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 11]--Nighttime Visitor, Part Two

John 3:9-15

Continuing in his conversation with Nicodemus, it seems that Jesus’ words are getting more and more enigmatic as he goes on. I find it a little humorous that the Lord rebukes him for not knowing this already. It’s as if he’s saying that this all should've been old-hat to him, that his studies in the Scriptures should've clued him into all this beforehand. What could've the Teacher been referring to? Well, there are several passages that hint at this complete change of nature which we need to enter God’s kingdom. Ezekiel 36:25-26 is pretty clear: He promised to sprinkle clean water on his people to make them clean, and to replace their heart of stone with a new heart of flesh. He promised in Deut 30:6 that he would circumcise their hearts and thus they “may love him with all [their] heart and with all [their] soul, and live.”

He then goes into some pretty deep theology, all of which has a point to make. He's trying to keep it simple, but even that isn’t straightforward enough for Nicodemus's (and our) limited understanding. We can’t even grasp “earthly” things, so we’re definitely not ready for “heavenly” things. No one has access to the truth that Jesus does, but we need to be humble and recognize that there are things in heaven and earth that are waaaaay beyond our comprehension.

The image of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness is interesting. Numbers 21:4-9 tells the story: The people of Israel rebelled and grumbled against the Lord (again), and he punished them by sending venomous snakes into their midst. They prayed to the Lord and asked for forgiveness and salvation, and he provided it. He told Moses to make a bronze snake, nail it to a pole, and lift it up in front of the people. Everyone who looked up to it was saved. In the same way, the One who had no sin became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The way we get healed from our “snakebite” is by lifting up our spiritual gaze, believing in him.

This is the glory of the Good News of Christ, but there’s a little sadness mixed in as well. It’s wonderful that all we have to do is look in faith to Christ in order to be saved, but at the same time it’s sad that so many people miss this. It’s so difficult to let go of our pride and self-righteousness in order to cling to him. Every instinct inside us is telling us It can’t be that simple! There has to be something more I can do. That’s why Buddhist monks are denying their bodily needs. That’s why Muslims are praying five times a day. That’s why every other religion in the world has things you need to do in order to get right with God. As someone told me a long time ago, all the religions of the world can be basically boiled down to Do. Faith in Christ says Done.

If you're reading this and are still holding on to your righteousness, then I just have one question: Why? The perfect Son of God died in your place. What more could you possibly add to that?

If you're a believer, if you have been redeemed, have you thanked your Savior for this lately? Do you show your gratitude in how you live? I know I don’t, not nearly enough.

Lord Jesus, with every word from my lips, with every thought in my mind, with every action of my body, I want to say “thank you.”

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