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 04]--The Magi

Matt. 2:1-12

For thousands of years, these men have been the source of a lot of speculation and debate, but we usually don’t think much about them except around Christmastime. They go by several names, a lot of which aren’t really supported by Scripture. We’ll cut through some of the fog surrounding them, then learn some important lessons.

First off, we don’t have any idea how many there were. The legends associated with their personal names aren’t very reliable, but the notion that there were three of them only comes from the fact that they gave three gifts. Also there’s no reason from the Bible that they were “Kings” in any sense of that word, so the song we sing around Christmas isn’t accurate either (as beautiful as it is).

And speaking of Christmas, why are they associated with it? Why do most Nativity scenes include them? When Herod sent orders to murder every male child in Bethlehem two years old and younger in hopes of destroying the new rival to his throne, he specifically told his soldiers to kill all children “in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi." This would seem to indicate that Jesus was about two years old when the Magi first met him. This would make sense, of course, because travel in those days would take some time. The Magi weren't there for the birth, and didn't show up for months or even years after it.

So why do we call them Magi? It’s a transliteration of the Greek word magoi, the same word from which we get “magician.” They’ve also been called Wise Men, which is as good a description of them as any. They were probably astrologers, and they definitely were “from the East” of Judah, but other than that we don’t know a lot about their background.

Much more important than where they came from, however, is where they were going, and what practical lessons we can learn from them. First, we see a huge contrast between them and the religious leaders among the Jews. Religious privilege is no guarantee of being part of God’s people. Nor is physical lineage. Nor is knowledge of Scripture. The religious leaders had all of this, but when King Herod asked them about where the Messiah was to be born, they gave him the correct theological answer and then went back to their studies. They might be excused for not noticing the astronomical signposts which were heralding the Savior’s arrival, but they didn’t even show any interest after the Wise Men’s arrival either. The Messiah was born and was being raised right under their noses, and there's no indication that they cared in the slightest.

But these Gentiles did. They traveled thousands of miles, over dangerous and hard-bitten terrain, for one purpose. Unlike the “religious” people, they hadn't been asleep to what God was doing in the world, and they wanted to acknowledge and take some small part in it. They'd determined that they'd never rest until they found the Center of God’s plan, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Sounds like good examples for me to follow. How’s about you?

Lord Jesus, I know you, but I want to seek more of you. I bow and worship you, and I present to you everything I have, everything I am. Whatever it takes, wake me up to what you’re doing in the world.

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