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 13]—Roars And Other Warnings

Amos 3:1-8

            Have you ever actually heard a lion roar? I don’t mean on TV or in movies. I mean the live version. I can’t say I have, growing up the suburbs of Dallas. But while I was in the army stationed in Saudi Arabia, I distinctly remember being on guard duty and hearing coyotes or some other type of howling canines in the distance. That was close enough for my taste, thank you very much. When I read in a Bible study on Amos that a lion’s roar was just about the most frightening sound to farmers and shepherds (like Amos), I believe it.
            First off, I can’t help noticing the poignancy of verse 2. Out of all the families on earth, he chose Israel to be his representatives to everyone else. When they heard the term “chosen people,” they only thought in terms of privileges and benefits. But mostly the Lord chose them for special responsibilities.
            By the way, the word “chosen” is term of intimacy, literally: When Moses described Adam’s sexual relationship with his wife, he used the same word, which is translated as “knew” in the more literal versions. In Psalm 1:6 the same word in Hebrew it’s translated as “watches over,” in the sense of “protects.” This is what the Lord initiated with Israel, and it’s what he always wanted: an incredibly intimate relationship.
            And because of this relationship he had with them, he would hold them to a higher standard than with the other nations. This makes sense, right? If you’re a parent, you’re going to care a lot more about your child’s behavior than the neighbor’s kids. You care about the child’s welfare, and you also might care about the family name.
            Then the Lord asks a series of rhetorical questions, and the answer to each of these is “No.” Let’s take a closer look.
            Verse 3 has one of the most profound principles of life. If two people are going to walk together, they have to agree on the path and the pace. The Lord and Israel had made a covenant to walk together, but one of these parties was veering off the path. If this continued, the Lord and the people would eventually have to part company.
            Verses 4 to 6 present three images: a roaring lion, a snapping trap, and a sounding trumpet. Each of these things have one thing in common: They warn or inform someone of something. The second half of verse 6 asks a final question, one which might trouble modern listeners but would be easily understood by people of that time. The idea that the Lord himself might destroy any city might be hard for us to swallow, much less the notion that apparently no city falls unless the Lord initiates and effects it. But he’s the sovereign Lord of all things, and he raises up kings and casts them down for his own purposes. He wiped out an entire generation of humanity in Noah’s day. He’s in control over everything seen and unseen.
            Why would he follow up vss. 4-6 with verse 7, the one in which he says he never does anything without revealing it to his prophets? Remember, the purpose of a prophet was not to predict the future in order to satisfy someone’s idle curiosity but to call sinful people back to the Lord. When the Lord sent prophets like Amos to warn of judgment to come, that was mercy, not harshness.
            I think verse 8 could be summarized thus: “Don’t blame the messenger!” Amos wasn’t out doing this for his health or to get rich. He wasn’t making this stuff up; if he had, he certainly would’ve come up with a more palatable message, like the “prophets” in kings’ courts tended to do. What would we think of a doctor who knows that his patient is dying of cancer but avoids the topic because of concern about upsetting them? In the same way, this shepherd had heard the Lion roaring, and he had the responsibility to warn others about it.
            I can see lots of good applications here. To me, the one that really hits home is verse 3. If I sense that the Lord is distant, is it because he and I are starting to part ways? Or maybe I just need to adjust my pace, not stepping in front or lagging behind. Whatever the cause, it calls for Spirit examination.

Holy Spirit, I want to walk not further ahead nor lag behind, and I certainly don’t want to start veering off our path together. When I need a course correction, no matter how radical or painful, let it come. 

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