Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your reaction times like?

April 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
(James 1:19 (NIV))

It seems that we are always being judged on our reaction times. What I find interesting is the things that we are being measured for. Some of them are important, such as how quickly you can apply the brakes in a car if an emergency arises. Some of them are just ridiculous such as how fast someone can eat a hot dog. Other reaction times can determine your life’s direction and your career choices, such as how fast you can run 40 yards. In the grand scheme of things, we face many things in our lives that are used to measure us for some aspect or another.

For what things do you wish your reactions times to be measured?

Are they the things of this world or are they something different?

If someone were to give us an evaluation based on the things in James 1:19, how would we be rated? Would we be considered quick to listen? Do we honestly hear what is being said? Do we understand and give our undivided attention? Do we hold our tongues? Do we quickly become angry? These are all things where we should strive to improve our reaction times, for when we do, it reflects not only on us, but on the one that we claim to follow.

What are your reaction times like?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship

September 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:14-18 (NIV))

Following the words of Jesus is often a contradiction of what the world would have you believe. These two examples are excellent proof of that.

Forgiveness is not something that human nature automatically and freely gives. In the eyes of society, and especially with men, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. Weakness is not a trait that is welcome in this world. Strength and power are the goals in the worldly life.

Prayer is another area that the world sees as a weakness. It is either considered a weakness if you pray, or, in certain aspects of society, it is considered a weakness if you do not pray loudly and in public.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God does not call you to yell to Him in front of many people. That is not a relationship. It is more like cheerleading. God calls us to be in a relationship with Him. Relationships require one-on-one time and close, intimate conversation. How many times has a man won a bride by yelling at her in public? Not too often, if any! It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship.

Do you go against the world view?

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