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 22]--Sowing and Reaping

Psalm 126

Unlike what you might think on Monday morning, work itself is not a result of the Curse on our first parents. Before the Fall, God gave them an assignment to tend his Garden. But it’s a sad fact that one result of sin is futile work. Work was never supposed to be back-breaking, or with a low rate of return, or a waste of time. But because of one foolish decision, our sowing and reaping sometimes produces thorns.

And unfortunately, that futility overshadows most human endeavors. Men build a home, a city, an empire, only to have it eventually collapse into dust and ashes. I think one of the great conceits of modern Americans is the foolish notion that this nation will last forever. When you compare this country’s history to a timeline of human existence, it’s barely a “blip.” On Wall Street, companies and corporations which were at the top of their game a few generations ago are now fading into the background or completely gone.

It can be especially tragic in the “micro” level. Starting around the latter part of 2008, we began to see some major problems in the housing/banking industry. These fault-lines were eventually revealed to run throughout our entire economic structure. It’s one thing to laugh at big “fat cat” bankers who lost their shirts, but we quickly learned that in this modern economy we’re all connected, and it’s impossible for one section to fall apart without all of us getting hurt. And since a majority of Americans have some type of investment in the Stock Market for their retirement, thousands of people who'd meticulously planned for their sunset years found all their savings were gone. All their financial hopes and dreams—gone.

But there’s good news. It doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s what today’s reading, particularly the last two verses, reminds us. The setting for this Psalm apparently was a return from Exile, but we’re not exactly sure of the date. The Lord, because of their rebellion and sin, had given them over to their enemies who had carried them away from their homeland.

Now they were allowed to return, and they were so awe-struck that it was like a “dream” to them. Their mouths were filled with laughter and songs of joy, and even the pagan nations around them were noticing how good the Lord was to them. It’s a Psalm of Ascension, so this would be very poignant—this is a song to be sung as you approach Jerusalem for worship.

Now here comes the punchline. They had surely thought that they would be experiencing nothing but tears for the remainder of their lives. They had gone out to the “fields” of life and sown their seeds while weeping, anticipating that nothing would come of it. And. . . surprise!!! The gracious and compassionate God had turned their sounds of weeping into joyful songs of worship. They'd come back in from the fields carrying sheaves of a fruitful harvest.

Maybe someone who’s reading this feels like those workers. You’ve sowed seeds, and sowed seeds, and then sowed some more seeds, and it looks like you’ve wasted your time. You haven’t, if you’ve been doing it for him. Hold onto Hebrews 6:10 and don’t let go: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Or maybe you need to reread 1 Cor. 15:58—“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In due time, in his timing, you’ll bring those sheaves in, and this’ll be your testimony too: “The Lord has done great things for [me], and [I’m] filled with joy!”

Father, it’s so hard sometimes. Please give me the strength to keep working in the fields until you’re ready to give me the harvest. And patience too, please?

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