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 16]--Filling a Void

Matt. 12:38-45

One of the first lessons that students of physics learn is that “nature abhors a vacuum.” This means that when you try to empty a container of air and whatever else is inside it, then something else will try to fill the void. The same principle applies in the spiritual realm as well.

Anyone who reads the Gospels for the first time might be surprised to learn that Jesus’ worst and deadliest enemies were the most religious and zealous people of his day. He never had a problem with the Roman soldiers who lorded it over the nation of Israel, and he certainly didn’t have any major clashes with the overt “sinners” surrounding him. It’s especially strange when you consider that he'd agree with the Pharisees regarding most of their theology. He would've totally agreed with them about the existence of God, of Satan, of angels, of the literal truth of the Torah, and the certainty of a judgment to come.

We’ll get into more into what problems he had with the Pharisees at a later time. But for now, we get a hint of the major conflict which would result in his murder. They wanted to test him, and in complete unbelief they asked him to perform some public miracle—as if he hadn’t done enough already, but one more miraculous sign would've them convinced.

He condemned them for asking for this, and unfavorably compared them to the people of Ninevah and the Queen of the South, both of which saw what God was doing and responded appropriately. But what’s the point of the last part of this passage?

I wouldn’t discount the literal meaning of what Jesus is saying about spiritual forces, but I really think that this would be beside the point. What did the Pharisees represent? Why did they hate Jesus so much? They're the ultimate example of religious reformation without a real relationship (please pardon the alliteration).

Imagine a person who’s involved in a terribly sinful lifestyle. He comes to his senses and realizes that the path he’s on will only lead to destruction. So he reforms his life: He no longer smokes, drinks, or indulges in sexual immorality. But what’s missing? Christ! Is it possible to reform your life on the outside, without a genuine relationship with the Savior? Of course it is! This would describe millions of Muslims all over the world, for example.

But what happens to religion without Christ? The man so described becomes a target for seven worse demons than he had before, so his situation is even worse than before he cleaned up. Why did this happen? Because nature abhors a vacuum. He supposedly got rid of the worst sins in his life, but Christ didn’t come in to fill the void, so something else-- far worse--came in instead.

Devotion to Christ is the most wonderful thing in the world. In fact, it’s what we were created for. But religion without Christ is worse than useless—it’s the most destructive force in the history of mankind, and so of course it’s the most useful tool in the Enemy’s hands. So have you fallen into the trap? Do you have religion or a relationship?

Lord Jesus, you know what I want. I will settle for nothing less than you. Nothing is worth pursuing anyway.

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