Fearless in the face of intimidation

August 31, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
(Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV))

Today, this is my prayer for myself. It is also my prayer for any and all who proclaim the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I have never been one for not saying what I think. Just ask my wife!

I firmly believe in God, His Word, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I also firmly believe in standing my ground in my beliefs. I pray that this never changes.

Recently, through the email addresses that are associated with this devotional and other Bible related organizations, I have begun to be inundated with spam and other unwanted email, including daily Q’ran verses. All of the other emails are fake friend requests and they are increasing every day. Every single name is Arabic.

This, in and of itself, is not bad, for I know many believers who are of Arabic descent.

What has come to my attention is that appearances could be intimidating and cause someone to stop spreading God’s Word and the truth of the grace and mercy that is found only through His Son.

The intimidation can come from many sources. Pier pressure. Friends. Employers. Media. Movies. Music. Government.

The key is that we pray for each other as Paul requested. Pray that we may all declare the gospel fearlessly, as we should.

Do you pray that you will willingly and fearlessly profess the mystery of the gospel no matter what may happen?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What type of attitude?

August 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is what the LORD says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word
(Isaiah 66:1-2 (NIV))

I am going to ask you a very difficult question. I want you to be honest with your answer.

Have you ever had the attitude that God couldn’t get something done if it weren’t for you?

Ouch !!!

If you are like me, your answer probably hurt.

What goes with that type of an attitude? Is it humility or pride? Is it patience of arrogance?

I hate to say this, but we are all guilty of this at one time or another. It is important that we put a quick stop to this attitude and realize that God is in control and that we are not. I know that sometimes, from our limited perspective, it appears that nothing would get done if it weren’t for us. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe God is trying to teach us patience, or that He is trying to teach someone else responsibility?

We cannot presume to know the mind of God, but our human nature wants to tell Him how to run things. God longs for us to learn how to be in a different role in our relationship with Him. He wants us to take a role of a young son in the presence of a wise father. We have nothing to give, except love, and everything to learn. We must realize that God is far above our ways and that we are simply His creation. When we accept that relationship, we begin to learn humility. When we learn humility, we accept the fact that we are sinners in need of grace. When we accept that simple truth, we see ourselves differently. Hopefully, we will soon see ourselves in a relationship with God that has us sitting humbly at His feet, waiting for His wisdom to be perfected in us and not our filthy rags staining Him.

With what type of attitude do you approach your relationship with God?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy

August 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalms 139:17 (NIV))

We could sit at the feet of God forever and still not be able to fathom the depth of His being! We would only begin to see a glimpse of His love. We would only begin to see a glimpse of His mercy.

We may not be able to fully comprehend His thoughts, for He is beyond our human comprehnsion. Even so, we must long to know His thoughts, for His thoughts are life. His thoughts are love. His thoughts are grace and mercy! We should long to be in His thoughts. To know His thoughts. We must desire to fulfill His thoughts so that our actions are in His Will.

God is infinite. Contrary to what some people believe, He is not dead. They simply do not see Him through their clouded vision. Perhaps that is another reason to long to know the thoughts of God, for when we know His thoughts, we see everything clearer.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12(NIV))

When we know God’s thoughts, we see as if face to face. What a joyous thought!

Are the thoughts of God your joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be prepared to stand

August 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

Birth pains!

I honestly don’t know what else that we can call the events that have been unfolding over the last few years. And, they seem to be increasing rapidly and steadily!

Think back over the last few years.

I can think of two major tsunamis, terrorist attacks, earthquakes where earthquakes don’t happen. and many other events, such as the worldwide economic failures and panic. In the very shadow of the earthquake that hit the east coast, we are seeing a major hurricane striking the very area that the earthquake hit.

To top it all off, there is a major move to strip Israel of some of its land and create a Palestinian state. All of this by the very same group of people who have vowed to wipe Israel off of the face of this earth. These very same people also have vowed to bring down Israel’s biggest ally, the United States.

The whole world has turned upside down. Common sense and common dignity have left. There is an ever increasing division, an ever increasing polarization between groups of people. There is no room for meeting each other in friendship and working out our differences. Proclaiming the name of Jesus is becoming a perceived intolerance, while protecting the “rights” of those who wish to do us harm is important.

We have lost our moral compass. We have lost our ability to point up. We can only point to ourselves and what we want. And what we want is sinful.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 5:23 (NIV))

Keep the faith. Keep the focus. Trust in the Lord. Never give up the name of Jesus as good.

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
(Isaiah 5:20 (NIV))

Be prepared to stand for what you know is righteous and true.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Money, fame, prestige and power

August 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

Take a long hard look at what it is that you have allowed to take the place of God.

Did money create the heavens and the earth? Was fame there in the beginning? Did prestige and power subjugate the emptiness and cause it to form the universe?

Only God was able to do all of these things!

God existed long before the heavens and the earth and long before money, fame, or prestige and power. All of these things are man-made creations that have come about out of the depravity that arose because of the fall from grace. None of these things are worthy of our worship. None of these things should become our god. None, of these things are righteous in the eyes of God.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Exodus 20:3 (NIV))

Too many of us replace the one true God with our own personal gods. These gods can be anything that takes priority in our lives. When we find that this is happening, we must remember that none of these things were around in the beginning. None of them were around when God created the heavens and the earth. It was only God in His Triune glory, and He …

…is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If He created “in the beginning,” then we must reevaluate our gods and repent. We must turn to the God of creation.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:13 (NIV))

Can your “gods” of money, fame, or prestige and power make such a profession?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sincere?

August 24, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely.
(Psalms 145:18 (NLT))

Do you feel that God is close to you? Perhaps I should ask if you feel that you are close to God.

What is the difference?

Do you attend church on Sunday? Do you give freely of your money, talents and time? Do you give to the poor? Do you do charitable work? All of these are good, but without being close to God, they are only good works.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV))

Works do not save us. Only drawing close to God through His Son, Jesus, can save us.

Still, there is a catch. It is the last word in the passage.

“Sincerely!”

We must draw close to God in sincerity and do all that we do to His glory. Works do not save us, but a desire to do good works after we are saved comes to those who are sincere.

Are you close to God?

Are you sincere?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Talents

August 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
(Matthew 25:14-18 (NIV))

What have you done with the talents that God has given to you? Have you used them or have you hidden them?

Perhaps we should take a look at the talents that have been used. Were they used for your own gain or did you use them for the gain of the one who gave them to you? It is so easy to get caught up in what the world is selling and get sidetracked from the true reason for your talents. The world tells us to make money and seek after fame. It tells us that we are better than others and our talents are to be used for our gain. How will this attitude be rewarded?

Consider those who have used their talents for the gain of the one who gave them the talents. What was their attitude? How was it rewarded?

What about the one who is afraid to use their talents? They lack faith. Perhaps it is the lack of faith that the talent they have been given is of any value. Perhaps it is a lack of faith in themselves. Either way, it is a lack of faith in God, for He has created both the individuals and the talents. It is a misguided fear that God will punish us if we do wrong, and so we do nothing.

Each of us falls somewhere within these three scenarios. Perhaps we can lay claim to each one of them at different times in our lives. Either we misuse our talents and fall short of what God intends, or we use them for His good. Perhaps the worst case is not using our given talents at all.

What talents has God given to you? How have you used them? How can you change to be a better servant using your talents?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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