today’s devotional

April 18, 2018

In what was a legacy of “the Red Scare” of the fifties and sixties, I remember, as a child, seeing brightly-colored signs on certain public buildings with the text, “Fallout Shelter,” emblazoned on them. In the event of a nuclear blast, this was a place of refuge.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.”(Psalm 46.1-3)

This is a collective song of confident declaration. God is “our” refuge and strength. Therefore “we” will not fear. Come earthquake, tsunami, or volcano, we stand fearless within the fallout shelter of our refuge and strength.

The “our” and “we” of this song is important, because we often need a personal reminder from the people of God as to this truth. On our own, fear sometimes prevails. We’re subject to memory lapses as to the safety and strength of our divine refuge. We need to join in song with our brothers and sisters to remind and reinforce this comforting truth.

In a turbulent world, may we ever be strengthened and reassured as to our Mighty Fortress.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

April 17, 2018

The test of character is how we handle a crisis. Consider this crisis and how one man handled it:

“When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.” (1 Samuel 30.3,4)

If there is a 1 to 10 crisis scale, this would be about a 20. The population of an entire city has been captured, and every one of David’s fighting men have lost family. Amidst the profound grief, there is talk of slinging some stones in the direction of the man considered responsible: David. Needless to say, “David was greatly distressed” (1 Samuel 30.6). But, how he responds to this monumental crisis shows us something of his character:

“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” (1 Samuel 30.6)

The details aren’t revealed, but the fact of his response to the crisis speaks volumes. Rather than coming unglued and despondent, he focused on The Source of stability and strength he had always known. He drew near to the One whose reassuring peace, presence, and power washed over and in him.

In the midst of crisis, we either turn away from or lean into the real source of help. The test of character is how we handle the crisis, and to whom we turn in the crisis.

May David’s strength be ours as well.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

April 11, 2018

Fighting for hope. It’s like treading water. We haven’t lost hope, but depression and discouragement challenge our grasp of it. We’ve in a dark valley, and hope seems almost impossibly high on a mountain above.

We often see raw, transparent emotion in the Psalms; ranging from the heights of boundless joy to the deep pit of despair. For example,

“My tears have been my food day and night … O my God, my soul is in despair within me … I will say to God my rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me?'” (Psalm 42.3,6,9)

That’s a no-holds-barred description of despair and depression. And yet from the dark prison, the Psalmist looks up and says, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (Psalm 42.5,11) Out of despair, he fights for hope. He isn’t there yet, but he is confident that one day he will be there again.

Like the Psalmist, today may not be the best of days. We may be in a season of tears. Dark clouds may have settled over us, and we’re not sure when or if they will ever part. We remember joyous times past, but we’re fighting for hope today. We anticipate that we will “again praise Him,” but that day is not this day.

The old saying goes that when you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. A day of heartfelt praise is in your future, and that hope and reminder is just the thing to hang on to until then. God may seem silent and absent (verses 3,9,10), but He waits with you in the dark season of life. His presence and concern will become evident at just the right time.

Hold on. Fight for hope. Remember yesterday’s heights of joy, and know there are future heights. Trite as it may sound, this too shall pass. Today’s darkness will give way to tomorrow’s brightness. Ultimately it will give way to the brightness of His coming kingdom. And that will truly be worth it all.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

April 4, 2018

Elderly people often comment, “I never thought I would get this old this fast.” With the passing of time, I’m beginning to see that comment with greater clarity. I’m prone to think I’m really the age of my children, but then I look in the mirror.

“LORD, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am.” (Psalm 39.4 Holman)

That’s a sobering if not depressing thought, isn’t it? Except that there is wisdom in such a statement. We do well to seek the LORD’s guidance in trying to frame the realm of our existence. Until we grasp life’s limitations, we will not likely set important priorities. I often think one of the enemy’s great strategies is to influence people to be preoccupied with the trivial, and never consider how brief life really is.

This moment is valuable. It can either be invested or squandered. We can use it selfishly or sacrificially. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5.15-16)

I’d like to think I’ll be around for a while yet, but best I should make the moments count, whether few or plenty. What you will do with this moment?

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

April 3, 2018

It’s easy to cheer for the underdog. We have an affinity for the sports team that goes up against the seemingly superior, heavily favored team. And that might have something to do with our fascination with the famous battle between David and Goliath, recorded in 1 Samuel 17.

Goliath was a legendary giant, towering above everyone at an astounding ten feet tall. He is aptly described in 1 Samuel 17.4-7.

Matched against this giant of a man was a seemingly puny shepherd boy, armed with a sling and five smooth stones (verse 40). In the face of apparent impossible odds, David declared,  “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.” (1 Samuel 17.45)

David’s audacious confidence was not in himself, but in the God whom Goliath had taunted. His concern was not for his own fame or recognition, by for that of Yahweh.

