today’s devotional

June 21, 2017

One of my favorite movies is, “Hoosiers,” based on the true story of a small-town high school basketball team that defeats the heavily-favored big-city school to win the state championship. It’s a classic David and Goliath story, which brings us to that famous story, recorded in 1 Samuel 17.

It’s the story of the young shepherd boy who defeats a nine foot, heavily-armed giant, with a sling and a rock. But, it’s not really about the young shepherd boy; it’s about His God and His reputation: “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17.45-47)

It never was David’s battle, and that how the victory was won. His confidence was not in his strength or ability, but in the God of the universe. And so it is for us. We face many “Goliaths” along the way, but it is not up to us to defeat them. As His children, the battle is His, not ours. Weak and absurd as our weapons may seem, the LORD does not deliver through them, but through His might and ways.

If this is a day of battle, know whose you are, and whose battle it is. Stand strong, and let Him bring deliverance and victory.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2017
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

June 20, 2017

Some would say love is all you need. Years ago, a popular song proclaimed that, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Well, more love and less hate would go a long way, but love is really the foundation for Christian growth. Consider this prayer: “Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3.11-13)

When Yahweh God produces and increases love, it is agape love (sacrificial love expressed through loving acts). As he produces this within our hearts, we are established in blameless holiness, fully prepared for the return of Christ. This love is not all we need, but it is certainly the fountain from which all else springs. Truth manifests itself in this loving behavior.

This kind of love that our Father wants to produce in our lives is much needed in a hate-filled world. As Jesus predicted, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24.12) Pessimistic as that may sound, it also means that the love our Father produces within us will shine brightest in that dark hour.

The distinguishing mark of Jesus’ followers is this love Paul prayed that the Thessalonian believers might have (John 13.35). This alone distinguishes us in the world as His disciples.

May we walk in truth, and allow our Father to more greatly produce this shining love within us.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2017
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

June 14, 2017

t’s not about how full you can get, but how empty you can become. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2.5-8)

Picture some expensive perfume being slowly poured out of its container. Such is a picture of the deliberate action of Jesus, culminating in His very life and blood poured out on a Roman cross. This is the pattern for our “emptying.” It’s not about how much we can acquire and gain, but how much we can empty our lives in service and sacrifice according to Jesus’ pattern. We empty ourselves for Him, His message and ministry, and His people.

This is the idea behind being a daily “living sacrifice.” (Romans 12.1-2) We daily choose to pour out the essence of our lives upon the altar, so that Christ’s work and purpose might be more fully realized. So, today’s priority is not to become full, but rather to be emptied for Him and His work. It’s not easy, but it is eternally worthwhile.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2017
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

June 13, 2017

Committed to one another.  “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1.16)

This was the commitment a daughter-in-law made to her mother-in-law, but it summarizes well the commitment brothers and sisters in Christ ought to have to each other. I will not separate from you, no matter what happens. I will pursue the same high priorities with you. I will dwell in the household of faith with you. We will be committed to the people of God. Yahweh God will be our God.

Unfortunately, this is a rare commitment these days. We live in the age of disposable relationships. Friendships and  marriages are easily jettisoned when they don’t work well. If church relationships don’t work well, we dispose of them too and “church shop” for one that works better. But, such flippant attitudes are foreign to a consistent Bible theme. The people of God stay in it together, through thick or thin. We regard one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2.3). We live and love sacrificially for one another.

We’re  in this together, because our Father and His Son are in it together with us, forever. May our bond with one another be ever strong, and a compelling witness to a world marked by casual commitment.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2017
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

June 6, 2017

‘Simple faith’ is not naive or unimportant. It is an amazing force, and an absolute necessity. “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3.6-7)

There is no greater example of faith than Abraham – a man revered by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. Because of the endearing quality of his faith, Yahweh God overlooked his flaws and sins and considered him a righteous man. Those possessing this quality of faith are considered “sons of Abraham” through his descendant, Jesus Messiah (Galatians 3.16,27-28).

This highly-prized, so-called ‘simple faith’ accepts the promises and word of God at face value. It does not preclude intelligence and discernment; it ultimately comes to terms with the fact that God is faithful and true to what He says and who He is. This faith moves us out of our comfort zone and into areas of His leading where all will fail unless faith guides. It is resolute reliance on the Faithful One.

