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.

[Aug 06]—The Good, The Bad, and the Righteous

Romans 5:6-8

            Paul just can’t get over the wonder of our salvation, can he? It’s like a 24-carat mult-faceted jewel of incredible price, the beauty of which is slightly different from various angles.
            I’m going to tell one of my favorite story illustrations here, even though for many of you it might be slightly dated. For those unfamiliar with the history of the early 80’s, Ronald Reagan, recently elected President, was shot and almost assassinated a mere 69 days into his administration by a mentally ill man named John Hinkley Jr. The bullet came within an inch of Reagan’s heart, and that was the margin by which he escaped death. Hinkley was taken and confined to a mental ward.
            Another character in this drama is Muammar Khaddafi, who as of this writing was recently killed by some of his own people. He was a ruthless dictator of Libya, and he was a thorn in the side of Reagan during the latter’s presidency.
            Finally let me introduce George Herbert Walker Bush, who at the time was Vice-President under Reagan. He was/is a man who’s been almost universally lauded as a good and kind and decent man, even by those who disagree with his politics and policies.
            Now let’s imagine for a moment that the time is the early 1980’s. Reagan has fully recovered and is running the country. A call comes to the White House, however, and he’s informed that V.P. Bush has disappeared. Of course there’s a nationwide manhunt, but no one can find him. Then another call comes to the White House, and it’s Muammar Gaddafi on the line. He says, “I currently have Bush in my possession, and I say whether he lives or dies. But if you give me your son to torture for three days, then at the end of those three days I will return both Bush and your son to you. But if you don’t. . . you’ll never see Bush alive again.”
            Now, that’d be a really tough choice to make, wouldn’t it? Bush is a good, decent man, an important man. To have to choose between Bush and his own son would be a nightmare for the President.
            Now imagine another scenario with me. John Hinkley Jr. disappears from the hospital in which he’s incarcerated. Of course, there’s a search that goes on for him. And there’s a call from Gaddafi. He offers the same deal: “I currently have Hinkley in my possession, and I say whether he lives or dies. But if you give me your son to torture for three days, then at the end of those three days I will return both Hinkley and your son to you. But if you don’t. . . you’ll never see Hinkley alive again.”
            Not so tough a choice, huh? Quite frankly, if I was Reagan in the 2nd scenario, the next thing Gaddafi would probably hear would be laughter and a click as the phone line went dead.
            In the late 1980’s when most people would be familiar with the characters and background, someone did their paraphrase of Romans 5:7-8, which has stuck with me to this day:

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a George Bush, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still John Hinkley Jr’s, Christ died for us.”

            You see, that was the situation we were in. We weren’t and aren’t good people who need a helping hand and someone to point us in the right direction. We aren’t people who need a little “tweaking” in order to get us into a right relationship with the Almighty. We were sinners under his just wrath, destined for eternal punishment. By our sin we'd declared ourselves his enemies. He reached out to us through multiple means: The Law of Moses, multiple theophanies, the prophets, and finally he sent his only Son. And we nailed that Son to a cross.
            He had even less reason to reach out to us than Reagan would have to offer up his own son to save the life of Hinkley. But he did. He sent his own Son, not just as a messenger or a teacher or a healer. He sent his own Son with the express purpose of dying for those who hated him.
            Think about that for a moment, would you?

Father God, words utterly fail me in thanking you enough for what you gave up. . .for me. If I gave up everything I have and everything I am to you wholeheartedly, that still would never make up for what you did. But what I do have, by your grace, I want to give.

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