There are battles we are drawn in to. Someone challenges our opinion or belief; they disagree with our position. The easiest thing in the world is to assume a defensive position because our reputation appears to be at stake. Are we as concerned about our Father’s reputation as we are our own?

A book I’m reading makes a seemingly “scholarly” undercut of the life and work of Jesus. This book is no doubt effective in undermining the reputation of Jesus in the eyes of skeptics and unbelievers. A “righteous indignation” roils up within me as I read, but I wonder what I can do. It’s a Goliath task to deflect the destructive work of a bestseller. But, I serve – as do you – the God of David. The battle may seem overwhelming, but “the battle is the LORD’s” (1 Samuel 17.47)

Let’s engage today in His battles, with His weapons, for His reputation, and marvel at the victory He brings.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

March 21, 2018

To hope is to be human. But, real hope is divine.

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.” (Psalm 33.18-22)

The God of hope (Romans 15.13) ever looks after those who place their hope in Him. He “who fashions the heart of them all, He who understands all their works” (Psalm 33.15) is attentive to all who trust in Him.

Hope is as vital to life as air, food, and water. And yet, so many people live by misplaced hope; hope that is merely wishful thinking. The God of hope favors those who look to Him in faith with peace and joy.

May real hope ever be our anchor (Hebrews 6.19) during life’s storms, and a constant source of peace and joy.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

March 20, 2018

Things are not always as they seem. An ordinary task just might be prelude to something much greater.

A story is recorded in 1 Samuel 9 about a man named Saul dispatched by his father with the task of finding some of his father’s lost donkeys (1 Samuel 9.3). After 3 futile days of searching Saul, along with his servant, abandon the search but choose instead to consult with Samuel, a prophet of God, for insight into the lost donkeys. But, there is much more to the story than finding some lost livestock.

“Now a day before Saul’s coming, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel saying, ‘About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.’ ” (1 Samuel 9.15-16)

A man on a mission to find lost livestock was actually on a journey to become a king. There was literally a royal purpose behind a routine task. And such as it is with us: the ordinary, mundane tasks of life are really preparatory to our royal positions in the government of Christ. We are being prepared to judge angels (1 Corinthians 6.3) and “be priests of God and of Christ and … reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20.6) Ordinary people are being prepared for extraordinary privilege and work!

Serve faithfully, work diligently. There’s more to what you do than meets the eye.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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today’s devotional

March 13, 2018

The scene was dark, desperate, and depressing. It appeared to be the final act of a great drama.

“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was” (1 Samuel 3.1-3)

God’s word and voice were rare. The eyesight of the man of God had grown dim. The lamp of God was barely flickering. It appeared to be the end of the era of God’s work and word among His people. But, “the LORD called Samuel.” (1 Samuel 3.4)

There was a new beginning at the end of a era. God raised up a man to speak His word and be His representative. The people of God would not lack a word from God.

We are His modern day “Samuels.” In a world where authentic word from the LORD seems rare, He has enabled and empowered us to learn, know, live, and speak His word. How thankful we are for the great privilege of bringing His lamp and light to a dark world.

Steve Taylor, 2018

My other blogs
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today’s devotional

March 7, 2018

“Wait” might just as well be spelled “weight” for some of us. For those of us who are easily impatient, waiting is a heavy burden. But, good things come to those who wait.

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27.14)

Waiting for the sake of waiting is not necessarily a virtue. Worthwhile waiting is waiting for Yahweh. Waiting for Him, we are promised, results in strength and courage. Thus, our quiet times alone with Him are vitally important. Out of these times comes the strength and courage to take bold and timely action; to do His will instead of our own. Waiting for Him is not inaction, but rather character-building inner action. Much of His will and desire is as much about our inner transformation as the actual work He has for us to do. And that process cannot be rushed.

Wait. The right thing at the wrong time amount to the wrong thing. Let Him build strength and courage into your life as He prepares you for His timely work.

Steve Taylor, 2018

My other blogs
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today’s devotional

March 6, 2018

I recently read that one of the characteristics of successful people is that they take action. Rather than imagining that good things will happen to them, they see opportunities and seize them.

“a man about to go on a journey … called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (Matthew 25.14-18)

This parable of Jesus is about the value of investing in the things of the kingdom of God. The King has entrusted each of us, His servants, with certain possessions and talents. We are to seize the opportunities associated with them, and invest wisely for the King and the kingdom.

What has He entrusted to you? What are you doing with them? Will He consider that He received a good return on investment with what you are doing that belongs to Him? These are important questions for us to consider as we seek to live wisely today with an eye on life in the kingdom age to come. There’s never a better time to invest in things of eternity than right now. Praying that we each invest wisely today.

Steve Taylor, 2018

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