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 25]--Forgiveness And Fear

Psalm 130

Throughout its 2,000 year-long history, the church has struggled to find the balance between extremes. Martin Luther, the great Reformer, compared us to a drunkard who tries to mount a horse: He falls off one side, determines not to do it again, then falls off the other side. The extremes I’m talking about today concern the issue of sin and forgiveness. On one side you have legalism (epitomized by the Pharisees), which basically tries to earn God’s approval by what you do. It majors on externals and forgets how dependant we are on his grace. The opposite error is antinomianism. It’s a long term, but it’s well worth learning, since I believe it’s infected much of American Christianity. It comes from the Greek word nomos, meaning “law.” So literally it’s “anti-law.” This is the heretical belief that once you’ve placed your faith in Christ, you don’t have to be concerned about living a holy life or pleasing him. It’s summed up by the statement “I’ve been forgiven, so now I can live however I please.”

Today’s passage, particularly vss. 3-4 provides a corrective to both errors. Verse 3 provides a great declaration of the universality of sin. Of course, we need to take it context. The rest of Scripture makes clear that he is keeping a record of sins. I think that what the Psalmist is referring to is the possibility of God acting on those records. Psalm 103 says that he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. If he did, if he announced that starting at midnight tonight everyone would get exactly what they deserve, who would still be standing at one minute past?

Then we get to the kicker. In fact, we might've found another one of my beloved “tension” verses. Remember what we said about the “fear of the Lord” around this time last year? When we talk about the “fear” of something, we usually mean it in the sense of being afraid of something, trying to avoid it. But the Bible, especially the O.T., means something very different by the term. It’s a reverence mixed with awe mixed with a desire to know him and please him. To quote Ruby Shelly again from last year, it’s “not dread but astonishment. Not terror but reverence. Not shaking-in-your-boots panic, but enraptured-with-love fascination.”

Do you see the paradox, why I love this verse so much? Even with this enlightened understanding of the concept, what do you think would inspire us to fear him? His power, his majesty, his omnipotence, his omniscience, his holiness? The fact that one day all of creation will stand before him to be judged? Absolutely. But there’s something more. It’s his forgiveness, his grace, his mercy, his kindness to us which leads to fear of him. When we see how much we’ve sinned and how much he’s forgiven forever, never to be brought up again, then we experience the fear of him. It’s when we contemplate what it took for him to be able to do this, that’s when we fear him.

Father God, words utterly fail me right now. I just want to bow down in worship of you. With you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.

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