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 09]--What Was Wrong With The Pharisees? Part Four

Matt. 23:25-28

\When defending the faith before skeptics and other nonbelievers, one of their favorite charges is “hypocrisy.” A lot of unchurched people, when you ask them why they aren’t attending, will trot out their favored horror story about hypocrisy. And to the degree that it’s true, it’s a serious problem. I once saw a cartoon of a conversation between a Christian and a skeptic, and the skeptic blurted out “I really HATE hypocrisy!” and the believer answered “Well, then you and Jesus have at least one thing in common.”

What do we mean by this word? As we discussed before, it was a term used for the drama stage. Due to the lack of talented actors, directors routinely used the same actor for the same parts. In order to distinguish between different characters, the actor would wear different masks during the play.

A hypocrite isn't someone who says one thing and then fails to live up to his own standards. A hypocrite is a pretender, someone who puts on a show for others. He tries to impress others with how holy he is, how righteous, how close to God. You might be able to impress people, but I assure you that he isn’t impressed.

Does this mean that the Lord doesn’t care about sin, as long as we’re open about it? Um, no. He hates sin. Our sin is what nailed his Son to a cross. But what’s the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous? “Admit you have a problem.” It’s the same in our relationship with God. As long as we pretend that everything is fine, nothing can be done.

We probably understand the image of the cup and dish, but what about the simile of a tomb? Jews took great care not to touch dead bodies unnecessarily, since it made them unclean. So they'd paint tombstones white so that people could avoid them. That was what he wanted them to understand: To the world outside they were beautiful, but to the Lord their hearts were “full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” If you've ever had to deal with a dead body, you know how much a disgusting stench it gives off after just a few days. That's how disgusting hypocrisy is before the all-seeing Judge.

I could be wrong, but I think that this is a greater danger as a Christian gets more mature in the faith. The Lord starts to remove some of the more blatant sinful habits, such as drunkenness, sexual immorality, and filthy language. But as the believer starts to improve in these areas, it’s easy for him to forget that God is just as concerned, if not even more so, with the condition of our hearts.

That’s why it’s so vital to spend time sitting at the feet of our Lord Jesus every day, asking him to point out the areas that need work. He's the ultimate heart specialist, and dealing with our problems from the inside-out is his specialty.

Lord Jesus, no more pretending. I wasn’t fooling you, anyway. Please forgive me, and cleanse me from the inside-out. Thank you for your promise to do this.

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