Daily Devotion

Fully Equipped For the Battle

January 21

Ephesians 6:10-11 ~  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.   Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

If you are saved you are in a spiritual battle. If you are to live a life of victory you must have on the whole armor of God. This is the only way that you can stand in the power of His might. Remember that “… the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Cor 10:4). Let us recap the armor of God that we have been studying.

Having your loins girt about with truth is a life built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It is being truthful in in your testimony and in your life. Truth gives you stability and strength to stand your ground in the battles of life. Without the truth you cannot be free from the bondage of sin and you will not be able to use the whole armor of God. Without truth you cannot be effective and victorious in battle. Without truth you give the devil a weapon to use against you.

 The breastplate of righteousness speaks of a holy and righteous life. It is a life that is lived in conformity to the Word of God. When the enemy attacks you are protected by the lifestyle that you live if it is a righteous and godly life rooted in the Word. When sin is allowed to dwell within the believer they cannot withstand the attacks of the enemy. As we said, it will allow the enemy to have a place to land and launch attacks in your life. Sin in your life gives Satan the ammunition he needs to launch an assault against the glory of God. He will be able to destroy your testimony and your reputation which is a direct attack on the God who gave His Son to save you. But personal holiness will take away the ammunition and the ground which the devil needs to attack you from, and it will protect you from his temptations.

Having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace is to know that you are saved and having the assurance of that salvation. Without assurance you leave yourself open to doubt your salvation. If you doubt your salvation you cannot live and fight the spiritual battles of life effectively. You must have your salvation nailed down so that you can have the confidence to stand your ground for the glory of God. This confidence rests in knowing that you are eternally saved and knowing that Heaven is your eternal destiny. It gives you the courage and boldness to tell others about Christ. Your assurance will compel you to tell others about Christ so they may know Him too.

The truths of Romans 8:31-39 are the truths of the Gospel of peace that we stand in every day. The Lord loves you. He has saved you and made you His child. He will care for His children with tender loving care and stand with them to protect them, to keep them, defending them, giving them confidence, and making them victorious. You can know Him and His power and be stable, strong, and sure.

  Above all we are to take the shield of faith so that we may be able to withstand the assaults of the enemy. Without faith we cannot be in this fight; we are on the losing side. Through faith in God and in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ we are on the winning side. Receiving Christ as your personal Saviour puts you on fighting ground because the devil does not want you to have all that God has to offer you. He wants to take it away from you by causing you to falter and fail the Lord in your life. He does this through the “fiery dates” of temptation. We must have faith in the Word of God to protect us from these attacks.

When we use God’s Word we are raising the “shield of faith.” That is the power we need to put out the fires of temptation and negative thoughts those fiery darts try to ignite in our soul. It is the word of God that gives us faith (Rom 10:17). Every time that we use our shield of faith it will grow in size and strength. Use it every day and watch your faith grow.

We are to put on the helmet of salvation which will protect our minds from the negative thinking of doubt disappointment, discouragement, despondency, and depression that the devil tries to trap us with. Again, when you are insecure in your salvation you are ineffective in the fight. We are open and easy targets for the devil. You will be like a weak prey which the predator can easily pick off. But when we are saved, secure, separated, and serving we have the ability to stand for Christ even in the heat of the battle.

The sword we are to carry is not the physical sword but the spiritual sword. It is the “Sword of the Spirit” which tells us that it is not a manmade object. It is not just another ordinary book.  It is the “Word of God” which is a spiritual book with great spiritual power. It is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16). It is infallible and inerrant which means that it is authoritative. It can be believed, and it can be trusted.

Thomas Guthrie said, “The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.” The Bible is to be our sole guide in our faith and in our practice of the faith. It is the only source for learning of God, of His Christ, of salvation, sin, Heaven, and hell. You must learn its truths, or you will be helpless against your enemies. It is the source of power for living a vibrant, vigilant, and victorious Christian life. Learn it, love it, and live it so you may prosper and benefit from the blessings of victorious living. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 3

January 20

 The Rhema: Many Swords In One

Ephesians 6:17 ~ And take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The short sword was essential to the Roman soldier to accomplish the work that he had to do. So, too, the Word of God is essential to the Christian soldier to accomplish the work that must be done for the Lord. In this verse the word “word” is the Greek word “rhema” (hray'-mah) which means “an utterance.” This word is different from the Greek word “logos” (log'-os) which means “something said (including thought).” Logos speaks of the entirety of the Word of God while rhema refers to shorter sections of Scripture and even individual words.

The Word of God is like a vast arsenal of weapons for specific situations and circumstances. For the many different types of attacks and the many different situations and circumstances there is always a Scripture that will apply. Even when we are tempted to sin or to walk away from the Lord because of the pressures of troubles there is Scripture to get us through; it is a weapon to combat the temptation. You cannot quote the entire Bible in battles, but you can quote and use smaller portions of Scripture. You need a specific Word from the Lord to use in the specific circumstance.

Jesus used portions of Scripture when battling the temptations of Satan in the wilderness. In every attack He used specific portions of Scripture that dealt with the specific temptation. When Christ said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4), He was referring to specific individual portions of Scripture. We know this because He used the Greek word rhema. Three times the devil came against Him and three times He used specific Scripture from the book of Deuteronomy. 

We must read, study, memorize, meditate, and live the logos Word of God so that we will have the knowledge necessary to have victory in the battles of life. The Word of God is our Sword to use against the enemy. Now the Word Jesus used was able to deflect the enemy’s attack but at the same time it attacked the enemy in a way that He could not endure. The truth of the Word caused the enemy to flee from Him.

When you use the Word of God against the enemy He will have to flee from you as well. It will weaken him, and it will strengthen you. You become stronger in rightly dividing the Word of Truth. You will be strong enough to fight, to withstand, and having done all that you can do, you can just stand on the Word of God and you will not lose. The victory is yours if you properly and prayerfully use the Sword of the Spirit. It takes the burden of victory out of your hands and puts it in the hands of God; it is His Word, His Sword that you are wielding. God’s Word will accomplish that thing which He sends it forth to accomplish; it will not return unto Him void (Isa 55:11).

Too many Christians are not familiar with the Word of God today. They do not see the importance of getting into the Word and allowing the Word to get into their hearts. They will suffer defeat, disappointment, despair, discouragement, and drama in their life because they do not know the Word. They are utterly helpless when the enemy attacks. They think that they can just rebuke the devil and that he will have to flee. You should stop here and read Acts 19:13-16 about the seven sons of Sceva. They called the name of Jesus over an evil spirit and the evil spirit literally whipped their clothes off them.

I read where a butterfly was observed fluttering in a flower garden one day. It would light upon a flower for a few seconds and then move on to the next never receiving anything from them. Then a botanist came along and studied the flowers and took notes for hours. Finally, a bee came along and went deep into the flower blossoms and when he came out he would go to the next one. He would go in empty and come out full of the sweet nectar of the flower. Some Christians are like the butterfly going from Bible study to Bible study, sermon to sermon, and from commentary to commentary never receiving anything more than a good feeling and some good ideas. Some are like the botanist studying the Scriptures and taking vast quantities of notes. They collect much information but receive very little truth. Others are yet like the little bee; they go to the Word of God to be taught by God and to receive from Him what He wants them to have. They grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ and never come away empty.

The Bible is to be our sole guide in our faith and in our practice of the faith. It is the only source for learning of God, of His Christ, of salvation, sin, Heaven, and hell. You must learn its truths, or you will be helpless against your enemies. It is the source of power for living a vibrant, vigilant, and victorious Christian life. When you learn it, love it, and live it you will experience great victory in your life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 2

January 13

Quenching the Fiery Darts

Ephesians 6:16 ~ Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

We are to take unto us the “shield of faith” so that we are able to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” In the times of the Romans when this Scripture was written we find that bowmen would wrap the tips of their arrows with cloth and soak them in pitch, oil, or resin. These arrows would be ignited and fired at the enemy to inflict damage to personnel as well as property. When the arrows hit, they would splatter the flammable substance and that would cause the fire to spread in every direction. When used against individuals it would cause severe burns around the wound caused by the arrow itself, thus inflicting more pain and harm.

The shields used by the Romans would provide an adequate defense against these incendiary devices. If the shield had a metal covering it would deflect the arrows away. If it were covered in leather it would be soaked in water overnight before the battle. The wet leather would then act as a protection to quench the fire before it could do damage.

Today the saints are attacked by the fiery darts of the wicked one. He uses the fiery darts of temptation to do his best to ignite the fire of passions within us. As we have said so many times, the enemy is the devil who is the god of this world; that system of beliefs and practices that are contrary to God and all that is godly. He will use things against us to excite the dark side of the flesh; envy, hatred, doubt, distrust, pride, fear, just to name a few. He will use the pleasures of sin to tempt our flesh. Our flesh has an appetite for the things of the world. He uses arrows of temptations to allure into those sins that are appealing and pleasing to the flesh such as premarital and extramarital sex, moral impurity, addictions of various kinds, etc. Lusts can be easily ignited within when the Christian is not on guard. It only takes a spark to get a fire going; it only takes the right temptation at a moment of weakness to get the passions raging out of control.

When a Christian marries a lost person, it is a sin (2 Cor 6:14-18). They rationalize it by saying it is love and they try to justify it by saying that love is of God. They willfully ignore the clear teaching of Scripture because their flesh is ruling their heart and their emotions. By the way, what the world calls love is mostly lust of the flesh. That is why it is here today and gone tomorrow.

People will rationalize and justify drinking alcohol and the use of recreational drugs. They justify it by saying that they do not become intoxicated. Many times the Scripture admonishes us to be “sober” which refers to being in a sound mind (2 Cor 5:13), not being under the influence of alcohol (1 Ths 5:6), having self-control (1 Tim 3:2), and being discreet (1 Tim 3:11). When alcohol or drugs are used for anything other than a prescribed medical purpose it is sin. Anything that would cause a person to have a “buzz” means that they are not in control of their mind. You cannot overcome temptations by indulging in fleshly appetites. Everything in Scripture speaks of using alcohol in the negative context and teaches to abstain from the use of intoxicating liquors (Pro 23:29-35).

Those who do these things are not living a life of faith and they have not taken up nor put on the whole armor of God. It goes without mentioning that they have not taken up their cross either. They have been more obedient to the will of Satan than to the will of God. They are sinning against God when they use rationalization to go against the clear teaching of Scripture. If you have been guilty or are guilty of this, you need to turn to 1 Thessalonians 4 and read verses 3-8. We need to walk by faith and take the “shield of faith” so that we may be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one.

The devil’s tempting is to try to bring doubt into the heart about the Word of God. Doubt leads to distrust which will lead to disobedience which will destroy your life and testimony. By defeating you he will also defeat those who may be looking up to you. When the temptations come against us, we must be like Christ and use the Word of God. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Pro 30:5-6). “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psa 18:30). “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 Jn 5:4).

When we use His Word, we are raising the “shield of faith.” That is the power we need to put out the fires of passion that those fiery darts try to ignite in our soul. It is the word of God that gives us faith (Rom 10:17). Every time that we use our shield of faith it will grow in size and strength. Use it every day and watch your faith grow. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 14

The Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17 ~ And take the helmet of salvation, …

How important is the head protection when in battle? In ancient times armies had cavalries that would carry deadly weapons for the purpose of decimating foot soldiers. They would carry the broadsword which was a much heavier and longer sword than would be used in hand-to-hand combat. This was a two-edged sword that could split the skull in two and decapitate. They also carried lances and morning stars (a spiked ball on the end of a chain with a handle). Without head protection for soldiers an opposing cavalry could inflict heavy casualties on their enemy.

Keeping the head protected is of utmost importance. A major blow to the head could render the soldier incapable of fighting and could in fact be fatal. The Roman soldier wore a metal helmet that was specifically designed to protect against blows to the head. On the front just above the brow was a protrusion on the helmet that acted like a strong back to keep the head safe from blows by a sword. Along the back of the helmet was a plate of metal that extended down over the neck to the shoulders for protection of the neck and the back of the cranium. There were also extensions to cover the cheeks which gave protection to the facial area. Sometimes there would be an extension of metal to cover the bridge of the nose. 

The "helmet of salvation" gives us the protection that we need from the devil who will stop at nothing to infiltrate the Christian's mind. Once a person is saved, they possess within the Spirit of God and of Christ. He is that third person of the Trinity that dwells in the heart and soul of the believer. He seals us unto the day of redemption which is the day of the resurrection of the body of the saint. Right now, the believer possesses eternal life which means that our spirit and soul are redeemed for ever. When we die our spirit and soul will depart the body and go to be with the Lord. On the day of redemption, the Lord Jesus will come to receive His church and our bodies will be redeemed and raised incorruptible and immortal. This is true for every born-again believer in Jesus Christ.

The devil and his demons cannot possess the same space that the Spirit of God possesses. Therefore, he cannot have your heart and soul so he must work on the mind and the emotions. He can infuse thoughts into our minds that will cause us to doubt what God has done in our life and cause us to doubt the validity of the Word of God and the promises of God. He works to warp and twist your thinking so that he can cast doubt upon your relationship with God. In the world in which we live there is a lot of ungodliness, wickedness, and negative situations that we must deal with every day. The devil will use these everyday circumstances to get our focus off the Lord and thereby cause discouragement.

There have been spiritually strong men of God who have found themselves discouraged by the things they were facing. The prophet Elijah was a great man of God. He boldly and courageously withstood 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves upon Mt. Carmel. God gave him the victory. When he prayed God sent fire down from Heaven proving that there is only one true and living God who hears and answers prayer. The prophets of Baal were slain, after 3 ½ years of drought the rains came, and the hand of God came upon him and he outran Ahab's chariot to the entrance of Jezreel. Both spiritually and physically Elijah had a phenomenal day of victory in the Lord.

The very next day Elijah hears that Jezebel, the evil, idolatrous queen, has made a very stern and credible threat against his life. Ahab told her all that Elijah had done on Mt. Carmel and how he had slain all the prophets of Baal. She immediately sent a messenger to Elijah saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time” (1 Kings 19:2). Elijah flees from the threat and goes to Beersheba where he leaves his servant. From there he went into the wilderness with a heavy heart of discouragement. Though he had experienced great power and victory the day before, now he is fleeing with his tail tucked between his legs in fear and discouragement.

Have you ever had a great day and the very next day receive some news that was discouraging and disheartening? You are just sailing along and everything is great and then all of a sudden the wind seems to be sucked right out of your sails. What do you do when the discouragement sets in? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 15

The Helmet’s Protective Power Pt 1

Ephesians 6:17 ~ And take the helmet of salvation, …

When you get some bad news, have a bad experience, or things just do not go the way you think they ought to be going, it can cause disappointment and discouragement. This is when the devil will attack the mind of a Christian. He will work to implant thoughts in your mind to cause you to doubt God’s goodness. He will work to get your focus on the circumstances and off God. He will cause you to be like Elijah who was ready to quit, give up on the Lord, and die. “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4).

Elijah received sustenance from an angel of the Lord and was sustained with that nourishment for forty days and nights. He went to Mt. Horeb and there lodged within a cave. It is there that God came to Him and rebuked Him for running away from His God-given purpose. God asked him, “… What doest thou here, Elijah” (1 Kings 19:9)? Elijah was disheartened thinking that he was the only prophet left in Israel who was defending the faith. He answered God saying, “… I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10).

Elijah was discouraged because they were out to kill him for standing up for God and doing what God gave him to do. God informed Elijah that there were still 7000 prophets in Israel who had not bowed before Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Even though Elijah thought that he was alone and that there were none like him in all of Israel, he was not alone in the fight. God had a specific task for him, and he needed to be about the task that God gave him. He needed to realize that accomplishing his purpose did not depend on what others were or were not doing but on his faithfulness to God. In his faithfulness God would empower him to accomplish his work.

If you are saved you, too, have a purpose for which God saved you to accomplish. Be faithful to know and to fulfill your God-given purpose in life. It is the only thing that will make your life complete. Do not allow obstacles or oppositions from the enemy deter you in your purpose. Do not run and hide and do not let discouragement cause you to doubt God.

Elijah learned a very valid truth at that time in his life. It is a truth that we all need to consider in our daily struggles and the battles we face in this world. We need to understand that we are not insulated from the circumstances around us. Even in victory the enemy is going to attack with everything that they have. When all is well that is when he is working his hardest to distract, dishearten, and discourage us in our work. That is the reason we must walk daily by the Saviour’s side.

There is going to be opposition and you must face it head on. Look it in the eye and do not let it push you away. But you must not allow it to be the focus of your life. You are saved and you serve a risen Saviour who is alive and well. He has all power and all authority. His work must continue to take precedence even in the battles that you face. Whatever God has given you to do must continue to be the primary focus when the enemy attacks. Your salvation is your protection and you must work out that salvation that you have been freely given to the very end. You are not following Christ to be saved, you are following Christ because you have already been saved! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 16

The Helmet’s Protective Power Pt 2

Ephesians 6:17 ~ And take the helmet of salvation, …

Job was a righteous man who wore the helmet of salvation and it kept him safe. When the devil dealt so harshly with this righteous man of God, he was able to stay true and faithful because of his armor. Part of that armor was the helmet of salvation to give him security and peace of mind so that he could maintain under Satan’s attacks as well as the persecution of his peers. Job refused to doubt the goodness of God. He was steadfast and faithful saying, “Though he slay me, yet will I serve him …” (Job 13:5). Job understood the faith and was willing to die trusting God even in the heat of the battle. He knew his Redeemer was alive and that he would stand before him one day to give an account of his God-given life and purpose (Job 19:25-27).

Think about it: when we allow people, problems, pains, or any situation or circumstance to cause us to be discouraged and desire to quit on the Lord, the devil is victorious. Discouragement will allow the devil to implant thoughts in your mind. He is working to cause you to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness. That is to doubt the grace of God and that will cause you to be despondent, disgruntled, and eventually disobedient. Your disobedience is rebellion against the love of God. You are telling God “I do not believe You can get me through this.”

You must be sure that you take up and put on the “helmet of salvation.” You must refuse to follow the tendency to allow discouragement to cause you to throw in the towel. Do not let situations, circumstances, and people be a tool in the devil’s arsenal to drive a wedge between you and the Lord. Do not allow delayed answer to prayer to discourage you. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged when it seems that your witness and teaching are ineffective. Determine to stay the course before these things happen. Be like Jeremiah and feed on the Word of God (Jer. 15:16).

Do not be weary in well doing (Gal 6:9). Know that you are saved and know God’s purpose for your life. Be determined to stand with the Lord when disappointment and discouragement come your way. Be determined that you will not allow the devil to put thoughts in your mind to doubt that God is in absolute control of all the circumstances. He was in control when the devil vehemently attacked Job and He is in control when you need Him to be. You must be sober and vigilant to resist the devil in “the faith” (1 Pt 5:8-9); “the faith” is the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God. Remember that God is faithful all the time and all the time God is faithful. Even in weariness of the fight God will sustain and God will give the victory. Winners never quit and quitters never win. Stay the course and you will win!

The Helmet of Salvation gives you protection because it is the mark of a Child of God. It gives you protection in this life so that you can have the abundance of the riches of God’s Grace. He has given you what you do not deserve; you are chosen, changed, adopted, and made to be agreeable with the Lord of Glory. He has given you redemption, forgiveness, His promises, purpose in life, wisdom and prudence, and an inheritance. His salvation will bring you through the good and the bad in this life and help you to do so honorably.

The Helmet of Salvation gives you eternal protection and a guarantee that you have Eternal Life and a Home in Heaven forever. Wear it with dignity and honor so that you may bring glory and honor to the Lord our God. It is your protection both now and forever! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 17

The Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:17 ~ And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

All the weapons in the Lord’s arsenal up until now have been defensive weapons. As we have said these defensive weapons are to be used while we are on the offensive. Jesus told us, “… upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). The rock is the previous statement made by Peter when he said of the Lord Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16). The gates of hell are not moving. In ancient times a fortified city had walls around it and those walls usually had gates. The gates could be closed and locked by placing a heavy bar across them. This protected the city from an attacking enemy.

We as Christians are to go against the gates of hell to save as many as will come to and receive Christ as their Saviour. We are told in Jude 22-23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” The battle armor of a Christian is for defense to protect us from the enemy. But we need protection as we storm the gates of hell to rescue those who are in bondage to the devil and to sin.

We have now come to our offensive weapon to use in this rescue operation; “ the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The word translated as “sword” here is the Greek word “machaira” (makh’-ahee-rah) which means “a knife”.  This is referring to the short sword used by Roman soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. This sword was usually about 18 inches long and was used to stab the abdominal area which was a fatal wound in those days. This sword was also called the “gladius” by the Romans.

This was a principle weapon for the Roman foot soldier. He used it every day around the camp much like we would use a pocketknife today to accomplish many different tasks. But more importantly he used it for defending himself as well as attacking the enemy. It was an indispensable component of the soldier’s armor.  It is the same type of sword used by Peter to cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear in the garden where Christ was arrested.

The sword we are to carry is not the physical sword but the spiritual sword. It is the “Sword of the Spirit” which tells us that it is not a manmade object. It is not just another ordinary book.  It is “the Word of God” which is a spiritual book with great spiritual power. It is inspired by God. (2 Tim 3:16). It is infallible and inerrant which means that it is authoritative. It can be believed, and it can be trusted.

The words contained in the Word of God are the very words of God. It tells us the truth of who God is and who we are. It reveals to us the very mind of God, the identity of our Saviour, and the way of salvation. It is the source of our faith, our help in battles, and the hope for every road we travel. It gives us peace in times of turmoil and sustains us in times of sorrow. This precious Book gives us the answers to all of life’s questions and guides us with directions on every path that we travel.

I read an anonymous poem which says,

The Holy Bible must have been, Inspired of God and not of men.

I could not if I would, believe That good men wrote it to deceive.

And bad men could not if they would, And surely would not if they could,

Proceed to write a book so good.

And certainly, no crazy man Could e’re conceive its wondrous plan.

And pray, what other kinds of men Than do these three groups comprehend?

Hence it must be that God inspired, The Word which souls of prophets fired.

It is a Book that must be read, studied, meditated upon, believed, trusted, lived, shared, and enjoyed. We must saturate our lives with its truths. It alone is a spiritual Book and there is no other. It alone is the Word of God and no other book can claim such authority. It is not the Book of the day; it is the Book of the Ages. It is indestructible and has survived the test of time; many have tried to stamp it out, burn it out, and undermine its truth. But God said that His Word would stand forever and as such it has (Isa 40:8). He said His Word is settled for ever in Heaven (Psa 119:89). It is accurate, supernatural, prophetic, and many of the prophecies that were made hundreds of years earlier have been fulfilled exactly as they were written.

The only question about the Word of God that really needs to be answered right now is “Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God and have you made It the authority for your life?” - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 1

January 6

Stand On The Gospel

Ephesians 6:13-15 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having … your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

The belt of truth is necessary for stability in the Christian life. The truth is what brings us to Christ, and it is the truth that will guide and direct our life. Truth gives us the freedom to live a powerful and victorious Christian life. God’s Word is truth and having the belt of truth is having a life that is governed by His Word. It is living a life of total commitment to the Lord. It is living a life that is built upon faithfulness to God and to His Word. It is becoming the person that God created you to be. Without the truth the rest of the armor becomes useless.

The breastplate of righteousness speaks of a life of power; power that comes from living according to the teachings of the Word of God. We have been made righteous in the eyes of God and therefore we live out that righteousness in our daily life. This is living that holy life that will give us the powerful defense needed to withstand the attacks of the enemy. Sin in your life gives the devil an advantage point from which to launch his attacks against you (Eph 4:24-27).

Shoes are very important and yet we do not realize sometimes how important they are. As a child I grew up in the Deep South and we did not wear shoes in the summer; our summers seem to run from April to October. In fact, we did not wear shoes for the most part of the time. Today I could not imagine going anywhere without shoes on. Back then my feet were tough and could handle walking across hot pavement, hot sand, and across rocky terrain. Today I could not do that because my feet have grown accustom to having shoes and they have grown soft.

Today we have shoes for every occasion. We have dress shoes and boots, casual shoes, work shoes and boots, walking shoes, etc. I believe sometimes that my wife has a pair of shoes for every outfit she wears; she has a lot of shoes. Construction workers must have on the right kind of shoes for the protection of their feet. Athletes must have the proper shoe for whatever sport they are playing. You would not play tennis with cleats and you would not play football without cleats. Shoes are very important to the safety, protection, and the comfort of our feet.

As important as shoes are to us every day, think about how important the proper footwear is to a soldier. His life depends upon having the right shoes on his feet. He is required to march long distances and then fight battles in all kinds of terrain. Some fight in muddy and wet terrain, some in rocky or mountainous areas, and others are fighting in dry, hot, sandy conditions. His feet must be protected. When his feet are injured from lack of protection then he will be hindered in the time of battle.

The Roman soldier, whose armor these verses are illustrating, wore leather boots that covered half of the lower leg. These boots gave stability to the feet and the ankles for the maneuverability that was needed for marching in various types of terrain and for fighting in battles. They were made of leather and they were tough. The bottoms of these boots were hobnailed with pieces of metal and nails that would give them grip, like cleats, and would do damage to the enemy in battle. They could do battle and never have a worry about what they were stepping on. They did not have to worry about their feet slipping in battle because the hobnailed spikes gave them grip to stand their ground. They provided strength as well as protection in the fight.

We must have our feet protected when we go to battle. The devil and the world will put things in your path that will trip you up. In the ancient times the enemy would put spikes in the ground and without proper foot protection then the approaching army would find themselves incapacitated by foot injuries. A soldier that cannot walk in battle is a soldier that is defeated in battle. We must have our feet protected. How will we be able to stand our ground if we cannot stand? And upon what are we to stand? We must stand with our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

 If you are going to stand against “the wiles of the devil”, you must have on the proper spiritual footwear. You can be “girt about with the truth”, and you can have on “the breastplate of righteousness”, but if you neglect to have your “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” you are destined to stumble and fall. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 7

Live It And Give It

Ephesians 6:15 ~ And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

The word “preparation” means “to make or be ready.” The same word is translated as “be ready” in Titus 3:1 where we are told to “… be ready to every good work.” In the spiritual battles that we face every day we must be ready for whatever comes our way. The boots on the feet makes the soldier ready to do battle, to fight the good fight, to hold his place, and to stand his ground whenever he is called upon to do so. That same readiness is what we are to be as Christians; prepared for every contingency.

What are we fighting for? What principles are we standing on in the battles we fight? We are fighting for the cause of Christ which is the redemption of mankind. The Lord Jesus came to earth to redeem fallen man. That is what God sent Him into the world to accomplish. Those who have been redeemed are fighting for that same cause. Salvation brings you out of darkness into the light. The enemy once had you bound and now Christ has set you free. That makes you a prime target of Satan to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that God has given you; that old devil wants to devour you (Jn 10:10 & 1 Pt 5:8). We are fighting the devil’s principalities, powers, rulers, and his spiritual wickedness with the good news of the Gospel of peace; peace with God for those who will accept and receive Christ.

We fight within the confines of the Word of God. We stand upon the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to live our life as being crucified to the world and to our own flesh. It is a self-denial of the pleasures of sin in this world. We cannot fight against the weaknesses of the flesh if we indulge in the fleshly appetites for the world. Small compromises in sin will always lead to greater sin and ruin our walk with the Lord. Therefore, we must stand on the Word of God and the principles of the Gospel.

You cannot teach someone how to do something if you do not know how to do it yourself. A man who is a professional mechanic cannot train someone how to be a professional carpenter no more than a professional truck driver can teach someone how to be an airplane pilot. We must be prepared with the Gospel by living in the Gospel. You cannot help and teach others to live in the Gospel if you do not live in it.

There is more to being a Christian than just believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust Him for salvation but then we must live by His Word and His teachings. We must have a real relationship with Christ. We must spend time with Him every day. We must walk with Him all the way. He is not a genie to call upon when you need something, nor is He a good luck charm. Christ is our Saviour, but you must make Him Lord of your life. Present yourself to Him to be that living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable (Rom 12:1-2). Let the teachings of Christ get into your heart and let them permeate your whole life. This is living in the Gospel and this is being ready to help others receive the Gospel and live in the Gospel.

Only when you live it are you prepared to give it. How can others see the hope that is in Christ if we do not live it in front of them every day? We live it so that we can give it to others. God has blessed us with the greatest gifts in the world. First, He gave us His Son to redeem us from the curse of the Law which is death (Rom 6:23). That death is eternal separation from the light of the goodness of God and paying for our rejection of His love (Rev 20:11-14). Secondly, He gave us the gift of eternal life when we received Christ as our Saviour (Jn 3:16, 36).

