Put on your armor

June 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

No soldier in history has ever won a battle by not being prepared to face the enemy. We are in a battle. We either choose to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior, or we reject Him. By rejecting Him, we have allowed the enemy to have victory.

Even if we accept the gift that God has given us, we must be prepared to face the attacks of the enemy. A good soldier will ready his weapons and his body for combat.

We are in spiritual combat. How do we prepare ourselves for this combat? By embracing the sword that is the Word of God. The more that we read and study, the more that we will be prepared to determine what is from God and what is from the enemy.

Soldiers have instructions on how to maintain and use their physical weapons. We also have instructions on how to use our spiritual weapons. Read the Bible and meditate on the meanings that the words have even today, for God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honor and intentions

May 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
(John 5:19-23 (NIV))

He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him!

Think about that statement. It has so many implications that I don’t know where to start.

With that said, I suppose the obvious place to start is what this means to those who do not profess Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Countless numbers of people believe that they can get to heaven and the Father through ways other than Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Now, for the painful examination of ourselves, as believers.

Do we always honor Jesus?

Be honest.

Are there times in our lives when we do things that do not honor Jesus? Do our every actions reflect the teachings that we profess to believe? Do we honor God the Father when we fall short of honoring Jesus the Son?

If you are like me, then there are numerous times each and every day that you fail at what you intend to do. I fall short far too many times to even want to think about it. I know that I am covered by grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, still, my shortcomings make me feel extremely sad, for it is at those times that I realize that I caused Jesus’ pain and suffering.

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

The sadness of these words means that the Father showed the Son the pain that He feels because of our sin. If our shortcomings cause pain to the Son, then our sins also cause pain to the Father.

Once again, I realize the primary difference that God looks for in each of us. He looks at the heart. If we earnestly seek Him and profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we do honor the Father because we honor His Son. We may stumble and we may falter, but we do not seek to do harm and to live in sin.

Intentions.

God looks at the heart. He knows whether we are striving to do His Will, or whether we are seeking to honor ourselves. It is a matter of free will. It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of your heart.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly obedience and trust

May 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(John 21:4-6 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself an expert in what you do?

Think about that question for a moment.

How willing are you to take the advice of someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do? How willing are you to even consider doing something differently than what you are accustomed to?

Now, is there something in your life that you are struggling with because you know that God is leading you in a certain direction, but you feel that you are constantly encountering roadblocks and obstacles? Have you stopped to consider that you are trying to fulfill your calling using your own strengths and plans? Perhaps you simply need to step back and accept the advice from someone else.

That is exactly what the disciples did, not only in this story, but in other stories as well.

Every time that they attempted to do something without Jesus, it did not go as planned. When they allowed Jesus to guide, things vastly improved. Fortunately for those who can claim spiritual descendancy to the disciples, they allowed someone else to lead them. They soon realized that they could not do it on their own. They needed Jesus.

What in your life is in need of the guidance that Jesus can give? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your calling? Is it a ministry that He is longing to use to spread the Gospel? Listen to that still, small voice. I think that you know the one. It is the one that says “Throw your net on the right side of the boat. . . “ It is the one that sounds foolish, but you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. It is the one that is calling you to trust in something besides your own so-called expertise.

I once heard a story about how a revival got started. To summarize, many people got together to pray that a revival would start in their town. They met regularly, but with no results. Finally, someone asked after a rather lengthy prayer meeting if anyone felt anything. No one answered. This went on for several more prayer meetings, and still no one answered. Finally, at still another prayer meeting, someone reluctantly said that they felt that they were supposed to hit the table. They said that they had felt this way almost since the beginning of their prayer group, but they felt that it was foolish and didn’t mention it. Finally, they broke down and did what they felt they were being told to do. They hit the table.

Can you guess what happened?

Are you ignoring something because you feel that it is foolish? God is not calling the equipped. He is equipping the called. It is up to each of us to answer that call. He will call you in ways that you may think are foolish.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Are you trying to do things your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Prayer

May 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 5:15-16 (NIV))

Jesus was and always will be. Yet, when He was on this earth, He did not gloat or boast or brag. He taught humbly, yet powerfully. Even though all knowledge was with Him, He did not forsake His quiet times that He spent in prayer. We can only imagine what His prayers were, but the important thing is that Jesus DID pray. He prayed constantly. As part of the Trinity, He had been with God the Father from the beginning, yet He still felt the need to pray.

Prayer! What do you think that prayer is?

Is it a one sided request that God do something for you?

