Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

April 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
(Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV))

Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

We think of Paul as a great evangelist. What we often fail to recognize is his willingness to be placed in jail for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was willing to place himself in harms way in order to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When was the last time that you were willing to go across the street to do something that would further the Gospel? Have we become lazy and too self-centered to place the eternal souls of others before our own temporary comfort? Personally, I find myself falling into that category far too often. What would Paul write to us today to encourage us? What would Jesus say about our actions? Would He find us lukewarm?

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

We need to be prepared to do as Jesus commanded.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ?

January 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
(Matthew 16:14-20 (NIV))

As the Body of Christ, we are all familiar with this story and the ramifications of what Simon Peter answered when Jesus asked him “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s answer has been echoing in the minds of believers to this day. They are words that each believer must come to accept on a personal basis.

I found out something today about this story that made me see this in a whole new light.

As anyone in real estate will tell you, “Location. Location. Location.”

I uncovered some history about Caesarea Philippi that left me in awe and amazement.

Caesarea Philippi was the location of shrines to Baal and other false gods. Many believe that this was the area where a group of evil angels came into the world. It is this same group of evil angels who corrupted the human race in the days of Noah. These evil, or fallen, angels, were the same ones cast out of heaven with Satan. The shrines were located at Mount Heron. Heron means “Forbidden Place.”

I love this!

Jesus not only asked His disciples who they think He is, but He did this in the middle of an area completely dedicated to Satan and his followers. Jesus did not hold back and He does not hold back. He will go to the gates of hell and rescue someone from the enemy. Peter claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, at the very doorstep of the enemy.

I now have a much different understanding of this passage. I also have a very different understanding of the eternal battle that each of us are involved in. I definately have a different understanding of why Jesus called Simon Peter the Rock. How many people do you know who would go into enemy territory and proclaim victory over the enemy?

Do you have the faith to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

September 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Have you ever actually seen an eagle soar?

It is graceful and effortless in flight. It is beauty in motion. The eagle soars over all of the trouble below. It observes but does not involve itself in the mess that is below. It is master of its domain.

How can we, as believers, mount up with wings like eagles?

If we wait upon the Lord, we will seek after His heart. We will know His heart. We will be guided effortlessly through the ordeals of this life. We will soar through above the troubles.

Think about that. How we experience life is a matter of perspective. If we find ourselves living among those who do not follow God, we will have troubles. We may even find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have the assurance that he will carry us through all tribulations and trials that this world sends our way. When we walk with Jesus, we walk above the trials and tribulations.

Take a look at Peter.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV))

When Peter waited on the Lord, he was able to do something amazing. When he started to look at what he was doing through his eyes, he started to fail.

Our assurance comes from Jesus!

Our effortless movements come from Jesus. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to labor. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to grow weary. It is at that time that we faint.

Our actions are labored. God’s actions through us are effortless. We do not grow weary. Through God, we will mount up with wings like eagles. God will direct our efforts and He will keep us above the sins of the world.

Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

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