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 24]—Sieve

Amos 9:1-10

            One of my favorite Psalms is one you’re likely familiar with: the 139th. It’s a breathtaking picture of God’s omniscience. It doesn’t present God as being “up there” who just knows facts about everything like baseball stats or data on a computer. No, he knows every intimate detail about us. The most hover-crazy mother in the world has nothing on my Father. Let this beauty sink into your spirit for a moment:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

            But there’s a dark side to his omnipresence, as the Israelites would soon find out. The fact that God is “here” is a wonderful source of blessing and comfort to those of us who are on his “good” side. But for those on his “bad” side, they’ll find his intimate presence a not-so-pleasant experience. Verses 2-4 are basically the inverse of Psalm 139. No matter where they flee, there’s no escape from God’s all-seeing eye, which will watch over them for harm and not for good. No matter where they go, his justice will hunt them down. His omnipresence, like all his other characteristics, can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
            After giving us another lofty description of the God with whom we must deal, he asks a rather shocking question in verse seven. The Israelites hearing this would likely have fallen over in shock. They thought themselves chosen by the Lord for special privileges and blessings. And there was that aspect of their “chosenness,” but mostly they were chosen for special responsibilities. And he downplays this very concept of being “chosen” by flatly saying that he’s also “chosen” the Cushites, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir.
            He’s the Lord over all nations. No one is acceptable to him due to their physical lineage. We’re acceptable to him based on a personal relationship with him, as demonstrated by Abraham (faith which leads to works). As you’ve no doubt heard, God has many children but no grandchildren.
            There might seem to be a contradiction here between vs. 8 and vss. 1-4. In the latter the Lord tells us flat out that “Not one will get away, none will escape.” But in vs. 8 he says that “I will not totally destroy the descendants of Jacob.” So which is it? Will there be survivors of God’s wrath or not?
            The answer is found in vs. 9, specifically one word: “Sieve.” This was a huge wire mesh that they would use to sift grain from pebbles that were mixed in. The grain would fall to the ground, and the pebbles would be left behind.
            The point is that there’s no physical escape from God’s judgment. Our only hope (but it’s a sure one) is the escape route which the Lord has provided, not something we’ve come up with.  And of course that’s faith/trust and repentance.
            A final warning from Amos is in verse 10 (the remaining verses in the book are positive). If you’re telling yourself “Disaster will not overtake or meet [me],” then the Lord is giving you one last appeal: “Yes, it will.”
Lord Jesus, you're my shelter from the punishment I deserve. Your blood covers my sin, and there's no condemnation left for me. You know me inside-out and backwards and forwards, and you love me anyway. Thank you. 

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