We have the greatest blessings that the world has ever known. Men have spent their lives, and still do, looking for that which will prolong their life or give them immortality. We have the answer to their quest, and we are to share that blessing with all who will listen. Being prepared means that we are to walk in the Gospel daily, letting our light shine, and being always ready to give an answer of the hope that is within us (1 Pt 3:15). We are to shine, and we are to share (Mt 5:14-16).

Do not let fear and intimidation hinder you from sharing your faith with others. God has given you His Holy Spirit to strengthen and embolden you to share His Word. Being prepared is knowing what Scriptures to use when sharing the Gospel with others. You should take time every day to look over those Scriptures until you know them by heart. Living the Gospel is being able to go and tell others the Gospel message. We are commanded to go and tell everybody. Everybody ought to hear a clear and concise presentation of the Gospel at least once in their life. Have you personally told anyone how to be saved lately? Go out today and be determined to shine and to share. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 8

The Gospel of Peace

Ephesians 6:15 ~ And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Having the Gospel on our feet refers to having our walk protected by the truths of the Gospel. It is knowing that we are at peace with God. We were not always at peace with Him because before we were saved, we were the enemies of God (Rom 5:6-10). Our salvation is God reconciling us unto Himself and declaring us to be at peace with Him. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And again in Colossians 1:21-22, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” The Gospel of peace is referring to the good news that we are at peace with God because of our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the peace that is ours: it is the confidence that God loves us, that He has forgiven us of our sin debt, that we are united with Him, that He fights for us, and that all is well with our souls. It is the confident assurance of our eternal salvation (1 Jn 5:12-13). When you have this confidence, when you possess the peace of God in your heart, then you are prepared and ready to stand against all that the enemy brings against you.

  When the children of Israel stood with Gideon against the Midianites, they watched the LORD reduce the size of their army. At first, He reduced it from 32,000 down to 22,000. But the LORD again reduced the number of fighting men from 22,000 down to 300. Those 300 placed their confidence in the LORD and followed Him into battle. The LORD defeated this great army without the use of a single weapon by a single man. All they had to do was break open clay jars and sound their trumpets while crying out “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.” Their faith in the LORD’s promises gave them the courage to stand against a formidable enemy.

In 2 Chronicles 20 we find that confidence in God gives courage to stand against the odds. Judah was about to be invaded by the armies of the Ammonites and the Moabites. They were afraid but the LORD spoke to King Jehoshaphat and said, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v 15b).  Then verses 18-23 tell us that they prayed, they worshipped, they praised, and they arose and went to the battle with full confidence in the power of God to defeat their enemy. When they arose to go and face their enemy the king appointed a choir to lead the army singing praises to God. The LORD gave them the victory as he turned the armies of the enemies against each other. In all their confusion they destroyed each other, and Judah was victorious by just standing their ground for the glory of God.

When you are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace you are ready to face down any enemy no matter how large, or powerful, or mighty they may be. The truth, righteousness, and the Gospel of peace give you protection and power against all enemies, even Satan himself. When you stand on the Gospel and its principles you are transformed by the power of God into the soldier of the Cross that you must be if you are to finish your course and keep the faith.

Are you truly saved and born again? If so then you are a saint of God. You are no longer an outsider; you are a child of the King. God is not your enemy; He is your provider and your protector. Everything that you need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is at your disposal. You need only to appropriate it by faith in Him. Our confidence in the day of battle does not rest in our power or our might but it rests in the power of God’s sovereign promises.

The truths of Romans 8:31-39 are the truths of the Gospel of peace that we stand in every day. The Lord loves you. He has saved you and made you His child. He will care for His children with tender loving care. He will stand with you to protect you, to keep you, defending you, giving you confidence, and making you victorious. You can know Him and His power and be stable, strong, and sure. Put on the whole armor of God and stand in His power and His might. As His child you are on the winning side and victory is yours!

 

January 9

The Unseen Enemy

Ephesians 6:16 ~ Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

We as Christians are in a war that we did not start. We must acknowledge the fact that we do have a real enemy and we do have a real responsibility to be involved in the battles that take place. It is a spiritual battle that is waged against Christians by an unseen foe. That foe is the devil and he is just as real as you and me. Do not let yourself get caught in the trap of thinking that you have no part in this war. He has declared war on all believers who live in opposition to his way of life regardless of who they are. We must be wise and acknowledge that we have a real enemy and that he wants to destroy our lives and the lives of our loved ones. If we try to ignore him, we are playing into his hand, giving him sacred ground, and destined to fail the Lord in our life.

We must remember that he uses “wiles” which are tricks, schemes, and strategies to undermine our faith. He works to get our focus off the things of God. He does not want us to concentrate our efforts and our thoughts on the eternal things (Col 3:1-3). He does not want us to do anything that would benefit others in the Kingdom of God or that would bring any glory to God. Every time he can stop us from glorifying God, he receives the victory and the glory. We must honor the Lord by standing strong and true to the faith that Christ delivered to us. We must stand on truth, righteousness, and the principles of the Gospel.

God has provided the necessary armament for us so that we may effectively wage war against the one who has declared war on us. He says that it is a must that we put on this armor that He has provided for us so that we can defend ourselves and those we love from the onslaughts of this enemy. God’s desire is for us to be able to stand against the attacks of the enemy. That means that He wants us to hold the critical positions when the enemy is attacking. We cannot give one inch of ground to the enemy. Our weapons are defensive weapons, but they are to be used in offensive strategies. We are fighting to protect the ground that has already been taken from the enemy; our souls, our lives, and the lives of our families.

God has blessed us in so many ways. He has given us the truth of His Word. He has given us the church. He has saved us by His grace, and we live in the riches of that grace every day that we live and breathe on this earth. We have been given so much, but life is about more than just having salvation. We are told in Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” This means that once we are saved and have believed the principles of the doctrine of Christ in salvation we are to “go on unto perfection.” This phrase in the Greek is an imperative which means we are to live out this salvation and to learn and grow spiritually in the Lord. We are to actively seek to know and understand the Bible doctrines and to apply them to our life so that we may grow into spiritual maturity. By the grace of God, we are blessed with all that we need to grow in the Lord.

The problem is that the enemy does not want us to have all these blessings. He does not want us to grow up in Christ. He does not want us to come unto that place of spiritual maturity where we are fruitful and productive for the Lord. He is working even now to take away all that God has given you. He wants to rob you of any power that would benefit others. He does not want you to influence anyone with your testimony to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. He does not want you to help anyone to grow spiritually mature in Christ. He wants to nullify your influence and your impact on society. He wants to render you absolutely ineffectual and powerless.

If you are going to keep these blessings that God has given you must stand your ground and the only way you can do that is if you have on the whole armor of God. You must stand in the power of His might by faith. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 10

The Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6:16 ~ Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The armor of God is represented by the armor of a Roman soldier and the shield is a vital part of that armor. There was a small shield that was held by the soldier during hand-to-hand combat that protected him against the thrust of the enemy’s sword. But the one that is referred to here is the one that was almost a life-sized shield. The Greek word “thureos (thoo-reh-os')” is used for the word “shield” which means “a large door shaped shield.” These shields were 4.5 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. They were designed so that the soldier could completely hide himself behind the shield.

This shield was a rectangular, almost half-barrel shape that would wrap around the sides and would deflect any incoming missiles to the side. It was made of two pieces of wood that were glued together and covered with metal and leather. It was used in battle formations to form what was called a phalanx. The front-line soldiers would put their shields side-by-side to protect from the front. The soldiers behind would hold their shields overhead side-by-side and butt them up against the front-line shields. This would form a line of protection and defense that would not allow the enemy to penetrate their defenses in battle. It is said that these phalanxes could extend for up to a mile at times.

In this verse we are told to take up the shield of faith “above all else.” The shield was a very important piece of armor for the soldier and it is a very important piece of armor to the saint. It is the “shield of faith.” Faith here is not the doctrinal body of beliefs that we get from the Word of God. Faith here is talking about our belief and trust in Christ for salvation. It is referring to our faith and trust in the truths, principles, and the promises of the Word of God. It is simple faith in God. This is living by faith and trusting God for every need every day. This is that faith that will save the soul, settle us on the Word of God, strengthen us along the way, and sustain us all the way to the end. This faith is a necessary part of life that we cannot live without.

Without faith you cannot be saved (Eph 2:8-9). Without faith you cannot please God (Heb 11:6). There is more to being saved than just receiving a pardon from the guilt and the penalty of sin. A faith that saves a person is a faith that will lead a person forward into the new life that God gives us in Christ. It is living out the inwrought salvation. That is a life that is lived by believing in and trusting the precepts of the Word of God.

We all live by some kind of faith every day. As we were the roads and highways, we cross many bridges. I do not stop to check the bridges before we cross them. I drive across every one of them without giving it a second thought because I have faith that they will hold up as we cross them. If you are sitting down right now you had faith in the object you are sitting on to hold you up. If you drive today you will have faith in your vehicle, as well as the roads and bridges that you drive on. If you put your money in the bank you have faith that it will be there when you go to get it. Our faith in these things is well founded because they have been tried and proven over and over.

Now think about it like this: your faith in Christ is far superior to your faith in your vehicle or the bridges that you cross when you are driving. Your faith is only as good as the object of your faith. When you place your faith in Christ you have placed your faith in a Person. But Christ is God and Christ cannot fail. Now your faith becomes a power in your life because the object of your faith is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. That is why your faith in God is an all-powerful faith that will save, succor, supply, and sustain you every day.

Your faith in God and the armaments of God will keep you safe in the times of trouble. Your faith in the Gospel message brought you salvation. When you turn from the world and its ungodliness to come to God by faith, He will receive you and be a Father to you. Have faith in His Word for it is truth. God’s truth will never fail you when you receive it and stand on it by faith. When you have faith in God it is never misplaced. However, your faith in God is an essential part of your armor if you are going to succeed in your Christian life. It is essential to defeating the enemy when he is hurling his attacks against you. You can stand behind the “shield of faith” with all confidence because the Object of your faith has been tried and proven! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 52

December 30

Truth Is God’s Word

Ephesians 6:13-14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

We are to be spiritually and mentally ready for the battles that we face every day of our lives. We are to be girded about and stable in the truths of God’s Holy Word. We are told in 1 Peter 1:13-16, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  We do not wear a belt of leather, but we are to wear a belt of truth. Knowing the truth is what gives us liberty to live the Christian life free from the hindrances of the flesh, the world, and the devil.

Truth is God’s Word. Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” God has given us His Word so that we could have the truths needed to defend ourselves against the enemy. Every Christian must have a working knowledge of the truths of Scripture or they will fall prey to the flesh, the world, and the devil. We must know truth so that we may grow and mature spiritually in the Lord. We are taught in Ephesians 4 that the Lord Jesus gave people to the church (evangelists, pastors, teachers) for the perfecting (spiritual maturity in Christ) of the saints. We are warned in verse14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” If we are going to grow into spiritual maturity and have victory in our spiritual battle we must be taught and learn truth.

The only way to fight against error is with the truth. The devil and his world will work to defeat, to distract, and to destroy us. He will always use lies to do his dirty work. With Eve he used some truth, but he mixed it with lies to deceive her and he defeated her. He tries to distract us with his lies so that we might ignore the truth of God’s Word. His lies look appealing and are attractive; but they will always lead us away from God even when it appears they are leading us closer to God.

One example is with the Word of God; he does not mind people reading “a bible.” He has convinced people that the King James is archaic, outdated, and hard to understand. The newer more modern versions are easy on the eyes and easy to understand. The problem is that the newer versions have omitted Scripture, changed meanings, and have rewritten God’s Word with a philosophy that is based on a worldly view of spiritual things, not a godly view. He does not mind you reading “a bible” as long as it is not The Bible.

If we are to combat error with the truth, then we must be exposed to truth. The Word of God is truth. It is reliable, it is accurate, and it is to be read daily. It is like having a daily dose of “Vitamin B.” However, the Bible must also be believed. When you read and believe the Bible you will discover that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17). When you read and believe you will find yourself putting it into practice. You become the person of good works that the Bible describes; this is becoming Christ-like.

The Bible teaches us the truth about God and Satan, about Heaven and hell, about life and death, and about sin and salvation. It reveals our condition before God and His solution to our problem through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Bible tells us how to be saved and reveals to us our eternal destiny. It also shows us the final destiny of the lost in the Lake of Fire.

The Bible is a Book of Truth that must be read, believed, and practiced. Those who do not believe will not have eternal life but will suffer for all of eternity for rejecting the love of the truth. Read it and heed it that it may feed your soul, shape your life, guide your steps, and lead you closer to the Lord. In its pages there is life more abundant and everlasting. Make the Word of God your foundation for life and stand on it.

God has given us His truth so that we may stand in the evil day. Without His truth we have no foundation and we will fall to the enemy and be led captive by him. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 8

The Gospel of Peace

Ephesians 6:15 ~ And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Having the Gospel on our feet refers to having our walk protected by the truths of the Gospel. It is knowing that we are at peace with God. We were not always at peace with Him because before we were saved, we were the enemies of God (Rom 5:6-10). Our salvation is God reconciling us unto Himself and declaring us to be at peace with Him. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And again in Colossians 1:21-22, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” The Gospel of peace is referring to the good news that we are at peace with God because of our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the peace that is ours: it is the confidence that God loves us, that He has forgiven us of our sin debt, that we are united with Him, that He fights for us, and that all is well with our souls. It is the confident assurance of our eternal salvation (1 Jn 5:12-13). When you have this confidence, when you possess the peace of God in your heart, then you are prepared and ready to stand against all that the enemy brings against you.

When the children of Israel stood with Gideon against the Midianites, they watched the LORD reduce the size of their army. At first, He reduced it from 32,000 down to 22,000. But the LORD again reduced the number of fighting men from 22,000 down to 300. Those 300 placed their confidence in the LORD and followed Him into battle. The LORD defeated this great army without the use of a single weapon by a single man. All they had to do was break open clay jars and sound their trumpets while crying out “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.” Their faith in the LORD’s promises gave them the courage to stand against a formidable enemy.

In 2 Chronicles 20 we find that confidence in God gives courage to stand against the odds. Judah was about to be invaded by the armies of the Ammonites and the Moabites. They were afraid but the LORD spoke to King Jehoshaphat and said, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v 15b).  Then verses 18-23 tell us that they prayed, they worshipped, they praised, and they arose and went to the battle with full confidence in the power of God to defeat their enemy. When they arose to go and face their enemy the king appointed a choir to lead the army singing praises to God. The LORD gave them the victory as he turned the armies of the enemies against each other. In all their confusion they destroyed each other, and Judah was victorious by just standing their ground for the glory of God.

When you are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace you are ready to face down any enemy no matter how large, or powerful, or mighty they may be. The truth, righteousness, and the Gospel of peace give you protection and power against all enemies, even Satan himself. When you stand on the Gospel and its principles you are transformed by the power of God into the soldier of the Cross that you must be if you are to finish your course and keep the faith.

Are you truly saved and born again? If so then you are a saint of God. You are no longer an outsider; you are a child of the King. God is not your enemy; He is your provider and your protector. Everything that you need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is at your disposal. You need only to appropriate it by faith in Him. Our confidence in the day of battle does not rest in our power or our might but it rests in the power of God’s sovereign promises.

The truths of Romans 8:31-39 are the truths of the Gospel of peace that we stand in every day. The Lord loves you. He has saved you and made you His child. He will care for His children with tender loving care. He will stand with you to protect you, to keep you, defending you, giving you confidence, and making you victorious. You can know Him and His power and be stable, strong, and sure. Put on the whole armor of God and stand in His power and His might. As His child you are on the winning side and victory is yours! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 31

Embracing the Truth

Ephesians 6:13-14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

To be “girt about with truth” not only means to have the body of truth in the Word of God, it means also to have an attitude of truth. We are to serve and worship the Lord our God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23-24). Christians who are in this spiritual warfare are to bring spirit, soul, and body under the authority of Christ (1 Cor 6:19-20). We are to mortify the deeds of the flesh (Col 3:5). That means if something in your life does not bring glory to God you must turn from it and let it die out. We are to “… lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1). It is an attitude of commitment that prepares us to stand our ground in the evil day; by the way, if you look around today you can see that we are living in the evil day (Eph 5:16).

We must be sincere in our service to the Lord. Halfhearted service is not service at all. You can have a heart that is receptive of the Word and produce fruit and be productive for the Lord, or you can have a heart that is full of thorns and briars. The seed (Word of God) in the parable of the sower (Mt 13:1-9 & 19-23) must fall on good ground if it is to bear fruit. The soil is the condition of the heart of the hearers. You must prepare your heart to receive the Word of God. The stony heart hears and receives with joy but does not have root because of half-heartedness. The soil that has thorns and briars hears and receives with joy, but the cares and the worries of this world choke out the effectiveness of the Word.

You must determine with purpose that you are going to serve the Lord wholeheartedly and not allow this world to come between you and the Lord. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:4, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” When you are “girt about with truth” you are a true, committed believer who is prepared for the battles that lie ahead. You are in it to win it. You are living the Word of God and putting into practice what you claim to believe. You have disciplined yourself to spend time daily with the Lord and to walk with Him throughout every day. You will not be easily ensnared by the enemy and will not suffer defeat.

An athlete will train their body and sacrifice through rigorous exercise and pain to prepare for the battle of competition. They go through all of this so that they may win and gain the prize. In the Apostles’ time the athletes won a crown that was a laurel wreath which in time would just wither away and die. They sacrificed and suffered through all their training and preparation for a temporary crown which only the winner was to receive. They had no guarantee that they would be successful because they had to compete with other athletes for the prize of victory.

We are in a fight today for something that is far greater than a perishable crown. We fight today for the glory of God. In battle we represent Him who has called us and has given us life. We must be committed to honoring Him with the life we live and the battles we face. When the day comes at the end of your way, when the battle is over and the noise of war gives way to victory and shouts of praise, your faithfulness will be rewarded with a crown that will never fade away. 1 Corinthians 9:25 tells us, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” This crown is not just for one, it can be won by every saint who finishes the fight and keeps the faith.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). You can be that disciple who is a true saint of God that is committed to the will of God for your life. You can be that living sacrifice who is to “… be not conformed to this world: but… transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:1-2). When you are “girt about with truth” you are embracing the truth that is revealed in the Word of God and living out that truth in your life day by day. It means you are really what you say you are; your walk matches you talk. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 1

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Ephesians 6:13-14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

In some ways living for the Lord is harder than dying for the Lord. Millions have given their lives in the service of the Saviour; they have been burned alive, boiled in oil, drowned, beheaded, torn to pieces by wild beasts, and all in the name of religion and entertainment. But thanks be to God for their faithfulness to stand their ground unto death. When they die for the Lord they are translated into the presence of God and the pains of death are over. I am not making light of their martyrdom in any way! I am making a point that sometimes, when we have to endure the battles against sin, the devil, evil, and the struggles to live an obedient life for the Lord day after day, it is somewhat harder to continue and remain faithful.

If we are to continue with honor and victory every day we must have on “the breastplate of righteousness.” This part of the armor was very important for the protection of the vital organs of the body. It covered the entire upper torso to protect the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys, etc. A wound to one of these could bring a soldier down and it could prove to be fatal.

In the ancient world people believed that the heart represented the will and the mind. The bowels, or the guts, of a person were considered to be the seat of the emotions and the feelings of an individual (Php 1:8, 2:1, Col 3:12, Phl 7, 12, 20, and 11 Jn 3:17). We know that the devil cannot have the soul of a saved person, but he can hinder their spiritual life and walk. He can infuse thoughts to try to get people sidetracked from doing the right thing. He attacks the child of God through the mind and the emotions.

He will introduce false doctrine and false emotions. He will use the world to cause us to think wicked thoughts and to follow wrong emotions. He will try to get us to follow the wrong things, set wrong goals, set up wrong priorities, and have wrong loyalties. He wants to steal the truth in our minds and replace it with his warped half-truths and lies. His goal is to stop us from living pure and holy lives while inciting envy, hatred, greed, jealousy, immorality, and other works of the flesh. He is working to get us into sin by making it seem as though it is not so bad and that we do not necessarily have to confess everything to God. He wants us to rationalize our sin so that we become desensitized to it and become more tolerant and acceptable with the wicked way of life.

He works through our thoughts and through our feelings. The “breastplate of righteousness” gives us protection against these attacks of the enemy. It is not a self-righteousness that protects us. Those who are self-righteous believe that their character earns them favor with the Lord. They are very legalistic in their religious views. They are working in the power of the flesh to please God and that will never happen because the only way to please Him is to have faith in Him (Heb 11:6).

This is an arrogant attitude because they honestly believe themselves to be better than others because their standards appear to be higher. These righteous standards are standards they have set in their own minds by placing the emphasis for pleasing God upon their own merits and not the merits of Christ. This has provided the devil with a weapon to keep them from truly serving the Lord. They have no joy because they must maintain such a level of excellence in their own power and strength so that they can please God. They are in fear of losing their salvation all the time and that robs them of the peace of mind and their Christian joy. They become miserable and they become judgmental of others. They really do not know anything of love, mercy, or forgiveness. It is sad for them for many are not truly saved and if they are, they are missing out on the things that make life more abundant.

They do not realize that all they can ever do will amount to nothing in the sight of God. If they were to take all of their righteous works for their whole life and compile them all together, they are nothing more than nasty, dirty, filthy rags in the eyes of God (Isa 64:6). Why? Because they are works that have been done in the power of the flesh and not in the strength of faith. God cannot bless those who try to live by their own works of righteousness. You must live a righteous life, but you must live it by faith in the power of the Lord’s might. Living by faith in His power will bring blessings and joy. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 2

The Breastplate of Practical Righteousness

Ephesians 6:13, 14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

The Breastplate of Righteousness is not self-righteousness nor is it the imputed righteousness of Christ. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden his sin was imputed to mankind. Because we were in Adam that sin nature was passed down to us and to all succeeding generations; “by one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom 5:19). This imputed sin brought the penalty of death upon all mankind (Rom 6:23a, 5:12). We cannot save ourselves because our good works are corrupted by our sin nature (Isa 64:6). Therefore, we need a righteousness that we cannot attain; we need the imputed righteousness of Christ (Rom 4:6, 11, & 22-24). Christ became our sin and our substitute on the Cross and God poured out His wrath upon Christ for our crimes against Him. Our sin was imputed to Christ and when we receive Him as our Saviour His righteousness is imputed to us (1 Cor 5:21).

This imputed righteousness is the foundation of the Christian life and will allow us access to God. We can approach the Throne of Grace and make our requests known to God. We are set free from the guilt and the penalty of sin because of the righteousness of Christ. We have the protection of God as a Father who cares for His children. The devil cannot have us, but he does not give up his attacks on us. He will increase His attacks because he wants to defeat the child of God and discredit the work of the Saviour, destroy the church, and take the glory from God.

The “breastplate of righteousness” is the practical righteousness that we live daily in obedience to the Word of God. When you were saved you received a new nature that yearns within to be a real Christian (2 Cor 5:17). You have a new life to live in Christ that will take you away from sinfulness and bring you into a closer relationship with God. The closer you are to God the less opportunities for the devil to attack you (Eph 4:24-27). When you refrain from and lack the desire to continue in sin you hinder and limit what the devil can tempt you to do. I am not saying that he will not continue to try, I am saying that the new desire you have to live right (practical righteousness) for God’s glory will take away his chances of success (Col 3:9-14).

In Philippians 3:4-12 we see that man’s self-righteousness is nothing more than dead works; it will amount to nothing. What we see in these verses is a salvation that is not based upon what we have done, but upon what we have been given in Christ. When we were saved and brought out of a life of dead works and dead religion, we were given new life. That imputed righteousness of Christ within is now lived out in our practical righteousness which is our obedience to the Lord’s commands.

Living in obedience to the Word of God will honor and glorify God our Father. It will exalt Christ our Saviour to the world when they see our new life in Him. It will cause the devil grief and hardship as he cannot easily cause you to fall or fail. You must understand who you are in the Lord Jesus and live a life that will honor Him. You have the new nature within that is the power of God to live a life of good works (Eph 2:8-10). Godliness is thinking the right things while righteousness is doing the right things. This is a result of your new life in Christ.

When you sin you open the door and invite the devil in to attack you and to hinder your effectiveness for the Lord. That is why you must “put on” and “take unto you” the whole armor of God which includes the “breastplate of righteousness.” When you do this your thought life and your emotional life are protected from the attacks of Satan. This in turn allows you an even greater power and advantage to live out the imputed righteousness of Christ in your practical righteousness. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

January 3

Living Out Your Righteous Position

Ephesians 6:13-14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. … having on the breastplate of righteousness;

When you are not living in obedience to the Word of God you have not put on the “breastplate of righteousness”; you are living a life that is still dabbling in sin. This life will rob you of true Christian joy and will cause you much grief. A life that is not lived in practical righteousness is a life plagued with spiritual and emotional problems. Your relationships will suffer as will your own peace of mind. Many people carry around fear, guilt, doubts, and grief because of their own failure to live a Christian life that is steeped in practical righteousness.

This “breastplate of righteousness” is a way of life; we live clean because we have been made clean. It is letting God’s Word mold you into the person God wants you to be. This is not the person that Satan, the world, and your flesh want you to be. They want you to be just like them; miserable, unhappy, and thus unproductive in the Lord’s work. The devil especially wants you to be a failure as a Christian so that you will have no positive influence on people around you. You have a purpose for God and Satan does not want you to fulfill your purpose. He knows that your impact on the world will make a difference in the lives of others; helping the lost come to Christ, helping the saved live for Christ, supporting the outreach of the church in your community, and supporting missions around the world.

Without the “breastplate of righteousness” you cannot bear good fruit in your life. Jesus said, “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Lk 6:43). When you allow sin to remain by disobeying the Word of God you are allowing your life to be corrupted. The fruit in your life will bear out this corruption. Disobedience is walking contrary to the Spirit and therefore His fruit is hindered from growing and producing Christlikeness within you. Your love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance is corrupted. This in turn will corrupt all your good works as well. Think of your life as a computer and your disobedience to a command of God as a virus. That one corruption of disobeying one little command corrupts the whole computer and causes it to do wrong things. It corrupts your thoughts and that in turn corrupts your actions.

This will cause you to miss out on the rewards of the Christian life as well as your eternal rewards. When we do not live holy and righteous lives before God He is displeased. When we displease Him, He cannot bless us as He desires. All that we do without this piece of armor will vanish in flames and smoke when our works are judged (1 Cor 3:10-15). There can be no reward on that day for those who continue in sin and disobedience. It is a life that will hinder the spread of the Gospel and that dishonors the Saviour because it tells the world that what God has done for us is not real!

To wear the “breastplate of righteousness” is to live a life that is pure and clean and will bring glory and honor to the Lord. Every day we are to have on this armor so that we can be effective in the battles that we will face. When you do the enemy will have no hold on you. He will not have that influence and sway to lure you out of the paths of righteousness. Practical righteousness will become your primary nature in living a Christian life.

Having “truth” and “righteousness” are essential pieces of the “the whole armour of God.” When you have them, you are a force for the good of mankind. When they are in place, you can fight the good fight of faith as you wrestle against the evil and wickedness of the world. When you have the “the whole armour of God” you can “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 51 

December 23

Able to Stand Against

Ephesians 6:11 ~ Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

We are to put on the “whole armour” of God so that we may be “able to stand against” all attacks and adversities. “Able” gives the idea of “power, permission, and ability.” We are “able to stand” by the power of God and His work in our lives. By His power we can confidently stand in battle with the enemy and have the expectation of victory.

I cannot fly on my own, but when I get into an airplane, I am “able” to soar through the heights as I never could before. I cannot run 70 mph, but when I get into a car, I can achieve greater speeds than I could ever achieve on my own. When I put myself in these vehicles, I am putting my faith in them to achieve things I could never do myself. In much the same way when we put our faith in God and in the power of His might, His strength becomes our strength and His power and might become our power and might. His power makes us “able to stand.

