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.

[Aug 02]--Origins

Luke 1:11-25

One of my favorite characters in the Bible is John the Baptist. We can learn a lot from him, especially from the examples of his life. Jesus himself said that “among those born of women there is no one greater than John,” so probably it'd behoove us to examine him for a few days. The only issue is that his story is scattered among various places in the Gospels, so we have to skip around quite a bit.

Today we’ll look at his origins. Actually, this man’s arrival was predicted several hundred years ago. Mal. 4:5 predicted that “Elijah” would be sent before the arrival of the Messiah, and according to Jesus, Malachi was referring to John.

God had been silent for about four hundred years. It'd been that long since the recorded prophecies of Malachi, and lots of people were waiting for the Messiah to arrive, kill all the Romans, and set up God’s kingdom on earth and thus fulfill all the promises made through the prophets. God finally broke the silence with this man Zechariah, and in a big way.

What do we know about John’s father? He and his wife were godly people, trying to obey God’s law as best they could. But his wife Elizabeth was barren, and they were both past the age of child-bearing. But Zechariah was a priest, and his number had finally come up for him to do his duties in the temple. While he was there, an angel came to announce the birth of Zechariah’s son. And what a son he would be!

He faltered in his faith for a bit, and the angel (speaking as God’s representative) rebuked him and subjected him to a mild punishment. Since he didn’t believe the Lord’s words, he wouldn’t have any of his own until the promise was fulfilled and the son was born.

There are a lot of things promised about this son. He'd be great in the sight of the Lord, he'd be filled with the Holy Spirit from the earliest point in his life, and he'd go on “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” who was considered one of the greatest prophets ever. And what was the ultimate goal here? What was the great purpose in his life? “. . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

So what does this mean for us? What can we draw from this? First, we should know that even though God has seemed to be silent for a while, that doesn’t mean he’s not at work “behind the scenes.” Second, his timing is perfect. Zechariah and Elizabeth had been waiting for years for the Lord to give them a child, and it seemed like it was too late for them. Not so! As this same angel told Mary (when announcing an even more miraculous birth) “Nothing will be impossible with God.” If we just trust him, he'll break into our supposedly hopeless circumstances at just the right time and do something we never expected.

Father God, your timing and purposes are way beyond me, but I need to trust you. With your help, I will.

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