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.

[July 12]—Livin’ On A. . .Part Eight: Tawg vs. Off The Cuff

Nehemiah 1; 2:1-5

            The book of Nehemiah is a really great book. To be frank, I sort of avoided it as a kid because there are no public miracles in it like in Exodus or the Gospels. But that was a real lacuna in my Bible study. There’s a lot to take in here.
            And since we’re studying prayer, it’s expected that I’d pull out of it. . . some teachings on prayer! You know me so well!
            Nehemiah’s known for being a great man of God in the Post-Exilic period (after Babylon took everyone into exile). He was a governor, a “secular” public servant—not a priest or prophet. He was a great planner and motivator, and he knew how to handle violent and insidious opposition with incredible skill. But one thing he was which isn’t discussed frequently is how much a man of prayer he was, and there’s one lesson in particular I’d like to glean from his example.
            In the first chapter, he was serving King Artaxerxes of Persia as his “cup bearer,” the one who tested his food and drink in order to prevent poisoning (a position of great trust). Men from Jerusalem came to him and gave him the situation in their homeland. The news was not good: The gates were burned and the wall was in pieces. In other words, there was no order or security for the inhabitants.
            And what did he do? He immediately went to his knees. As we talked about before, he started off with praise and thanksgiving: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments.” He’s the Lord, the God of heaven.” The word “Lord,” as you can tell from the NIV by the different font, is the covenant Name, his personal name by which his people know him on an intimate level. He’s the One who keeps his covenant of love. That’s important, because I’m about to appeal to that aspect of his nature—the fact that he keeps covenant—in a moment when I come to him with a petition.
            Then he comes to confession, recognizing that his people don’t really deserve anything but judgment. They’ve sinned against him. He gave them instructions thru Moses, and they utterly failed in keeping them.
            Then he comes to the petition: Please remember us and deal with us according to your promises and grace.
            Great pattern for us, don’t you think?
            The passage in the next chapter, however, is what I definitely want to focus on. He's face to face with the king, and the king asks him why his face is sad (which was actually forbidden). Nehemiah says that he “prayed to the God of heaven” and then answered the king. Obviously he didn’t say something like “Pardon me, your majesty, could you hold on for a moment? I need to go up to my room, close the door, and seek God’s wisdom for a few minutes. Don’t worry, this’ll take 5 minutes max.” Um, no. He only had time to think in his head something like “God, please give me wisdom and favor in his eyes.” Just a second, not even noticeable by the king.
            We need both in our prayer life: Time alone with God (which is what TAWG stands for) in a quiet setting, and “off the cuff” prayer as we encounter things during the day. We see an accident in traffic and ask him “Lord, please deal with those people according to your mercy and kindness.” We get called into our boss’s office for some unknown reason, and we pray something like Nehemiah likely prayed.
            But here’s the important thing: Your spontaneous prayer needs to be backed up heavily by your TAWG. Undoubtedly the prayer recorded in chapter one is just a small sampling of what he prayed over the next few days as he agonized over the condition of his beloved people and city. If you want confidence in your spontaneous prayers, you need to be prepared by having spent time with him alone. If something comes up suddenly, you won’t be like the friend who only calls for help in an emergency.
            So how’s your TAWG?

Lord Jesus, this is what I want, what I need right now: A deeper relationship with you. To walk more closely by your side, to hear your voice more clearly. Then when something drops out of the sky, my path to the Throne of Grace will be familiar territory. 

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