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 04]--The Bride: On Display

Eph. 3:7-12

We’re talking about the Church, and I haven’t really gotten into her true purpose. That’s quite a lacuna on my part, because it’s pretty important and goes against what some of us tend to think about it.

People today, especially since the 1960’s, have gotten into their head the notion that the church is there for me. It’s there to provide for my needs. It’s there to be my support structure.

Now, there’s some truth in that. Part of the purpose of the church is to provide spiritual healing and we certainly try to meet people’s needs. If a church doesn’t care about that, then it’s failing in its mission. I heard growing up that "The Church is not a mausoleum for saints; it's a hospital for sinners," and there's a lot of truth there.

But that’s not the primary purpose of the Church. Did you catch that? It’s not all about you. The Church is not first or foremost there to provide for your needs. And it’s certainly not there to meet your wants and desires.

What's the purpose here? Why was the Church created? Why did Jesus shed his blood for her?

It’s not that hard to guess, especially if you’re read the passage above. Next year we’re going to probably study this passage in greater detail, since it’s so packed with meaning. But here I want to focus particularly on vss. 10-11. Please read them slowly.

My friend, the Church--which you’re a part of if you belong to Christ--is meant to be a sort of living trophy. What’s a trophy? It’s a symbol on display that tells everyone that someone has achieved something of great importance.

What has God achieved by bringing forth and caring for the Church? It puts on display his incredible wisdom. What a plan! Could you have come up with something nearly as good? When angels look to see what the Lord is doing through the Church, they wonder in awe at the “manifold” wisdom of the Almighty. It has many folds. It’s like peeling an eternal onion. You peel off one layer of God’s wisdom as manifested in the plan of salvation. And then you get a deeper level. You peel that off and say “OK, I get it now!” No you don’t. You haven’t scratched the surface. And thousands of years after finding out more and more about our salvation, we’ll only find that this multifaceted diamond has more angles which we’ve never truly seen before. That’s why the angels “long to look into”—delve into and understand more deeply—our salvation.

And although it’s not stated here, the Church is also on display as a showcase for God’s mercy, kindness, and love. It also shows his justice and power.

That’s the purpose of the Church. So what’s the practical application? Well, here’s one for starters. We need to encourage each other, and that includes “attaboys.” There’s nothing wrong with that. But ultimately we have to remember that the Church (and its local manifestations) is not there to glorify any man. Unless you count one Man in particular.

Lord Jesus, so often I think of the Church as a way to glorify myself. I repent of that in dust and ashes. Please forgive, and please change me.

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