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 27]--Listening To Your Enemies

2 Sam. 16:5-14

Lately there have been a number of books which are on the forefront of what's called the “New Atheism.” These are atheist “evangelists” who aren't satisfied with disbelieving in God themselves. They spend time, money, and resources to convince other people to abandon theism. Of course, in America, their main target is Christianity, since that’s the religion that most people claim as their own. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Samuel Harris, and others have written bestselling books which tell us why belief in God is not just irrational, but harmful and a retardant on our growth into civilized beings.

I’ve listened to several debates between Hitchens and theists (mostly Christians), and I find them fascinating. The thing I find most amusing is his claim boasting that HIS arguments are going to bring down Biblical Christianity like the house of cards it is. The funny part is that he’s presenting them as new arguments, which they’re definitely not. The church has been under assault from these exact same attacks for over 2,000 years, and I don’t think that this man (or any other) is going to come up with the unanswerable point that’s going to cause it to collapse, especially since he isn’t saying anything new.

The reason I bring it up is because I think that listening to his arguments is healthy (for the most part), not harmful. I think it’s good to listen to our enemies. Most of what they say is utter garbage, but some of what they say might be valuable. All of us are subject to self-deception at times, and the church might even be talking past the rank-and-file Non-Christian because of ignorance of what they’re thinking.

Is there a biblical precedent for my thinking on this? Why, yes there is.

Even in the midst of a life-threatening crisis, David knew this principle. He was on the run from his own son, who was trying to steal the kingdom from him and was presumably looking to take his father’s life. While on the march, a man named Shimei cursed him in the name of the Lord. David’s followers in loyalty wanted to silence the man permanently, but David forbade them from doing so. He believed that God might have incited him to make these accusations, and that the jury was still out on whether the Lord was still with David or not. In other words, even his enemy’s taunts might have enough truth in them so he didn't want to dismiss them out of hand.

How do we distinguish the true from the false when examining what our enemies are saying? The same way we examine everything else—we hold it up to the light of God’s word. When someone's criticizing us, either as an individual believer or as a representative of the church, we ought to prayerfully listen and be able to pick out the bad from any solid points they might be making.

Lord Jesus, when someone is hurling an accusation against me, help me to listen, because your voice just might be behind it.

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