Is there division among us?

February 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
(1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV))

Have you ever seen a physical body that was not united in mind, thought and action?

Chances are that you came away from seeing such a body with the single thought that the person was not mentally right. Perhaps you even felt sorry for them. Whatever the reaction, you could sense that there was something unusual about that person and the body that they inhabited.

What does the Body of Christ look like to someone who is not a believer? Do they see a body that is united in mind and thought or do they come away with the sad thought that there is something wrong with that body for they do not agree upon what to do and how to do it?

All too often, we, as the Body of Christ, come across to nonbelievers in such as manner, for they see the petty differences that have a tendency to divide us instead of the common beliefs that unite us.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians still applies today. We must agree to unite on the commonality of the atoning blood and the saving grace of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and put aside the trivial issues such as doctrines created by man.

If Paul were writing to us today, would he still write these words? Perhaps they would be harsher. Perhaps they would be nicer. What do you think Paul would write?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we willing to be a servant?

February 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45 (NLT))

I can see very clearly that this concept has become unknown in our current society. Many of our leaders feel that they are in absolute authority over us, yet they proclaim to be Christians. Based on this passage from Mark, we see that this is clearly not the case. It states that those who wish to be a leader must be a servant. They are not to be elevated above others, but must have a servant’s heart. They must be willing to sacrifice for those whom they are called to lead.

This applies not only in government, but also in our work, and in our local church assemblies. We must not allow ourselves to exercise authority over each other is such a way that we subjugate those around us. The Body of Christ has only one head. The last time that I checked, no one has professed to be Jesus and has come visible in the clouds with an army.

It is our sinful human nature that wants to elevate ourselves to positions of authority. I am sure that everyone has, at one time, had a fantasy of having our every wish and whim fulfilled. For most people, this is just a fleeting idea. However, there are those who cling to this concept even though they may not realize it.

Do you find yourself thinking that you are better than others?

Do you ever find yourself thinking that as long as you get yours, you couldn’t care what happens to others?

Human nature can be harmful. Ego can be harmful. To truly be a leader, you must be willing to serve. You must be willing to put the well being of others before your very own. It is this characteristic that Jesus displayed when He willingly went to the cross.

Would we do the same, or would we say to take someone else in our place? Are we willing to make the sacrifices that truly say that we are a follower of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you focused on?

February 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
(Galatians 5:16-18 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are in conflict with yourself? Do you find yourself doing things that you don’t want to do? Do you regret doing things that you do?

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have strong desires to do what is righteous in the eyes of God, yet we do exactly opposite of what we want to do. There is an amusing story about this. I have even seen this presented as a prayer.

Lord, so far so good. I have not lied. I have not stolen anything. I have not gotten mad at anybody. I have not taken your name in vain. I am about to get out of bed, and I know that this is going to go downhill from here.

Do you ever feel like this? Do you feel that life causes you to do things that are not righteous in the eyes of God?

What do you look at? What do you focus on that causes you to falter in your daily walk? What is it that feeds your sinful nature and keeps you from living by the Spirit? Satan knows how to trigger our sinful nature. He knows how to distract us.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus! Keep your thoughts focused on God’s Word. The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true. What you put into your life is what you become. When you succumb to the sinful nature, repent and redouble your focus. We are only human and will need to make numerous corrections each day. When we see something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus! When we hear something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus!

What are you focused on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you generous in your faith?

February 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
(Proverbs 11:25 (NLT))

Have you ever met someone who just seemed to give even when they did not seem able to?

Did you ever see them run out because of their generosity?

God replenishes those who give freely from the abundance that He has given them. This is a lesson that is difficult to learn and one that I am still in the process of learning.

Let’s face the truth. We live in a physical world that appears to be governed by physical laws. It is difficult to ignore those laws when we are faced with them every day. It requires faith. It requires a faith greater than professing Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Don’t get me wrong. Professing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior is a big step of faith, but human nature will not allow us to let go of physical possessions as easily as it allows us to profess a faith in the unseen.

When we give generously, we take that next step of faith. It is a faith that acknowledges that all things are from God and that He will supply all of our needs. It requires us to give up control and that is a difficult thing to do for all of us. We worry about lack. We worry about sufficiency. We worry about everything that we can see.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
(Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV))

Generosity is a sign of surrender to the majesty of God. It is a sign of reliance upon God and not upon yourself.

Are you generous?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we still recognize His majestic splendor?

February 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes.
(2 Peter 1:16 (NLT))

I have often thought what it would have been like to walk with Jesus and to see the miracles that He performed. I bet that I am not the only one who has had these thoughts.

What is your favorite point in Jesus’ time on this earth?

Would you like to see Jesus turn the water into wine? Perhaps you would like to see Him raise Lazarus from the grave. Would you like to hear the Sermon on the Mount firsthand? Perhaps you would like to see the many healings that He performed. I would love to have witnessed the Last Supper, but not from Judas’ perspective. Would you have the faith to be in the Garden? Would you understand that the crucifixion had to happen?

Would you rejoice at the resurrection?

I have often wondered if my heart would hold out. Would I have the strength to see Jesus suffer and die knowing that He was doing it for me?

We have an advantage that the early church did not have. We have the compiled written testimonies of the ones who witnessed these very events. We also have a disadvantage that the early church did not have. They still had the original eye witnesses. They had the very people who walked with Jesus and experienced these things firsthand. They could ask questions. They could get clarification and understanding directly from those whom God tasked with spreading the Gospel.

The written Gospel is amazing. It is power and it is truth. It has lasted the tests of time. When we need clarification,, we can go to God in prayer. We can ask for wisdom and understanding. We can bask in God’s glory and in His presence.