The word “stand” is a military term which means “to hold a critical position when the enemy is attacking.” This means that we do not have to yield not one inch of ground to the enemy when he comes against us. We are protecting ground that has already been won by the death and the resurrection of Christ. I am that ground that has been won and to yield anything to the enemy (world, flesh, or devil) is to give up something that has already been won. 2 Samuel 23 gives us the perfect illustration of this when one of David’s mighty men, Shammah, stood alone against the attacking Philistines and would not give up the ground of lentiles to the enemy (vs. 11-12). He relied upon the strength, the power, and the might of the Lord and the Lord gave Him the victory. He defeated a whole troop of Philistine soldiers that day and “the LORD wrought a great victory” (v. 12b).

The devil wants the things that God has so graciously given to us. The devil is out to take away our truths and to dilute the Word of God so that people can continue to add sin to their sin. He wants to take away doctrine that gives us the stability that we need to withstand the enemies that we face. He wants to take away our testimony so that we cannot influence and bring others to Christ. He wants our churches to compromise or shut down. He is working to destroy our families because the family is a fundamental unit of Christian society. He wants our marriages to fail. He wants to gain access to our children at an early age so that he can have his way with them; the earlier he can get them the longer he can keep them. He wants our spiritual power so that we cannot fight the good fight of faith. He wants everything that God has given to us. It is only through his strength and power that we can have the victory and withstand his attacks.

When the Lord Jesus was in the wilderness making His stand against the temptations of the devil, He gave us a perfect example of how to stand against the wiles of Satan. You might think that the Lord was on the ropes, on the defense, but that is not true. He had faith in God and in the power of His might. He knew that the truth was what would give Him stability in the hour of temptation. God’s Word is Truth! God’s Word is our only offensive weapon and that is what Christ used against the devil that day. It was the devil who was on the offense when Christ wielded the Sword of the Lord. He gives us the exact same strength, power, and might to withstand our enemies. Use His Word and let it permeate your whole being from your thought processes to your actions. Let it govern your life. The Lord Jesus told the church of Thyatira, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come” (Rev. 2:25). We can’t do that in ourselves, but He makes it possible.

We cannot stand if we are not in the fight. If you are saved, you are in the fight whether you want to be or not. If you are not consciously and actively involved daily, then you are giving up ground to the devil. Remember the ground that he is out to take away from you; he wants all that God has given to you. What are we to do to be a mighty Christian? How can we be like Shammah who was a mighty warrior defending the food plot from the enemy? You must have a devoted relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. You must spend time with Him DAILY. Listen to Him speak through the Scriptures and through the Holy Spirit. You must learn to listen for that still small voice that Elijah heard (1 Kgs 19:11-13).

The closer you are to the Lord the more involved you will desire to become. You will have confidence in His power and His might to be a winner every day. Remember that our help comes from the Lord. Remember to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 24

The Battle

Ephesians 6:12 ~ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

As we look at verse 12, we need to understand the meanings of some of these words. The word “wrestle” speaks of hand-to-hand combat where you are to throw your opponent. In the days when this Scripture was written the gladiators would be gathered into the arenas where they fought against one another. These men were not fighting to win a medal or a crown, they were fighting for their very lives; they fought to the death. It was like a “no holds barred” wrestling match. They would do whatever it took to win including trickery, deceit, and cheating.

This is much like the enemies that we face today. As we have said before and will possibly say it a hundred times more, you cannot defeat the enemy under your own power and strength. The word “for” points us to having the whole armor of God for without it we cannot win. The enemies that we will come up against in this spiritual war will require that we have the whole armor of God and not just parts of it. Without all the armor we limit what God can do for us in our struggles and our battles. We are fighting from victory, but the enemy is doing everything in his power to destroy what Christ has already done in our life. He wants to steal your testimony, destroy all the blessings of God in your life, and kill your influence upon other people (Jn 10:10).

We know who the enemy is, now we need to look at who the enemy is not. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” implies that our true enemies are never other people. People are human and they are flawed; we all have some flaws. People will lie to you, they will hurt you, they will be mean to you, and they may do you wrong. But they are not the real enemy. They are doing the work of the enemy but that does not make them the enemy. They may want to see us destroyed and they may even want us dead, but they are not the enemy. They may choose to hate us, and if you choose to live for God people will hate you. They will confront and oppose you. Even when we must defend ourselves against flesh and blood, the real enemy is Satan.

How do we deal with people when they make themselves our enemy? We can become angry, hold grudges, become vindictive, or we can forgive them and move on. If we let our flesh control us, we become like those who have wronged us. When we do not forgive bitterness begins to take root in our hearts and damage our walk with the Lord and our testimony for the Lord. This dishonors the Saviour. But if we forgive them, we are being Christ-like. Christ cried out for God to forgive those who crucified Him while He was on the Cross (Lk 23:34). Our Saviour died for us while we were ungodly sinners (Rom 5:6, 8). He forgave us and received us when we came to Him for salvation (Rom 10:13). He has forgiven us time and time again when we come to Him for cleansing (1 Jn 1:9). He never holds our past against us because He forgives, He restores, and He forgets. He expects us to love and forgive as He loves and forgives (Heb 8:12 & 10:17).

Therefore, we must understand that other people are not our real enemies. They are there as pawns of the devil to get our focus and our attention on what people are doing. When we shift our focus to them, we lose focus on the things that are more important; the purpose and will of God in Christ Jesus. The devil will use people to distract us and to hinder our work. We would do well to remember that we cannot allow these distracters to take us away from the work that needs to be accomplished. We must wrestle against spiritual wickedness by continuing the Lord’s work. We can defend against attacks, but at the same time we must be on the offensive by continuing the Lord’s work. This is war, not football. You can do both simultaneously.

When the devil gets our attention away from the Lord’s work we lose, and he wins. When we focus our fight on others the devil will take what he wants because we are not able to stand against him. We give up the high ground of love and grace. We have taken off the armor of God and have allowed our fleshly nature to assume the throne of our heart. We allow our testimony to be taken away and that tells others that the Gospel is not true in us. When we fight and struggle against one another we always lose, and Satan always wins.

Victory can only come through the power of the Lord and His might. We must fight in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we must fight! We must wrestle and we must do all that we can to defend and contend for the doctrines of our faith. We must be involved in the Lord’s work of winning the lost and teaching the things of Christ. We must abide in Him and His Word must abide in us. We must spend time with Him every day and that does not mean a short prayer before every meal. It means that we must get into His Word and let His Word get into us. We must spend time with Him in prayer and meditation. These things will transform us and give us the necessary tools and abilities to fight the good fight of faith and to be more than conquerors. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 25

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:7 ~ And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

This is the day that has been set aside to commemorate and to celebrate the birth of Christ our Saviour. This is not His beginning, for He existed before the beginning of time (Jn 1:1). He was there at the beginning when all was created (Gen 1:1, 26-27). His birth into this world as a little baby is the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mk 1:1).

In the Gospel accounts we can read of the events that took place when the Lord Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph there in Bethlehem. But these are just the accounts and details of how His coming into the world transpired. These detailed accounts give credibility and glory to all that we read in God’s Word about His love, His mercy, and His grace. But as we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, let us keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas which is this:

God came into the world in the Person of Christ Jesus, His Son, to reconcile sinful man unto Himself (2 Cor 5:19). He chose to pay the supreme cost for sin, which was His death upon the Cross of Calvary, so we could be brought into a right relationship with God our Father through our faith in The Son. All of this He did for us because of His unconditional love for each one of us. His love and compassion for you moved Him to come to you and to offer you His amazing grace, His gift of eternal life, and a place in His family for all of eternity.

You have much to be grateful for on this special day and every day. For God so loved YOU with such a great love that is exponentially compounded because He is infinite, unchangeable, and He is Sovereign. As you share this day of commemoration and celebration with your loved ones, think of those who may be missing a loved one, who may be sick, who may be in a storm or a battle in their life and say a special prayer for them. Then call them and wish them a Very Merry Christmas. In doing so you can bring the joy of the Lord into their hearts and minds.

Our prayer for you all is that the Lord will bless you and yours in a special way on this most notable day. May God bless, and may you have a Very Merry Christmas.

– Bro. Todd & Mrs. Lisa Taylor

 

December 26

The Battle Plan

Ephesians 6:12 ~ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Before we go into the armor of God and His provision for those who choose to stand with Him, let us look one more time at who this enemy is that we face every day. This verse tells us that we are fighting against the forces of darkness. They are under the headship and control of Satan. He hates God and will do anything to steal God’s glory. He will work relentlessly and tirelessly to undermine God’s work. His demons are also very active in their efforts to destroy, defeat, demolish, and dismantle the kingdom of God. Satan has great power, but he does not possess all power. When we are in Christ (saved) we have the greatest of all power within us because the Lord Jesus has all power and authority in Heaven and in earth (Mt 28:18 & 1 Jn 4:4). Though Satan is the “god of this world”, yet he still must bow before the God of all Creation! The kingdom of darkness is a vast kingdom, but the kingdom of our God is infinite.

So how does he work to destroy the kingdom of God? One way is by attacking the children of God. In verse 11 we are told that having on the armor of God will give us the necessary equipment to stand against the “wiles of the devil.” This is referring to his deceptive tricks that he uses against people to deceive them so that the lost will not get saved and that the saved cannot be fruitful and productive in the Lord’s work.

The devil will deceive and lie to people about the consequences for sin. He has the world today revolving around sex. It is not a new deception for him because he has used this to destroy people's lives, families, and even kingdoms for thousands of years. He will lie to you and amplify the pleasures of sex, but he will not tell you about the STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, broken homes, and wrecked and ruined lives. He has Hollywood in his hip pocket because every show that comes out anymore promotes the gay lifestyle as if it were just a natural way of life. The truth is that it is not natural, it is unnatural, and it is harmful to the mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing. This is true about all sin. He lies and deceives people about the consequences of their sin.

He brings doubt upon the Word of God. He will tell you that the truth is a lie and that a lie is the truth. When he came to Eve, he mixed lies into the truth of God’s Word to deceive Eve. In Genesis 3:4-5 Satan told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die [Lie; they died spiritually that day and from that time forward they were moving towards physical death which had not existed before they sinned against God]: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened [Truth], and ye shall be as gods [Lie], knowing good and evil [Truth].” He brings in false doctrine that looks and sounds like the real thing, but it is deception. Satan is a liar and he is the father of lies. He will cause people to believe good things and to trust those good things to save them and get them to Heaven. He brings doubt upon God’s Word through subtle lies; “Yea, hath God said?

He will cause people to quit on the Lord by telling them that there is a better way. This causes people to doubt the goodness of God. He will get people caught up in the cares and the worries of the world and make them think that God is holding out on them. That is what he was doing to Eve; he made her doubt God’s Word and God’s goodness because she thought that God was keeping them from being like Him.

He is an expert at deception and has been from the very beginning. We know that he has been at this work for 6000 years, but Satan was the anointed cherub at the throne of God in eternity past. He is a very wise individual. He can deceive people into thinking that they can be good enough to get into Heaven by their own merits and their own righteousness. He can cause a saved person to believe that he can do the Lord’s work without spending time with God and His Word, and without the filling power of the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 3:6 he got Eve to the place where she, “… saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Satan deceived her, defeated her, and devastated her happy home.

This is part of the devil’s battle plan. We know it because of the Word of God and the goodness of God has revealed it to us. Therefore I challenge you today to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Pt 5:8-9). - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 27

The Battle Armour: The Truth

Ephesians 6:13-14 ~ Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

The key to having the armor of God is to be “in Christ.” If you abide in Him and His Word abides in you then you can wrestle, withstand, and when you have done all that you can, you can still stand. Satan may be intent on our defeat and destruction, but the Lord is out to give us the victory. The devil wants to devour our families, destroy our testimonies, devastate our church, and discredit our God but he is already defeated and headed for the eternal Lake of Fire. There he will spend all eternity paying for his crimes against a holy God. But today God has given you everything that you need to stand for Him against everything that your enemy brings against you.

The resources that God has given us to be able to withstand the enemy is the only arsenal that will keep you safe in the battles you fight. As we have stated before you must have on the “whole armour of God.” If you leave out one piece of this armor you are destined for defeat and destruction. We are told in verse 11 to “put on” and in verse 13 we are told to “take unto.” This is reminiscent of a soldier standing amidst his body armor and having to pick it up and put it on. The only way it will protect you is if you have it on.

There was a soldier in World War II serving in the South Pacific named Leroy Eims who tells this story: “Shortly after we hit the beach, our armored amphibious tank took two artillery shells broadside. We immediately evacuated our disabled vehicle and darted from hole to hole toward the enemy airstrip, which we were to take. The sergeant began to check on us to make sure that we were OK. He crawled over to me and asked, ‘You all right, Eims?’ I answered, ‘Yeah, I'm OK, Sarge.’ He looked at me and asked, ‘Eims, where is your helmet?’ I felt the top of my head and answered, ‘Must be in the tank, Sarge.’ ‘Where's your duty belt?’ Our duty belts carried ammunition for our rifles, a canteen of water, and a bayonet. ‘Must be in the tank, Sarge.’ ‘As a matter of fact, Eims, where's your rifle?’ He looked at me with disgust and pity. Because of our hasty departure from the amphibious tank, I was dressed about the same way that I would be dressed for a game of volleyball. And there I was, hopping from hole to hole, from tree to tree!”

You might make it a little while without the armor of God, you may make it for a time with only parts of the armor of God, but you will never be able to continue your stand to the end without the whole armor of God. You will never have the testimony of the Apostle Paul who said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). If this is the legacy you want to leave behind, the legacy you want to be known for in eternity, then you must “put on” and “take unto you the whole armour of God.

The equipment of the armor begins with the truth. You must “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth”. The Roman soldiers of that day wore very loose-fitting tunics that would get in the way in battle. This phrase, “girt about” means to gird all around the mid-section; to fasten on one’s belt. The soldier had a wide leather belt that would pull the tunic in snug to the body and keep the tunic out of the way in combat. It was also there to stabilize the torso for extreme physical exertion. A weightlifter will wear a wide leather belt to give support to his midsection in heavy lifting. This keeps his spine in a straight alignment so as not to cause damage. It will keep the upper body, the torso, and the legs in proper alignment with each other to protect and to give stability. Having on the truth gives us protection, stability, and confidence when we are in battle.

When the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt He gave them instructions concerning the Passover and told them, “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover” (Ex. 12:11). The Lord Jesus told us we are to always be ready to go. He said, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Lk 12:35). This is referring to our spiritual readiness to go and do the Lord’s bidding and letting our light shine. This is spiritual warfare: being the salt of the earth (having a positive influence and impact on others for Christ while preserving the Christian way of life) and the light of the world, letting our light (the light of the Gospel & the mysteries of the grace of God) so shine that it will illuminate all who are around us. It also refers to being ready for our time to go to be with Him.

What kind of legacy are you leaving for those who come along after you? Are you preserving the Christian way of life today by being the right influence to bring others to the saving knowledge of Christ? Are you letting your light so shine that others may see the goodness, the love, and the grace of God in and through you? Having your loins girt about with truth will enable you to be the salt and the light and to live for the Lord every day. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 50

December 16

The Wily Trickster

1 Peter 5:8 ~ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Satan will always try to hinder and to stop those who are closest to the Lord. He put a thorn in the flesh of Paul to cause him trouble and to hinder his work in this world (2 Cor 12:7). Many great Bible scholars and theologians believe this was an eye disease that was taking away his eyesight. He worked in the mind of Judas to cause him to betray Christ to the religious leaders. I am sure that Judas thought he was doing the right thing when he aligned with the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They were the ruling authority in Judaism and supposedly God’s authority over His people. But afterwards, when he saw that he was wrong, he still let the devil lead him down a path of no return; rather than coming to a place of repentance he committed suicide.

Satan and his demons cannot possess a saved person. He can oppress a saved person by getting them into sin. The snare of the devil is his alluring us and tempting us into sin. Many good Christian men have fallen prey to that old roaring lion when he subtly comes in with his irresistible lures; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When the internet came out the smut mongers seized the opportunity to reach millions who otherwise would never see their wares. Satan knew what he was doing, and a lot of men got sucked into the trap of pornography before they knew what was going on. This snare of the devil entrapped a lot of Christian men and destroyed a lot of Christian homes.

The devil can cause other things to oppress people as well. Remember that he can implant thoughts into the mind to try to twist and steer your thinking. He does so through disappointment, discouragement, despondency, all of which can lead to depression. This keeps people from fulfilling their God-given purpose. If he can keep them depressed, they are oppressed, and they cannot function in what God has given them to do.

This wily old trickster uses other people as well. Sometimes this is accomplished through hearsay (gossip: half-truths and lies). People may react aggressively to it; others may just shut down altogether. Either way they are not doing what they need to be doing for the Lord. They get off the pathway and the work they should be doing ceases. They have fallen into a trap and a snare of the devil. His work is to cause people to not fulfill their purpose and thus he hinders the program of God in the Gospel of Christ.

I have seen Christian families oppressed of the devil and not even realize it. Here is a family that is actively involved in their church and serving God. They are happy and content to do whatever they can in the church. They are involved in the bus ministry, in soul winning, and many other volunteer projects. Outside the church they have a great career. One day this great job opportunity comes along that is just irresistible. They will have to move to another town very far away. Here they should focus on God’s will. If it is His will to take the job they should look ahead for a church where they can keep working for the Lord. If He is moving them then there will be a place for them to continue in His service.

Unfortunately, they are focused on the increase in income and all of the things that they will now be able to afford. They pray and thank God for the blessing but do not seek His will in this situation. Do they go and look to make sure there is a good church where they can join and stay in the work God has them doing? No, their focus is on all the new stuff they will have. They are focused on all the wrong things and not considering the right things. They make the move. There is no church and they cannot back out now. They are out of the will of God and they are unhappy and dissatisfied. They have become unproductive and unfruitful for the Lord.

I have seen this happen and they end up away from the Lord and oppressed of the devil. Some have gone into the world and the world has devoured and absorbed them (devour: gulp down; swallow; consume). Some have just fallen apart as a family because they are out of God’s divine will. This is out of God’s power, protection, provision, prosperity, and out of His fellowship. They may have everything they ever wanted but they are imprisoned and oppressed because spiritually they are starving to death. The power, protection, provision, and prosperity that we are referring to are not the material things, it is not the needs of the body, it is the needs of the soul. The spiritual needs far outweigh the physical and material needs.

I did see one happy ending for a family in a situation like this. When they got there and realized they had fallen into the snare of Satan, they very wisely cut their losses and returned to where they were before. My pastor once told me that when you paint yourself into a corner, you must walk across the wet paint. In other words, when you do something wrong, just own up to it, seek forgiveness and cleansing from God, and get on with what is important. Beware, your adversary is a wily trickster working to come between you and your Father. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 17

The Worldly-Wise Man

Matthew 4:1-11 (4) ~ And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

There are many ways that Satan can get people sidetracked. When the tempter came before Eve, he tried to get her to doubt the Word of God. With Job he came from the blind side with an all-out assault. With Christ he came along as a friendly influence. He tempted Him to act upon His abilities for His own good. Christ had been fasting for forty days and nights. The devil came to Him in His weakened condition to tempt Him to do that which is contrary to His nature. He comes to Christ with a hypocritical concern for His wellbeing. “… command that these stones be made bread.

When Satan came to Christ in the wilderness he started out as someone who was on His side. He was being friendly and sympathetic. He was trying to get the Lord to act according to His ability rather than according to the will of God. He had not eaten for 40 days. He was literally starving to death. What rationale it was to use His power to feed Himself. Satan was trying to get the Lord Jesus to turn from His dependence upon and His allegiance to His Father. However, you cannot have God the Son act without God the Father. He came as the Saviour to do the Father’s will.

When the devil came with the second temptation, he was tempting Christ to act upon presumption rather than genuine faith. Presumption takes man’s reasoning and injects it into faith. When people try to reason things out they leave out true faith. That is why today people are swallowing the day-age theory, the gap theory, and theistic evolution. Rather than taking God’s Word in simple faith they inject humanistic reasoning and philosophy into it and presume that it is truth when it is not. The devil wanted Christ to reason out that He could survive on His own without God. God is God and God the Son is just as much God as is God the Father. But at the same time God the Son was just as much human as any other man. In His body of flesh He was subject to the same physical laws of nature as was anybody else.

The third temptation brought the Lord Jesus to the place where He could have all the worldly power that He wanted if only He would worship Satan. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is one who is offered this very same power and he is the anti-Christ. The difference between the offer made to Christ and the offer made to the anti-Christ is in the person. The Lord Jesus refused the offer. He is the creator of the world and all that is within it (Jn 1:3). He is the creator of all that is living and all that has life. He has the power to create an infinite number of universes so how could he be tempted with a mere temporary earthly power. The anti-Christ accepts this offer and will be doomed for all of eternity in the Lake of Fire. The Lord refuses the offer and the devil leaves Him.

This conflict between the devil and the Lord of Glory was not a coincidence. It was a vital and an essential confrontation. When Adam yielded to sin, he turned the dominion of the earth and the dominion of man over to the devil. The devil became the prince and the god of this world. It was needful for Christ to stand in this temptation to show that Satan is a real person. He defeated and overcame the evil tempter not only in the wilderness but also in the garden on the night of His arrest. It proves that we too have the power to overcome the wicked one and to withstand his attacks as did Job and many others down through the millennia of time. Christ showed us that the key to defeating Satan is in the Word of God. With all three temptations Christ used God’s Word (Scripture) to resist and to refuse the temptation.

Our world today is under the power of darkness. Satan is the god of this world and what we see is a world that is moving farther from God not closer to Him. There are a great many “ism’s” in the world today that support and defend the devil’s reign. If he can get people to think that there is no real God and no real devil he has won because this will destine many souls to the eternal demise which he also faces. Some of these are atheism which denies the existence of God. Humanism is the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts. Secularism is the secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy, that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.

Do not be fooled by vain philosophy or humanistic reasoning. They may sound great, but they will lead you astray. Let your philosophy be based on Biblical Theology. Let your Theology come from the sure Word of God and not the tainted word of men. Remember that knowing the Scriptures and the doctrines that come from them is very important to fighting the good fight of faith. You must be consecrated to God and you must be a student of the Bible if you are going to live a productive and fruitful life in standing against the evils of our day. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 18

Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:10 ~ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

We are fighting a real war. It is a spiritual war. It is the war between good and evil and has been raging since the dawn of time. In this war we are facing a real enemy who is behind all the evil and wickedness in the world. This enemy is the devil, but he is not the only enemy that we face. We are also faced with battling the world for he is the god of this world. We are also faced with the enemy of our flesh which is the fallen nature within that yearns for the things of this world. So, in our fight we must battle the world, which is under the control of Satan, our flesh which has an attraction to the things of the world, and we have to battle that unseen enemy which is Satan himself.  

It almost seems like impossible odds for us to be in this fight. On your own it is impossible for you to win and have victory. But if you are saved, you have Christ as your Saviour, and you are not alone. You have the ability and the power to overcome the wicked one. You can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. He is the God of the impossible for “with God” all things are possible (Mk 10:27; Lk 1:37). We have within us the power of the Spirit of the Living God. This is the same power that birthed the universe. It is the resurrection power that overcomes death; the power that can raise a body from the ashes and dust of the grave. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, we can tap into and appropriate this power to move mountains (Mt 17:20).

Jesus told the disciples, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41). We are willing to have the victory and to walk with the Lord, but in our flesh we are weak. That means that when we allow our old fallen nature to sit upon the throne of our hearts, we cannot fight the good fight of faith. My spirit wants to be a winner and a victor for the Lord Jesus, but my flesh does not. As we have said, the flesh wants to align with the things of the world for that would be the path of least resistance. Going along with the world removes the spiritual battles that we as Christians must face. But when we align with the world, we give the victory to Satan and to the evil, wicked, lawlessness that he advances. This would be the same as the forces of Saddam Hussein who dropped their weapons and ran from the American forces in the Gulf War giving them absolute victory in Kuwait.

The disciples were not great and mighty warriors. They were just ordinary men; men whom God chose because of their willingness to surrender their all to Him, men that He used to accomplish extraordinary things. They had weaknesses and sicknesses just as any other man. They were not extraordinary or special in any way except that they had separated from the world and separated unto the Gospel. Paul said that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal weapons; they are not fleshly wisdom, human ability, physical excellence or any such thing. The weapons that we use are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. They are spiritual weapons which are mightier than any earthly or carnal weapon that we can use.

If we are going to be in the fight, if we are going to possess the power needed to be victorious, we must train for the fight. By the way, if you are saved you are in the fight and your training must involve surrender, separation, and service. How effective we are will be determined by how much we give to Him. We must present ourselves to Him daily (Rom 12:1-2). As a good soldier you must have a broken will and accept the will of God. You will have your focus changed (Col 3:1-3). Your weapons will be sure; they have been tried and proven over and over. Your victory will come through the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are in the fight and we as individuals and as a church body must make a difference in the world in which we live. We must be the influence that will change the people who are around us. This is what it means to have an impact on the lives around you. You can only change a society by changing the hearts of the people. We are fighting against the forces of darkness and the spiritual wickedness in high places. That is where the spiritual battle is fought. But how do we fight the good fight of faith? How do we have victory in Jesus? How do we fight against that which we cannot see with our eyes? How is it that our battle is not with flesh and blood when the devil uses people to oppose and attack us every day? These are the questions we will try to answer as we study the Spiritual Battles of the Believer. Stay tuned, pray for one another, and  pray that you "... enter not into temptation". - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 19

The Power of His Might

Ephesians 6:10 ~ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

As Christians we face some very real and some very powerful enemies in this world. The battles we fight are real battles. When we suffer defeat the costs are much higher than we realize. When we are victorious the rewards are worth more than all the labor, the toil, the sweat, the trials, the troubles, and the struggles that we endure. Sometimes the battle rages around us and sometimes the battle is within us. If we are to live a victorious life in Christ, we must be devoted to Him and we must be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18-21). When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we can appropriate the power that resides within us.

Our power comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be strong in the Lord. The word “strong” in the Greek means “to be empowered; to be strengthened.” Think of an infant growing and getting stronger every day. At first, they cannot get up and move on their own. But they are empowered with growth and strengthened every day. They begin to crawl, then stand, then walk, and eventually they can run. They become empowered with new energies and new strength every day. This is a picture of the Christian.

We are weak and frail creatures at best when it comes to living the spiritual life. As we have said before, none of us has any spiritual power on our own.  Our emotions get the best of us and our thinking processes are governed by feelings. We cannot control our own wills and wants. The truth is that we are weak in the flesh and we need someone to help us. The strength that we need to fight the battles in life and to have victory in those battles comes from the Lord.

We must understand that the only way we can be strong in the Lord is to have a devoted relationship with Him. This means that just as we trust His death, burial, and His resurrection to save us, we must also trust Him to give us spiritual power every day. We need His righteousness to enter Heaven and we need His power to stand against the enemies that we face in life. We need the blood of Christ to take away our sin and we need the power of Christ to give us victory over the world, the devil, and our very own flesh.

We are to be strong in the Lord and we are to be strong in the power of His might. The word “power” in the Greek means “vigor; great power; active strength and force.” His power is more than enough to complete and perfect anything that needs to be accomplished. The word “might” in the Greek means “forcefulness; ability in strength.” The Lord has the power and the strength which means that He has the absolute ability to accomplish anything within us, through us, and with us. This is the kind of power that we need to have the victory in the spiritual battles that we face every day.

We can appropriate this power the same way that we have our sins forgiven and appropriate the righteousness of Christ. We get it by wholeheartedly placing our trust in Him and not in ourselves. When we try to stand on our own in the power of our flesh against the enemies we face, we will fail. We must learn to lean on the Lord, depend upon Him, confess our weaknesses to Him, and place our faith in His power alone. Only then can we expect to have victory. This is true in facing the devil and his attacks against us. It is true when the world tempts and allures us with its pleasures of sin. This is true when we are battling our own flesh in its craving for the pleasures of the world.

When we trust Christ and we receive Him as our Saviour we are made one with Him. His life becomes our life, His truth becomes our truth, His way becomes our way, and His power becomes our power. When He died on the Cross and rose again from the dead, He defeated Satan and all his works. That means that the war has already been won; the victory is His. Our battles that we fight every day are not victories or losses that will win or lose the war between good and evil. There are great consequences if we lose the battle, and great rewards when we win. But we are not fighting for victory; we are fighting from victory. Satan is a defeated foe and we are in Jesus; we are partakers of His victory. The power and the might of the Lord are the power and the might of victory!

