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 09]—Protection and Glory

Zechariah 2

            For the purposes of this devotional, we’re going to skip the visions in chapter one and get to chapter two. As with much of Zechariah, there’s much that Christians might debate over, based on each person’s interpretation of what’s called the End Times. But again I think we can get some application from this in our daily lives.
            The vision starts with a man with a measuring line in his hand. Zechariah asks him what he’s doing, and the man tells him that he’s going to measure the perimeter of Jerusalem. An angel has been accompanying the prophet, and then another angel comes to everyone with a very important message: The days are coming when Jerusalem will be a city without walls because it’s been filled to overflowing with so many people. But I’d like to focus on vs. 5 for a moment.
            The Lord says two things about his relationship with the Jerusalem to come. The first is particularly relevant. As I write this, large portions of Texas are being destroyed by an out of control flame; this has caused millions of dollars of damage and has claimed at least one life.
The first part of the verse says he will be a “wall of fire” around the city with his people in it. The first mention of fire in the Bible is another wall of flame: It was a fiery sword that surrounded the Garden of Eden to keep out our first parents out after they sinned. This was a fire of judgment mixed with mercy: They couldn’t live forever in human bodies infected with sin (which is mercy), but this also sentenced them to eventual death.
            Also God’s word is called a “fire” in the book of Jeremiah. As we noted before, the same fire has different effects on different materials: It hardens wax, softens clay, consumes dross and purifies gold. So his word will help or harm you, depending on what type of person you are.
            I sense a pattern here, don’t you? Just like fire can be either your best friend (on a cold night) or your worst enemy (as you watch your house burning down), so is the Lord.
            The Lord is repeatedly pictured in Scripture as coming in judgment like a fire, for example in Amos. Of course the writer of Hebrews continues this as well. And what’s the image of the final, ultimate punishment? A Lake of Fire.
            But the thing that strikes me here is that in this verse the Lord is once again pictured as flame, but this time he’s a ring of fire that surrounds his people in protection. Anything or anyone who wants to do his people/city has to come through him, and of course that's never happening.
            He’s the same God, the same consuming fire. If we’re right with him, on the “right” side of him, he’ll be a wall of flame that surrounds and protects us: we’ll be the apple of his eye. But if we’re on the wrong side, then, well. . .
            And then we come to the second thing he says about the Jerusalem to come: He'll be the glory within it. This is especially poignant, considering that just a few years prior, another prophet had been forced to watch as the Lord’s glorious presence had departed the temple and then the city.  When the Lord left, there was only something like a termite-eaten tree behind: It looked alive on the outside, but inside there was only rot and death, and it only awaited the final fall which would display to the outside world what had already happened inside.
            But that will be reversed in the future. He will fill his city, and all the nations will see it and bring gifts to offer to him. They will come and join his people, and all of them will united into one body.
            But we can’t forget that there’s a practical application to all this. The Lord was encouraging his people to return themselves from exile. To do so would entail some risk and faith. Despite all the obstacles, however, they needed to know that God is in control, and if they just trust him, everything will come out all right in the end.
            The key words are “Trust” and “Obey.”

Father--by your grace--I do, and I will. You have so much in store for me, how could I not?

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