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.

[May 2]--Carpe Diem

Ecc. 11:1-10

Yeah, I know that it’s a catchphrase bordering on a cliché, but I think it fairly summarizes today’s passage. And there’s a reason why clichés exist: They get repeated often because they’re true. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, the phrase is Latin for “seize the day,” or it could be paraphrased as “make the most of every opportunity.”

You might think that commending an adventurous spirit would seem out of place, considering the cynicism of the rest of the book. But this old man is not against pleasure. As we read yesterday, there are plenty of passages in the book where he extols it. But this is a little different. He’s urging us to not be stuck in the same old rut and to explore some hidden treasures in this big world that God created.

The first verse is a good overall summary of the next few verses. You could restate it this way: Take risks! Don’t always play it safe! "Ship your grain" out there, and you’ll be surprised in the ways that it comes back to you. He's using the metaphor of shipping out grain overseas as an investment that might entail some risk.

But in case you’re thinking that the Bible is rationalizing selfish behavior, keep in mind what the rest of Scripture says about investing in things that'll last forever as opposed to things which are "here today and gone tomorrow" like money. For example, our Savior said a few choice things to put things in perspective.

I love vss. 3-4, since it applies so well to my procrastinating nature. Stop waiting for opportunity to come to you. Don’t expect conditions to be perfect before you go forward. If you’re waiting for everything to be exactly right, you’ll never do this.

I had to think and do a little research about vs. 5, since it seems somewhat incongruous in the context here. But actually it isn’t. God is sovereign, and you’ll never fully understand his plan. We live in a wonderful world full of mystery, and you never know what’s around the corner. That’s a good thing! That’s supposed to excite you, because even though we don’t always know what’s going on, our loving Father does, and his plan is unfolding. The universe is not governed by chaos, so you can go forward in your adventure without fear.

I learned the principle of vs. 6 as a salesman. I made several hundred phone calls in an evening, and most of them never panned out. If I had a nickel for every “no” I got, I could retire right now. It’s the nature of the business that you get more “no” than “yes.” But the more widely you cast your “seed,” then the bigger harvest you’ll have. The one thing for sure is that you’ll never harvest where you’ve never planted.

After another couple of verses (7-8) which again advocate taking pleasure in life, then we have a great balancing verse to all this. A young person (to whom Solomon is talking) might be reading this and saying “Oh YEAH! I’ve got permission to go crazy in life! Take an opportunity? You bet I’ll take one! I’ll take lots of opportunities next Spring Break when I head down to South Padre with my buddies!” Not so fast, stud. Read vs. 9 again, slowly. Yes, take chances in life. Don’t miss that adventure. But keep in mind that God is watching, and there are really bad consequences if you indulge in rebellion. Nothing in today’s passage is a justification for not doing things God’s way. It might be a good idea to seek his guidance and wisdom before you go hog wild, don’t you think?

What’s the point in vs. 10? Keep in mind that the word for “meaningless” is based upon “breath,” which emphasizes the brevity of something as well as its futility. Youth is here today and gone tomorrow. Take the adventure while you can, because your youth will be gone seemingly overnight.

If you’re reading this and are thinking “That’s great for a 20 year old, but I’ve got a few more years than that under my belt,” then I have a last word for you. As long as you’re still breathing, your Father has adventures for you. Don’t let the remaining opportunities pass you by. Here’s my prayer for you:
“May you live all the days of your life.”—Jonathon Swift

So Father, what do you have for me today? Don’t let me miss it, please.

And here's the best song I've ever heard on this subject: "Seize The Day" by Carolyn Arends

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