Do you have pure joy in your trials?

June 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Here is another thing that we, as humanity, have problems with. It just doesn’t make sense to us that we should be joyous when we are facing troubles. It is human nature to wallow in self pity when the least little thing doesn’t go our way. We equate joy with happiness and happiness with a life in which everything goes our way. Following that logic, how is it possible that we could experience joy when we should be experience anxiety, anger and frustration?

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

We have been told by Jesus that following Him would not make the troubles go away. Jesus stressed that we would still have troubles, but that He would be with us to walk through them. We have also been told that we would be persecuted just like He had been persecuted. I know that this sounds strange to the world, but to be tested in our faith and to stand firm is a thing that should bring joy to each and every person who proclaims a faith in Jesus. It is only possible to have joy when we are at peace, even in the midst of trouble. There is only one type of peace that can bring us this joy.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Do you have pure joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

June 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
(1 Peter 5:5 (NIV))

If you look closely, there are some words in this passage that strike a nerve in most people. Can you spot them?

Did you say “submit” and “humble”?

What is it about our human nature that just doesn’t like the concept behind these two words? Why is submission so difficult and why is humility so hard to find anymore? Our society seems to thrive on thwarting these two desirable characteristics at any and every opportunity that presents itself. All that you have to do is pay any attention to the events that are transpiring in the world and you quickly see a total lack of these two characteristics, especially when it comes to a Biblically based perspective. It seems like the only thing that most people are willing to submit to are their own wicked thoughts and desires!

Contrary to what is the absolute truth, society has been convinced that the only truth is what is true for you. The concept that we all answer to an absolute truth does not exist in the minds of many people. They have been taught that if they think that it is true, then it is. If you have a vast number of individuals thinking that whatever they think or say is true, then they rapidly become arrogant. They no longer feel that they must be considerate and humble, after all, they are always right. They are perfect!

I think I can safely say that when you read that last paragraph, the description made you think of some of the recent events and groups that are in the news. In your reflections on these groups, does anything that they do even have any semblance of submission or humility? Does anything about these events and groups have a basis in what we would consider Biblical morals and values?

Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you think about?

June 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

Are these your standards for what you think about?

If you are like me, when I read this passage, I found myself trying to do a quick inventory of what I thought about in the last twenty-four hours. To be honest with you, my inventory did not turn up like I wanted it to. I am sure that any person alive will come to the same conclusion. We like to think that we are pure in thought, then we stop daydreaming. We like to think that we are true, noble, pure and righteous, but are we truly what we think we are?

We all have our own agendas. We all have our own priorities. We all have our own ego and pride that wants to place us first, even when we should be placing our priorities elsewhere.

In all honesty, I could go on for a long time talking about how we should all keep watch on our minds and thoughts, but I think that a simple question, if answered honestly, will tell far more than I ever could.

What is it that you think about?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loved you before the beginning of time!

June 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time
(2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV))

Stop and think about that last statement – “before the beginning of time”

God had a plan for each of us. God knew that Jesus would die for my sins. He knew that Jesus would die for your sins. God knew that we would live and that we would be who we are. From the beginning of time, God knew that He did not want us to perish because of our sin. God set in motion a plan to save you and to save me. This plan would have happened if there was only one person who needed salvation.

How long have you acknowledged God? Was it from birth? Was it from age 6, or perhaps it was age 20? You may even be a late comer and accepted Jesus when you were 50 or 60. Regardless of how long you have claimed Jesus as yours, think about the amount of time in relation to from the beginning of time. It is insignificant, just as a single grain of sand is insignificant on a beach.

Fortunately, no one is insignificant in God’s eyes. He saw you from the beginning of time and He knew that He loved you even when you did not love Him.

We all claim that we will love our spouse and our children forever, and, through our limited perspective, we sincerely mean it. Do you truly understand how long forever truly is? God has declared an undying love for each of us that truly stretches far beyond anything that we can comprehend. God’s love for us truly is the greatest love story ever told.

Have you accepted God’s love for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Press on!

June 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

Has God called you heavenward in Christ Jesus?

Have you answered or are you answering that call?

Human nature makes it difficult to stay on track. I started to say that we like to be sidetracked, but I think it is not so much as we like to be sidetracked, but it is more like we don’t know how to avoid being sidetracked. Anything that we do, we lose focus. How do we stay focused? How do we keep from going down the proverbial rabbit hole chasing after each and every distraction that comes our way?

Paul knew human nature. He also knew that he had to deal with the same problems that we all have to face if he was going to be able to share the Gospel with the Gentiles. He recognized the fact that he stilled sinned even when he didn’t want to. He recognized the fact that to answer God’s call and to follow Jesus required a commitment that did not end the first time that he failed to do what he should. Paul used athletes as an example to teach others how to persevere. He pointed out how athletes train to win the prize and they don’t give up simply because they encounter an obstacle or they don’t do as well as they would like to. They are committed to achieve their goals. They are committed to winning the prize.

