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.

[Feb 21]--Protection

Psalm 121

If you’re as familiar with Christian music as I am, then you’ve probably heard at least one version of this Psalm set to music. I myself have heard at least three. It’s a beautiful passage, reminding us of God’s protection. Let’s examine it for a bit, shall we?

You’ll notice that according to the superscription it’s a “Song of Ascents.” What does that mean? The ancient Hebrews were commanded by God, no matter where they lived, to make their way to Jerusalem at least three times a year for a nation-wide festival/holiday: Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. Jerusalem is set on top of a mountain (Mount Zion, of course), so as they ascended it and saw the city of David, these Psalms with this superscription were the traditional songs to sing with your caravan.

That’s what makes the 1st verse so poignant. As the singer climbed these hills, he saw a lot of awe-inspiring creation. But he knew that his help came from no other source but his Creator. Considering that the first singers of this Psalm were climbing a mountain, it’s quite possible that the author was being quite literal when he was talking about protection against someone’s foot slipping.

But of course we can apply this passage in the spiritual realm as well. He’s watching us as we make our pilgrimage to our Final Home. He’ll make sure that our foot doesn’t slip, no matter what the Enemy puts in our path.

Whenever I read vs. 4, I always have to chuckle a bit, since it reminds me of Elijah’s confrontation with the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Remember how he taunted them about the impotence of Baal? “Shout louder. . . Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” In stark contrast to Baal, who has to be woken up by the shouts of his followers, our God never sleeps. He's always watching over us. While you’re sleeping, he’s not. He hears the whispered prayers of the humblest of his children. In fact, you don’t have to speak out loud at all. And as verse 6 indicates, it’s round-the-clock protection.

And it’s not just physical. The word for “life” in vs. 7 is literally “soul,” so a lot of commentators interpret this to mean the entire person, including the spiritual. Naturally this makes sense: Why would he protect us from physical harm but not defend us in the other realm?

There are a lot of ways to apply the last verse, and none of them have to contradict the others. The first meaning was that in all the travelers of these pilgrims, both as they entered Jerusalem and as they left, he would watch over them. He also watches us in the “comings and goings” of daily life. And as you “come” into this life until you “go” into the next one, he’s watching as well. And if you’re his child, he’ll welcome you home.

Now for your enjoyment, here's Eden's Bridge's version of Psalm 121.

Father, I thank you for watching me. I have NO idea how many times, just today, you protected me from harm. You’re my loving Father, and I’m looking forward to making that last stage of the journey so I can see your face.

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