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.

[June 17]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Satan

John 8:42-44

As I’ve mentioned before, I try to find a sane middle ground between the extremes regarding our Enemy. I don’t look for his direct involvement in everything that goes wrong in my life—If my car breaks down, it’s not necessarily because the Prince of Darkness took time out of his busy schedule to sabotage it. On the other hand, I thoroughly believe that he's alive and well and at work in the world today, and is the immediate cause behind a lot of the destructive lies and evil in the world.

In today’s reading, our Lord was confronting some of the Jews who claimed to follow him (Jesus) but had some very confusing ideas about it. Aside from the main point of the passage, which is the Jews’ rejection of him, there are at least three things we can learn about Satan from what our Lord said about him.

First, Jesus called him a “murderer from the beginning.” What was the basis of this? Whom had Satan killed? The best explanation is that he’s referring to the spiritual deaths of our first parents, which led inevitably to their physical deaths. This doesn’t remove any of their responsibility, but it was initiated by the Adversary. He lured them into his trap, and they walked right in.

Second, he's a liar and the "father of lies." He lied to our first parents (by telling them a partial truth, like he usually does), and all lies in this world can be traced ultimately back to him. He doesn’t care what lie someone believes, as long as it keeps them from the Truth.

Third, people who aren't redeemed by Christ are his (Satan's) spiritual children. I know that this is a hard saying, but only because it’s easy to misunderstand. The Bible doesn’t teach that anyone outside of Christ is a conscious worshiper of Satan and 100% evil. What it does mean is that ever since the Fall, every human being is either a spiritual child of God or a child of the Evil One. The common notion of the universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man is completely contradicted by Jesus' own words here.

So does he actively and personally attack believers? Of course he does: The first two chapters of Job attest to that. And if someone claims that the Enemy is active against their church or in their individual lives, I don’t dismiss it out of hand. But I think that most of the time he works through intermediaries, and someone would have to rate pretty high in importance in order to get his personal attention. But the point is—in the end, it doesn’t really matter. In the practical work of trying to follow Christ in my daily life, whether or not something is a direct attack of Satan doesn’t change a whole lot. All his work needs to be opposed, but the first order of business is to submit myself to God. Then I can resist the Devil and he’ll flee from me.

Lord Jesus, I thank you and praise you that even though we have an Enemy, he is a defeated one. You made a public spectacle of him through the Cross, and your victory is mine.

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