Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A snowdrift in the living room in the winter was the first indication of trouble. That might not be surprising if the home was an igloo, but this was a typical wood frame home in the Midwest. The problem was with the foundation - it didn't really have one. The living room addition had basically been built on dirt, which is prone to expand and contract with the seasons. With the onset of winter, the floor separated from the outer walls, opening a gap for brutal cold air and snow to blow in.

Sadly, that house represents the foundation too many people have for their lives. A poor foundation is a recipe for disaster, whether a literal home or a life.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell - and great was its fall." (Matthew 7.24-27)

The true test of a foundation is adversity. My friends' home offered no hint of structural defect during the warm season when it was purchased. Only when the adversity of frost and freezing came did the serious problem become readily apparent. And so it is in our lives: the storms of life reveal the true condition of our foundation. A life built upon the solid foundation of biblical truth and application remains rock-solid when the storms rage. Lives built upon a poor foundation crumble in the time of testing.

Foundations are not easily observable. Only a portion of the foundation of a building can be seen. Unless there is a problem with the foundation, rarely does anyone carefully dig down to inspect its integrity. And so it is with the foundation of our lives. Nearly everyone appears content, fulfilled, and grounded when all goes well. Amidst the storm, the condition of the foundation is quickly apparent. But, if there is a problem, there is no worse time to try to fix a faulty foundation than during the storm.

A little foundation inspection is in order today. Often there are telltale cracks or settling issues that can be observed on a building with a foundation problem. To ignore them is to imperil the building. And so with our lives. Are there telltale indicators of problems? Have we been negligent in the key disciples of prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship? Have we neglected to shore up our foundation through application of God's word? 

The storms may be raging in your life today. If so, I pray the foundations stand firm. If not, I ask for emergency divine mercy and help. But, if all is well, there is no better time to inspect your foundation. I pray all is well with it. But, if not, may God's Spirit give wisdom and guidance as to urgent, necessary steps.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind". We easily identify these words with astronaut Neil Armstrong as he became the first human to step foot on the moon in July 1969. Another man also once took a step that would prove to be a giant leap for humanity. After an indeterminate journey, his first steps into a land of promise pioneered the way for the greatest hopes and dreams of humanity.

"So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan."  (Genesis 12:4-5). 

The great pioneering journey of a man named Abraham began with a great call: "I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:2-3). 

This one man's step of faith has become "a giant leap for mankind" - the amazing nation of Israel came forth from him, and the Savior of all - Jesus the Christ - is his descendant. But, these rich promises and blessings were all based on one important condition: action. "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). 

An ancient proverb states that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The gracious promises of God would have been empty words had Abraham not taken the first of many steps in the direction of the unknown to lay hold of them. It was faith that moved him to take the first step, and ongoing faith that sustained him on a long journey.

Every day is "one small step" in our journey of faith. We each face many unknowns in the day that unfolds before us. But, unseen and unclear as it may seem, the destination of the kingdom of God is the ultimate goal to which God's people are being led. Making sure we do not lose sight of that goal, or the God Who is guiding us to it, is priority number one.

Wise is the person who learns this: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3.5-6) Inherent in that trust is taking action when divinely prompted.

What kingdom initiative is God placing on your heart and mind today? How is He directing you to His promised land? Be still in order to be clear, but be quick to respond when the prompting is sure. The legacy of Abraham is a willingness to walk by faith into the unknown, knowing with certainty that his Father had called him to that walk. Will you hear and heed His call today? My prayer for us is that we are truly willing to do both.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Babble. It's what babies do, as well as the insane. It's verbal gibberish, devoid of meaning. And, it's what another language sounds like to the untrained and unlearned. The legacy of babble is a place called Babel. Genesis 11.1 tells us, "Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words."

