What are you prepared to face?

August 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
(John 15:18 (NIV))

Do you think that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior that everything will be smooth sailing?

Think about the words from John.

Did Jesus have it smooth during His time among us? He faced crowds that wanted to hurt Him. He was betrayed. He was falsely accused. He was severely beaten, and He was crucified.

Jesus was hated by the worldly systems and the powers of the earth.

Are we, as the modern church, ready to face this same type of hatred? Are we willing to surrender our lives and take a stand for Jesus?

We have all seen the reports of what is being perpetrated by ISIS on Christians. We have seen the threats that they are coming to this country. We have seen society turn away from Jesus and anything to do with Christianity. We have watched as the lie of separation of church and state has become the accepted thought. We have watched as our own government is abandoning Israel and embracing its enemies.

What are you prepared to face?

Will you abandon your faith in Jesus because society tells you to, or will you take a stand for Jesus and face the hatred that the enemy and the world heap upon you?

Following Jesus is not an easy task, but the rewards for being faithful are like no other. We will face the enemy. We will face death. We will face more than we can possibly imagine, but take heart. Jesus is returning for His bride. We will be embraced in the loving arms of God. Our sins are forgiven because we have placed our faith in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in Jesus at all times!

August 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 (NIV))

Mourning indicates an extremely sincere dislike of the current situation in which you may find yourself.

Mourning may take on many different forms. Most people associate mourning with the loss of a loved one. Other things can cause one to mourn as well. The sadness caused by events that do not effect you directly. A heartfelt sympathy to anyone who is suffering. There are many other situations that may cause one to mourn. Yet, the basic principle behind the mourning is one of an extreme dislike of the current situation.

If we mourn, it shows that we are not so engrossed in this world that we accept anything and everything that it sends our way. On the contrary, this world has been turned over to sin and our mourning indicates the extreme dislike of that situation.

We are to rejoice for we have been given a Savior in the name of Jesus Christ, yet we still mourn the lives that are lost, both physically and spiritually, all around us.

It is a common human trait for people to pray when they mourn. Even those who do not believe in God will pray when they are faced with distress. If we are in mourning for the world around us, we should pray without ceasing for all whom we encounter.

Our mourning over the current sinful nature of this world has lead us to Jesus, and hopefully will lead others to Jesus. Knowing that we are His provides us with the assurance that eventually our mourning will turn to joy when we are with Jesus in the Father’s Kingdom and all sin and sorrow are gone.

It is our responsibility to mourn and pray for those around us who need that salvation that is available only through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you ask of God?

August 27, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ”
(Mark 11:22-26 (NIV))

Prayer is the foundation of our faith. Prayer is more than just asking God for what you want in this world. It is a conversation with The Father. You can tell Him all of your concerns, ideas, and doubts just as you would your best friend. The more that you talk to God in prayer, the closer you become to Him in your thoughts and actions. Then, when you petition God for something in your prayers, it will be within His Will to grant it.

All too many people believe wrongly that God sits in heaven waiting to grant us whatever we want. God will give us good things, but He will not give us something that goes against His nature.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

God can only grant good things to His children. He is not capable of granting evil things. When you petition God, petition for things that are of God and from God, and not for things that are of this world. Remember Solomon. God told him that he could have whatever he wanted in this world. He asked for wisdom and God granted him this, plus much more.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When facing the enemy, we must be strong in our faith!

August 26, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
(Luke 10:2-3 (NIV))

Like lambs among wolves!

With what is going on in the world today, do you, as a professing follower of Jesus, feel like a lamb among wolves? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells when it comes to letting people know that you are a Christian?

We, as the Body of Christ, must be bold. We must be prepared, willing and able to take a stand for Jesus and to share our faith with those around us no matter what the consequences may be. Are you willing to stand up before an unfrienddly crowd and speak the truth of the Gospel? Are you willing to face ridicule and hardship for your faith in Jesus?

Think about that last question.

What type of faith would you have if you are not willing? Would this indicate that you either love this life more than you love Jesus, or that you don’t truly believe what you profess to believe?

I realize that human nature is self preserving, but if we call upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we need to be ready to defend that claim. We need to be ready to face the enemy knowing that Jesus is with us.

We, as the Body of Christ, have much to do to let the world know that a harvest is coming. We are, and will face continuing troubles, but we must not lose focus. We must not lose our hope, for when we lose our hope, faith soon follows.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

When facing the enemy, we must be strong in our faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hide God from others?

August 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.
(Psalms 40:10 (NIV))

David was not ashamed of God. He proclaimed His greatness whenever and wherever he was. David slipped and sinned, but that did not stop him from praising God. David praised God for the salvation that was yet to come.

How can we, who live on the other side of that salvation gift, praise God any less? David had a great faith. It is hard enough to believe in Jesus when there is historical evidence that He lived and that what is written is true. David believed in God and salvation without this evidence. It takes a greater faith to believe when all you have are promises, even if those promises are from God. It is human nature, probably due to our fall from grace, to be skeptical and unbelieving, yet David believed. He had enough faith to be called a man after God’s own heart.

Can we be called that when we have received not only the promise but the actual gift of salvation?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must take a look at our actions

August 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
(Romans 14:21 (NIV))

Do we ever stop to think about our actions and how they effect those around us?

