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.

[Nov 02]--The Bride: Saint Who?

Romans 1:1-7

I’m not really sure of the backgrounds of the people who are reading these entries. Hopefully there’s some diversity. I might even hope this might reach some folks who are “seekers” and not sure what they believe. But quite frankly I expect that most people who read this are coming from an Evangelical Protestant background. If what I’m about to say is something you already know, then I apologize. Maybe you just needed a good reminder of something.

But there’s a good possibility there might be someone reading this who comes from a church background in which the term “saint” is a source of confusion. You were raised to think that “saints” are some especially holy men and women who are/were closer to God than you could ever hope to be. You might've even been encouraged to pray to such people, because they have a special “in” that your paltry prayers could never achieve.

Let me put this just as gently as I can: That’s pure nonsense. Let’s take a look at what Paul himself said about this subject.

The Greek word translated “saint” is the same word from which we get the words “holy” and "sanctfied." It could also be rendered as “set apart” or “other” or “different.” If you see it in different translations, you might see it translated as any of these. In the NIV reading for today, it's rendered as "called to be God's holy people."

That’s literally what a “saint” is. It’s a person who’s set apart from the rest. Nothing more, nothing less.

By the way, that’s a concept related to the Church itself. Remember what the word for church is? It’s ekklesia, literally “called out ones.”

Dear brother or sister in Christ, I’ve got news for you. You’re a saint. You might not act like it all the time—I certainly don’t. But I am. It’s not dependant on what I do or how I perform, but on who I am. Or more precisely, whose I am. When you were called by God and received salvation in Jesus Christ, you became a saint. He pulled you out of the crowd, cleansed you by his blood, and called you to a new purpose.

Want some more proof? Do you have any idea just how screwed up the Corinthian church was? I don’t know how much hair Paul had on his head, but he definitely had less of it after dealing with them. They had problems with blatant sexual immorality, infighting, factions, and even flirtations with heresy. And Paul called them saints ("holy people") at the beginning of his letter to them.

Again, I’m a practical theologian. That means whenever I see some grand concept in theology, I ask “So what?” What does this mean?

First, take comfort. God has called you and set you apart. It’s not dependent on your performance. It’s dependent on Christ, who he is and what he did and what he does. You are holy and righteous in him.

Second, don’t get too comfortable. You were called to be a saint. First and foremost that means you’re called to be different. If you tell the same jokes as everyone else in the office, that’s a problem. If you strike back when someone insults you or stabs you in the back, that’s not being different. If you just want to blend in the background and be just like everyone else, that’s unacceptable.

Become who you really are.

Lord, you have pretty high expectations, don’t you? By your grace and in your power, I want to show who I am, whose I am. In the way I talk, the way I act, and in the way I think. That’s what I want.

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