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.

[June 08]—Learning From Mistakes

Zechariah 1:1-6

            Before we get into today’s passage, I need to present some disclaimers. Nothing you haven’t heard from me before, but I need to emphasize them. First, please keep in mind that this is a devotional, not a commentary. In no way do I feel called to do a verse-by-verse commentary. Second, as a devotional I’m going to keep this as practical as possible. If it doesn’t affect your walk with Christ, I’m not going to dwell on it much.
            That’s why I’ve skipped vast portions of the prophets, and why I won’t be discussing every verse in Zechariah. His book describes a lot of visions which can be interpreted in different ways. I have my own interpretations of them, but a lot of them relate to the End Times (or at least how I’ve taken them), and getting into the specifics on that is beyond the scope of this blog. I’m going to mainly keep to thing on which all (or most) Evangelicals would agree.
            With that in mind, we still need a little background on this book, since understanding will thus be made a lot easier. Zechariah is another post-exilic prophet, a contemporary of Haggai and apparently a colleague. The people he faced were largely discouraged: They had to rebuild their nation practically from scratch, they were surrounded by hostile nations, and they’d never been weaker. Therefore the post-exilic prophets tend to focus a lot on God’s sovereignty and how to avoid discouragement. But lest you think that they went easy on their audiences, such was not the case. Jonathan Edwards considered despair a sin, and obviously it can lead to other sins.
            That leads us to today’s passage. The Lord spoke through Zechariah, and the first words quoted from God could really summarize much of the prophetic literature: “Return to me. . . and I will return to you.” All day long he’s been holding out his hands to a stubborn and rebellious people.
            Then he points to the past, and that’s my main point for today. Nothing we haven’t talked about before, but it bears repeating. There are lots of stories in the Bible to which we’re supposed to read and respond thus: “I sure don’t want to end up like that guy!”
            That’s the main point of today’s passage today. The audience knew their history, or at least they should've known it. The Lord had sovereignly called Israel out of bondage in Egypt, had provided for her, protected her, and gave his Law for their benefit. And their response had been to rebel and sin against him, taking every opportunity to worship everything but him.           
            And then he sent prophets, and their reactions ranged from indifference to violent opposition. The prophets warned time and time that their rebellion would cost them dearly.
            It did. Every word came true.
            And now he’s asking them two questions. First, he asks them to ask themselves: “Where are my ancestors?” The answer: The grave, many of them in a foreign country. They'd gambled that they could play games with God, and they lost. Moses, in one of my all-time favorite lines of all time, solemnly warned and predicted to his generation of Israelites that "you may be sure that your sin will find you out."
            The second question he asks is a bit more mysterious: “Do the prophets live forever?” Obviously no. They’re also in their graves. So what’s the point of the question? Based on what the Lord says in vs. 6, it seems that he’s emphasizing to them that unlike the prophets, his word does live forever. It'll eventually overtake everyone who ignores or opposes it. People have compared it to an anvil: Skeptics come along and swing a hammer at it, attacking it with all their might, and all they end up with is a broken hammer in their hands.
            Hopefully most of the people who’re reading this know that the Bible is true, both its promises and warnings. But I thought it’d be a good reminder for all of us: No one in all of human history has done things God’s way who ended up regretting it. And the converse is true as well.
Father God, I know that your way is best, and I certainly have enough examples to learn from, both positive and negative. By your grace, I want to follow it. And I will. 

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