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 12]--Human Help?

1 Sam.17:20-26

I remember the first time I intensely studied 1 Samuel using a guide from Navigators. The guide pointed to the main reason why the Israelites were clamoring for a king (“to lead us into battle”) and then repeatedly, throughout the study, asked “So how was this working out for them?” This was the first of many times in which their desire for a warrior-king turned out not as well as they’d hoped. They were confronted by the Philistines, specifically their champion Goliath. This giant of a man (over nine feet tall) continually stood defiant against Israel. He issued the challenge, and where was the king in whom they had put their trust? On the front lines, standing up to this blasphemous pagan? Um, no.

Along came David, who was only there because his father wanted to bring a care package out to his sons and to get some news of the battle. He overheard the blasphemous giant, and immediately was wondering out loud why no one had killed this guy yet.

The reason I brought this up is to discuss the issue of ultimate trust. As we discussed before, getting a king was not a bad thing in itself. David was obviously a good thing for Israel. But blessings are almost always dangerous, because we tend to put our trust in them instead of the Blesser. He allows us to get ahead a bit financially, and we gradually think that money is our security. He blesses us with a wonderful spouse and family, and we start putting them first instead of our Heavenly Father. He gives us skills and talents, and we forget that he can just as easily take them away. Even the perfect gift of salvation through Christ can be abused when we “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality."

I think I’ve figured this out in my head, but I need to actually start practicing it. When the Father sees that I can handle a certain blessing without it harming me in the end, he’ll give it to me. Do I think he’s somehow stingy, like a miserly old uncle who has to be strong-armed to give me good things? Absolutely NOT! He loves to bless his children, and is looking for excuses to do so. The only thing I need to do is really learn this lesson, but I’m still working on it.

David learned this the hard way. In Psalm 60 he expressed a lot of frustration when God decided to teach his people that armies don’t win battles unless he (the Lord) is behind them. He was finally forced to cry out “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless!" Hopefully we won’t have to get to such desperate times before we learn the same thing.

Lord Jesus, you are my all in all. You know what I need, and I trust you. Please take away any blessing which gets between me and you.

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