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.

[Aug 10]—Second Marriages

Romans 7:1-6

            Paul is continuing in his explanation of our salvation, and he wants to make extra clear what our relationship with the Mosaic Law should be. To the Jews in his audience, the notion that the Lord’s people are no longer obligated to keep the Law of Moses was difficult—if not impossible--to swallow. Keep in mind that the very first major controversy in the Church, which led to the first official Church Council, was over the issue of whether or not Gentiles should be expected to keep the Law.
            The book of Romans is Paul’s magnum opus on the issue of our salvation. Paul didn’t start the church in Romans, so he needed to make certain that its members were clear about the essentials of salvation with a minimum of misunderstanding. This is why it reads more like a theological treatise than a letter written to close friends.  And in order to truly comprehend our salvation, we need to deal with our relationship to the Law as believers this side of the Cross.
            Today’s passage addresses it. He compares it to a marriage. Under the Law (and in most cultures and societies) a woman is bound to her husband only as long as they’re both alive. That’s why when I took Joy as my wife, my vows were officially in effect “as long as we both shall live.” Other say “until death parts us.” When Joy and I have gone through tough times in our marriage, we reaffirm our commitment to each other by saying “Nothing but the grave, baby!”
            Of course there have been exceptions, but in most circumstances women are expected to only be faithful to their husband as long he lives. Once he’s dead, she’s free to marry another, and most people wouldn’t think any less of her, much less condemn her.
            Under the Old Covenant (instituted and formalized under Moses at Mount Sinai), God’s people were “married” to the Law. They were obligated to be obedient to it, and this was the only way they could express commitment to the Lord. If someone in Israel said, “I believe in the Lord and I'm dedicated to serving him faithfully, but I don’t think I’m obligated to keep the Sabbath or abstain from pork,” that wouldn’t make any sense. To reiterate: The only way an Israelite could be counted as faithful to the Lord was by obeying the Torah. If they disobeyed the Torah, the Lord counted that as being unfaithful to himself, and as we saw in the book of Hosea, he considered it spiritual adultery, and made his servant marry into heartbreak just to show Israel how serious he (the Lord) took this.
            But (there’s that small but beautiful word again) something changed. Christ came, and what we could never do in relation to the Law, he did. He fulfilled all its requirements in perfect obedience, and the “marriage” to the Law was severed. The interesting thing here is that in Paul’s example, it’s not the Law that died, but us. We died to the Law when we received Christ. But the principle applies: Marriage only is binding as long as both parties are still alive.
            But we need to be careful here, as always. As discussed before, the particular applications of the Law were specific to the Old Covenant, such as circumcision, the dietary laws, the laws that caused physical separation, the animal sacrifices, the Sabbath, etc. The principles behind the applications (e.g., love the Lord and hate sin with everything you have, people are made in God’s image and are more important than things, etc.) are timeless. They don’t change any more than God does.
            This is what Paul is talking about in vs. 6: “[By] dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” We aren’t law-less, people without the law. God wrote down his laws on stone, and the people disobeyed (to put it mildly). Under the New Covenant, he writes his law (the principles, not necessarily the same applications) on our hearts. We’re no longer “married” to the Law. We died to it, and now we belong to Another.

Lord Jesus, I belong to you. In your love, you’ve sought me out, paid for me with your own blood, and have claimed me forever as your own. By your grace, I want to show that.

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