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 25]--It Just Doesn’t Matter

Joshua 24:14-15

When studying the Bible, there are three words which are extremely important: context, context, and context. It's so easy to yank a verse or passage, kicking and screaming, out of its context and make it say what you want to say. This is why it’s always important to check the context in any sermon or Bible study lesson, and it’s also important to read your entire Bible over a long period of time. This is so you’ll be more inoculated against some of the nonsense which passes for biblical hermeneutics out there.

I’ve seen bumper stickers and wall plaques which are based on today’s passage. Basically they go like this: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” It certainly is a great thought and noble commitment, and I applaud the idea behind it. The problem is that it leaves out a lot of the intervening passage, and by excluding those words the reader will miss out on a very profound insight, and he’ll misunderstand the point that Joshua is trying to make.

The plaque on the wall makes it sound like Joshua was inviting his listeners to choose whom they will serve, whether to serve the Lord or serve idols, and I don’t think that’s what he’s trying to convey. Read the whole passage again, with all the words. Here’s Keith’s paraphrase: “I’m calling on you to follow the Lord, throw away your idols, and obey his Law. But IF following the Lord is something you don’t want to do, then pick your god. You can pick the gods that your forefathers served in Abraham’s time, or you can pick a god that’s worshiped by the Canaanites. But as for me and my house, we’re serving the Lord.”

This kind of changes the meaning from the wall plaque, doesn’t it? What this is teaching us is that IF the Lord isn’t our God, then it doesn’t really matter all that much what is. It might be an obvious vice like drugs or alcohol abuse or misuse of sex. It might also be a false god like Buddha or Nature or Allah (as the Muslims worship him), or it might just be being a nice person who tries not to hurt anybody. It might even be a false view of Jesus, like the one worshiped by the L.D.S. church. Let me reiterate and emphasize this: If the God you worship is not the God of the Bible, then it really doesn’t matter what or whom you worship. In the long run, no idol is any better than any other idol.

To me this means that I need to make sure that the Jesus I worship is the Jesus of the Bible, not one whom I made up. It also means that I need to share the Good News about Christ with “bad” sinners as well as “nice” sinners who pay their taxes and who love their family. In fact, the drug-addicted prostitute or murderous felon might be even more open to the Good News than religious people. It certainly was the case while Jesus was walking around.

Lord Jesus, there is no room both for you and for any idols in my heart. Please do some house-cleaning. Please.

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