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 15]--Shrewd as a Snake, Innocent as a Dove

1 Sam. 24:1-22

David has long been one of my favorite heroes in the Bible, and I think I have good reasons for this. He was obviously courageous and trusted in the Lord, as shown in his encounter with Goliath (I wouldn’t call it a “battle”). He was a born leader, as demonstrated by how many people in Saul’s administration admired him and abandoned Saul in a heartbeat in order to join David in exile. He was a loyal friend, as displayed by how he treated Mephibosheth (we’ll discuss that later). But the quality he showed in today’s passage is very rare, and I'd love to have it. I’m not exactly sure what to call it, except a balanced perspective regarding people.

Jesus commanded us to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves," and I love the perfect tension there. But just like with most good qualities in tension, most of us tend to fall off on one side or the other. Many people, especially as they get older, get cynical about human nature. They always expect the worst out of people, and they have a really hard time trusting them. They’ve been disappointed by friends or relatives in the past, and they spend their waning years bitter about it. Others, on the other hand, are hopelessly naïve about human nature. They always want to believe the best about people, and there's a real danger that they’ll trust someone who isn’t worthy of it.

What we need is a biblical perspective. While the Bible tells us that all of us are sinners and fall short of God’s standards, that doesn’t mean that everyone around us never does anything good. We’ll talk about the concept of common grace at another time, but for now we need to realize that even Non-Christians can be influenced by God in a positive way. This means that we need to find a balance between naïveté and cynicism.

In today’s passage this balance was showcased perfectly in the actions and attitudes of David. He had zero respect for Saul as a man, but for David the office of king was totally sacrosanct. He saw government--and the kingship in Israel in particular--as appointed by the Lord, not as a human invention that can be changed when we feel like it. He saw Saul as being directly appointed by God, and as far as he was concerned the only one with the right to remove Saul was the One who put him into power. And obviously he was willing to trust people who deserved it: his close friends and followers, and even the son of Saul.

But when it came to Saul’s character, he wasn't willing to put his trust in the promises of a man like this. Saul had made promises like this before, and his word was worth less than something you scrape off your shoe. Hence the last verse of today’s reading.

I think the key to this is wisdom and guidance. We need the Holy Spirit to give us insight into how to treat people who've hurt us. We must forgive them, which means we hold no ill will towards them and demonstrate sacrificial love towards them. But there may be cases in which someone has a track record of breaking promises. In that case, keep in mind that there's NO command in Scripture to put our trust in someone who’s unreliable. Remember: Shrewd as a serpent, innocent as a dove.

Lord Jesus, in every interaction I have with someone today, please give me your wisdom. Whenever I listen to your voice, everything’s in perfect balance.

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