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 10]--Nighttime Visitor

John 3:1-8

One of the many things I love about John’s Gospel is his long descriptions of one-on-one encounters with Christ. Public sermons and lessons are just as inspired, but they don’t offer as much an opportunity to have the give-and-take, question-and-answer format. Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the paralytic at the pool, and others are given space that they aren’t in the Synoptics.

There are at least two reasons submitted as to why Nicodemus came at night. One is that he wanted his visit to be a secret: As a member of the Sanhedrin, he couldn’t afford to be seen with this controversial teacher, much less one so hated by his peers. The other reason, quite reasonable, is that he wanted some intimate time with him, and wanted the opportunity to speak with him without all the crowds and distractions. Whatever the reason, the Savior received him gladly, just like he does all sincere seekers.

Another pattern which I see Jesus following here, which he did on other occasions, is to cut through all the smoke-and-mirrors of someone’s opening compliment to get to the heart of the issue. Sometimes this comes across as a complete non sequitur, since he was answering the questioner, not the question. Instead of exchanging compliments and other shop-talking, he got to the real need of Nicodemus, the real cry of his heart. I’ve always imagined Nicodemus as a good man, a religious man. He went to all the religious observances, paid his tithes, provided the required sacrifices, etc. But deep inside him, in his heart of hearts, he knew that there was something more, something he was missing.

Then he meets Jesus, and the Teacher supplies the missing piece of the puzzle: not a reformation, not religion, but rebirth. As is common in this Gospel, however, the listener hears something Jesus says and completely misunderstands it. What could this man be talking about? How can a man be born again? Could he go back into his mother’s womb?

Of course he misunderstood because he was only thinking in terms of physical birth. Everyone is born physically, but that’s not enough to get into God’s kingdom (which is another way of talking about salvation, about having a personal relationship with him). Notice the contrast: flesh gives birth to flesh, and the Spirit gives birth to spirit. We don’t need to be given a new set of rules to follow; we need a complete change in our nature, and we can’t accomplish it ourselves. The Spirit has to “give birth” to this new nature.

You might not know this, so here’s an interesting tidbit of information, and it gives insight into Jesus’ comparison to wind. In Greek there's a word pneuma, which can be translated as "breath," "wind," and "spirit." It’s the same in Hebrew as well: the word ruah is the same word for all three as well. This is why comparing the Spirit to the wind is especially appropriate.

So are you allowing the Spirit to “blow through” your heart and life as well? Maybe you are saved, but it’s been a while since you’ve let his life-giving Breath blow out all the deadness in your soul and bring new life to your walk with him. It all starts with surrender, letting him speak to you, and giving over to him all your preconceived notions of what he wants to do. Don’t let this opportunity--called today--pass you by.

Lord Jesus, I do know you, but I let my heart get dusty and moldy. I desperately need your Spirit to blow through and sweep out the old and sweep in the new. Please.

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