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 07]--Comfy?

1 Kings 22:1-28

OK, I know that today’s reading is a little longer than you might be used to here, but I really needed to present these verses, because they touch on some really important issues. I couldn’t really summarize the story and do it justice.

First, let’s get the weird/controversial part out of the way, then we can move on to more productive things. What the heck is up with Micaiah’s vision? God sent this—what, deceptive spirit? Evil spirit? Demonic spirit?—to Ahab’s court? Let’s use our God-given common sense and what we know from the rest of God’s word to work through this very obscure story.

• Did this literally happen in God’s court, or is it just a symbolic vision? Did this literally happen up in Heaven? Well, one of my principles in interpreting Scripture is that I take it literally unless I have some very good reason to think otherwise. There are some difficulties in accepting a literal interpretation, but they’re not insurmountable. So therefore, I lean towards a literal understanding, but I want to be charitable towards those who look at it symbolically.

• We need to think very carefully about this. Our Lord is the source of all truth, and our Savior is Truth Incarnate. He never ever ever lies to us, and his officially appointed messengers will never do so--ever. At least, they won't insomuch as they're truly representing him. However, he can and does sometimes use evil spirits, just like he uses evil men, to accomplish his purposes. That doesn’t mean he approves of all that they do. In fact, they might be in the act of sinning while they’re being manipulated in order to fulfill his plan. The ultimate example of this, of course, is the Passion of our Lord.

• Did God send a deceiving spirit to Ahab in order to destroy him? If you interpret the vision literally, then yes. But he also sent Micaiah with the truth. Ahab was not deprived of what he needed to know. He had a true prophet of God standing right in front of him, telling him that if they went forward, he (the king) would die. If Ahab was really interested in the truth instead of hearing what he wanted to hear, he had access to it. The only reason he didn't listen to what the true prophet was saying was because he freely chose to listen to the lying ones, who only echoed what he was planning to do anyway. 

So now we come to the main point of today’s reading, at least as it regards our study of the prophets. My friend, listen very carefully. I don't believe that today we have biblical prophets who have the same authority as Isaiah or Amos. However, inasmuch as your preacher on Sunday faithfully teaches God’s word to you, he’s all you need anyway. That’s God’s word to you. If you’re waiting for some special “word from the Lord” besides what’s in the Bible in front of you, you’ve got a long wait ahead.

Why do I bring this up? Because if you can sit in front of a preacher Sunday after Sunday and feel perfectly comfortable doing so, then something’s wrong with either you or him. He’s not like a flight attendant on a plane, offering you a pillow and asking if you’re “comfy.” If nothing that he says ever pricks your conscience, then that’s not good.

That was Ahab’s problem, as if it wasn’t obvious. The whole way that he judged whether a prophet was “good” or not was whether the “prophet” told him what he wanted to hear. Why have a prophet then? I've never quite understood why any leaders ever have “yes men” around them. Besides stroking the leader’s ego, what good are they supposed to do?

But before we point the finger at this foolish king, we need to stop for a moment. There's a little bit of Ahab in all of us, isn't there? Isn't there?

Lord Jesus, I point and laugh at Ahab, but sometimes it’s not funny. When you’re speaking, I need to listen and obey.

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