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 19]—Meeting the Real Jesus: In the Beginning. . .
So we’re finished with the book of John, so let’s look at a passage from. . . the Gospel of John?! The reason for this is that for the rest of the year we're going to talk about my favorite subject—Jesus Christ. Specifically we’re going to focus on the nature and work of Christ. As you read today’s passage, you can see that John’s telling us a lot about him.
As always when we discuss a subject this heavy, I approach it with fear and trepidation. Actually I approach it with a lot more fear than normal.
Here’s why. After the 1st century A.D. and all the original apostles and their immediate associates died off, we depended on Scripture to help us understand. And as sure as night follows day, the Enemy always steps in to corrupt and pervert what God has done. A lot of self-proclaimed “teachers” came forward and taught heresies. One in particular was a guy named Arius, who claimed that Jesus was just a created being. To be sure, he conceded that Jesus was the highest and greatest of created beings, but not divine. But the church’s greatest leaders and teachers opposed him. So it went back and forth and back and forth for about two hundred years, until the church leaders got together in councils to figure out what the Bible teaches about the nature of Christ. They came up with the Nicene Creed, in which they hammered out—as best as they could—who Jesus is.
My point is that it took the church about two hundred years to work out who Jesus really is. That’s why I’m going to be veeeeerrrrry careful about what I say about his nature, who he is in his essence. We say that he’s divine and human. What does that mean? How are those two compatible? The Bible never lays out for us exactly how his divine nature and human nature coincided within one body. When discussing this, it’s way too easy to flirt with--and finally fall into--heresy.
So what does today’s passage tell us about the Lord Jesus?
• John very purposefully uses the term “In the beginning,” which brings to every mind familiar with the Old Testament the first verse of the Bible. That’s an intentional parallel to the creation story: Moses told us that the Lord created everything seen and unseen, and John makes it clear that the Son was Co-Creator at every step.
• John seems to make a contradiction or at least a paradox here. The Word is God, and the Word is with God. How can this be? Let’s focus on the first part: Jesus is, in himself, one in essence with the Father. Everything the Father is within himself, the Son is. The Father is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and so is the Son. The Father is worthy of all worship and so is the Son. The Father has always been. There’s never been a moment ever in which the Father was not. That’s also true of the Son.
• But the Word is with God. This is referring to God as in God the Father. The Son is distinct from the Father. That’s why Jesus could pray to the Father and address him as “You.” The Father had a plan from eternity past, and the Son freely chose to submit to the plan. It was not the Father who died on the cross, it was the Son. They're one in essence, but distinct in personality.
• In him was life. What does this mean? This means he has life in himself. That’s something that nothing in all creation could ever claim. Each of us--from the mightiest angel and brightest star down to the smallest amoeba—derives our life from another, and ultimately all life is from God. But as God, he has life within himself, and he can give that life to whomever he chooses. All of us are dependent on him, and he’s dependent on no one else.
I really really really hope I haven’t made this boring for you. If I have, the fault rests entirely with me instead of the source material. The point of this, as with John’s prologue, is to inspire worship and commitment to Christ, not intellectual stimulation. Knowing more about him should drive us to our knees.
Lord Jesus, I praise you first and foremost as the eternal and all-powerful Son of the Most High God. Just like the Father, you deserve all worship and praise and thanksgiving. But it starts with praising you for who and what you are.