We tend to think that our actions only have an impact on us, but that is far from the truth. Most of us realize that our actions have a direct effect on those around us, after all, our outlook on life can impact other people. Have you ever stopped to think that what we do, and what we don’t do, can have a very big impact on people?

Would you have an alcoholic drink in front of someone that you knew was battling this temptation? Would you be so callous as to partake of a very large meal in front of someone who hadn’t eaten in several days? Would you encourage someone to steal something because they can’t afford it?

What if you were battling an eating disorder and someone accidentally tempted you? What if you were a drug addict under control and someone left something at your home?

Would you have the will power to resist? Would you be upset with those who left the temptation there for you?

Why do people sin?

It is a matter of personal addiction to something. If the temptation is removed, many can people can focus enough to ignore the sin. It is the introduction of temptation that leads to the person falling. Not everyone has the same temptation. What may cause one person to sin may not be what will cause another to sin. We, as the Body of Christ, must be careful that our actions do not lead others to sin. Contrary to what society may say, we should not only think of ourselves. We must think of others. We must be observant enough to know what may cause others to sin.

We, as the Body of Christ, have a responsibility to lift each other up. We must not be a hindrance. We must take a look at our actions.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be on your guard against false teaching!

August 21, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:6 (NIV))

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two different schools of thought about the interpretation of the scriptures. It is interesting that neither group had been able to interpret the scriptures the way that they should. They had introduced different teachings that had their origins from man and these teachings had spread through the temple and the nation like yeast through bread.

Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for these teachings and to not allow them to enter into their lives again. It is so easy to replace God’s Word with human interpretation of it. Humanity has been taking God’s Word and twisting it for their own reasons for as long as history has been recorded. The sad part is that we can all fall prey to this. Even those who proclaim to desire to know God’s Word are susceptible to twisting it for their own selfish desires. Take a long look at your life in faith. Has there ever been a person or group of people that you know who have twisted God’s Word? Now comes the hardest question of all. Have you been guilty of this yourself?

I hate to say this, but I would venture to say that all of us have done that at one point or another. We are sinful and selfish in nature. Even though we claim grace through the blood of Jesus, we are not instantly perfect. We are, however, instantly forgiven. We are being made perfect.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV))

Even as we are being transformed into His likeness, we can also stumble and fail because of false teaching. We must be on our guard and test what we hear and see against God’s Word. We must not allow anything to make us falter in our course. We must not fall for the false teachings of today’s Pharisees and Sadducees.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we become modern Pharisees?

August 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV))

Paul was probably the worst person in the eyes of the church before his Damascus Road experience. Even afterwards, many believers did not trust him or want to associate with him.

Does this sound familiar? How many of us today do not want to accept people whom we consider to be worse than ourselves? We claim to want sinners to turn from their sin and to turn to God, yet, if they try to do it in our “church,” we feel uneasy and do not want them to be a part of us. This is not Godly.

We never know what God has in mind for those whom He has called out of their sin through Jesus Christ. God may have a plan for those whom we do not want, and through our un-acceptance of these people, we are actually standing in God’s way. When we stand before God, do we want to have to answer the question asking us why we did not accept someone whom God has called? I know that I don’t.

People need to realize that all of us are sinners, and in the eyes of God, no sin is greater than another, for all sin leads to death. It is our human nature that has labeled some sins more sinful than others. If we fall into this way of thinking, then we have become modern Pharisees in the eyes of God.

Before you dismiss this, remember how Jesus treated the Pharisees of His day!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His compassions never fail!

August 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
(Lamentations 3:22-25 (NIV))

Seventy times seven! That is the number of times that God says we must forgive others when they sin against us. When that was written, that was considered a large number and was intended probably to mean that we are to forgive unlimited times.

If we, who are not perfect, are to forgive unlimited times, how much more can God forgive if His compassions never fail? If we place our trust in God, He will forgive those who earnestly seek after His Will.

Look at two different scenarios. If you had a son who constantly disobeyed and did not wish to take Godly counsel, you would want to change his attitude, but would not help him until he did. If you had a son who wished to do what is Godly and right, but constantly fell short, you would assist him in his struggles. It is his desire to do what is right, but he needs guidance. One son you would stop helping until he changed his heart, the other son you would continually help because his heart is right.

God is the same way. If you earnestly seek after God, then He will assist you immeasurably to achieve His Will for your life.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How would your church respond?

August 18, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

How would your church respond to this?

Since it is not all rosy, would there be a knee-jerk reaction to reject it or ignore it?

That is the problem with many churches today. It is all about public image and not necessarily about responding to God’s call or correction. Can you imagine the reaction if someone said that they would spit your church out? Think about that. When you spit something out of your mouth it is because it leaves a very bad taste. It makes you sick.

What would that say about the church this was told to? Would you listen and try to repent, or would it be brushed under the rug so no one would know?

I know that everyone, including churches, has dirty laundry that they don’t want aired. What if the dirty laundry that you are hiding or ignoring is something that would make Jesus spit you out of His mouth? What if it was keeping you from God’s full grace?

It is impossible to grow and mature in Christ when you ignore what you don’t like or what you feel is negative. Jesus did not spend His time on earth complimenting people and sugar-coating what needed to happen. Why do we think that the church must do what Jesus didn’t do?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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