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 17]--Mindset

            I don’t know if it’s something I just naturally have, or if it’s something that the Lord has planted in me in later years, but one of the things I love about Scripture is its perfect balance. I’ve long professed my love for what I call “tension verses,” those verses or passages in which glorious truths are held in tension with each other.
            I think probably the best one of these-and the most important—is faith and works. According to Ephesians 2:8-10, we’re saved by grace through faith [in Christ] for good works. Our position in Christ is eternally secure (based on who Christ is and what he’s done), and there’s absolutely nothing we can do or not do that can change that. But our position will affect our condition (if you’re not sure about what I’m talking about with those terms, see here).
            That’s what Paul is expanding upon here. His main focus isn't telling us how we should live. He’s delving into how our position in Christ affects how we think which will eventually affect how we act. Let me ask a very clarifying question here: Can you please point out to me a command in today’s passage? Look carefully. You won’t find one. All of these—and again, I can’t overemphasize how important this is—are declarative statements, not imperative statements.
            This passage has a series of declarative statements, facts we need to know about how our position in Christ is going to affect us. Here’s a summary, starting with the bad:
            Those without the Spirit:
  • “have their minds set” on what the “flesh” (the sinful desire) wants.
  • are on a road that leads to death
  • has a mindset that’s hostile to God. It’s not loving, and it’s not neutral.
  • cannot submit to God’s way of doing things. It’s not just that they don’t want to, but they cannot do so.
  • cannot please God
  • do not belong to Christ (which is really the root of all this)
But those who have the Spirit:
  • “have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”
  • have life and peace
  • have the Spirit living inside of them
  • belong to Christ (which really leads to all the rest of this)
  • have the Spirit giving them life right now, and
  • have the promise that the same Spirit who raised our Savior from the dead will likewise raise us up someday

            Quite a contrast, huh? Couldn’t be starker. But there are a couple of points I need to emphasize here. First and foremost, the term used by the NIV (“have their minds set”) can be unintentionally misleading. As the scholars with the NET Bible put it “What is in view here is not primarily preoccupation, however, but worldview. Translations like ‘set their mind on’ could be misunderstood by the typical English reader to refer exclusively to preoccupation.” They also point out that “The Greek term. . . does not refer to one’s mind, but to one’s outlook or mindset."
What Paul is saying is that if we belong to Christ, he'll start to change the way we view things. As we mature in him, sin will look less appealing. And he. . .oh wow. . .he becomes more precious and attractive. And that even filters down into how you see everything else in between. Even supposedly neutral things will take on a somewhat grayer hue compared with your Savior. And this way of thinking and looking at things will filter down into how you act.
Now, do we still fall? If all you had of Scripture was this passage, you might think “Man, I must not be saved after all! Sure, I try to love Jesus, but my mind and my thoughts and my perspective and my speech and my lifestyle. . . how could I be saved with all this mess in my life?” Based on the rest of Scripture, we know that Paul is talking about a general direction of life, not a once-and-for-all change, just like John does in his letter. The man who wrote the book of Romans freely admitted that he wasn’t where he needed to be.
Let me end this on a positive note—really, you don’t get more positive than this. The same Spirit who put breath back into the lungs and started the heart beating again in Jesus’ body. . . lives inside you. Right now. And when our Lord returns, this same Spirit will do the same thing to your body that he did to Jesus. So don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Please.

Lord Jesus, I do belong to you, and I do love you, and your Spirit lives inside me to change me from the inside-out, from inside my mind and thoughts and mindset out to my fingers and toes and tongue. But I show that way too little. By your grace, I want to see more evidence of this. Please. 

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