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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 22, 2018

Most people are familiar with the Golden Rule: "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you." (Luke 6.31) We think of it as applying to our treatment of other, which it does. But, it also applies to our relationship with our heavenly Father:

"With the kind You show Yourself kind, With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the perverted You show Yourself astute." (2 Samuel 22.26-27)

In essence, it is a law of returns; we reap what we sow. Live a life of integrity, and God reveals to us His qualities of integrity. Live a calculating, manipulating life and know that God will surely outwit us! No one pulls the wool over His eyes.

None of us earn righteousness; that can only be had in and through Christ (Romans 6.23). But, how we live matters. God favors those who live before him with integrity.

Out of gratitude for grace, we choose to seek to walk in humility with Him. Mercy given is manifested in mercy shown, as is kindness and love.

We have this day to live with godly integrity. May we do so, and know our Father more fully as He reveals Himself to us. 


Steve

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018

Few things generate as much anxiety as opposition. Someone is at odds with you, whether because of jealousy, resentment, or unseen spiritual warfare. Regardless of the cause or source, it stings and stirs up unpleasant emotions.

"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me." (Psalm 57.1-3)

David was being hunted down like an animal by King Saul. He sought and found refuge in a cave, but there was the ever-present risk of being discovered and killed. But, he was not given to despair. His confidence was in "God who accomplishes all things for me."

Such can be our confidence. God is working on our behalf, with our best interests in mind. Maybe not as we wish, but as He sees best. And He DOES see best. Our ways are not always His ways (Isaiah 55.8). We're prone to short-sightedness, whereas He sees and works according to the big picture. What He accomplishes is consistent with a view of the kingdom of God, and not the fleeting, fickle kingdom of this age.

Facing opposition from time to time is inevitable, but need not be defeating. God accomplishes all things for us. He hides us in the shadow of His wings. He delivers. As such, this also is our song of praise and thanks:

"I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens And Your truth to the clouds." (Psalm 57.9-10)


Steve

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15, 2018

"We gain the strength of the temptation we resist." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

To yield to temptation is to be mastered by it; to resist is to become master over it. Problem is, it's far easier to yield than resist.

There is much to learn from the temptation of Jesus. The devil sought to lure Him according to His perceived greatest weakness: bread after fasting, kingdom power at the wrong time and from the wrong source, reckless use of divine protection. In each temptation, Jesus skillfully brought pertinent Scripture to bear to resist temptation; even when Satan himself quoted Scripture! (Luke 4.10-11)

The three biblical responses of Jesus are temptation safeguards: 
 "It is written, 'man shall not live on bread alone' ... It is written, 'you shall worship the LORD your God and serve him only' ... It is said, 'you shall not put the LORD your God to the test.'" (Luke 4.4,8,12)

Resist the temptation to indulge various appetites. Keep your Father central. Yield always to Him, rather than place expectations upon Him. Above all, so immerse yourself in Scripture that it becomes your defense in the face of temptation. "Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You." (Psalm 119.11)

Temptation is an ever-present reality in a fallen world. The enemy is adept at bringing it to bear on our greatest weakness. But, our assurance is this: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10.13)


Steve

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

May 9, 2018

Tears in a bottle. That's a descriptive phrase.

"You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?" (Psalm 56.8)

David's sorrows and tears had not been forgotten. Confident in God's awareness and concern, he could say: "In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?" (Psalm 56.4)

We each have some idea as to the container size needed if our tears were placed in a bottle. Fact is, God knows. He is aware and involved. And, He has a plan that extends well beyond preserving those tears in bottles forever. 
 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21.4)  No more tears in a bottle. No more tears at all.

Everyone sheds at least a few tears. Tears characterize life in a fallen world. Look through the tears and you will see a joyous new world that will far surpass the sadness of this age. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Steve


My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

May 8, 2018

Why would anyone want less than the best? But that's exactly what sin does: it robs us of less than the best God has for us.

"Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?" (2 Samuel 12.7-9)

David was confronted, and his notorious sin of adultery and murder were exposed. God's displeasure and disappointment are clearly evidenced in His words to David through Nathan the prophet. God had anointed him king, protected him, provided for him, and would have graciously added much more. But, sin had derailed David's progress, and left him with paralyzing consequences. For the rest of his life, he was destined for less than the best.

Sin is defined as "missing the mark." It's not only missing the mark of God's expectations, but missing the mark of God's best for our lives. It's a detour on the kingdom journey; a meaningless side trip away the scenic beauty of the trip God has planned for us. Confessed sin can be forgiven (1 John 2.1-2), but there are consequences. For David the penalty was that "the sword shall never depart from your house" (2 Samuel 12.10).

No one gets it completely right in life. Sin is a fact and a reality. But, understanding that God has a generous path for our lives, and that sin detours us from that path, gives incentive and perspective in battling the sin "which so easily entangles us" (Hebrews 12.1)

Why settle for less than God's best?


Steve

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

May 2, 2018

It seems like an almost daily occurrence to learn of the sexual indiscretion of some well-known male celebrity. The #MeToo movement has facilitated the unleashing of a flood of accusations. A prominent ancient king named David would undoubtedly be singled out by one Bathsheba for such an accusation. Rather than resigning in disgrace, David did that which few men seem to be doing today: confessing and repenting.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You." (Psalm 51.10-13)

A prophetic confrontation brought David's indiscretion to light, and he certainly could have killed the messenger. Instead, Psalm 51 records his heartfelt repentant response. He earnestly sought a clean heart, a resolute life of integrity, renewed joy, and a responsive attitude. The completion of this cycle of repentance and restoration would enable him to instruct others who had traveled the same path.

Sin is sin. None are worse or less than David's. Some carry greater consequences than others, but "all have sinned." How thankful we are that restoration is promised to the repentant, and that we have an Advocate at our Father's right hand working on our behalf (1 John 2.1-2).


My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

May 1, 2018

"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever ... Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."  (2 Samuel 7.12-13,16)

God made a promise to King David that you can "go to the bank on," so to speak. When his mortal life was done, he would join in the common lot of all who went before him: the grave. But, a special descendant would one day assume David's throne, and there would be no end to His perfect rule and reign.

Lest we wonder who that special Someone would be, the answer is clearly given by angelic announcement to a young woman named Mary (Luke 1.31-33). Little wonder that Jesus devoted so much time and energy to the declaration and demonstration of the kingdom of God message (Luke 4.43)

Some would say He failed His mission. Rather than establishing that kingdom, He was instead put to death as as an insurrectionist. But that charge comes from a misunderstanding of His mission and message. The kingdom was and is both now and not yet. It is a kingdom of the heart before it is a kingdom of the throne. We are within the kingdom even as we work for and await the kingdom. Our mantra is, "your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6.10) We seek the advancement of His kingdom in our lives, our sphere of influence, our world.

That great promise to David still awaits ultimate fulfillment, but its fulfillment is underway even today. It includes and involves us. May we faithfully work for and long for it each day.


Steve Taylor, 2018

My other blogs
http://thetruthrevolution.wordpress.com/  
https://kingdomdreamer.blogspot.com/
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