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EXPERIENCING TOMORROW'S REALITY TODAY -- Daily Bible Study Devotionals

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 20, 2017

Keeping priorities straight isn't always easy, but is so important.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'This people says, 'The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.' ' Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 'Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?' Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, 'Consider your ways!' " (Haggai 1.2-5)

The people of Israel returned from exile and made it a priority to rebuild their houses. There is nothing wrong with that. But, they never made it a priority to rebuild God's temple. Personal priorities took precedent over spiritual ones, and therein lies a lesson and application.

We have a responsibility to provide for our families and households (1 Timothy 5.8), but we also have a great responsibility to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6.33). To borrow Jesus' words, "these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." (Matthew 23.23)

The older I get, the more I see the priority of balance. I've known individuals so zealous for the Lord's work that they neglected their families to their detriment. And, I've known those who professed faith, but were so worldly minded and focused that they offered little time and money to the Lord's work. Both extremes are dangerous.

Hopefully each of us truly have our priorities straight. Whether we do or not, the challenge from Yahweh God through Haggai is important and urgent: "thus says the Lord of hosts, 'Consider your ways!' "


Steve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017

Goal-oriented people are achievers. A specific target generates energy and drive. And we have the best possible goal and target.

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus ... For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." (Philippians 3.14,20-21)

Perhaps a good motto to summarize the goal would be, "working and watching as we await His return." That is, in essence, the great goal. With Spirit-inspired zeal, we "press on" with kingdom work and personal discipline. We are ever mindful that our true citizenship is not with the land we live in, but the government to come. That heavenly government is destined to take up residence on earth, and we "eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ," to come from there. And when He does, it will change everything! Our humble, aging, decaying mortal body will instantly resemble the glorified resurrection body of Jesus.

I've lived long enough to know that my mortal life will increasingly be characterized by diminished energy and abilities in my remaining years. That's not a pessimistic view, but rather a realistic one. That reality generates even more drive for kingdom work, and yearning for the fulfillment of hope.

May the day of His coming be soon, and may that day find us truly goal-oriented and fully engaged both in work and lifestyle.


Steve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13, 2017

We are known by our words. They reveal what's on our mind and in our hearts. They reveal whether we are self-centered or other-centered, humble or proud, honest or dishonest, gentle or harsh. As such, it's said that we ought to "weigh our words," but better still, we ought to weigh our thoughts that give rise to our words.

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." (Ephesians 4.29)

The clear emphasis in this verse is an other-centered focus. Words meant, not to draw attention to ourselves, but to upbuild the listener and bring grace to them. That presupposes that we've actually listened to them, know something about them, and are moved with compassion for them.

It's said that one of the great gifts we can offer someone is to listen intently and non-judgmentally to them. Such listening is in short supply. Fact is, outreach and salvation can easily depend upon good listening. Those whom we never truly listen to may never listen to us in those critical moments when we share the life-changing gospel.

May we be endowed with Spirit-directed sensitive listening skills, and gracious, upbuilding, and life-changing words.


Steve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

Patience is not my strong suit, as anyone who really knows me can testify. Thankfully, our God is perfectly patient. But, we dare not mistake His patience for righteous indignation. His is both patiently merciful and exacting in judgment.

"A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished ... Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him." (Nahum 1.2-3, 6-7)

Knowing that God is both merciful and avenging presses the issue of knowing where we stand with Him. Cowering in fear at the prospect of harsh punishment, or flippantly dismissing Him as so kindly and merciful as to never harm a flea? The answer is determined by our active relationship with His Son (Romans 8.1)

Knowing both of these aspects of our God enhances our relationship with Him. Knowing what He could do in judgment should invoke healthy respect and awe. As Isaiah the prophet said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 6.5)

But, we should ever be lost in wonderment at His mercy shown through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9.5) That awe, respect, and profound gratitude is the fountain from which springs a God-pleasing lifestyle, dedicated service, and fervent outreach to those without His favor through Christ. 


Steve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
Amazon ebook
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQ1Q9GW
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https://www.createspace.com/4500045
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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

December 6, 2017

Animosity or compassion? Honestly, how do you feel about non-believers? Are you irritated by their ungodly behavior, or burdened for their salvation?

A reluctant preacher named Jonah found great displeasure in the repentance of an ungodly people:  "Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity." (Jonah 4.2)

Fearing that God would relent in punishing these savage enemies of Israel, Jonah withdrew when called to declare the word of God to them. After some time for introspection in the belly of a great fish, he responded to his God-given call. But, to his extreme dissatisfaction, the people en masse repented.

Burning with "righteous indignation," Jonah vented his anger to God; to which God replied, "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?" (Jonah 4.11)

God's response was an appeal for compassion. And it is an appeal to us as well. Should we not be moved with compassion for those who spiritually don't know their right hand from their left hand? Irritating and repulsive as their ways are, they are lost sinners in need of God's gracious salvation. May compassion move us to action.


┬ęSteve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
Amazon ebook
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQ1Q9GW
Amazon paperback
https://www.createspace.com/4500045
Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/azstevetaylor/
YouTube video channel
 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxND_ZsDdWXURp9rg88YY7g

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

December 5, 2017

If I asked you what was new with you, you would have every reason to answer, "everything!"

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5.17)

In Christ, you are a person without a past. Yesterday's mistakes and sins are literally a thing of the past. (at least if you've taken the decisive step to make a clean break from them). You've been set free to help others be set free.

"Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5.18)

The reconciled is called to be a reconciler. It comes full circle when we actively help other find the solution that we have found.

Celebrate freedom from your past. Rejoice in the release from guilt and shame. Live victoriously today. And, serve as God's ambassador to appeal to those around you. Through word and example, represent the king and the kingdom of God. 


┬ęSteve Taylor, 2017

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
Amazon ebook
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQ1Q9GW
Amazon paperback
https://www.createspace.com/4500045
Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/azstevetaylor/
YouTube video channel
 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxND_ZsDdWXURp9rg88YY7g