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.

[March 13]--Man’s Response To God: Trust

Prov. 3:5-6; 28:25; 29:25

Yesterday we discussed one aspect of how the book of Proverbs wants us to respond to God: fear. Now we’re going to look at the other main response the author wants us to display, namely trust.

The first passage for today’s reading is one of the most familiar ones on this subject; in fact, I remember as a child singing these verses set to music. We shouldn’t let its familiarity, however, distract us from the profound meaning here. I think that this passage is one of the pivotal in the book of Proverbs, actually in all of Scripture. Let’s take a look at it.

There are three commands here, with a conditional promise attached to it. First we’re to trust in the Lord with all our heart. That means we do what he says, just like a child trusts his parents enough to follow their instructions even when he doesn’t fully understand them. It also means to rest on him and not worry about what we can’t control.

The second command is not to lean on your own understanding. As someone once pointed out to me years ago, it doesn’t forbid you from using your own understanding; we just aren’t to lean upon it. When God doesn’t give clear direction, then we go with what we know. But we’re always supposed to be flexible when he changes our direction or gives instructions which are counterintuitive.

The third command is to acknowledge him in all our ways. In everything we do, we’re supposed to acknowledge his goodness, his grace, his providence, and his ownership of us. This actually sanctifies, or sets apart, “normal” activities such as eating, sleeping, going to the movies, going to work, etc. When we do this, there is no such thing as the mundane. And if you can’t acknowledge him during a certain activity, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

And finally we have his promise at the end of vs. 6. The Hebrew could be translated either way (see the NIV footnote), but the meaning is still the same. We’re on this path of life, and he’ll remove the obstacles in front of us—if that’s the way we’re supposed to go. We don’t know what’s ahead of us, but we do know that he’s already ahead of us, so we have nothing to fear, including going in the wrong direction.

The other verses today deal with trust as well. In 28:25, greed is presented as the opposite of trusting in the Lord, which is a sobering thought. I think one of the main reasons why people give in to greed is because of a desire for security: They think (either consciously or unconsciously) that if they have enough money in the bank, then they’ll be secure against poverty. Au contraire! The route to true prosperity is through trusting in him, not by leaning on your own resources.

And finally we see in the last verse a stark contrast between the “fear of man” and trusting in the Lord. You can’t do both. If you’re overly concerned about what people think and are saying about you, then it’s a snare. How great a burden this is for a lot of people! As B. J. Hoff once put it, however,

It matters not if the world has heard,
        or approves or understands;
the only applause we’re meant to seek
        is that of nail-scarred hands.

Just to be repeat and clarify: Fear of the Lord and trust in him are not opposites or even in tension. They’re so similar in concept as to be almost synonyms, just with a different emphasis. As you fear him, you’ll trust him more. As you see more and more of his workings in your life that encourage trust, you’ll fear him more (in the Biblical sense). What an incredible God we serve!

Lord Jesus, I do trust you. I need to do better at it, though. You are completely worthy of trust, how could I do any different?

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