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.
[June 16]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Sin
Several years ago, there was a book that came out which was all the rage for a while. It was When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, and his final conclusion was that God isn't really omnipotent, that he really doesn’t have control over everything, and that although he'd love to prevent all the suffering in the world, he physically can’t. I have a serious problem with that, since the Bible clearly says that he's capable of anything he desires. And I have another problem, and it’s with the title itself. There is a sense in which there are “good” people in a relative way. To say that there's no moral distinction between Mother Theresa and Hitler is nonsense, and the Bible doesn’t teach that. Even the first couple of chapters of Job make no sense if God couldn’t make any distinction between Job and the rest of humanity when he pronounced his initial verdict on the man’s lifestyle.
But the Bible clearly teaches that in an absolute sense there's no such thing as a “good” person. If I compare myself with Hitler, I come out looking pretty good. When I compare myself with Jesus, however, not so much. Unfortunately, God’s standard is not “better than Hitler.” His standard is his Son. His standard is perfection. His standard is to love him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Would anyone care to claim that they do that all the time? Any hands raised?
Over the next few days we’re going to discuss all the different reasons why there's suffering in this world, but you could argue that sin is the root of all of it. We were created to live in perfect harmony in a perfect world with a perfect God, and we screwed it up. We had work before the Fall, but it was supposed to be all pleasant work and activity. The “thorns and thistles” in today's reading tell us that sin doesn't introduce work, but futility and frustration to our work. We were created to live forever, and now the grave is our destiny.
As my pastor once pointed out, you’ve never physically seen anything not tainted by sin in some degree. You’ve never seen a person, a family, a church, a business, a government, or a nation not tainted by sin. It’s infected everything around us, and we live and breathe in it so much we don’t even notice it. Just like fish would have no word for “water” because it’s all they know, all we know is a sin-wrecked world.
But as Pogo once put it, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.” I can blame our first parents all I’d like, but my greatest problem is me. When I decide to disobey my Father, I add to the problems in this world. The good news is that God isn’t done with this world yet, and he’s not done with me. Both of us are works in progress, and when he completes his work on us, we’ll both be works of art, true masterpieces.
Lord Jesus, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Please change me. I want to hate nothing but sin and love nothing but you.