This power comes from simply being “in” Jesus! When you are “in” Jesus by faith and you are saved by His grace, you may become a partaker of His power, His strength and His ability! But it is only available to those who have a close, personal, devoted relationship with Him. How is your relationship with Him today? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 20

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:11 ~ Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

If we are to have any spiritual power, any spiritual victory, then it must come from the Lord. It must be given to us by Him. We must abide in Him if we are to have any power. The Lord Jesus told us in John 15 that we must abide in Him and His Word must abide in us. His power is only given to those who have a devoted faith relationship with Him.

It is utter foolishness for us to think that we can trust in our own selves and in our own power. It would be foolish to try to take on the devil, his demons, his temptations, sin, the world, our own flesh with its cravings for the world, and the other enemies that we face in life in our own strength. This is a recipe for total defeat and destruction. We must trust in the power of God given to us through Jesus Christ who has promised us the victory!

Remember these Scriptures when you are feeling weak in trials or troubles: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Php 4:13). Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (2 Cor 2:14). Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Rom 8:37). But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). There is victory in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, praise God!

Abiding in Christ is having on the whole armor of God. We can stand against the methods, the strategies, the scheming tricks that the devil uses against us and against our God. God gives us the power to stand against this adversary. Though this word “wiles” speaks of an animal that lies in wait for its prey, when he attacks, we will be victorious because of the power of God. This is why it is so important to make an all-out conscious effort to abide in Christ and to walk in the power of His might. It is being filled with the Spirit as we yield ourselves to His guiding hand under the Word of God. We must give ourselves to the Lord consciously every step of every day. 

God has given us the armor that we need to win the battles that we will be involved in. Every piece has a significant meaning and a specific design and function to protect us from our enemies. But we must put on the whole armor of God. For a complete and perfect protection we need all of His armor.

The word “armour” refers to the equipment that we are provided for our protections. We are to have our loins girt about with truth to give us stability in our stand. We are to have on the breastplate of righteousness to protect the heart. We must have our feet protected with the Gospel of peace to protect our walk through this cruel world. We must have the shield of faith to protect our whole being from the fiery arrows of the wicked. We must have the helmet of salvation because that is what covers us and keeps us through to the very end and beyond. These are all weapons of defense but there is one weapon of offense which we must have. That is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God that cuts like a tow-edged Sword. We must have all of this if we are to have victory in our life.

The word “whole” suggests that every piece of the armor is essential and must be worn or we will not be able to endure and have the victory. You cannot have on part of the armor and expect to have victory in every battle. Without the armor you leave yourself naked and vulnerable in front of the enemy. Every piece is a vital component and they all work together for our good. You do not have adequate protection with part of the armor. We cannot pick and choose which pieces we want or do not want. The provision of God is to have the “whole armour”, to have all of it. If we do not have on the “whole armour” we will be attacked, and we will be defeated.

The phrase “put on” gives us the idea of “sinking into something;” it is a once for all time deal. We are to put on this armor and to never take it off. The devil is looking for those who are unprotected to prey on them because they are easy targets and will fall quickly. When we “put on” the armor we are ready for battle 24/7/365. There are no days off until we reach our intended rest on Heaven’s soil. There is no vacation in this war; you may go on vacation but remember that the enemy is waiting to catch you off guard and out of uniform. No matter where you go or what you do you will always be on the front lines of battle. This includes at rest time, work time, play time, recreational time, leisure time, vacation time, any time and all the time. Put on the whole armor of God and you too can stand against the enemy and expect victory! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

 WEEK 49

December 9

The Love of God’s Word

Psalm 119:140 ~ Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them. A seventeenth-century Puritan named William Bridge said that harping on discrepancies shows a very bad heart, adding: “For a godly man, it should be as it was with Moses. When a godly man sees the Bible and secular data apparently at odds, well, he does as Moses did when he saw an Egyptian fighting an Israelite: He kills the Egyptian. He discounts the secular testimony, knowing God's Word to be true. But when he sees an apparent inconsistency between two passages of Scripture, he does as Moses did when he found two Israelites quarreling: he tries to reconcile them. He says, ‘Aha, these are brethren, I must make peace between them.’ And that's what the godly man does.”

The Word of God is Truth. It is inerrant; it contains no errors. We are told in Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” If you look at the Bible's account of history you will find it has been proven by archeology. When archeological discoveries have been used to try to disprove the Bible, they fail to do so. The prophecies of the Bible that have been fulfilled thus far have proven to be accurate. In fact, they have been so very precisely accurate that we should take note that those which have not been fulfilled yet will come to pass just as predicted! The kings, the leaders, and the peoples of the Bible have been verified.

When you consider the prophecies of Christ alone you will find some very startling facts. The likelihood that all those prophecies could be completely fulfilled in one man are phenomenal. Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks says that the probability of one man fulfilling just eight specific prophecies of Christ are 1 in 1017, or 1 in 100 quadrillion. He then goes on to say that if you were to lay 100 quadrillion silver dollars on the face of TX it would cover the entire state two feet deep.  If you were to mark one of those and then mix them all up, then blindfold someone and tell them to walk across the state and pick up the marked dollar, what are the chances he would be able to do that?  It would be about the same chance as the prophets would have of writing those eight prophecies and having them all fulfilled in that one man. The Word of God is inerrant.

The Word of God is indestructible. Someone said that the Bible may be without error, but it is not without enemies. Consider for a moment those who hate it, who want to eradicate it, and want it removed from society by keeping it out of the public arena.  Why do they want to do this? They want to avoid the possibility that the Bible is true. If it is true, they are accountable to God. If it is true, it matters what they do with Christ. If it is true, it matters if they are obedient to its commands. If it is true, it matters if they live with integrity. If they can prove it to be false, they can continue with their sin-laden lives without conviction of sin and fear of judgment or punishment.

Many have tried to destroy the Bible. They have killed those who wanted it translated into English, some have tried to burn it away, others have tried to discredit it through print, and today they are trying to keep it out of the public arena; they have removed it from the schools, the courthouses, the military, etc., But through it all the Bible has been the best-selling book of all time. Many have tried to destroy it, but all have failed miserably.

I read a story about a man who had recently been saved and was very badly injured in an explosion. His face was disfigured, he lost his eyesight, and he had lost both of his hands. The greatest disappointment he had after the accident was that he could no longer read the Bible. He had heard of a lady who could read braille with her lips and he ordered a couple of books in braille so that he could learn to read braille. Unfortunately, the nerve endings in his lips were also damaged. One day he put a leaf of the Bible up to his lips and his tongue touched the raised characters on the page. In just a short time he was able to read completely through the Bible and has done so many times. He had a genuine handicap that would not allow him to read the Word of God. But He loved God and His Word so dearly that he just had to find a way to read it.

While some are looking for ways to discredit or destroy the Bible, we should spend more time in it than ever before. Do you love the Bible enough to find a way to read it if you were handicapped as this man was? How much does the Bible mean to you? Be thankful that we can have it in our hands and read it any time that we want to. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 10

Consecration: Stepping Up To Do Your Part

Romans 12:1, 2 ~ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

There comes a place very early in the believer’s life that the Holy Spirit will compel them to consecrate themselves to the Lord. Consecrate means to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God. We are to consecrate our life to Him if we are going to glorify Him. When we consecrate ourselves to God, we cannot leave any part of our life out of that dedication.

There is a story of an Indian who wanted to give something to God. He gave his bow which was a much-cherished possession that he himself had made. He laid it upon the altar and walked away. Sensing that God was not pleased, he returned and laid his hunting knife on the altar. As he walked away, he again sensed the Spirit of God saying that God still was not pleased. Then he went back and took the eagle feather from his headband, which was a reward of honor that he received when he became a man. But, alas, he still heard the Spirit of God speak to his heart and tell him that God was not at all pleased, not even with all his prized possessions. Finally, he ran back to the altar, and laying himself across it he cried out “Take me; it is all that I have to offer thee.” That’s what God desires from all His children. Give Him your all!

We are to be a living sacrifice that God can use; a vessel of honor that He can fill. Knowing that Christ gave so much for us how can we not give our all for Him? A sacrifice was laid upon the altar and the flesh totally consumed by the fire. So, our flesh should be given in sacrifice to God because we are to be dead to the flesh and its lustful desires for the world. We are commanded, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” and “put on the new man” (Col. 3:5a and 10a). And again, we are commanded in 1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” A living sacrifice is dead to self and to the world, and resistant to the devil’s fiery darts and temptations. When thinking about a living sacrifice, meditate upon this verse for a while: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

We are to be set apart for God; separated from the world and separated unto the Gospel. This will make us acceptable in His sight. We cannot separate from something without being separated to something. The Apostle Paul stated in his opening statement of Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God.” Such is the case with our Christian separation. We separate from the ways of the world by giving ourselves wholly to the ways of God. We pledge our allegiance to God and to His Word. We stand and defend the Gospel because we are not ashamed of it (Rom 1:16); it is the power of God unto salvation. We contend for the faith because it is the best life for us.

The world is full of envy and strife which is not good for us. To live a holy life is to be set apart for God and separated from worldliness. Do not let worldliness infiltrate your devotion, your dedication, your service, nor your worship of God. When we allow a little leaven into our life and let it go unconfessed and unchecked, it will infiltrate our whole being, it will damage our testimony, it will dim our light for Christ, it will taint our influence on society, but most importantly, it will hinder our fellowship with the Lord!

This consecration is our reasonable service because we are not our own. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 tells us: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” This goes back to being that vessel that the Potter has designed us to be. Only God knows what is best for your life and the sooner you realize that the sooner you will be a vessel of honor. You belong to Him but He gives you the choice of serving and following, or rebelling and forgetting what He has done for you (Read Deu 6:1-12). Even when you have done that which is commanded, you are an unprofitable servant. But if you get a fire burning within and determine to be a second mile Christian, then will you be joyful, profitable, and honorable for the Lord.

God will always do His part, but it is time that we as Christians step up and do our part. If you are to be productive and prosperous in the spiritual war between good and evil, if you are to fight the good fight of faith, the first step is to live a consecrated life. Will you present yourself a living sacrifice that is a vessel of honor glorifying God our Saviour? “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 11

Know Your Enemy

Ephesians 6:10-11~ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

We could write books on the things that are going wrong in our nation. The apostates are going along with what the progressives want to do which makes it so much harder on those of us who are staying the course that God has given us. When Christians take a stand and stand together, they win. Unfortunately, most of the time anymore, they do not stand, much less stand together.

What we need to realize is that we are in a spiritual warfare and that we need to see the real enemy for who he is. One day we will see him and the Bible tells us that we are going to look at him with this wonder: “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners” (Isa 14:16b-17)? This enemy is none other than the devil himself.

The Bible does not bring out an argument to prove that God is real; rather it reveals that He is real as it reveals to us His person and His character. He is revealed to us in all His majesty, His glory, and His omnipotence. He is the in the beginning and He is the beginning of all creation. He is revealed to us in His work and not in argument. We are told in the very first statement of the Bible, “In the beginning God…” He exists and that is why we move and have our being; it is because God is real.

The devil is revealed to us in much the same way. There is no introduction to the devil and there is no argument to prove that he exists. We see him come into God’s creation and there he begins an evil work to destroy what God has created. He comes in to seduce man and to corrupt Eden’s beauty. This is not his beginning for we learn throughout the Scriptures that this evil one predates earth and time.

The devil is revealed to us in the Bible as a real person. He is not some figure or evil influence. The devil started out as a created being of good. He was personally created by God and therefore he is not self-existent. He is a real being with a real agenda that involves man. Man is the object of his evil schemes, his destructive devices, and his ambition. He wants to be God and he wants to be worshipped as God. He once served God in Heaven as the great anointed cherub angel (Eze 28:12-15). For whatever his reason was, we are told that he chose to try to take God’s place (Isa 14:12-14). At this point he was kicked out of Heaven along with one third of the angels of Heaven who were following him (Lk 10:18; Rev 12:3-4).

The devil has a character that is revealed in Scripture. Character is what gives a person the value of whom and what they are. It is the inner life of a person that shapes their life and their actions. It is the true nature of the person. It is not the same as reputation for that is what others think of a person. Character is what a person is while reputation is what others think a person is. You can have a bad reputation with honorable character, or you can have a good reputation that can cover up a bad character. With the devil they are inseparable. His reputation is based solely upon his character. He has a bad reputation because he has a deplorable, despicable, destitute, deranged, deadly, deviant, defiled character.

The devil has a real army of evil angels or demons. They are just as rotten in character and reputation as he is. In the story of the demoniac of Gadara he is called Legion for “… many devils were entered into him” (Lk 8:30). In Ephesians 6 they are called “… principalities, … powers, … rulers of the darkness of this world, … spiritual wickedness in high places.” These are the unseen enemy with whom we are at war. The evil and the wickedness of this world come from the works of this wicked ruler who is the god of this world system in which we live.

If we are going to be able to stand against this evil ruler of the darkness of our world, we must know him. You cannot fight an enemy if you do not know him. That is why God has revealed him and who he truly is to us in His Word. He has given us instruction on how to fight him. If you are saved, you are in a spiritual war with evil forces whether you want to be or not. That is why it is time that we as Christians step up and do our part. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 12

The Prince of This World

John 12:30-32~ Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

According to the Lord Jesus the devil is the prince of this world (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2). He tells the disciples that the prince of this world is already judged, condemned, and sentenced. He has his time to work in the lives of people on this earth. But he is most certainly is judged and condemned. The Lord Jesus also told the disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” He may rule on earth now, but there is a payday coming for him very soon because he is the author of unbelief, sin, and unrighteousness.

Because of his position we can understand why the world is so alienated from God, from Christ, and from His cause. Everything about the world reflects the opposition of the devil with God. When people are attracted to and united with the world it causes them to disassociate from God. This affection for the world will create a bitter enmity toward God. The world is a tool of the devil with traps and snares that lead to death and destruction.

Christ recognizes him as the prince of the fallen world; the world under the curse of sin. He is the leader of that world which rejects Christ and rebels against God. He is a lawless criminal, a dethroned usurper, and a conquered rebel. It is the mission of Christ to conquer and dethrone the devil so that He may bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free.

In what Christ has said we see that the devil and the world are equally doomed; Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” The world is condemned by the power of the Cross. It is the Cross and the attractions to it that will dissolve the interests in the world. It is the Cross that casts the ruling prince of this world from the throne of men’s hearts. It takes the power of the Cross with its humiliation and bitter agony, with its defeat and despair, to lift the crown from Satan’s brow and to cast him out of the throne room of the heart of a believer. Christ defeated him when he died for our sin, was buried, and arose again with the keys to death and hell, the key to the kingdom, the key of knowledge, the key of the bottomless pit, and the key to the Throne. Christ is the victor and we shall overcome this tempter and accuser by the blood of the Lamb shed on Calvary’s Cross.

Understand that this enemy that we face is motivated in his activities and his energies by pure evil. All his resources and powers are used only for evil purposes. He never moves to relieve or to bless anyone. He is a complete stranger to benevolence and compassion.

He uses men and demons to accomplish his work. Much of the evil we see in this world is blamed on mental illness, alcohol, drugs, prejudice, hatred, etc. The plain truth is that the devil is behind it in some way because he is the prince, the god of this sin cursed world. He is a tempter that is always tempting men to do evil. He is good at his job for he can make sin seem absolutely sinless. He works to make the world seem appealing and charming. He can make it seem as though self has great force on the earth. He can make faith out to be fanaticism and love to be hate. He has great influence in the lives of men by changing the truth of pure unadulterated lust into love in the hearts and minds of unbelievers. What most people call love in this day is not love; it is lust which is based in self and the flesh.

This enemy is an invisible unseen enemy, but he is a very real person. He can tempt men in such a way as to make them believe they are doing the right thing. He can infuse thoughts into the mind and make suggestions so that you cannot know their origins. He tempted Eve to take the forbidden fruit. He tempted David to number Israel, to have Bathsheba, and to conspire to murder Uriah. He caused Ananias and Sapphira to lie and to tempt the Spirit of God. He tempted Peter to deny Christ and then to go back to his old ways. He tempted Judas to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver. That is why we are so adamantly warned in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Keep your mind filled with clean and pure thoughts (Php 4:8), filled with the Word of God (Psa 119:11), filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18-21), and always be on guard and watch for his subtle implants. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 13

Your Adversary

1 Peter 5:8 ~ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

The name “devil” comes from the Greek word “diabolos” (dee-ab/-ol-os) which means “a slanderer; a false accuser.” The enemy we face is an arrogant, blasphemous accuser who works in different ways to overcome his intended target or prey and to defeat God‘s purposes. He works in the minds of men to implant thoughts against God. He leads men to deny the existence of God even when they can see the evidence of God’s existence. Through these implanted thoughts against God man’s hatred toward God and all that is godly intensifies. This has worked in our nation to destroy the foundations of faith and true worship.

Satan goes before God to make accusations against believers. He will insinuate and blacken godly character to try to lower God’s outlook on godly men. He is the most vile, vicious, and masterful slanderer. He is consistent in his attacks on all that is good, pure, holy, just, true, and righteous. He will never have anything good to say about the good and he will never say anything bad about the bad.

We pray for God’s protection over the church especially during our times of worship. Satan will have his minions there in the church before the preacher ever comes to the pulpit and before the people can sit in the pews. He is working to hinder the sower, to corrupt the soil of the heart before the seed can be sown into it, and to take away the seed before it can take root. When there is strong courage and faith in the pulpit, and there is great zeal of worship and prayer in the church, the attacks of Satan will be more vehement. If a church is dead in ritualism, stuck in the ruts of formalism, or alive in progressive liberalism, and proceeds to align with the worldly, he does nothing for they are no danger to him.

Satan works to do evil and to oppress men. Christ said that he can inflict sickness upon men in some cases. Physical and spiritual death came into the world because of sin and that by the sin of Adam (Rom 5:12 & 19). But Satan has the power of death because if he can keep men in the bondage of sin until they die, they face the second death and an eternal hell. He knows that is his eternal abode and as the old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Death is a fearful thing for those who do not have Christ as their Saviour. Christ overcame death and now holds the keys of death and of hell. Those who have Christ have this same victory and therefore have no fear of death.

When we look at the life of Job we can see all that the devil is doing to ruin the life of a true believer. He wants you to turn against God. If he cannot have your soul, he wants to take away your testimony and to keep others from following in your footsteps. He does not want God to have your fidelity or your worship. He does not want you to have the sweet fellowship of walking and talking with God every day. He is a miserable being at best and as we said, “Misery loves company.”

In the life of Job we see a work of horrendous magnitude take place. Job was a righteous man by God’s own testimony. The devil worked in the hearts and minds of the Sabeans to come in and kill Job’s servants and steal his oxen and mules. He was able to call down fire from heaven (lightening perhaps from the approaching storm) and killed all the sheep and all but one of the servants who were watching them. While all of this was going on the Chaldeans came and stole all his camels and killed the servants who were tending to them. Then the storm hit and a whirlwind (tornado) hit the house where all of Job’s children were at and killed them all. All of this was orchestrated by the devil to get this one man to stand and blaspheme God. But we are told in Job 1:22, “In all of this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

But the devil was not finished with Job. He had worked in the minds of men to attack Job, he controlled meteorological events, and now he brings sickness and disease upon Job’s body. He was struck from head to toe with great, painful boils. He worked in the mind of the wife of Job to cause her to tell Job to “…curse God, and die.” And again, we should learn from the life of this man for once again we are told in Job 2:10, “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” God will never allow the wicked one to bring against you more than you can handle or deal with. He is in control; trust Him. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

Week 48

December 2

Isaac The Type of Christ

Genesis 22:7-8 ~ And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

In Genesis Chapter 22 we find a very vivid type of God’s Plan of Redemption. In Isaac we see a portrait the Son of God. Isaac was the son of promise just as Christ was the Son of promise in Genesis 3:15. There we see the promise of the seed (singular form pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ) that would come to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus was the one who was promised to come and so was Isaac. In Isaac we see Christ the Son of the Living God.

Isaac was the obedient son just as Christ was the obedient Son, even unto death. Isaac could have easily overcome Abraham who would have been around 113-115 years old at this time. Though Abraham’s strength may have been somewhat abated, I do not believe him to be debilitated in any way. Isaac could have outrun his father, but instead he chose to go with him in humble obedience. Christ did not have to come and die on the Cross, but He was obedient to his Father’s will (Jn 4:34).

Isaac was given the task of carrying the wood up the mountain and Christ was the one who was tasked with carrying His Cross up Golgotha’s hill. Both would be the burden bearers of the wood upon which they would be offered in sacrifice. Christ came into this world to do this work and so He gladly bore His Cross because He knew it would be the fulfillment of God’s Plan of Redemption. He knew that if He went to the Cross that a multitude of souls would be saved, and that God would be magnified and glorified. He carried that Cross up that mountain looking for people to be saved by His death.

Isaac talked (prayed) to his father about what was to be done. The Lord Jesus also prayed to His Father about what was to be done. In the garden Jesus prayed that God would let Him live long enough to make it to the Cross because the devil had every intention to kill Christ in the garden without the Cross. Christ had no fear of the Cross; He was only afraid of not getting to the Cross. He prayed to His Father as Isaac also prayed to his father with a concern about the sacrifice that was to be on the altar. They were both concerned with the sacrifice being there at the right time.

Isaac willingly surrendered to what his father was doing upon Mt. Moriah and allowed himself to be bound and laid upon the wood. Nothing in Scripture ever points to his having to be forced into this task. Just as Christ willingly gave Himself to the cruel persecution and crucifixion, so Isaac willing allowed himself to be the sacrifice upon the altar. He was obedient to what his father wanted as Christ was obedient to the Father’s will (Jn 10:18).

In Abraham’s mind Isaac was dead for three nights and days. God told Abraham what He wanted him to do and the next morning he went to doing it. For three days they traveled until they came to the place that God had appointed. For that three nights and days Isaac was already dead in Abraham’s mind. He fully intended to do exactly what God told him to do; to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Christ died upon the Cross for our sin and then was in the grave for three nights and days.

Isaac was raised from the dead in a figurative sense (Heb 11:17-19), being a type of Christ who was literally and physically raised from the dead. Isaac, though he was already dead in Abraham’s mind, was given back his life when God stopped the execution of His order and provided a ram in his place. By the way, that is exactly what God did for you. He stayed the sentence of execution upon your life and allowed Christ to be the substitute to die in your place. Give God the praise He is so deserving of today for loving and caring for you the way He has, the way He does, and the way He always will do. AMEN! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 3

Dealing With Death Through Faith

Genesis 23:1-3 ~ And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.  3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,…

Abraham is a man of faith who lived a life of faith. He made mistakes and wrong choices in his life, but he corrected those choices when he was convicted by the LORD. There have been some very high times on the mountain tops and there have been some very low times when he was down in the valley. Through it all he has lived his life by his faith and trust in the Lord God of Heaven and earth. He proved his faith when he was willing to trust and obey the LORD in giving up his promised son as a sacrifice to God. There was nothing cruel about the demand of God; it was a test for Abraham so that he would know his standing and his state with God.

In this chapter we see Abraham going through the valley of the shadow of death as he says farewell to his life’s companion. He and Sarah had been through everything together in their life, and now this great man of faith must go through this valley without his soul mate. It is a part of life that we must all face even though we do not want to (Heb. 9:27). I get an uneasy feeling in my stomach if I try to imagine what this man was going through. I know what it is like to lose a parent because both of my parents are gone. But to go through what Abraham was going through here is something that I find extremely difficult to think about. If the Lord does not return first, either my wife or I will have to face this one day. I hope and I pray that it would not be her that is left here to face this situation. We all look forward to the day when we will never again have to bid farewell to a loved one. 

Abraham came to Sarah’s tent to mourn and to weep over her passing. No doubt he was heartbroken, and it is a natural thing to weep and mourn when a loved one passes away. It is okay to shed tears when a loved one steps out into eternity. Tears help to wash away the hurt of the heart. They cleanse the soul from the stain of the hurt. They help to cross over this tragedy and to move forward. They wash away the agony and remove the pressure of pain as an overflow relieves unwanted pressure. Tears over death are a needful ministry to the soul. When death has come and taken a loved one it is perfectly natural and okay to mourn, to grieve, and to weep over their passing. We find in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

It is then that Abraham arose from Sarah and began taking the steps to move forward with his life. Grief has a time, but that time must come to an end. There is a time when you need to begin moving forward from this tragedy and to do it in a positive and productive way. It is a natural and necessary thing to sorrow and to grieve over death, but sorrow that does not end is not godly sorrow. We as Christians do have sorrow in death, but it is not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Ths 4:13). We can rejoice in the death of a loved one when we know that a loved one has gone on to be with the Lord. But there is a process that leads to that time of laughter and dancing within the heart.

We start by trusting the Lord for the strength and the power to get through the grieving process. We lean upon Him and allow Him to comfort our hearts. We focus on the love of God for us and allow His Spirit to comfort us and to shed His love abroad in our hearts. Whether the death was a natural death or some sort of a tragedy, we lean upon and trust the Lord to give us the help that is needed. We mourn, we grieve, we weep, and then the time comes to get up and to move on. I have seen people mourn for years over the passing of a loved one and it is not healthy. It is not spiritually healthy, and it is not physically healthy. It robs them of the life that God wants them to have.

Is it okay to shed a tear from time to time? Yes, it is, if it does not keep you in a state of mourning and grief. Be thankful for the time that you had with them and praise the Lord for that time. Remember the good times you had with them and praise the Lord. Praising God for His goodness towards us will help take away the hurt. You can praise Him, for His merciful kindness toward you is great. When you praise Him with a grateful heart, you can praise the hurt away. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 4

A Picture of The Church

Genesis 24:4 ~ But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

In this chapter we find the search for the bride for Isaac. It is a chapter that is filled with a wonderful picture of salvation and of the Church. It begins with Abraham calling his servant and ordering him to go and find a bride for his son. Abraham is a picture in this chapter of God and His purpose. Just as God wants to bring a bride to His Son Jesus Christ, so Abraham wanted to bring a bride to his son. The Church is that bride that God has chosen for His Son.

In Isaac we see the heir of all that Abraham has, just as in Christ we see the heir of all things. We saw Isaac figuratively die and rise again in type just as Christ literally died and rose again. Christ humbled himself and became obedient to death and rose again for our justification. Now the Farther has exalted Him above measure (Php 2:8-9). God is pleased with His Son and it is in Him that all fullness should dwell (Col 1:19). It is in Him that the Bride shall find all and be satisfied. He became poor that we might have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. He made Himself just like us that He might know us and be a substitute for us. We are complete in Him.

In Eliezer we see the mission of the Holy Spirit in the world. This is the steward of Abraham’s house. He had authority in the house. He looked after the affairs of his master with great care. The Holy Spirit looks after the affairs of God with great care. Whatever the Father bids the Spirit to do He will do with great haste and proficiency.

Eliezer was sent by the Father to go and get a bride for his son. Our Lord Jesus told us in John 14:26 that it was the Father who would send the Holy Ghost after Christ had returned home. Christ returned to Heaven and the Holy Spirit came to indwell and to seal believers for the body of Christ; the Bride. He also came to convict of sin so that people could see their need for the Son. He calls people to a place of repentance so that they may become a part of the Bride.

He was sent by the Father and He was sent in the name of the Son. Eliezer went under direct orders of Abraham to do bidding for Isaac. The Holy Spirit comes to us in the name of Christ as the Spirit of Christ. In order to get into the Church, you must have the Spirit; those who do not are none of His (Rom 8:9). He did not come to speak for or of Himself, He came to speak of the Son and to show the believers the things of Christ (Jn 16:13-14). Eliezer went to show them the things of Isaac as he searched for the right bride. He did not speak of Himself; he spoke of Isaac.

In all this Eliezer is the perfect picture and the perfect type of the work of the Holy Spirit in calling out a Bride (the Church) for Christ. He did not come to do anything for Himself and all that He does is to point people to Christ. In the end He will have His task complete as He brings the Bride to the Son and presents Her to Him. Eliezer guided Rebekah all the way home and presented her to Isaac. What a picture of our entry into the presence of the Saviour. What a picture of the rapture of the Church when in complete assembly she will be presented to the Lord Jesus Christ. What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!

And then we see Rebekah as the chaste virgin bride for the Son. It was her decision whether she would or would not go with the servant. People have the choice of whether they will or will not come to Christ. She represents the church as the one called out by the Spirit of God and separated unto the name of Christ. The Spirit presents to us the Father’s will and the Son’s purpose. Then we must choose to either go with Him or not. He will force no person to go; we have the free will choice of going or not going.

