today’s devotional

September 14, 2016

I have a friend who easily starts conversations with strangers that then leads to gospel sharing. I admire and respect that, but such things don’t come easily for me. The fear factor usually paralyzes me before I can speak. Apparently someone else had a similar experience: “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2.3)

Lest we think the apostle Paul was simply being modest in saying this, consider this: “the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.’ ” (Acts 18.9-10) Apparently Paul was fearful enough that a direct message from Jesus was needed to move him to continue speaking gospel truth.

Perhaps it’s not a bad place to be when we are fearful and weak. It is then that “power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12.9), and we can be a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (1 Corinthians 2.4) He who mightily enables us gets the glory in our weakness and fear, instead of us. 

Hopefully each of us will get a golden gospel (Acts 8.12) opportunity today. And, when the fear factor threatens to shut us down, may we humbly pray for His words and strength, for His glory and honor.  

Steve

©Steve Taylor, 2016
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today’s devotional

September 13, 2016

Someone I encounter most mornings expressed to my wife that I’m not a very talkative person. Having never been much of a morning person, that’s certainly accurate for my disposition at 5:30 in the morning. But, is that how I want to be described? What word or phrase would others use to describe you?

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4.5)

It would be a high compliment to be known as a “gentle spirit,” because that’s how we ought to be assessed from a biblical perspective. An awareness of the nearness and presence of the Lord Jesus ought to invoke this attitude. So, anything other than a gentle spirit arises when we lose sight of His presence. When tempers flare, and patience wanes, we’ve likely lost sight of His abiding presence.

The popularity of the “WWJD” bracelets seems to have faded, but the continual reminder of What Would Jesus Do? is ever needed. We ought to bear increasing resemblance to the One who describes Himself as “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11.30)

I know there is a high probability that something today will try my patience, likely resulting in something other than a “gentle spirit.” We’ve been working on this for years, but there is a long way to go. But, if I will discipline myself to be more aware of Christ’s presence always, victory is more likely within reach.

May His inner presence guide each of us to that gentle spirit He most desires.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

September 6, 2016

It’s a lot easier said than done. In fact, the reality might be that there’s more saying than doing. 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2.20) 

There is a finality with crucifixion. The most horrible form of capital punishment ever devised, the executed criminal was dead without question. So, to say that “I have been crucified with Christ” means that I have completed died to myself. Problem is, at least for me, is that my old self seems to have been resuscitated. The life I live has a semblance of decency and Christ-centeredness, but there is much more of the old self active than I care to admit. My life appears to have a “Christ patch” over it rather than a Christ transplant within.

Christ really does live within each of us who have committed our lives to Him, and been born again. Still, there is a war within. Even Paul lamented that his old self sometimes triumphed over the inner Christ (Romans 7.19). Thus there is a need for daily surrender, vigilance, and battle. Christ within us will triumph, so much as we allow Him to do so.

There are choices to be made today. By default, our old self will assert itself. But, we CAN allow Christ within to live out His plans and desires. May we pause at this moment to deliberately concede our lifestyle preferences to His. It’s a choice and decision we will never regret.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 31, 2016

It will work better if we break it. That may sound like unconventional and even unwise advise, but it really is true. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51.17)

No one gets through life without being broken to some degree; some severely so. But, broken is good. When brokenness produces humility, we are in the very best position to become whole. God “will not despise” our brokenness brought to Him in humility.

A greater problem is not facing the truth about brokenness. A rich and self-sufficient church received some of Christ’s greatest condemnation (Revelation 3.14-22), as did some smug religious leaders (i.e., Matthew 9.12) Although badly broken, they were blinded by a deceptive sense of wholeness.

Followers of Christ are often stereotyped as “perfect” people. Sadly, sometimes we believe the same. As a result, we hide our brokenness from others, and even ourselves, rather than offer it humbly and honesty to God. Brokenness that could be mended is left needlessly broken.

Whatever your brokenness today, know that God will not despise it as an offering, but will welcome and mend it. Wholeness awaits if we will only risk bringing our brokenness to Him.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 30, 2016

A realtor shared a testimonial on the radio as to how God provided when sales were nonexistent. She sensed Him impressing on her, “I will take care of you,” and He did. Such is the truth shared by the Psalmist: “they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.” (Psalm 34.10)

Our God Yahweh is not a cosmic vending machine, dispensing our every wish and desire, but the sole provider of every “good thing.” His assessment of “good” and ours are often radical different. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4.3) Mercifully, God never gives that which is not good.

The testimony of every faithful saint is that God always provides that which is good. As the Psalmist also says, “I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37.25) We may fret and worry as we wait for His provision, but it always comes – somehow, some way. In the process of providing, His greatest provision is through shaping our character and faith.

