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 24]--Accusations and Grace

2 Sam. 12:1-14

I've got to nominate Nathan as one of the bravest and wisest men in Scripture. He was called to a job that no one would've volunteered for: Personally confront and accuse the King of wrongdoing and call him to account. Although David was a good man and was theoretically under the Law, you never could tell in situations like this. One word from David could make his life very unpleasant and short.

You also have to admire his tactical approach. I remember reading a book about persuading people, and it emphasized that telling a story can lower someone’s defenses like nothing else. His allegorical fiction had its intended effect: David was furious with the offender who had stolen the beloved lamb. His hypocrisy was striking—he was all bent out of shape over stealing an animal, when he himself was guilty of stealing an innocent man’s wife and life. Don’t you think it would make a great scene in a movie: Nathan points his finger at David and exclaims “You are the man!”

I’ve mentioned before that the preceding chapter was the low point for David, but this is a turned corner for him, and his nobler qualities start shining through. Think about all the responses that he could've made. He didn’t threaten Nathan to silence, he didn’t plot and arrange murder #2, and best of all, he didn’t make any excuses for his behavior. Notice the huge difference between David and Saul when confronted by a prophet in 1 Sam. 13:1-11. Saul coughed up a list of excuses for his disobedience, and God was most definitely not impressed. When Nathan brought David face-to-face with his sin, the next words out of his mouth were “I have sinned against the Lord.” No denials or excuses. Just straight up confession and (implied) repentance.

And please note the next words out of Nathan’s mouth: “The Lord has taken away your sin.” And where did that sin go? It didn't just disappear into the ether. Where did the Lord take it? As New Testament believers, we know that his sin (along with yours and mine) was placed upon the Lord Jesus on the cross and was judged there.

David had committed two crimes worthy of the death penalty under the Law (adultery and murder), but he'd been pardoned. But notice the second half of the pronouncement: He'd been forgiven by the Lord, but would still have to bear some earthly consequences for his sin. This story illustrates the perfect balance in Scripture. 1 John 1:9 is one of my favorite promises in the Bible, and it’s very clear: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Theoretically, I could pull out a gun, shoot a man dead, and then ask God to forgive me, and he will. What the Lord does not promise, however, is to spare me from the electric chair or prison. In fact, I can expect quite the opposite. Forgiveness from God is free for the asking, but the earthly consequences might affect me for a lifetime.

So today’s reading has messages for two groups of people. If you think God could never forgive that sin, look at David and take heart. If you're tempted to sin just because you know God’s grace will cover it, look at David and take a step back.

Father, thank you for the full, free forgiveness I have in Christ. Lord Jesus, your precious blood saves from wrath and makes me pure. The words "thank you" seem so inadequate, so let me demonstrate it with my life.

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