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 16]--Thomas, Thomas, Thomas. . .

John 20:24-31

I’ve always felt a little sorry for Thomas. I know that there’s good reason to criticize him: He'd heard multiple predictions from his Lord that Jesus would be betrayed, arrested, handed over to the Romans, crucified, and then rise from the dead. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, the problem was that they had seen their Master do a lot of really amazing things and just couldn’t believe that he could do just one more. He’d raised the dead before, so obviously he had authority over life and death. And add on to all this the fact that his fellow disciples were all—without exception—testifying that he'd appeared to them just one week prior.

But do I think I’d do any better? I have to admit that when I hear stories about modern day miracles—and by “miracles” I mean real miracles, like healing the blind and raising the dead—my first instinct is skepticism. I believe that God performed all the miracles attributed to him in Scripture. I also believe that God still performs miracles today. But I also assert that there’s a quantitative, if not qualitative, difference between the miracles in biblical times and today. The vast majority of people who lived during those recorded events never saw an undisputable miracle. They seem to be concentrated around the time of Moses (and his immediate successor), around the time of Elijah (and also his immediate successor), and our Lord Jesus (ditto). Again, I believe that God does perform miracles today, but the vast majority of the time he works “behind the scenes,” not in a direct, unambiguous way. So without him working within me, I’d likely be just as skeptical.

But the Lord graciously decided to show up in front of his disciples, and this time Thomas happened to be there. Thomas had said that he wouldn’t believe until he saw the nail prints and put his finger into the scar on his side, and Jesus accommodated him. It’s not recorded whether or not he actually put his finger on the scar, but I kind of doubt it.

Just a little side note here? When Jesus appeared to him, Thomas called him “My Lord and my God,” and Jesus never corrected him. That’s because it’s true. People who assert that Jesus never claimed to be divine must really hate the Gospel of John, because that’s something the Apostle loved to emphasize repeatedly.

And did you catch the blessing placed upon us? Thomas had to see the resurrected Lord standing right in front of him in order to believe. I don’t. Of course, I contend that the Holy Spirit has to open our hearts; otherwise we’d never believe in Christ. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord Jesus places a blessing on us that Thomas missed out on.

Then we come to the stated purpose. John is the only author in the Bible who actually tells us why he’s writing to us. The slightly ironic thing is that this is the only one of the four Gospels which is explicitly written with an evangelistic purpose. He wrote “this book” so that we’d believe that Jesus is both Messiah and Son of God, and that by believing we’d have life in his name. Please don’t get me wrong. I love the other three Gospels. They’re greatly precious to me. And you can find statements in the other Gospels which you can use to share the Good News of Jesus with someone. But when I want to introduce a nonbeliever to the real Jesus (as opposed to our misrepresentations of him), I usually send them straight to John’s Gospel.

But let’s not miss out on the part that applies to us as believers, right here and now. John said he wrote these things so that we’d believe in Christ, but also that by believing we’d have life in his name. That’s not just referring to the eternal life we receive at the 1st moment of salvation. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, we receive life from him, just like a vine nourishes its branches. He's our life, and we’d best not forget that.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your blessing on me as my High Priest. You're my life, and I claim no other. I’d be foolish to look for any other.

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