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.

[Dec 09]—Under Arrest

John 18:1-11

Just how important is the Passion--the term we use for everything after the Lord’s Supper to his death—to the Gospel writers? Fully a quarter of the their accounts focus on the last week of his life. Yes, he came to teach and heal, but first and foremost he came to die. All during the last week, the cross cast its shadow over everything our Lord said and did.

So now we come to the part of the story which the author thought was so important, starting with the arrest. As I’ve mentioned before, all of this was a farce pretending to be legal proceedings, starting with the fact they arrested him at night away from the public.

One of the reasons I love John’s Gospel so much (and truth to tell, it’s my favorite of the four) is because John records so much that isn’t recorded elsewhere. Since the other writers gave attention to his agonizing prayer in the Garden, John decided to only concentrate on what’s recorded in chapter 17 and skip the Garden scene altogether.

So the religious leaders and soldiers showed up, and they asked which one of them was Jesus. They didn’t have a picture of him, and in torchlight it’d be questionable which one of them was him. When he answered “I am he,” for some reason they all “drew back and fell to the ground.” There are two explanations I’ve heard for this. The first is that his presence alone, the very words coming out of his mouth caused them to fall down in a near faint. The other, which I lean towards, is that they were expecting a fight; they were anticipating--in a dark garden lit only by torches--an ambush. When he boldly told them “I am he,” they fell back thinking they were about to be attacked.

They asked him a second time, and he answered again---without hesitation—that he was the one they were looking for. He added a request that since they had him, they could let his followers go.

I think that this is very poignant. John tells us that the reason he did was so that his earlier words “I have not lost one of those you gave me” would be fulfilled. In those few words lie a depth of meaning we’ll never plumb.

He knew that if the disciples were arrested and likely tortured as he'd be, they’d fall. And even in these moments in which he’s about to be led away to torture and death, he cared about A) his word and B) the benefit of his disciples. Even as it was, they all fled and one of them—the leader among them—would deny he knew Jesus’ name.

He knows how weak we are. He knows how easy it is for us to fall. “[He] knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” And whatever it takes to make sure we don’t fall beyond recovery, he’ll do it.

That’s comforting and humbling at the same time, isn’t it? And there’s a word of challenge in it as well: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

As I said, quite a bit packed into those few words.

Lord Jesus, I don’t have to tell you how weak I am—you know it better than I do. I think I need to know how weak I am, how easy it'd be for me to fall, but for the everlasting arms beneath me. Thank you.

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