Are you a part of the Bride; the Church? You must realize that your works and your merits will not get you into Heaven. You must be willing to repent and turn from your old life and to receive Christ as your Saviour. That means that you are accepting His sacrifice and merit in place of your own works and merit. You must accept the life He offers as the best choice for you. Receiving Christ is believing that He died for your sin in your place and that He rose again. To receive Him is to believe these things and to call upon Him and to ask Him to save you. He said if you will, He will save you, make you a part of the Bride, you will have a new life, and Heaven will be your eternal home (Rom 10:9-13). - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 5

Digging Wells

Genesis 26:(17-28) vs. 24-25 ~ And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.  25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.

Those who had wells in Old Testament times had a fortune. Wells were extremely vital to life and to livelihood. The Palestinians had filled in the old wells that Abraham had dug. Now Isaac was trying to re-open those wells. They were a source of fresh water that he and his livestock needed to sustain their life. It was also needed for any crops they may need to cultivate.

Well digging was not an easy job in those days. Today they can just drill a well with the greatest of ease. But back then they had to work to get a well that would produce good clean water. One well produced strife and another produced contention. Isaac just fell farther back and made room to dig another well.

Now here is a lesson that we need to learn. There are times that we must stand our ground, but there are times to leave it in God’s hands and let Him do the fighting. There is no time that we are to render evil for evil (1 Pt 3:9). Isaac chose very wisely to allow God to make provision and trust in His care.

A well was a source of blessing. We today should be well diggers just as was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. We should dig deep into the Scriptures to find the blessings of God that we need to sustain life. In the Word of God there are many sources of blessing. We see the provision of the LORD as he made room for them (v 22). He has made room for us by providing salvation in the atoning death of Christ. In the Gospel, God made room for us in His heart and in His home through His love for us. He is our provider for all that we need

We see also His promises as He appeared and promised to bless Isaac. The Bible says, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5). Isaac responded with meekness as he gave ground to those who caused strife and contention. In return God blessed Him and gave His Word and His promise of blessing (v 24). Christians are to respond to the strife and contention of the world in meekness (which is not weakness). In doing so God promised that they would inherit the earth. This is the promise of God and it will come to pass. There are many promises in the Word of God.

As you read, study, and meditate upon His Word you should look for the promises He has given; His presence, salvation, victory, power, security, deliverance, favor, etc. Isaac was moved to a place where He fully trusted the LORD. That place is where God wanted him to be so He could bless him. Be careful not to be headstrong in doing things because you have a right; you may miss out on being in the place where God wants to bless you.

When you dig into the Scriptures you find the provision of God, the promises of God, and you will find the presence of God. He told Isaac, “I am with thee” (v 24). When the world takes away some of our comforts we rely upon God and trust His provision, His promise, and His presence. Many times, when the world pushes on us, God will come along and bless us. We should always endeavor to be closer to Him because one of the promises He has given us is that when we do He will draw closer to us (Jam 4:8). He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). He will always be there even when it seems He is not.

We have also the power of the LORD in our life that the world may see His goodness upon us and give Him the glory. “They said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee” (v 28). We are not seeking our own; we are to seek the good of others. When we do so they will see the hand of God’s blessing upon us. Isaac trusted that God would supply all His need (Php 4:19). He was not looking for worldly favors; he trusted the promises of God. It was obvious that God was with him and others knew it (vs 26, 29). He was digging wells that would get him what he needed and the power of God upon Him brought the acknowledgment of the world that God was with him.

Be a well digger and dig into the well of God’s Word. It is a well of life that is more abundant and life that is eternal. It is a living well for the spirit and the soul. Follow and obey Its precepts and It will bless you physically, fiscally, and most importantly, It will bless you spiritually. It gives you all that you need to be secure, to mature, to be stable, and to prosper in this life. Dig into this well and find the water that will cleanse you, complete you, compel you, cure you, and communicate the love of God to you and to the world. You will find the blessings of God’s provision, promise, presence, and power within Its pages. It may be hard work, but the rewards are eternal. Start today and be blessed. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 6

 The Ladder, The Cross, and The Christ

Genesis 28:(10-22) vs. 12-13~ And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

In the middle of troubles God can be seen caring for His own. He delivered from the famine, pestilence, bondage, fire, the sword, the lions, and many other afflictions and cruel persecutions. But you will find that God allows things to happen to get people into a place where He can help, bless, and deliver by His power.

Sometimes it is so that He can bless them openly so that others can know Him, sometimes it is to get them into a place where He can use them, and sometimes it is to get people back on the right track. God opened the portals to Heaven for Stephen while he was being stoned to death. John was in exile on Patmos when God gave Him the Revelation of Jesus Christ which is the culmination of the whole of Scripture. It was after the sun had set upon Jacob that he saw the heavenly vision of the ladder which is a type of the Cross.

In this story we can see the sinner’s condition. Jacob is a terrified fugitive running for his life and he finds that he is surrounded by darkness. Notice that the night overtook him in a “certain place” (v 11). It is that place where God wanted him to be so that He could get Jacob back on the right track and so that He could bless him. It is that place where He leads lost souls to be so that they can see the light of Christ and receive the Gospel message; the saving knowledge of Christ. He is working to bring them to a place where they can find a true heart of repentance to turn to Christ for salvation.

We see Jacob wanted to be successful and to have that which he could gain for his own selfish desires. He was self-righteous, and he was deceiving himself. It was in the darkness of night that all he found was misery and despair. When darkness surrounds you look up to God. Do not be overwhelmed with the dread of despair. God is light and He is your hope. Look unto the hills from whence cometh your help; it comes from the LORD (Psa 121:1-2).

In the ladder in this story we see that there is only one way to Heaven which is the Way of salvation (Jn 14:6). It is a type of the Way which is Jesus Christ. It was set up upon the earth just as was the salvation of Jesus Christ through His Cross. It is the way of access for man because its top reaches up to Heaven. The Cross of Christ reaches the Throne of God. No man-made ladder can accomplish this; not works, religion, sacrifice, or anything else. Just as this ladder linked Heaven and earth and linked God to man, so the Cross of Christ is the Way that closes the gap between God and man and gains us access to Heaven.

The angels are sent to minister to those who are the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14). Those who have received Christ will have angels watching over them. They are quick to take advantage of the opportunity to be of service to God and to His children. It is a fulfillment of what Christ said in John 1:51. They are taking care of the affairs of Christ and His church as ministering spirits.

We see the sinner’s condition, the way of salvation, the ministering spirits, or angels, and the Gospel message of salvation. God is standing above the ladder and He reveals Himself and His will to Jacob. This is a picture and a foreshadowing of God in Christ, the way of salvation, which is God in Christ reconciling us unto Himself. God’s presence above the ladder is God’s acceptance and approval of Christ as the Way to Him.

This Gospel preached to Jacob had a threefold blessing: 1. Possession - he will inherit the land of promise. You are an heir to an inheritance among the saints in light. 2. Protection - He will keep him and protect him. God will keep you safe and has preserved you for all of eternity (Psa. 121) 3. Presence - God’s presence and protection are with him. To the Christian, God is ever present in His Spirit. He is there to keep you safe and to protect you (Psa 121). He protects from the world’s influence, the devil’s temptations and snares, and from your own deceptive flesh.

When Jacob awoke, he testified that this was a dreadful place. The Cross is a dreadful place for man, for God, and for Satan himself. He saw in that place that God was there, and he did not know it. To the sinner God is in Christ to reconcile man to Him and man does not realize it. For those who have received Him as their Saviour it is a dreadful place because the awful question of sin has been judged in Christ on the Cross. It is the House of God for it is a place of refuge and a place of safety for those who are in Christ. It is the gate of Heaven for Christ is the door into eternal life (Jn. 10:9).

Jacob there offered the sacrifice of praise as he raised a pillar to the glory of God. God blessed him through His grace. For the believer God is in the house and thus we can offer the sacrifice of praise through testimony, through song, and through worship. Your life should be a pillar and a monument of praise and worship to the God who has so graciously blessed you and given you life. You owe Him everything that you are or ever will be for His goodness and kindness toward you. What have you given Him today? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 47

 November 25

Use the Time of Refreshing To Build Faith

Genesis 21:33, 34 ~ And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.  34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Abraham had struck a deal and made a covenant with Abimelech. Abimelech wanted to be safe from this powerful man of God and Abraham wanted the life giving water of his well. During the times of peace and refreshing, when the storms have calmed down, it is good to build upon the promises of God. Building up your faith on His promises during these times will strengthen and help you to be more stable and secure in the storms. You can be steadied by God’s promises because God has given you His Word. There is no greater security in all the universes than the Word of the Living God.

If you have trusted and received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour then you have His eternal promise of eternal security. The Lord promised that all that came to Him He would not cast any out (Jn 6:37). He also promised us that we would never be left alone because He would never leave us nor forsake us (Deu 31:6 & Heb13:5). The promise is that He would never leave us. The reality is that He is with you right now as you read this. We have the Word of Almighty God that we are saved for ever because we have a know so salvation (1 Jn 5:13). The only kind of life that He gives is everlasting and eternal.

We have His promise of provision for all things. He has promised that we can get through all things with Christ (Php 4:13). He promises to supply all our needs according to His riches (Php 4:19). His riches will never run out. They are in an inexhaustibly vast supply. He arose from the dead and He lives and reigns forever. As long as He is living that supply shall never run dry. It is a promise of sweet refreshing to know that He is there to give us strength and supplies to sustain our life in Him.

Do not get caught up in what the world teaches. What the world calls need is mostly greed. I can go into a tool department and find a lot of things that I may say I need. But there is no true need; I just like to have tools because I can always find something to do with them. My wife and I have fun going round and round about what I do or do not need when we go to the tool departments in these large home supply stores. If there is a tool that I truly do need to do a job or project with, the Lord always sees to it that we have what we need.

Do we have what it takes to weather the storms when they come? You have the Spirit of God inside of you. That is the same Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2. That same creative power of God now indwells every born-again believer. He is the same One who came upon and empowered the men of God in the Old Testament to accomplish great feats for the glory of God. He is the same One who visibly came upon the Lord Jesus at His baptism. He is that part of God that God has given to every believer. He is that seal that cannot be broken. He is that power that quickened us and gave us new life in Christ. He is that Spirit of Christ that has given us resurrection power so that we never shall die. Through His power we can do all things great and small for there is nothing impossible with God (Php 4:13; Mt 19:26; Lk 1:37 & 18:27).

When we have these times of refreshing we should learn to worship God more, not less. Our life should be a life of worship. Worship is to bring honor to God by the way that we live. We live by faith; trusting in the Word and the promises of God every day and all the way. I live by faith which means that I trust Him to give me the ability to work and provide for my family. He gives me skills to do a job and then opens the door for a job where I can use those skills that He has given me. That provides the needs of my family and it is all by His grace and blessing. I therefore live my life in such a way as to keep His commandments and let others know of His great love that He has for all men. I pay homage to Him in private worship every morning, in public worship at church with my heavenly family, and by letting my light shine and being the salt of the earth throughout every day of my life

My Father loves me with a sacrificial, selfless, unconditional, infinite love. His promises are near and dear to my heart. They are there to sustain me in the troublesome times as well as those times of peace, calm, and refreshing. They will carry me through the storms, over the mountains, through the battles, and through the long dark nights when it is just me and Him. You should learn to take advantage of the times of refreshing in your life to get closer to God and to build up your most holy faith. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 26

Worship Is Submissive

Genesis 22:2-3 ~ And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

In Bible study there is a principle known as “The Law of First Mention.” When you study a subject, a word, or a doctrine you go to the place where it is first mentioned and understand the simplicity of it. Once you understand the simplicity of it you can get a better understanding of it in all of its complexities.

Here is verse 5 we see the first mention of the word “worship”. It comes from the Hebrew word “shachah (shaw-kaw/)”. It means to depress or to prostrate; to bow down, fall down, do obeisance, do reverence, etc. We get the English word worship from the Anglo-Saxon word “weorthscipe” which means “worth ship”. This means to “ascribe worth to a person or object”. Therefore, worship means to give to God all of our love, attention, and devotion because He is worthy of all of this and so much more. In the New Testament the Greek word “proskuneo (pros-koo-neh/-o)” which means “to kiss; like a dog licking his master’s hand”. It is to kiss the hand of the Master with reverence and devotion. This gives us the meaning of absolute love with complete trust and devotion.

Many think that worship is only done when we go to church but that is not true. They believe that going to church, singing the songs, bowing for prayer, and listening to the preacher is true worship. But worship is what we do every day. How we live out the things that we claim to believe is worship. It is having the walk that matches the talk. It is living a life that brings honor to our Father in Heaven.

The source of worship is always guided by the Word of God. It will be based on clear revelation and our faith in that revelation. In verses 1-14 of this chapter we find that God has made a request of Abraham that is very hard and unbelievable. He is asked to take his son, the son of promise, and to sacrifice him to God as a burnt offering. In just a few moments we can read all of these verses and see that God was only testing Abraham and that he did not have to sacrifice Isaac upon the altar. But Abraham did not know the end of the story when he started out. But he did exactly as he was told to do. God revealed Himself to Abraham and he responded to that revelation in faith.

God reveals Himself to us in His Word and we respond to His revelation humbling ourselves before Him is complete and total reverence, obedience, and adoration. Genuine Scriptural worship is all that I am responding to all that God is as He is revealed in His Word. When you understand Who God is and what He has done for you, you must worship Him in response to that revelation with all that you are in humility, gratefulness, and utter reverence. It is an attitude of the heart towards God, not a response to the atmosphere. We worship God in our spirit when we respond to His revelation of Himself in His Word as Christ said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Genuine worship is submissive. God’s command to Abraham was hard but it was clear (v. 2). Abraham was no doubt sick at his stomach over what he had to do, but he immediately went to doing what God told him to do. He did not argue, beg, or look for a way out of it. God was precise and clear in His Word to Abraham and Abraham was humble and submissive in His obedience to the Word of God. He had walked with God when things were going well and now, he was going to walk with God when things did not look so good. He trusted God to fulfill His promises to give him a family that would outnumber the stars in the sky and the grains of sand upon the seashore. He believed it would still come from Isaac, even if he were dead.

A heart that is given to true worship is a heart that will obey in all circumstances and not just when it is convenient. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Your submissive obedience to the Lord your God and to His Son Jesus Christ is proof of your love for Him. So, your source of worship is the revelation of God in His Word, and your response is your faith in that revelation. It is your submission to what He gives you to do in His Word. Therefore, your worship of God is what you are more than it is what you do. You do what you do because of what you are. Your submission and obedience to God and His Word is your worship of God.

 

November 27

Worship Is Sacrificial

Genesis 22:2, 9 ~ And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, …; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

Genuine worship is based upon the Word of God and it is submissive to the will of God. But genuine worship also requires sacrifice. Abraham was willing to give up his only son because he loved the LORD. Isaac was the greatest blessing that Abraham had next to his relationship with God. Abraham was going to do as God commanded because he loved God more than anything else; even more than his son. It was a great sacrifice required in his worship life and he was willing to do it to be obedient and submissive to God.

Those who worship the Lord in spirit and truth will sacrifice in their worship. David said, “… neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Sam 24:24). The wise men came to the Christ child and humbled themselves before this infant sacrificing their pride, their glory, and their treasure. In John 12 we find that Mary was also willing to sacrifice her pride, her glory, and her treasure to worship the Lord Jesus. In the book of Hebrews we find that the Bible tells us that worship is a sacrifice (13:15).

It costs something to worship the Lord. It takes time to offer to God the praises that are due Him. It takes time to get to know God through His Word in Bible study and time spent in prayer. You must know the truth if you are going to worship in truth. Taking the time to know God will bring you to a place where you must place all on the altar; pleasures, secret sins, etc. Many people do not genuinely participate in worship because they do not lay everything upon the altar. True worship requires you to give your all. 

You may lose some prestige with family, friends, and society by giving yourself to worship. How do you think Sarah would have responded to this call of God if she had known? Would she understand? To please the Father in the exercise of worship is infinitely more important than to receive the approval of family and friends. It is far greater and better than the praise and accolades of society.

It will even cost you treasure as God may require of you to give to others. Whether it be food, money, clothes, or whatever God may put into your heart to give, this too is a part of worship. Christ gave His all for us and as Christians we are to give our all to Him. We do that by giving to support our church and those who are in need. It could be that all they need is a shoulder to lean upon in sad times. It could be encouraging others when they are going through trials. It could be to love and help someone who seems unlovable, even your enemies (Mt 5:44).

We also are to give ourselves in the endeavor of reaching the lost for Christ. Helping others can be done through sharing Christ with them. How can a person come to a place of true repentance if they do not hear a clear presentation of the Gospel? A part of worship is telling others about Christ. In true and genuine worship God is honored and you are blessed! Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

To worship God, you must submit to Him; to give yourself to Him first. Have you truly given your all to God? Does He reign Supreme in your heart; in your life? He must be Preeminent which means that you put Him first in every way. The only way you can truly learn to put God first in every way is to learn to put Him first in every day. It is then that you can willfully, joyfully, and cheerfully give your all to the Lord your God. You are His child and you desire to give yourself to Him and for Him. The closer you are in submission and sacrifice the less it will seem like sacrifice. Give all that you are, or ever will be, and you will give all that you have or ever will have for the glory of your Father and for the cause of Christ your Saviour. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 28

Worship Is Steadfastness

Genesis 22:8-9 ~ And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.  

You must be steadfast in your worship practices. Abraham had built altars and worshipped God most every place that he went. He always had a place where he could worship God. We too are to have a place where we can worship God. Abraham was submissive, sacrificial, and now he was steadfast in his worship. God was preeminent in his life and he believed that God would keep his promises through Isaac, even if he had to raise him from the dead to do it. He believed “IN” God and his faith kept him steadfast in his worship practices, even when it was to cost him something.

You must be a part of a local body of believers who will come together to worship the Lord. Your church exists to help you exalt Christ in worship. They are there to enrich your heart through fellowship. They are there to empower your life through the teaching of God’s Word. But your church is there for you to also put these things into practice. The church allows you to help others to exalt Christ, to enrich them with your fellowship, and to empower believers by teaching them what you have learned. Together you all embrace the needs in the church and that ultimately will flow out into your community.

You must be a part of reaching your community for Christ. While you are embracing the needs of others in your community you can evangelize them for Christ. We are to be the light of the world; the light of the Gospel. We are to let our light shine that others may see our good works and God will receive the credit and the glory. The closer we walk to the Lord the brighter our lights will shine and the more impact we will have on the world around us for Christ.

You must be a part of ongoing efforts to carry the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. You and I may not be able to travel to the remote regions of the earth to tell others about Christ, but we can support those who have been called of God to do so. That is our missionary family; families who worship God through their submission, sacrifice, and steadfastness to carry the Gospel to a lost and dying world. They are the ambassadors who stand between the living and the dead. They are the light of the Gospel and we support their work through our faith promise giving as we partner with our missionary families.

You must be steadfast to worship in private; to have a family altar and a family prayer time. Abraham left the men behind and took his son to go and worship with him. Steadfast worship is not something done only when others are watching. Wherever you go, whatever you do is a part of your worship life. It is all the more important to instill this worship ethic in your family. So lead them in a devotion, a prayer, and song for the Lord. Not just at church, but at home or wherever you are. There is no recreational or vacation time that should take away from your family worship time.

You must have a quiet place to get alone with the Lord. Jesus said to enter your “closet” where you can pray in “secret” (Mt 6:6). That is where we get our “prayer closet” term from. Every person should have a “prayer closet” where they can get alone with God every day.

Many people miss out on the blessings of God because they are not steadfast in their worship practices. They do not practice worship in the good times, and therefore do not know how to worship in the bad times. Abraham had just spent time refreshing himself and getting closer to God while all was calm. He spent his time there in worship (21:33).

When you are steadfast in your worship practices you can have peace in your heart during the times of trouble. You will see Who is in control when the storms are raging, when the valleys are dark, and the nights are long. You will know that God is in control even though it looks like there is no end in sight. Even when you do not understand what God is doing, such as with Abraham, you can still bow the knee before Him and trust Him to be in control. To worship in spirit and in truth your worship must be is based upon the Word of God, it must be submissive to the will of God, it will be sacrificial, and you will become steadfast. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 29

Worship Is Separation

Genesis 22:5 ~ And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

To worship in spirit and in truth your worship must be based upon the Word of God. It must be submissive to the will of God, it must be sacrificial, and you must be steadfast. But to worship God you must also be separated from the world. Abraham arrived at the place of worship and separated himself from those around him. He wanted no hindrances to his worship. God has said that we are to come out from among the unbelieving world and He would be our Father and we would be His children (2 Cor 6:17-18). Our salvation is being called out of the world. Our situation is that we must live in the world. Our separation is that we do not have to be a part of the world nor take part in what they do. Our service is that we are sent back into the world to be a Gospel witness for Christ (Jn 17:6, 11, 14, 17, 18).

If we do not separate from the world and all worldliness we cannot worship as we ought. You cannot worship in spirit and truth if you are entangled in the world. The Bible teaches that we are to not be bonded or yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:13-16). We are to separate from those who do not believe the truth of the Word of God. The reason is that we will become like them and our fellowship with God and our worship life will be ruined.

God repeatedly told Israel to separate from the heathen nations and drive them away or they would become just like the them. They did not do what God said and they became idol worshipers bowing to the same gods that the pagans worshipped. God said that light and darkness have no communion together. Many times I have seen this passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians Chapter Six ignored and every time I have seen good Christian people lose their testimony and have their lives ruined. Their worship of God ceased in most instances because even though God warned them, they still blamed Him when their lives fell apart.

Remember that the way we live our life is a part of our worship, but there are times when we need to get alone with God so that we can just worship Him. We must get away from the world so that we can just focus on God and be alone and at one with Him. Many are too busy in their lives to take special time out to get alone with God. But I have learned in my life that the busier I am the more I need Him. When you let the world dictate your worship life you are contaminated, and your heart is not in the right place. You become like the seed that fell among the thorns and was choked out when the thorns grew up; you have let the cares of this world rob you of your fellowship with God. We all need one on one time with God in worship. 

A genuine life of worship that is submissive, sacrificial, steadfast, and separated is a life that is secure in the Lord. We can worship the Lord our God in spirit and truth because we trust Him for the outcome of every situation. If it looks like things are not going to end well, trust the Lord and just praise His name. He has a reason and a purpose for everything that happens. In this life that we live we know that bad things happen to good people. Sickness, disease, even death will come into the Christian’s life, but we can still worship God because He is in control; whatever happens has His divine approval. There is nothing that will come against you that God has not approved. It has a divine purpose even when we do not understand what that purpose may be.

We are secure in Him so we can give Him all the glory, honor, and praise. We worship the God of all creation and He alone decides what will happen in every situation. He is the Sovereign God who is the Living God who is the God above all gods. There is none other! Abraham went up the mountain to worship because he had faith that even if Isaac were dead, yet he must live. He was the promised child through whom the nation of Israel would come. Abraham had God’s Word on this and so he was secure in his worship towards God.

We know that no matter how bad it may seem or how bad it may get, we are in the Master’s hands. In His hands you have the hope and the security of a home in Heaven. You have His Word on this! You who know Christ as your Saviour can worship God because you can be secure in your salvation. You now possess the gift of eternal life and Heaven is your home because it depends on Christ and the power of God (Rom 6:23b; 1 Jn 5:13; 1 Pt 1:5).

To truly and genuinely worship God you must live a separated Christian life and be secure in the fact that God is in control of every situation that you face in life. You can trust Him because you have His Word. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 46

November 18

God Is Faithful and Just

Genesis ~ 21:1-2 ~ And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.  2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah and gave them the son that He had promised to them twenty-five years earlier. God blessed them in a way that only God could take the credit for it. God’s timetable does not run on our schedule. God is faithful and just to fulfill His Word even when we cannot see the possibility of it ever coming to pass. Sarah was well past the days of childbearing and yet God kept His promise He gave her a baby, protected her and the child through the pregnancy and the birth, and little Isaac came into the world. He is in the lineage of the Saviour who was to come and save man from his sin. That promise to Abraham and Sarah is just as important to you and I as it was to them. If God had not been faithful and just to keep His Word to them, He would have failed to keep His Word to us. But Abraham kept his faith in the One who is faithful and just to keep His Word and to fulfill His promises.

God is faithful and just to absolve our sin debt in Christ. We were guilty sinners before a holy and just Judge when we broke His law. We were condemned to the curse of the law which is death. We committed the crime, but Christ did the time. When we broke the law it was Christ who fulfilled the law in our place. He kept the law when He walked on the earth. But when we stood condemned to death by the law it was Christ who took our place and paid the debt of death that we owed. He fulfilled the sentence of the law in your place in death. He was separated from God and He tasted death so that you and I would not have to. He died so that we might live. Salvation is deliverance from the law and its penalty of death and a bestowal of everlasting life and happiness. This we have because God is faithful and just in fulfilling His promise to Abraham.

God is faithful and just to help us to abstain from sin. When you are saved God gives to you His Holy Spirit as a down payment and a seal of the eternal inheritance that we have in Christ (Eph 1:13-14). We will be fully delivered from the effects of sin when our physical bodies are redeemed and glorified. But for now, we have the power of the Spirit who gives us the power to live a victorious life over temptation and sin. You should have a desire to abstain from all sin because of what Christ did for you on Calvary. He was the innocent One who died for your guilt and shame. He took your place in death so that you could live. You should want to abstain from sin because of what He is doing. He is your heavenly intercessor with the Father to always intercede as your advocate or lawyer. He is always there to watch out for your benefit in trying to get the very best for you. When you ask for something, He will put in a good word for you with God. The power to overcome temptation and sin is the promise of God to those who believe on and trust in Christ for their salvation (Jn 1:12-13). We have this power because God is faithful and just in fulfilling His promises to us.

You are to live by faith in the promises of God and not by sight. If Abraham had lived by sight he would have given up any and all hope of ever having a son with Sarah. In his mind of reasoning he could not produce a child because he had now reached the age of 99. In his reasoning Sarah could not conceive because at the age of 90 she was well past the years of childbearing. But God promised and God delivered because He is faithful and just to keep His Word. Abraham believed in God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness. Abraham kept his faith and his belief in God even though there were times that He failed God. Yet his faith is what God saw and his faith moved God’s heart to care for Him.

God sees your faith and is moved with compassion toward you. He sees you as His child today and He expects great things of you. As you go out into the world today remember that you are His child and He is your Father. Tell others about Him and share with them the Gospel of Christ. Share the blessing of life that you have in Christ so that others can know and share in that same life. God is worthy of every tongue that will come to accept and praise Him. He has been and always will be faithful and just toward you. Are you living a life that is faithful and just towards Him? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 19

Accept the Reality of Your Passing

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Here we see that there is a conflict between Ishmael, the son of the flesh, and Isaac, the son of promise. In this we can see some things that may help us to understand the conflict that exists between the flesh and the spirit. Understanding the conflict can help us to have victory over the flesh.

Ishmael was born by the power of the flesh to Abraham while Isaac was born of and by the power of God through faith. Ishmael represents the natural man born of a woman and Isaac represents the new man of the Spiritual birth which is salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Abraham’s faith had brought him the promise of God and that brought glory to God.

When a new Christian tries to live by faith there is a conflict that goes on within. It is a conflict of the flesh and the spirit. The spirit is willing to live the new life that we receive in Christ while the old nature tries to continue as before. The flesh wants to reign over the body as it always has while the spirit wants to follow Christ and the life that He has given to us. As we begin to live and walk by faith, we find that there is that old nature of the natural man that bucks against what we want to do. Just as Ishmael was mocking and making fun of Isaac, so the old nature taunts and mocks the new desires of our spirit.

The new desires of the spirit are those that the Spirit of God cultivates within us. He is in direct link with your spirit and wants to lead you in the paths of righteousness while the flesh wants to remain wild and carefree. Why is this so? Because before you were saved you fed the old flesh nature every day. You allowed the old nature to rule and reign in your life and were content with the way it wanted to live. The flesh wants to take the path of least resistance and to remain in control of the body. The flesh knows that the new nature wants to dethrone the old nature and to allow Christ to rule and reign in the heart and in the body. In your spirit you want to give control to the Spirit of Christ, but the flesh knows that would mean it would have to die.

So the old nature must be dealt with if you are going to have victory over the flesh. This victory must be won daily, and you must master the art of defeating the flesh so that you can have victory in other areas of your life. If you do not find victory over the flesh you are vulnerable to the devil and the world. Without this victory you may fall by the wayside and fall prey to the power of the flesh. It is like the parable of the seed where the seed that grew on stony ground did not have much root and when the heat of trials came the new plant faded away. Or the seed that fell among the thorns and grew up only to be choked out by thorns. Without victory over the flesh you could be choked out by the cares of the world. You must defeat the flesh daily.

