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 21]--Compassionate Spirit

Col. 3:12-15

So we’ve looked at the lists of virtues in Galatians and 2 Peter. There are several other lists we could look at, but most of them pretty much repeat what we’ve been over already. I’ve got just three more to examine, then we’re going to spend a couple of days on the Christmas story (duh), then I’ve got a four-day study on another topic to revealed soon. Hope you’ll stick with it.

While we’re on the subject of upcoming plans, here are mine for the coming year. God willing, we’re going to spend about half the year in the prophets. If you’re expecting a complete outline on the “End Times” and a study on who the Anti-Christ is and when the Rapture is going to be, then you’re going to be disappointed. Believe or not, the prophets are extremely practical set of books. Then we’re going to wrap up the TAWG Blog with a very abbreviated overview of the Epistles.

Speaking of which, we’re looking at a two-day study of this passage. He cites several virtues, but compassion and forgiveness are two that we haven’t looked at yet. Today’s compassion, and tomorrow’s forgiveness.

So what is compassion? Well, the Greek is a very ugly-sounding word: splagchnon. Don’t try to pronounce it, you’ll only hurt yourself like I did. It’s the word for the bowels or intestines, and it’s related to the same word we get “spleen” from. The reason for this is that the ancients considered the bowels the center of the stronger emotions like love and anger. So they talked about their intestines being moved when they saw someone in need and felt their pain. Don’t laugh—we refer to the “heart,” as the seat of the emotions, as if that muscle in your chest has to do with anything. It’s the same thing when we say that our “heart” was “moved.”

That’s why different translations render the same word different ways, like the NASB has it as “tender-hearted” in Eph. 4:32. But there’s a good reason to translate it as “compassionate,” and it has to do with the English word.

People use the word “compassionate” rather sloppily, because they don’t know what the word actually means. It comes from two words com (“with”) and pathos. What do we call the sufferings of Christ from his arrest to his death? The Passion. That’s because “passion” comes from pathos which means suffering. So literally when we show true compassion we are suffering with someone.

This means something to me. God did not sit up in Heaven and look down and say “I’m going to do something about those people down there.” He didn’t just send deliverance like he did in the O.T., which certainly would be more than we deserve. He sent his own Son to suffer with us.

He put up with all the little trials we put up: hunger, thirst, tiredness, frustration, etc. He also endured emotional suffering, such his rejection by his own family and hometown (who tried to kill him). One of his closest followers betrayed him, his foremost disciple denied knowing his name, and all his followers fled when he was arrested. He went through several mock trials, and was finally rejected by his nation in place of a violent criminal.

But then came the worst “suffering with” us. Actually instead we ought to call it “suffering for” us. He took the sins of the world--and with it the wrath of the Father--upon his back. You ever felt lonely, like no one cares about you? Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you? Our Savior went through what you’ve endured times infinity on the Cross.

That’s what true compassion is. Yes, it’s a movement of the heart (or “intestines”), but it translates into action. Action that actually costs you something.

Father, in this time of year when we’re celebrating the First and Most Important Christmas Gift, what do you want me to give? How can I follow your example of compassion?

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