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 29]—Going For The Gold

            One of the distinguishing marks of America is that we prize upward mobility. We tell school children “Any one of you might be President someday.” We love stories about people born in poverty who rose to become really wealthy. This doesn’t mean that we’ve always lived up to that value system, and people certainly don’t start out on equal footing. But at least it’s one of the things we claim to cherish.
            That brings us to today’s passage. To our knowledge, Baruch was Jeremiah’s only convert. Out of all the hundreds or thousands of people who heard the prophet’s voice, as far as we know this man was the only one who listened. His name means “Blessing,” and I’m sure he was one to Jeremiah.
But if he listened, he had to know that God was about to destroy the nation, to raze it down to the ground. And Baruch apparently was discouraged by what he saw and knew. He had hopes and dreams and goals and things for which to strive and plan. Imagine if you were in his situation and you were in the middle of paying off your house and was just about to get promoted at work. Your natural response to Jeremiah’s message might be “But what about me? Will I lose my house too? What about my job? Will I still have it after God goes through this place with his wrecking ball?” And it looks like that’s the sort of thing that Baruch was thinking.
            What was the Lord’s response? “Don’t worry about it, Baruch. I’m going to make sure the disaster never touches you”? No. Jermemiah’s friend would see this disaster with his own eyes, and Jeremiah’s Master made no promise that Baruch’s lifestyle would be untouched by the disaster.
            Let me paraphrase God’s response: “I’m about to come through this entire nation with a wrecking ball and destroy everything. Don’t invest in this sinkhole. Your plans and dreams and goals and investments are about to come crashing down too. But I promise you this: You’ll make it out of this alive. I’ll make sure you don’t get killed by what I’m about to do.”
            Why do I want to focus on this? What’s the application for us today? Christians should know that this world is not our home. We know from Peter that this entire world will one day be burned up like dry kindling with gasoline on it. If you go to a modern city and see all the sky scrapers and huge structures, keep this in mind. When you go to a really nice home, remember. When you see evidence in a person’s life that he/she is financially well off or even wealthy, keep this in the forefront of your brain: It will all be dust and ashes someday.
            So does this mean it’s wrong to be wealthy? Does the Bible condemn the rich man as being intrinsically bad? No. And if someone is wealthy, that doesn’t mean necessarily that they’ve lost this perspective. There are plenty of people in Scripture who were wealthy who also were counted as faithful before God: Abraham, Job, David, etc. They were a lot wealthier than the people around them, and not only did the Lord not condemn them, he pointed to them in his word as people we need to emulate.
            I think the key here is one clarifying word: seek. It’s not wrong to be wealthy or to make plans. But the Lord told Baruch not to seek great things. If you’re seeking “great” things—things which are great in the eyes of the world—then it’s likely you’ve lost perspective. Paul condemned the love of money, not money itself, and he said that those who are “eager for money” tend to wander away from the faith and pierce themselves with many griefs.
            Keep in mind that the original Hebrew didn’t have quotation marks. But if it did, I think it would have the word “great” in them. You see, what’s great in the eyes of the world—money, fame, power, sex, a long life, etc., are not great in God’s eyes. What’s great in his eyes? Faithfulness. Trust in him. Obedience. Investing in things which will last for eternity.
            It’s not the size of your bank account as such which God is mainly concerned with. It’s the condition of your heart. It’s the status of your relationship with him. It’s your list of priorities. Are they the same as his?

Father, you have financially blessed me soooooo much more than most of the rest of the world. And sometimes I let that cloud my perspective and let the blessings get between me and the Blesser. Whatever it takes, bring my heart and my priorities right into line with yours. Yes, I mean that. 

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