Too many people today say that God’s Word is no longer relevant to the world in which we live. They no longer seek God or His wisdom. They no longer seek to know why Jesus came into this world. They no longer acknowledge sin as sin.

Do we still recognize His majestic splendor in our world today?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the solid food of faith?

February 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
(Luke 9:1-6 (NIV))

There is so much good stuff in this passage!

This is the solid food that was spoken of when we are no longer infants in the faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrew 5:13-14 (NIV))

When we mature, we are in a position to accept the power and the authority and use it as it was intended. When we are infants in the faith, we don’t know what to do and we don’t know what God can do. With this power and authority, we are confident in our ability to be used by God in any manner that He may choose. We also learn to rely upon Him and “take nothing for the journey.”

The next part is one that many people have a problem with because of our human nature. We don’t want to look like we have given up. When we are told to shake the dust off our feet, we must be mature enough to realize that this is not a reflection on our faith and obedience. It is a reflection on those who will not receive. Jesus knows that some people will not be receptive. We are called to be mature in our faith to recognize when we are being called to move on.

Are you mature enough to receive God’s power and authority? Are you ready for the solid food of faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God’s power foolishness to you?

February 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

I realize that I am stuck on a topic, but the power of God is something that we can never get too much of.

It is the power of God that created all things.

It is the power of God that gave you life.

It is the power of God that raised Jesus from the grave!

It is the power of God that brings salvation.

Is there any other power that has done any of this?

Is there any other power that can redeem us?

It is true that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but if you think about it from God’s perspective, it is the ideal way to show power. Through the cross, the enemy thought that he was putting an end to God’s plans. Through the cross, the enemy violently put to death the one that God sent to bring redemption. It was foolish for anyone alive at this time to honestly believe that someone who had faced such a violent death would be alive and walking among us just three days later.

I find it amazing how God will use what we call foolishness to turn our world upside down.

I once heard a story about how a big revival got started. Members of a church started praying, and kept praying for months, for God to send a revival to their city. After months of praying, they were frustrated. It is my understanding that someone asked if anyone had heard God during all of this prayer time. One person finally admitted that they had heard a voice telling them to strike the table each time that they had been praying. They finally struck the table and God unleashed a revival on the city that lasted for years.

it sounds like foolishness, doesn’t it?

Is it foolishness or is it a step of faith in obedience?

God unleashes His power when we step out in faith and obedience!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Place your trust in God’s power!

February 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
(Daniel 2:20 (NIV))

God is all powerful. His power is eternal and never waivers. It does not change. It is constant and righteous.

Last night, I, like many, experienced power outages that left us without computers, television, lights or heat. We have grown accustom to man-made things being reliable even though we know that they are not. My family and I lit candles and found flashlights. We went to bed uncertain whether we would need extra blankets to keep warm.

Is this the type of power that humanity seeks?

Even the things that we take for granted as always being there are subject to failure.

We can’t even rely on what is supposed to keep us warm, fed and entertained.

Is this your idea of power?

God’s power is endless. There is no power above Him. There is no power stronger. God’s power is the only constant in this world if we will simply embrace it as it was meant to be.

Last night was a reminder that the only power in which we can trust is the power of God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you follow the good shepherd?

February 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
(John 10:1-5 (NIV))

Sadly, in today’s society, it has come to the point where more and more people do not recognize the shepherd.

Do you recognize the shepherd?

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 (NIV))

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Too many people are turning to whatever they think will make them feel good, whatever will satisfy the emptiness that they feel. All too often, what they turn to is just that – it is something that they turn to and in the process, they turn away from Jesus. Sadly enough, far too many never knew Jesus to begin with.

How many different lies about Jesus have you heard recently? I am sure that it is far too many to count, yet, these lies are what people believe. The lies have come from the thief. They are a very focused effort to steal and keep as many people from receiving salvation as possible. In my opinion, it was a very well orchestrated plan that relied heavily on removing prayer from public schools. It doesn’t end there.

We have seen circumstances that have allowed the thief to enter in and falsely lead people into things that are not of God. They have listened to false shepherds. They have listened to the thief. Pray that they quickly learn to recognize the true shepherd’s voice.

Do you follow the good shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you answering the call to repent?

February 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
(1 John 3:4-6 (NIV))

Ouch!

Do you realize what this means?

Think about your life and the things that you do out of habit. Think about what Paul wrote.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-20 (NIV))

Are there things that you do not want to do, yet you find yourself still doing them? Do you repent and ask for forgiveness after you do them? Are you sincere in your repentance?

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

How do we balance a willing spirit with weak flesh? How do we stop the body from causing us to sin when our spirit seeks to be without sin? How do we balance faith in Jesus with what we must endure in the physical world?

How often do you correct your course when you are driving a car? You don’t simply get in the car and sit back and wait to arrive at your destination. You are not a passenger in a taxi cab. You must make continuous adjustments to your course of travel. Following Jesus is the same! We don’t simply decide to follow Jesus and then just sit back and end up at our destination. We must continuously make course adjustments all along the way. These course adjustments are what allows us to grow in our faith. We must desire them. We must recognize the need for them. We must be willing to abandon the things that Jesus is telling us that we must leave behind. We must be willing to turn when Jesus tells us to turn.

We will all sin for we are only human. It is the desire to leave our life of sin and follow Jesus that makes us His disciples. It is our willingness to repent when we fall that shows Jesus our heart. Take a look at the three times that Peter denied Jesus. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and He called Peter to repentance. He is calling each of us to repentance for the times that we sin.

Are you answering the call to repent?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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