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 10]—Keeping the Law

            What’s the relationship between the Christian and the Old Testament Law? We’ve discussed this before, but let me plagiarize myself a bit. The Law is holy, righteous, and good. The problem was never with the Law, but with us. Besides leading us to Christ (by showing us how far short we fall from his standard), it’s also useful for showing us his heart and his priorities in life. The particular applications of a law might be out of date, but the principle behind that law is as eternal as God himself, and will never change any more than he will. For example, his standard is that we sacrificially help those in need. That’s the principle. The particular application he set forth in his Law was that land-owning farmers were to leave the gleanings of their harvest to the poor. I’m not a land-owning farmer, so the application no longer applies, but the principle sure does.
            Today's passage is where Paul gives us an even deeper understanding of the Law and how we relate to it. Of course, when Jesus was asked what the most important in the Law is, he said "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
            If I love my Savior, I’ll obey him. I’ll try to please him. I won’t blaspheme, but I’ll use my tongue to praise and thank him. I’ll stay away from idols. I’ll do things his way in the areas of sexuality, marriage, child-rearing, etc.
            But—and this is an important point—mostly the way that I show love to my Savior is in how I treat other people. Yes, idol worship is disgusting to him. But a huge portion—even a majority--of this whole “obedience to God” thing is displayed in how I treat other people, especially other believers.
            That’s why Paul focuses so much here on our “horizontal” relationships as opposed to our “vertical” relationship with our Lord. The only outstanding debt between believers should be the “debt” of love to each other (because that can never be paid back). We honor our spouses and don’t cheat on them (in the mind as well as in the body). We don’t murder anyone (in the mind as well as in the body). We don’t steal from them. We don’t covet what they have.
            You see, if I truly love my neighbor, I won’t do any of these things. Not only will I not harm them, I’ll positively look out for their well-being. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
            So here’s a question on the side: Why do we need all these details? Why not just tell us “love your neighbor as yourself,” and just assume that everyone knows instinctively that that means you don’t steal from them? I can sum it up for you in three words: Deceptive sinful nature. As we studied in Jeremiah a few months ago, our hearts—and this includes our natural instincts—are deceptive above all else. It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to deceive myself into thinking that I’m loving my neighbor when I’m not. Therefore, it’s like God is saying “I want you to love your neighbor. And just to be clear, that means you don’t steal from him.”
            By the way, notice that Paul keeps using the term “neighbor” as opposed to “brother.” This applies to all our horizontal relationships, not just with fellow believers. As Jesus made clear, your neighbor is anyone you come across, especially someone in need. You love your neighbor because you love your Savior.
            I know, I know. Simple enough to say, not so simple to do. But’s it’s gotta be done. And by his grace, I know I can do better than I have been. How about you?

Father God, I sure don’t show love to my neighbor like I should. By your grace, please forgive and improve. I desperately need both.             

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