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.

[Oct 02]--The True Light

John 1:6-9

These verses are mostly about John the Baptist, and since we studied his life back in August, so we won’t spend a lot of time on him here. There’s a special phrase at the end of the passage, however, which I’d like to focus on: “The true light that gives light to everyone. . .”

Now there are different ways to interpret this phrase, so let’s try to narrow down the possibilities. What type of “light” is he talking about? Well, you could take it to be a metaphor for salvation, but that has some problems, since not everyone is saved. You could argue that God has offered salvation to everybody (which I think Scripture teaches), but it sort of stretches the meaning to say that he's “given” it to everyone. You could also see it as special revelation from God’s word, but he hasn’t given that to everyone either. I'm not totally dogmatic on this, but it seems that the phrasing best refers to something else.

This seems to be a good springboard for discussing the doctrine of General Revelation. The best way to define it is by contrasting it with Special Revelation. The latter is revealed truth which we'd never know unless God directly intervened in human history and made an appearance. When the Lord appeared to Moses, that was in this category. Of course, the first and foremost example of this is the collection of Scripture which we know as the Bible. In this book, using the mouths and pens of prophets and historians, God showed us things about himself that we'd never figure out on our own: How God created the world, the Fall of mankind, his standards of holiness, his divine nature, what happens in the afterlife, his plans for the conclusion of history, etc.

General revelation, by contrast, is open to pretty much everyone in the world. Part of this is a basic sense of morality, which every culture has to some degree. C. S. Lewis outlined this for us beautifully in The Abolition of Man. In it he lists universal principles which almost every culture has adhered to, in word if not in deed. Then he lists specific quotes from different religious leaders and philosophers which agree with the sentiment. For example, he might list “Condemnation of unnecessary killing,” and then quote from Buddha, Confucius, and Plato. The point of this is not to put the Bible on the same level as other religious systems; quite the opposite, in fact. His point is that God has revealed truth to all people, but our sinful natures have distorted it. Imagine, if you will, a culture in which treachery is celebrated, in which a man boasts of backstabbing his best friend. Imagine a world in which ingratitude is rewarded, in which theft is applauded. As Lewis said, religions might differ on whether you can have one wife or four, but none of them tell you that you can have any woman you want. They might differ on whether to lie to an outsider, but none of them hold up dishonesty as a virtue.

So what difference does this make? God has revealed himself in some degree to every person on earth. And this partially obscured--never fully sufficient--amount of light has now come out and is now revealing himself to the world. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world now. Can't you feel the anticipation John feels to tell us more about this Light?

This also means that if you’re trying to reach someone with the Good News of Christ, you have a starting point with them. You might not see it at first, but the One who came and died for them has not left them completely in the dark. Look for it, and pray to find it.

Lord Jesus, you want to see people saved much more than I do. Open my eyes to the open doors you’ve placed around me, please.

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