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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Do you go outside of your comfort zone for God?

August 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.
(Mark 1:35 (NLT))

What do you think of when you think of a wilderness?

Some people think of a wild place such as a jungle. Some think of a barren place such as a desert. Either way, it is often associated as a place that is untouched by human hands. To many, this implies that it is a dangerous place to be, and it can be.

Have you considered that a wilderness can also be a place of peace away from the hectic pace of the world? A wilderness can be a place to encounter God without the distractions of the world weighing you down. I am certain that we all know of someone, if we are not like this, who finds that a walk in the woods or a day in a boat is the most productive prayer time that they can have.

Let’s face it. God doesn’t care where you are when you talk to Him. All that He cares is that you earnestly seek His face. If that means that you need to go out to a place that is not easily accessible to other people, then do it. Look at all of the times that Jesus went into the wilderness. Look at all of the time that David spent in the wilderness tending sheep and then running from Saul. Look at the time spent by John the Baptist in the wilderness. All of these, and may others, spent time alone with God in the wilderness. If you stop to think about it, a wilderness is something outside of your comfort zone. John the Baptist wasn’t raised in the wilderness, yet he was called there. David wasn’t raised in the wilderness, but he spent a period of time in his life getting prepared for what God called him to be. Jesus, as the Son of God, was not used to a wilderness, but He spent countless times in the wilderness so that He could clearly hear God and His call.

They went outside of their comfort zone in order to hear God!

They spent countless days, weeks and months in the wilderness in order to hear God. They were willing to take that step of faith to let God know that they were sincere in their desires. I know that times have changed, but maybe the reason we don’t hear from God is the simple fact that we aren’t willing to go beyond our comfort zone. We aren’t willing to go into an unknown, into a wilderness.

How far are you willing to go to be able to hear God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn from arrogance and turn to God!

December 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 (NIV))

People surround themselves with things that they are comfortable with. Take a look at somebody’s home and you will see how that this is true. If you could take a look at somebody’s heart, you would also see that this is true in spiritual matters. People surround themselves with what they know.

Closely examine what you have surrounded yourself with. Is it Godly or is it worldly? The two are opposite extremes. You cannot be surrounded with worldly matters and still be able to focus on God. You cannot walk the middle ground between the two. It is time to break out of the comfort zone and focus exclusively on one.

By focusing on God, you will resist Satan, and, as the verse claims, he will flee. A relationship with God is like a relationship with anyone. If you are willing to become friends with someone, they are more receptive. The more that you learn about the other person, the more that they will learn about you. Do not present the world with an arrogant attitude, for that attitude is from the devil.

Turn from arrogance and turn to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men

November 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
(Mark 7:6-7 (NIV))

It is my desire to learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men.

What single thing do you hold on to that is not Biblical, but is actually a man-made rule? Come on and admit that you have them. They are the things that we all hold on to because they are tradition, or because they are part of our comfort zone. Perhaps the biggest one is thinking that other people can’t be true believers because they don’t look and act the same. I hate to say this, but I would bet that every believer struggles with this from time to time. And I think I know where that all started. Could it be that we are so ingrained in our own set of rules made by man, that we forget that they are only rules? We start to judge others by our set of rules that we have applied to ourselves, while we overlook the much bigger and much more important aspect of grace and mercy.

Human nature is a fickle thing. We long to be forgiven, but then we add all types of stipulations that God never would have even begun to think of. It is interesting that God could only come up with Ten Commandments and then salvation through Jesus. We have added so many things to this that we could easily be guilty of worshipping in vain, for we could be following our rules instead of God’s teachings.

We need to focus on what is true and righteous in the eyes of God. We must focus on God. We must focus on His Word and on Jesus, His only begotten Son. We must focus on the Holy Spirit. All other, if it does not point you to God, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a false teaching and must be removed from our lives.

Don’t let man-made rules hinder your relationship with God and your salvation through Jesus, His Son. It’s not worth what you will lose.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly confidence

May 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
(John 16:24 (NIV))

Are you hesitant to ask God for something in the name of Jesus? What is your hesitation? Is it an uncertainty about what you want to ask? Is it the fear that what you are asking for is not something that God wants you to have? Is it a fear that you are being selfish by asking? Perhaps it is even the fear that He will give you what you are asking for!

Let’s face the truth about human nature. We always want what we don’t have, yet, at the same time, we are afraid to get what we ask for. We are comfortable in our current condition. We know how to handle our current situation. If we are given something new, we have to learn a new way of handling our life. We will have to come up with something new to ask for.

How much of this is an attack from the enemy, after all, Satan despises anything that God has created. He despises God for he longs to replace Him. These doubts and fears are nothing more than subtle attacks from the enemy so that we begin to doubt ourselves and God. We soon begin to replace our doubt with fear and then Satan has won.

We can overcome Satan.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV))

We must overcome the spirit of fear and embrace the power and love that God longs to give us. We have Jesus to intercede for us, “who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:22 (NIV))

If we desire God’s Will, we can ask confidently.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is calling us to serve with Him

January 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:26 (NIV))

Do you serve the Lord?

I know that we would all like to think that we do, but are we willing to go where Jesus went? Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? Are we willing to go that extra mile when we know that we should?

Are we willing to be where He is?

When Jesus walked the earth, He ate with sinners. He forgave the adulteress. He healed the sick. He raised the dead.

I know that many of you are thinking that we are not capable of these things, and maybe we aren’t, but have we tried?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If we are told that we will do these same things, why do we doubt? Why do we fail to go where Jesus went? Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to be a faithful servant? Are we not willing to step outside of our comfort zone and meet Jesus in the midst of the spiritual warfare?

Have we become spectators instead of spiritual warriors?

Have we compromised our faith and our servanthood?

Did Jesus ever compromise what He taught? Did He stop the stoning of the adulteress only to tell her that it was ok for her to keep doing what she was doing?

No!

Jesus did not compromise!

He always instructed those that would listen to give up their sin.

There are many things in this world that were once considered sin that are now considered ok. If Jesus came into this world today, would he tell these people that their sin is now ok? Should we offer teachings that Jesus would not offer?

The one difference that I see in Jesus is love. Every person that came to Him was treated with love. He did not ridicule them. He did not provoke them. He did not tell them to go to hell as I have seen some so-called Christians do recently. Jesus had compassion. He had love. Is it possible that these are the places where Jesus is calling us to serve with Him?

Can we put ourselves aside and meet Jesus where He is?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Here am I. Send me!

August 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Here am I. Send me!

How many of us would be willing to step forward and take on this responsibility?

Most of us probably sit looking around and thinking that somebody needs to step up and do something. Why do we always look for someone else to go where God leads and to do what God wants? Why have we become spectators in our faith?

Do we feel inadequate?

Do we feel overwhelmed?

Do we feel that we will fail miserably?

Are we afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone?

Even Paul had his problems.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV))

What would have happened if Paul had sat back and reasoned to himself that because of this problem he was not qualified to do what God called him to do? Paul had a turning point that left him with a miraculous faith, yet faith without obedience is not what God desires. Jesus appeared to Paul and converted him, but how many did Paul convert after this experience? How many throughout history owe their salvation to Paul’s obedience?

How many people are you impacting by not stepping forward? Think about that? You may not be an evangelist who will lead thousands to Jesus, but you may be the one who leads the future evangelist to Jesus.

I want to ask a simple question. It will probably be painful if you answer it honestly.

Have you ever felt that you were supposed to answer God’s call and when you didn’t answer, you had a strange feeling within? Was it easy to get rid of that feeling?

I pray that we will all be willing, able and ready to respond with these words.

Here am I. Send me!

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