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.

[Jan 04]--Predicting the Future

Deut. 18:14-22

If you read the prophetic part of the O.T., you might notice something about God’s character and priorities. Over and over and over he gives warnings that A) False prophets will come, B) God will hold his people accountable if they listen to these charlatans, and C) He really really really hates it when someone presumes to speak in his name when that prophet is not from him. I’m sure that the President would get royally ticked if I, Keith Bird, stood up at a press conference and said “This is the new policy of the White House. . .” Someone from said White House would immediately make it clear that I don’t have any authorization to speak in the name of the President. I’m just a guy with my own opinions.

Why was he so angry at someone speaking in his name when they weren’t supposed to? Well, for one thing they always were there to deceive people, usually away from the one true God of Israel. God only knows what motivation they had, but my guess is that most of the time it was an issue of money. Maybe sometimes they wanted to feel important about themselves, but I think moolah was the primary reason.

But I want to focus for just a moment on point (B) from above. Remember the story of the Fall of our first parents? Both of them tried to shift the blame to someone else. The woman in particular tried to excuse herself by saying “The Snake deceived me.” Did God accept that excuse? Um, no. Because she really knew better. Just like the people of Israel. If they listened to a false prophet, the Lord accepted absolutely no excuses in that regard.

Why not? How could they tell a false prophet from a true one? Well, he gave them two tests for anyone who claimed to speak for himself. Tomorrow we’ll look at one, but for today we’ll examine the other one in today’s reading. It’s pretty obvious: If what the prophet predicted came true, he passed the test. If not, then he was a false prophet, and the punishment for doing this was pretty severe. Again, the Lord took this a whole lot more seriously than we do.

Why is this important to us? Because God was setting a standard for his word that was pretty high. If a man claiming to be a prophet made a prediction, 80% wasn’t good enough. 99% wasn’t either. Do you remember the soap commercials that claimed to be 99 and 44/100% pure? Still not good enough. If he made one prediction that was not 100% accurate, then he was a false prophet and was subject to the death penalty.

Why is this important to us today? Well, I see three applications. First, this should strengthen our confidence in God’s word. If the standard was any lower, then we might come away wondering “Is the book of Isaiah really straight from God?” If this was just a guy with an opinion, then you can dismiss him. But say he was a prophet, but some of his opinions got somehow mixed in with the stuff from God? Didn’t happen. Either all of it comes from God, or none of it. So you can and should trust it.

Second, I fear for a lot of preachers on TV. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against preachers using TV per se. I’m referring to anyone who glibly says “God told me. . .” To put it mildly, I’m extremely skeptical of anyone claiming that they’ve received a message from the Almighty which is on the same authority as Jeremiah. And quite frankly, you should be too. The Lord takes it seriously when someone claims to speak directly from his throne, and I haven’t seen a preacher yet who does this that changes my opinion in general about them. And from what I’ve read from Scripture, they have a lot to answer for.

And third, this is a warning to people like me. When I teach straight from God’s word and take care to interpret it accurately for you, I’m on solid ground. But when I present an opinion which doesn’t have as much support from the Bible, I need to be clear that I’m doing that. I need to be extra careful. If I ever say “God told me. . .” then the next thing you should be asking for is book, chapter, and verse.

We all need to be concerned about this. The stakes couldn’t be any higher.

Father God, your word is the only sure light, the only sure path we have in this dark and confusing world. May we listen, and obey.

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