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 20]--Kindness of a Stranger

2 Sam. 9:1-13

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best characteristics David exhibited was his loyalty to his friends, and that’s certainly on display here. What you need to keep in mind is how unusual today’s story was. Most often, once a man ascended to the throne, one of his first pieces of business was to hunt down all the relatives of his predecessor and kill them, especially any male descendants. In fact, this was considered standard procedure, since every relative of the last king (especially a son) was a potential threat.

But David and Jonathan had made specific promises to each other, even going so far as to make a covenant of peace. David had also promised Saul not to wipe out his descendants, but this went much further than that. In the memory of his fallen friend, David sought out a descendant of Saul, preferably a child of Jonathan, on which to shower kindness. Considering the standard procedure, we can thoroughly understand why Mephibosheth was terrified and tried to “suck up” to the king in hopes of having his life spared. Not only was he not killed, but he was elevated to a permanent place of honor before the king. The king also took care to make sure his property was restored, and put Ziba in charge of it. Just to bring the image home even further, the writer says that Mephibosheth "ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons." Basically David was treating him as if he was adopting him into his own family.

It’s a very touching and beautiful story, but it has a deeper meaning for us as Christians. I’ve repeatedly pointed towards the fact that we sometimes suffer for the bad decisions that others make, since we need to accept that as part of life in a sinful world. But we also benefit from the decisions of others as well. I enjoy the blessings of being an American because others were willing to risk--and even give up--their lives. On an infainitely greater scale, every Christian can relate to the concept. I think that Mephibosheth is a wonderful illustration of who we are as believers.

Like him, we deserve nothing from the King. In fact, we have every reason to expect the death penalty. But he shows us grace and kindness beyond our wildest dreams and fantasies. He welcomes us with open arms, honors us far above what we deserve, and gives us a permanent place by his side at his table. He restores our inheritance, and makes sure that we're well provided for. And all of this because of Another.

Father God, you're so good to me. Grace defines every aspect of how you treat me. You take a “dead dog like me” and adopt me as your child. Thank you.

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