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 30]--The “Bad” Son and The “Good” Son

Matt. 21:28-32

I’ve heard the job of a preacher is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” There’s a lot of truth in that, and our Lord certainly followed that pattern here. It’s a short little parable with a lot of meaning, and it has something to say to various kinds of people.

Now to those of us who profess belief in God, who claim to trust in Christ, it shines the spotlight on our lives. We might've started out well, at least in the outward appearance. When we came to faith in Christ, we pledged ourselves to follow him, to obey him, to “go and work today in the vineyard.” What happened to our commitment? I don’t know about you, but this is some tough love that I need to hear. Jesus is not impressed with promises that we make, only with the follow-through.

But the story also has a word of comfort to others as well. Is there, in the back of your mind, the question “Will he really forgive that?” Yes, he will. When we get to glory someday, we’ll meet some murderers, two of which you might've heard of: David, and Paul. They had innocent blood on their hands, and the Lord not only forgave them but restored them and used them mightily in his Kingdom. No matter what we’ve done, if we just confess and give ourselves over to him, he’ll do the same for us as he did for them.

I guess if there is one unifying message from this parable, it’s this: "What matters is NOW." Not the promises you made yesterday, nor the sin you committed yesterday. All of us have made promises to him we haven’t kept, and all of us need forgiveness, most of us on a daily basis. We need both his forgiveness and his strength to do better, TODAY.

Another ironic thing is that the pattern he noted continues today. The religious people, the upstanding citizens, the family-devoted, all tend to perceive Jesus’ offer of forgiveness with less than outstanding enthusiasm. “I mean, I really don’t quite deserve hell, do I? I’ve never murdered anyone, I’ve never cheated on my wife, I’ve never even cheated on my taxes.” But when it comes to criminals, those who really have killed people, or stolen from people, or who sold drugs, or did things which aren’t mentioned in polite company, they have a huge advantage when it comes to receiving Christ. There's no way to fool themselves into thinking that everything is fine with them. They’re sinners under God’s wrath, and they know it. Not that they need Christ any more than the religious man or the law-abiding man, but they at least can see their need better.

We all need his grace, his mercy, his power. He wants us to commit to him, to surrender to him, to place ourselves under his authority. TODAY. If you haven't done that yet, or aren't sure if you have, please read this.

Lord Jesus, that really applies to me. I'm so glad that your mercies are new every morning. Please help me to live up to what I promised, and I desperately need you to help me to do that.

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