid glob of text. All the paragraph formatting has been stripped away. So if you use an app that doesn’t show paragraph breaks, just know that you can get the episode notes when you need them, nicely formatted, at our web site, dailybiblereading.info.

I note also that the Google Podcast app allows you to speed up the audio by increments of 10 percent. This is way better than our DBRP dedicated listening app, which only allows you to listen at 1.5 or 2.0 speed. Please don’t listen to the Bible at double speed. You might as well not listen. I don’t like 1.5 speed either. My son, David, listens to the DBRP at 1.3 speed using his iPhone. This works well if you are used to listening at that tempo. I think I prefer 1.2 speed. (But, please understand that I never listen to my own podcasts after I create them!)

Corrections: I still make corrections to the Devotional Content pages in the YouVersion app, but I have not been updating the pages at the web site or DBRP listening app. If you see anything that needs to be corrected or made clearer, please use the Contact link in the menu of dailybiblereading.info.

I want to thank Hannah Yi who shared with me about her group in New York City who are sharing together in going through the Digging Deeper Daily YouVersion reading plan. The capability to share YouVersion reading plans was added last year, but I didn’t pick up on it until Hannah told me about her group. Here’s how it works:

  • When you register for a YouVersion reading plan, you are given the option to make it private or to share it with friends. OR you can Share a plan you are currently reading (like the 3D plan), in the Plan Settings.
  • Once you have a plan set to Share, within any day of the plan, you can hit the vertical 3 dots button and choose Share to invite your friends.
  • At the end of your list of daily readings, you will then find a button labeled Talk it over. That button opens a page that asks the question, “Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?” At the bottom you will find a Write your response link.

I encourage you to make such a reading-plan group or join one. I think that using Youversion built in Sharing feature is way better than sharing in our Facebook group. If you actually share what God is saying to you, you won’t want to share that with 1,800 people. Sharing true answers to that question will certainly add a whole new level of accountability to your commitment to allow God to transform you. So I suggest making a group that is only 2-3 of your closest friends. OR, maybe you will want to make a group with just one person you are discipling. And because of the level of commitment involved, I suggest that you might want to try sharing a a 7-10 day plan first, before doing something like the 365 day Digging Deeper Daily plan.

Finally I would like to suggest another thing one could do with this sharing feature. You might share a reading plan with only yourself— by registering a second identity in YouVersion. Then you could use the Talk it over link as a handy way to journal about your daily readings. Writing things down DOES help you remember them. You can already write Notes within the YouVersion app by selecting any verse. Those notes can also be shared with others. But sharing with yourself about a day’s readings would give you a good way to write more general notes about your day’s readings.

I have decided to keep the current  Digging Deeper Daily Facebook group open until the end of this year. But I realize that not a whole lot of sharing is taking place there. For now, I have rewritten the description of that group:

Please share new insights from your daily Bible readings, ask questions, and let’s encourage and pray for one another! We also encourage you to use this group to post an invitation for joining you in any other shared YouVersion Bible reading plan.

This group's primary purpose is for sharing fresh thoughts about God's Word that come to you as you read it. We have a zero tolerance policy for sharing the following things: Do not share 1. videos, 2. long texts written by someone else, 3. or about items you have for sale. Doing any of those will result in you being blocked from this group.

So, to highlight the new things in the group description above: I encourage you use the Digging Deeper Facebook group to post invitations to a shared YouVersion reading plans. I hope this might help you to find new friends to go through a theme-based plan together with you. For instance, you might start a group for a reading plan designed for parents of teenagers, or for recovery from drug addiction, or for surviving grief.

Secondly, please note our zero tolerance policy for sharing those three things that don’t fit in our group.

I shared in my last update about our daughter, Rachel, needing an apartment in Dallas without mold issues. Just a week ago she was able to move into a very nice mold-free apartment, which is even close to the Pioneer Bible Translators office where she works. We went down last weekend with a trailer load of all her stuff. We’re so thankful for God answering our prayers for her. Rachel and Gale share many of the same chronic issues with pain, so prayers for them both for relief from pain are always appreciated.

