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.

[July 21]-- Straight Talk On Homosexuality, Part Two

Romans 5:12-17

            I promise that I’m going to bring this around to the subject at hand, namely homosexuality. Somehow we’ve inherited what’s called a “sinful nature” from Adam. What does that mean in the practical side of things?
You see, this is the point of understanding this concept of a sinful nature. None of us are what God created us to be. Sin has affected every aspect of me: My body needs glasses, and I’m diabetic. I grow old and eventually my body will wear out. My mind is darkened, and my understanding is really inadequate and inaccurate. My emotions aren't immune to this at all. For example, anger—which can be good—is turned towards revenging myself on those who harm me.
            And worst of all, my desires are inclined towards sin.
All of us have been born with an inclination, actually an overwhelming desire, to sin. We’ve been told what’s wrong and in our hearts we know that what we’ve been told is correct. Lying is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Murder is wrong. And not only do we ignore those voices which have told us right from wrong, the very wrongness of sin appeals to us in some perverted way. We get pleasure not just from sinful things (like sex outside of marriage); we get pleasure from the sinfulness of sin.
But just because we’re unalterably attracted to sin doesn’t mean that every type of sin is equally appealing to each one of us. For example, drunkenness has never appealed to me. Alcohol—for the most part—doesn’t really appeal to me. But lust is something I struggle with. Same thing with laziness. I have a host of other sins to which I’m susceptible.
            Others have sins to which they’re susceptible which hold no appeal to me. Others might be tempted to workaholism, something which poses NO danger to me. I’ve never been really tempted to physically hurt someone in anger. I’ve never been tempted to make money an idol or to covet other peoples’ stuff.
            Why is that? Why aren’t I tempted towards greed? Was it my upbringing? Personal choices I made early in life? Or was it my genes which I got from my parents?
            I suspect that it’s a combination of different factors. All of us are a lot more complex than what appears on the surface. To say about anything “The only reason I do X is because. . .” seems pretty foolish, doesn’t it? But surely my genes are at least part of the answer, right?
            But here’s where we come back to the controversial question and answer from yesterday: “Why are some people sexually attracted to people of the same sex?” I don’t know. Why am I tempted to be lazy? I don’t know.
            And let’s get to the really controversial part of my answer yesterday: I don’t care.
            Let’s get back to my laziness. What if they proved—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that laziness is completely caused by one’s genes? Let's assume for a moment that I had absolutely no choice as to whether or not I’d be inclined towards laziness. Neither did my upbringing have any effect at all. No matter what my parents did or didn’t do, no matter what my environment had or lacked, I was going to have a tendency towards laziness. Or lust. Or lying. Or uncontrolled anger.
            What difference would that scientific discovery make in regards to my walk with Christ?  Would that absolve me of responsibility?
            A few years ago I read an article that posited that scientists had supposedly isolated the “cheater” gene in males. It’s an undisputed fact that men tend to stray a lot more often than women in their marriages, right? So let’s assume for a moment that the discovery was absolutely correct, that the only reason men are even inclined to cheat is because of their “Y” chromosome. If a guy got caught cheating, could he dodge responsibility? Could he just say “Well, God made me that way?”
            I reiterate: Assuming that it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that same-sex attraction is 100% genetic, how would that change my theology? Not a whit. The Bible still condemns homosexual activity, just like it condemns laziness, lying, lust, adultery, hatred, etc.
            Let’s be careful here, shall we? The Bible does not condemn me for sinful inclinations or feelings in and of themselves. Let’s say that I’m strongly tempted to have a wandering eye regarding the ladies. There's something within me, caused by undoubtedly a host of factors, which makes that particular sin appealing to me, while other sins to which others are prone have zero appeal. In biblical terms, I'm heavily tempted towards that sin. That’s not something that God condemns me for. He doesn’t judge me according to the “raw stuff” I’m born with or what I was raised with. He doesn’t judge me based on my desires or my feelings or my inclinations. He judges me based on what I do with what I have. Do I—in God’s grace and power—fight this bad tendency in me? Or do I give in to it, indulge in it, revel in it, and celebrate it?
             Here's a great little cartoon courtesy of Adam4d.com

Lord Jesus, how much I need your grace!  The deeper down I look into myself, the more depressing the picture gets. But one day. . .I’ll be like you. Inside and out. I can’t wait. 

[July 20]—Straight Talk On Homosexuality, Part One

Romans 5:12-17

            You knew I had to do it, right? There’s no way I could bring us to Romans chapter one without talking about one of the most controversial subjects today, namely homosexuality. If there’s another subject that I need to approach more carefully, I don’t know about it. I also submit that there's absolutely no subject in the public discourse in which Christians who take their Bibles seriously are more “out of step” with the zeitgeist. If you even hint that there’s anything wrong with the homosexual lifestyle, you’re a bigot (on the same level as a Klansman), you hate gays, and you’d kill every gay person in the world if you only had the opportunity.
            So Keith, if you’re going to talk about homosexuality, why’d you pick today’s passage? Why not the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why not the passage from yesterday? Why not another list of vices from Paul or another writer?
            Because I don’t think those passages are the places to start, because they don’t get to the heart of the debate today. On one side you have just about everyone saying that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the homosexual lifestyle. They claim that homosexuality is completely determined by genetics, that you’re “born” gay. Somehow it’s just taken as a given that someone’s DNA will determine for all time the type of people they’re attracted to.
            On the other side are those who deny this, supposedly for biblical reasons. They deny that anyone is “born” gay; instead, they point to environmental factors or personal choices that the person made early in life.
            I’m going to propose something here which'll definitely anger those on the pro-gay side, and it might anger those who agree with me that homosexual behavior is sinful. Here we go. Are you ready for this?  I don’t know why any one person is attracted to people of the same sex. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care.
            If it was proven--beyond a shadow of a doubt—that the only reason why people are attracted to the same sex is because of genetics, not because of any other factor, that wouldn't change my theology at all. To the contrary, it would fit right in and even possibly help to confirm it.
            You’ve heard from me--and from several other quarters--the term sinful nature, right? What does that mean? It’s the doctrine that somehow we’ve inherited from Adam the propensity to sin. Despite what you’ve heard elsewhere, man’s nature is not naturally good, nor is it neutral. God, who knows the human heart inside and out, had this verdict about humanity right before the Noahic flood: “[He] saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” And there’s nothing to indicate from Scripture that human nature is any different from that time.
            This doesn’t mean that people are incapable of any good at all. It means that sin has infected every aspect of human existence: Our minds, our emotions, our desires, our physical bodies, etc. There's no institution that isn’t affected by sin: Governments, churches, families, businesses, commerce, etc.
            Now, how did this come about? How exactly did Adam pass down this propensity to sin down to us? Well, the Bible never says. All it says is that 1) Adam sinned, and because of this, 2) sin "entered the world," and 3) it unequivocally says that sin is universal among humanity (with one lone exception). So somehow we must've gotten this propensity to sin from him, otherwise there's no way to explain all 3 points. 
            Does this mean it comes through our genes? I’m not comfortable saying that, but what else do I get from Adam?
            “So Keith, I’m still waiting for how this relates to homosexuality.” I’ve already gone long on this, so we’ll continue it tomorrow.

Father God, we were in a pretty big mess, weren’t we? A mess we put ourselves into. But before we even fell, the Lamb was—in your plan—already slain. You reached out to us, and oh, how it cost you!