Are you embracing worldly passions or suffering for your faith?

January 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Have we forgotten how to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions?

I see so many things going on in this world that makes me wonder if the Body of Christ is having any influence or if the world is influencing us.

Take a serious look at your life. Are there things that have crept in and slowly taken over? Have you lost the self-control that you may have once had? Do you find yourself forgetting godliness and righteousness because you have become too close to the world?

I have a question for your personal reflection.

Have you stopped longing for the return of Jesus?

Perhaps you are someone who does not want Jesus to return for His Bride because you are having too much fun in this world.

Do you truly embrace the grace that has been given to us, or are you still clinging to things of this world? What worldly passion keeps you from the full realization of God’s grace?

We never know when our life will end. We never know at what moment Jesus will return. We should never allow a distraction that is fleeting keep us from eternal salvation. We must truly live our lives each and every moment as if it were to be our last. We must live out our faith as if it is the most important thing in our lives.

I read something today that I want to share with you about faith, focus and worldly passions. It was about placing your faith in the wrong place and how it can lead to worldly passions, even in the Body of Christ. If the only reason that we profess a faith is because we believe that our faith will bring blessings, do we really have faith? God did not promise financial blessings. He did not promise an easy life. We have been told that truly following Jesus would cause tribulation, or stress, within our lives.

Following God has never been easy. Noah could have taken the easy way out. Moses had to flee. Joseph was tossed into a well and then sold into slavery. Jesus went to the cross. Why do we think that we will have financial blessings and an easy life if we turn our back upon worldly passions. We will be attacked by the enemy. We need to prepare for it. Today’s church has forgotten that the church was birthed through suffering, and that if we are true to our calling, we will be in the middle of it at every turn.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Are you eager to do what is good even if you will suffer?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are the Body of Christ! We are to press on!

January 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
(Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV))

The things that God has put together are under attack by man. Or should I say that they are under attack by the enemy as he lies and tricks man into believing that anything goes?

Think back over your life.

Is there anything that you considered to be unshakable, only now to see it being questioned or completely discarded?

Have you stood up for the biblical principles that used to be the foundation of our society? Have you stood face to face with the enemy as he tries to remove any reference to God from our society? Do we, as the Body of Christ, even try to take a stand or are we so lost in the hope of the Rapture that we forget that we are called to be salt and light where we are?

Many people believe that we are living at the beginning of the times written of in Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, and we just might be, but I have a question for you. If you are running a race, do you lose focus once the finish line comes into view? Do you slow down and take it easy because you are almost there? Do you stop altogether and join the spectators to see what will happen?

You persevere!

You complete the task!

To quote Paul in his letter to the church at Phillipi,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

We are called to be salt and light to the world. We are called to finish the race. We are not told to give up when we see good being called evil. We are to model out faith after Paul.

We are the Body of Christ! We are to press on!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you endure or do you give in?

October 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12 (NKJV))

Temptation is everywhere. Is it really possible for anyone to resist the temptation that they see everywhere they look? Even those who follow God have given in to temptation at some point in their lives.

Take a look at David. The Bible says that he was a man after God’s own heart, yet, in a moment of weakness, he did something that was a direct result of temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. When he was in the desert, Satan tempted Him, yet, Jesus held firm. What was the difference then between David and Jesus?

Only Jesus, as God’s Son, could perfectly resist all temptation. Frail humanity does not have the wisdom and insight that Jesus had due to His direct communication with God the Father. Jesus was perfect. No one else can ever be perfect in this world because of the sin introduced through Adam and Eve.

But, we have the power of forgiveness! God, through His infinite wisdom and mercy gave us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way to wash away the sins of this world. All we have to do is call upon the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior and the sin results of temptation will be as far from us as the east is from the west.

Do you endure or do you give in?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Doubt is a serious crippler of faith!

September 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matthew 21:18-22 (NIV))

Doubt is a serious crippler of faith. Jesus knew that what He commanded would be done. Yet, the disciples did not understand. Doubt can steal the blessings that God wishes to give us. Do you believe that God can be trusted? Do you believe that God never changes? Do you believe that Jesus was sent of God? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then there is no room for doubt. Doubt comes from the enemy to deceive us and confuse us. Hold fast to what you know to be true.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for His return?

