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.

[June 03]--One Little Word

Mark 7:31-37

Everything we really need to know about God, about ourselves, about the afterlife, and a host of other issues is all contained within God’s word. As Alistair Begg put it, “The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” But that leaves a lot mystery about a lot of things in life. And here’s one mystery that I can’t wrap my head around: “How does a sovereign God get frustrated?”

Christians disagree about what exactly his “sovereignty” means. Basically they agree that the Almighty can do anything he wants. But how does his perfect plan work in conjunction with human freedom? If someone is finally lost and ends up in hell, did God plan it that way? Does he pick and choose those whom are saved? And if not, if it’s ultimately up to me to decide to follow Christ, then what separates me from my lost family member? You can have two brothers who were raised in the same home and church and listen to the exact same sermons. One of them submits to Christ, while the other one doesn’t. What made the difference?

Why am I bringing this up? Because I have all the perfect answers to all these questions? Yeah right. And I also have some swampland in Arizona I’d like to sell you. I certainly don’t have everything worked out with thorny issues like this.

The reason I bring it up is because of one little word that touches upon all the mystery and wonder of God’s sovereignty and how it relates to creation. That one word: “sigh.”

What does that word signify? What does it tell you about someone? If I look at a situation and sigh, what am I feeling? Mostly frustration. Maybe a little anger.

So let’s back up a bit and get the context. Jesus was continuing his ministry in Galilee, and as usual people brought candidates for healing. He’s presented a poor guy who’s deaf and mute. We don’t know how long he’d had this condition, but it’s quite possible he had been born this way. The Master could've healed him with a thought or just a word, but he chose to present for his audience an object lesson of who he is. He’s the Creator of both the tongue and the ear (both incredible marvels of nature), and in a sense he’s “re-creating” the man’s organs in front of all of them. That’s what’s symbolized by his rather odd methods here.

But just before he healed the man, Jesus did something that’s rarely recorded in the Bible: He sighed. For some reason, he apparently was frustrated. And maybe a little angry. Why? Well, he could've been frustrated at the hard-heartedness of the people around him. He could've been irritated at how the crowds saw him mainly as the “miracle man.”

But I think it’s something deeper. Again, he’s the Creator of everything. And how do you think an artist reacts when he sees his handiwork damaged? He didn’t design the ear to just sit on the side of your head. He didn’t make your tongue to sit silent or make unintelligible noises. He created them to function. He created music for his praise and our enjoyment. He created words so that we could sing out in worship and also bring healing to our fellow man.

And sin has wrecked all that. His wonderful creation was wrecked by two peoples’ bad choices. And it continues today. Nothing works exactly the way it’s supposed to. This world is not the way it’s supposed to be.

Again, how does all this work with the understanding that we have a sovereign God who's in complete control of everything? I don’t know. But I do know this. However frustrated you get with the world, however angry you get at injustice, however much you cry out when you see things like a crippled child, please keep this mind. The Savior hates it more than you do.

The good news is that one day he’s going to do something about it.

Lord Jesus, I have fully functioning ears, tongue, eyes, and most everything else. But sometimes I don’t use them the way you want. Does that frustrate you too?

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