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.

[August 17]--The Spirit at Work: Keeping Us Out of Sin

1 John 3:9-10

We discussed this topic a little bit back in May when we discussed soteriology, so some of this might seem familiar to you. But even though it’s sort of the same topic, there are some aspects of it I didn’t get to back then which I’d like to address now.

As you’ll recall, John wrote his epistle--along with some issues regarding a heresy called Gnosticism—for one main purpose. He wanted truly saved Christians to be assured of their salvation, and he wanted nonbelievers who'd fooled themselves into thinking they were saved to be stripped of any false assurance. He presented three tests for anyone thinking they were truly saved. If you passed the tests, you’re fine. If not, then you need to examine yourself. The tests were: 1) Right beliefs, 2) Right affection (love for siblings in Christ), and 3) A right direction in your lifestyle.

Again I need to make this point, since some Christians and even some denominations are confused on this. We still sin as believers. I’m going to struggle with sin until I see Jesus face-to-face, and there are few days I can remember in which I didn’t need to confess and repent of something.

But please note the careful wording I made in point # 3. The question is not “Do you still sin?” The question is “What direction are you taking in this area?” Are you heading towards better obedience and more faithfulness, or are you wallowing in a sinful lifestyle?

That’s how most Evangelical teachers interpret today’s passage, and that’s why the NIV translates it as “continue to sin.” The NASB renders it “practices” sin. If someone claims to be a saved, blood-bought redeemed child of God and still practices an unrepentant sinful lifestyle, then the Bible offers him no assurance of salvation. Actually it does quite the opposite.

How does this work out in my own life? I know I placed my trust in Christ as a young adult, but I still screw up. Here’s what's happened: I can’t get away with sin anymore. There are things I used to be able to do with impunity, like cussing, which I can’t do anymore. I used to love pornography. Now any lustful look I afford to a scantily clad girl on the street brings enormous guilt. I can’t enjoy sin anymore.

That’s the difference between a child of God and someone who’s not. My favorite illustration that someone gave me years ago is that of a fish and a man. A fish doesn’t mind being in water. If he could actually think like we do, he wouldn’t even have a word for "wet" in his vocabulary, because he’s never experienced or even dreamed about any other environment. It’s his natural element. But a man’s natural element in not underwater. He can’t breathe water. If he fell into a pool, he couldn’t just sink to the bottom and continue his normal activities. He might even swim around for a while, but he can’t live down there. That’s not his home.

That’s the work of the Spirit. We have a new life implanted within us at the new birth, given to us by the life-giving Spirit. The same Spirit who breathed life into the first man (Adam) and the corpse of the Lord Jesus (the second Adam), breathes life into us. He plants his life in us. That’s why we can’t just keep living like we once did. I don’t mean “we can’t” in the sense of “we shouldn’t” or “It’s really bad if we do. . .” I mean it in the sense of “We can’t jump into the water and breathe in it like a fish.” He won’t let us.

All of this, by the way, is a wonderful act of love. Aren’t you glad that he won’t just let you wander off into a self-destructive life of sin? As someone once told me, “He loves you exactly as you are, and too much to leave you that way.” That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

Holy Spirit of God, you won’t let go of me, will you? No matter what I do, no matter how much I deserve it. Thank you.

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