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 26]--Cannibalism?

John 6:51-59

            One of the things that really saddens me is how things that are supposed to unite the church tend to separate believers. For example, Paul said that we have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” in appealing to the unity of the Body of Christ, and denominations heartily disagree on baptism.

            Another issue on which the church has disagreed for some time has been the subject of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. We talked about this last month, but since this passage has been used by the Catholic church and others to present their views, we need to examine it further.

            There are three main views on the Lord’s Supper, and they all center on one question: “What happens to the bread and wine during the ceremony?” Transubstantiation (per the Catholic Church) holds that the elements literally become the body and blood of Jesus, and that he’s crucified and offered again and again every time believers hold Communion. It still looks like bread, smells like bread, tastes like bread, but it’s physically changed into his body. Consubstantiation, as I understand it (as held by Presbyterians and others) means that the substance of the body and blood are alongside the bread and wine, but the bread and wine are not really changed. Traditionally Southern Baptists hold to a memorial view, which means that the elements are merely symbolic. They don’t have any more meaning that we don’t give them.

            I agree that the elements don’t physically or spiritually change, but to call it a memorial sounds somewhat cold. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, it “tunes us into” his presence like few other things, or maybe like nothing else. It focuses us on him, on what he did for us, on what he’s doing for us now, and what he will do for us. It helps us strengthen our faith and draws us to him in worship. It’s not the elements that change, but us.

            Why do I bring all this up now? Because this is one of the main passages that Transubstantiatists try to use to justify their position. Jesus said that unless you “eat [his] flesh. . . and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” First, it'd be fairly odd that Jesus would be referring to a ceremony and rite which was not even instituted yet. Second, if you contend that he’s referring to Communion, then this means that everyone who goes through this ritual is saved just by doing this. He says in vs. 56 that “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”

            So what is he talking about here? How do we “eat [his] flesh and drink [his] blood”? How do you take Jesus’ life into yourself? By faith, by trusting in him. It’s pretty obvious from the seven times that the word “believe” or some variant is used in this chapter, and how it’s repeatedly linked with eternal life. The eating and drinking metaphors are equivalent to believing in him and coming to him in faith.

            But let’s not let the controversy about this distract us from the main purpose of all this is: For Jesus to give us life, his life. When we trust in him, he enters us and gives us himself. He nourishes us and regenerates us. Have you been experiencing this life to the fullest, in the way he wants you to? Neither have I.

Lord Jesus, you are my life, and I have no other. Everything you have for me, I want. Whatever it is that’s keeping me from living your life to the fullest, please take it away.

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