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.

[Feb 08]--Block Head

Isaiah 44:6-20

             I know I’ve discussed this subject quite a bit recently, but today’s passage is too good to pass up, plus it has some points we haven’t considered before.

            There are two parallel themes in the latter part of Isaiah’s book, aside from the overriding  arch of “God is coming to save you.” The first theme is God’s sovereignty, the fact that God is in charge of everything and everyone, from the largest nation down to the smallest child. Exactly how this works in conjunction with man’s will and choices is a mystery which the Bible doesn’t explain thoroughly.

            The other theme—which actually builds upon the first—is the futility of trusting in and worshipping idols. It actually makes sense: Why would you worship idols instead of the true living God who's sovereign?

            But Isaiah wants to illustrate for us just how foolish this is, particularly in today’s passage. In fact I know of no better place in Scripture that illustrates the stark contrast.

            See the would-be idolater in action. He goes out to a forest to pick out the best tree. He takes an axe to it and chops it down. He hauls the fallen tree back to his house.

            Here’s where it gets funny. Part of the wood he uses for kindling. He throws it into the fireplace or stove. He lights it. Then he can sit down for a while and say “Boy, that fire really is great on this cold day.”

            Then he takes the rest of the wood, cuts a figure out of it, cuts a face onto it, decorates it as best as he can, sets it on a platform in his house and bows down to it.  One half of the wood is burning in the fire place, while the other half is his god to whom he bows and prays and sacrifices.

            It’s a block of wood. It can’t see you or hear you or think any thoughts whatsoever. It certainly can’t provide the rain or sunshine or harvest that you need. It can’t keep you healthy or enemy armies away from your door. It can’t provide children or fertile soil.

            It’s a block of wood.

            And even worse, it’s a lie. You believe in it, and pray to it, and sacrifice to it, all the while thinking it can save you. It can’t.

            Only the real, true, living God can do that. He’s the One who provides the children, the sun, the rain, health, etc. The armies of the nations might rage and plot and march, but they’re nothing compared to the Lord of Heaven. And he'll take care of his people and protect them from any real harm.

            But before we leave this poor fool, let’s spend just a moment more on idol worship. I’m pretty sure there are no blocks of wood in your home before whom you bow and pray. But what about money? You know, Paul said that greed is idolatry, not once but twice. Or how about putting your trust in your saving account to keep you safe? Solomon warned us a long time ago that riches can fly away in an instant. Or maybe you look to a certain politician to provide what we need? David in the Psalms has a word for us here: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”

            But your response to that might be “Of course I don’t trust in politicians or anyone else. I trust myself. I can figure things out for myself.” Again, Solomon (pretty famous for his wisdom) has a word for you too: “Those who trust in themselves are fools.”

            That’s the problem with idols, whether they’re a block of wood or money or a politician or our own judgment. Sooner or later they all topple and fall down.

But if you actually go back to the psalm I quoted above, you’ll see that David provides the sweet alternative to stupid idol worship: “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

The sovereign God or an idol of some variety. Your choice.

Father God, I choose you. Right here and now, I choose you. When fears and doubts come, please confirm me in that choice. By your grace.

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