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 12]--Fruitless Punishment


            It’s amazing, really, the wrongheaded views people have of God. Some folks, especially a lot of Christians, visualize him as a Grandfather who winks at the minor foibles of his grandchildren. Others, especially most self-proclaimed atheists, consider the God of the Bible as a harsh tyrant who delights in punishing lowly victims for the most minor of sins. In fact, one of my favorite writers in Hollywood, Joss Whedon, calls God the “sky bully,” which pretty well sums up his view of the Almighty.
            Of course, neither extreme reflects the God of the Bible. He’s the God who destroyed Egypt, Sodom, and a whole generation of humanity. He killed a man for touching the Ark of the Covenant, and the very sons of the high priest Aaron were struck dead in his presence for not doing things his way. But he’s also the same God who is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” He’s not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that he turn from his ways and live.
            So why does he punish? Well, first and foremost, he’s holy and righteous. Sin can’t abide in his presence. He must punish sin. Sin and he are mortal enemies of each other. When he sends someone to Hell—and yes, he does do that—that’s the reason.
            But what about believers? The Lord Jesus took all of our sins upon himself on the cross: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”We’re never going to get what we really deserve. He no longer deals with us according to what we deserve but what we need. And sometimes that includes hardships which he brings into our lives, which in extreme cases can be sickness or even an early death.
            So what does that have to do with today’s reading? Why did I give it the title I did? Because sometimes God’s punishments don’t accomplish what they’re supposed to do, at least in some sense. Read the passage again, especially the last verse. He punished them. He “struck” them and “crushed” them, and what was the result? Nothing positive. They just sloughed it off and continued in their rebellion.
            This is an important lesson for us to learn: Anything this side of the Lake of Fire is the Lord’s appeal to sinners.  Keep in mind what type of God that he is. He takes no pleasure in making peoples’ lives miserable. When he introduces hardship into someone’s life, it’s there to wake them up from a spiritual slumber.
            You can tell that in today’s verses. The point of his “striking” them and “crushing” them was for the exact opposite of what happened: This was intended to soften their hearts and lead them to repentance.
            By the way, this is something pointed out to me by John Piper--Hell does not lead to repentance. People in Hell will just hate the Lord more the longer they’re there.
            So what does this mean to us? Well, if you’re reading this and haven’t received Jesus as your Boss and Savior, you can change that fact today. You need to change that fact about yourself—today. Start by reading this.
            If you do know him as your Savior, then ask yourself: Is his discipline working? You know, if you listen to him through the “normal” channels such as his word, prayer, and the Church, then he won’t have to resort to harsher measures to get your attention. And trust me, he’d rather it not come to that.

Father God, please give me a soft heart and listening ears. Let’s do this the easy way, shall we?

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