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.

[July 17]--Oh Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Luke 17:7-10

Have you ever had a rude waiter/waitress serve you at a restaurant? I confess I've never actually had one, but I’ve heard horror stories from people who have. Maybe they did everything right on your order, but make it obvious that they don’t want to be there. Perhaps you came at the end of their shift, or you’re bearing the brunt of misdirected anger they hold for the customer who just left. Or anger at their boss who just yelled at them, or anger at someone else who wronged them. No matter what, though, it’s really annoying. Putting a smile on your face and being friendly when you don’t feel like it is part of your job description when you’re in the field of customer service.

I think about a scenario like that when I read today’s passage. I figure some people, if they’re reading these verses for the first time, are scratching their heads. The boss in this parable seems pretty nasty. I mean, you come in from the field after a hard-day’s work, and your employer expects you to fix supper and serve it to him?! What a jerk! And once the meal’s served, God have mercy on the servant who actually expects a little gratitude for all the hard work he’s done!

Once again I bring up that magical word—context—in order to help us understand this. Let me try to clear away any misunderstanding by asking a simple question: “Is the way God's presented in this passage consistent with the rest of Scripture?” Do we commonly see him snubbing his servants and not giving them the appropriate applause when they do hard work for him? Is he the tyrant presented in today’s story? Of course not! He’s always willing to honor his servants when they do a good job for him. Abraham comes immediately to mind. Remember when his and his nephew’s servants were squabbling over land and water? He suggested the two groups part ways, and very magnanimously volunteered to let his nephew pick first which part of the land in which to settle. The Lord immediately blessed and praised him for this and made some more glorious promises about Abraham’s future.

This is a pattern you see over and over in the O.T. When his people are even making baby-steps in faithfulness, he lavishes praise on them and pours out blessings galore. What about the N.T.? Jesus makes promises about our future which make the Old Testament pledges look paltry by comparison, like here. And have you forgotten Mark’s portrait of our Savior as our Servant? He came here to serve us, and of course the greatest display of this was at the Cross.

So what’s the point here? It’s doesn’t seem that difficult to me: This is not how God treats us, but it does accurately represent how we should be thinking about ourselves. I’ve said this before, but I’m going to repeat it because we American Christians have such a hard time getting it into our thick skulls. God does not owe you anything except judgment. You owe him everything, twice over. He created you, so everything is his to begin with. But take that thought to orders of magnitude when you remember that he paid to redeem you with his own blood.

And what the servants are supposed to think about themselves is absolutely true: If we did everything God told us to do, he still would not owe us. Of course we don’t do everything we‘re supposed to do. We’re still frequently disobedient. But even if we were perfectly obedient, God would still not owe us anything. We'd only be doing what we’re supposed to be doing anyway! We'd still be “unworthy servants.”

It’s worth noting once again, however, that this is the polar opposite of how our Father treats us. He's incredibly generous with his servants/children, not giving us what we deserve (judgment) and also giving us what we don’t really deserve at all (praise for doing what we’re supposed to be doing anyway). I’m really glad that this is the type of Father I have. Aren’t you?

Father, I really am an unworthy servant. But you have made me your co-heir, and the blessings are piled on top of other blessings. You are a wonder to me.

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