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 12]--Broken Legs and A Pierced Side

John 19:31-37

When I was in the Army, one of the catch-phrases they used (and one of the few I can repeat in mixed company) was “Attention to Detail.” This meant that the Army expected you to pay attention to the little details in your work, because little details can save your life or cause you to lose it.

I thought of that phrase as I read today’s passage. Roman soldiers, who knew nothing about the Law or the Prophets, and couldn’t possibly care less, ended up carrying out God’s predictive word down to the smallest detail. To the degree you’ve heard all this before, just think of it as a reminder as to how precisely God keeps his word, and marvel at how his sovereignty and man’s sinful choices work together in some mysterious way to carry out the Lord's purposes.

Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. If there’s a more intentionally cruel way to kill a man, I haven’t heard of it. That’s why it was reserved for slaves and the basest of criminals, and why Roman citizens were exempt (Paul was undoubtedly beheaded in the end). The criminal was stripped naked, held down, and the nails were placed above his wrists (not in his palm, as some have depicted) and through his crossed feet. He was then lifted up above the crowds, with the crime for which he was dying placed on a sign above his head. Of course, all of this was meant to act as a deterrent to anyone else thinking of committing the same crime. This form of execution, by the way, was the favorite for rebels and seditionists. Rome was very tolerant of religious differences, but it had a serious zero-tolerance policy regarding rebellion.

Most crucified criminals didn’t die from bleeding out. No, that would be way too quick. They usually suffocated. To pull yourself up on the imbedded nails was agony, but to slump down severely hindered your breathing. When a person was exhausted, they had to make a choice to pull themselves up again (with the agony) or slowly suffocate. Crucified criminals usually took days to die.

Here’s where today’s passage comes in. When the soldiers figured you had enough, they’d come along and break your legs. Without being able to pull yourself up, you suffocated. That’s how the criminals on either side of him died. And that would've been how Jesus would've died. Except for God’s word. The bones in the Passover Lamb, as the Lord made clear to Moses, couldn’t be broken. And the Psalmist, with the Holy Spirit inspring him, spoke of God’s righteous man as not having any of his bones being broken.

But that’s not all. The soldiers weren’t about to be fooled by a criminal “playing possum,” so they pierced his side to make sure he was actually dead. Blood and water flowed from the wound. That means that his heart sac had ruptured. Literally, he died of a broken heart—for you and me.

And once again, John points us back to the Old Testament prophets, quoting from Zech. 12:10. Once again God’s word is fulfilled down to the smallest detail

This should be a source of either great comfort or great worry. God’s word will be fulfilled, down to the smallest stroke of a letter. You can count on it. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on you.

Lord Jesus, I don’t want all this minutiae to distract from the real issue here—you died for me. Willingly. I know I’ve said it multiple times, but thank you. I’m yours.

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