Focus on what unites us in Christ!

May 22, 2017

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))

Can you imagine such a thing! What would the world think of the church if we could agree on all things as Jesus would direct us? What could the church do within this world if we all had the same mind and no divisions among us?

It is so nice to be able to think of these things. If we, as the body of believers, could put aside all of our petty differences that are so divisive and agree upon the things that unite us, we would be able to show the world that following Jesus is all that we claim it to be. In fact, it is much more.

Unfortunately, the church is made up of imperfect people who are still prone to sin. We want to do what is right, but we often get our own desires in the way. When that happens, someone else’s desires get in their way, and soon we have divisions. We cannot allow the enemy to take control of us because we have these divisions. We must constantly remind ourselves of what unites us – the atoning blood of Jesus – versus he who divides us while we are in this world.

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:3-5 (NIV))

When it all comes down to what unites us, it is simple. It is our faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten son of God and God’s plan to give us unmerited grace and mercy through Jesus.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

What is divisive within your heart that needs to be set aside so that you can focus in what unites us?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you allow God’s deep call to sweep over you?

May 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
(Psalms 42:7 (NIV))

Do you like to play it safe and stay in the shallow end of the pool? When you go to the beach, do you stay in the shallow waters? Are you afraid of letting yourself be totally immersed?

Do you ever allow anything to totally sweep over you?

Too many people are afraid. Just like the feeling you get when you jump off of a diving board into a pool, allowing yourself to be totally immersed goes through phases. When you first stand there, you feel the fear trying to keep you from taking that first step. When you finally do take that step, your first reaction is what have I done. As you dive further in, your heart begins to race as you realize you are still going in deeper. You open your eyes and look around as you realize that it is peaceful. Soon, you find yourself beginning to surface and when you do you feel exhilarated and refreshed as a result of what has just washed over you.

Answering God’s call to go deep with Him is the same way. You go through the same fear, questions and realizations. When you come through your deep calling with God you emerge exhilarated, refreshed and empowered. Sadly, too may people are afraid to go beyond the shallow, to go beyond the first step. They are content with just a little bit of God, after all, they have to keep Him in the box that they have designed. It is so wonderful to experience the fullness of God as He sweeps over you!

Do you allow God’s deep call to sweep over you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Could you pass this test of temptation?

May 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.’ ”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

” `He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
(Luke 4:1-13 (NIV))

Satan tried everything that he could do to tempt Jesus!

Fortunately, Jesus did not fall prey to any of the temptations.

How did He face these temptations and walk away from them? How can we face them and walk away from them? Jesus was able to rebuke Satan and his temptations by knowing and using the Word of God to provide support during the temptations.

We can do the same!

True, Jesus was the Son of God, yet, He gave us an example that we can use to avoid temptation in our lives. We must rely on God. We must rely on the grace and mercy that God gave us through Jesus. We must turn to Jesus in honesty and sincerity.

Could you pass this test of temptation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your cornerstone?

May 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
(Psalms 118:22 (NIV))

If you were to set out to build a house, what type of materials would you select?

If you are like most people, you would select materials with strength and for their longevity. You would go with materials that would be able to withstand the weather as well as the ravages of time. But, do you have a full understanding of what you would be looking for and what you would be looking at? You have a basic understanding of what should work, but do you understand all aspects of everything that could possibly be used?

That is exactly what happened when Jesus came into this world!

The prophets had foretold of His coming. The religious elite knew that He would come. The people knew that He would come, but, everyone misunderstood His purpose in coming the first time. They were looking for a military leader to save them from the Roman occupation and not a spiritual leader to save them from their sins. Jesus did not fit the model of who they thought the Messiah should be, so they did not recognize Him. Because they did not recognize Him, they rejected Him.

I love the way that God knew that this would happen. I love the way that He saw fit to tell us that it would happen, that way, when it did happen, we could recognize His truth.

Jesus IS the stone that the builders rejected! In that rejection, the church was born. Jesus became the cornerstone of the church. He became the firm foundation upon which all hope and faith now rests.

Is Jesus your cornerstone?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His return?

May 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV))

What is on your mind and in your heart?

Do you love the world so much that you forget about Jesus, or do you long for His return? Do you grow tired of seeing the sin that runs freely everywhere you look, or do you see the things of this world and find yourself wanting to participate? Do you long for righteousness and peace or do you dread hearing anything to do with God and His Word?

It is a matter of your personal priorities!

I recently have seen several people who speak about our desires to see Jesus. Most of them have presented a very interesting point with respect to what the church is calling the rapture. I am not going to get into the pre, mid and post arguments, but rather the honest desires of our hearts. Many of these people are espousing a point of view that states that only those who are earnestly waiting for His return will be raptured. I want you to consider two people from the time when Jesus was born. Simeon was a very devout and righteous man. Anna was an old woman who spent all of her time at the temple. Both Simeon and Anna longed to see the coming of the Messiah. In the midst of a nation who was trying to find the Messiah, these two people apparently lived this desire full time and as a result of their longing, they were allowed to witness what they longed for.

I cannot begin to say that I know how God will work, but I do know that, based on His previous track record, He reveals Himself to those who earnestly and fervently seek Him.

With this in mind, do you need to reevaluate your priorities? Do you need to take a long, hard look at your heart and take a look at the thoughts that fill your mind? If God will rapture only those who earnestly long to see Jesus, where does that leave you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered authority to whom it belongs?

May 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
(Luke 6:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to try and put God in a box. We try to twist words based on our limited understanding. We try to put limitations on God simply because we fail to understand that He has no limitations. We fail to realize that the limitations that have been given to us are the same type of limitations that a parent would put on a child. They are there for our protection, for our education and they are not there for the person who placed the limitations. A good example of this is the bedtime for a small child. That does not mean that the parents go to bed at the same time!

When God sets boundaries and establishes rules, He is fulfilling His role as God the Father. He is guiding us. He is keeping us from harm. In much the same way as a parent telling a child that he or she cannot have ice cream because it is bedtime, God established things that we must live by. One of those is the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We are to rest. We are to be reverent in our attitudes. We are to spend time in God’s presence. We are to slow down.

Be still, and know that I am God…
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

When we spend time in God’s presence, we begin to realize that we do have a tendency to place God in a box. If you want a modern day translation of the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:5, perhaps something like this makes sense, although it may sound condescending. “I created the world and I created the Sabbath. I can do what I deem as appropriate because I made the rules for you and not for myself!”

We have a big problem with realizing that God makes the rules and not us!

We need to surrender Lordship of our lives!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We were given the better end of this deal!

May 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
(2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV))

No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t make sense from a worldly perspective!

Everyone has heard the term the art of the deal. The concept is to get the upper hand, to get the best out of any situation. Most of the time this is applied to business ventures, but it has ramifications in so many areas. It can even apply to the Body of Christ. Consider the last time that you saw a well known, nationally or internationally recognized preacher speaking at a small country church. It is human nature to not trade down. You don’t see someone trading everything they have and getting little or nothing in return.

Thankfully, Jesus turned that concept on its head. I am thankful that what is foolishness to man is wisdom to those who believe. I am so thankful that Jesus was willing to trade all that He had in order to come to earth as one of us so that He could offer to us what He had left behind.

Humanity definitely was on the winning end of this deal.

Jesus offered us an eternity with God and took our sin upon Himself in order to make that offer. From a worldly perspective, this definitely doesn’t make sense, but from God’s perspective, it was the only way that sinful humanity could be redeemed.

Have you accepted this deal? Have you embraced the riches that are freely given to all who will simply accept?

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