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 9]--What’s God Like, And What Does It Matter, Part Three

Prov 16:4, 9, 33; 21:1, 30

Over the last couple of days we’ve examined what the book of Proverbs says about who God is, and hopefully the study is helpful in making us practical theologians. As one of my pastors once told me, the Holy Spirit is incapable of “small talk.” When we’re conversing with someone, we might try to “shoot the breeze” about trivial matters and gently ease into deeper subjects. Not so the Spirit. If he tells us something about the Divine Nature, there’s a purpose behind it.

Today’s subject, unfortunately, has caused more heat than light among believers, and it doesn’t have to. The subject is God’s sovereignty, the fact that he’s in charge of everything. There are verses in the Bible which make it sound like he’s ultimately “behind” everything, which brings up the thorny issue of how humanity can be held responsible for its decisions. Then there are other verses which make it sound like mankind is responsible for its own decisions, and can actually affect things both here on earth and in eternity.

It really saddens me when believers disagree about this sort of thing, especially when they do so disagreeably. I honestly think that both sides want God’s name to be honored, and both sides care about the lost and about faithful Biblical interpretation. But there’s another reason why it bothers me. When the Bible emphasizes God’s sovereignty (however that works in conjunction with human decisions), it’s always meant to be a source of comfort to believers, not a source of contention or about figuring out all the details.

What do I mean? How can this be a source of comfort to us? Well, look at the world around us and all the problems we’re facing. Bad leaders are in charge of a large portion of the earth, and human rights are routinely violated. Gut-wrenching poverty is the norm for a large percentage of humanity. As I write this, economic uncertainty is causing a lot of financial hardship for millions of people in America.

But God’s in charge of everything we see and everything we don’t. Even though we don’t always know what he’s doing in the world, even though leaders make bad decisions (or even evil ones), he’s using those bad choices to work out his plan. And he can--in some mysterious way which we don’t understand--even change the hearts of kings like a watercourse. No matter what anyone, even Satan, plots out, there’s nothing which can overrule what the Almighty wants to do.

This is true in the “macro” level (like the plans of kings and nations), but it’s also true in the “micro” level as well. According to God’s word, there are no “chance” occurrences. “Lots” were the equivalent of dice that people threw, sometimes to determine how to choose something. To the human eye, it’s mere chance that they roll a certain way, but God is even in charge over that. There are no accidents.

Let me add onto that comfort if I can. The One who’s in charge of all--this is our Father we're talking about. The One who sent his Son to die a horrible death in order to redeem us, cleanse us, and adopt us as his own. It’s not “Karma” or “Fate” that’s in charge of our lives. It’s our loving Father who has our best interests at heart. So let’s trust him, shall we?

Father, you’re in charge, and I’m verrrrry glad of that. Like the hymn, “oh for faith, to trust [you] more.”

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