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.

[Mar 13]--Outside Versus Inside Dangers

Numbers 25:1-9

The story of Balaam and Balak is actually one of the more humorous in Scripture. Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel for him, and the Lord took over the prophet’s mouth five separate times and turned his intended cursing into blessings. The heart of his problem is stated in 23:8-“How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?” A frontal attack on them, through physical or magical means, would never work. The Lord had declared that these people were under his protection, and as long as that was so, nothing could touch them.

The humor ends in chapter 25, however. The Moabites (along with the Midianites) seduced the sons of Israel into sexual immorality and idolatry, and “the Lord’s anger burned against them.” In fact, he sent a plague against them which claimed 24,000 lives. It only ended when the zeal of a man named Phineas placated the Lord’s anger.

Was the seduction by the Moabites planned out, or was it a coincidence that this happened right after Balak (the king of Moab) failed with Balaam’s magical attempt? Nope. Read 31:1-16, and note carefully the last verse. Apparently what Balaam failed to accomplish in his crude attempt to curse Israel, he succeeded in doing by turning the people against the Lord and the Lord against his people. A frontal assault didn’t work, but a more subtle attack (from the inside-out) caused much more damage. He initiated the plan to seduce Israel into idolatry and sexual immorality, and thus he separated Israel from God's protection.

I think that this is a vital lesson for the church in America today. Let me start by saying that I believe that spiritual warfare is real. There is a real person named Satan, he has minions, and he can (in certain circumstances) attack believers and what God is doing through them. I believe he's behind most of the persecution of the church abroad. I also believe that sometimes he's capable of physical assaults on individual believers. Here in America, however, he has a much more subtle approach. He slips into our lives through laziness, or materialism, or sexual immorality. I think the main weapon in his “arsenal,” against the church in America, is spiritual apathy. He doesn’t attack us, so much as distract us. By turning us against our Savior in our personal lives, the church is rotted within like a hundred-year old large Oak that looks magnificent on the outside but inside is eaten up by termites.

Will it take a wave of persecution to wake up the church? I hope not. I know that the Holy Spirit is fully capable of bringing revival into our personal lives, which will spill out into church-wide renewal. I also know that whatever he has to do to get our attention, he will do. He loves us too much to do anything less.

Spirit of Holiness, change me. Please do your work of burning off of me anything that doesn’t look like Jesus. When the enemy is starting to make headway in my life, show it to me and give me the strength I need to make the tough choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment