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 17]--Show and Tell

            The last two verses in chapter 20 make it sound like John's ending his story there, but for whatever reason he (under the Spirit’s inspiration) decided to add sort of an addendum. There are quite a few lessons we can glean from this chapter, but we'll wrap up the Gospel with tomorrow’s reading.
            Chapter 21 is taken up with one of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples, one which (as typical) is recorded in none of the other Gospels. The disciples, for whatever reason, decided to go fishing. I’ve heard preachers and others rail against this decision of theirs, as if this choice was somehow indicative of an abandonment of their following Christ. With all due respect, I don’t buy it. I’d agree that if they went back to their old lifestyle and livelihood, that would be a lack of faithfulness on their part, but there’s no sign that this was their intention. Jesus certainly didn’t condemn them for it or even mention it in any recorded conversation either that morning or afterwards.
            Jesus appeared to them on the shore, and once again you see A) The unique spiritual insight of John and B) The impetuousness of Peter.
            What I’d really like to focus on, however, is the conversation between Peter and Jesus on the shore. We know from Luke that at one point Jesus had a one-on-one meeting with Peter, but I don't think that this is what Luke was referring to. That was a private meeting, while this seems to be the official and public reinstatement of Peter as the leader of the disciples.
            Another area of slight disagreement I have with some interpreters is in the area of translating the word “love.” A lot of teachers and others place a lot of importance on the different ways in which Jesus and Peter use the word “love” in their conversation. The first time Jesus asks him “Do you love me?” he uses agape, which--as you might've heard--is a term for a selfless self-sacrificing decision to choose someone's well-being over your own. Peter responds with phileo, which is more of a strong affection. Jesus asks him again, “Do you agape me?” Peter again responds with “Yes Lord, I phileo you.” Finally, Jesus asks him “Do you phileo me?” and Peter says once again that he phileo his Lord.
            Now before we jump into reading all sorts of things into that, let’s please keep this in mind: Jesus and Peter were speaking in Aramaic. And now John is translating their conversation into Greek for us. Now, we know that John’s writings are just as inspired as Jesus’ own words. But John in his Gospel uses agape and phileo pretty much interchangeably in his Gospel, so it’s very possible that we’re reading waaaaaay too much into this.
            Another question we'll briefly consider is Jesus’ meaning when he asks Peter “Do you love me more than these?” There are at least three different ways to interpret that question. He could have meant A) “Do you love me more than these other disciples do?” or B) “Do you love me more than these things [i.e. the fishing career and old lifestyle]?” or C) “Do you love me more than you love these men?” I actually lean more towards the first one, since Peter had claimed unique devotion to his Lord. In any case, Peter didn’t ask for a clarification, and Jesus didn’t volunteer one.
            However, let's not lose sight of the main point of this conversation. Jesus three times asked if Peter loved him, one time for each denial, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. And each time when Peter reaffirmed his love (as best he could), Jesus then told him to feed his sheep. That was going to be one of the primary ways in which he'd show his love for his Master—by feeding his Master’s sheep.
            And Peter eventually got his chance to show his love for his Master in one final demonstration. One day someone would “dress” (prepare) him and take him to his death, and by this death he would get his greatest wish: To glorify his Lord. Church tradition, in case you didn’t know, says that he was crucified upside-down because he didn’t feel worthy of dying like his Master.
            It’s one thing to express all sorts of verbal declarations of devotion and love and commitment. It’s quite another to lay down your life. I hope that if it ever comes to that, I’ll be able to show, not not just tell, the same type of love for my Savior.
            Now here's "Stranger On The Shore" by Michael Card

Lord Jesus, my love for you, unlike your love for me, is weak and cold and faithless at times. By the work of your blessed Spirit, please change that. Please change me.

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