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 22]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? My Parents

Ex. 34:6-7

We’ve discussed this controversial point before, but no overview of why bad things happen in the world would be complete without talking about this subject. One of the things I love about America is what Dennis Prager calls the “unimportance of blood.” In older Europe, indeed in all other parts of the world (other than America) and throughout history, your lineage influenced or even outright determined your station in life. If you were born of royal or noble blood, then that meant a lot. If you were born into the “common” class, or “untouchable” class in India, or serf class in Russia, you'd likely be held back from advancing beyond your station. It didn’t matter nearly as much how smart you were, how ambitious you were, or how talented you were.

Not so in America, at least in theory. We don’t have an official “royal” class, and most of the time we couldn’t care less who your grandfather was. As someone once pointed out to me years ago, if Bill Gates approached a homeless man and offered him a thousand dollars to kiss his feet, the street person would likely tell Gates to go a certain warm place! Despite all its lingering problems with race and other issues, I love how this land is an unparalleled opportunity to advance as far as your talent, ambition, and inclinations take you.

But in emphasizing the “unimportance of blood,” perhaps we've gone to the other extreme. Who you are is influenced a lot by where you came from. Either consciously or unconsciously, you're to some degree working out of traditions which were handed down to you. By not even acknowledging this, by not even noticing the family traditions, both good and bad, you’re likely going to be even more swayed by them than if you took them into account.

I don’t want to recount our past discussion about passages like this one, but let’s stipulate that the Lord, in some mysterious way, allows or even perpetuates blessings or curses on families. Is this because he’s capricious or cruel? Let me answer that question with a question. Does that sound like the God of the Bible to you? Of course not.

There are some things to keep in mind when talking about this. First, remember that one of the effects of sin, which God in his wisdom hasn't chosen to erase, is that your sin brings consequences on others, especially on those you care about. This doesn't mean that he's sending anyone to hell because of the sins of their parents or ancestors. Each one of us will give an individual accounting to him one day.

The other thing to remember, as I mentioned in yesterday’s reading, the decisions of others can benefit us as well as help us. Finally, please focus on the fact that in Christ each of us has a new beginning. When we're redeemed by his precious blood, he declares us a new creature in Christ, and the old has gone and the new has come. You might be influenced by the decisions of your parents, but you don’t have to be bound by them. Freedom in Christ—it’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Lord, you're the perfect Father to me. You always give me the perfect balance of discipline, grace, mercy, and love. Thank you Jesus, that your mercies are new every morning.

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