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 24]--Corporate vs. Individual Responsibility

Joshua 7:1-5, 16-26

I love being an American, and I’m proud of being one. I love our culture and our history, and I’m eternally grateful for the influence Christianity and the Bible have had on us. That said, there are some things that drive me crazy about it. We're just now starting to live up to our ideals when it comes to race, and we certainly haven’t always lived up to God’s standards when it comes to politics or our popular culture.

Another thing about our American culture and background that is a definite hindrance is individualism. Our whole nation started off by saying to the Mother Country “You can’t tell US what to do!!!” Our Constitution is very careful about the rights of the individual, and our private marketplace is geared towards catering to individual wants and needs. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with this, and I’m VERY grateful for the freedom I have to worship, speak, vote and buy products for me and my family.

The Bible certainly addresses the individual. Each one of us will have to give an individual account of ourselves to the Lord. When I stand before the judgment seat of the Lord Jesus, I won’t be able to hide behind the “everyone was doing it” excuse, and the Lord'll be looking at my individual hard work for reward for reward as well. The Bible certainly takes a dim view of the “victim” mentality which is so common in our society: “I had bad parents, so I’m not responsible for my sin.”

On the other hand, the Bible also deals with corporate responsibility, and this is a very foreign concept to a lot of American Christians. Every believer is a part of the Body of Christ. If you have access to a Bible software program which can look up words or phrases, go ahead and count how many “one another” passages there are in the N.T.: We're called to love one another, encourage one another, hold each other accountable, forgive one another, etc. Any concept of a personal relationship with Christ which excludes being part of the Body is completely alien to the Bible. As someone pointed out to me a long time ago, you can't say that you love the Savior and hate his Bride.

What does this mean? We’ll look at some more applications about being in the Body later on, but for now, we need to remember that ultimately there's really no such thing as “private sin.” My sin affects you, and vice-versa. My spiritual victories help you, and vice-versa. My close walk with Christ (or lack thereof) will help or hinder you. In today’s passage, one man’s sin brought defeat right after the incredible victory in Jericho. When they got rid of the sin in their midst, the victories returned. This isn't meant to encourage a judgmental attitude towards people in our congregations, but it should drive us to the Lord, asking him to examine our hearts and to help us take sin a lot more seriously than we do. The author of Hebrews commands us to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.”

Father God, help me be on the lookout. There are brothers and sisters all around me who need encouragement. Please use me as a tool in your hand.

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