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.

[Feb 14]--Standards for Leaders

Psalm 101

When I read this Psalm, I remember a story I once heard about Teddy Roosevelt. He owned a ranch with several head of cattle. He found out that one of his ranch hands had stolen some cattle from a neighbor, and had put the cows into his (Roosevelt’s) herd. He immediately fired the man, and this was his reason: “If he’s willing to steal for me, then he’ll be willing to steal from me!”

I’ve mentioned this before, but David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible, and today’s passage is one reason. Every leader, especially a king, is tempted to fill up his administration with whoever will benefit him the most. You always want the most competent people, but also there’s always the need to take into consideration the political connections that a prospect brings to the table. If he “knows someone,” then that can be really useful, especially to a leader who’s just starting out.

But according to this Psalm, that was not the top priority for David. He was considered not just a political leader but also a spiritual one as well. It was his job to enforce God’s law on the nation, so he couldn’t very well keep lawbreakers within his own administration.

So what type of man was he seeking? Looking over the passage, it looks like there were two qualities he was on the lookout for, which were requirements for working under him. The first, which seems to leap off the page, is honesty. He can’t be “faithless,” he can’t “[slander] his neighbor in secret,” and he can’t practice “deceit.” Just like Roosevelt, he had to have people of principle and integrity who could be trusted.

Second, which gets just a mention in vs. 5, is humility. It would be a great honor to work in direct service to a king, and it'd be very easy to get a “big head” over it. Of course, in God’s kingdom (of which David’s was supposed to be an extension), there’s no room for pride. A place of leadership in God’s kingdom is a place of service, not an opportunity to gain power and lord it over others.

Now, let me lay all my cards on the table. Did David always carry out the principles he asserts here? I wish he did, but no. His commander of the army, Joab, was a cold-blooded murderer. David knew about it (or at least strongly suspected), but because of his (David’s) precarious political position, he never pursued it. If you want to read about it, you can do so here. But just because he didn’t live up to his principles at all times (which none of us do) doesn’t negate the rightness of the principle, nor does it minimize the wisdom David showed in at least recognizing the need for this.

So how does this apply to us? I’m not a King or President. But what about the people with whom you do business? Are you willing to overlook their character in order to get what you want? Do you prize honesty in your friends?

Also, there is another application which strikes me. We're commanded to pray for our leaders. No, it’s not an option. The prophet Jeremiah even advised the exiles to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which [God has] carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” And I'd think that a good prayer for leaders is that the Lord would provide them with good counselors who display these qualities.

And of course this is a good reminder to all of us to ask ourselves “Am I this type of person? Am I faithful? Do I slander anyone? Am I deceitful? Am I prideful?” The King of Kings is also looking for people to serve him, and his standards are even higher than David’s. Do I fit the bill?

Lord Jesus, I want to be a faithful servant in your house. Please help me to be that type of man, by your grace.

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