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 13]--Sheep and Goats

Matt. 25:31-46

For many years now, Christians have been accused of not caring about the poor. “All you care about is saving their souls, while they’re starving to death!” is the cry. This is sometimes a bogus charge, but not always. To any degree that it’s true, however, it’s a failure to read and obey our Bibles. Jesus was concerned about the whole man: body, soul, and spirit (or however you designate the parts of us). He taught and preached, but he also looked out for physical needs as well. This doesn’t mean that every church is meant to become a food-bank and homeless shelter, but it does mean we need to take passages like today’s very seriously.

To be fair, there are Bible teachers, whom I respect, who think that this passage applies only to the End Times. At the end of days, they say, Israel will be persecuted as never before, and Jesus will judge the people who lived during that time as to how they treated the Jewish people (“these brothers and sisters of mine”). There is a case which can be made for that interpretation, but I think the point should be expanded to today as well.

By the way, this is a textbook case of the need to take the entire Bible in context and to use other hermeneutical skills. If you just had this passage to go on, then you could easily come to the conclusion that the way to get into heaven is by taking care of the poor. That’s why we have the book of Romans: To tell us explicitly how to get back into a right relationship with God. The point of this passage is not to tell us how to deal with our sin problem, but to tell us how the Lord expects his children to live. We show our spiritual parentage in how we act. God’s children should always be on the outlook for opportunities to serve Christ by serving others.

Now, literally, is every poor person a “brother” of Jesus? No. The Bible plainly teaches that no one is naturally born into God’s family. We're all born as spiritual children of Satan until we're adopted into Jesus’ family. But in as much as we display Christ’s love in practical ways to those in need, Jesus counts it as doing it for him and unto him.

Michael Card has a beautiful song about this issue: “Distressing Disguise.” He says “Every time a faithful servant serves/ a brother that’s in need/ What happens in that moment is a miracle indeed/ As they look to one another in an instant it is clear/ Only Jesus is visible/ for they’ve both disappeared. . . In his distressing disguise/ He hopes that we realize/ That when we take care of the poorest of them/ We’ve really done it to him.” Here's the whole song for your edification.

So how is Jesus in “disguise” around you? What opportunities has he given to you to serve him?

Lord Jesus, there is so much need in the world, and I’m only one man. I know you don’t expect me to solve all the hunger problems in the world, but there are people you cause to cross my path everyday, who need to be shown your love in a physical act of service. Please give me a servant’s heart, please give me a heart like yours.

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