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 19]--Godliness

2 Pet. 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 4:8

Ok, so now we come to the last of the virtues which are listed in today’s passage and aren’t listed in Galatians. We need to know what this is, because we can’t know if we have it if we don’t recognize it. From the Timothy verse we learn that although physical training (or exercise) is useful for some things, this one virtue “has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” It’s has practical value in the here and now and will serve you well in the hereafter.

Believe it or not, I actually have some sources outside the MacArthur study notes! The best resource I’ve ever seen is The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges, one of my favorite authors and one who has several books on my recommendation list on the side. He’s one of the few authors I’ve read about whom I can actually say I agree with every word he’s written, and he revolutionized my thinking on grace, the Law, and the Gospel. A lot of what I’m about to say comes from his book on the subject.

We tend to think of godliness as synonymous with holiness or righteousness, and there’s truth in that. They're similar, but there’s a different emphasis. “Holiness” literally means to be “set apart” or “different,” from what’s common. If most people are doing X (like having sex before marriage), then we do non-X. Righteousness is basically being “right,” having a right relationship with God and others based upon doing what’s right towards them.

Godliness refers to the orientation of our life. It means that everything centers around God. It’s not so much referring to keeping a set of rules but having the Lord as our focus. Yes, we want to please him, and that means we do what he tells us to do. But someone could be following the “rules,” at least on the outside, and not be godly at all. If you’re conscious of Jesus “looking over your shoulder” while you’re doing an activity, then you get the idea. It’s a sense of his presence, plus it’s ordering your life around his priorities and doing everything with him in mind.

You see, we tend to divide up everything into three categories: “Sacred,” “Secular,” and “Sinful.” Sacred activities would include reading my Bible, going to church, etc. Sinful activities are pretty obvious, or at least they should be.

But what about “secular” activities like eating or going to a movie or going for a walk with my dogs or working at a job? Well, as near as I can tell, this middle ground we’ve got between sacred and sinful is something either A) we’ve made up ourselves or B) holdovers from Old Testament type of thinking. Paul said “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If you can’t do X for the glory of God, then you really need to ask yourself if you ought to be doing it. As Abraham Kuyper put it, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine!'"

This is not to say that we can’t have fun. Fun is part of our life in Christ. He’s the author of everything good in our lives, and part of that is the enjoyment and excitement we find in our daily experiences.

Let me illustrate. I love hockey. It’s my favorite sport--quite frankly, it’s the only one I keep up with. When I watch a hockey game on TV, I should be able to do so to God’s glory. I can thank him for the skills he’s given the players. I thank him for the enjoyment and excitement of watching a good game. If I can’t “bring Jesus into” a certain activity, then I shouldn’t be doing it. If I can, then there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

That’s what true godliness is: Placing my Lord at the center and having everything revolve around him. That includes “fun” activities, work, my relationship with my wife, eating, driving, and anything that’s not sin.

At least that’s how I see it.

Father God, everything should revolve around you. Everything in my life falls under the heading of “This belongs to God.” Does it? Are you the center of everything?

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