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 4]--Last Bit Of Advice

Ecc. 12:9-14

What would you like to leave to the next generation? If you knew you only had a little time left and could leave one last piece of advice, what would you say? I’m not sure how I’d answer that, but I do know what Solomon left us. We’re not exactly sure how long he lived: Both Kings and Chronicles only say that he ruled over Israel for 40 years, but that not an indication of how long he lived. He wrote three recorded books which are forever part of Scripture, and his name is forever linked to wisdom. Regrettably, he didn’t leave behind the most valuable heritage, namely a godly example. He left behind lots of money and power to his son, and within one generation the entire kingdom--everything David and Solomon had worked for--was halved and was never fully recovered. All of that wealth? Jesus said that the lilies of the field are clothed better than Solomon in all his splendor.

On the plus side, he left behind one of my favorite books of the Bible (Proverbs), and in a way he did leave behind a valuable example. I’ve pointed out before that a bad example is invaluable: If you can learn from other peoples’ mistakes instead of your own, so much the better.

He starts out this last section by comparing wisdom literature with two word pictures, both of them having to do with shepherding. The first tool—goads—are used to drive sheep back onto the proper path, painfully if necessarily. The other tool—nails—are presumably used to nail fences up. In other words, wisdom sets up barriers to keep us from wandering into dangerous territory. So who’s protecting us? The one Shepherd over us all. His word is the only infallible source of wisdom, and we need to be careful not to add to his instructions. The book of Proverbs warns against this as well.

Let’s examine those two images, since there’s actually a good lesson for us here. Think about it for a moment. A goad is painful. It’s used to get an animal’s attention, and it’s not subtle. A fence which is nailed down is something a little different. It’s also for the sheep’s protection, but it’s a lot less painful. It would seem to me--knowing what I do about my Shepherd--that he’d rather use a fence than a goad on us. But it’s up to me as to what he has to use to keep me on his path.

So what were his final words to us? Ironically, they’re basically a repetition of the first words he spoke to us. He started out Proverbs with the source of wisdom—“the fear of the Lord.” As I said before, this is O. T. shorthand for a right relationship with God. It’s called “fear,” but it’s not being afraid of him. It’s awe mixed with love. We’re to fear the Lord and keep his commandments. This is the whole duty of man, the reason for our existence.

In his many years, Solomon had seen a lot of injustice in this world. He details much of it in this book: Good men suffering, while evil men seeming to get away with their schemes. But eternity gives meaning to this world. If this is all there is or will be, then nothing has any ultimate purpose. The Nazis who ran the death camps are all going to the same oblivion that their victims entered. A million billion years from now, the sun will have burnt itself out and the earth will be a lifeless husk. What difference will it make whether I’ve saved a life or taken it, whether I imitate Mother Theresa or Hitler?

But no. There's a God in heaven, and he sees. He hears. He knows. And he will one day judge everything that everyone has ever done. No matter what men might think they’ve gotten away with, they've gotten away with nothing.

That’s why it’s so important to be rightly related to this God who’s going to judge everything. And that’s going to segue into our next discussion.

Shepherd of my soul, I know that you use the most gentle way possible to get my attention. Please give me a soft heart and listening ears, so you don’t have to use more painful methods. I know, you love me too much to leave me alone. Thank you.

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