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 06]--Another Bad Sign

1 Sam. 9:1-10

Before we move on from distinguishing a false prophet from a true one, I need to address one other sign that’s a pretty good indication. Hopefully you’re familiar enough with the story that I don’t have to go into too many details. God had acceded to Israel’s request for a king, and he (the Lord) had chosen Saul, who had no idea about any of this. Saul and his father’s servant went to look for some lost donkeys. They heard about a “seer” (the common term for a prophet at the time) in the district of Zuph who might give them supernatural insight into the location of the animals. Please notice Saul’s objection to going to this “man of God”: They didn’t have anything to pay him. The servant countered that he had a little money which they could use to induce the seer.

What’s important to me is not so much Saul’s story, but what this little conversation reveals in passing. Saul assumes that they need to pay a “man of God” in order to get his help, and the servant with him doesn’t question Saul’s assumption. That to me exposes what was the norm among—not the laity—but the prophets, the “men of God.” Their reputation was “If I’m going to help you, I need to see the cash first.”

Now, we need to tread carefully and think clearly. Is it wrong for full-time ministers to be paid for their work? Absolutely not! If you read Paul’s discussion on this in 1 Corinthians, he has two points to make: 1) If someone is working full-time in service to the Kingdom, if they make their living from the Good News, then the church should pay them for this. That is the norm for God’s kingdom. This is a not a term I use very often, but Paul actually says that these ministers have a “right” to expect support from the church. If the church (either as a local body or as an organization) can support its ministers with a decent living salary, it’s obligated to. 2) However, there might be circumstances in which the church can’t support someone on a full-time basis, and in which case the preacher/pastor/minister/missionary will have to find another means of support. The most important thing is that God’s work be done. The Good News is the only thing that’s important.

But if someone’s main concern is money, that’s a problem. And trust me, if money is the most important thing to them, that fact will come out. If you watch someone on TV and they spend as much time on asking for money as on supposedly sharing their teaching (which much of the time is heretical anyway), then that’s a problem. If they claim that you need to come to them for help and for a “donation” of “only” a certain amount of money you can get a handkerchief soaked with sweat from their brow, there’s a problem.

That’s a sign of a false prophet. Don’t listen to them. Don’t pay any attention to them. Don’t try to pick out the “good” parts from the “bad” parts. In due time, God will deal with them.

But we can't let the bad apples cause us to avoid the flip side of this truth. If someone makes their living in working for the Kingdom, then their wage should (ideally) come from believers’ support. Both Paul and Jesus make it clear: “The worker deserves his wages.” Dear sibling in Christ, please be generous with the man of God whose job it is to spiritually feed you. Don’t cop out with “He should only be concerned about heavenly rewards.” Yes, he should. And if he’s like most ministers, he’s not concerned about money for himself. If he was, he’s in the wrong profession, and he knew it getting in. But that in no way excuses you from doing what the Lord expects you to do. Got it?

Father God, the love of money is such a trap. Please help me to be free from it. Let me show that freedom in my generosity with others.

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