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.
[August 14]--The Spirit at Work: Teaching and Reminding
I know I’ve said before that the Bible doesn’t have a lot of humor in it, and there’s a good reason for that. But it’s also true that the disciples produced some unintentional humor by their lack of understanding and comprehension. I mean, how many times and how clearer did Jesus have to tell them that he was about to die in Jerusalem? With all reverence and respect, it’s like a Saturday Night Live skit sometimes: He tells them “I’m about to go to Jerusalem, where I'll be betrayed, arrested, tortured, and die. But the good news is that three days later I’ll be coming back from the dead.” And he might as well be Charlie Brown’s teacher from the TV specials for how well they were listening—“What was that, Jesus? You said that you’re going to diet? What type of diet are we talking about? I hear the Adkins works wonders.”
Why was this so? Was it a case of lack of spiritual enlightenment, or was it just a case of someone telling them something they didn’t want to hear and tuning him out? I suspect both are partially true. The O.T. had made it clear that the Messiah had to die for the sins of God’s people in order to be reconciled to him, but most Jews either weren’t paying attention to it or reinterpreted it to fit their theology. Paul later referred to non-believing Jews thus: “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.” Today practicing Jews read through the O.T. on a rotating basis every Sabbath, but some of them actually skip over portions like Isaiah 53 for some odd reason.
But after Jesus ascended, the Spirit came on Pentecost. On that day, everything changed. The same Spirit who breathed truth into the prophets now did the same for the Gospel writers and the authors of the rest of the N.T. For a few years the church depended on orally passing down the truth of the New Covenant, but quickly it was recognized that we needed to write these things down, especially as the apostles (and the first generation of Christians) started to die off.
That’s the work of the Spirit that Christ is referring to in today’s passage. He reminded the apostles of what Christ had said and did and oversaw the process of writing it down so that were no errors in what was recorded. He used the backgrounds, vocabularies and writing styles of the various authors, but he made sure that they only wrote down what he wanted them to write down.
But just as importantly, he also taught them to make perfect interpretations of what they remembered. When John makes parenthetical comments in his Gospel, that is just as inspired and authoritative as the words of Christ themselves. The rest of the N.T., which is basically commentary on what we read in the Gospels, is also just as authoritative as the words of Christ. That’s why it bugs me when someone calls himself a “Red-Letter Christian,” as if the words of Paul are any less inspired than something from the mouth of Jesus in the Gospels.
Why is this important today? Because this is describing to you and me how we got the N.T. When the church was officially confirming what books belong in the New Testament, the standard was that the author had to either be an apostle (like Matthew or Paul) or a direct associate of an apostle (like Luke or Mark). This is not the “gossip” game where you whisper in someone’s ear who then whispers the same message in someone else’s ear who then repeats the process in a circle.
There are two questions for you to answer then. First, do you actually believe in this book? Either you do or you don’t. If you don’t, then please don’t pretend that you do. It’s either the inspired inerrant word of God, or it has no more authority than Dear Abby in telling me what to do. Second, if you do believe it, does that fact show up in your life?
Holy Spirit of God, I thank you so much for breathing your word into these men and perfectly preserving its truth for us. I know I grieve you pretty frequently, and I’m sorry about that. May my faith and my actions be in perfect sync