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 20]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Our Bad Decisions

Prov. 19:3

From reading the book of Job, you might've gotten the impression that people are just puppets, manipulated by spiritual forces (by Satan and ultimately by God) which are invisible and yet irresistible. There are several passages in Scripture besides that one which make it look like the Lord decides everything and we really don’t have any choices or decisions to make.

I don’t know the details about how God is involved in every situation, but the Bible definitely does not teach that we’re only puppets or pieces on a chess board. He created us in his image, so we have intellect and some degree of choice in what we do.

I really think that today’s reading explains a lot in this world. People make really bad and self-destructive decisions in life, and then they look for someone else to blame when the bill comes due. For example, you'll find no one who's less a fan of cigarettes than I am—they’re nasty and smelly and I'd never touch one. But for someone to smoke for several years and then sue the cigarette companies? Or how about the infamous case of the woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap and sued the McDonald’s who served it to her from its drive-thru window? People like that have some sympathy from me, but I can’t get on board for what they’re doing.

But even worse than blaming corporations for our bad decisions is blaming God for them. He’s done everything short of sky-writing his message, and people ignore it. They start dating someone who's clearly not a good match for them, and end up marrying them. The marriage fails, and they blame the Lord for their troubles. Or they make some really bad financial decisions, and wonder why they have trouble paying the bills every month.

I’ve been guilty of this myself. One of my faults is procrastination, and I’ve lost more than one car because I didn’t maintain it as I should have. I’m on my way to work or an important appointment, and it suddenly breaks down, and I get mad at God!

Friend, there might be spiritual forces at work in your life. It’s possible that the Enemy is attacking you, or God is specifically getting your attention because of rebellion you need to turn away from. But before you delve too deep into those potential causes, how about you look first at some more mundane reasons, like bad decisions you’ve made? How’s about joining me in boycotting the blame game?

Father, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life, and I can’t blame anyone else for them. I know you’ve forgiven me, but I don’t want to repeat them. Please give me wisdom and the courage to do what I know I need to do.

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