You must accept the reality of your passing. You are saved by grace by the power of God. Your old nature must be put out; it must be put to death. Abraham is told to cast out the son of the flesh. This is the beginning of victory over the flesh. You must crucify the flesh daily. Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Cor 15:31). Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk 9:23). "Deny himself, and take up his cross" is the same as casting out the flesh, crucifying it, and that being done “daily”. If you are not dead to self, you are not dead to sin.

Death changes things. A dead man cannot get up and do the things that he has always done. He is bound by the confines of death and therefore he cannot speak as he once did, he cannot do as he once did, he cannot think as he once did, so he cannot sin as he once did. Death has changed the condition of what you used to be. You must be dead to the flesh and to self. Dethrone the old nature and allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to have preeminence in your heart and in your daily life. Accept the reality of your passing and move forward in your new life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 20

Accept the Reality of Your Position

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

As you move forward in your Christian life you must accept the reality of your position. In Christ you have been born again as a saint. Your position now is in Christ, placed there the moment you were saved. You have a new placement in life which is that Spiritual baptism, that adoption into the family of God. You have a new participation in the family to honor and bring glory to God your Father by living a life of faith.

Just as Christ was raised from the dead on that third day so you have been raised to new life in Christ. You were dead in trespasses and sins. But you have believed and received the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. You have received His salvation. Your old nature is dead in the mind of God; He sees you in Christ. This means that He sees you dying for and in your sin when Christ died on the Cross. He now sees you as He sees Christ; risen to live forever. You are now a child of God and the Word of God gives you the assurance of knowing that you have eternal life (1 Jn 3:2; 5:13; & Rom 6:23b).

You have been given the gift of eternal life; you shall not taste of death. Your body may die and go to the grave, but your soul will live on eternally. When your soul leaves your body, it will immediately be in the presence of the Lord. Death is just an experience of stepping into the eternal glory of Almighty God for a true believer. Death has no hold on you who are in Christ. The grave has no hold on your body, for it will rise again just as Christ arose. You are now an eternal child of God in a body of flesh that will one day be changed into an immortal, incorruptible, eternal body (1 Cor 15:53-57 & 1 Ths 4:13-18).

Just as you were once in Adam you are now in Christ. You once lived by sight accepting only what you could see as real. You lived by feelings going with the way things felt. You lived by the physical, seeking those things which made you feel good and rejecting those things that did not.

Now, in Christ, you must live by faith. You must learn to accept what the Word of God says by faith. Faith is not based upon feelings; it is based upon what God tells us in His Word. Having complete dependence on what God has done brought you salvation. Having complete dependence on what God has said gives you assurance. 

Once you accept the reality of your passing you learn to put away the old nature and to follow the new nature. Once you accept the reality of your position you learn to live and walk by faith in your new life in Christ. Once you learn these two things you are ready to deal with the flesh and you are ready to be more than a conqueror. You will be in a position to live a life of victory over the weaknesses of the flesh every day.

You have a choice to allow your flesh to rule or to allow the Spirit to rule in your heart. You have the power to dethrone the old nature of the flesh. You have the power to inaugurate God as preeminent in your heart and in your life; allowing the Spirit of God to lead, guide, and direct your thoughts, words, and conduct. The choice is yours to make today and every day. Have you made that choice today? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 21

Accept the Reality of Your Potential

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Now you must learn to accept the reality of your potential. You now possess eternal life. It is not something that you receive at the end, it is a present possession. You have great power afforded you because you have all sufficiency in Christ. That means that whatever you need to live a life of faith and victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil is yours. If God asks you to do something it is because He has already made provision for you to do it. He will not ask you to do something that He knows you cannot do. He will not ask you to live a way that you cannot live. Most of the time people just do not want to do what the Bible says.

Here is a rhetorical example: There was a lady who went to her pastor and asked, “Can you show me in the Bible where it says that we have to go to church all the time?” He looks at her and says, “If I show you in the Bible that it says you are supposed to go to church all the time, will you be in every service?” She answered, “Probably not.” “Then it does not matter what the Word of God says,” he exclaimed, “you are not going to do what He says.” The Bible says as we see the day of the Lord approaching, we are to stand fast, attend church, and encourage one another more than we ever have before (Heb 10:23-25). It also says that the church is so important to God that HE shed HIS blood for the church in allowing HIS only begotten Son to die for it (Acts 20:28).

Many times Christians are just not willing to do what the Bible says to do and use the excuse that they cannot do it. Many times they convince themselves that they cannot do anything and that they will just stay on the sidelines praying. Prayer is great, prayer is essential, and prayer warriors are needed, but do not fall into the trap of disobedience by doing what you were not appointed to do. If you can get up and do, then you need to pray about it and then get up and do it.

You must accept the reality of your potential. In Adam you were spiritually dead which means that you had no real life at all. But in Christ you have been raised to life from the dead. And in this new life you have been given a divine purpose from God. That purpose is to live to the fullest of your potential in Christ. Your life is to be lived by faith which brings God glory and honor. Just as a well behaved and respectful child who accomplishes great things honors his or her parents, so we are to live in a way that would honor God our Father. What He says to do, you do in full assurance that He will give you all that you need to accomplish what He says. What He says not to do you stay away from in full assurance that it will not be good for you or for others.

Faith is the victory and faith comes by hearing the Word of God. You must know the Word of God in order to be obedient to the Word of God. Sit under the teaching and the preaching, read, study, meditate, and allow it to take deep root in your heart. Then you will be able to reach your full potential for Christ. Then you will be able to live the victorious life of faith and blessing.

Accepting the reality of your passing, accepting the reality of your position, and accepting the reality of your potential will give you great power to accomplish great things for God. You have no excuse to sit on the sidelines while the work of the Lord is going on. God has given you everything you need to live the life of faith and blessing and to have all power to do whatever He has said in His Word. Many who take to the sidelines are deceived, weak, and indifferent. You are a child of God and you must live as a child of God. Live with power, in the reality of your passing, in the reality of your position, and live up to your full potential. God will show you great and mighty things that you would otherwise never see. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 22

Use the Times of Refreshing to Get Closer

Genesis 21:33-34 ~ And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.  34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

There are a lot of troubles that we have to endure in the Christian life. But the truth is that living life in a sin cursed world is just plain hard to do. Job said, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1). We have a relatively short time on this earth and a lot of that time is spent trying to carve out a life. There are storms to endure, battles to be fought, valleys to go through, and a lot of long nights for the soul to endure. These things that a Christian must endure are the building blocks of life. God does not revel in the suffering of His people. He is allowing things to come against us to make us better and stronger. He is conforming us into the image of His Son because we are His children (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 4:17-18). The trials, the troubles, and the tribulations that we face are building and molding our character. Our faith is increased and we are made stronger by going through these troubles.

It seems really hard at times and there just does not seem to be any end in sight. But the truth is that the Lord does give us a time of peace and rest here and there along the way. He makes it possible for us to "… lie down in green pastures…" and to pass by "… the still waters." He gives us these times as a time of refreshing and we need to be thankful for these times and to use them wisely. Just as the storms of life are allowed to build and strengthen us, so too are these times of refreshing sent into our lives for growth, strength, and maturity into the likeness and character of Christ.  

In verses 22-31 we find a deal that is made between Abraham and Abimelech over a well. Wells were of vital importance to those who lived like Abraham. His life and his livelihood were dependent upon having a good supply of good water. In this transaction Abraham set seven ewe lambs apart as witness that the well belonged to him. He called the name of that place Beersheba which means the "well of the sevenfold oath" and completed the transaction of the deal that Abimelech made with Abraham. Abraham settled down by this well and enjoyed this place of rest and refreshment in his life.

When you are in the storm it can be hard to concentrate on your walk with the Lord. But in the times of rest when all is calm you need to take advantage to draw closer to the Lord and strengthen your relationship with Him. If you would learn to draw closer to the Lord when all is well and good, then you will find it is not near as hard to in the storms. You must use these times of refreshing to feed your soul and to get closer to God. You must use these times to develop your daily walk so that in troubles you do not have to struggle to find the right path and the right direction. Using these times to build your relationship with God will ease the burdens of the trials when they come.

 You can use the times of calm to get closer to the Lord by spending more time in prayer. God desires communication with His children and prayer is that time of communication. Spend more time in Bible study through reading, meditating, and letting His Word take deep root in your heart. Make sure that all sins are confessed and forgiven. This is that place of closeness that will allow you to feed and strengthen yourself for the storms that will come. If you wait until everything falls apart to try to get closer to God, you will find unnecessary difficulties. This is a life that can maintain consistent growth and will bring honor and glory to your Father. Job spent time with the Lord when all was calm. When the storms came into his life he called upon God. As hard as it was for him, imagine how hard it would have been without that close relationship.

When you learn to use the times of refreshing wisely you will find that you are not so easily blown off course when the storms come. The disciples walked with the Lord every day. They had a close relationship with Him. When the storm came upon them on the sea the Bible says the wind was contrary to them. They were trying to cross to the other side and yet the wind was blowing them toward the way they came from. The easy thing would have been to just quit and go back. But they continued against the wind. Then the Lord came along and joined them. He stilled the storm and they made it to the other side. They used their times of refreshing to get closer to the Lord and they were not easily blown off course in the storm when it came upon them. Use your times of refreshing to get closer to the Lord. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

 WEEK  45

November 11

The Ministry of A Servant

Genesis ~ 18:6-8 ~ And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.  7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and: he hasted to dress it.  8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

We see the swift response that Abraham made but we also see the supplication in his worship. He was a man who had servants to wait upon him and now he makes himself a servant to these divine travelers. He makes supplication and asks them to stay and be his company. He brings them the things that they need to clean up and refresh themselves as they rest under the tree. There are two things you should make note of here: first, you should be ready to help those who are truly in need “… for thereby some have entertained angels” (Heb 13:2). Second, and most important, even though the Lord is always with you, there should be a deep-seated desire to be closer to Him and to have Him closer to you. He has given His word that if you would draw closer to Him that He would draw closer to you (Jam 4:8).

His mindset allows him to be swift in his worship of the Lord. He makes supplication in his worship for them to stay a while. Then He offers the sacrifice of his possessions in adoration. He is trying to be pleasing to the Lord and to have a place in His heart. He offers them bread and then He goes to his cattle and offers the best of what he has. In this we see a picture of what it takes to come before the Lord and to be pleasing in His sight; it requires that blood be shed. After the blood is shed Abraham gives of the best he has to the Lord. 

We are to offer the Lord a place in our hearts in our salvation. We open the door of our heart and invite the Lord Jesus Christ to come in and take up residence (Rev 3:20). It took a blood sacrifice for us to have the Lord in our heart. Once saved you must make a daily commitment to give yourself to the Lord. He has given you the gift of life because He loves you and all He wants in return is for you to love Him back. The Bible says, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He proved His love by taking our punishment in our place so that we could be delivered from the bondage of sin. That alone should move you to praise and worship Him in all that you do. That alone should compel you to go above and beyond that which is your reasonable service. We are His but He gives us liberty to choose. What have you chosen? Are you a living sacrifice before the Lord or do you live your own life (Rom 12:1-2)? Where would you be today if He had not saved you and gave you a new life (2 Cor 5:17)? 

God does not want your possessions, God wants you! He wants to have a Father and child relationship with you. He paid a great price to free you from the bondage of sin that kept you from being in His presence. Abraham offered the best of what he had, but really and truly he was offering himself to the Lord. The water to wash with and the food to eat was all a part of his proving his love to the One who had proven His love to him. He was saying to the Lord, “All this I give to Thee because of all that Thou hast given me.” And the Lord was pleased with the ministry of Abraham as will be seen later in this chapter.

He is swift in his worship, he makes supplication in his worship, and he offers the sacrifice of his possessions in worship, and then stands before the Lord and waits upon Him. He is waiting in preparation to serve and to be at the beckoning call of the Master. We are supposed to wait upon the Lord, but not sit idly by sleeping and slumbering (Pro 6:6-11 & 24:30-34). The Bible has given us a work to do. We have the revealed will of God in His Word that we can be doing as we wait upon the Lord to give us a specific purpose or task.

Waiting denotes service. Just as a waiter or waitress serves your table, you are to wait upon the Lord. It means to be baptized after salvation, to be an active member of a church, to read your Bible daily, to study, meditate, and memorize Scripture, and to serve in whatever capacity you can in the church. You are to keep yourself above reproach and away from the very appearance of evil so that you can be a right example for others to follow. You serve Him when you have an open heart, open hands, and outstretched arms for those who are in need. You do show forth the love of God in Christ when you look to the needs of others.

All in all, you are to seek after God’s purpose for your life. As you may be in waiting for the Lord to reveal His will and purpose for you, you are to serve Him whenever and wherever there is an opportunity for you to do so.  This is the ministry of a servant in worship. Worship of the Lord is your way of life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 12

The Prevailing Patience of a Saint

Genesis ~ 18:9, 10 ~ And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.  10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Abraham is a faithful servant of the LORD. He has held on to the promise of a son and though that has not yet happened, he patiently waits upon the LORD to fulfill that promise to him. God here reminds Abraham that he will indeed have a son and that time has now come. God knew that Abraham would be a faithful servant and would train his children in the nurture and the admonition of the LORD (vs. 18-19).

Many do not have the patience that is required to receive the promises of God unless they are to receive them now. That is one of the things wrong with our society today; they want it, and they want it now. They have no patience to work and wait for the greater blessings of the Lord. You must patiently endure, but especially when the temptation arises to throw in the towel. Just hold on for the Lord is faithful and He will never fail you.

Abraham had laughed for joy when the LORD assured him of the promised son that was to come from Sarah. But this time He tells Abraham that this is the time for the promised son to come so that Sarah can hear it for herself. She had heard Abraham tell her what the LORD had promised but now she hears it from the Incarnate Christ’s own lips; “Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Now she laughs, maybe for joy of the thought that this might be true, but more so of doubt. How can she think to conceive at her age? How can this be? It would be impossible for her to conceive, and even more impossible to go through the labor of childbirth at her age.

We must remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord our God. He who spoke the worlds into existence, He who made the human body and gave it life, can He not do this which He has promised to do? The only thing that will keep God from doing the impossible is our unbelief. We are warned in Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Do not let impatience impede your faith in the promises of God. This is what will cause unbelief to come into your heart and unbelief will keep you from the greater blessings of the Lord.

The closer you walk with the Lord the greater your relationship with Him. It is better to walk with Him in a close daily abiding for many reasons. But the main thing is to have that bond of love with the Father that He desires to have with you. It is that bond that will get prayer heard because you know the will of the LORD (1 Jn 5:14-15). So many people are so busy today that they just do not spend very much time talking with God. When trouble comes into their life and they really need to get their prayers heard and answered, they do not know what to do or how to do it.

Those who read their Bible every day (listening to God) and pray every day (talking to God), will find that they can go to God with whatever requests they have, and God will hear and consider their requests. They know what to do and how to do it. It is easier to go to God with a need when you are in constant communication with Him. It is like a child that never speaks to the parent. When they have a need it is very hard for them to approach the parent because they do not have regular communication. It is like going to the bank and asking for a loan; will I get it, or will I not get it? How do I approach them? What do I need to say?

With God it is not so if you stay close to Him every day. He wants to hear, and He wants to answer your prayers. He loves you and His desire is to have constant communication with you daily. Do not neglect that relationship. Work to have that closeness, that bond, that rapport with the Lord from a close daily abiding with Him. It is that closeness that allows Him to share His heart and His will with you. As you draw closer to Him, He promises to draw closer to you. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 13

The Close Communion of a Saint

Genesis ~ 18:16-20 ~ And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.  17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;  18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.  20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Abraham has such a close communion with God that he is known in the Scriptures as “the Friend of God” (Jam 2:23). At this point of Abraham’s relationship with the LORD he is told of the plans of what is to happen to Sodom. God reveals His heart to Abraham because of their close personal relationship. God does not want to withhold anything from him. Abraham’s belief IN God says that he loves the LORD with all his heart. God knows his heart and knows Abraham’s love for Him. They have a close communion with each other.

God desires to have this very same relationship with you. How close you are to God depends upon how close you want to be. Many do not get as close to God as they could for various reasons. Some do not want to give up the things of the world. They enjoy having the best of both worlds and therefore do not draw as close to Him as they should. Some are afraid of what they cannot control. Some may be afraid they will be called upon to step out of their comfort zone. Some may be afraid they will be called upon to do some other work such as preaching, teaching, or to be a missionary. 

One thing is for sure, the closer you are to the Lord the less attraction this old world has to you. I speak from 35+ years of experience that the closer I am to the Lord the less the world appeals to me. But the satisfaction and the enjoyment that comes from being closer to God far outweighs anything that I have given up. Besides, those things that I gave up were only temporary satisfactions. The things which I now have in my relationship with my Father are eternal. Nothing that I have given up or done without can compare to the joy that I now have and the joy that will be for all of eternity.

If you want to know the heart and the will of God for you and for your life in this world you will have to step away from the world and draw closer to God. You have such great potential for the Lord. The closer you are to Him the greater your joy and happiness. The closer you are to Him the greater His blessings in your life. The closer you are to Him the greater understanding that you will have. You must focus on the eternal and turn from the temporal. The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. If you want to be closer to God, you must draw closer to Him. It is a matter of separation from all that is worldly and flesh driven, and separating unto all that is godly and holy.

God loves you and wants to give you His very best. Open up to Him and let Him have His complete will and way with you. Let go of your control on things and let Him have control. Let go of the world and embrace the things of God. Let go of what you want and embrace what God wants. Let go of the world and its ways for they are doomed to destruction by a fervent heat (2 Pt 3:10-18). Helen H. Lemmel wrote the chorus, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” You must learn to “Let Go and Let God.” - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 14

The Power of Grace Is Enough

Genesis 20:17-18~ So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.  18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

Abraham is out of the will of God for his life. He believes IN God and yet he has allowed his flesh to lead him astray. He is not where he is supposed to be, and he is not doing what he is supposed to be doing. Therefore, he is out of the will of God even though he knows and believes IN God. I put emphasis on “IN” because that is what it takes to have any kind of a relationship with Him.

There was a time that I believed that God was real, and I believed everything that the Bible said. I believed everything that it said about God and about Christ our Saviour. But if I had died during that time I would have went straight to hell because I had not placed my faith “IN” God. I had not trusted Christ as my Saviour and I had not opened my heart to Him. Abraham had given God his heart and the sign of his circumcision was a sign of his faith and belief “IN” God.

Here we see Abraham out of place and out of God’s will for his life. And yet God intervenes on Abraham’s behalf. He protects Sarah and Abraham from what the king could do to them. He provides above and beyond all that they need as the king gives them great wealth and provision. He also gives them any place that they may choose to dwell in. God does not do this to reward Abraham’s sin of distrust; He does it because of grace. He has a plan and that plan must be fulfilled regardless of what Abraham does or does not do. It is through him that the Jewish nation will come. Therefore, it is through him that God will bring us the written as well as the living Word of God. God deals with Abraham as one of His own rather than for what Abraham has done.

There was a time after I was saved that I had gotten out of the will of God. I was in the wrong church and they were teaching me that I had to live perfect and sinless. I realized that I could not do that so rather than find the right church I quit going to church. I met a girl about a year and a half later and five months after we met, we started to date. I went to church with her one Sunday morning and God spoke to my heart and said, “This is the place that I want you to be!” I stayed in that church for over 17 years. God called me to preach and I studied and trained in the ministry of that church for over 13 years before being ordained and going into full time ministry. God had a plan for my life and even though I was out of His will He worked things out for my good because of grace. He dealt with me as with a son rather than as a criminal.

Grace is not a license to sin. Grace holds us to a higher standard because we have the liberty to both follow Christ and obey the Word or to live in disobedience and rebellion. God has a plan for your life and you can either be submissive to that plan or you can choose to live your own way. The only way that you can be a part of what God is doing is to let Him have His way in your heart and life. The only way that you can be blessed above measure is to keep your faith, maintain your integrity, and follow the Lord with all your heart.

The power of grace is always enough. God will always deal with saved people by His grace because we are His children. God spoke to Abraham through the dream that Abimelech had. When God spoke, Abraham heard Him and complied with what God said. We are not told that Abraham repented, but it is evident that when he prayed, he repented, and he asked for forgiveness. How do we know this? The Bible tells us that God will not hear our prayers if we have unconfessed sin in our life (Isa 59:2; 1 Jn 1:9). God heard and answered Abraham’s prayer. When God spoke to me sitting in that church on that Sunday morning I heard, I repented, and I obeyed. When God speaks to you, how do you respond, what do you do? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 15

Honor God With Your Life

Genesis ~ 20:3 & 9 ~ 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.  9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

No matter what you do or say, no matter how hard you may try to cover it up, even if people do not know about it, God will always know when you have done wrong. With over eight billion people on the planet you might think that you could hide from the simplest and smallest sin. But the fact remains that God knows the heart of every one of those eight billion people at every given moment. He knows your thoughts and the intent behind every thought. He knows ALL because He is God, and nothing escapes Him. Abraham had a lapse in judgment and reverted to what he had done before and depended upon self rather than God. Remember that God is omniscient which means that He is all knowing.

Abraham was in a place that he was not instructed to go. (You must be aware of where you go and with the company you are around. They will influence you and your decisions; good or bad.) He had some apprehension about this godless people who did not believe in the Lord God Jehovah. He had a lapse in judgment which caused a doubt of God’s protection. He decided to be dishonest rather than to tell the truth. He did not rely upon God who has all power in all places.

God has the power to create a mighty sun and put a planet at just the perfect distance and the perfect angle so that it can sustain life. He has the power to create life and put it on that planet to call it home. He has the power to give life and consciousness to His creation so that He may commune with it and have pleasure in their fellowship. He has the power to save and the power to condemn. He has the power to bless and the power to curse. He has the power to open the barren womb to conceive and the power to close the fruitful womb so that it becomes as barren as a dry parched land with no water. There is nothing that God cannot do because He is omnipotent which means that He is all powerful.

God went to Abimelech in a dream and told him what Abraham had done. God can go anywhere He wants to go. He is always in all places. There is no place that you can go to get away from God, not even your dreams. If you could go to the uttermost universes that are seen with the mighty telescopes, God is there. If you could go to the deepest parts of the ocean where no man has ever gone, God is there. If you could descend to the innermost parts of the earth, God will still be there. You cannot find a place that exists where God is not, except maybe for a place known as the Lake of Fire. That is a place of eternal separation from an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent God. It is a place that God has created for eternal banishment.

We know that God is not in that place because He is light, and it is a place of eternal darkness; yet it is a place of eternal fire. But even in that place God exists in the conscious minds of the damned as they are tormented with the thoughts of having refused His wondrous grace and love. It is a place that He created for the devil and his angels and it is a place that His knowledge, presence, and power encompass at all times. God is in all places at all times because God is omnipresent.

When you do something that is wrong and you have that bad feeling that you have done something wrong, that is probably God trying to get you to change course. He will do everything within His power to keep you on the right track. He will even let you get caught doing wrong so that you will repent and correct the mistake. He is always watching out for your best interest so that He may bless and prosper your life. He will do this because He loves you and wants only the best for you. He is your Father and you are His child.

God is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. Your sin will be found out because it can never be hidden from Him. If you are saved, you are a child and a saint of God and you should try to live up to that standard. Look in the mirror today and tell yourself that you are a child of God, a saint who has been cleansed from all unrighteousness in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then go out into the world and live like you truly believe that. Honor your Father and your Saviour today with the life that you live. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 44

November 4

Walking Before God Under Protection and Provision

Genesis ~ 17:1-3 ~ And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, …

In verse 4 God says, “As for me …” which is to say that this covenant is a one-sided covenant. It is completely and totally dependent upon God to be fulfilled. He will bless Abram because that is what God wants to do. He wants to bless Abram because Abram has an unshakable faith in God. Remember that if you want to please God you can only do so through faith. Faith sees the invisible, believes the impossible, and receives the incredible. It will move the unmovable and prove the un-provable. Just believe and see what faith does. This is how we please God and when He is pleased, He will bless because He wants to.

Abram’s blessing and covenant with God depends upon God and He will fulfill all that He said He would do because of Abram’s faith. This is the kind of faith that is perfect, real, genuine, unconditional, and will never quit. It is the kind of faith that saves from sin when placed in the Lord Jesus Christ and His completed work on Calvary. It is a faith that rests from personal good works (self-righteousness) and rests totally upon Christ‘s dying for sin and rising again for justification (Rom 4:25). It is that faith in Christ that allows God to bestow the gift of eternal life and seal the soul for eternity. It is a done transaction that does not depend upon us to be fulfilled and completed. What He begins He will perform until the day of Jesus Christ (Php 1:6). We are kept by His power all the way through to the end and beyond (1 Pt 1:5).

God reveals to Abram a new name for him. Abram means “exalted father”, but God changes his name to Abraham which means “father of a multitude.” God intends to bless Abraham exceedingly abundantly above all that he could ask or think of God because of Abraham’s faith. He is not only going to bless him with a large family line of descendants, He is going to bless all the nations of the earth through him. His seed will be innumerable. It will be as the dust of the earth, like the grains of sand upon the seashore, and like the stars of the night sky. They are too numerous to be numbered. Our God is an awesome God who loves us and wants to bless us beyond our wildest imaginations.

Too often I think people get caught up in the world’s ideas of blessing and they are looking for all the tangible blessings that they can see and handle. All too often they miss out on the blessings that God bestows on those who simply look to Him for everything. Abraham was not looking for worldly or material blessings. He was not looking for stuff, he was looking for God. He just wanted to walk before God and when he did God blessed him, and through Abraham God has blessed us.

You should stop looking at the trials and troubles of the present and focus on the things that God has already accomplished for your future. When you walk before Him in faith, trusting in Him no matter the circumstances, you are under the Almighty’s hand of protection and blessing. God has already taken care of your problems and they are not a problem for Him. If they are not a problem for Him then they are not a problem for you. Every obstacle that you come across in life is a hand hold or a foothold to climb up to higher ground. Rather than shy away from problems, look for what God has already accomplished. He has made a way for you to get through and to overcome that problem. Be patient, it will come to you. Once you realize these things you will walk before God and glorify Him in humble praise, adoration, and worship.  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 5

Walking Before God In His Promise and Prosperity

Genesis ~ 17:6-8 ~ And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

God promised Abraham that he would have children, there would be crowds of them, and they would wear the crowns of the kingdom. At that moment in his life Abraham could not see this taking place and could not even begin to imagine these things taking place. But God told him that these things would come to pass. The circumstances of Abraham’s life did not matter, God said so and that is that. 

If you are saved there are things that God has promised you that you could not begin to imagine (1 Cor 2:9). Think about where you were when God saved you. What was your life like at that time? Did you imagine on that day that you would be where you are today? Maybe you have not been saved for very long, but you should still see some things in your life that otherwise would not be there had God not saved you. On that same line of thought, there should be some things removed from your life, things that had you bound in slavery to sin, (habitual sins, bad attitude, bad thoughts, bad language, bad actions, etc.) that you could not have had victory over had God not saved you.

Think about where you are; is your life fruitful for the Lord? Are you being productive in the work of the Lord? If you are abiding in Christ, then your life should be fruitful and bringing glory to God. If your life is not fruitful for the Lord, then chances are that you are not abiding in Christ as you should (Jn 15:1-5). Think about where you are headed. Heaven is the most glorious place and that place is your future eternal home. It is not some imaginary place; it is very real. Heaven is more real than the place that you are at right now. Wherever you are right this minute is a temporary place that will one day be totally consumed and burned to ashes. Heaven is real and it is eternal; it will never cease to exist.

 God is faithful to fulfill His promises. He promised Abraham that He would bless all the generations of his children. God is One who holds His Word above His own name (Psa 138:2). God’s Word is most important because without His Word what would His name be? What would all of His name mean if He broke His Word? His name and His Word will endure forever!

You can count upon God’s faithfulness because He is faithful, and He is true. He will never backpedal on a promise and He will never go back on His Word. You can count on Him because He will never fail you. Any man may fail you and any one of us may fail God, but God will never fail us. He promised Abraham that He will always be his God. That makes their relationship a personal relationship. Your walk with the Lord does not depend upon the circumstances in your life; it depends on the closeness of your personal relationship with Him. The closer you get to Him the closer He gets to you (Jam 4:8). Your relationship with the Lord is more than personal, it is everlasting.

