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 18]—Under New Management

Romans 8:12-17

            Man, I can’t believe I missed this one. Last year we spent three weeks on the nature and work of the Holy Spirit (here, if you’re interested), and I completely missed one of the most important passages about him! I guess it’s ok, though, since we can look at it now.
            But before we get to the subject of the Spirit again, we need to deal with a potentially thorny couple of verses, namely vss. 12-13. Here, finally, we get to a command, sort of. He’s made all sorts of declarations about who we are in Christ and what this means, and now he comes to something we need to do, something which is up to us, at least partially.
            Always keep an eye out for conjunctions and other connecting words. Because of what Christ did and has done, because of the Spirit’s present and future work in our lives, we no longer have any “obligation” to the “flesh,” (sinful nature). As he said in chapter six (and as we discussed), we exchanged one master for another. Over your soul could be a sign that says “Under new management.”
            Yes, we’re saved by grace through faith in Christ plus nothing. But as his redeemed children, our obligations didn’t stop. No, we just have new ones. We have an obligation to “put to death” the misdeeds of the body. How do we do this?
            One word: Cooperation. Specifically, cooperation with the Spirit, working with him. Once again we have perfect balance between truths in tension. We put to death the misdeeds of the body, and this is not an accidental homicide. We choose to do this. We make a conscious choice to take positive steps to stop doing what wounds our Father and instead do what pleases him. But we do this not by our own strength: We do it by means of the Spirit, in his strength. What does that mean? In practical terms, it’s nothing you haven’t likely heard before: Read your Bible, pray for his strength, spend time with other believers, etc.
            Now here’s where it requires careful thinking on our part. He says that “if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Now, considering that the rest of the Bible--Paul especially--teaches salvation by grace through faith and not by works, what does he mean by this? Well, it could mean 1) physical death versus spiritual death (i.e., our Father’s discipline which could result in our physical death), but that doesn’t seem to be the sense here. Or it might mean 2) living the abundant life in Christ in the here and now vs. not, but that doesn’t really fit either. With all its potential difficulties, based on the context, I think he’s talking about 3) By putting the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit, as imperfectly as we all do it, you’re showing that you belong to Christ and thus have eternal life. At least that’s the best explanation I have.
            Now we get to my favorite part of today’s passage, and there’s so much here that we’ll likely carry this into tomorrow. If you’re a child of God, one of the marks of that is you’re led by his Spirit. And in complete contrast to the slavery that once held you in bondage, you’re no longer in chains. In the truest sense, you’re no longer a slave to anyone. The only One who really has the right to call you his slave doesn’t call you one. His name for you is not “slave.” It’s “beloved son” or “beloved daughter.” The Spirit within us is not the spirit of bondage in any way, shape or matter or form. He’s the Spirit of freedom. The Spirit of adoption. The Spirit of testimony. You’re led by the Spirit, all right. And where does he lead? Well, according to this passage, he leads right past the angels into the lap of your Papa on his throne. More tomorrow.

Papa. What a word. So much meaning in so little a word. Spirit, lead on. I’m listening, and by your power, I’ll follow right into the arms of my Papa. 

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