Are you willing to suffer for Jesus?

October 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Suffering!

It means different things to different people. To some, it means that they have to take the limo instead of the helicopter. To others, it means that they are out on the street with no food for their family. To the Body of Christ, suffering is watching the world revel in the sin while we look on and pray for the world to turn to Jesus.

Suffering is a difficult thing to do, yet, each of us have different things that we are willing to bear with respect to suffering. To me, the biggest thing that I suffer over is the escalating decline of the value of faith in society. I am not saying that faith is declining. Rather, I am saying that it appears to me that sin of all types is increasing. It reminds me of a parable that Jesus told.

    Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
    ” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
    “The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
    ” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

There is suffering due to the enemy having sowed bad seeds among God’s creation. We will face suffering until that glorious day that Jesus returns. The sufferings that we must face are worth the struggle. They are worth the pain. They are worth the aggravation, for we have the promise that we will see salvation. We will see redemption.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV))

Are you willing to face the consequences of your sins?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

I hate suffering, yet I would rather suffer because I have professed a faith in Jesus than to turn my back on God’s grace and face suffering in eternity. I know that we live in a society that expects to have both now and later, but in God’s kingdom, it does not work that way. We cannot simply pull out a credit card and swipe it and expect to have it easy now and easy later when the bill comes due. Our way of doing things doesn’t work.

We have a hope that can see us through all suffering. His name is Jesus. We can suffer now and cling to the hope that we have in Jesus, or we can abandon all hope and suffer eternal separation from God.

Nothing worth having is easy. I pray that I am willing to suffer for Christ.

Are you willing to suffer for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Judgment or salvation? Choose wisely!

August 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
(1 Samuel 2:9-10 (NIV))

There are only two groups to which you can belong. The choice is yours!

You can choose to follow the Lord and become one of His saints or you can choose not to follow the Lord. I bet you thought the second group that I was going to define was the group of the wicked.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We don’t have to choose to be wicked. We don’t have to choose to be sinful. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, that choice has been made for us. It is human nature. The choice that we have to make is to either accept the wickedness and sinfulness or accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. If you do not make a choice, you have inadvertently made your choice for wickedness and sinfulness. If you make a choice to repent, to turn from your wicked ways, then you have chosen to be a saint.

I can hear some of you thinking, “How dare you claim that people can decide to be a saint!” I hope that you realize that there truly are only two types of people, saints or sinners, believers or nonbelievers. God gives us each the choice to which group, which type of person, we will belong to.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

Creation has fallen to sin. God will judge those who do not repent. He will protect those who seek His face. He will provide salvation to all who ask through the atoning blood of Jesus.

Do you seek judgment or salvation?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living in Godly righteousness?

January 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-24 (NIV))

We cannot be saved by law. The law only points out our shortcomings. We cannot be saved by any actions that we may deem worthy of our own salvation. There is only one way for someone to be saved.

Jesus was sent after many years of living under the law. Not a single person was found who was able to live a completely sinless and righteous life according to the law. We needed another way to come to God. He had to come to us so that we could have a way to come to Him. Only God was able to live completely according to the law. The law is perfect. Humanity, in our sinful state since the Garden of Eden, was far from perfect. In order for imperfection to acheive perfection, God had to intervene. Through His intervention, we now have a perfect way to God.

Only through Jesus Christ, His Son, can we approach the throne of God in complete righteousness. Only through the righteousness of Jesus can we be made righteous.

Are you living a failed righteousness through the law, or are you living a mercy based righteouseness through Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s Word is the only judge!

January 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
(John 12:47-50 (NIV))

Did this passage catch anybody off guard?

Think about that for a moment.

How many people, including believers, have this notion that Jesus is to be our judge? This is easy to come to this false realization if you picture Jesus as He is during the Second Coming. We see Him dishing out justice on the world as He defeats the armies of the world in the Valley of Megiddo. Still, He is not the judge. There is one piece of information that we fail to bring to mind.

Jesus is wielding the Word of God as His sword. It is the Word of God that judges.

Perhaps we should think of Jesus as our defense attorney, and I know that I need one.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For those who call upon His name, Jesus is our Lord and savior. He is our defense attorney for when we stand before God to be judged. He knows God’s Laws and our sins, and He will stand in the gap for our benefit. He will claim the true believers as His own.

He will get our sentence pardoned.

Looking back at this passage, would you rather have Jesus as your judge or defense attorney?

I know that I want Him on my side.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been paying attention?

January 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(Psalms 19:1 (NIV))

Have you been paying attention?

God, in all of His majesty, has created a spectacular universe in which we live. He has set things in motion from the beginning of time. When we are young, we look up at the night sky and are amazed at the stars. We are amazed with the moon. As we grow older, we soon stop looking up and spend all of our time looking down. We look down to avoid the pitfalls of this world. We look down to hide our eyes from the gaze of others. We look down to shield our eyes from the truth.

Look up!

The stars are still spectacular. The moon is still amazing. The timing of alignments and events is something that we should pay attention to. If the heavens declare God’s glory and the skies proclaim the work of His hands, shouldn’t we look to them as a means of understanding God and His plans?

I am sure that you have at least read about the four blood moons and how they all coincide with Jewish holy days and festivals. I find it amazing that four blood moons is a very rare occurrence with the next four occurring about 500 years from now. In all of time, what are the odds that four such events will line up perfectly with the Jewish calendar and fall on the same days in consecutive years?

I know that sometimes things do happen, but with the timings of these events and the other things that are going on in the world, I honestly believe that these are not accidental alignments.

God is doing something!

To make things even more interesting, according to some of my research sources, today is the midpoint of the four blood moons. I am not professing any knowledge of something happening, but I do know that God is up to something and that He uses the heavens to provide insight. And, no, this is not some astrological mumbo-jumbo.

Is God the Creator?

Is God in control?

If you answered “Yes” to both of these questions, then what is stopping God from using His creation to declare what He is about to do?

I think that it is time that we pay attention to God’s word and His creation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

March 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

I want you to be honest with me. Actually, I want you to be honest with yourself. How well do you keep these two commandments?

We say that we love God, but do we love Him with all our heart and all our soul? That is a big commitment. It is one that takes more than an occasional “Amen” on Sunday. It takes more than simply having a Bible. It takes more than acknowledging God when it is convenient for us. Every aspect, every moment, every breath should be dedicated to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV))

Is that possible for a sinful creation to place God above all else, after all, we are a selfish creation. We place ourselves above everything and everyone. Most of the time, we would rather ignore our neighbor if we could, yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourself. We are to not only place God above ourselves, we are to place our neighbor equal to ourselves.

Ouch !!!

I fully understand why Jesus answered the question in this way, but why does it have to shake us up, why does it have to rattle our cages, why does it have to make us move outside of our comfort zones? I suppose for the very same reason that Jesus placed God first in the Lord’s Prayer. It makes us think of others first. It makes us think of the well being of all of God’s creation and not just the part that He created for us. He wants to turn our world upside down. He wants us to reach out in praise. He wants us to reach out in prayer. He wants us to reach out in humility, for it is after we reach out to Him and to our neighbor, we realize His great love for us is not just for us. It is for everyone.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” `Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

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