What God has promised you in His Word will prosper you. His promises are for your benefit. When you prosper in life it brings Him the recognition that He desires and the glory that He deserves. His eternal promises are there to profit you for all of eternity. But when you walk before God you have His protection and provision which allows you to walk in His promises and His prosperity. That prosperity is in the temporal and in the spiritual realms. God wants to bless and prosper you in your life in this world as well as in your spiritual walk of faith. Abraham walked before God and God promised to bless his work and his family in this world. The principle is true for you as well. He will bless you, your family, and whatsoever you find to do He says it will prosper (Psa 1:2-3).  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 6

Walking Before God in His Pleasure and Plenitude

Genesis ~ 17:6-8 ~ And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

As you read in this chapter, God’s promise extended to Sarai as well (15-22). God changes her name from Sarai, which means “My princess”, to Sarah, which means “Princess.” God promised that she would have children, that there would be crowds of them, that they would wear the crowns of the kingdom, and that she would be “a mother of nations.” Abraham fell upon his face in humble adoration of the fulfillment of the promise of God. He laughed for the joy that was in his heart. Some may want to argue that point. But the truth is, that in his seeing that God was about to give him the promised heir through Sarah, he asked for God to bless his other son, Ishmael. He did so that Ishmael might know the grace and the blessings of God for his life. This is not a request of doubt, but of faith in the Word of God and faith in God Himself (Rom 4:20-22).

Abraham is one hundred years old and Sarah is ninety-nine. Their childbearing years are way behind them. But God did promise, and Abraham did not stagger at the promise but was strong in faith. As we said before, he is about to see with his eyes that which he has only been able to see by faith. The things that you now see by faith will one day be seen with your eyes. There is no problem and there is no situation that is hopeless when we walk before God in faith.

When your faith is anchored in the Word and the promises of God, He is well pleased. Faith is the channel through which God bestows His blessings upon your life. It is like watering a garden. There is a source of water at the faucet, and there is a garden in need of water. The channel through which the water gets to the garden is through the hose. Now your life is like that garden which needs water. You need God’s blessings and He is the source of all blessing. The channel through which those blessings come to you is your faith. The greater your faith in God and His Word the more He will bless you. God holds today and tomorrow in His hands. He can make the impossible possible. Jesus can feed five thousand with a little boy’s sack lunch of sardines and crackers (Jn 6:1-13), yet we limit what he can do in our life by our limited faith in what can really be accomplished.

Stop thinking in the realm of this temporal world and start thinking in the spiritual realm of the grace of Almighty God. What the world deems impossible is possible with God. The only limit on what God can and will do in your life is your amount of faith. Many times, Jesus condemned the disciples of their “little faith.” Little faith limits what God wants to do in your life. I believe that God only wants to see a grain of mustard seed size of faith, a genuine belief that He can and will do what He says He will do. That is the kind of child-like faith that will remove mountains and bring the blessings and the power of God upon your life. What kind of faith do you possess today? Is it a real genuine belief and trust in God and His abilities? Do not let your little faith or lack of faith hinder what God wants to do in your life.

God told Abraham He would bless him and his family for generations to come, and He did. He told Sarah at 90 years of age that she would give birth to a son, and she did. He told Apostle Paul that His grace was enough for him, and it was. Remember that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask, imagine, or think of Him to do (Eph 3:20). And that is according to the power of the Holy Ghost within you.

So, God can and will bless you spiritually, but he can and will bless you financially and materially as well. But it requires that you walk before Him in faith trusting whatever measure of blessing He chooses to provide, not looking for more so that you can claim more for yourself. That is selfish and God cannot bless a selfish attitude. Extreme trust in God pleases Him and brings His manifold blessings upon you. Walk before Him seeking His pleasure and you will receive His plenitude of blessing. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 7

Walking Before God With Purity and Privilege

Genesis ~ 17:9-11 ~ And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

We have seen the new revelation of God’s person, of God’s promise, and God’s plan. We have seen His reassurance to Abraham concerning his fruitfulness, God’s faithfulness, and Abraham’s and Sarah’s future. Today we look at God’s new requirement for the covenant. God tells Abraham the he and all of his descendants must be circumcised. This would identify them as followers of Almighty God and as children of the Abrahamic covenant. This was a very painful and a very private matter. Though others could not see this mark, those who were circumcised saw the mark and knew that they belonged to God.

This is not a requirement to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Today we are required in the New Testament to circumcise the foreskin of our hearts (Rom 2:28, 29; Gal 5:6; 6:15; Col 2:11). This circumcision is not of the flesh but of the heart and spirit. This is a separation from the things of the flesh and turning to the spiritual things of life. It is turning from our old life without Christ and turning to the new life which He has for us. It is to walk in the grace and blessings of the abundant life of faith in purity and privilege. 

Every male in the nation of Israel had to participate in this rite. It was for the young and the old as well as the bond and the free. If they were to expect the blessings of the covenant they had to participate in this rite. Without the circumcision they could not expect God’s personal blessings. There was no privilege to be a part of the covenant people. There could be no fellowship with God or with His covenant people.

No Christian today can expect to have the blessings of the abundant life if they do not live a life of purity; cutting loose the flesh in the heart so that they can walk free of fleshly encumbrances. When we allow our flesh to rule, we tend to lean towards the world’s ways. God cannot bless His children who are partakers of the world.

When we circumcise the flesh of our hearts, we allow the spirit to rule. In our spirit we are strong because we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God who is our source of strength to overcome the temptations of the flesh. If you turn to spiritual things you will have the power and guidance of His Spirit which will ensure an abundant life of faith. But when we feed the fleshly appetites we are walking away from God and will not have the abundant life of faith.

You may be saved and on your way to Heaven and we praise God for that. But you still have the free choice of whether you live by faith in God and His Word or live by sight and partake of the things of the flesh and of the world. God is like the perfect Gentleman who will never force you to do anything. He offers you His very best and tells you what is required to have His very best and leaves the decision up to you. The love and appreciation that you have for Him will determine the level of your commitment. The level of your commitment will determine the abundance of your spiritual life. The abundance of your spiritual life will determine the quality of your life in this world. You have the privilege of living godly and being blessed of God beyond measure.

Christ gave up Heaven, the most sin free and the most splendid place ever made just to come to this old sin cursed world and suffer the consequences of sin for YOU. He did it because He loves YOU. He did it because He wanted to give YOU the gift of eternal life. He did it so that YOU would never have to know that eternal separation from the presence of God. All this He did so that YOU could freely receive the blessings of God. All He asks in return is that YOU make the choice to love Him, to love your fellow man, and to turn from all that would stand opposed to God. Have YOU circumcised the flesh of your heart? Have YOU truly put off the flesh of the old life and put on the new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)? After all He did for YOU, what is your level of commitment to HIM? Do you walk before God in purity and in privilege? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 8

The Mindset of A Servant

Genesis ~ 18:1-3 ~ And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;  2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,   3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Here we have the personal encounter of the Lord and Abraham. Abraham is a great man and a man of great wealth, but not so great that he does not recognize his place. His affection, his mind, is set upon the Lord. One of these three visitors is the pre-incarnate Christ. Those who are with him are angels. Abraham recognized the visitors because he had a close personal relationship with God. And now, when the pre-incarnate Son of God appears to him, he knows exactly who He is. He goes to Him in humble adoration and in worship.

When the Lord shows up people should run to him in droves, but I fear that too many are caught up in the affairs of this world. Paul and John both warned about getting our lives entangled with the affairs of the world (1 Tim 2:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17). When a person gets caught up in the world, they do not spend the time that they should with the Lord. This causes people to have indifference in their heart about the things of God.

They do not realize the importance of having God in first place in every area of their life. When the Lord shows up in a church service and begins to deal with their heart they are not as apt to run to Him as they would if they were closer to Him. There is a disconnect among people today from the importance of dealing with the Lord when He is dealing with them. We are told in Isaiah 55:6, "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near." You should seek to be near Him always for He is waiting on you.

When the Lord comes to us, we have a duty to humble ourselves before Him. To do so you must have a clean and pure heart. When you start your day, you should do so by humbling yourself to seek the Father’s will. That is getting your heart ready for what you must face that day. Putting God first in every day will put God first in every way. It also means that you should never allow your day to end without getting your heart right with God. We are vexed by being in this sin-cursed world and therefore we need daily cleansing. Now the Lord says we need a clean heart to come before Him and allows us to come based upon the Lord Jesus' selfless, substitutional sacrifice (Heb 4:14-16). It is through this provision that we can come before Him to receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 Jn 1:9; Jam4:6-10). That keeps us in a position where we can worship Him as we ought.

When the Lord calls you must act quickly. If He is preeminent in your heart and life you will be ready to act when He comes to you. So many times I see God dealing with people and they do not respond to Him. They will stay in their place rather than yield to the Spirit's call. Many lost sinners will grip the back of a pew during an invitation because they do not truly know what they are missing. They are afraid they will have to give up something pleasurable for Jesus to accept them. What they do not know is that there are greater things awaiting those who will freely give in to His call.

And many saved people do the same thing, afraid they may have to do something they do not want to do or that they may have to sacrifice something they do not want to give up. What God is offering is of far greater value. There is nothing that He may call you to do that He would leave you to do alone.

Get your heart prepared to run to Him when He comes to you. The Lord is always with you, but there are times that He will come to you and deal with you about some sin, some work, or some action that you need to complete for His glory. Sometimes He will come just to have fellowship with you. Keeping your relationship alive and vibrant will allow you to have quicker response to Him. Be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour that the Lord may visit you or call upon you to do something for Him. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 43

October 28

Self-Made Troubles: Human Reasoning

Genesis ~ 16:1, 2 ~ Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 

Many times we are warned in Scripture to be sober minded and to consider the thing we are doing. Abram has believed God and he believes “in” God. His faith has brought him through battles, trials, and challenges. But Abram is still human and still struggles with the flesh. There is still that fleshly tendency to want to do things with the mind of reasoning rather than with the heart of faith. It is in that mind of reasoning that causes Sarai and Abram to try to “help” God out in giving Abram a son and an heir.

This was not God’s will for them. He had promised that Sarai and Abram would have a son who would be the heir. But they decided to go ahead and do things their own way. Many Christians today get a notion and without thinking, and sometimes without asking in prayer, they launch out on their own ventures. It looks okay and it sounds reasonable, but it lands them into troubles that they need not have if they would just be sober minded and clear in their thinking. Straying from the will and purpose of God will lead to trouble and trouble will have far reaching consequences. 

In Abram’s day it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless. Their society was about marrying and procreating the race and the family name through children and heirs. Abram and Sarai tried to overcome their problem by handling things their own way. Today some couples choose not to have children while others have barrenness forced upon them through physical impairments. Whatever the reasons in Abram’s day, those who had no children were looked down upon, mocked and ridiculed, and were not openly accepted in their society.

It was also customary for men to have more than one wife. The first wife would be the primary wife while all the others would be considered as secondary wives or concubines. If the secondary had children, they were considered to be the children of the first or primary wife. By giving Abram Hagar to bear children Sarai could have children and acceptance in her society.

Today Christians lower their standards to receive acceptance in their community. They want to “fit in” and so they will lower their Christian standards. One such way is by keeping their faith tucked away rather than talking about it openly. They will allow things spoken of and said around them that they know is not pleasing to God and they go along with it as if it were okay. Should a Christian listen to a dirty joke and laugh at it? Do we reason that if we are not the one who is saying it that it is okay? Be very careful not to fall into the trap of human reasoning. Unbelievers use reasoning to promote their unbelief in God. We live and walk by faith, not by sight and certainly not by human reasoning. It is better to be pleasing to God and rejected by men rather than to be pleasing and accepted by men and find yourself rejected by God. There must be a clear line that divides the people of the Lord from the world around them (2 Cor 6:17).

We are admonished to separate from the world because the world is contrary to God. Their reasoning and their ideas on relationships, on how to conduct business, on fairness towards others, on acceptance by other people, on love in general, are all based on the desires of the flesh and the corrupt, spiritually dead human spirit. You can love others without knowing God, but you cannot truly love until you do know God.

Abram and Sarai followed human reasoning and it is going to cost them in the long run. You would do well to get into God’s Word and allow His Word to get into you. The Word will increase your faith and your general trust in God and the promises He has given to you. Do not fall into the trap of human reasoning but give yourself to the Lord and learn patience in waiting upon Him. All things will work for your good when you go with God. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 29

Self-Made Troubles: Reaping What You Sow

Genesis ~ 16:1, 2 ~ Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 

Abram and Sarai were following human reasoning. They desired acceptance in their community, and they were dragging baggage from past failures. Hagar was an Egyptian and was a part of the possessions that Abram brought back out of Egypt. Abram was in sin when he went into Egypt and any time that a person steps into sin there are consequences. If Abram had never gone into Egypt there would be no Hagar to marry. In this he is reaping the harvest of sowing to the flesh.

When you sow there will be a harvest. The principle of sowing and reaping is that sowing much will reap much while sowing little will reap little. Whatever you sow you will reap; there will be a harvest of what is sown (2 Cor. 9:6). There is the Law of Sowing and Reaping which says that if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption while sowing to the Spirit will reap life and eternal rewards (Gal 6:7-8). There will be a harvest and it will be a harvest of what is sown.

Along with the Law of Sowing and Reaping there are the Seven Laws of the Harvest to remember. 1. You reap only what you sow (good or bad; flesh or Spirit). 2. You reap the same kind as has been sown. 3. You will reap in a different season than you sow (the harvest comes later). 4. You will reap more than you sow (there is an increase). 5. You will reap in proportion to what you sow (much or little). 6. You will reap a full harvest only if you persevere (fight the good fight of faith, finish your course, keep the faith). And 7. You cannot do anything about last year’s harvest (leave the past with God, entrust the future to Him, and live for Him in the moment you are in).

In doing this one thing Abram and Sarai were allowing doubts to set into their hearts. God promised Abram; He gave him His Word. When God gave the promise, Abram responded in faith. Now that some time has passed, he has begun to have some doubts about the promise. Maybe they are thinking that God meant for them to do something to fulfill the promise. God had not yet specifically said that the son would come by Sarai.

Doubt is a major source of trouble among Christians. When you doubt the Word of God you are on dangerous ground. The devil caused Adam and Eve to doubt the Word of God and it led to Adam doing what he knew was wrong to do. When you see the promises of God in His Word, but you do not see immediate results in your life, do not be guilty of letting doubt take a hold on your heart. Doubt is deadly to faith. Do not try to fulfill God’s promises and make them happen on your own.

You need to learn three things about the Word and promises of God.

  1. God always keeps His Word (Heb 6:18; Rom 4:21; Psa 119:89).
  2. God always does things in His own time. Men needed a Saviour for 4000 years before Christ came, but God sent Him in “the fulness of the time” (Gal 4:4).
  3. God does not need our help to accomplish His will (Psa 50:12).

Be sober minded in all that you think, say, and do. Spend time talking with the Lord about the things that He says in His Word. Remember that you will reap what you sow. Therefore, study and meditation will help you to avoid the pitfalls and the traps of the devil. He wants you to doubt God so that you will be marred in failure. He does not want you to live by faith and be successful and productive for the Lord. Avoid self-made troubles; live by faith, walk by faith, and watch God’s promises come to life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 30

Self-Made Troubles: You Are Responsible

Genesis ~ 16:4-6 ~ And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.  5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.  6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

God wants us to live and to walk by faith. When we do we please and glorify Him. When we do not, our life is unproductive and marred by failure. There were three persons involved in this endeavor. Each one reacted differently to the situation, but they all reacted badly. When the problems arise from trying to do things in the power of the flesh or to do things on your own, most people will react in one of three ways.

Abram was unaccountable. He made out like there was no problem. But his attitude was that if there was a problem then it must be Sarai's problem. Since it was her problem then she must be the one to deal with it. He turned away from the problem as if he had no responsibility in it whatsoever.

Many want to ignore the problems when they come because they do not want to accept accountability. No matter how hard you try to ignore the problems that come from doing it "your way", it does not work. If they are not dealt with they will become bigger problems.

When King David knew of the problem of Amnon forcing his way upon his half-sister, David did nothing about it. He ignored the problem and Absalom took the matters into his own hands and killed his own brother. This is true of any problem that arises. It must be confronted, and it must be done decently and in order. It does not matter if it is a problem in the home, on the job, in the community, at school or in the church, it must be dealt with or it will get out of hand.

Abram was unaccountable, but Sarai was unreasonable. She was miserable because of the pride of Hagar. Hagar flaunted her ability to have a child in Sarai's face. Sarai tried to blame Abram and then she tried to blame Hagar. She was miserable and everyone knows that misery loves company. When someone is unhappy they want everyone else to be unhappy with them. As the old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

People who are unhappy about their decisions and the problems they face usually compensate by being grouchy, mean-spirited, and short-tempered. They are very hard to get along with, but this is not a Christian attitude. If you find yourself facing problems due to doing the wrong thing, you must learn to deal with the situation with a Christ-like spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). Do not attack others and try to draw them into your misery.

Abram was unaccountable, Sarai was unreasonable, and Hagar was unavailable. Rather than face the problem and deal with it, she chose to run from the problem. Many people will try to run from their problems rather than face up to them. When someone is having a problem in the church, they do not seek a solution; they just seek a new church. When problems arise on the job, they just go find another job. When problems arise in the marriage, they just find a new spouse. However, whatever the problem may be, no matter how far you may try to run, the problem will still be there. It will be in the new church, in the new job, and with the new spouse. When you run from your problems they just last longer and get worse.  The Israelites ran from the giants the first time (Num 13, 14). But before Israel could possess the Promised Land their descendants had to face the giants and defeat them (Deu 9).

God sent Hagar back to Abram and the family. He intended to use this situation to help each of them to learn how to properly deal with their problems. Abram had to face it. Sarai had to deal with it. Hagar had to live in it. God is not out to make your life a happy bed of ease and comfort. There is going to be adversity in the Christian life and you must be able to handle adversity and to deal with it God's way. He is molding you and making you to be fit for the kingdom of Heaven. He is making you more like Christ as you yield to Him and His ways. Remember that God's ways are not our ways, but God's ways are the best ways and they are the only right way.

Abram and Sarai were in this situation because they wanted to be accepted by their society, they were carrying around baggage from their failure in Egypt, and they were beginning to doubt God's promise. They took matters into their own hands rather than trusting in what the Lord had said. Therefore, a problem developed that Abram wanted to ignore, Sarai wanted to blame on someone else, and Hagar wanted to avoid altogether. This is why we need to sober minded in all that we think, say, and do. We need to make sure that we do nothing without consulting God first. The first thing Nehemiah did before he answered the king was to pray (Neh 2:4). If you will make that a common practice in your life, to do nothing without consulting God, you will be blessed in your every deed. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 31

Self-Made Troubles: You Must Deal With It

Genesis ~ 16:11-12 ~ And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.  12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

When we get out of the way of faith we fall into sin. We are told in Romans 14:23 “… whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” The consequences of sin are troublesome and hurtful problems. God’s Word teaches us the right way and proves to us the consequences of the wrong way. In this story we can see the consequences of doing things the wrong way. God says, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard” (Pro. 13:15). And in Numbers 32:23 He says, “... be sure your sin will find you out.” Sin brings unwanted and unnecessary troubles into the life of a Christian.

Due to wrong choices and wrong actions we find that a difficult son is born. Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the bond woman, the son of the flesh. The LORD warned that he would be a wild man. He was going to be very hard to deal with and would be aggressive towards others. When we fall into the trap of doing things without consulting God, there will be difficulties. Ishmael is the picture of those difficulties that will come when we are diverted from the way of faith.

Sin will come with consequences, so we need to be vigilant about staying in the paths of righteousness by living and walking by faith. Stop and consider what sin may bring into your life. Remember the Law of Sowing and Reaping from Galatians 6:7-8. It says that if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption while sowing to the Spirit will reap life and eternal rewards. (Remember also the seven Laws of the Harvest.)

When there is a situation like you have with this family there will almost always be a dysfunctional home. When you get over to Genesis 21 you will find that there is still a major flaw in the family and the home due to the consequences of their sin. Their sin is still a problem a dozen years later that plagues them with heartache and trouble. No matter how small or insignificant the sin may seem, we will have a remembrance of that sin that will remain. God forgives and cleanses and will never remember nor bring up that sin again. But the sad truth is that it leaves a mark and a stain in the heart and life for some time to come.

Most marital problems could be resolved if couples would simply face their problems and deal with them. Abram wanted to ignore the problem, Sarai wanted to blame it on someone else, and Hagar wanted to avoid it altogether. You must be accountable to God and to your spouse. You must be reasonable, and you must be available if you are to face it and resolve it. It does not matter who started it, it matters that you take responsibility to face and deal with whatever the issue or problem may be.

This is true of any self-made problem; you must deal with it. You must confront it and be accountable because when you are part of the problem you are responsible for getting it resolved. Even when there is more than one responsible party, you must take it upon yourself to settle the issue. As a Christian God will hold you accountable and He expects you to face up to the challenge of making things right. This is God’s way and it is the right way. We would all agree that doing things God’s way is good. James 4:17 tells us, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” You must take the responsibility and get it resolved. The longer it goes unresolved the more sin you may bring into your life.

Do not be found guilty of trying to hide your sin for it “will find you out!” Trying to hide sin will affect you and those around you. It will poison and sabotage your family and hinder your walk with God. You must bring it forward and deal with it. The way to deal with sin, whether it was intentional or unintentional, is to confess it and forsake it (Pro 28:13 & I Jn 1:9). There is no other way (Jn 3:19-21).  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 1

Walking Before God In Praise and Worship

Genesis ~ 17:1-3 ~ And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, …

God comes to Abram once again to talk with Him about His divine plan and Abram’s part in this plan. He comes to Him with a new revelation of who He is; He comes as El Shaddai, “… the Almighty God.” This name signifies that He is the Strong One who is the Nourisher, the Strength-giver, and so, in a secondary sense, the Satisfier, who pours himself into believing lives. Just as a baby is not only strengthened and nourished from the mother’s breast, but is also quieted, rested, and satisfied, so the LORD our God is the All-Sufficient God who cares for His children and their needs.

God is the Almighty, All-Sufficient God and therefore demands that His people walk before Him in perfection. No person, not even Abram, could be perfectly sinless before God. And yet He is requiring Abram, as well as all believers, to be perfect. He is saying that we are to be sincere and upright before Him; to be righteous and holy before Him. We are to come before God with a pure heart that is undefiled. We do so through faith in the blood of Christ. Abram was looking forward to the One who would bless all nations. We today are looking back to the One who blesses all nations. We come before Him in spirit and truth with no unconfessed sin.

To be perfect before the Lord is to be complete, or spiritually mature in the Lord Jesus Christ. When God says, “… be thou perfect”, He is telling us that we are to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart to God, walking daily with Him, and holding to the standards of His Word. We do not compromise for the sake of personal comfort or gain, to fit in with the world, or for the sake of denominational unity. We are to live our life in the center of God’s purpose for our life, free from sin, and abounding in the work of the Lord. (Free from sin is to have no unconfessed sin, because we will all make mistakes that will need repentance and forgiveness. But that is not a license to sin; it is an incentive to refrain from sin and the very appearance of sin.)

God reminds Abram of the promises that He has made to Abram. God has promised to make of Abram a great nation and now comes to him to bless him with a new revelation as to the fulfillment of that very promise. Here he is, ninety-nine years old, and God comes to give him what he has been waiting for all of these many years.

Abram’s heart is no doubt overwhelmed with joy and with praise. What he has seen by faith he is soon to see with his eyes. He will see the promises because he believes the promises. Too many today are tuned to believe it when they see it. He falls to the ground on his face in humble and grateful adoration of what God is about to do. Oh, that God’s people would learn to trust His promises and allow that to cause them to worship and praise Him. Most will not rejoice and praise God until they see the promise come to fruition.

Worship is a way of life. It is to have God preeminent in your heart and life. It is having your thought processes and thoughts, words and speech, as well as your conduct and relationships in alignment with God’s purpose for your life. It is that life that is daily yielded to God and the knowledge, wisdom, and power of His Spirit within. It is abiding in the Lord Jesus and allowing His Word, His doctrine of love, to abide within you. It is willful and joyful obedience of the principles and commands of God because they are life.

But worship is also that time when you give yourself to lifting your heart, mind, and voice up to the Lord in vocal praise and adoration of who He is, what He has done, and for what He is yet to do. God has promised us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has promised that we are delivered from the wrath to come. He has promised that we will enjoy eternity as joint heirs with Christ our Saviour. This is the main reason we gather as a church, so that we may praise and please the Lord our God in corporate worship. When you worship God with your life you will see because you believe; not believe because you see.  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK42

October 21

Abram’s Faith “In” The LORD Pt 2

Genesis 15:6 ~ And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

When we receive a word from the Lord we must receive it into our heart. We must see His future promises as already existing. We may have to wait with patience for them to come, but when we receive them into our heart, we can already see them in the present. I know that I have eternal life and that I am going to Heaven. That is not some future promise to me; it is a present possession.

I will never die because Christ did that for me. My body will expire if the Lord does not return first. It may be buried in the ground, but my spirit and soul are redeemed and I will go to be with the LORD. But as Job said, so I believe; “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). On the resurrection day, the day of the rapture, my body will be raised and changed, and my redeemed spirit and soul will be united with a redeemed physical body.

No matter what discovery is made, I will hold to my faith in the Lord. It has gotten me through some of the worst times in my life, not as a crutch, but as strength. Through storms, through the valley of the shadow of death, through persecutions from within the church and from without the church, and through loss of every kind, my source of strength and courage was in the LORD my God. He is my shield and my exceeding great reward.

Whatever the world may throw at you, you must hold to your faith. The world will assail your faith. They will beat and bang on your faith all day long. They will give you every reason to change what you believe. They will mock you and call you names. They will produce “evidence” and theories to disprove what you believe about God and His Word. (Just remember that anything that is contrary to Scripture is false.) But the challenge is to be like Job who was able to hold onto his faith and keep his integrity intact even when his “friends” ridiculed him and accused him of being an unfaithful hypocrite. Let your faith take deep root and it will bear fruit in your life.

Abram’s faith “in” God paid off with greater dividends than he ever thought possible. God took away Abram’s sin and replaced it with His own righteousness. God placed your sin upon Christ and when you put your faith “in” Christ God places His righteousness upon you (2 Cor 5:21). When God saw Abram, he saw him as righteous. Abram was known as the friend of God.

When the direction of your faith changes from just believing the words of the Lord to believing “in” the Lord with your very life, your faith will grow deeper. It will become the channel through which you will receive your strength, your courage, and your spiritual vision to see how to navigate the circumstances of life and to receive the promises of God. Your faith will pay off with greater dividends than you could ever imagine.

Your faith will be challenged almost daily. Come what may, you are challenged to stay the course and to stay by the stuff. Stay in the old paths (Jer. 6:16) and contend for the faith (Jude 3). Let your faith take deep root “in” God and what He has given you and you will come out ahead every time. Nobody ever loses with God! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 22

The Lord’s Purpose

Genesis ~ 15:7, 8 ~ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Abram was a man of faith. He left His region of the world and his relatives to follow what God had called him to do. His belief and trust in God was the substance upon which he built his life. His faith allowed him to have a foretaste of what was to come, though he could not yet see it with his eyes. His faith was the evidence, the proof or conviction, that what God says will come to pass. All that he has done is based on God’s Word to give him a possession and an heir. Now we see Abram continue to grow into maturity in his faith. We have seen him declare his faith in God and we have seen the Lord account him righteous because of his faith.

Then the LORD speaks to Abram. Before Abram can consult with the LORD on how to know God’s purpose, God reminds him of Who He is. He reminds him of what He is doing. God begins with His person; He says, “I am the LORD.” The name “LORD” means “Jehovah,” which is the "self-existent One." Literally (as in (Exo. 3:14), “He that is who He is, therefore the eternal ‘I AM.” But Havah, from which Jehovah, or Yahweh, is formed, signifies also “to become,” that is, to become known, thus pointing to a continuous and increasing self-revelation; thus we arrive at the meaning of the name Jehovah. He is “the self-existent One who reveals Himself.”

No doubt we all forget just who is in control of the events in life. We do not agree with nor do we like the way our nation is going, but we must be reminded that it is Jehovah God who is in control. The circumstances in your life may not be ideal for you, but God is in control. He was here before anything and He will be here after everything and He controls all that goes on in between. We must remember that He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (always present), and that He is in control of all of life. You admit to that as truth, but you need to get your mind wrapped around this fact. When you do, it will transform your thinking and the way you handle circumstances in your life.

