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.

[Nov 13]--In Good Hands

John 10:22-30

It’s funny how effective some advertising can be. I don’t know if you can recognize this slogan, but if you’ve ever seen it on TV, then you probably will never forget it: “You’re in good hands. . . with All State.” In other words, this insurance company wants you to trust it. When you need it, it’ll be there.

I think of that slogan every time I read today’s passage, and with good reason. Chapter 10 really is a series of confrontations Jesus had with the religious leaders. In the midst of this passage, Jesus is contrasting his opponents with his sheep, his true followers. And it’s in the midst of this confrontation, almost as a side-issue, that he gives us some of the most comforting verses in all Scripture.

Before we get into that, notice the reason why they don’t believe in him. They’re not part of his flock. They'd seen plenty of miracles, and they'd listened to his teaching. If they had any openness of mind at all, they would've realized who he was. Now, it's true that he'd never publicly proclaimed himself as the Messiah, because that wasn't the Father's plan. But he'd fulfilled Scripture right in front of their eyes, he'd performed miracles (there’s a reason they’re called “signs” in John’s Gospel), and he'd strongly hinted at who he was. When it comes to belief in Jesus, you’re either one of his sheep, or you’re not.

But now let’s get to the positive side of this passage. Let’s see what he says about his sheep:

• His sheep listen to his voice. How do we listen to his voice today? Well, he can lead us by his Spirit, but the primary (and the only 100% reliable) way he speaks to us is through the Scriptures. As we read more and more of his word, and as we learn to listen to the Spirit’s calling, we understand it better. Also we learn to better distinguish it from a false shepherd’s.

• He knows them. Not just about them, but he knows them, like a parent knows a child.

• They follow him. What’s the surest sign that you’re one of his sheep? That you follow him. Not perfectly, because we all sin and disobey at times. But we’re talking about the general direction of your life.

• He gives them eternal life, life that never ends.

• And as a result, they'll never perish. However many sheep Jesus claims as his own, none of them shall perish.

• No one can snatch them out of his hand.

• The Father, who's greater than all, holds us in his hand as well, and no one can snatch them out of his hand either. The best explanation I’ve heard of this is that Jesus is in the Father’s hand, and we’re in Jesus’ hand. Notice that all of us have been given to Jesus from the Father. We're the Father’s presents to the Son.

And then we see one of the most shocking statements ever uttered by human lips. Jesus said “I and the Father are one.” They’re one in purpose, one in agenda, and one in nature. We’ll get into this next month when we discuss the nature of Christ, but for now, let’s just understand that whatever the Father is in his nature, Jesus is.

So what does this mean to you and me? We're doubly protected. We’re in Jesus’ hand, and Jesus is in the Father’s hand. Someone might say “Well, Satan can’t snatch you out of his hand, but maybe you can jump out.” When Jesus said no one can snatch me out of his hand, he included me in that list. I’m forever safe and secure, and I'll never perish. I can count on that.

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the security I have in you. No matter how little I deserve it, you claim me as one of your own, both now and forever. Help me to show that.

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