What type of faith do you possess?

March 2, 2016

I realize that this is one pulled from my archives, but this seemed like a natural follow through after the topic yesterday that asked “What is faith?”

~~~

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

Faith!

It has been defined as “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. ”

It has also been defined as “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing.”

In the case of faith in God, it appears that both definitions can be combined. This combined definition of faith results from the fact that God cannot be seen. Remember Moses when he spoke to God. He was told that he could not look upon the Glory that is God without dying. For that reason, and many others, man cannot see God. In the eyes of the society in which we live, “seeing is believing.” Even one of Jesus’ disciples displayed a lack of faith after Jesus’ resurrection.

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(John 20:24-25)

Seeing something is a good reason to believe. Yet, many things in this life that cannot be seen are much more real and true than what we can see. Thomas was allowed the opportunity to not only see, but to feel the wounds just as he had stated.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)

What type of faith do you possess? Is it one of “seeing is believing,” or do you believe because something inside of you tells you that God is real and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for your sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that tempts you?

November 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12 (NKJV))

Many of you may remember the comedy routine of Flip Wilson and his “The devil made me do it,” but where does temptation really come from?

It is true that Satan tempts us, just as he tempted Jesus, but what makes us give in to this temptation when Jesus was able to stay strong? I know that human nature is weak, but there is more to this than a weak character. We cannot be tempted by things that we are not fascinated with to begin with.

Think about that last statement!

What is the one thing that causes you to shudder? What is the one thing that makes you literally turn away in disgust?

Could you honestly ever be tempted by that?

Now, what is the one thing that you long for? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it power? What if someone offered you a million dollars to do the one thing that disgusts you? Which would win out?

Satan uses our innermost desires to tempt us. He finds out what they are and then he turns the lies up full blast until we give in to his lies.

We must stand firm! We must stand strong on the promises that God has given to us. We must focus on God’s Word and on Jesus! If we make these things our innermost desires, what desires do we have that Satan can use to tempt us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

October 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
(1 Corinthians 15:9-19 (NIV))

Why do you profess a faith in Jesus?

Is it for what you will receive in this life? Do you believe that following Jesus will get you ahead in the world?

There was a time when professing a faith in Jesus was socially acceptable and expected. Today, that is no longer the case. In this country, it often brings ridicule and it is rapidly getting to the point where it brings much worse. In many parts of the world, it can mean death.

Are you following Jesus for what you will receive in this world?

Based on what is happening, from a worldly perspective it makes no sense to follow Jesus.

However, we are not following Jesus for what we will receive in this world.

Jesus actually told us that we would face persecution for proclaiming His name. He told us that we would face troubles.

“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))

Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome the power of sin and death! We have the faith to follow Jesus because of what we hope for in the future and not what we will receive today.

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

I know that God wants to bless His people, but we must not lose site of what the real blessing is that awaits us. If we love the world, then we will want to be blessed in this world. If that is all that you desire, then I ask that you take a long hard look at what your relationship with Jesus is all about.

Do you desire peace? Do you desire love? Do you desire hope? Do you desire to know God’s Word? Do you desire to know Jesus? Do you desire to know the very heart of God? These are things that are not of this world. These are things that we seek when we place our hope in Jesus.

Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessings come in all forms!

January 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Based on this passage, the people who are teaching a theology of prosperity may need to rethink what they are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. God does want to bless us, but we have also been told that we would have trouble. Jesus did not say that He would remove the trouble. He clearly said that we would have trouble.

“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, as believers, will face troubles. We will face troubles that other people do not face. We will be persecuted simply because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This type of trouble should be welcome, for if we are ridiculed and persecuted because of the name of Jesus, then we are doing what He has called us to do. We are making ourselves known as members of His Body.

We will be blessed, but the blessings will come if we are willing to bless others. The blessings are not intended for those who simply seek the blessings. Perhaps we should even think of the troubles as a blessing, for they build character and mark us as followers of Jesus.

How are you blessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love, fear and respect God?

January 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
(Psalms 34:4-7 (NLT))

Everybody longs for what this passage describes. We all want God to answer our prayers. We all want God to come to our rescue. We all want God to bless us.

Did you catch the caveat in this passage?

There are four words that most people have a tendency to overlook. They see the words and think that it could not be as written, after all, God is love. They falsely think that God will answers our prayers and come to our rescue no matter what we do. They think of God as a genie who is there to grant our every wish. They fail to recognize the two way relationship that four little words bring to the table.

All who fear Him!

God is not going to answer the prayers of those who mock Him. He is not going to come to the rescue of those who rebel against Him. It is true that God does not wish for any to perish, but it is up to us. He has given us free will. If we choose to turn from Him, then He will not bless us. He will still be there hoping that we will repent and turn to Him, but He cannot do for us if we do not accept His grace and mercy. With that acceptance comes a fear of Him. Perhaps that fear is better understood as a respect.

Think about that concept.

Do you love you earthly father? When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother tell you, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Did you fear your father at these times? You knew he loved you, but you also knew that he was capable of dealing with your bad behavior, your sins.

Why do people have such a different view of God, our heavenly Father, than they do of their earthly father? Even for those who profess a faith and actively strive to be righteous in the eyes of God, we have a tendency to look upon God in ways that we shouldn’t.

Do you love, fear and respect God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is it in your nature to praise God?

December 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NIV))

Sometimes it is so easy to focus on God. It is in these times that the words flow and the heart meditates upon God. When this happens, it is easy to understand and fulfill the desire of the psalmist.

What we must consider is human nature!

It is easy to praise when things are going as we want them to. We think of God when we are surrounded by those who seek to praise Him. We think of God when a difficult situation is turned around. We think of God when we begin to receive blessings. But …

There is that awful word. “But.”

But, when we are among people who don’t praise God, what do we do? But, when we are in situations that seem to never turn around, what do we do? But, what happens after we have received blessings for so long that we forget where they come from?

Human nature is very short-term focused. We fail to give credit where credit is due if it means ridicule or embarrassment to us. We fail to recognize the one who sustains us through the troubles if we don’t come out of them quickly enough. We soon forget that God is the one who blesses us if the blessings flow for any length of time.

We must focus on training ourselves to speak of God and meditate on God at all times and not just at certain times. We must give thanks and praise in all situations and through all situations, for the very things that we may find ourselves in are only temporary. They will not last. If we fail to recognize God one day, we may fail again and again. Then we will find ourselves in sin and floundering.

Give praise where praise is due!

Give praise when praise is due!

Praise God with all that you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for God’s grace?

November 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV))

At this time of year, with Thanksgiving coming up, let us agree to be thankful for what God has given us. When we come together with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember to pray in agreement and ask for God to restore us and to bring revival to this nation and this world.

It is God’s world. He is in control. We must affirm His power and authority and come in agreement with His plans. When this is done, God will pour out His blessings on us.

What are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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