As followers of Jesus, the prize that we desire to win is of far greater value than anything given as a prize in an athletic competition, yet, we have a tendency to not be willing to go after what we want. We don’t press on. We don’t press through the difficult times. If you are a runner, there is a saying that you have hit the wall when you have reached a point where you feel as though you can’t go on. An avid runner will not stop when this happens. An avid runner will press on toward the goal that they have set. They press on and press through!

Just because you may falter in your daily walk, press on!

Just because you may not see yourself the way that God sees you, press on!

Just because the world does not see you as God sees you, press on!

God is calling each of us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Are you pressing on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you like a great mystery?

June 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Perhaps this is one of those mysteries of the faith that we cannot fully understand until it happens. Whatever does transpire, it is a promise that we have to hold onto even when all around us is chaos and uncertainty.

God loves us. He loves us enough to have sent Jesus to die for our transgressions. If God allowed that to happen because of His love for us, then what else does He have in store for us? The Bible has given us many promises, and it also tells us that they are all “Yes” through Jesus.

We don’t know when the last trumpet will sound, but we do know that if it is written in God’s Word, then it will happen. We do not fully understand at this time, but there will come a time when we will see clearly just what God has for us. Perhaps that is why things like this are referred to as mysteries of the faith. We choose to believe even though we may not understand.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you be watching to see what God does?

June 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
(Revelation 12:1-2 (NIV))

Do you believe in signs and wonders in the heavens? God does!

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,
(Genesis 1:14 (NIV))

He planned it that way!

How many noticed that they are to serve as signs for three distinct things? The first, and most prominent, is for marking sacred times. If that is the case, then when we are told that there will be a great sign, how should we react? How should we approach such an event?

For those who don’t know, there is a direct correlation between what is described and certain stars and planets in the zodiac. The woman is Virgo. The king planet, Jupiter, is the child that she carries. The crown is a combination of stars and planets, and the moon is under her feet. According to various sources, this has never happened before, will only happen once, and will never happen again. That one time that it will happen is later in 2017 and many are calling it the convergence. Everything lines up perfectly for this great sign to appear. It also lines up with the next Jewish feast in God’s timeline.

I, for one, will be watching this great sign with much fascination. I am not date setting. I am being observant, for as a follower of Jesus, we are to know the seasons. When God tells us that there will be a great sign, and we are also told by scientists and astronomers that this sign will only happen once in all of eternity, then we should pay attention. We should really pay attention since it will happen in our lifetimes. I just love how, as time passes, God unveils Himself and presents Himself just as He foretold. With that in mind, I will be watching the heavens as God’s plan unfolds.

He is giving us a great sign.

Will you be watching to see what God does?

(If you wish to study this for yourself, I recommend doing a search for Revelation 12 on YouTube as a starting point.)

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

June 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this pretty much clears up how to get to heaven!

Contrary to what society says, there are not multiple ways to God. According to my understanding of the word “one,” there is a distinct and singular quantity that is being discussed and defined. This concept clearly indicates that what some people call a god is not the one true God and Father of all. They are false gods.

All throughout the New Testament, we are given glimpses of oneness, and they all point to Jesus as that one true way.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:16 (NIV))

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

We are the Body of Christ and Jesus is the head. We should be moving in unison with the head and the Holy Spirit, just as the cells of our own bodies move in unison as directed by our own heads. We should be glorifying the one Lord as directed by the one Spirit. We should profess one faith that Jesus is the one true Lord, the only begotten Son of the one true God. We should stand firm in our faith and be ready to proclaim our faith in the one and only way to the Father.

Have you proclaimed your faith in the one?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How would Jesus respond to you?

June 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
(Luke 5:22-24 (NIV))

Can you imagine how these people felt after this transpired? They were simply thinking about trying to confront Jesus and He called them out for it!

What if this happened to you? How would you react if someone you had never met clearly singled you out for what you were thinking? Would you feel belittled? Would you feel bewildered? Would you be thinking, “How does he know what I am thinking?”

Did you notice that Jesus had started out with words? Once these events transpired, He escalated to action. He had the paralyzed man get up and walk!

He had healed the paralyzed man! He performed an action that they had never seen before. Jesus stepped into His role as God with us and had compassion and mercy on the man. He did not leave the man in the same condition as he was in when Jesus found him.

Isn’t that just like Jesus?

He ridicules the unbeliever and performs a miracle for those in need. Perhaps the word ridicules is a little strong, but the concept is that Jesus knows our thoughts and He answers with what is appropriate. For those seeking to mock Him, He displays wisdom and power. For those seeking His touch, He displays grace and mercy.

How would Jesus respond to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How brightly does your light shine?

June 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

We are told just a few passages earlier of our impact on the world.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Each member of the Body of Christ is to have an impact in this world. We are to share the truth and the light of the Gospel with a dark and dying world. No single individual can do it all. We are to each do our part. If we could physically see the light that we shine into the darkness, how bright would your light be? Are we truly doing what we are called to do?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

It is a wonderful thing to profess a faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, for that is what is required to be saved. Once saved, we have a responsibility to share that saving grace with anyone and everyone whom we meet. We must allow the light that we have received to shine into the lives of those around us, for it is said that we may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.

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