Wait for the LORD, and His provision. Perhaps today that is especially challenging. May these words encourage and remind you that He WILL provide the good you need. He never fails.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 24, 2016

There is nothing holding you back. You’ve got what it takes to accomplish all that is needed before Christ comes back. That’s  the reassuring message of this passage:

“in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge … so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1.5,7,8)

In spite of how quickly we might identify our imperfections and inadequacies, God’s inspired word tells us otherwise. Through abundant grace, God has provided necessary speech, insight, and giftedness for those eagerly working and longing for the return of Christ. So abundant is this grace act that no accusing finger of blame can or will be pointed at us on the day we give an account of our lives before Him. Now that’s basis for confidence!

So, this enabling and equipping ought to free us today to ponder what He specifically wants to do in and through us. Is there a great plan and idea burning in your mind? Is there a kingdom project you long to start? Then tap in to the inner Spirit resources and, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9.10).

Someone recently stressed that these are times for God’s people and leaders to live fearlessly. With all the God-given resources available to us, indeed these are times for such attitudes and actions.

Speak His inspired word to others, as He has given you knowledge. Exercise His spiritual gifts. Let eager anticipation of the return of Christ motivate. Live fearlessly, confident of His approval of you.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 23, 2016

Where you are at this very moment in your life is a testimony to hope. Those who are in Christ have “obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5.2-5) 

You may feel that you are just hanging on by a thread in the midst of the current crisis, or that something on the horizon threatens to overwhelm you, but the fact is, you are standing at the moment. And, you WILL continue to stand! You are a survivor and an overcomer. Tribulation HAS produced perseverance, shaped character, and resulted in hope that “does not disappoint.” You have come thus far, and you will continue on, because of hope.

I’m no starry-eyed dreamer or optimist (by nature I’m more of a pessimist), but I believe in biblical hope. The prospect of immortality and perfect life in the age to come on a renewed earth is so real that perseverance and character follow in its steps. The best is yet to come, in every sense of the word.

And so we stand. Life today may be a breeze; a walk in the park, so to speak. But gale force adversity may also be unleashed today. Regardless, hope coupled with faith causes us to stand.

So, do not lose sight of that great truth: “hope does not disappoint”!

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 17, 2016

It’s like enjoying a delicious appetizer, and knowing that an amazing meal is about to be served.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2.4-7)

We bask in His favor and grace through Christ now, but ‘we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’ For all eternity on a renewed earth, we will have His lavish grace forever heaped upon us. As immortality and life in the age to come will know no limit or end, neither will “the surpassing  riches of His grace.”

Now, that’s powerful incentive to savor and share His grace today as we await the best that is to come. Know and experience His unqualified acceptance in Christ. Passionately share the gospel of grace (Acts 8.12) with others so that they might enjoy it as well.

His grace really is amazing. May you be lost in wonderment of it as you administer it to those around you.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 16, 2016

A couple of gutsy guys stuck their necks out to make the ultimate controversial statement: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4.12)

With one fell swoop, they negated every other religious system and approach. The only perfect man is the only valid approach to Creator Yahweh. Jewish legalism, muslim, hindu, and new age religions are all inadequate. Even Christian “religion,” in and of itself, won’t do it. It’s all about God’s Son. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1.1-2)

Now, this truth doesn’t give the followers of Christ license for arrogance and exclusivity toward other religions and peoples. Instead, it ought to generate urgent compassion for those who will miss the gift of forgiveness and immortality if they don’t embrace the Son of God and experience conversion. It is a compelling truth that should drive evangelism and mission.

Born again followers of Christ have cause to bask in the glory of grace, but that grace should be powerful incentive for sharing the gospel (Acts 8.12).

Rejoice as you live and serve today, and let that rejoicing be the springboard for Great Commission work.

Steve

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

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today’s devotional

August 10, 2016

It seems like a tall order in an age of suicide bombings, mass shootings, hatred, and extremism. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12.21)

Nothing is easier than becoming reactionary in these violent and evil times. In the face of horrific evil, there is a great tendency to hunker down and hide where we find safety and security. And, our church fellowship can and should be such a place of safety. But, active good should not suffer in evil times. Our response to increasingly violence is to stay the course of good actions and works; especially the good work of outreach and evangelism. More than ever, hurting people need what we have found.

The only thing that will effect real change is a change of heart. Political and social activism can bring temporary relief, but only when people are changed from the inside by the dynamic work of Holy Spirit will they think and act in ways consistent with God’s plan and principles.

Let’s work to overcome evil by being those who share and live the gospel message (Acts 8.12). As such, we will improve current conditions, and advance the coming kingdom of peace.

Steve

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

Amazon ebook & print devotional http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQ1Q9GW
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