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.

[Dec 16]--Humility

James 4:6-10

The list of virtues in Galatians 5, known collectively as the Fruit of the Spirit, is probably the best-known collection in the Bible. But the list isn't an exhaustive one. There are several other characteristics of a growing Christian which aren’t listed there. Those are the ones we’re going to examine over the next few days.

If you look at the list of recommended books on the side of the web page, you might notice Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I was really glad when the Chronicles of Narnia movies came out, since I hope that this will introduce Lewis to a new generation. He’s my favorite author outside the Bible itself, and he offers a lot of insight into our world today. Even though he wrote during the 1940’s through the early 1960’s, if you read his work you’ll be shocked at how relevant his arguments are. Human nature hasn’t changed in either a thousand years or in fifty, and a lot of the “talking points” of non-Christians and atheists that you hear today—which they present as a “new” argument which will bring Christianity crashing down—were answered by Lewis fifty years ago. Read him, and you’ll be thinking more clearly, I promise you.

The reason I bring him up is that he has a lot to say about pride and humility in Mere Christianity, in which he talks about different Christian virtues and their opposite vices. He has a chapter about sexual immorality, and he makes the very interesting point that the “centre” (British spelling) of Christian morality is not here. From the way some Christians talk, you'd think that the main point of the Bible is to tell people not to have sex outside of marriage. That’s important, but it’s not the most important aspect of becoming like Christ.

Then he comes to the chapter on pride/humility, and he makes the sober point (I’m paraphrasing): “You remember when we were talking about sex that I said that the centre of Christian morality was not there? Well, now we’ve come to the centre.”

(still paraphrasing): "Drunkenness, lying, and a lot of other sins we think of as blatant ones, they’re mere 'flea bites' in comparison to this one. Pride is what made the Devil the Devil. It is the ultimate anti-God state of mind. Pride is the root of every sin that’s ever been committed. At the heart of every sin is the thought that 'I know better than God does.'"

That’s why the Bible talks so much about it. Read the book of Proverbs, and see how many warnings there are against pride and admonitions towards humility. In today’s reading (which also quotes Proverbs), we see just how important this is. What do we see about this issue?

• If you’re proud, you’re setting yourself up as God’s enemy. Remember, pride—by very definition—is anti-God. Do you want the Lord Almighty of the universe opposing what you do? Are you nuts?
• By contrast, he gives grace to the humble. By swallowing our pride and confessing our own inadequacies and failures, we find just how gracious (full of grace) our God is. If we confess and repent, he will forgive.
• True humility takes sin a lot more seriously than we tend to do. You can’t claim to be humble and in a right relationship with God if you don’t take sin seriously. This isn't a permanent state of despair, but facing your abject spiritual bankruptcy before you throw yourself on the mercy of his court.
• Then we come to the great reversal in vs. 10. If we humble ourselves—making ourselves “low” before him—then he will lift us up. He'll exalt us in due time.

One last point that Lewis makes about this: Pride is at the same time the most deadliest and most insidious of sins. If you think you don’t have a problem with it, then that shows just how prideful you are.

Lord Jesus, I am so wrapped up in self that I don’t even recognize it most of the time. Deep in the bottom of my soul, please scrape out the rot and fill me with yourself instead of myself.

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