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.

[May 04]—Sent Mouths and Roaring Lions

Amos 1:1-2; 7:14

            Now we come to a book we’re going to spend some time in: Amos. What do we know about this guy?
            Amos was a shepherd and a farmer who lived in Tekoa, a few miles south of Jerusalem. Sometime between 760 and 753 B.C., the Lord called him out of his occupation(s) and sent him from his home in the South (Judah) up to the North (Israel). This was during the time of Israel’s King Jeroboam II, probably near the end of his reign. This was also a time of great material prosperity for Israel. There were few if any major military threats on the horizon, and it was even regarded as the dominant nation in the region.
            But with this time of relative peace and prosperity, there were problems which needed to be addressed. This prosperity was not for everyone: A few people gained a lot of wealth and used their resources to gain even more and to oppress their fellow Israelites. They used illegal or unethical means to truly exploit those further down on the economic ladder.
            Along with this came abuse of the justice system. Judges routinely took bribes and favored the rich over the poor in court. In this way the poor were deprived of their last voice available to them.
            There was also ubiquitous idolatry. The northern kingdom never was all that faithful, but during this time period it was especially egregious. And of course when people worship idols and false gods, they do things their own way (instead of God’s way) in other areas, such as sex. Thus we also had rampant sexual immorality.
            To this sinful nation, the God of Israel sent his ambassador as a last ditch effort. He takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live,” so he sent his representative, his “mouth” to call them back to himself before it was too late.
            And what type of Lord is this, this King who send his herald? We know him as our Savior, our Friend, and our Shepherd. But he’s more than that—he’s the Lion. A Lion whose tremble-inducing roar is signaling that his judgment is coming. As C. S. Lewis put it, he’s good, but he’s never safe.
            In a sense, Amos was a failure: Israel never did repent. After Jeroboam died, the kingdom was split by factions, and became weaker and weaker. Assyria arose as a national power, and Israel became its vassal. Conspiracies and royal assassinations came one after the other, and eventually Assyria came in, killed much of the population and carried the rest off into exile. The nation of Israel was no more.
            But in the ultimate sense, and as far as the Lord Almighty was concerned, Amos was a complete success. As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, God’s messengers are not responsible for the response of their audience. They're only responsible for faithfully carrying the message. Amos did that, despite frequent and violent opposition, and at the end of it all, he heard “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
            So what can we take from this so far?
            Well, let’s see. A nation that boasts of a godly heritage, but in which the wealthy exploit the poor using legal and illegal means. A nation in which every man does what seems right to him without regard for God’s way of doing things. A nation in which the Lord's standards regarding sex and other issues are ignored or even laughed at. A nation in which people routinely worship everything except the only One who’s worthy of it.
            Nope, doesn’t ring any bells.

Father God, like a wise man said, when I look at my nation, I tremble at the notion that you are just. But I also cling to the fact that you take no pleasure in the death of nations or of people. Your heart is to forgive and restore. Please do so. 

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