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 23]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Because of God’s Ultimate Purpose for Me

Rom. 8:28-30

One of the most popular books in the last few years has been The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I agree with every word. It’s always good for people to understand and strive for their purpose for which they’ve been created. Of course, this concern for one’s purpose is nothing new. Philosophers have long debated the summum bonum, the highest good for mankind.

This brings us to the last major reason why bad things happen in our lives. When I received Christ as my Lord and Savior, everything changed for me. God no longer primarily relates to me as my Judge. Yes, I'll one day give an account to him for what I’ve done in his service, but my sins are all covered and forgiven. He's now my Father, my Savior, my Boss, and my closest friend. So let’s make this clear. He no longer deals with me according to what I deserve but according to what I need.

The problem is that what I think I need and what God knows I need are sometimes two very different things. I think I need a new car. I think I need to get along with my boss better. I think I need more money to pay bills and buy new stuff. There might be nothing wrong with that, but none of that is ultimately what I need.

What do I need? To be more like Christ, in the way I think, in the way I talk, and in the way I act. He will spare no pains to me or to himself to accomplish this goal, to be able to look at me and say “That’s the perfect likeness to my Son.” That's his ultimate purpose, his "goal line" for me.

And how did Jesus learn obedience? Heb. 5:7-9 makes it clear that he learned obedience through eating potato chips and watching TV. Oops, sorry, I read that wrong. It says “he learned obedience from what he suffered.” This doesn’t mean that he was dis-obedient at anytime up till that point; it means that he had never experienced obedience to the fullest extent until the cross. It was there that his obedience to the Father was made complete.

So whatever I need to become more like Christ is what God will bring into my life. I might not understand how he’s using it, but I know why he’s using it. Everything, both good and bad, is being used to conform me to his likeness. In talking about why this process is so painful at times, C.S. Lewis used the illustration of a house. Imagine that you’re a living, breathing house. Jesus moves into the house and starts renovations. You understood all this, since you were pretty run-down before: He fixes the plumbing, repairs the holes in the roof, replaces some broken windows. But then he starts doing something more. He’s banging, sawing, hammering all over the place. He starts adding on new floors, digging up everything in the backyard and putting in a garden, starting a whole new wing on the side. And all of this is so painful as he's cutting off and adding on, and then you start to realize what’s happening. You thought he was going to make you into a nice little cottage, but no. He’s slowly turning you into a palace. He’s a King, and that’s where kings live. And he'll never be satisfied, he will spare no pain or effort to himself or to you, until that happens.

Lord Jesus, I’m ready. Whatever you need to do, whatever you’re asking of me, the answer’s yes.

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