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.

[Oct 06]--A Dream Come True

John 1:43-51

Chapter one of John’s Gospel ends in a fairly puzzling passage. Philip (also called Bartholomew), unlike Andrew and Peter, was actually approached by Jesus. In a pattern copying yesterday’s reading, he went and found a friend to introduce to his new-found Savior. Philip went on to be called as an apostle, and he gets some mention in Acts, but I’d like to focus on Nathanael for today.

He started off with some skepticism, even some bigotry. Nazareth was well-known as a place of low morals, contaminated with quite a few Gentiles and idol-worship, so it’s not surprising he reacted the way he did. I love the way Philip responded: not by arguing, but simply by inviting him to “come and see.” And apparently this worked.

Instead of introducing himself or performing some ostentatious miracle, Jesus started with a compliment, an unusual one. Can you imagine starting off a conversation this way? Why'd he do it?

A key term here is “Israelite,” which actually is pretty ironic when you pair it with “man without deceit.” Do you remember where they got the name Israel? It was bestowed on Jacob, whose picture appears in the dictionary next to “con man.” Even the name "Jacob" hints at this: It means “he grasps the heel” or figuratively as “deceiver.”

Here a little background would be very helpful. For the rest of this devotional I need to give a lot of credit to Michael Card’s book The Parable of Joy: Reflections on the Wisdom of the Book of John. Philip found his friend under a fig tree, which was a traditional place to pray, especially for Rabbinic students. So if he had been praying, what would he have been praying about? Jews were taught at an early age that “He who, when he prays, does not pray for the coming of the Messiah, has not prayed at all.”

So if all this is true, if Philip interrupted his friend while he was praying for the Messiah, then this would explain a lot. Now we can figure out why Nathanael turned from skeptic to a believer in a heartbeat. Jesus told him “While you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” There was only one who could've been hearing that prayer for the Messiah: the Messiah himself! Of course, some of this is supposition, but it's entirely consistent with such a quick and radical change of heart.

But then Jesus returned to the theme of Jacob/Israel. When Jacob first encountered God, he was on the run from a vengeful brother who'd sworn to kill him for stealing the brother's inheritance. Jacob laid his head on a stone, fell asleep, and dreamed an experience which would change his life forever. He saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder which bridged earth and heaven. Now Jesus claimed that he himself was that ladder, that bridge between our world and the Heavenly throne.

So there you have it: Jesus was both the answer to all the prayers for the Messiah, and he’s Jacob’s dream come true. All that we could've ever prayed for, all that we could have hoped for, all that we could've dreamed of, he’s more than that.

Lord Jesus, you are so big, and my vision of you is so small sometimes. Please open my eyes to who you really are, and may I settle for nothing less.

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