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 15]--Witnessing and Worship
Let’s continue in this pivotal conversation with the Samaritan woman. As the title suggests, there are two main areas in which today’s passage can teach us some lessons.
The first is in witnessing, by which I mean sharing the Good News with someone who’s lost. I’ve done this with lots of people over the years, and do you know what the number one obstacle is? It’s not some logical flaw which they find in the Bible. About 99% of the time the main problem is distractions, both from the Enemy and from the person who needs Christ. I’ve been witnessing to someone, and suddenly, out of the blue, just when we’re getting to some very important truths, the phone rings. They apologize, answer it, and lo and behold it’s some long-lost cousin from out-of-state who suddenly--by sheer coincidence--decided to call right at that moment. Of course, I don’t believe in coincidences: I'm convinced this is the work of our Enemy. Once you start confronting someone with their need for Jesus, you’ll definitely get his attention, since you’re invading his territory and trying to steal some of his property.
The other distractions I’ve seen come from the person himself, which we see today. Jesus casually asked her to go get her husband so he can join into this conversation. Of course, he knew quite well that she was a five-time divorcee and was currently shacking up with another man. As soon as Jesus brought this up, what did she do? You can almost hear the alarm bells going off in her head: CHANGE THE SUBJECT! CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Suddenly she wants to steer the conversation A) from the sin in her life and how much she'd screwed up to B) some theological controversy which had absolutely nothing to do with what they had been talking about.
I’ve seen this dozens of times. You know you’ve started to hit home when they suddenly want to talk about the Pygmies in Africa or who was Cain’s wife. Or a personal favorite of mine: hypocrisy in the church. My answer when they bring up red herrings like these: “You know that’s a very interesting question. I tell you what, why don’t we tackle that after we’ve talked about the main issue. I promise you, when someone stands before God on Judgment Day, the subject won’t Cain’s wife or those hypocrites. The subject will be their personal sin and what they did with Jesus Christ. After we finish talking about that, I'd be happy to talk about any other questions you have."
Let’s turn from that to worship. Jesus indulged her theological question, since he could use it to steer the conversation back to the subject at hand: Her broken relationship with God. But I think it sheds light on the heart of God like nothing else in Scripture. What does God look for, what does he desire? Worshippers, people who declare the “worth-ship” of himself. We exist to declare how wonderful he is, both to his ears and to other people as well. And what type of worshippers is he seeking out? Incredible singers? Skillful musical players? No. He’s looking for people who will worship him "in spirit and in truth." He wants people to declare who he is (praise) and what’s he’s done (thanksgiving) from our heart, not just with our lips. The geographical location matters not at all to him. What matters is that we’re completely “tuned in” to his presence (see here if you don't get the reference). Are you worshiping him in spirit and in truth?
Father God, you are worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and thanksgiving. I want to be that type of worshipper, not just on Sunday morning but every waking moment. I’m nowhere near that standard, but by your grace I want to start in that direction. Please.