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 11]--Calling, Phase Three: Preparation

Isaiah 6:8-10

So we have the encounter with holy God, we have the necessary cleansing, and now comes the last phase. How does the Lord prepare his prophet?

This is one of the hardest concepts from the Bible to grasp, but it’s there, and we have to deal with it. There is a theological term for what God describes in vss. 9-10: Judicial hardening. Before we understand what it is, we need to clarify what it’s not. It’s not a case of God seeing someone who’s trying hard to follow him and obey him and please him and saying to that person “Tough luck, buddy! I'm closing the door on you right now!”

It’s the same idea of what the Lord did to Pharaoh. When Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go, it’s not like the Lord made him do something he (Pharaoh) didn’t want to do. Pharaoh had already rejected God’s message multiple times. What happened after that--as best as we can understand--was that the Almighty confirmed the decision Pharaoh had already made. God chose not to rescue him from his own foolish choices.

It was the same here. Vss. 9-10 are ironic, almost like saying “Israel, I’m telling you to do this, but I know you’re not going to listen to me.” You might even say it’s roughly equivalent to “Go ahead, be stubborn!”

Before we move on from that point, we need to keep in mind what we saw with the story of Micaiah a few days ago: God will not leave himself without a witness. If someone wants to hear the truth, the Lord won’t leave them in the dark. He didn’t have to send Isaiah at all. But he did.

But there’s more to this: a message for Isaiah as well. God was telling his prophet, right off the bat, that he (Isaiah) was going to be a failure, at least in some sense of the term. Getting the the nation at large to listen to him and repent? That wasn’t going to happen, for the most part.

If you ever get serious about sharing the Good News about Jesus with those around you, you really need to develop a “thick skin.” You’re going to be rejected more often than accepted. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but it’s one we have to absorb.

The good news (with small letters) is that God doesn’t count success with noses. He counts success by one standard: Obedience to what he says. If we do what he tell us to do, if we go where he tell us to go, if we say what he tell us to say, then we’re successful. Obedience doesn't lead to success. Obedience is success. 

Once again, I want to share one of my favorite sayings:

It matters not if the world has heard,
     or approves or understands;
the only applause we’re meant to seek
     is that of nail-scarred hands.

--B.J. Hoff

Lord Jesus, I want to be successful, please. Not by the world’s standards, but by yours. Because I’m not going to have to give an account to them, only you.

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