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 14]—The Fourth Man

Daniel 3:19-30

            Wise Solomon warned against angering a king: “A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion; those who anger him forfeit their lives.” For exhibit “A” we can turn to today’s passage. Nebuchadnezzar was trying to give them another chance, which he probably wouldn’t have offered someone who didn’t already have his favor. They respectfully but flatly turned down his gracious offer. And he got so angry he didn’t even think. Think about it—the furnace was (I’m sure) plenty hot to burn a man to death, but that wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted the furnace so hot that it wouldn’t just burn them, it would disintegrate them. It was so hot that the soldiers who threw them in died from the heat. In they went into the furnace.
            Unless you’re completely new to the stories in the Bible, you know how this ends. I mean, this is one of the famous narratives in the whole Bible. It was told to me multiple times to me as a child. So for most of my readers, I’m not going to tell you much that you’re completely unfamiliar with.
            I’d like to say first of all that this would make an awesome movie. I love the drama here—it looks like it was tailor-made for it. The king sees the figures walking around in the flames, not screaming in agony, and he notices something. He asks his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men into the furnace?”
            Once they respond in the affirmative, we come to a little bit of a controversy. The first question to ask is, “What did the king actually say?” Different translations render it as either “like a son of the gods” or “like the son of God.” OK, being a follower of Christ means I have to be honest. The most likely explanation is that he said it was “a son of the gods,” both for translation and other reasons. It’s highly unlikely that this one incident in front of him revealed the truth of monotheism to him.
            Also, the well-meaning people who take Nebuchadnezzar’s exclamation as a proclamation of the Trinity need to stop doing so. It might have been Jesus who was with them in the furnace. But the king's words aren’t giving us insight into who exactly that was. All he’s saying is that the “man” walking around with them had something different about him, and was obviously not human.
            Then we come to the second intriguing question raised: “Who was the fourth man?” Well, it seems to me that it’s either 1) An angel, or 2) Jesus himself. Quite frankly, I’d like to think that it was Jesus himself, but it certainly isn’t a “hill to die on.” The Scripture tells us that he uses his servants to guard us, and that could be the case here.
            And ultimately it doesn’t really matter and doesn’t affect my theology either way. Whether it was an angel or the Son of God that the king actually saw, the Lord was with them.
            The lesson here seems obvious to me. When you stand up for what’s right, when you defy the spirit of the age and the powers of this world in order to obey your King, you never stand alone. Even if no other human stands with you, you still are never alone.
            He is with you. He stands with you.
            Even if he doesn’t physically rescue you like he did these three men, he is still with you, and either in this world or in the next one, he'll vindicate that trust. He’s never failed anyone who trusted in him, and he’s not about to start with you.

Lord Jesus, whenever I’m in the fire, you are there. You’re never going to leave me or forsake me, and I trust in you. Oh for grace, to trust you more!

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