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.

[July 02]—Harsh Words and Words of Praise

Malachi 3:13-18

            Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? We can read verses like 14 and 15 and point the finger at those who are speaking “arrogantly” about the Lord, but are we any better? I confess to you that I’ve said some pretty harsh things about the way my Lord runs the world.
            To those familiar with this little vignette, please forgive me. I’ve never been really one to envy others for their money when I had little. I guess part of it’s because I’ve never been really poor. I grew up in a lower-middle to middle class home. I never went without any of the necessities, and actually rarely went without what I wanted. If someone was a lot richer than me, I was inclined to ask “So what?”
            No, what really got my goat was my utter failure in the romance department. I asked girl after girl after girl out, and for whatever reason it never worked out. Usually it became clear that the girl in question only wanted to be “friends” (man, I really learned to hate that word). Meanwhile, I saw guy after guy after guy find a beautiful young Christian girl, fall in love, and get married. The only girl I sorta kinda seriously dated in high school (and which I thought I had a shot with) ended up falling in love with my best friend. The only girl I sorta kinda dated seriously in college (and which I thought I had a shot with) wound up falling in love with and marrying my best friend in college. And I had to deal with the feelings of envy and a strong sense of injustice.
            But the more you see in the world, the more injustice you see. Quite frankly, the cynical questions/accusations in vss. 14-15 have some apparent truth to them. Just to take an obvious example, take the dictators in recent history. Only a couple that I know of—the Emperor in Japan and Hitler—died violent deaths. Stalin died peacefully in his sleep. So did Kim Il Sung. So did Mao Zedong. So did Lenin. So did a host of others who thought no more about mass murder than we would about stepping on an ant.
            Dennis Prager’s made this point several times, and I thoroughly agree: If there’s no afterlife, if this is all there is, then the very notion of “justice” is a cosmic joke. There’s so much vast evil that people get away with that if I didn’t believe in a God who'll make all things right in the end, I’d go crazy.
            But that’s the point of this passage. If the Lord was hearing their cynical complaints, surely he was seeing what else was going on. Whatever each person thought he was getting away with, he wasn’t getting away with anything. The Lord sees all. He’s recording all. And outside of grace, he'll give to each person exactly what he deserves. As the rest of Scripture makes clear, this will happen either in this life, or in the next one.
            And that brings us to the second half of today’s passage, vss. 16-18. In every generation, even in the midst of such godlessness and cynicism and violence, there are people who are trusting in the Lord, those who “fear” the Lord and who—in stark contrast to the priests we saw earlier—honor his Name. What do we know about them?
            First, we see that they talk with each other about the beloved Lord whom they fear. They encourage each other. They remind each other of his standards and his grace. They hold each other accountable. They remind each other of his promises.
            And he’s listening. When two of these godly people are conversing with each other, there’s always a third Listener. He hears and he’s writing it down.
            The ones whom the prophet referenced earlier in the passage, those who said that “evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it,” will discover just how wrong they were. The Day of the Lord will come when he'll divide those who’ve followed him from those who haven’t. On that Day, when he acts, those who’ve trusted in him, feared him, and honored his Name will be publicly displayed as his “treasured possession.” He'll spare them, and have compassion on them just like a father does his son.
            So which of these groups will you be found in?

Abba Father, thank you that I am part of your redeemed family. Through faith in your Son, I'm your treasured possession. When I gather with other siblings in Christ, may our conversation be uplifting, encouraging, and challenging to each other. By your grace. 

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