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 7]--Is It Worth It?

Mark 10:23-31

Yesterday we saw Jesus’ encounter with the “rich young ruler,” as he’s called, so today’s the sequel to that story. Jesus ended up turning away a most promising recruit for one simple reason: The man wasn’t ready.

As the man walked away, Jesus expressed sadness and made a most remarkable general statement. If you read the last story carefully, it’s not that difficult to see why. It’s not as if the size of your bank account in and of itself is some hindrance to getting into his Kingdom. But rich people have more to lose in this world, so they might be a little more reluctant to surrender it all to the Savior. Also they tend to be self-reliant, trusting in their own wisdom and resources to “make it” through any problem they encounter, which is of course the exact opposite of coming to Jesus “like a little child.”

Why did the disciples react the way they did? Based on the modern view that a lot of people hold towards “the rich,” you’d expect the wealthy to have a harder time getting right with God. But to his first followers, their perspective was the exact opposite. They were raised and trained to think of material wealth as an indication of the Lord’s blessing. The wealthier you were, the more likely that God was smiling upon you and was pleased with you. So Jesus’ statement was very counterintuitive for them.

And then he reiterates and expands his statement. By the way, if you ever hear a Bible teacher tell you something about the “eye of the needle” being a gate and a camel just having to kneel down in order to enter, disregard it. That’s a myth. When the Master was talking about a camel entering the eye of a needle, he’s denoting utter impossibility.

To the disciples, this is an incredible and disheartening statement. If the rich can’t get in, then who else can? And Christ responds with a word of both despair and hope. We need to indulge in complete despair concerning the abilities of man, and have complete confidence in the ability of God.

Now we come to a very important point. The disciples had been overhearing Jesus’ conversation with the young ruler, and Peter had a comment concerning that. You can almost hear the pride in his statement: “You asked that man to give up everything and follow you? Well, we’ve done that.” And in the back of that statement is an unspoken question—“And is it worth it?”

Please notice the Master’s response. He doesn’t rebuke Peter in the slightest for his query or the subtext behind it. No, he reaffirms their desires and then promises to fulfill them and then “over-fulfill” them. No matter what you give up for God’s service, it’s not really a loss. God will be the debtor of no man.

Just look at the lavish promises he makes. Now, does this mean that if we follow Christ we’re going to be rich? Of course it does! But in this life, true riches aren’t measured by your bank account. Why would you be so concerned about “riches” that are going to be dust and ashes someday? And notice the little phrase Jesus just throws in there—“Oh by the way, you’re going to have persecutions as well,” which would contradict the idea that following Christ is a sure ticket to material wealth in this life. But there’s something even more important, a true blessing that we can experience here and now. If you’re a believer and have given up family members, you’ve gained a whole lot more family than you ever lost. All over the world you have family from all types of cultures, societies, and economic background. You’ve got a ready-made family made up of millions of people who readily call you a sibling with a common Father.

And of course in the next life is where the true riches come in. And whatever you get on the other side of the Great Divide, you get to keep. So yes, it’s worth it. Whatever he calls you to give up, you’re not really giving up anything.

As usual, Lewis put it perfectly: “Take the promises of Jesus himself.. . .If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Lord Jesus, I hold on to my material blessings so tightly some times. Why do I do that? Why am I so scared of letting go of them? Why should I be?

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