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.

[Sept 04]--What’s Most Important To Jesus?

Matt. 22:34-40

I’ve always believed that the author of a book is the best interpreter of it. Critics and other readers can debate back and forth about the deeper meaning and symbolism of a novel, but the author is the best person to ask about this.

So when a Pharisee came to Jesus and asked him what was the greatest commandment, the answer should be pretty important to followers of Christ. As the One who wrote the Torah, he’s the best interpreter of it.

Before we delve into his reply, it might behoove us to examine what he didn't say, and compare it to how we might have answered. He didn’t say “Don’t murder.” He didn’t say “Don’t commit adultery” or any other commandment regarding sexuality. His reply didn’t say anything about lying or honoring one’s parents. All of these are important (they made his top ten list, after all), but they’re not the most important commandment.

But his answer is the perfect one, since everything else in the Law falls under one of these two categories. If you love God, you won’t worship idols. You won’t treat his name lightly. You'll obey his commands. You will want to declare his praises and tell others about him. The same goes for the second command: If you love your neighbor, then you won’t murder him, lie to him, or steal from him. More than that, if you love him, you’ll want to tell him about the Savior and how he can be reconciled to God. If he’s a brother in Christ, you’ll be looking out for his interests instead of just your own. And of course my “neighbor” is anyone I come into contact with who needs to be shown God’s love. Paul echoed Jesus on this last point.

By the way, I’ve actually seen this passage used as a witnessing tool, for which I have to give credit to Dr. Sproul. Let’s say that you’re talking to a person who isn’t convinced that he needs a savior: “I’m not that bad a person. I haven’t killed anyone, I haven’t cheated on my wife. In fact, compared to some people out there, I’m a pretty decent guy.” I'd then ask him, “So do you think that’s the most important thing to God? What did Jesus say about that?” I point them to this passage, and ask them, “So do you do that? Can you really say that you love God with everything you have and everything you are?” Of course not. “So this is like coming into a court of law on an accusation of murder. Your plea is ‘Yes your Honor, I did kill that guy. But in my defense, look at my great driving record. And I have been on time every year in paying my taxes.’” In a court of law, murder is much more important than keeping a good driving record. In the same way, you just admitted that in the most important commandment that you just read, which is most important to Jesus, you’ve failed. Of course, this would lead into why God’s standards are much higher than ours, and why we desperately need a Savior.

But on a note to fellow Christians, I’m convicted by this every day. I know that I don’t love him anywhere close to what he deserves. That’s why I need his grace, every day. I’m so glad that his displays of compassion are “new every morning,” aren’t you?

Lord Jesus, your standard is so reasonable, but I fall so far short of it. Please forgive me, and help me. Change my heart, my mind, my soul to what I should be.

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