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 24]--Peace In The Church

Matt. 18:15-20

I fully recognize that I can be overly obsessive about things like this, but taking things out of context really sets my teeth on edge. How many times have I heard people quote Jesus as saying “And if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself” and then go on to pray “And that’s what we’re going to do here tonight, Jesus. We’re going to lift you up so that you can draw all men to yourself!” The only problem is that they’re pulling that verse kicking and screaming out of context. Look at where Jesus said that, and you’ll see that he’s not talking about “lifting him up” in the sense of praising him, but something else entirely.

The case upon which this passage is based is not quite as bad, but it’s still a good case for reading the context. How often have you heard people say before a church service “Jesus, you promised that where two or three are gathered, you’ll be there in the midst of them. Well, we claim that promise right now.” Now, let me say that you can possibly make a case for claiming the promise when it comes to prayer, based on vs. 19. But what’s the main point here? What’s the big deal about two or three? Why didn’t Jesus say four or five? Is there something significant about the numbers?

Yes! Back in the Torah, God laid out some safeguards against false accusations in court. In order for someone to be convicted of a capital crime, you couldn’t be put to death on the basis of one witness, since that one person might have a vendetta against you, or could be easily bribed. You could only be executed or punished based on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

So what’s the main emphasis here? Church discipline, which is a phrase which has fallen out of fashion here in America, but which is a thoroughly Biblical concept. If there's a major issue arising between church members, or if someone is flagrantly living a disobedient lifestyle, then here’s the procedure. You must try to work out everything between yourself and the other party, and attempt to keep it as private as possible. Then bring in two or three witnesses. Then bring it in front of the church, and if the offender is still not repentant (meaning a change in lifestyle), then as a last resort you expel them from your congregation until they repent. The point of this is not to punish anyone, but to maintain order and peace in the church and to restore and reconcile a brother.

In this atmosphere of individualism and everyone valuing their independence, this might be a strange concept, but it’s vital. Sometimes I need to just look in the mirror and repeat to myself “It’s not all about me.”

Lord Jesus, if I’m doing anything to bring disharmony to your church, if I’m doing anything to drive a brother further away from you, then please point it out. It IS all about you.

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