Today is an adventure in faith. We each tread on ground we have not covered before, because it is a new day. It may bring delights, but it may also bring dangers. Regardless, we put one foot in front of the other and move forward in faith. Abraham’s descendant, Jesus the Christ, most assuredly directs our steps on today’s journey of faith, as He does each day. May the journey bring you blessings today, and honor Father God, and Jesus our Lord.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2017
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

May 31, 2017

It’s not about us. “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4.5-6)

The life mission of followers of Jesus Christ is to declare the totality of His mission and message. We declare and demonstrate the king and the kingdom. And, we are servants to one another as we do so. We are forever grateful that the God of the universe has chosen to shine His light into our lives to reveal Himself to us through Christ.

I’m thinking of those faithfully serving in and through local churches, and in distant lands on mission fields. Each is committed, not to serving themselves, but the Christ through whom Yahweh God is known. A deep appreciation drives such efforts.

Have the riches of His grace touched you deeply? Do you delight to live and serve out of great gratitude? May a profound sense of appreciation of His grace touch you deeply so that you live and serve greatly.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

May 24, 2017

“We spent the night at a prostitute’s house.” That might have not been the best report to bring back, but that’s the way it was. “Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.” (Joshua 2.1)

We’ve likely heard the story of how Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. God miraculously gave this city over to the people of God, but spies were first sent to spy out the land and the city. Now, it seems like a poor choice to hang out at a prostitute’s house, but there’s more to the story than meets the eye. This woman of ill-repute had some commendable character qualities. She, along with other city inhabitants, had heard of the great things God had done for the people of Israel. She openly confessed, “the LORD your God, He is God of heaven above and on earth beneath.” (Joshua 2.11) She not only acknowledged this great truth; she also lived by it in faith, as we learn in Hebrews 11.31. And, we find her listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.

The point is that God can use anyone, regardless of their past. No doubt Rahab left her former occupation and became a godly wife and mother, as her faith directed her lifestyle. It doesn’t really matter where and what we’ve been; what matters is who we are today in God through Christ. Putting the past behind, may you find a fresh, faith-filled new beginning today.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

May 23, 2017

It’s not really a to-do list. These are actions and activities that just work well – for self and others. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Romans 12.9-13)

Love sincerely. Hate evil and embrace good. Others first. Not slackers, but spiritual achievers. Relish hope amidst life’s trials. Live a lifestyle of prayer. Express love in practical ways.

These are qualities God’s Spirit internally stirs up in us. They cause of lives to be a blessing to others, and we personally reap the benefits. They are qualities that harmonize with the coming kingdom, as He works out a display of it now in advance.

It’s not so much that God expects these things of us; it’s His character being formed in us that manifests these qualities. As I shared in a recent message, the key isn’t try harder, but yield more. As an old saying goes, “Children of God should increasingly resemble their Father.”

May His character, and that of His Son, be more fully formed in us today.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

May 17, 2017

There is a so-called road paved with good intentions, and we all have participated in the paving process. My more recent contribution has been the book I started writing but never quite seem to get around to working on. For you it might be that good deed you are planning to do for your neighbor. Or the special day you’ve been planning for your spouse and family. Or maybe that area of service in your local church you’re planning to step up to.

“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (Romans 7.19) Not only do we so often fail to follow through on good intentions, we sometimes find ourselves involved in the very activities we loathe. What a dilemma! And it will always be a dilemma except for divine intervention. “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7.24-25)

Trying harder through personal determination will never break the cycle. But, thanks be to God, who breaks the cycle through Jesus Christ! The inside job He does in out lives through Holy Spirit is the only solution to this frustrating cycle. So, rather than trying harder, yield more. Surrender your inconsistencies and inabilities to the God who will accomplish in you what you can never accomplish yourself. Good intentions can indeed become good action, through God and His Son.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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today’s devotional

May 9, 2017

He had courage in the face of a great storm, and so can we. Paul the apostle was aboard a ship, facing a horrific storm such that “all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.” (Acts 27.20) But, he received an angelic message of encouragement (Acts 27.24), and shared it will all on board. “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” (Acts 27.25).

A variety of storms assail all of us from time to time. Some are of the magnitude that Paul faced, where abandoning hope is a strong temptation. But, Paul’s words are our encouragement: “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” And what we have been told is that all will eventually turn out in victory, through resurrection and the triumph of the kingdom of God. “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4.17).

Take courage today, even if the storm is severe. It will turn out exactly as you have been told.

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
Be sure to also visit http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/

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