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.
[April 25]--Too Small A World
If today’s passage seems a little familiar to you, there’s a good reason for it. It’s one of the few examples of Scripture being set to mainstream music. Of course I’m talking about “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (made famous by the Byrds) which was sung all over the country during the 1960’s. I could wish that John 3:16 was made into a hit song played all over the radio, but what can you do?
What’s Solomon’s point in the first eight verses? I mean, obviously the immediate purpose is stated in the first verse: There’s a proper time for everything under heaven. Just about every human activity could be lumped into one of the categories listed. But why is he saying this? What does he want us to see? Perhaps he wants us to see that if we make God the center of our lives, everything will fall into its proper place. Perhaps, given the verses which immediately follow, he wants us to see that God is sovereign over all human activity. It might just be giving us a piece of wisdom concerning life, reminding us that there’s a proper time for everything, and we shouldn’t try an activity outside of its proper time (for example, don’t be silent when it’s time to speak up). All of these are possible interpretations, and they’re all good reminders.
What I’d like to focus on for a moment, however, are the remaining verses. There’s a lot of intriguing mystery about vss. 9-14. After regaling us with another deep but depressing question (Vs. 9 could be paraphrased as “So what’s the point of it all? Why keep wasting your time?), he goes into a discussion on what the Lord's done to us and for us.
Vss. 1-8 remind us that the world is a large place. At any moment, there are countless people being born and dying, planting and uprooting, killing and healing, etc. And God has made a beautiful world. Yes, it’s fallen, but much of its original beauty still remains. But at the same time that it’s too large for us to comprehend, in another sense the world is too small. No matter what we do, no matter how we fill our hours and days, we end up feeling empty. Why? Because God has “set eternity in human heart.” That’s a reflection of the fact that we’re created in his image, and it’s also caused by the fact that we live in a fallen world. We’re not animals. Yes, we need to eat, sleep, breed, etc. We have instincts in common with the beasts. But we’re made for more than that. We were made for more than just gratifying our physical desires.
But we’re not angels either. We yearn for more than what this world has to offer, but we keep getting tripped up by our worst desires. That’s the quandary we’re in. We’re caught between two worlds. Maybe that’s why I’ve always hated to see birds in cages. Not just because of my last name, but because I can empathize with them. We were all made to fly, and we’ve all got clipped wings.
So what’s Solomon’s (and God’s) solution to this? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Step one is to enjoy the simple things in life. Instead of seeking the latest thrill (which Solomon could tell you is a dead end), find pleasure in simple things. Eat, drink, and find satisfaction in what you do. Enjoy life! Enjoy God’s blessings!
And that leads us to the second part of the solution to our misery, the really essential part. Recognize that God has given you all of this. Gratitude will go a long way towards improving your attitude. You won’t be able to really enjoy the gifts of God apart from the God who gives the gifts. Also you need to revere him, which means you give him what he’s due: worship, honor, and obedience.
And trust is implied in that. Solomon only hinted at it, but the rest of God’s word tells us this: We won’t be locked in the cage forever. He's placed eternity in our hearts for a reason. What’s wrong now will one day be made right. We’ll finally be everything that we were created to be. Sweet. . .
Lord Jesus, I know that I’m trapped between two worlds, and that really stinks sometimes. Thank you for being here with me. Please get me ready for the big move.