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 22]--Hypocrisy and Honesty

Matt. 7:1-6

In this society, today’s passage might be one of the more popular ones. We’re always told that judging people is wrong, and I’ve actually heard people cite this verse when it’s pretty obvious that this is just about the only verse they know. Jesus’ words against lust or greed are ignored, but we certainly like to pay attention when he condemns a judgmental attitude.

But as usual, we need to look a little closer to avoid misunderstandings. Did Jesus condemn all judging? Does he not want us to discriminate at all between good and evil, between foolish and wise choices, between people who are trying to follow God’s instructions and those who aren’t? If he was telling us this, then that would contradict further instructions later in this very sermon. How could we discern between true teachers and false teachers, between good fruit and bad fruit, and between the path of life and the path of destruction if we forfeit judging altogether?

What Jesus was condemning was a judgmental attitude, which seeks to make ourselves look better by comparing ourselves with sinful people. You might've heard this already, but just in case you didn’t, the word “hypocrite” was a term used for actors in plays. Commonly they didn’t have enough actors to fill every role, so the actors would hold masks in front of their faces to show the audience that they were playing a different character. So in other words, Jesus was calling judgmental people actors. Friend, when you condemn others with this type of attitude, you’re pretending. You’re acting as if you somehow need a little less grace than someone else. It took the blood of the Son of God to cover your sins, and you deserve hell no less than anyone else. We're all guilty before God’s throne of justice, and if he treated us as we deserved, well, you get the idea.

We sometimes forget it or under-emphasize it, but I really believe Jesus has a sense of humor, and it shows in this passage. Come on, isn’t it a funny picture? Can you imagine a man walking up to his friend saying “Hey buddy, let me help you with that speck out of your eye” while he’s sporting a log out of his head? I think our Savior was using humor to make a point. Sins are just like headlights on a car, yours look so much more glaring to me than my own.

This doesn't mean that we don’t come alongside our brothers and point out to them when they’re doing wrong. To avoid that duty is not showing love to them. But that’s the key word: We are to speak the truth in love, not with a prideful attitude that thinks that we’re somehow immune to what they fell into. All of us are in daily need of God’s grace, and none of us deserve it. So despite how some people might abuse and distort this passage, let’s not lose sight of the hard truth here. Don’t ignore the “log” while you’re offering help to someone else’s “speck.”

Lord Jesus, it is so easy to fall into this trap, and so hard to stay out of it. Please keep me mindful of what it took to save me, and help me see others with nothing but love and compassion. Let’s leave the judging up to you, shall we?

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