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 27]--Falling Away

John 6:60-71

            I was a member of a small church plant for about 10 years, and I hold no regrets on that score. But one of the hardest things I’ve had to face is that of drop-off. It’s a common problem for every church, but it seemed worst in the one I was at: Severely dysfunctional people came in through the front door, got their lives straightened out, then left through the back door.

            When faced with another member leaving, it’s passages like this that comfort and strengthen me. Our Lord Jesus--the Son of God--didn’t hold onto the crowds who followed him. The people who followed him (literally) to the other side of the lake, as we mentioned before, were not there for any great spiritual reason: They wanted to see more miracles, especially those which left them with a full belly. He rebuked them for this, and tried to get them back on the right track. He pointed them away from physical bread to himself as the Bread from Heaven, which a man could eat and never die.

            But these were Jews, and the notion that they were to “eat [his] flesh. . .and drink his blood” was more than strange to them: It was disgusting. They were expressly forbidden to eat meat with blood still in it, much less eat another person. And to drink blood, like the pagans in their blasphemous worship? Never!

            Of course he wasn’t referring to his physical body and blood, as we talked about yesterday. But they didn’t stick around to get any clarification. They heard something that was a “hard teaching” and left. But Jesus didn’t immediately go after them and yell out “Hey guys! You misunderstood me! I was only talking about believing in me! Come back, let’s talk about this!”

            No, the only reaction he gave was to turn to the rest of the disciples and make sure they wanted to stay. His question expects a negative answer: “You don’t want to leave too, do you?” He wasn’t asking for his benefit (as if he didn’t know their hearts), but for theirs. He wanted for each one of them (minus one) to confirm their decision for themselves in their hearts.

            This holds several applications for us. First, we shouldn’t be discouraged when people leave. It’s only natural to react to that negatively, I understand. And we should take steps to minimize it. But Jesus himself lost followers. Not real believers, but just people hanging around looking for thrills. They won’t stay, no matter what we do, unless God changes their hearts. And in minimizing losses we must never, ever, ever even get close to compromising what the Father has told us to say. Jesus didn’t even bother explaining himself in order to keep people from leaving, at least not in this instance. And even among these last twelve, one of them was a “devil,” a false disciple.

            Second, God will always save a remnant for himself. Out of the big crowd that eventually dwindles, he will sift out quality people whom he will use. As one of my heroes Jonathan once said, “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” I’m not saying that more people wouldn’t be a nice change, but God isn’t hindered by the numbers. Using these “twelve” (minus Judas, plus Paul) he changed the world. If he can accomplish all that with those few men, think what he could do with you and me, if we just surrender to his plans and let go of ours.

            And that leads me to the third application. Why did Peter and the others stick it out? Was it because they'd figured out what Jesus was doing? Was it because they understood what he really meant when he talked about eating flesh and drinking blood? No, it was because they understood that he was the only game in town. If they wanted real life, abundant life, eternal life, there was nowhere else to go. Whatever he said that didn’t make sense, it didn’t ultimately make a difference. They trusted in him and were going to follow him, because they knew who he was, not because they understood his plan.

Sounds like a great example for me to follow. What about you?

Lord Jesus, I belong to you, twice over. Whatever you want me to do, wherever you want me to go, I’m yours. I don’t care what you tell me that makes absolutely no sense, I’m not turning back.

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