Does the world accept or despise you for your faith in Jesus?

March 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV))

Does this sound like it would describe the one that God sent to earth to save us from our sins?

Does this sound like it would describe the Savior of the world?

Human characteristics are not what God looks at. When we see a strong physique, God sees the heart. When we see a pleasing exterior, God sees what is on the inside. Fortunately, Isaiah 53:3 was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning of the story that God would unfold to offer grace and redemption to a lost creation. Since humanity, in all of our fallen nature, looked up to the worldly as beautiful and of importance, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the exact opposite of what we would expect. Instead of elevating Him to a place of worldly power, God sent Him to be a lowly servant. It was the nature of servanthood that made everything possible.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:4 (NIV))

Jesus willingly left the presence of God and came to earth as one of us. Would any of us do that?

Jesus willingly took upon Himself the weight of the sin of all humanity. That is a heavy burden to bear.

Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we could be offered grace and mercy! Would any of us be willing to suffer so greatly for those who rebuke us?

After all that Jesus suffered, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He told those who choose to follow Him that they, too, would be despised because of Him. He was telling us that the world would see us differently. The world would not see us by worldly standards and accept us. The world will see us by God’s standards and despise us.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you made the trade that doesn’t sound fair?

March 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

It doesn’t sound fair, but it was an even swap. Our sin for Jesus’ righteousness.

Have you ever been involved in a trade as a kid? Perhaps you had something that someone wanted. Perhaps someone had something that you wanted. As a kid, if you ever took your lunch to school, I am sure that you made a trade for something that was much more appealing. Balogna can only be eaten so many days, yet, it seems that someone was usually willing to trade something for that balogna.

Now, imagine those things that you trade for are of such value that you are desperate to trade. How can someone willingly trade everything for nothing? I can honestly tell you that I have never been involved in a trade where one person received all of the benefit while the other person received all of the junk. That was, until I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.

He took everything that nobody would ever want and gave me all that anybody could ever dream about. He took my sin upon himself and willingly paid the price for that sin. He gave me grace and mercy and forgiveness.

Why would He do this? It is simple.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Have you made the trade that doesn’t sound fair?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The proper time!

March 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV))

Sometimes it is so easy to see the hand of God moving. The last 30 seconds and this verse are a very good example of just that!

I have multiple different sources that I look to in order to find what I will write about. I often will look online at a popular Bible software site, and that is what I chose to do today. This passage was the passage of the day. I did not feel that this passage was what I wanted to write about, so I turned to one of my long lists of notes and randomly stopped on one without looking. I am certain that you can already see what is coming!

It was the very same verse and translation!

All right, God. I get it!

Is there anything about this passage that jumps right out at you? To me, there are several. First and foremost is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus in which He gave himself as a random for all people. Probably the most intriguing part of this passage is the last sentence.

The proper time!

Just as it appears that it is the proper time for me to talk about this passage, there are also proper times that have happened and will happen according to God’s plan.

Jesus came at the proper time.

He was witnessed about at the proper time.

He will return at the proper time.

Will you be ready when He returns? What if He returns tonight? Will you be ready at the proper time?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you where God wants you to be?

March 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

Does anyone really understand the world and how it works? We see things from a small perspective. Can you tell the size of the forest while you are surrounded by trees? You must have a different point of view. Do not rely on what you can see. It may not be as it appears. Rely on God. He has a unique perspective since He is the Creator of all things.

Imagine that you are conducting an experiment with an animal in a maze. You can clearly see which way to go, yet the animal cannot, and go about in error. We are not very much different than that animal. God sees what we should do, yet, we do not see the complete picture and go around bumping into walls and making all sorts of mistakes. If we would only look to God, He can guide us through this worldly maze.

Are you lost, or do you know exactly what God wants for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your shield and your very great reward?

March 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
(Genesis 15:1 (NIV))

Can you even begin to imagine what was going through the mind of Abram when he heard these words?

Abram was an old man and he and his wife did not have any children. In the society of that day, children were a blessing and Abram and Sarai did not have any. It is recorded in Genesis that Abram questioned the Lord because of this.

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
(Genesis 15:2-3 (NIV))

Abram did not see the very great reward because of his then current situation. But, God did!

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars-if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Genesis 15:4-5 (NIV))

Abram was in a very strange predicament in his mind and in the eyes of those around him. Abram saw through his circumstances and looked at things through the promises of God. In spite of how things looked according to the world, Abram believe the Lord and it was counted as righteousness. To summarize a glorious story, the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means the father of many nations. Because of Abram’s belief, the Lord did do as He had promised. He was his strong shield and his very great reward.

Do you have the faith of Abraham to believe the Lord’s promises?

Is the Lord your shield and your very great reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you like to boast about?

March 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 (NIV))

Do you like to boast?

We are all guilty of it. It is human nature to toot our own horn. I have often wondered if this happens because we know ourselves and we are afraid to allow others to truly know us like we know ourselves. We say and do things to elevate ourselves in the eyes and minds of those around us so that they don’t see the real us. I suppose that you could say that we are all guilty of deception by the proverbial smoke and mirrors.

Paul had every reason to be able to boast based on his position in the Jewish society of his day. After his Damascus Road encounter, he realized that all of his accomplishments were nothing when compared to what Jesus had done for each and every one of us. His boasting went from that of self-centered, look at me actions to an I am nothing, look at Jesus type of action.

Why do we think that we have to elevate ourselves? Is it the sinful nature that is central to humanity? If you stop to think about it, boasting is an outward manifestation of pride.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Is this what we want to have happen? Do we want to be prideful and boast about ourselves, or do we want to change?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

What do you like to boast about?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe man or God?

March 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
(Genesis 15:18-21 (NIV))

I just have to laugh at all of the feeble attempts today to strip Israel of the land and their right to exist!

I find it sadly funny that people will twist history, both Biblically recorded and external, humanly recorded history, to try to convince the world that there never was an Israel and that the Palestinians were there long before Israel returned to their land. Biblical accounts, as well as Roman historical accounts, tell a far different story than what the enemy is trying to convince the world of today.

To be honest with you, this doesn’t surprise me. All that you have to do is look at anything that has a Biblical foundation, and you see that the enemy is trying to turn it on its head. The enemy is vehemently attacking anything that is Godly and righteous and loudly proclaiming that God’s truth no longer applies. The enemy claims that because it was written several thousand years ago it no longer applies to today’s “modern” world. Unfortunately, those who do not know history are easily swayed into believing the lies.

Humanity is under attack! It is under attack from the enemy, and from those among us who have listened to the enemy. People are spreading lies and leading others to follow them.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

I know that it is all too easy to simply turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what is going on, after all, I have accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I know the truth! That is a dangerous attitude to have. The enemy knows God’s Word and he twists it to his advantage. The words that come forth may sound good, but are they one hundred percent accurate? God’s truth cannot be ninety-nine percent true. It must be one hundred percent true, or it is not God’s Word! Man, with the help of the enemy, will twist things. Be careful who and what you believe.

Do you believe man or God?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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