Are you living your life in this manner?

September 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

The world has a tendency to throw things at us that make us do things that we wish we wouldn’t do!

How you react during these times is viewed as a reflection of all of Christianity by the non-believing world. The world sees us at these times and judges all believers based on our shortcomings and then they call us hypocrites. What they fail to realize is that everyone is human and we will all make mistakes. The only difference between believers and the world is that we, as the Body of Christ, get judged quite harshly and ridiculed by the world while the rest of the world gets a much lesser judgment from their own.

Think about that for a moment!

The world receives some semblance of grace from those who follow the world, while those who follow Jesus receive judgment from the world. Those who follow Jesus will receive the ultimate grace from God while those who follow the world will receive the ultimate judgment from God. Personally, I prefer to receive grace from God. With this in mind, I don’t mind if the world judges me and ridicules me. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I will make mistakes, but, I also know that my mistakes, my sins, are covered by the redeeming blood of Jesus. My hope lies solely with Jesus. Because of this, I know that whatever I face in this world is only temporary. I also know that prayer will keep me focused. I do my best to remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Are you living your life in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

July 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV))

I have a few things for you to consider.

As a spouse, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with other relationships?

As a parent, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that take you away from your children?

Now that I believe that we can agree on determining priorities and the consequences of ignoring what should be our priorities, I have one more question for you to consider.

As a follower of Christ, what should be your priority? What happens if you become entangled with things that distract you from Jesus?

Let’s face it. Just like a soldier should strive to please his commanding officer, we should strive to please Jesus. In both situations, we are to be obedient to the instructions that we are given. We are to focus on the mission that we have been given. Failure to do so could have dire consequences. As a soldier, failure to obey could mean the physical loss of life. As a follower of Jesus, failure to obey our one objective could mean that someone is eternally separated from God. What is our one objective?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

Are you on mission or are you entangled in things of the world? Have you faithfully answered this call of duty?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Each of us can impact the world for Jesus!

December 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV))

I know that this was written long ago and that it was written by Paul. We all consider Paul to be the one who is most responsible for preaching to the Gentiles. With this in mind, I want to ask you a question.

What is stopping you from claiming this passage as your own?

Has Jesus given you strength? Does He consider you faithful? Are you ready, willing and eager to serve Him?

In comparison to what your life has become since asking Jesus into your heart, were you a blasphemer? Did you persecute those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Have you been shown mercy? Have you been shown grace? Have you been blessed abundantly with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus?

If you truly follow Jesus, you should be able to recognize that these questions all answered as Yes. The only difference between you and Paul with respect to this passage is your circle of influence.

What can we do to impact the world for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Know Jesus and know peace!

September 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Does this sound like it is easy to do?

Think about this and be honest with yourself.

It is not human nature to be in a state of hope and to be joyful. Most people associate hope with despair. You are in a bad situation and you hope things get better. It is almost a sure thing to say that this is more of a state of melancholy than joy.

It is also not human nature to be patient in affliction. We want an immediate improvement in our affliction. We don’t want to wait, and if we do have to wait, we are anything but patient.

Perhaps the one that we come closest to fulfilling is being faithful in prayer. I know that it is difficult to express sarcasm with the written word, but that is what I was attempting to do. If you stop to think about the previous two situations that I described, we might be faithful in prayer when we are in those situations. At least, we might be for a while. Then, one of two things happens.

1. Our prayers are not answered and we give up.

2. Our prayers are answered and we forget to keep praying to the One who answered our prayers.

Sadly, I just reinforced my previous conclusion that it is difficult to be perfect in these three simple tasks. If we, as humans, cannot get three simple things right in the eyes of God, how can we ever expect to live blameless and sinless lives in the eyes of God?

Let’s face the truth. We cannot be what we are told to be without Jesus. We cannot be joyful where there is no hope. We cannot be patient when we are afflicted. We cannot be faithful in prayer when we have no one who is interceding for us.

I don’t know about you, but I am so very thankful for the promises that are Yes in Jesus!

With Jesus, we have hope and we have joy. With Jesus, because we have hope, even when we are afflicted, we can be patient. With Jesus, when we pray, we know that He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. With Jesus, we can be faithful in our prayers and we can rest assured that they are being heard.

I find it interesting how language works. Things that sound alike can have completely different meanings. I think the following example works well to define how we are able to possess the characteristics as described in Romans 12:12.

No Jesus. No peace.

Know Jesus. Know peace.

Only through knowing Jesus do we have the ability to possess these characteristics. Do you know Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which master do you serve?

May 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 28:20 (NIV))

In this world that we live in, wealth is the goal for many. The desire to retire early is widespread anymore. How many times do you see people who desire to get rich achieve their goal, yet they squander everything or commit serious crimes to attain their wealth?

Faith is the benchmark for all things in this world. With faith comes Godly wisdom. With wisdom comes the desire to be responsible for what God has entrusted to you. Maybe it is the faith that leads a person to be responsible with what you have so that you do not make foolish and ungodly decisions.

Perhaps, the best way to express what is stated in Proverbs is in Matthew 6:24.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24)

If you focus on wealth, then you despise God and will do anything to attain your wealth. If you serve God, then He will supply what is needed, and your life will prosper.

Which master do you serve?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forsaken God?

May 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
(Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV))

We may forget God, but He will never forget us.

Isaiah was given the words that bring comfort to all who belong to the Lord. It is not possible for God to forget us or forsake us. When we depart slightly from the ways that God wishes for us, He does not cast us off. He waits patiently for us to return to Him, and when we do, all of heaven rejoices. The promise that He gave to Zion (Israel) also holds true for believers.

Jesus said that He is the vine and that we are the branches. We, as Gentile believers, have been grafted into the vine that is Jesus. We are a part of Him. We have a big brother interceding for us at the right hand of God. How can God forget us or forsake us? We are better off today than when Isaiah was given these words. Jesus had not yet come to earth or ascended back to the Father.

Today, both of these have happened, and Jesus does sit at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding in our behalf. The only thing that could be better is to have direct access ourselves, but that time has not come yet. Jesus must return again for His faithful and establish His kingdom on earth.

Will you be among the faithful?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s unchanging character!

December 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
(Psalms 18:25-27 (NIV))

God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

As we face the prospect of an uncertain new year, it is nice to remember that God is unchanging. What we read about in Psalms is true even in this time when truth is relative and what is sin is now considered okay by society. It is His creation that is changing the rules. God, as Father and Creator, has not changed.

When we read about God’s unchanging character, we must ask ourselves how we would measure up to His standards. Would we be the faithful one? Would we be considered pure? Would God find us to be crooked? Would we be humble or haughty? What would your answers be?

If we find our answers are opposite of what God desires, we have a plan of salvation. He has sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Even believers sin. We all need a Savior. As we face the uncertain prospects of another year, we can rest assured that one thing is constant. God’s love, grace and mercy will never change. We must make a resolution, or perhaps I should say a promise to God, that we will strive to be more like Jesus in all that we do in this new year.

What is your plan?

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