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 19]--Hidden Treasure

Matt. 13:44-46

I’m a dog lover, and I have been since I got my first one at ten years old. I’ve always had small dogs, and my wife and I got our first one about a year into our marriage. We rapidly expanded our family to another dog and two cats for our home. I love coming home to the dogs, since no matter what type of day I’ve had, no matter how many people I’ve disappointed, I’m suddenly a rock star when I walk through the door.

But there’s one really nasty habit they picked up, and I didn’t see it coming since this was the first time I’ve had dogs and cats in the same house. Apparently, dogs love cat poop. Yes, you read that right. They raid the litter box every time they have access, and their breath advertises it. To us that stuff in the box is nastiness incarnate, but to them it’s buried treasure.

The reason I bring this up (and I apologize if you were reading this while eating something) is because it certainly illustrates that one man’s treasure is another man’s um. . . well, you get the idea. The problem is that people spend their lives searching for things that won’t satisfy. They invest their time, their talents, and their treasure in things that will one day be dust and ashes. You might have laughed just now at my dogs’ antics, but how foolish are the choices you’re making?

Jesus, in today’s passage, compared the Kingdom of Heaven to two different things, but the images are meant to convey the same idea. Whatever I give up in service to my King, it’s worth it. This doesn’t contradict in the slightest the teaching about salvation by grace through faith. But he does call us to give up on ourselves, to surrender our old way of life when we come to him. He invites us to come to him as we are, but part of receiving him is repentance, which means we commit ourselves to doing things his way from now on.

But whatever he calls us to give up for him, it’s not really a sacrifice, at least not in the end. The man who discovered the treasure in the field (like finding a gold mine on some property) would look like a fool in paying so high a price, but he wouldn’t look at it that way. The same goes for the merchant who discovered the valuable pearl: He considered everything he had to be a small enough price to pay for it.

Throughout history, both in the Bible and outside it, there's never been anyone who gave up something for the Lord who ended up regretting it in the end. And the reverse is true as well: There'll come a day when we'll regret the opportunities we squandered. Like my dogs, we all tend to make some poor choices in what we consider treasure.

Lord Jesus, whatever you ask of me, it’s worth it. You will never end up being a debtor to anyone. Please help me to trust you, to see with eternity coloring my choices.

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