Are we gathering in Jesus’ name?

May 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

We must not forsake fellowship with other believers. God intended for this fellowship to strengthen us, encourage us, and enable us to reach others for Jesus. It is tremendous how the early church grew even under the persecution that they faced for their beliefs. This growth was made possible by the fellowship and strengthening that comes from sharing and encouraging others in the faith.

The church was not intended to be buildings as so many today think of it. The church is the Body of Believers, no matter where we may be gathered. The early church gathered in homes and grew strong in the faith. Today’s church meets in buildings once or twice a week and many see it as a duty, not as a time for fellowship with other believers and with Jesus.

“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)

Are we gathering in Jesus’ name or are we just gathering to be seen by man?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How will you respond?

November 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world? Do you feel like the world is always under the shadow of death? Do you feel like you are always under the shadow of death?

I wholeheartedly agree that things in this world are under the shadow of death. The world has long been turned over to sin and it just keeps getting worse. I know that we, as the Body of Christ, think that what we are experiencing is far worse than what has happened in the past, but be honest with yourself. Have you been threatened with death because of your faith in Jesus? Have you been socially outcast because of your faith in Jesus? The Body of Christ in this country has not seen the tribulation and the troubles that early church members experienced. We are not seeing the executions that other parts of the world are seeing. We think that we have it bad, but I want to point out the fact that we have lived under a blessing in this country. We have been free to express our faith in Jesus without any repercussions. However, that time appears to be changing. Anyone who expresses a faith in Jesus is ostracized. We are told to be more tolerant. The next step may be an extreme step in the wrong direction.

If that happens, members of the Body of Christ in this country may experience many of the things that believers in other parts of the world are experiencing. If this happens, I want you to stop and think about these questions.

How will I respond if I truly do walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Will my faith be strong or will I cave in to the ways of the world?

When the time comes, I pray that you remember the rest of this passage and do not fear any evil because God is with you. Do not be discouraged for God will comfort you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We need to learn to fill our thoughts with heavenly things!

October 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
(Colossians 3:2 (NLT))

How much time do you spend at work?

How much time do you spend watching your favorite sports team or television shows?

How much time do you spend with your family, and how much time do you spend doing your favorite thing to do?

Now, compare that to how much time you spend in God’s word, in prayer and in church with other believers. If you are like me, there is far too big of a difference in time spent between the world and the Creator of the world.

Most of the Body of Christ spends too little time focused on heavenly things. We are so overwhelmed with what we have to do to earn a living and then what we choose to do to relax. We need to turn to the source of rest and peace.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

We need to learn to fill our thoughts with heavenly things!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the strength of your pride keeping you from Jesus?

July 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

People have a strange sense of themselves. Young people think that they are immortal, or at least they will be around for a long, long time. As people get older, they still have a tendency to think of themselves as in control. Many people go to their grave thinking that they are their own masters.

Isn’t it a shame that people’s pride is so strong that they do not want to admit that there is a God and that He has always been and will always be?

God created us to have a relationship with Him not as a servant but as a child to a loving father. The church is based on this principle. Jesus is the head of the church, and each of us are members of the body.

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
(John 14:9-10)

This means that God is the head of the church. He has always been and will always be, constant, never changing and always loving.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reputation?

May 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV))

What is your reputation?

Do you present a facade to the world that is different from what God sees? Do people think that you are a righteous person who longs to follow Jesus? What would they think of the truth that is inside of you?

God sees all and He knows all. There is no hiding from God.

Would God tell you that He has not found your deeds complete? Would He call you to obedience and repentance?

Are you prepared to find out if God considers you to be righteous in His eyes?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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