It's nearly impossible to imagine all the peoples of the world speaking the same language. Imagine going anywhere in the world and perfectly understanding what is being said. There would be no limit to what could be accomplished with this common communication and therein lies a problem:

"They said, 'Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11.4)

This human cooperation and ingenuity led to a project that placed humanity in radical opposition to its Creator. Whether this tower was an impressive skyscraper, or some type of astrological monument, is uncertain. The problem with it, however, is absolutely clear:

"The LORD said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them." (Genesis 11.6)

The language barriers that exist today as a result of the curse of Babel are lasting reminders of the legacy of human cooperation. Human cooperation has all too often led to creative evil rather than collective good. Such is the case with an end-time tyrant whose rise to power will be founded on worldwide human cooperation (Revelation 13.8,16-18).

The lessons of Babel are that human peer pressure often encourage evil rather than good. Personal integrity is the highest priority, and that which contributes to this important objective. The legacy of Babel, then, punctuates these words: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4.8-9)

May we carefully choose to participate together with others in that which contributes to ultimate good.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm wondering where the absurd idea ever came from that God's people live trouble-free lives. Perhaps we can blame on the "prosperity preachers", because we certainly can't base it on the biblical accounts of God's faithful people. Case in point: this Psalm of David -

"Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed. And my soul is greatly dismayed ... I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries." (Psalm 6.2-3, 6-7)

Now that's one troubled man! Today's advice would be for a quick trip to the counselor's couch. But, before we dispatch this troubled man for some much-needed help, we need to carefully consider the depths of his suffering. The threat of opposition has caused profound grief; on a level that most of us cannot begin to fathom. The intense pain draws us to yearn for relief for this godly man, and yet the crucible of suffering greatly contributed to the depth of his character. Trite as it sounds, hard times make us strong.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1.2-4)

A conscious choice to consider the joy of suffering is one of the most difficult choices we will ever make. Pain-free living appeals far more than character-building trials. But, the "good life" does little to fortify the foundation of our lives which will allow us to withstand the storms of adversity. 

Life is seasonal. Peace and plenty come, but the winds of change can quickly bring poverty and adversity. Only a person of godly character can confidently declare, "the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication, The LORD receives my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed; They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed." (Psalm 6.8-9) 

Eyes of faith, focused on the coming kingdom and ultimate vindication, see the triumph that awaits those who persevere and overcome. Life's storms, which severely test us, never dim our view of the reality to come. 

Regardless of life's season today, may we each remain faithful and resolute as we journey toward and serve the coming kingdom of God and its King.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Congratulations on your poverty! What kind of crazy statement is that? And yet, it's the very statement made at the beginning of one of the most famous teachings ever.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5.3-10)

Qualities of blessedness, or Beatitudes, as they are commonly called. What is interesting about each of these "blessed qualities" named by Jesus is that they are all need-based. Conspicuously absent from His list are wealth, contentment, assertiveness, and self-satisfaction. Nowhere does He say, "Blessed are those who have it all together"! 

No one comes to the King or the kingdom on the basis of personal merit. The only way is to come empty-handed and broken. The need-based are congratulated and welcomed.

I've lost count of all the people I've talked to over the years who thought that working on being "good enough" was a prerequisite to conversion. Unless their eyes have been opened to biblical truth, they are still working on it, because no one achieves this elusive goal. Worst of all, it's the wrong goal. 

You and I cannot truly hope for the life of the coming kingdom until we first of all face the fact that we are spiritually destitute. So long as there is even a minuscule measure of pride that asserts that we are worthy, we truly are not. We become worthy by facing the truth of our absolute unworthiness.

The inscription on the famous Statue of Liberty best describes the gracious offer of Jesus in the Beatitudes: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." 

Weary pilgrim, you have truly found wholeness and health when you have come in your abject poverty to the King of the kingdom. The abundance of grace then liberates you to become all that your Father desires, and to mercifully assist others in their helpless poverty. Savor His grace today, and liberally serve in gratitude.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The changing seasons are proof of the promise.  "I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease." (Genesis 8.21-22)

It's all a matter of speculation, but it seems that the pre-flood earth generally had a uniform climate. Genesis 7.11 indicates the "floodgates of the sky were opened"; possibly referring to a water belt that surrounded the earth, creating an ideal greenhouse effect. Following the great flood, however, great climate change established the seasons that exist even today. The freezing cold of winter, and the sweltering heat of summer - along with day and night, spring planting and fall harvest - all bear witness to a God Who will never again destroy planet earth with a cataclysmic flood.

