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 29]--Barnabas Part Two: Taking a Risk

Acts 9:23-28

Since Barnabas is one of my favorite characters, I decided to skip ahead and finish out his story today.

I mentioned Andrew yesterday, and there’s a major parallel between the two men. Both Andrew and Barnabas were—by God’s providence—placed in a situation in which they had to watch someone close to them get a lot more attention. Remember, Andrew’s brother was Simon, better known as Peter. Peter preached one sermon in which 3,000 people came to Christ at once. He was one of the “Inner Circle” of three who experienced things with Christ which no one else did. In the book of Acts, it’s revealed that sick people lined up on the street so that Peter’s shadow could fall on them and heal them. He was the linchpin the Lord used to bring Gentiles into the Church. He then went on to write two epistles which became part of God’s inspired word, on the same level of authority as the Torah or the prophets.

Andrew never did any of those things. But he did something for which all of us can be eternally grateful: He introduced Peter to Jesus. He didn’t perform any grand acts for the Lord, but he brought into motion the events that led to all that God did through Peter later on.

It’s the same with Barnabas. Saul of Tarsus was on his way to round up more Christians to arrest and eventually kill. He was knocked to the ground by an appearance by the Lord Jesus himself. As soon as Ananias healed him, Saul (soon to be known better as Paul) immediately started teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus.

But there was a problem. In order to be effective, Paul needed to be vetted, approved and certified by the Apostles, and there was no way he was going to get an audience with them. I mean, what better way could the Church’s enemies sneak in someone to get close to and betray their leaders than by doing this? Paul was on his way to arrest Christians, and now he’s the most fervent spokesman for Christianity? Right. Tell me another.

But Barnabas had seen him in action in Damascus, and he believed in this firebrand. Paul undoubtedly had some rough edges that needed some polishing, but Barnabas saw past all that. And he was more than willing to take a risk and bring this new believer into the presence of the apostles. He vouched for Paul when no one else would.

And that led to all that we read about later. Paul became the greatest missionary who ever lived, and the door to the Gentiles which Peter had cracked, he burst wide open. He performed miracles which validated his ministry, and eventually it was recognized that he was called to be an apostle as an equal to the other Eleven. He fine-tuned the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Not to mention that he wrote half of our New Testament. I'd submit that there's been no one else who's had more of an impact on the Church of Jesus Christ save the Lord himself.

And it all started when someone with spiritual insight and courage stepped forward and did what God wanted.

Father God, is there a diamond in the rough around me, someone who needs a word of encouragement or someone to believe in them? What do you want me to do?

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