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.

[April 27]--A Cord Of Three Strands

Ecc. 4:1-12

I actually want people to continue reading the blog, so I won’t spend too much time on the first few verses of today’s passage. It’s pretty depressing, huh? Like I said when we examined Psalm 88, I hope no one reading this can really relate to what’s being said. The first verse is a bit odd, considering that this is the king talking. I could understand it a little better if it was a poor disenfranchised peasant who was saying this. I mean, King Solomon lost his way and was involved in a disobedient lifestyle, but I don’t see him as a monster even at his worst. But even the best kings can only do so much. Sin has touched every area of existence, and there’s never been a government that wasn’t affected. As such, even with a basically good king in charge, there’s going to be some horrible injustice that occurs without his knowledge.

And then we get to some of the strangest verses in the Bible. Does he really mean what he says in vss. 2-3? Does he really believe that stillborn children are better off than the living, that every man can legitimately say that it was better that he not be born? Again, much of this is spoken from a materialistic viewpoint. If we really didn’t believe that there’s a God in heaven and an afterlife for all of us, then all the unjust suffering in the world logically leads to saying things like this. This is how dark a world separated from God can get.

I know for a fact that vs. 4 doesn’t have to be true all the time. If pleasing and serving the Lord is the motivation behind your labor, you can actually find meaning and purpose in it. But if your labor and achievement really are motivated by envy, then it really is meaningless and a waste of time. Ask yourself this: Millions of years from now, when the sun has burned itself out and all human achievement is just dust and ashes, then what difference will your labor have made?

Then we come to some verses which have some special meaning for me. Life can get hard, as we’ve read and as you’ve undoubtedly experienced. But the Lord's given us some blessings which can make things a lot easier. Yes, there’s the blessing of his presence in our lives, along with all the attendant benefits. But along with that, he’s given us companionship.

That’s why vss. 9-12 are inscribed on my wedding ring. Now, is the passage referring mainly to marriage? Probably not. But like most Scriptural wisdom, it has multiple layers of meaning. I know that in my marriage, she’s certainly picked me up when I’ve fallen. And I can certainly attest that it’s easier to keep warm when you have a bedmate!

But it can also apply to friendships as well. When life gets cold, it’s easier to keep “warm” when you have someone. And it’s important to keep these relationships alive, because it’s a lot tougher to pick yourself up without some help.

But here’s something else. Any marriage is going to come under stress, and if you’re in one in which you’ve decided to do things God’s way, you’re going to come under assault from the Enemy. But if you have the “third strand,” then it’s a lot tougher for the “cord” to be broken. I don’t know about you, but I thank the Lord that he’s the One who keeps our marriage together. But like I said before, the principle can be expanded to other areas of life. I don’t think there’s just one application here. The main point is that you don’t need to go through this life alone. You weren’t designed to. And the best relationships are those in which the Lord is the “third strand” who binds you together.

So right now who’s lifting you up when you fall? Who’s keeping you warm? Thank God for that person, and let them know you appreciate them.

Father, I thank you so much for the close friends you’ve brought into my life. Most especially I thank you for the best friend I could ever have in this life. You’ve used her to make this world such a brighter place than it would be.

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