But, there is one caveat: a future judgement is coming in another form. "the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3.6-7) Tragically, the days of Noah are a shadow of similar days in the future, at the time of Christ's return (Matthew 24.37-39).

The reminder of the seasons should be reassuring to those who lives are prepared, and should prompt us to take preparation seriously. The fact of past and future judgment prompts this important question: "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter 3.11). The key is "holy conduct and godliness" - lifestyle matters. 

"Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night". The seasons remind us of God's promises, but also point toward a final cataclysm before the coming kingdom of God. May we live grateful and prepared lives as we live today with an eye on the future.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

There are so few things we can truly count on in life. That which seems secure often isn't. Promised returns on investments. Wage guarantees. Medical coverage. So, it's especially reassuring to know this:

"know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself" (Psalm 4.3).

Be fully assured that our Father has preserved the godly man (and woman) for Himself. Through Christ, we are made godly, and thus we belong to our Father. No ifs, ands', or buts'. So ...

"Tremble (fear, or awe),and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD." (Psalm 4.4-5)

Live a life of amazement at the preserving grace of God. Take time to deeply consider and think about it. Block out noise and distraction, and focus on this amazing fact. Respond with a God-pleasing lifestyle. Resolutely trust the God who claims you.

The more I consider the greatness of my God, the more amazed I am that He could care about lil' o me. But, He does. And I pray that I never lose my amazement of this wonderful fact.

Romans 12.1 reminds us that offering our selves - our bodies - as living sacrifices is our "reasonable service" (NKJV). Indeed, it is not at all unreasonable for the God Who has given His all to ask our all. He Who even gave His only sinless Son to "set apart the godly man for Himself" does not ask too much when He asks for our all.

So, what's your reasonable service today? A God-pleasing life? A life of service and sacrifice? A life devoted to bearing kingdom good news? These, and so much more, are in the realm of the reasonable. 

Savor the truth of Psalm 4.3. And, let that truth be springboard to grateful and generous service this day.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Anyone can talk the talk. The proof isn't in the saying; it's in the doing. A no-holds-barred wilderness preacher cut right to the chase when large crowds sought him out:

"You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance" (Luke 3.7-8).

Calling a potentially receptive audience a pit of snakes is hardly popular, but popularity wasn't top priority. The key point was that neither ancestry nor spiritual heritage mattered (v.8b); only an appropriate response to the profession of repentance. Prove your profession by appropriate action.

John the baptist was anything but vague regarding appropriate response:

"And the crowds were questioning him, saying, 'Then what shall we do?' And he would answer and say to them, 'The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.' And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, 'Teacher, what shall we do?' And he said to them, 'Collect  no more than what you have been ordered to.' Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, 'And what about us, what shall we do?' And he said to them, 'Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.' " (Luke 3:10-14)

Genuine repentance plays out in actions toward others. Material sharing, fairness in business dealings, and restraint from assertive force and false accusations all characterize those whose status with the Father has changed. The two Great Commandments (Matthew 22.36-40) thus are inseparably linked.

Biblical truth is either validated or nullified in these areas of practical living. No matter how passionately we declare such truths as the oneness of God, or the message of the kingdom of God, our conduct toward others becomes the final test of truth.

Who we are around others is the true test of faith and truth. May all be in harmony as the Lord desires.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ever wonder if God is angry with you? Most of us have - or do. So, it's good to set the record straight. The angelic announcement at the birth of Christ clarifies it well:

"And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." " (Luke 2.13-14) Did you catch that last phrase? "peace among men with whom He is pleased." The most tangible proof of God's pleasure with humanity is the gift of His Son. If He didn't care, He wouldn't have sent Him. 

Now, there is plenty wrong with humanity that displeases our Father. We've filled the earth with violence. Oppressed the poor. Forsaken the widow and orphan. Neglected justice. The sin "tally sheet" reaches high into the heavens. But, God deals in grace and mercy with those who belong to His Son. His peace extends to those who are His children in Christ.

