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 27]--Some Thoughts on Accountability

Psalm 141

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: Sin is inherently deceitful. It fogs the mind and keeps you from objectively weighing costs and benefits. In a way, it's like the deadliest of addictive drugs: The more you indulge, the less sensitive you are to its deadly effects. As C. S. Lewis said, there's only been one Man in the history of humanity who's ever really understood the full power of sin. Lewis compared it to the Nazi army—You don’t find out how powerful it is by giving in to it, but by resisting it. Therefore, our Lord is the only one who's completely clear-headed when it comes to this subject. That’s why today’s reading is so useful, especially vss. 3-5. Let’s examine it in some more detail, shall we?

The Psalmist (David according to the superscript) starts out with a prayer concerning his mouth. Like James said, “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” Of course, none of us actually can meet that benchmark, so none of us are perfect. But it’s an important standard for which to strive. I think that all of us could stand to repeat this prayer, early and often.

Next he got to the heart of the matter, literally. He knew, just like our Savior, that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Why did he ask God to not let his heart be drawn to evil? Because unless the Lord directs our hearts, that’s the natural direction we’ll go. And it doesn’t just affect our speech—Solomon said that everything we do flows from the heart, so we need to guard it carefully.

I love how he characterizes temptation, by the way: “delicacies.” Sin always looks good, like your favorite type of candy. To our sinful nature, it’s really attractive. I think that a good cure would be the ability to see sin the way our Lord sees it.

And then we come to another mark of the psalmist’s spiritual maturity. It’s never fun to have someone else criticize you, even if it’s completely justified and completely necessary. Notice how he viewed it. He compares it to “striking” him, which would be pretty painful. But to him, it was a kindness, something a friend would do for another friend as a favor. He even compared it to “oil on [his] head,” which could be in the medicinal sense or an honor you bestow on a beloved friend. Either way, he sees "tough love" as a benefit, not something to avoid.

On a final note, we need to remember the context of this passage. When he wrote this, he wasn’t sitting at home alone in luxury, like when he fell into sin with Bathsheba. From the rest of the Psalm, it’s pretty clear that he was in danger from physical enemies, which was the setting for most of his writings. When the pressure was on, and he didn’t know whom to trust, he wanted to make sure that he didn’t end up bringing dishonor upon his Lord by giving into sin. If only he had kept this resolve in his later years, once things had calmed down a bit, he could've saved himself a lot of heartache. We’re usually at our best when there’s a bit of pressure on us, aren’t we?

There’s a lot of good teaching from this Psalm, so I’ll leave it to you how best to apply it. For me, I think turning vss. 3-4 into personal prayers would be a good start.

Lord Jesus, I want to see sin the way you do. To you, it’s not a “delicacy.” It’s what nailed you to the cross. Please cleanse out my heart, and let that cleansing overflow into a mouth that honors and pleases you.

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