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.

[Mar 05]--Marked Before Birth

            So now let’s get to a more systematic study of the prophets for a while. We went through Isaiah, so the logical next step is Jeremiah.
            Let’s clear up some potential misunderstanding before we go any further. This is a devotional, not a commentary. I have no inclination or plans to go through every verse of Jeremiah. First, because I know I'd lose a lot of readers. Let’s face it: Jeremiah is a tough read. If you’re familiar with him, you know that he’s not exactly a “happy go lucky” type of guy. Of course, all the prophets have some harsh things to say, but Jeremiah tops them all without even a close second. Second, I’m planning on wrapping up the prophets around the middle of the year, and Jeremiah has 52 chapters.
            But over the next month or so we’re going to be gleaning what we can from him. I know that a lot of his material could be summarized pretty simply: “You’re horrible sinners, and God is about to judge and destroy the whole lot of you.” That’s a lot of it, but not all of it or even most of it. There’s a lot more to him than just simple condemnation.
            Unlike Isaiah’s book, Jeremiah’s work actually starts out with a retelling of his calling as a prophet. He came from the priestly line, but we don’t know if that was how he was making a living before God intervened in his life.
            As we read the short description of God’s calling and the conversation that resulted in it, there are a few points I’d like for us to consider.
            Jeremiah was marked from birth. Actually it was before that, in the womb. No actually, if we want to be precise, God picked out Jeremiah for his special purpose before the creation of the world. But the passage focuses on the fact that God knew him and chose him before Jeremiah had a conscious thought.
            This reminds me that the office of prophet was not something one could aspire to, nor would it be. At least not a true prophet—there were plenty of self-proclaimed fake ones running around who only cared about popularity and cash. A true prophet did not pick himself. He was hand-picked by Almighty God.
            In fact, that leads us to another common sign of a true prophet: Reluctance. Jeremiah had to know what usually happened to true prophets who told people what they needed to hear instead of what they wanted to hear. The absolute best that you could reasonably hope for would be the undying hatred of the community. Tradition tells us that Isaiah was sawn in half. Even though he didn’t die a martyr, Moses would've been thrilled to hand over his responsibilities instead of leading those knuckleheads one more day. And the book of Exodus tells us that Moses, when confronted with his calling, came up with no less than five excuses as to why he wasn’t the guy.
            And that leads us to Jeremiah’s offered excuse—“I’m too young!”
            No you’re not. If God is sending you, I don’t care how old you are, or where you come from or your natural abilities. If he's sending you, that’s all that’s needed.
            See what God’s response is to Jeremiah? The Lord tolerates excuses no more here than he did when Moses trotted out his own. First, the Lord basically tells him “You’re going because I say you’re going. I’m God, you’re not, get over it.”
            But he also presents a note of assurance. If the Lord is sending you to do something, he'll let no real harm come to you. I've heard this over and over growing up, and it's still true: “The safest place in the whole world is smack-dab in the center of God’s will.” That’s still true. We have nothing to fear from the world of critics and enemies, both spiritual and non. He's sent us, and he'll provide for us, and he'll protect us from any real harm. We might actually suffer loss—in fact, that’s a given in serving the Lord, but in the end we won’t regret it.

Father God, I know you love to take the least likely candidates to accomplish big things in your plan. Please make me small enough to stoop down into my place in your agenda.

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