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.

[Sept 04]—When Life Puts The Squeeze On You


            As you might’ve noticed, 12:9-21 is a staccato burst of short little commands which Paul gives to us as believers. Keep in mind that this is all under the heading of “Therefore” in verse one. Because of what God through Jesus has done for us, we need to think and act a certain way. Concerning today’s reading, is there any type of pattern? I could be wrong (wouldn’t be the 1st time), but it seems to me that these verses seem most apropos as to how we’re supposed to react when life gets rough, especially in times of persecution or extreme hardship. When the squeeze is on, we need to. . .

·         be joyful in hope. Let’s reverse it: Hope should make us joyful. Why? Because when you know that the ending of the Story is a happy one, you can revel in joy. From MacArthur, joy is “[a] happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. It is the sense of well being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord.” It’s not a feeling that falls upon you like a meteor from the sky; it’s a conscious decision to focus on God’s truth which will lift your spirits.

·         be patient in affliction. This parallels nicely with the last command. When the heat is on, we can call upon his Spirit to produce within us the fruit of patience. Of course, you can be patient when you have something better to look forward to (in hope).

·         be faithful in prayer. This should be obvious. Naturally, being “faithful” in prayer means you come to his Throne on a regular basis when times are good as well as bad.

·         share with fellow believers who are in need. In verse 13 Paul moves from our vertical relationship to our horizontal ones. Of course we should be generous with everyone, but we have a special responsibility to siblings in Christ. This certainly fits into my pattern of seeing these commands as being especially appropriate when we’re facing extra pressure in life, right? One of the main purposes of the Body of Christ is to support each other. If one part hurts, we all hurt. If one part is in need, that’s my need as well.

·         practice hospitality. According to the NASB and NET Bible, this would be better translated as “pursuing” instead of merely practicing. It might not make a huge difference, but it seems as if when you pursue something, you go out of your way and expend some effort, as opposed to merely letting someone in who comes to your door. And please keep in mind that when the early generations of Christians were persecuted and had to flee, they often would have to rely on the hospitality of fellow believers who’d take them into their own homes. This could literally be a life saver.

            It seems to me that when life gets rough and puts the squeeze on us, a general pattern seems to be that we need to look up--in hope towards the skies, and around us--to other believers to comfort and provide for each other. Sounds pretty good to me. How’s about you?

Lord Jesus, when I feel life is crowding around me and pushing in from all sides, it’s good to know that through you I can have joy in hope, and I can have support from the other parts of your Body. Thank you so much. 

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