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 21]--Gethsemane

Matt. 26:36-46

Now we return to Matthew’s Gospel for the final chapters. His last stop before his Passion was a garden. Apparently it was a place he frequented regularly, since Judas was able to lead the soldiers there to arrest him. He often took time out to commune with his Father. Here are just some observations:

• The name Gethsemane is derived from an Aramaic word meaning “oil press.” It was a place of crushing, so this certainly was an appropriate name.

• Several years ago a famous (and blasphemous) movie came out entitled The Final Temptation of Christ. In a very real sense, this was his final temptation. He had to make the final choice to obey his Father or give into his own desires. Our First Parents were also confronted with a choice in a Garden, and they failed miserably. Here a choice was made as well, with very different results. The beautiful paintings of Jesus placidly accepting the will of the Father, complete with a halo around his head, is not the picture Scripture presents. This was a man in severe agony. Before his arrest, before a single lash of the whip, he shed blood.

• Luke’s account also mentions angels coming to attend him. Interestingly enough, both Matthew’s and Mark’s account of his temptation in the wilderness tell of angels giving him aid and somehow “attending” him, while Luke’s does not. In his final confrontation with the Enemy, now Luke has angels while the other Gospel writers don’t mention them.

• As C. S. Lewis pointed out, this was undoubtedly both an encouragement and a disillusioning moment for him. He was praying, he was asking, he was pleading for a way out of this. He did not want to do this. He asked his Father to find another way, and the response he got was angelic support, which in effect, was a gentle “no.”

• The impression we get from the Gospels is that he spent some considerable time in the garden, but his recorded words take only a few seconds. Most likely his disciples, after a large meal and a late night, only record for us the words they heard before they drifted off. In his moment of need, when he could have really used the support and prayers of his friends, they fell asleep. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance, and they’re asleep. I wish I could condemn them, but I’d end up condemning myself along with them.

• And of course, they paid for their laziness. He warned them to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” They didn’t, and when the soldiers arrived, their lack of spiritual preparation led to their fleeing and scattering in the darkness.

• Finally, this is the perfect model of prayer for us. There's nothing wrong with desiring good things, and even to avoid bad ones. Our Lord, even in his human nature, didn’t sin, so we don’t sin either when we follow his example by asking the Father for something different from what he’s given us. But the perfect attitude always comes with the caveat: “Not as I will, but as you will.” Ask, but submit to the Father’s will.

There are a lot of lessons we could pull from this, and I think I’ve got what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me. How about you?

Here's Michael Card's meditation on this, "In The Garden."

Father God, your ways are so much above my ways. I’m your adopted son, so I need to act more like it. Please make me more like Jesus. No, really.

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