Liberating grace is the springboard to God-pleasing lifestyle. If God is pleased with me, why wouldn't I want to please Him by how I live? A lifestyle of gratitude replaces the overwhelming burden of a lifestyle of works designed to try and earn His favor. Living a God-pleasing life is WANT TO instead of HAVE TO. 

Why cower in the corner in fear of a holy God, when you can bask in His favor? "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." (1 John 4.18) As such, "everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1 John 3.3) 

We've been liberated (assuming we've acted to commit our lives to Christ) by the God of peace through His Son to live a life devoted to Him. May His favor inspire kingdom living and kingdom purpose. May we be quick to declare kingdom good news, and demonstrate it through appropriate actions. May we stand ready to hear and obey the marching orders of the king, as we live as ambassadors in the world today. May we be a conduit of God's grace and favor to all who will hear and receive.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

It was the first blame game, and we've been paying the price ever since. It's the legendary story of the fall of man; the first sin. Back in a garden paradise, our first parents were seduced by the tempter, and ate of the forbidden fruit. Rather than personally taking the blame, Adam and Eve chose to point fingers: ""The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate ... The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3.12,13) All finger pointing aside, they were responsible, and we live with the curse even today. 

The legend of the fall would be a hopeless story if it weren't for a specific promise in the midst of the meting out of the curse. Addressing the serpent, the LORD God declared,  "I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." (Genesis 3.15). That "He" makes all the difference. Bruised on "the heel" by the serpent through His suffering and crucifixion, He in turn has bruised Satan "on the head" through the vindication of resurrection and exaltation. 

The victory is won, but the battle remains: "I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed". Until victory is fully consummated at the return of Jesus, the conflict of the ages continues to rage, and sometimes we fall victim. Sin seduces, and we easily play the same blame game as our first parents. 

We've been living east of Eden (Genesis 3.24) ever since the legendary fall. Paradise was lost, and we've been longing for it ever since. The tempter is adept at throwing every imaginable pseudo-paradise at us to lure us away from our true longing, and often with regrettable success. The lure of wealth, success, and indulgent pleasure sway the undiscerning, and divert pursuit of the true paradise.

Paradise lost will be paradise found for those who make kingdom of God pursuit their priority (Matthew 6.33). As advertisements for quality products often state: "accept no substitutes!". Anything less than wholehearted pursuit of the paradise of the coming kingdom is not worthy of the efforts of God's people.

There is a seed of hope that springs from the legend of the fall. Paradise lost is not lost forever. God specializes in the restoration business, and His central plan involves the woman's seed, the Christ. The enemy's present stand is his last stand; defeat is certain: "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." (Romans 16.20)

With the victory assured, let's focus our longings for paradise lost on the paradise to come. 

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Monday, January 07, 2013

It's nothing new, but it's always new. A new regime seizes power in a country in turmoil. Another revolution topples existing government leadership. Protests and uprisings result in civil war. Amidst it all, an age-old question begs to be asked: "Why are the nations in an uproar?" (Psalm 2:1). 

The real story behind the story is far simpler than meets the eye: "The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" (Psalm 2:2-3)

Contrary to what seems obvious, the real discontent is not over unfair taxes, abuse of civil rights, or discrimination. The true revolt is against our Creator Father and His standards.

Over two millennia ago, a band of followers of Christ - having been mistreated and reprimanded by the government of their day - saw the true conflict with clarity (Acts 4:25-26). The rationale and explanation was to be found in the truth of Psalm 2 - the system of the world is locked in mortal combat with the government of God.

The legacy of the conflict continues. The battles lines may not appear to be clearly drawn, nor is there necessarily open hostility. But, the principles that govern the citizens of the kingdom and the children of the evil one could not be more radically different. Inevitably, clashes result - in families, the workplace, in schools, in communities. 

