Is God tempting you?

May 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
(James 1:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have you heard someone say that God is tempting them? It is a popular misconception among non-believers and among those who do not truly understand the nature of God. God cannot tempt someone. It is not in His nature. Jesus explained this.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
(Luke 11:17-20)

Satan is the source of all temptation. God may use this temptation to strengthen us, but the temptation never comes from God. No matter what you are facing in this world, keep your eyes upon Jesus. Doing so will help you to realize that the problems you are facing are not from God, but from Satan.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be prepared to take prisoners!

May 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

We must remember that the sinner is not our enemy, it is the sin!

When we are faced with troubles, they do not come from human hands, or at least not directly. They originate from the powers that we, as humanity, allowed into this world through Adam and Eve.

We know the outcome of the eventual victory, but we are still faced with the individual battles before then. The saying, “Take no prisoners” does not apply in this battle. We must “capture” as many of the enemy’s soldiers as we can and bring them to our side.

Each of us was lost at one point in our lives. Likewise, each of those that we struggle against is lost. We must remove the indoctrination that the enemy has filled them with and fill them with the love of Jesus Christ.

When you go into battle for the Lord, be prepared to take prisoners!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to recognize the enemy?

May 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

We must remember that we are in a battle. This battle may show no physical signs of war such as physical destruction, wounds and death, but we are in a battle just the same.

Preparation is the way to win at anything. Athletes train in order to be prepared for the big race. Soldiers train in order to be prepared for the battle. Firefighters train in order to be prepared for the big fire. We, as believers, are in the Lord’s Army and we must prepare for the day and time when we will face the battle. We must train in order to face the enemy whenever and wherever he may present himself.

How do we train to face Satan? By fully relying on God! Rely on His promises. Rely on His Word. Rely on His Son, Jesus Christ, and rely on the Holy Spirit. If we fully rely on God and trust in all that He has promised, we will be prepared to face the enemy. We will also be able to recognize the enemy, for he is crafty and deceiving. It is not unlikely that we have already faced the enemy and we did not recognize him because we had not yet followed the instructions that Paul gave to the Ephesians. In fact, we face the enemy every day, whether we realize it or not.

Are you prepared to recognize the enemy and repel his attack?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to obey?

May 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NAS))

As a child, probably everybody sang the song about being in the Lord’s Army. If we are in the active service of Jesus, then we have an obligation to follow the “marching orders” that we are given.

In our nation’s army, a private obeys the orders that he is given by his sergeant or he faces disciplinary action. How can we, as believers in Jesus Christ, not obey the orders that we are given by our commander, after all, Jesus outranks the sergeant that the private obeys!

Yet, many people do not follow the orders or even worse, they ignore them.

We have a mission far more important than that of a soldier in a worldly army! We are to be the light in a dark world and we are to take that light to the world. If the private does not obey the sergeant for an extended period of time, he is subject to court martial. If believers do not listen to God, we are not subject to court martial or any retribution, but God does continue to give us “orders” for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is our choice whether we obey or not!

If we are truly soldiers in God’s Army, then we should be willing to obey.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold fast to Jesus!

May 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
(Galatians 1:6-9 (NIV))

I came across something today that does not surprise me given the current status of the world and the attack on Christianity from all sides. It is still another false teaching and false gospel that the enemy is using to try and ridicule the church and deceive people.

I have never included live links before, but this particular story merits breaking this practice.

http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/iran-claims-discovery-of-ancient-gospel-will-prove-islam-and-destroy-christianity/

I include it for one simple reason, and that is to allow you to read about this for yourself.

We live in interesting times.

When I was younger, I could not have imagined the very rapid and drastic turns in society and the world. Tolerance is preached, but those who preach it are not tolerant of Jesus. Love is preached, but those who preach it hate the Body of Christ. Acceptance is preached only as long as it is of alternate lifestyles.

Hold fast to Jesus!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

If anything is preached that does not profess Jesus as the Son of God, crucified, resurrected and at the right hand of God the Father, do not be deceived. The enemy has many tricks and he has no problems using them to keep you from the grace and mercy that is freely given through Jesus.

Hold fast. Pray. Place your trust in Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Skeletons

May 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV))

This is an interesting passage. Carefully read it again. Do you see the irony?

Human nature tries to keep things hidden, especially things that are not that good. Instead of dealing with the proverbial skeletons in the closet, we try to lock them away so that we can hide all of the bones. We don’t want anybody to look at us too closely for we are afraid that they will see our frailties and our shortcomings. Most of us are actually afraid to look at them ourselves.

God desires for us to turn our lives over to Him. He desires for us to ask Him to search us and redirect us away from the things that are not of Him. This goes against every aspect of our sinful human nature that I have ever witnessed. It is true that on occasion, we will do something right, but we often make up for it in the other direction.

If it is human nature to hide things and God wants us to allow Him to search us, how do we bridge that gap? How do we unlock the closet and clear the skeletons?

Grace !

Mercy !

Grace tells us that we can be cleared of those bones. Mercy tells us that the skeletons will be forgiven. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we unlock the innermost parts of our being and allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to come in and search us, test us and lead us. It is a struggle. Each day, God has to point out something else within my life that needs to be removed. Some days are hard, for these are the days that I face one of these moments head on. Thankfully, He does not give up on me.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

Faith is a growing process. It requires us to allow God to search us, to know us, to test us and to lead us. Ironically, this is exactly what our sinful nature wants to hide. Open yourself up to God. He loves you too much to leave you like you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Weeds are appearing everywhere

May 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I know that I have been skirting around this passage for a long time with references to what is going on in the world today. I honestly do not see how people have become so polarized. How they have forgotten the basic concepts of society and the basic principles of a life lived in harmony with God’s desires.

I can remember a time when pregnancy outside of marriage was considered wrong. Now it is a choice and often a reality television show. I can remember when abortion was illegal. Now it is a woman’s right. I can remember when victims could defend themselves. Now they are locked up and the criminal has more rights than the victim. I can remember when homosexuality was not talked about. Now it is supposedly a biological issue. I can remember when freedom of religion meant that you could worship in any manner that you wished. Now it means freedom from religion. I remember when the majority of the population went to church. A vocal minority now has us on tiptoes when the 10 Commandments are posted in a public building. I remember when prayer was allowed in school. Now, we can’t mention Jesus, but we can talk about any other religion freely.

There are many other passages that confirm what Isaiah wrote.

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
(Romans 2:8 (NIV))

We are in interesting times.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 14:24-30 (NIV))

Weeds are appearing everywhere.

We, as the Body of Christ, must not fall into the traps that the enemy has set. We must know God’s Word. We must know the enemy. We must be able to tell the difference between good and evil.

Do you call evil good and good evil?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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