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.

[Jan 30]--Man Supposes and God Disposes

Genesis 50:15-21

One of the longest ongoing debates within the church, at least within the last four hundred years, is God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will. There are verses in the Bible which make it sound as if God is ultimately “behind” everything, leaving out any mention of human decision-making. But there are also verses which emphasize man’s ability to decide for himself whether to follow God or not (every appeal to sinful people to repent implicitly assumes this). The Old Testament especially points out that God is the sovereign Lord over the nations, that he uses leaders almost like puppets to accomplish his will. We’ll get back to this subject at a later time, since this space is too limited to tackle such a huge subject all at once.

This passage, however, gives us points to consider when contemplating how the Lord's sovereignty and man’s free will work together. God planned to save Jacob’s family and several millions of people from starvation by putting Joseph in charge of Egypt. Several years prior to this, the Lord used the sinful decisions of Jacob’s brothers to send him into captivity which would eventually result in Joseph becoming the Prime Minister of the most powerful nation on earth in order to put aside the food necessary to save lives.

On one hand, Joseph attributes his being sent to Egypt ultimately to God. On the other hand, there's absolutely NO indication in scripture that his brothers were somehow “possessed” and did something they didn't desire to do. They gave into their feelings of bitterness and resentment, and they freely chose to sell their own brother into slavery. Humanity is responsible for its sinful choices, and the sovereign Lord uses those choices to fulfill his purposes.

Let's move past the esoteric theological debates and mysteries which we're never going to fully solve. The Bible's a very practical book: Whenever it gives us theological truth, it's doing that in order to bring about a practical change in our thinking and/or our actions. What does this mean for me? It means that YOU are responsible for the choices you make. It also means that the sovereign God can turn something very ugly into something very beautiful. Thomas a Kempis once said that “Man supposes and God disposes,” which means that no matter what we do, no matter how badly we screw things up, we can’t screw up his ultimate purpose. Also it means that while evil people come up with sinful schemes, ultimately he will use them to accomplish his own plans, and they'll accomplish nothing which isn’t sifted through the hand of our loving Father. And it all ends up for his glory and our good. Count on it.

Father, I’m so glad that you’re in charge and I’m not. Help me to trust you.

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