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 19]—Abba

Romans 8:14-17

            Several years ago, my wife and I applied to be foster parents, hopefully leading to adoption. Let me tell you, we’ve heard some horror stories about children who’ve been abandoned or neglected or abused. My wife was an emotional mess the entire night after we were forced to listen to stories about children who were treated this way. Most of these kids have some emotional problems of some sort, since they’ve had to deal with being alone. Often they’re shuffled from one place to another until they find. . . home. Family. A place where they know (or at least can know) that they’ll be loved, provided for, and protected.
            When you come to think of it, every Christian should be pro-adoption, right? None of us were natural members of God’s family. Contrary to what you might’ve been taught, not all people are God’s children. By our nature and actions all of us were enemies of him. If we were searching for him, like C. S. Lewis said, it was like a mouse’s search for a cat.
            But he sought us out. He sent his Son into the world to become fully human. This Son underwent all the humiliations and pains, both trivial and egregious, that we undergo: Hunger, thirst, tiredness, frustration, loneliness, etc.
            By placing our faith in Christ, we exchanged one spiritual “father” for another. We’ve been adopted out of one family into another.
            And that brings us to today’s passage. When you become God’s child, you don’t come into your inheritance all at once. One day you will, but for right now, your Father's given you a down-payment on your inheritance, so to speak. Of course I’m talking about the Holy Spirit. He comes to live inside of you from the moment you receive Christ for the rest of eternity. What does this passage tell us about this glorious Invader?
            First off, he’s the starkest possible contrast to the spirit who used to rule over you and live with you. The Enemy of your soul is a slave master who makes the harshest, cruelest, most horrific plantation owner of the Antebellum South look like a piker. This Spirit is the Spirit of freedom: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
            He’s also the Spirit of adoption. According to MacArthur, this isn’t referring to the Spirit as the means of our adoption, but the sign of it. He testifies along with our spirit that we’re God’s children. MacArthur: “In Roman culture, for an adoption to be legally binding, 7 reputable witnesses had to be present, attesting to its validity.” Apparently here we need only one. He’s the Spirit of Truth, so when he says something, you can count on it.
            How does he do this, by the way? Paul doesn’t go into detail here, but I think that there are two aspects to this.
            First, he testifies before the Father, the Son, the assembled angels, and every demon from Hell that you belong to him. He’s the mark of ownership upon you, like a company logo. The fact that he lives inside of you proclaims who you are and whose you are.
            But there’s another aspect to this we need to consider. He testifies to all the above, to be sure, but he also testifies to us. When you feel alone, he’s there to tell you “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” When you’ve committed that sin once again, he tells you “I’ve forgiven your wickedness and will remember your sins no more.”
            And when you feel far away from the Father, he’s the one who puts the word Abba on your lips. Abba. One of the most beautiful words ever uttered. Do you know the history of this word? It’s an Aramaic term that children used to address their fathers. "It connotes tenderness, dependance, and a relationship free from fear or anxiety." (MacArthur again). It was the first words a baby usually uttered, since it’s also the simplest and easiest word an infant can learn: “Ah-bah.” It’s roughly equivalent to “Papa.” And it’s the word Jesus used to address his own Father in his darkest moments before the Cross.
            This is the word the Spirit puts on our lips as we address our Father. Not in flippancy, but in intimacy, closer than a heartbeat, closer than the breath on our lips.
            And he also speaks to us about our inheritance. Remember, as wonderful as he is, he’s the down payment. As God’s adopted children, we’re heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. He wasn’t satisfied with just forgiving our sins and pulling us out of Hell. He names us as his heirs. What belongs to him belongs to us. Of course, for right now we have to go through a little of his suffering, but that only shows that we’re going to share in his glory.
            I can’t wait. Can you?

Papa. Wow. I get to call you that. I’ve got to say it again. Wow. Thank you, Papa. 

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