In my last update I shared that I would be making an online class for Indonesian volunteers who would like to help us in our Plain Indonesian Old Testament translation. Without having a dedicated group of volunteers, it is almost certain that we will not meet our goal of publishing the Old and New Testaments in 2022. We started our first ten students in June, and I think that two will complete the course in 2-3 days. One of the two is especially interesting: He is a pastor of an Indonesian speaking church located in BC, Canada. We start another semester in the course on August 1 with 24 new students. This group includes people from all over Indonesia, plus one in Malaysia, two Indonesians living in Taiwan, and one student living in Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste is a very small island state— half of an island just above Australia. Please pray that we will be able to build a team of 24 dedicated volunteers who will help us check and improve our Old Testament translation, so that it can be published in 2022.

If you are with the group that started to follow the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan on January first, then you are reading in Jeremiah. I particularly enjoy the back and forth conversations between the Lord and Jeremiah. But this is also tricky for readers and listeners. For you to understand this book, please try to be alert to who is speaking. In chapter 16, the Lord tells Jeremiah,

“A new time will certainly come. People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the LORD lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ But in that time (to come) they will affirm [oaths by saying//them with] ‘I swear as surely as the LORD lives who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north …’

Somewhere in the podcasts I’m sure I have said this, but it bears repeating: The fact that God took the people of Israel away twice to different countries (first Egypt and then Babylon), and then brought them back again each time to their country is a fantastic proof of God’s existence. Each time God gave prophecies telling beforehand what he was going to do. Note that God has now brought the people of Israel back three times. What other God has told people that he would do such a thing and then has done it? In the Babylonian exile, God told in advance the name of the king was who would release the people of Israel to go back and rebuild the temple. (We see that later in Isaiah.) And in Jeremiah God clearly told his people why disaster and suffering would come their way. He repeatedly warned them, giving them every opportunity to repent. And as proof, he preserved all these discussions with Jeremiah. Through Jeremiah we have an eye witness account of all the discouraging things that came upon God’s people because of their stubborn and willful disobedience. We get to see right inside Jerusalem, and can observe the wickedness of the country’s leaders, and the dithering and indecision of an evil king. I think it is very worth considering that we are now living through a time where mankind is similarly stubborn against all that God wants. And God has given us prophecies telling us that judgement is coming.

In chapter 15, we might take an example from a verse that is sandwiched uncomfortably between verses telling of the discouraging circumstances that Jeremiah was facing. In verse 16 he says,

“As your words came to me, I drank them in, and they filled my heart with joy and happiness— because I belong to you.”

So my friend, let’s drink deeply of God’s Word, that in the midst of discouraging and alarming times, we may be reassured by a joy that the world cannot fathom, because of belonging to the Lord.

And may the Lord bless you ‘real good’!

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


1KINGS 21-22:
What a cruel surprise it must have been for Elijah to bring about such an irrefutable display of God's power before the people, but then to have to flee for his life because of Queen Jezebel! Note that God deigned to speak twice to King Ahab. And the reason was: God wanted it known to Ahab and to us that He is not a territorial God. God also gave amazing, symbolic revelations of Himself in the story of His appearing to Elijah at Mount Sinai. Finally, in yesterday’s reading, Elijah's successor, Elisha, was introduced.

PSALM 122:
Consider how exciting it would have been to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. And let’s all keep ‘marching to Zion’.

JOHN 10a:
This is a place where our chapter divisions in our Bibles probably do not serve us well. In the original manuscript by John, there would not be any separation between what Jesus said to the Pharisees to answer their question about spiritual blindness, and this chapter. In fact, in John’s day they didn’t even have spaces between words. So in all likelihood, there was not even a new line to start this teaching. So let’s envision Jesus giving this teaching while the previously blind man and the Pharisees were listening.

NLT Translation note:
Ps. 122:4 All the tribes of Israel—the LORD’s people— make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to [0//the name of] the LORD, as the law requires of Israel.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, June 30, 2018


The complete episode notes for this podcast are attached as a PDF file. Many podcast aggregator apps will not let you see these attachments. Using our dedicated DBRP listening app, you can get the PDF file by clicking on the wrapped present icon. Or you can find the PDF attached to this podcast at our website, dailybiblereading.info.

For information about all the different categories of podcasts under the DBRP banner, see dailybiblereading.info.

Here is the link to our Digging Deeper Facebook group

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Phil & Gale's newest letter

This is our letter sharing about my LONG trip to Indonesia,

  • and about Gale joining me there for two wonderful weeks,
  • and what the Lord is doing among the Orya people.

This is a temporary post. I will remove it someday.

Because of the limitations involved with a Text Post, and because I want to share pictures to all readers, I ask you to click this link in order to view the PDF file.

Check out this episode!