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 17]--Faith, Goodness, What Else?

2 Pet. 1:5-9

So we’re continuing in our study of the Christian virtues. The list in Galatians is a great one, but it’s not the end-all and be-all of what type of people we’re supposed to be. There are several such lists in the N.T., such as today’s passage. For the next couple of days we’re going to explore the virtues listed here that Galatians doesn’t mention.

We need to note first of all that this is not a “first, second, third” type of list. It’s not as if the Christian is supposed to master the first one, then move on to the second one, etc. I’m never going to have goodness “down,” so to speak, at least not in this life. But we're supposed to continually examine ourselves to see if these characteristics are increasingly showing up in our life.

So we know what “faith” is (simple belief in Christ), and we already talked about goodness as an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit. So what’s next on the list?

Knowledge!? I guess that’s just a relational knowledge, like “I know my friends and family,” right?

Um, no, that’s not the sum total of what Peter’s talking about. He’s also talking about knowledge of certain facts and truths.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Yes, we need a relationship-type knowledge of Jesus as a person: I know my wife, I know my friends, I know my family, etc. But that’s not all there is to it.

Because there’s a lot of false information out there about God in general and Jesus in particular, we need to know certain facts about him. There are certain things we can say about God which are true and others which are not true. Cults like the L.D.S. Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses (yes, I’ll use that term) claim to know Jesus as well, but the Jesus they know is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is not the spiritual brother of Satan. Jesus is not a created being like Michael the Archangel. Jesus is much more than a prophet sent by God.

This also applies to the rest of the truth found in Scripture. If you don’t know about the Bad News found in Genesis chapter 3, then the Good News (again, there’s information involved) has little meaning. There’s a reason why he included all the stories in the O.T. about the failures of Israel. The prophets predicted certain facts about the Messiah, facts which Paul used again and again in trying to witness to people who were familiar with these facts.

The very book in which today’s passage is located, 2nd Peter, is specifically written to warn against false teachers. In order to refute these characters and what they’re selling, we need to have more in our arsenal than “The feeling in my spirit is that they’re wrong.”

Is there such a thing as cold orthodoxy, in which we focus on facts about God to the neglect of the relational side of our faith? Absolutely. But every age of the church has its own dangers, and I think to warn excessively against this one would be like warning against polio. It seems that in every age the church sounds the strongest warnings against those dangers which are least imminent.

Is this like the other virtues that the Spirit cultivates it within me? Yes. But it also entails systematic and comprehensive study of God’s word. That means you start on a plan to read it from cover to cover (I have some handy ones on the sidebar of the blog). You place yourself under the Bible teaching of a pastor who cares about the truth found in Scripture. You might even want to start a daily devotional—if you don’t read this one on a regular basis, then find another one.

As you read and study his word, you’ll find the relational side will grow stronger as well. The God found in the Scriptures will become more “real” in your daily life. I can personally testify to it.

Father God, as I read your word, please use it to draw me closer into your Presence. As I examine your word, use it to examine me. Please.

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