I want to have a faith like David’s!

September 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise–
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
(Psalms 56:10-11 (NIV))

David was definitely blessed in many ways, and thankfully, we are able to share in his blessings.

We see evidence of his faith. We see evidence of his courage. We see evidence of his determination, and we see evidence of his heart. Through all of the things that David faced in life from lions, to Goliath, to Saul, and the wilderness, we see that David never stops praising God. No matter what the circumstances were, David lifted praise. We have the written words of these praises in the book of Psalms. We see David’s heart in these words. We see his desire to be in the presence of God. We see his desire to do the will of God and to follow God’s voice.

Have you truly ever thought about the life that David lived? It was not a life of ease. In fact, it was a life of hardship. How many young boys do you know today who could tend to the flocks and kill a lion? How many young boys would be willing to face down the likes of Goliath? I could go on, but it is evident that David was no ordinary individual. From an early age, he lifted praise. He lived according to God’s desires. With each event, he grew stronger in his faith. He grew closer to the Lord. We are even told that he eventually became a man after God’s own heart.

Think about that for a moment.

When you are in the fields with the flocks, what do you do? When you look up at the stars at night, what do you do? When you defeat an animal that should have killed you, what do you do?

I like to think that I would do what David did!

He saw the majesty of God’s creation and he praised God. He saw the stars in the sky and he praised God. He saw the safety of the flocks and the lion, and he praised God. David knew where his strength came from. He knew that with his attention and his praise lifted to the Lord, there was nothing that he needed to fear. It is this very attitude that allowed him to face Goliath and win!

I want to have a faith like David’s!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever felt ashamed of Jesus?

September 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you earnestly hoped that no one pointed you out as a follower of Jesus?

Perhaps you were in a situation where you knew that someone would criticize you or even threaten you if they knew you proclaimed a faith in Jesus? What did you do?

I honestly think that all of us have been in predicaments like this. It is a matter of how you handle it. It is a matter of your priorities. Is there a difference between these two possible responses: not speaking of your faith in Jesus; and denying Jesus if you are confronted? We have all been in situations where we feel uncomfortable. We have all been in places that we could tell were not friendly to those who follow Jesus. It is human nature to not divulge information that would put you in danger. In these types of places, we simply find a way to exit as soon as possible.

Do you think that Jesus sees our actions as being ashamed of Him?

Many people see this as an act of self-preservation. To quote a phrase used in today’s society, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” How do you see this type of action? What happens if they ask? Do you keep quiet and not answer? Do you deny your faith? Do you boldly proclaim that you believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is?

Where does Jesus draw the line as far as what He considers as being ashamed of Him? Is our silence an admission of shame? Is our denial an admission of shame? Are any of these situations justified as self-preservation?

We all remember the story of Stephen being stoned to death. He did not deny Jesus and, as assurance, he saw heaven open up. Most of us remember the young lady at Columbine High School who was asked if she was a Christian. She did not keep quiet. She did not deny her faith. Her answer cost her life. She was not ashamed.

I know that we are only human and our actions are not perfect, even after we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. All that we have to do is look at how Peter denied Jesus and how Jesus forgave him to see grace in action. Then, as now, it is a matter of priorities. Peter repented and was forgiven. He went on to help spread the Gospel. We can repent when we deny Jesus. We can still be used to fulfill His will. The key is a repentant heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know what you do?

September 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:17 (NKJV))

Everyone sins! There is no mistaking that one simple truth. However, if you do not know that what you are doing is wrong, then your accountability is not the same as someone who does know that it is wrong. This fact has even been applied even in our justice system. Consider someone who does not have their full mental capacity. If they do something wrong, they are “allowed” a less severe punishment due to their inability to understand and comprehend their actions. There is still a punishment for their actions, yet, it is not as severe as it would be for someone who fully comprehends the consequences.

Knowledge of sin is a knowledge that, unfortunately, we must all have since we are the descendants of a sinful nature. There is no escaping this nature. We can try to do what is good and righteous in the eyes of God, but we will fail. It is a wise person who realizes this and asks for forgiveness. Perhaps that is the test of ultimate knowledge. When we realize that we are not capable of goodness on our own, and that we need forgiveness for the things that we do wrong even when we know they are wrong.

This is why God sent us His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for all of the things that we do wrong. By earnestly calling upon Jesus as our salvation, we have come to the realization of the ultimate knowledge – the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you faithful with your praise?

September 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
(Psalms 52:9 (NIV))

God is faithful and worthy to be praised!

