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 03]—Day of the Lord

Malachi 4:1-3

            Here’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading the Bible. This is very important: The verse and chapter divisions are not inspired. The original scrolls on which the prophecies of Malachi would be written wouldn’t have anything but the words all strung together, often with no divisions even between words. That’s why in the NIV the note on 4:1 says that in the traditional Hebrew text the passage above is just a continuation of 3:13-18. Even though the prophet doesn’t use the term “Day of the Lord” in vs. 18, it’s obvious that this is what he’s talking about. On that Day, the Lord will make a great separation—in Jesus’ terms he’ll divide the “sheep” from the “goats.” The Lord already knows who belongs to him and who doesn’t, but on that Day it’ll be public.
            So today we get a few details that the Spirit-inspired prophet wants to share with us. The word that sticks in my mind here: “Heat.” Both the righteous and the wicked will experience heat on that day.
            To the lost, those who refused to do things God’s way, this heat will be like a blasting furnace. Think the flaming furnace which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced was hot? It was so hot that the soldiers who threw them in burned to death. What the “arrogant” will face that day will make that furnace seem like a breeze off the ocean by comparison. Normally in a drought or extreme heat, plants’ branches will wither on the vine. That’s common. But for the roots to dry up and die---that’s heat. Everything will be turned to ashes, from top to bottom. Nothing will be spared.
            But here’s the irony. Remember, this is the mystery of heat: The same heat has different effects on the different substances it strikes. It softens wax and hardens clay. It consumes dross and purifies gold. For those who arrogantly reject the Lord, that Day will consume them like stubble. But for those of us who belong to him, those who revere his Name, the “Sun of Righteousness” will rise for us. Of course, it’s pretty obvious who this “Sun of Righteousness” is: Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) said that his son John would prepare the way for “the rising sun [who] will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
            For those of us who belong to him, this heat which consumes the arrogant will be like a warm summer’s day after a freezing winter which seemed like it would never end. The image is that of a young calf who’s been cooped up in a stall for waaaaaay too long. Maybe the poor little guy has had to stay inside a cramped little shelter because of the harsh winter. But then—finally!—the sun comes out, melts the snow, and the door is opened. The calf steps out, stretches its legs, and then starts. . . skipping. And frolicking. And leaping. And running. As Lewis put it in The Last Battle, “The [school] term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
            And those who’ve persecuted God’s people? Who’ve trampled on the humble? Turnabout will truly be fair play, as his people trample on the ones who’ve hurt them. That incredible heat which Malachi described in verse one will have burned them to ashes, so verse three is only the final culmination of the victory God’s already claimed over them.
            Once again, the prophet’s presenting a choice to us. When this Day comes, which side will you be found on? If you’re not sure, please read this.
            And if you’re on the right side of all this, then this should motivate you to share the Good News with someone who needs it. Right?

Lord Jesus, I am so looking forward to that Day. By your grace, help me to bring just as many people into your Kingdom as I can. And help me to be ready. 

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