OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[Nov 16]--The Deadliest Sin

Acts 24:24-27

I heard a story several years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Of course it’s just an imaginary story to prove a point, but that point is a serious one to make. One day Satan convened a committee in Hell. The subject was what to do about the Gospel. Everyone agreed that it was making too much headway, and they had to do something about the souls lost to it every day. One demon suggested that they try to discount the Resurrection. That was immediately rejected, since there’s too much historical evidence that it happened. Another submitted that they should promote the rise of atheism, so that people would reject a belief in God and the Bible altogether. Of course that was tossed out, since anyone with a half-way open mind can see that all this didn’t all happen by chance. Another one tried to promote false religions. They all agreed that that course was making some progress, but not enough. The Gospel was just too attractive compared to anything they could create.

But then Satan motioned for silence. He said that they could never really fight the Gospel with any of these methods, since the truth was not on their side. So he commanded that they focus on their most tried-and-true method. Whenever someone was in danger of believing in Christ, they'd just whisper in his ear that he could trust in Jesus tomorrow. And that would eventually land the lost soul into the Abyss.

My friend, what’s the deadliest sin? Well, some say it’s murder. But there are murderers in Heaven right now. On earth they had blood on their hands, but before they died they threw themselves on the mercy of God’s court, and found Another’s blood which would cover them forever. Some might say adultery, and that’s pretty serious. But David was guilty of both murder and adultery, and he found forgiveness. And of course pride--being the ultimate anti-God state of mind--is a good contender.

I think a great case can be made that it’s procrastination. I honestly believe that this one character flaw will send more people to Hell than all the atheists’ arguments combined.

That’s the case with Felix. He seemed to have an open mind to listen to what Paul said. It looks like he wasn’t fooled too much by the false accusations from the Jews. Paul, like he always did, turned the subject towards his favorite one, namely that of the Good News about his Savior. It also seems like Felix showed some interest in this “Jesus” whom Paul couldn’t shut up about.

But when Paul started talking about things like “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,” a cold sweat broke out on the governor and that was the end of the conversation.

Please notice that the governor didn’t end it with “Enough Paul! This is all a bunch of baloney!” He didn’t reject it outright. No, he put off the decision. He told him “When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” “When I find it convenient.” Yeah. Right. In case you didn't figure it out, there's no record of Felix ever becoming a believer. If that's correct, he ended up in the same place as any other lost person who died as a murderer or adulterer.

If you’re not a believer in Christ and you’re reading these words, that might be your response. You know you need to respond to him in faith and obedience. But it’s not convenient right now. Trust me, the only time you’ll ever be able to respond to Christ is now. Please don’t follow Felix's example and end up in the same place he did. If this applies to you, please read this.

If you’re a follower of Christ, then don’t think you’re off the hook here. Yes, you’re saved, but you can make the same sort of mistake. If you know someone who’s not saved, do they know about Jesus? Have you told them? Have you expressed to them the urgency of trusting Christ now? Or are you waiting until it’s more convenient?

Lord Jesus, I’m so sorry about being chained to the word “convenient.” Please forgive and change me.

[Nov 15]--Real Respect Vs. Kissing Up

Acts 24:1-23

A couple of days ago I mentioned the love-hate relationship the Church has historically had with the Jews. But that’s nothing compared to the troubled relationship we’ve had with the State. And as we’ve seen before, humanity is like Luther’s drunk man on a horse, falling off one side, dusting himself off, then falling off the other side when he “corrects” himself. We really have real trouble keeping our balance.

That’s really illustrated here in the stark contrast we see in the Jews’ opening statement versus Paul’s. Do you know the term obsequious? It’s a four-dollar word for a kiss-up. I could use other more colorful terms, but I'll forbear. You know what I’m referring to. And if you look up the word in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of these guys.

In case you’re wondering, Felix was not the greatest governor Rome ever had. They had worse, but he was recalled for misrule after two years. So when they’re starting their speech, they’re being extremely flattering.

Paul, on the other hand, displays a great balance here. He’s respectful for the man’s position. But he’s not a kiss-up, nor is he showing any personal animosity towards either the man or the Roman Government which he represents. Just a simple “I recognize your exalted position over this area” and then he gets to his point quickly.

The rest of this we’re pretty familiar with, so I want to camp out on that for a moment. All too often Christians fall off on one side of this issue or the other. As I’ve said, I listen to political talk radio quite often. If someone criticizes the President, you have people calling immediately to defend him, and quite frankly it almost sounds like those Jewish leaders in today’s reading. He can do no wrong, and any criticism of him has some other agenda besides what’s best for the country.

On the other hand, a lot of talk show hosts which I could name fell off on the other side a few years ago. The President is a secret Muslim or a secret Communist, and is in on a plot to destroy the United States or its economy. And don’t forget the fact that he was really born in Kenya and isn’t even qualified to be President. Uh huh. That’s the reason why I’m very picky about who I listen to.

Look, we can have a discussion on whether or not you agree with the President’s policies (maybe on my other blog). But whether or not you agree with him, you need to keep your discourse civil. Ask yourself how you reacted a couple of years ago when there was a President from another party in power. When the last President did something you heartily disagreed with, how did you talk about him?

What’s the biblical approach here? Again, you must respect the position of authority, even if you disagree with the policies of the person in that position. Even if, as was the case with King Saul, the man in charge is not worthy of that responsibility. That’s not a piece of advice. That’s what the Bible tells us to do.

And here’s a radical concept. Instead of just pining away for the next election when you can get rid of the jerk who’s in office, why not change him right now? There’s one avenue of doing that which most Christians haven’t tried, as far as I can see. If you're so dissatisfied with the man in office, why not try to change his character through prayer?  If he’s a Christian, then he’s your brother. If he’s not, then he’s a soul for whom Christ bled and died. Again, this is not Dear Abby giving you advice. This is a command straight from God through his servant Paul: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

So, do you need to do some repenting?

Father God, please set a guard over my tongue. May it be used only in your service, and never the Enemy’s.