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 3]--Failing Memory

Ecc. 12:1-8

I said before that Western society is the most sex-obsessed culture since the Roman times, and I have a theory about that. I think the problem goes deeper than most people realize. Having studied other cultures and some world history, I can safely say that our society is absolutely unique in the way it caters to the young over the old. All our advertisements, all our popular culture, all of our media, and in fact just about all of our entertainment are all geared towards young people. This is the exact opposite of the way that most of humanity has operated. The terms “new,” “young,” “innovative,” “progress,” and similar terms are positive here and now, but they'd be greeted with suspicion (at best) at any other time and any other place. The elderly were and are respected, and traditions are/were highly valued. This isn’t necessarily a totally bad or good thing; it’s just the way things are.

So now we’re called to listen to the final words of an old man as he speaks to the young. He’s made some pretty bad errors, and he can’t claim to have followed God’s way all the time. He tried his own way for several years, and it brought him nothing but misery in the end. In fact, he hasn’t finished paying for it yet: The effects of his disobedience would be felt immediately in the next generation and for all the years to come. In a judgment from the Lord, right after his passing, his son Rehoboam lost half the kingdom of Israel. And it never was reunited, so the nation never fully recovered from what Solomon did.

So what’s his last bit of advice to us? Remember your Creator while you’re still young. This isn’t to say you need to adopt a dour attitude and abandon fun. It does mean that in all your new experiences, you need to keep your Creator in the center of it all. Make the commitment to have him as your top priority today instead of in the future.

What’s with the rest of the passage? Remember that this is poetry. He’s using imagery to present a picture of a man whose body is slowly breaking down due to getting older. He’s presenting an allegory of aging, probably drawing from his own personal experience:

The passing of another year (marked by birthdays) holds no joy anymore.
Everything is growing darker, possibly both literally and metaphorically.
His limbs are trembling.
• He’s having to stoop.
• His “grinders” are few (he’s losing his teeth).
• His “windows” (eyes) are growing dim.
The “doors” are becoming more closed (possibly referring to being more close-minded to new ideas).
• The “sound of grinding fades” (his hearing is going).
• He can’t sleep through the night anymore.
He’s afraid of falling and of other “dangers” he might encounter.
• The “almond tree blossoms” (his hair is turning white).
• He used to be like a “grasshopper” who leaped around, but now he’s stiff with old age.
• “Desire is no longer stirred” (I think you can guess this one)

Remember your Creator before the fragility of life is no longer a hypothetical idea but a present reality. And then the spirit returns to the God who gave it. Then you face him, who will look at everything you’ve ever done. He ends today’s passage with a final cry of frustration bordering on despair: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” This is the cry of a man who didn’t do what he's enjoining us to do. He didn’t remember his Creator when he was young, and now he really regrets it. As life is coming to a close and his body is slowly deteriorating, he’s mourning what might have been.

But the point of this is not to despair. The point of this is to make good use of the time God’s given you. What matters is not yesterday or tomorrow, but today. You can’t do anything about yesterday, and tomorrow is out of your reach. The only time to decide to do things his way is today.

Lord Jesus, however much time I have left, I want to remember you. I want to please you, to honor you, and to make a difference in this world for you. By your grace, I can do it.

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