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 20]--Valuing God’s Providence

Exodus 20:17

If you needed any more proof that God is concerned with our heart-attitudes instead of just our outward actions, this verse should provide it. Webster’s Dictionary defines covet as “to have an earnest wish to own or enjoy,” and God apparently considers it important enough to include it in his “Top Ten.”

Again, we need to start by making sure we understand what this commandment is not saying. It’s not necessarily wrong to desire better things or to improve your situation. It’s not necessarily wrong to desire to make more money and have a better standard of living. Any parent should desire to provide well for their families, and anyone who believes that enjoying the finer things in life is wrong is flirting with Asceticism (remember our discussion on it?). God created a good world, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it, as long as we don’t let its pleasures distract us from him.

The key to understanding is the rest of the verse: We're forbidden to covet anything that belongs to our neighbor. This isn't forbidding a simple desire to improve one's life; it’s forbidding envy. This commandment warns against looking at what we have and enviously comparing it with what our neighbor has.

Why is this attitude so wrong? There are at least two reasons I can think of. First, it shows a complete disregard for God’s providence in our lives. He's been so gracious and generous in providing us with not only what we need (air, food, water, shelter), but he showers us with blessing after blessing. Like David in the 23rd Psalm, we ought to recognize that our “cup overflows." Unfortunately, all too often we're not like David; we're more like spoiled children who whine and complain and bang our spoons on our high chair that somehow our neighbor has it better: "It's not FAIR!!!"

The second reason is because when we disobey this command, we’re betraying the fact that we’ve lost the eternal perspective. Someone once told me, “When times are really tough, remember that this is as close to hell as you’re ever going to get. When you see a lost man, remember that this is the only heaven he'll ever see.” How can I even try to imagine the glory to come, what my Savior has in store for me, and still whine and cry over things which will one day be dust and ashes? I am a co-heir with Christ. I think that bears repeating in big capital letters: I AM A CO-HEIR WITH CHRIST. I think I need to start living like one.

Father, I can’t believe that you would not only forgive my sin, but make me a co-heir with your Son. When my mouth is about to utter any complaints about how you're treating me, please turn it into praise and gratitude. 

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