Every promise that He has ever made has come true or is in the process of coming true. I don’t recall the number of prophesies that have come true. I realize that there are still some that have not come true, but we have to consider that God’s timeline is not complete. If we saw that every one of God’s promises had come true, we would not be sitting in the current state of this world. We would see all prophesies from the other end of time. We would be looking back on the events of Daniel and Revelation and praising God for always keeping His promises. Until that day, we must simply rely on faith to know that what has yet to happen will happen exactly as God has foretold that it would.

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

We must be faithful in our belief.

We must be faithful in our understanding.

We must be faithful in our study.

We must be faithful in our praise!

If God is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, we should be faithful to praise Him no matter what we may see. We are limited in our understanding, yet, we proclaim that we believe. If we believe, then we should praise!

What do you do when your favorite football team wins all the time?

It is human nature to praise, but what happens when you start to see things go a little differently than you expected? Do you still praise or do you complain? Are we guilty of doing the very same thing to God when things don’t go as we expect them to go? Since when are we privileged to know God’s complete will and His complete plan?

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))

If we trust God to fulfill His promises, why don’t we trust Him enough to praise Him at all times?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you set yourself apart from the world?

September 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If you claim to be a part of the Body of Christ, you have been chosen. You have been set apart from the rest of the world to be different than the world. You have been set apart to be a witness to the world for the Gospel. You have been set apart to show the world how God intended for us to live.

Are you a witness to the world?

Do you reflect the life and light of Jesus in all that you do?

Sadly, too many people today have allowed the world to influence them in their lives. Instead of showing the world how we should live, we have a tendancy to reflect the world instead of reflecting the light of Jesus to the world.

When a group of people are basically being bullies to someone, whether at work or at school, do you go along with them or do you set yourself apart? Do you intercede?

When a group of people that you know want to do something that you know you shouldn’t do, do you do it anyway, or do you set yourself apart?

When your friends deny Jesus and curse God, do you make up excuses for them and go along with what they do, or do you set yourself apart?

The Body of Christ is called to a higher standard. We are to be the light.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

We are called to be set apart!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our hope is from above! Look up!

September 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

I know that this was the verse from yesterday, but something stood out about this passage and how Stephen responded that warranted further consideration. I want you to pay special attention to how Stephen reacted when he was confronted by the Sanhedrin.

Most people, when confronted, will look down. This is often taken as a sign of surrender. Stephen did not surrender.

Some will look their accusers in the eyes. This can be taken as a sign of confidence in their stance based on their own merits. From what has been written, Stephen did not look his accusers in the eyes to stare them down.

Stephen also did not turn away out of shame, or as a veiled attempt to escape.

He looked up!

Stephen, even in his circumstances that lead to his death by stoning, refused to focus on anything else but his God and Savior. As a result, God appeared to him to give him confidence, to give him assurance, and to give him hope. Stephen was not disappointed by his focus!

I have been reading and watching many testimonies lately about dreams and visions that members of the Body of Christ are having. There is a common theme to these dreams and visions. We must keep our focus on Jesus no matter what the world may send our way. We must remember that our hope is not of this world. We have a God who loves us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son to live as one of us and to die bearing our sins. We have a risen Savior who was willing to suffer death on the cross and was resurrected so that He could now sit at the right hand of God, the Father. If we have them with us, as the Body of Christ, where else do we ever need to look?

We must never lose focus, because our hope is from above! Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want faith like what Stephen had?

September 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

Do you ever think about Stephen and his faith?

I often wonder if I would have the faith to do what he did. He was brought up on charges before the Sanhedrin. He was charged with blasphemy! Today, we see many such true acts of blasphemy on a daily basis, but at that time, it was an offense punishable by death. At the time, speaking about Jesus as the Messiah was considered blasphemy.

That did not prevent Stephen from allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him and chastise the Sanhedrin for being stiff-necked people who resist the Holy Spirit as well as killing the prophets and Jesus.

I know that this story is well known, but can you picture the zeal and the honesty that flowed from the mouth of Stephen as he let them know what God thought of them? Can you picture the anger growing in the hearts and minds of the recipients of this message?

Now that the stage is set, do you identify more with Stephen or with the Sanhedrin?

Are you open to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and are you willing to act on them no matter the consequences, or are you so set in your ways that you fail to recognize the truth when it is right in front of you?

Do you face the enemy without reservation, or do you deny the truth and embrace the enemy?

Stephen’s story has been repeated many times throughout history. People have been confronted with attacks from the enemy and have stood their ground with respect to their faith in Jesus. Would we be able to be like Stephen if we faced such an accusation?

Lord, give me the strength to be like Stephen!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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