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 22]--Fear Versus Being Afraid

Psalm 33:16-22

I was planning on talking about the concept of the fear of the Lord yesterday, but in my research I found so much material that I felt I couldn’t even begin to do it justice. As we mentioned yesterday, Moses told the Hebrews that God’s terrifying display was so that “the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” If you read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, you’ll see a lot of references to “the fear of the Lord” or some variation. What does this term mean? Are we supposed to be afraid of God? Is he looking for frightened subjects, people who obey his commands because they’re afraid of punishment?

All you have to do is take a cursory glance at the biblical passages to know that this isn't the case. Of course, there's a major element of obedience to God’s instructions and teachings here. The term is first mentioned in Genesis 20, in which Abraham excused lying to Abimelech because he claimed that “There is surely no fear of God in this place” and he feared for his life. In other words, the fear of the Lord was supposed to cause moral behavior. You can find several other passages in which the concept is linked to obeying God and avoiding sin: Deut 6:2, 31:12, 1 Samuel 12:14, and Job 1:8 among many others.

However, there's an element of intimacy as well. The fear of the Lord is linked in Scripture with loving God, seeking the Lord, rejoicing in God, praising the Lord, hoping in his unfailing love (today’s reading), and seeking his favor. The person who fears the Lord delights in his commands. Eugene Peterson describes it as “a fear that pulls us out of our preoccupation with ourselves, our feelings, or our circumstances into a world of wonder." Ruby Shelly says that it is “Not dread but astonishment. Not terror but reverence. Not shaking-in-your-boots panic, but enraptured-with-love fascination.”

Therefore, there's all the difference in the world between the fear of the Lord and being afraid of God; in fact, you could argue that they’re polar opposites. Being afraid of God would drive you away from him, while the biblical fear of the Lord will drive you towards him. My personal definition would be: reveling in both his immanence and transcendence. That the Lord over the universe, who keeps the planets and suns in their orbits, wants to be as close as the breath on my lips--this should drop me to my knees.

I suggest that you look up Isaiah 57:13 and use it as a springboard for your prayer.

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