Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 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))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are what you eat!

July 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV))

The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true also for the spirit. If you feed on things of this world, then you will continue to hunger for things of this world. If you feed on what is righteous in God’s eyes, then you will grow to hunger for His righteousness no matter what the situation you may be in.

A true test of someone’s character is when they are in a different situation all alone. How many times have you been tempted when you are not around your family or church family? It is in these times that the test of your character comes about. If you have fed on what God wants you to feed upon, then you will be that and display all the appropriate character traits of righteousness. If you have not fed on things that are of God, then you will “feed” on the world when you are able.

From where do you feed?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In this world you will have trouble

January 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

It is evident that this is something that our society has forgotten. We have become a people who look upon suffering in a much different way than Paul did when he wrote these words to the believers in Rome. Too many of our society, including many people who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, expect this life to be free from suffering. They expect things to be perfect, without any obstacles, happily ever after!

It has been said that our character is slowly chiseled by the trials that we face and how we face them. Paul knew this very well. He suffered greatly for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During his sufferings, he was imprisoned, beaten, and rejected by those from whom he came. He developed strength of character through his sufferings that allowed him to be the instrument that God used to build His church for the Gentiles. We owe our heritage and our salvation to the fact that Paul was willing to suffer so that others would know of the grace and mercy given to us through Jesus.

Character is something that cannot be developed in good times. It is developed in times of suffering. If you follow Jesus, then you must be prepared to face the suffering.

“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))

Paul also knew this and wrote to share this with us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-6(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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