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.

[April 12]—A Diet That Works!

Daniel 1:1-21

            You hear about it every day: Someone’s come up with a new diet, and—we’re serious this time, no, really we mean it—it’s a miracle! Eat no bread or starches, only meat. Only drink prune juice. Only eat things that are naturally grown.
            If you’ve read the Scripture reading from above, my segue was painfully obvious. King Nebuchadnezzar finally captured Jerusalem as the final jewel in his crown, and he set about making changes. He took the best of the best, the crème de la crème, and claimed them for his own court. No one who wasn’t handsome, bright, educated, and quick-thinking need apply. Of course, these young men didn’t apply for this job. They were forced into it at the point of a sword.
            But even in these darkest of days, the Lord is working behind the scenes to accomplish his purposes. His choice servants, at least the ones who prominently enter this story, are four young godly men: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. You already see his sovereignty at work a few verses into the book: He gave his servants favor in the eyes of the chief official in charge of them. In other words, the Lord—working in perfect sync with human will—made the official more positively disposed towards them.
            Now we come to the diet part. What exactly was Daniel and co.’s problem with the food and wine? Does God expect all of us to become vegetarians? Of course not. Our Savior had no problem eating meat while on earth. But the problem mainly was the food itself. I promise you, the restaurants in Babylon didn’t have a kosher section. What exactly was the problem with the wine isn’t as clear, but apparently Daniel and co. had an issue with that as well.
            So he made a proposal to their guard: Give us vegetables and water for ten days, and let the other boys eat the rich food and wine from the king’s table, and we’ll see which group is better.
            But now we have a need for clarity. The diet I’m talking about is not a nutritional plan. It’s a spiritual one. Eating vegetables and drinking water wasn't Daniel’s formula for success.
            What was Daniel’s formula for success? What was his priority? Doing things God’s way. There’s nothing wrong with eating meat, and the Bible itself doesn’t command teetotalism. And as N.T. believers we don’t have any food taboos. No, the first and only priority on their mind was pleasing and obeying God. And that should be ours as well.
            That also means sacrifices for the sake of God’s kingdom. It means that your Father might call upon you to give up something that as a believer you normally wouldn’t be forbidden. Let’s take money for example. There’s nothing wrong with making money in and of itself. Just because a believer’s wealthy doesn’t mean he's disobedient. But our Savior, when he called people to follow him, commanded some of them to give up everything they owned, while others he didn’t, like Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
            But the point here is that he has the right to do so. Please get it into your head: You don’t belong to yourself. You belong to your Lord, twice over—once because he made you, and twice because he bought you. And part of that package deal is that he reserves the right to ask that you give up whatever needs to be sacrificed for the Kingdom.
            Something else we need to notice here: Our Lord doesn’t call upon us to make sacrifices because he hates to see us prosperous or happy or fell-fed. He calls for them because they fit into his plan to glorify his Name among the nations. In Daniel and co.’s case, this was to put them to the head of the pack. The Lord used their sacrifice to advance his Kingdom purposes, and of course they made out pretty well out of the deal.
            If the Lord asks you to give something up, trust him and do it. He’ll take that small thing you give up, and in the end you’ll be glad you did. Remember, no one in the history of mankind has ever done things God’s way who ended up regretting it.
            What are you waiting for? Try it out.

Father whatever you ask of me, the answer’s “Yes.” What else could it be? 

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