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 05]--Crisis of Faith

Matt. 11:1-15

John the Baptist was never a man to mince words. He never would've made it to high political office, since he never was one to use sugary phrases to flatter people. He saw people living disobedient lives (who should've known better) and he spoke out against them. But what if the sinner in question was a person in power, even a king? John couldn’t have possibly cared less. When Herod was living in sin with his brother’s wife, the man of God didn’t hesitate in preaching against it in public. And what was John’s reward for his integrity, his willingness to “tell it like it is”? Well, Herod didn’t exactly react like David did.

The question to ask before we go any further is “Was John sending the disciples to Jesus for his own sake, or for the sake of his disciples?” The question they were sent to ask was pretty shocking on its face. John himself had proclaimed that Jesus was "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world," and had seen the Father and the Holy Spirit both publicly endorse Jesus at his baptism. So was he going through a crisis of faith, or was he simply doing this to strengthen the faith of his own disciples?

I want to be perfectly fair here and say that there are a lot of biblical scholars and teachers who disagree with me about what I’m about to say. Many men, whom I respect greatly, claim that the only reason why John sent his followers to Jesus was to help them in their faith, not his. They claim that it’s an insult to the man to think that he ever faltered in his belief. But I have to respectfully disagree. After performing miracles and preaching the good news, Jesus told John’s disciples to go back to their leader and report to him what they had seen and heard. To me this is evidence that John was wavering in his faith.

And to say this is not to cast aspersion on him, since he'd be in really great company. David certainly had doubts, if the Psalms are any indication. Abraham, the father of all who believe, didn’t show 100% trust in the Lord at all times. I'd submit that every believer, or at least most of us, go through periods of doubt in our walk with the Lord. When times are really tough and every indication is that he's abandoned us, it’s pretty common to question his goodness and plan.

But John did what we need to do when experiencing doubt. He went to the Lord about it. That’s what the doubting Psalms do: They go to him with our fears, uncertainties, anger, and even doubt. We have to talk to him about our feelings. Don’t pretend they don’t exist.

And notice how Jesus responded. He didn’t castigate or harshly condemn. He simply pointed the doubter back to what God was doing and who he (Jesus) was. In fact, he gave John a huge compliment in public. John was not a “reed swayed by the wind,” someone who'd change his message to fit opinion polls. He wasn't distracted by the lure of creature comforts. He stood in front of a king who could order his death in a heartbeat and called him out. And Jesus was extremely pleased with him. So doubts don’t have to disqualify us from faithful service which our Father smiles upon. If you’re going through some doubts right now, these are some good lessons for us to take to heart.

Father God, I know I need to trust you completely, and I really shouldn't doubt you at all. Please help my unbelief, and help me to be faithful. I'd love to someday hear you say the same things about me that you said about your servant John. With your help, it can happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment