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.

[Feb 18]--Valuing Property

Exodus 20:15

When you think about it, this commandment might seem a little out of place with the others. Does this prohibition really belong with the directives against adultery, murder, idolatry, etc? Does this belong in the “Top Ten”? Apparently God thinks so.

And since the Lord considered it important enough to put in his "Top Ten" list, I'd like to point out that our culture specifically denies its importance, especially in our popular culture (TV and movies). Think about it for a moment: How many TV shows and movies glorify thieves, such as pirates, cat burglars, bandits, or bank robbers? How many TV shows and movies present the spoken or unspoken premise that it's OK to steal, as long as it's from people who're wealthier than you? How's about some of our heroes, like Jesse James, or Billy the Kid, or Bonnie and Clyde, or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Because of all the glamour and mystery we've associated with people like this, and since they're normally presented to us as charismatic and attractive rogues, we seem to forget that these men were thieves and robbers, taking stuff that didn't belong to them. It's doesn't really matter whether their targets were people we happen to feel sympathies for or not.

First off, let’s talk about what this commandment does not mean. We need to start with the understanding that everything belongs to God, and ultimately we own nothing--we’re only stewards. This means that the Lord has loaned us things and one day we'll have to give them up and also give an accounting before him about how we used them. Therefore, we don't have a right to do with our possessions as we please, and whatever the Lord desires us to give up for him, we should do so with a smile on our face. Again, we owe him everything and he owes us nothing except judgment.

Nevertheless, although in the ultimate sense we don’t own our property, our property doesn't belong to our neighbors either. With this verse God establishes property rights, at least as far as other people are concerned. This undermines the whole foundation of Marxism/Communism, since Marx claimed that property rights (the idea that your property is your own, not the community’s) are just made-up by rich people in order to exploit poor people. His ultimate goal was to abolish private property, put “the people” (by which he meant the government) in ownership of everything, and then we’ll have paradise on earth. With over 300 million murdered in the name of Communism during the last century, you'd think his ideas are getting harder and harder to defend. Although Communism itself has been largely refuted, its disdain for property rights still runs in the back of a lot of peoples' minds.

On a "micro" level, this is one commandment that most people think they obey, but don’t. We might not have shoplifted or robbed a bank, but how about our relationship with our employers? When we’re on the clock, they own our time. Have we been stealing it by goofing off when we’re supposed to be working? Aren’t we in effect stealing money from them? Someone once told me that every Christian ought to be working as if Jesus himself is signing your paycheck and watching over your shoulder, because he is. This aspect alone is enough to convict me, and I need to be better.

Lord Jesus, I know that your blood covers my sin, but that’s no excuse for being a poor employee. Help me to be the kind of worker who brings honor to you.

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