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.

[Apr 05]--Open Doors

Ruth 4:13-22

I remember taking an Intro to Missions class in seminary, and I really enjoyed it. One of the major sections of the class was the biblical basis for international missions. Of course, a lot of Christians are familiar with “the Great Commission” found in the last three verses in Matthew, and there’s some type of worldwide mandate to spread the Good News in every one of the Gospels, and of course this theme runs throughout Acts and the Epistles. God’s plan to redeem people out of every nation is found on almost every page in the N.T. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that God’s plan for bringing all the nations back to himself is found in many places in the Old Testament as well, starting with Genesis 12:1-3. The Lord desires people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and nations to be adopted (as equals) into his family, and the Gospels are not the first place he’s displayed this desire.

Ruth came from Moab, which was one of Israel’s worst enemy in the book of Numbers, and was responsible for thousands of Hebrews dying under God’s judgment (remember Balaam?). But as we saw with Rahab, God always stood with open arms for any Gentile who would sincerely turn to him.

Our Savior certainly didn’t come from an all-Jewish ancestry. The happy couple in Ruth married and produced Obed, who was the grandfather of David, through whom the Messiah eventually came. And anyone who thinks that the Jewish people were somehow more righteous than Gentiles hasn’t read the Old Testament: It’s filled with page after depressing page about how bad Israel was acting.

I wonder sometimes if we fall into this trap of ethnocentrism without even realizing it. I mean, hopefully most of us have gotten past racism as far as Black/White relations are concerned, and it’s hard to ignore the explosion of the Church in the East-Asian world, such as in Korea. In fact, there are more non-white than white Christians in the world. But what about the Arab world? Have we written them off? “They’re all Muslims, and they’re closed-minded, they’re terrorists, and they’re hardened to the Gospel.” It is true that the most under-evangelized sections of the world are in the NAME area (North African, Middle East), but one of the most under-told stories of the last few decades has been the rise of the Church among Arabs and other traditionally Muslim peoples. It’s been largely unknown partially because the church there has to be mostly underground: Most Muslim majority countries outlaw the propagation of the Gospel, and have severe penalties for any converts to Christianity from Islam. But just because it's not in the headlines, that doesn't mean the Lord isn't doing incredible work in those areas. He is.

So do we really believe that God doesn’t want anyone to perish and all to come to repentance, or are we going to let our prejudices and (justified) anger at terrorism blind us? Is our heart in tune with our Father’s?

Father God, your desire is to finally give your Son his inheritance, the nations of the world. What can I do to help make that happen?

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