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 4]--The Spirit at Work: It Comes Naturally
I know, it’s part of the American Dream. Every school child is told “You can be anything you want to be.” I understand the motive behind telling kids this: You want to encourage them to stretch themselves and to dream big. The stereotypical “Rags to Riches” story has at least a grain of truth in it. But we need to be honest. The motivation might be correct, but it’s not really true. I might've grown up wanting to be a professional basketball player. There are only two little problems with this—I’m 5’4” and have absolutely no innate talent. I might really really really really want to play professional basketball, but it’s not going to happen.
That’s because we all have different talents that we’re born with. Mozart was composing at the age of five. I can play my guitar and my MP3 player. No matter what I do, I’m never going to be as good as Mozart. Hard work plays a huge part in it, and you have to strive to develop your natural talents in order for them to reach their full potential, but you must have something to work with.
Among Christians we talk a lot about “spiritual gifts.” We’re going to discuss them at a later time, but they’re very different from today’s topic. Spiritual gifts seem to come at the point of salvation, and they’re not a talent you’re born with.
But if we’re born with certain talents, then what’s the source of these? Well, there’s good reason to believe they come directly from the Holy Spirit, at least some of the time. We do know that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” When he says every good gift, that would indicate to me that it includes any talents.
But today’s passage is a bit more specific than that. God was instructing Moses in the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses had a lot of gifts, both natural and supernatural, but artistic craftsmanship was not one of them. And this was needed. The tabernacle had to be built in order for man and God to meet on a regular basis, and the Holy Spirit had provided someone to fill the gap.
This is important. If you’re ever playing Bible trivia, and the question is “Who’s the first person that Scripture says was gifted by the Holy Spirit?” this guy is the answer. Yes, the spiritual gifts are vital: We have to have people with the gift of teaching, the gift of administration, the gift of evangelism, the gift of mercy, etc. But I can’t count how many times we’ve had a practical need in our church, and someone stepped forward who happens to have skills in that area. I have the gift of teaching, but that doesn’t do me a lot of good when my car won’t start. But there are people in our church who have talents and knowledge in that area.
Specifically this passage is referring to someone with artistic ability. It’s easy to see how someone is gifted if they can stand in front of hundreds of people and present a God-given sermon. But musical ability is a gift of the Spirit as well. If someone designs a church building for the glory of God, he’s following in the footsteps of Bezalel.
So what does this mean to us? I thoroughly believe that every Christian has a spiritual gift. No one’s left out of this honor and responsibility. But he’s also gifted you with innate talents and skills. Certainly you had to hone those talents, but the Spirit gave you the raw material to work with. Are you using them for the church? Or are you hiding your talent “in the ground”? Yes, that parable is actually where we get the word “talent” from. Do you remember the Lord’s reaction to the servant who hid his talent away and didn’t use it for the Master’s profit? Just a word to the wise.
Father God, you’ve given me talents, skills, and abilities. They're not there primarily for my sake, but for yours and for your church. How can I channel them into advancing your Kingdom?