The mortal struggle between the system of this world and the Kingdom of God will not be alarming to those whose true allegiance is to the kingdom of God. The rallying cry of kingdom citizens is the model prayer and the kingdom mantra: "Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). A decisive stand for the king and the kingdom is priority number one today - and always.

Amidst the cosmic conflict, there is peace for the citizens of the kingdom through Jesus our Lord. May we be battle-ready even as we experience that peace today.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Amidst all our sophistication and achievements, it's easy to forget our basic nature. We're animated dirt; a few pounds of earthy elements, empowered to inhale and exhale air. 

"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Genesis 2.7)

Humble as our beginnings are, there is a significant fact not to be overlooked: God took hands and personally formed our first parents. All the rest of creation came into being by His spoken word (Psalm 33.6), but man alone was personally fashioned by God's own hands. Not that it had to be that way: God surely could have spoken, and Adam would have instantly appeared. This fact of God's personal creation says something of our value.

There is another important, simple truth in Genesis 2.7. It can be expressed in a simple mathematical-type formula: dust of the ground plus breath of life equal living soul. As with any math formula, take away part of the equation and it is no longer an equation. As such, take away the breath from the body and it not longer equals a living being, or soul. "You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust." (Psalm 104.29)

Life is fragile and finite, and every moment is to be savored. We once were not, and we one day will no longer be. In every sense of the word, we will cease to exist. We do not contain a soul that will spring off to a higher level of existence when we die. We do not HAVE a soul; we ARE one so long as this earthy body draws breath. 

This moment counts for more than you and I likely realize. We desperately need a solution to our own mortality, as do all around us who draw breath today. That solution is found in the One whom "God raised ... up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." (Acts 2.24) This resurrected Christ is "the first fruits" (1 Corinthians 15.23): the first of many; the beginning of a great harvest to follow. Through faith in Him, and a dedicated life of discipleship, we have the hope of resurrection and the final solution to our own mortality.

We really are just animated dirt, in the most basic sense. But, God has destined us in Christ to be glorified and resurrected, and to be made like Him when He appears. So, let your ultimate destiny be your motivation and hope today. Don't indulge your earthy nature, but live according to the spiritual nature of your ultimate destiny. And, use today's precious moments to influence others for the destiny that can be theirs as well.

©Steve Taylor, 2013

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Are you a person of unwavering conviction, or just plain stubborn? I'm confident that I'm a mixture of both qualities, but my concern is regarding which is most abundant and evident. 

"his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers." (Psalm 1:2-3)

I'm fairly certain that I'm stubborn in my opinions, but my true heart's desire is to be resolute in faith and truth. This much is certain: an unwavering commitment to read and meditate on God's word results in an immovable life; "like a tree firmly planted by streams of water". As such, one's life is fruitful and productive, and safeguarded against "wilting" amidst adversity. Again, the bedrock for this kind of grounded life is an absolute commitment to saturate one's life with God's word.

I discovered a number of years ago that there is a huge difference between knowing God's word and loving it. I've met exemplary Bible students with an impressive intellectual grasp of the Bible. Not all of them, however, had a real passion for living the life outlined in Scripture. By contrast, I've met people with a fairly simple understanding of the Bible who were passionate to live and share it. The ideal is a passion for both qualities.

The well-grounded life is no casual pursuit. Those who merely "sample" God's word on occasion will never withstand the major storms of life. The only way to be "firmly planted", yield "fruit in its season", and not "wither", is to meditate "day and night" on God's word. This is a passionate life pursuit.

It's a trite but true saying: get in to God's word, and let it get in to you. Devotional guides and commentaries are of some value, but the greatest value is simply opening God's word firsthand, and letting God communicate His message by His Holy Spirit through it. 

Today's simple suggestion is this: take time to read the six short verses of Psalm 1, and mediate on their meaning. What does God want to stir up in your life as you read these words? What other Bible passages is He prompting you to read and ponder? What discipline is He wanting you to develop to be more firmly grounded and productive? These are questions and considerations that will take you far in developing true passion and conviction.

Cultivating a passion for God's word is of utmost importance. May a true delight in His word be both your joy and your foundation.

©Steve Taylor, 2013