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.

[May 29]--The Wind And The Waves

Mark 4:35-41

I might have mentioned this is in passing before, but it’s relevant to our discussion today. Mark’s Gospel, more so than any of the other three, emphasizes the (superficial) popularity of Jesus. Once word got out about his healings and the confrontations he had with the religious leaders, people came from miles around to see him. This got to the point that his ministry was actually hindered. There were days in which, from sunup to sundown, every moment was taken up with serving people: healing, teaching, preaching, etc.

And after a full day like this, Christ told his disciples that they were going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee for a rest. If I’m telling you something you know already, then I apologize—The Sea of Galilee is famous for violent storms which can swoop in with little or no warning.

I’d also like to remind you that many in this crew were experienced fisherman who'd undoubtedly seen a lot of fearsome storms. But this one apparently was bad enough to have them screaming in terror.

And Jesus was sleeping throughout this. I’d like to submit that you have to be pretty exhausted to sleep through a storm that makes experienced fishermen react like this. And no one likes to be woken up from a sound sleep. He rebuked them, but I have to confess that my reaction would probably have been worse: “I’m sorry, Jesus. I really regret having to interrupt your nap. It’s just that, you know, WE’RE ABOUT TO DIE!!!! So I thought you might want to know.”

Remember how I like “tension” verses? Well, this passage also highlights two mysterious truths in tension for us—Jesus was (and is) fully man and fully God. One minute he lies down in the back of the boat and immediately falls into a deep enough slumber to not even notice a deadly storm. And the next minute, he stands up in the boat and orders the storm to be quiet. Of course, any person (probably not quite right in the head) could talk to a storm and "rebuke" it like this. The difference between this Man and any other man. . . was that the storm listened.

You know the image that’s in my head every time I read this story? I love my dogs dearly, but one of them is a half-Chihuahua mix. Every person who comes to the door, especially strangers (or her arch-nemesis, the mailman) is the source of at least ten minutes of barking that rattles your ears. And when she does that, I tell her “That’s enough.” If she doesn’t listen and keeps barking, I say to her even more firmly—with some authority in my voice—“That’s enough!!!! Be quiet!!!” That’s the image we’re presented of Jesus and this storm. He stands up in the boat and tells it “Hush! Be quiet!” and the storm immediately quiets down like my dog, undoubtedly looking like this:

On a side-note, I promise you that we don't beat our dog.

And what’s the response of the disciples? Relief? Joy? A shout of glee that we’re not going to die? Maybe a little of all that. But Mark tells us that the main emotional response from the disciples in that boat was . . . fear. They'd been terrified of the storm a few moments before. And now they were even more terrified of the Man in front of them. Why? Because they knew that, as dangerous as the storm was, there was someone even more dangerous in the boat with them right now.

So what does this mean to us? I’ve heard lots of sermons that spiritualize the storm and urge you to trust Jesus in the midst of metaphorical “storms” in your life. I guess there’s some validity to that. If you’re going through a “storm” like a job loss or divorce or the loss of a loved one, then it’s good to know that the Lord can calm that storm whenever he pleases.

But I’d also like to note a different aspect of this. Our gentle, wonderful Savior can be scary at times. If you’re on his bad side, you have every reason to be frightened. And if you know him, then this is a good reminder that our relationship with him should be mixed with some godly fear that has some trembling at times. He’s not your best buddy. He’s God Almighty, and all the forces of creation know better than to cross him. Just a thought.

Lord Jesus, I am sooooooo glad that I’m covered by your blood, and you count me as your friend. That’s a good thing.

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