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 28]--Family Problems

John 7:1-13

            From the long and public discussion/confrontation in chapter six we turn to a much more intimate scenario. Have you ever wondered about Jesus’ home life, the household in which he grew up? I certainly have. Of course, the vast majority of his life (30 years out of 33) is a complete mystery to us. We suspect that Joseph was dead by the time Jesus started his ministry, since he isn’t mentioned past the time of boyhood. It seems that Mary believed in him, especially since she came to him during the wedding feast in chapter two. But what about his brothers (actually half-brothers)?

            Jesus himself said that a prophet would never be accepted in his hometown, and apparently this extended to his own family. Why is that? Why would a prophet not be accepted among his own family and the other people he grew up with? The answer's found within the question. They grew up with him. They lived with him.

            If you have siblings, did you have one who was the “goody-two-shoes” with your parents? It seemed that the favorite son or daughter could do no wrong, and you could do no right. Of course, any siblings we have are sinners like the rest of us, so they weren’t really perfect. But Jesus was. We know that he subjected himself to his parents’ authority, and he didn’t have to. He never disobeyed them, at least as long as they were following God. He never lied to them, never stole anything from anyone, and never bullied anyone or forced someone to do something for him out of selfish motives. He always put other peoples’ needs before his own, and was always wiling to serve others. So how'd you like to have a brother like that?  Can’t you hear his parents now: “Why can’t you be more like your brother Jesus? He never gives us any problems!”

            So how did they respond to Jesus’ ministry? In Mark 3, they came to take him away, because they literally thought he was out of his mind. And in today’s passage they’re taunting him, trying to get him to preemptively declare himself as the Messiah. “If you’re the Messiah, show yourself! Go to Jerusalem if you want to be famous!” But he didn’t take the bait. He would reveal himself, but only according to the Father’s plan and timing. The rest of the chapter deals with his encounters with the crowds there.

            But for now, I’d like to make a few more notes about his family before we move on. We don’t know what happened to all of his half-brothers, but we know a bit about two of them. After his resurrection, our Lord appeared to several people, among them his half- brother James. This James (who's different from the James who was an original apostle) became a pillar in the church and was mentioned several times in the book of Acts. He presided over the first official council of the church in Acts 15, and yes, he’s the one who wrote the book of the bible named after himself.

            The other one we know is Jude. Tradition states (and based on verse 1 of the epistle that bears his name), that he also was a half-brother of Jesus who became a believer after the Resurrection. So we have two half-brothers of Jesus who rejected him at first but who became leaders in the church (and who added to Scripture). 

            I realize that many people who read this devotional, like myself, were raised in a Christian family. If that describes you, please stop and thank God right now for that incredible blessing. But if not, if you’re alone in your family in serving Christ, please take heart. Your Savior went through the jeers, the misunderstandings, and the heartbreak of having family members reject you because of what the Father has called you to be. And don’t lose heart: There just might be a James in your family who hasn’t appeared yet. You never know, do you?

Father God, for all those who read this who have this heartache, please be with them. Be their Father, their brother, their all-in-all. Lord Jesus, as only you can, please make your presence known to them. Comfort them, please.

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