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.

[July 15]--Lust and Adultery

Matt. 5:27-30

Of all the commands of the Bible, this has got to be just about the most countercultural. Our whole entertainment industry is largely based upon violating these instructions. When I was in the Army, I got into discussions with other guys about God’s standards for Christian men, and I might as well have been speaking Swahili to them. You’ll find a lot of agreement with nonbelievers when it comes to Christian ethics: don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t commit murder (and even hatred is frowned upon). But when it comes to this, you’ll find almost no one-except for Bible-believing Christians-who'd agree that lusting after women is wrong.

First, I think it would help to clear up some misunderstandings about this. I don’t think that Jesus meant that we can’t appreciate female beauty. If I see a TV show or movie and recognize that the actress is physically attractive, I don’t think that’s wrong. But where does it turn into lust? When I fantasize about what I’d like to do to her if I had the opportunity. I know it’s a well-worn cliché, but it’s still true: There’s a difference between a bird flying over your head and letting it nest in your hair.

Again, does this mean that God equates lust and physical adultery? I don’t think so, for the arguments we made yesterday. But what Jesus is targeting is the mental attitude that leads to actions. Just like there was never a murder that didn’t begin in the heart, there's never been an act of sexual immorality that didn’t begin in the thought-life.

Does this command apply to single guys as well? Sorry gentlemen, the answer is yes. If I’m gazing upon women, even as a single man, how can I claim that I’m respecting them as image-bearers of God? The proper expression of sexual desire is towards your spouse, and if you don’t have one, then you need to seriously consider getting one. That’s why Paul advised singles to marry if they're having trouble controlling their sexual urges.

On a side-note, I’ve actually used this passage as a tool in witnessing. When I’ve been talking to a guy who’s lost, part of the problem is to make him realize that he’s lost. Most people assume that if they haven’t murdered anyone and they’re basically an honest person, they’re all right in God’s eyes. In order to disabuse them of this notion, I’ve shown them this passage, and I’ve had guys look at this and say, “I guess we’re all in trouble [this is the edited version].” And I’ll reply, “Exactly! That’s why Jesus had to die, because none of us can meet his standard!”

This is tough command, and I’ve never met a Christian guy who could claim that he obeyed it all the time. The good news is that our God is compassionate and gracious, and as believers we have access to the strength of the one Man who actually succeeded where we fail. But where it starts is taking our thought-lives seriously. You can’t read this passage and come away with the idea that Jesus doesn’t care about what we’re thinking about. It’s an ongoing battle, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Lord Jesus, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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