September 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

Is Jesus your Lord and master?

Are you ready for His return?

Will He find you prepared and looking for His return?

Things are happening in the world today that appear to be very prominent signs that the season is rapidly approaching when Jesus will return. Are we prepared for His arrival? Will He find us diligent in our faith and living as He taught?

Will we be ready or will we be caught off guard?

The parable that we are told in Luke shows servants who have been assigned the responsibility to keep watch over the house. The gates or doors were locked and the servants who stood watch had the responsibility of alerting the whole household if trouble came or if an important event happened. The return of the master of the house was such an event. It was their responsibility to keep watch for him and to let him in when he arrived.

Are we keeping watch for Jesus?

Will we be ready to let Him in when He arrives?

We do not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season. I pray that the Body of Christ will look beyond their circle of influence and seek to learn what is going on throughout our country and the world. There are things happening that will send you to your knees. We do not have an exclusive claim to Christianity in this country. The Body of Christ is worldwide. The Body of Christ is being persecuted worldwide. Members of the Body of Christ are losing their lives simply because they profess a faith in Jesus.

Are you ready to stand watch? Are you ready to profess Jesus?

Are you ready for His return?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you fight the good fight?

May 21, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
(1 Timothy 1:18-19 (NIV))

Do you fight the good fight?

Do you hold on to your faith no matter what may come your way?

I realize that this is a difficult task to accomplish, especially when the whole world seems to be filled with such bad news. Economic collapse, pirates with speed boats, terrorists, wars and threats of wars are all part of the enemy’s strategy to make you lose focus – to make you lose sight of the one whom you have placed your faith. It is the desire of the enemy to so distract you that you will run aground in the world of sin. He knows that if you take your eyes off of Jesus, that it will be easy to make you lose your course.

What happens if you are driving and you take your eyes off of the road? Now, apply that very same principle to a life in faith. Faith is a long distance journey. Just like on a long distance road trip, a faith journey can find you in times of less focus and perhaps even exhaustion. A life of faith, just like a road trip, will require times when you allow someone else to drive so that you may rest. Just as you feel that the world is beginning to take its toll, completely turn over control to Jesus. He will guide you through whatever you may be facing. Allow Jesus to refresh you and to strengthen your faith. He will always walk with you, but sometimes He will do more if you simply allow it. He will carry you. He will under gird you and lift you up so that you can face whatever the enemy may send your way.

What does a road trip have to do with a shipwreck? What does a shipwreck have to do with fighting? What does fighting have to do with faith? Perhaps it all comes down to a single, yet profoundly simple truth. Do you have the faith and the confidence to trust Jesus in all things? If you do, then He will walk with you in all that you encounter. He will never leave you. The promise made to Joshua still holds true for each of us today.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold fast to Jesus!

May 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
(Galatians 1:6-9 (NIV))

I came across something today that does not surprise me given the current status of the world and the attack on Christianity from all sides. It is still another false teaching and false gospel that the enemy is using to try and ridicule the church and deceive people.

I have never included live links before, but this particular story merits breaking this practice.

http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/iran-claims-discovery-of-ancient-gospel-will-prove-islam-and-destroy-christianity/

I include it for one simple reason, and that is to allow you to read about this for yourself.

We live in interesting times.

When I was younger, I could not have imagined the very rapid and drastic turns in society and the world. Tolerance is preached, but those who preach it are not tolerant of Jesus. Love is preached, but those who preach it hate the Body of Christ. Acceptance is preached only as long as it is of alternate lifestyles.

Hold fast to Jesus!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

If anything is preached that does not profess Jesus as the Son of God, crucified, resurrected and at the right hand of God the Father, do not be deceived. The enemy has many tricks and he has no problems using them to keep you from the grace and mercy that is freely given through Jesus.

Hold fast. Pray. Place your trust in Jesus.

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