He reminded Abram that it was by His power that he came to where he was at this time in his life. God called him and God brought him out of that land filled with wicked and immoral paganism and idolatrous practices. It was God who had delivered him, protected him, and blessed him with all that he has in his life. His purpose for Abram brought Abram out of Ur and into Canaan. His purpose Abram was to make of him a nation through whom God would bring us the written Word and the Living Word.

God has a purpose for every person. When He saves someone, it is for the purpose for which He has for you. You are saved by His power and you are kept by His power for that purpose. When you surrender to God, He will do great things in your life. He will work in you and He will work through you to accomplish His purpose. To surrender is to be like Abram and to just believe “in” God and trust Him in and with everything.

Who you are and what you think, say, and do should revolve around the fact of Who God is and what God has done for you. If you are saved you have been delivered from the eternal, inescapable prison in the Lake of Fire. But God has a purpose for your life in this world; He has something that He desires to accomplish in you and with you. If you are not saved and you are reading this, you now have the opportunity to repent and turn to God for salvation; the gift of eternal life in Heaven. If you believe that Christ died for YOUR sin, and you believe that He arose from the dead, if you are willing to turn from all that is ungodly and all that opposes God, and you are willing to accept Christ Jesus as your Saviour, trusting His payment for sin on the Cross for YOU, then you can ask Him to forgive you and to save you and HE WILL.

You can trust God’s Word and His promises. God has a purpose for you; it is also called God’s will for your life. Just ask Him to reveal it and He will give you clear direction. Seek to know His purpose for you and you will find satisfaction and peace in life that you would otherwise never know. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 23

God’s Will For You

Genesis ~ 15:7, 8 ~ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

God reminded Abram that He has a plan and that He is still working on that plan. He brought Abram out of his native country to give him another country. He wanted to take this man who had no child and no heir and to make of him a father of a great nation. God had planned His work and now He was working His plan. But God had a greater plan of which Abram was a very significant part. He had these plans for Abram because it was a part of His plan to reveal Himself to all of mankind and to redeem His creation (the Scriptures and the Saviour).

This is true of every born-again believer. God has a plan for your life and He is working out that plan every day. God did not bring you into the world, save you, and then leave you to yourself to figure out your life. God saved you with a plan and a purpose in mind. He has a purpose for you which is His perfect will for your life. He has a plan made out for how He wants you to proceed in your life to fulfill His purpose for you.

In all of this He loves you and His desire is to bless you along the way. He blesses you knowing that it will lead to you blessing others. When you bless others, you open the way for God to fulfill His desire to heap greater blessings upon your life. Remember that He loves you and wants to do great things in you, with you, and through you.

Please be careful that you do not hinder His plan. If you do it will bring unnecessary pain and hardship into your life that neither you nor God wants. God allows and uses hardship to mold our character, and to shape, to develop, and to direct our lives. There is enough hardship living in this present evil world without bringing more upon ourselves. Find God’s purpose and follow His plan for that purpose and you will be blessed above measure.

Abram responds and consults with the Lord on how he can know the Lord’s perfect will for his life. He does not doubt the LORD, he is trying to find out more information about God’s purpose and plan. We should be sure and ask for directions in God’s planning every day of our lives.

When we take it upon ourselves to get somewhere without knowing or asking for the directions we tend to get turned around and confused. But when we ask for directions from someone who is very sure of the way there are no wrong turns and no confusion. We would do well to inquire of the LORD as to how He wants us to proceed. It is okay to respond to the Lord by asking for more information about what you hear. Just be very careful that you do not question the truth of what you have heard.

Seek to know His purpose for your life and strive to be in the very center of that purpose. When you do you will know the peace, the power, and the presence of God. You will have His continual daily blessing as you separate from the world and walk closer with Him. Allow His Word to permeate your heart, your thoughts, your life. Absorb it and absorb all the goodness God bestows upon His children every day.

Whatever is going on in your life, you need to strive to be in the center of God’s perfect will for you. Remember that He is in control no matter how good or how bad things are. He is Jehovah God. He knows all, He sees all, all power belongs to Him, and He is working His plan in your life. He wants to give you of His very best and to bless you abundantly. Walk with Him every day all the way. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 24

Maturity In Faith: Embrace The Challenge

Genesis ~ 15:9-11 ~ And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.  11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

Abram is seeking to know the surety of God’s plan for his life. After the question, God tells him to sacrifice these animals to Him. Now Abram’s faith is being challenged because there is not a specific answer, but a there is a demand placed upon him. If you have faith it is going to be tested. It is like building strength. In weight training, once you can lift 100 pounds 10 times, you can add ten pounds to the weight. You work with that and when you can lift it ten times then you add another ten pounds. There is going to be a burning sensation when you are lifting the weight. After the workout there may be some sore muscles while they recuperate. Thus, we have the old saying, “No pain; no gain.”  If you are going to have a strong faith that will be productive in the Lord’s work, you will have to endure some testing.

God told Abram to do something that was common in his day. When people in Abram’s day were making a covenant, or making a contract with each other, they would take animals and divide them up in this manner. Once they were divided, they would walk between them to signify the sincerity on their part in the covenant. In essence they were saying, “May I be like one of these animals if I break my part of this covenant.” For Abram there was a lot of hard, bloody work in this preparation. It cost him something as he had to sacrifice these animals from his possessions. He had to do it the way the LORD wanted it done. 

The mature faith of the Christian life will require you to commit to some hard work on your part. The great things of God do not come easy. It will cost you something to have a close walk with the Lord so you may be able to accomplish great things for Him. It is a sure thing that it will not come to those who are lazy. If your sleep, social media, TV, video games, your career, recreational hobbies, or anything else is more important than spending time alone with God, you will not reach your full potential for the Lord. You will have to sacrifice time, sleep, money, and time with friends if you are to have the great things of God in your life. His absolute best is reserved only for those who are willing to pay the price. So what is the price? It is godly living, spending time in prayer, Bible study, living a separated life, and being obedient to the commands of the Lord. (READ 1 Cor 3:10-17) What materials are you building your Christian life with?

Abram sat there waiting upon the LORD. Many times we will do our part and then we expect God to show up right then and do something. The truth is that God’s timing was not Abram’s timing. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged if things do not happen on your timetable. Psalm 27:14 tells us, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (READ the 27th Psalm). And again, we find in Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” In Isaiah 55:8, 9 God tells us that our thoughts and our ways are not like His. His is significantly higher than ours. God sees the whole picture front to back, side to side, top to bottom, and in His infinity, from beginning to end.

The Bible tells us that the fowls came down to eat the carcasses. When we are waiting upon the Lord the vultures will descend. You must always be on guard for these vultures represent anything that will steal away your time, your concentration, and your commitment to the Lord. Remember also that the old devil is like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour (1 Pt 5:8). He is the god of this world and there will always be opposition from the world in what the Lord is doing in your life. “Abram drove them away.” You must always be on guard to protect what the Lord is doing in your life. Do not allow anything nor anyone to hinder or prevent it from coming to pass.

The sacrifice, the hard work, and the waiting will only pay off if you are patient to endure until the very end. As I understand this, it was in the morning that all of this started and he had now waited for most of the day. It was a time of great patience on Abram’s part. As we have said, God does not run on our schedule. You must work on His schedule and always be ready to line up with what He is doing in your life. Do not try to rush what the Lord wants to do. If you get ahead of Him you will be like a piano that is out of tune; no matter how hard you try to play a beautiful tune, it will not come out right. When you get ahead of the Lord, no matter how hard you try to serve Him, it will not come out right. You must do the hard work, make the required sacrifices, guard against the devourers, and wait patiently on the Lord. When you do, great things will come to you. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 41

October 14

Faith and Integrity in Wealth

Genesis 14:21-24 ~ And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

As we have already stated, Abram could have had anything that he wanted. He took back the spoils of all of the towns that had been defeated by Chedorlaomer and those who were with him. A worldly conqueror would have no doubt wanted a very substantial bounty for himself, but not this man of faith. His faith and integrity held to the One who created all the wealth and it was His provision only that he desired.

It was offered to him by the new king of Sodom when he came out to meet Abram. He told him to keep all the goods and return only the people to their rightful place. But Abram would have none of that. He wanted none of the spoils for himself. Today we see too many who are swayed by money and will compromise for the sake of gain.

There are some who will “blow a gasket” if someone shortchanged them somewhere. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot and they are overpaid, they will be as quiet as a church mouse. When Abraham Lincoln was working as a clerk in a store in New Salem, he once took 6 1/4 cents too much from a customer. That night when the store closed, he walked three miles to return the woman's money. That is the conduct and the character of a Christian with faith and integrity, especially when it comes to money.

Abram’s response is to refuse all that the king offered him personally. This king may have been trying to win the favor of a man who just defeated four kings and their armies with 318 trained men. Maybe he did not want to get on the wrong side of Abram. That would be very understandable. But maybe he was trying to get on Abram’s good side so that he could get his hooks into him. He could have wanted to “butter up” Abram so that he could call upon him later for whatever he might need. But Abram held to his faith in God and his integrity remained intact. He was not going to allow himself to become indebted to this man of the world for any amount of wealth. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

There are those who will cut church for the sake of earning an extra dollar or two. I understand that there are occupations where some may have to work a weekend or two. I am talking about essential occupations such as first responders and the medical field (I am sure there are others). If you work at the convenience store and must work on Sundays, maybe you need to find a better job where you can get off for church. But even that is becoming hard today as we see so many who are foregoing the standards that once made our nation an exceptional nation. It may be hard, but it is not impossible. No matter how good it may sound to put work and earning more money ahead of the Lord’s stuff, it will never pay off. We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

If we will hold to our faith and our integrity when we are handling our fiscal affairs, we can rest in the promise that God will supply our every need. I hear people say that they have financial problems and just cannot get ahead. My wife and I have never been ahead. There will always be utility and grocery bills to pay until the day we leave this world. Every vehicle we own will need gas if we are going to use them. But a lot of times the financial difficulties of believers can be traced back to a stewardship problem. Many times is has to do with paying their tithes. God will do with 90% exceedingly abundantly more than you can do with 100%. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. God will provide!

The church at Philippi had supported the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys (Php 4:14-19). In their giving to missions they were given the precious promise that God would supply all their need according to HIS riches. When you step out in faith and integrity and support the spread of the Gospel around the world through missions God will supply what you pay. It is He that has said He would supply the need. He supplied the need of salvation when He sent His only begotten Son to pay for our sin on Calvary. And He has supplied the need by calling people into His service to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world. He will supply the need to support those who forsake all and follow Him through the giving of His people. You cannot out give God. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. He will measure it back in exceeding abundance (Lk. 6:38). – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 25

Maturity In Faith: Embrace The Consequences

Genesis ~ 15:12, 17, & 18 ~ 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.  17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Abram worked, sacrificed, and waited patiently upon the LORD. And he found himself shrouded in a great darkness. It was in the darkness that God confirmed His covenant with Abram. It is when we are in the dark times of our life that God will strengthen our faith. When you are in the valley of darkness, when trials and troubles abound, your faith is strengthened. It is in the hard times that you will learn to trust Him more when you have true faith in God. Be careful that you do not find it so easy to abandon God in trials. If you do, you will never mature in Christ; your faith will never grow into maturity.

As you investigate the Bible you will find that real faith was seen in the trials of afflictions. Shadrach’s, Meshach’s, and Abednego’s faith was seen when they were commanded to bow to the king’s golden image to worship it. Even though they were threatened with death by fiery furnace, they stood their ground and held onto their faith. Daniel, Isaiah, Elijah, Peter, Paul, and countless millions have had to face the darkness to see their faith grow and mature. They had to trust that come what may, God could handle their situation. Do not fear the darkness in the trials and troubles that come your way. God is working in your life if you are saved and He is working out His plan. Be confident in your faith that God will not allow you to suffer loss.

Sometimes that darkness may be the valley of the shadow of death. For the Christian we have nothing to fear but fear itself. But fear is not an option, for the Lord has given us the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). We should not fear what man is able to do unto us (Heb 13:6). Death holds no fear for the Christian because death is only deliverance from the very presence and effects of sin. It is natural not to want to leave our family behind, but there is no fear in leaving this life. At the very moment that your soul leaves your body you are in the very presence of the Lord Jesus and God our Father. There is no tunnel, no bright lights, no travel through some expanse; to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). When you close your eyes in death, it will only seem as a blink of the eye that you will see the glorious light of the glory of Heaven.

It was in the darkness that the Lord came to Abram and revealed His detailed plan for Abram’s life. He told him of the plans for his children who had not yet been born and what their future would be. Now God is not in the habit of revealing all His plans to us. He certainly is not in the custom of giving all the details to His plans. God wants you to live by faith, not by sight. Sight can deceive and mislead you. He has revealed what He wants us to know about our future in His Word. It is enough to know so that we will live by faith. As His children we are to depend upon Him from day to day.

Your children do not know what tomorrow holds for them, but they know that they can depend upon you from day to day for what they need. We would do well to teach our children that their dependence upon us is really a dependence upon God. We depend upon Him to give us what we need to provide for them. We take God at His Word and trust Him to work out the details. He does not have to give me every detail of what my life is to be, I just live from day to day in dependence upon Him.

I do prayerfully plan, and I do try to set some goals in my life, but it is all dependent upon what God wants to do. I know what His will for my life is and I work in that will and desire of God for my life. I do not just sit idly by and expect Him to micromanage my life. I know that I must work daily at trying to reach people for the Lord, and I must work daily at trying to help people be better in their walk with the Lord. These are His desire for every Christian. But in the perfect will of God I have so much more that I have to do, and it requires that I make future plans and set some long term and short-term goals. But I live every day surrendered as a living sacrifice to God’s will for that day.

Now we see that God comes down in His glory and passes between the pieces of the sacrifice. In the ceremony both parties were to pass through together but that is not the situation here. God has confirmed that no matter what Abram does, He will fulfill the covenant promise. Up to this point God has said, “I will” but now He says, “I have.” It is a done deal. It is the same for our salvation; once we are truly saved, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the redemption of the body (Eph 1:13, 14). Many of God’s promises are conditional; they are based upon us doing what is required of us. But some of God’s promises are not conditional; His promise to never leave us, our home in Heaven, the resurrection of our bodies, and many more are not conditional promises. 

God wants you to seek His will for your life. He wants you to embrace the challenge of living by faith. He wants you to embrace the consequences of your faith. He is looking for some people who will have a confident trust in Him no matter how things may look or how they may personally feel about the matter. He wants to grow you up for His glory so that He can give you all that He has in store for you. Is that what you want? If so, then you are ready to let Him grow you into maturity in your faith. All you need to do is to step out on that faith and ask Him to begin working in your life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 15

A Word From the LORD

Genesis 15:1 ~ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

The first Word that any person hears from God is that of a call to repentance. Whether it was the preaching in a church service or someone sitting down and sharing the Gospel with you, it was the Lord who was speaking to your heart and calling you to come unto Him. In Revelation 3:20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (That is the door of your heart; He cannot and will not force His way in. You must open your heart’s door and invite Him in [Rom 10:13].): if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” It is that still small voice that says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28). It is He who will give you rest from weariness, wandering, and the bondage of sin. It is He who will call you to rest from your on works, which are fruitless, and to rest upon His works which will afford you the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23). It is a Word from the LORD that will change your life forever.

But we still need a Word from God every day. Though Abram was just one man among millions upon the earth, yet the LORD had a special word and a special purpose just for him. In the grand design of God’s plan, Abram was of great importance. You today need a word from God. You have the blessing of having the Word of God in print that gives you His complete, perfect, and divine revelation. Though you are just one among billions, God loves you and He has a specific divine purpose for you in the grand design of His plan. You are not insignificant to God, you are of great importance to Him and He has a word for you about your fear, your future, and your faith.

After his great military victory and his refusal to align himself with the king of Sodom by accepting reward for accomplishments, Abram stands alone. He had slaughtered Chedorlaomer and those kings that were with him. Now Abram probably thought that those nations of the four kings might raise an army to come after him. Maybe their kinsman would come to seek vengeance against him. Abram stood alone because he stood upon his faith in God. He depended upon God to care for him rather than align himself with the world.

God came to him, calling him by name and saying, “fear not.” This is the first use of these words in the Bible, but it certainly is not the last. Men are always crying out for peace and telling us not to fear, but their words hold no power for they are often empty and vain. But when the LORD our God comes along and speaks peace to your heart the fear is gone. There is a peace that comes from knowing and having a personal daily walk with the Lord your God. Consider the disciples in the storm upon the sea and how the Lord came to them saying, “It is I; be not afraid” (Jn 6:15-21). There is a peace that comes from having a word from the Lord and having His presence with you wherever you go. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding because it quenches all fear, even in the worst storms of life.

We were in south Mississippi the day that Hurricane Katrina came on shore. We were staying in our home church building because there were a couple of families who were not going to be able to leave town. We felt it would be safer for them to stay there than it was for them to stay in their homes. We were on ground level when the water started coming in and we immediately took everyone to the second floor. The water kept rising to the top of the second step from the top, less than a foot from the second floor, and one of the ladies looked at me and asked, “What are we going to do if the water keeps coming up?” I looked at her, and I asked the Lord for the right thing to say, and that still small voice within gave me the assurance that the water would come no further. I told her that the water was not going to reach us and that calmed her fear.

Through all that day, watching the destruction of that entire neighborhood, watching both mine and my wife’s vehicles go under water, there was never a fear in my heart. God had given me a peace and had assured me that we would all be just fine. I even lay down and took a nap in the afternoon because of the peace that God spoke to my heart.

When you have the peace of God the fear will subside and be gone. Fear is bondage. It will hold you back and it will keep you down. Fear will keep you from making wise decisions and it will keep you from reaching your full potential. You need a word from the LORD every day that you live. Open His Word daily and search the Scriptures for that special word from Him to you. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 16

Seek God’s Word on All Life’s Issues

Genesis 15:1 ~ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.  2  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

We have the peace of God and we have the protection of God. God told Abram that he need not fear because “I am thy shield.” God had protected him in the battle with the four kings, but God was still with him now. God’s protection is always there for His own when they are in the heat of battle and when they are just going through their daily routine. Those who know God know His peace and His protection. Psalm 34:7 tells us, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear (reverential respect and trust with a hatred for evil) him, and delivereth them.” God was protecting us during Hurricane Katrina on every side. He kept us safe from the winds and from the water. When you know God and you walk daily with Him, getting closer to Him every day (Col 3:1-3), you will be protected by Him on every side (READ 2 Kings 6:8-17).

There is a peace and protection that comes from knowing God, but there is great reward that comes from knowing God. No prize or earthly treasure will ever compare with God's love, grace, mercy, salvation, forgiveness, presence, peace, power, heaven, hope, etc. When you have the Lord, you have everything that you will ever need. You may not be rich according to the world’s standards, but you are rich beyond imagination. The world as it is today will pass away and cease to exist, but those who belong to Christ will live forever! The Christian life is not to be pitied; it is to be envied. All that belongs to Him is ours by inheritance through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).

Fear not! You have the peace, the protection, and the prize that comes from knowing God. He is your shield and exceeding great reward. We see Abram’s fear is put to rest with a Word from the Lord about His peace, His protections, and His rewards. God had made promises to Abram about his life and the future posterity of his family. Now Abram begins to inquire and seek God’s will concerning his future. We as Christians must be like Abram when it comes to getting the answers that we need about the direction of our life.

When we need to know what lies ahead in our life and we must seek God first. I was talking with a teen class the other day and told them that whatever their plans and their dreams are that they should talk with God about them first. I explained to them that they could choose a career path and become very successful in life. But I also told them that if they did not ask God first about what they were to do with their life that they would not have any satisfaction. More than likely they would be most miserable in their accomplishments. Christians need to put God first, keep God first, and consult God first before making decisions about their future. Seek God’s will and purpose.

When it comes to the issues of life, you should turn to God and seek His Word on them. God has something to say about most every issue you will face in life. God has something for you in every situation and circumstance. If you will turn to God and seek His Word in any given situation, you will find that He is ready to give you what you need; knowledge, wisdom, discretion, etc. All that you need to make the right choices in your life are found in the Word of God. That is why it is so important to immerse yourself in His Word daily. His Word is given to you to benefit you in everything. You will find spiritual guidance, marital guidance, family guidance, financial guidance, moral guidance, business guidance, social guidance, educational guidance, political guidance, and every other kind of guidance you need. Simply put, Seek God’s Word on all life’s issues and He will give you the help that you need. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 17

You Can Trust God’s Promises

Genesis 15:3-4 ~ And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

God’s promise to Abram as he seeks the Lord’s perfect will for his life is very simple; He told Abram that he would indeed have a son and that his son that comes from his loins would be the heir. God has made special promises to us in His Word and all we need to do is to believe on them to receive them. He promised that if we would train up our children under His nurture and admonition that they would not depart from the faith (Pro 22:6; Eph 6:4). We put our faith in His every Word and bring our children up the way He says and we have the promise that when they are old they will not depart from it. Believe His every word with child-like faith. His promises are simple, but they are profound, and they are truth.

God is the Sovereign God. Abram was very old when this promise was made to him. His wife is past the age of childbearing. In the nature of things, it would be impossible for them to have any children at this time in their life. But the Word of the LORD says they will have a son. We serve a can-do God! He can do what man cannot do. Jesus said, “… with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

We as Christians need to realize that our Father is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could as or think of Him (Gal 3:20). He is able to deliver Abram in the battles, Moses from the river, Daniel from the lions, the three Hebrews from the fire, the disciples from the storms, and He is able to deliver you from the trials, tribulations, and the troubles of life every day. When it looks like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, look to God. When it feels like the darkness is going to smother you, call upon God. When others say there is no hope, trust in the Lord your God with all your might. When all your strength is gone and you are so weary that you just cannot go on, lean on Him and He will carry you. God will deliver you! He has a specific purpose just for you because you are significant in His plan. Just as it was in the lives of Abram, Moses, Daniel, the three Hebrews, and the disciples, His plan is working in your life today. He is the Sovereign God and He does what He pleases.

We can see the simplicity in God’s promises, the sovereignty of God’s promises, and we can see the size and the scope of God’s promises. Abram was looking for an heir to all that he had. But God had greater things in store for him. God was going to give him the son and the heir that he was inquiring about, but God was going to give him more than he could ask for or count. God was about to bestow a blessing upon Abram that would literally cause him to stand in awe.

In verses 5 & 6 we see God’s promise and Abram’s reaction. He believed God and God accounted him as righteous. This same principle applies to every person who believes on Christ; it is accounted to them for righteousness. God has given you eternal life. It is more than escaping the punishment for sin, it is never dying. It is living forever beyond the grave without the curse of sin. What are you doing with that precious gift? Are you wasting it on the world that is or are you laying up treasure in the world to come? 

Maybe you think, “Who am I that God would do such a thing for me?” Do not underestimate what God is willing to do for you. He loved you enough that He sent His Son to pay for your sin. He loved you enough that He offers to you the gift of eternal life. He loved you enough that He promised to give you an abundant life. He wants to do more for you than you could ever imagine. God wants to amaze you with all His wonders. He wants to do great and mighty things with you and through you. He has given you His Word and His promises. Will you let Him have His way with your heart and life? Will you seek His will and His purpose for your life and follow what He has for you? If you will, you will be blown away with what He will do. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 18

Abram’s Faith “In” The LORD Pt 1

Genesis 15:6 ~ And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

This is a very simple verse, but it speaks volumes about Abram’s faith. We should realize that this is the simplest form of child-like faith. It is to take God at His Word; not just simply believe every word He says, but to believe “in” Him for every word He says. Abram’s faith was counted to him for righteousness. Faith to believe “in” is the power to receive.

Abram has gone from just believing the promises that God has made to believing “in” the LORD. He has heard the Word of the LORD. His fears have been laid to rest and his future has been determined. Now Abram completely immerses himself “in” the LORD. He has now gone from hearing and believing to casting himself into complete confidence upon the LORD. He does not just believe the word; he believes “in” God and trusts Him with his very life. Just as Job trusted God implicitly when he stated, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Both Abram and Job do not just believe God; their faith is “in” God. The direction of Abram’s faith had changed forever. It was no longer just in the word; it was in the Person of the word.

This is the difference between Heaven and hell. You can believe what the Bible says about God and His promises and go to hell. There was a time when I believed every word of the Bible. I believed in the virgin birth, the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ. I believed all the accounts in Scripture were true and accurate. I believed in a literal Heaven and a literal hell. I believed these things and I was still lost and on my way to hell. I had an intellectual acceptance of these facts.

But there came a day when I moved from just believing what the Bible had to say to believing “in” what the Bible had to say. That is the day I went from just believing that Jesus was real to placing the full weight of my faith “in” the work and person of Christ and of God. My faith transformed from intellectual acceptance to absolute trust from the heart; with head knowledge you will go to hell, but with the heart’s trust you can go to Heaven. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). The direction of my faith had changed forever, and the Lord saved me, sealed me, and gave me a new life. That new life is abundant in mercy and grace and it is eternal.

Abram believed despite the fact of his and Sarai’s ages. He knew that God would do what He had promised, and Abram’s faith was in the Lord and His word. As we have said, what God had promised was practically impossible in the natural realm. But Abram did not let this stand in the way of, nor deter him from, putting his faith “in” the LORD. No matter what, Abram by faith already saw what God had promised as being true. He had received God and His promises into his heart. His faith had a deep root like the tap root of a tree. It went deeper than all the other roots in his life.

Do you believe the Bible and its accounts, or do you believe “in” the Bible? Do you believe the promises of God, or do you believe “in” the God who can fulfill the promises He has made? Do you believe “in” the LORD as Job did who said he would trust “in” Him even if He took his life? When you believe “in” God like that, you will be fully confident “in” Him; then you will find yourself in that place to receive the things that He has promised to them who believe “in” Him. You can believe God, or you can believe “in” God; where does your faith stand? - Dr. Todd Taylor

November 30: Punishment Promotes Wisdom

Proverbs 3:11-12  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Chastening is for correction of ignorance. We do not know everything all at once when we are saved. We are new born babes in Christ who need proper upbringing to become a mature Christian. So the Lord uses chastening to correct and instruct our ignorance so that we may stay safe in the world.

Scourging is for the correction of disobedience. When we know the truth and do not follow the truth then God will use scourging to bring us back to proper behavior. Scourging refers to spiritual spanking; this may be whatever the Lord has to use to get your attention. It may be something physical with your health, some spiritual defeat, some financial difficulty, or some other hardship that will cause you to repent and get back where you need to be with the Lord.

You do the same thing for your children. You must teach them right and wrong, teach them the benefits and the consequence, and then you must enforce the rules and guidelines for proper behavior. You may chasten them with rebuke and stern warnings first, but if they continue to do wrong then the punishment will get a little harsher each time. Physical punishment – spanking -  should be a final punishment, not the first.

God has given us His Word to set the parameters of our behavior. His Word is good and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Doctrine is instruction to believe the right things. These are the basic fundamental truths of His Word. These cannot be compromised for any reason whatsoever. If you compromise doctrine you sin against your holy and benevolent Father.

Reproof is rebuke of wrong doing to convict of sin. The Spirit of God will use the Word of God to convict you of sin. He does this so that you will repent and get right. If you keep falling into the same trap you may cause God to bring harsher punishment against you. But the sooner you repent and get right the easier it will be on you. By the way, the Lord does not enjoy punishing His child, but He does it out of love because He wants to prosper you in life.

Correction gives us solutions so that we might stay and live right. He does not just give you reproof without giving you a solution to your problems. The reproof warns you that you are in the wrong; you have broken the parameters of good behavior. You need to repent and obey His Word. Now He tells you what you need to do to stay right so that you may consistently obey and live right. You must learn from your mistakes.

Instruction is training and teaching so that we can help guide others in the right paths. God so graciously allows those who have walked in the paths of wisdom to invest into your life through teaching a Bible class, mentoring through setting a right example for you, preaching, and giving counsel in navigating through difficult times. Do not be weary of His correction or punishment. Your Father loves you with infinite, sacrificial, undeniable, unconditional love. His desire is to protect and prosper you in life so that you can have the best He can give you.

When you have come to a place of spiritual maturity, then you can teach others and help them. You ought to have a daily diet of God’s Word so that you can know right, get right, stay right, and teach right. -Preacher

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