Is it a one sided advice giving session?

Or is it a two-sided conversation where you freely talk with the Father? Jesus held conversations with God the Father. We know the contents of one side of one of His conversations. The prayer in the Garden of Gesthemene is probably the most intense prayer ever recorded, yet it was not a request, it was not advice, it was an earnest discussion with God the Father to discern His Will.

If Jesus, who was with God and who is God, felt the need to pray to God the Father, how can we do any less?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The same for all eternity

April 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Have you ever known anything to be the same day in and day out, year after year? I won’t even go to the forever part of this passage, for we, as finite creatures, do not truly understand forever. Let’s face the truth, we can’t even maintain consistency from one minute to the next.

With that in mind, how do you react to the thought of something or someone never changing?

Do the words consistency and monotony come to mind? Do you even approach the concept of boring? Perhaps you know people who think this way about Jesus.

If these are the mental pictures that you get when you read Hebrews 13:8, you are totally off base.

Consistency does not equate to boring or monotonous. It simply means that nothing will change the person no matter what the situation. Think back on the life of Jesus. I honestly do not think that you can call raising the dead boring. You cannot call feeding the five thousand with a few fish and five loaves boring. What about the money changers in the temple? What about the Passover meal in the upper room? What about all of the people that Jesus healed? Again, I say that consistency does not mean boring.

Jesus was always about His Father’s business. That business was and still is the restoration of humanity to Himself.

We know of the thirty or so years when Jesus walked the earth as a man. We know of His crucifixion and resurrection. We know of His ascension. We know what the Bible tells us about His return. Everything that Jesus has done and will do is for our redemption and grace.

Perhaps a better way to look upon the sameness of Jesus is to look upon it as some would classify as a one track mind. Jesus did not sway from His task. He is still about completing that task. He will not change. Even though the enemy tempted Him, He did not stray.

It is often said that you have to pick what matters to you the most and stick with it. If you let things distract you, then you will lose focus and lose site of what matters to you. This is true about a professional career, or hobbies, or love, or life in general. If you go around constantly changing and redefining your focus, do you truly have a focus? I bet we all know someone who constantly hops around from one interest to another. Do they ever succeed at anything if they hop from one interest to another?

Jesus has a consistent focus. That focus is God. That focus is you and I. That focus is redeeming us for an eternal life spent with God.

Personally, I am overjoyed that Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. I am comforted in the knowledge that when I mess things up, He will be there with His same focus.

How do you look upon the consistency that Jesus provides?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What fills your thoughts?

April 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
(Colossians 3:2 (NLT))

It is so easy to get caught up in the things of this world, after all, we are physical beings living in a physical world. We know best what we see on a regular basis. Heaven is something that we envision, but have never seen. Our jobs and our daily worries are far more realistic to us than a promise of eternal life.

Isn’t it such a shame that we fall into the trap that the enemy has set for us? Satan wants to distract us from the truth about God’s promises by keeping us so focused on the physical world and the needs that it presents. He knows that if he can keep us focused on the things of this earth, we will forget to think of the things of heaven. He knows that if we forget to think of the things of heaven, then we will soon forget to think of God at all. When we stop thinking of God, then we have become worldly and have lost all hope.

It is important to spend time within God’s Word each and every day. It is important to spend time in prayer each and every day. We must take the time to learn what are God’s desires for the world, for our nation, for our neighborhood, for our church, for our family, and for ourselves. God cannot teach us if we do not spend time reflecting upon His Kingdom and His Word. We must be still within His presence and let God fill our thoughts.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

What fills your thoughts?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your mission?

February 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.
(Ezekiel 2:7-8 (NIV))

We have a mission!

Just like Ezekiel, we are to tell people of God’s Word, whether they listen or not. We must be faithful in fulfilling this mission, for we never know what seed that God may use us to plant in the life of someone. We may never know the outcome, but we must stand firm in the faith that we must plant that seed.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

Someone had to have faith to tell you of the grace and mercy freely given to us through Jesus. Perhaps that faith was only as small as a mustard seed. Did that faith grow and spread into your life enough that you, too, accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you have accepted Jesus a your personal Lord and Savior, then you have had a small seed planted within you that must grow and blossom. If you remember that the spiritual world has a direct correlation to the physical world, then you will recognize that there is a life cycle. A seed germinates and grows into a plant. The plant matures and produces seeds and then the cycle starts over. Someone planted the seed within you. If it has grown, then we have a mission to plant the seeds that God has entrusted to us into the lives of others. It is not our task to nurture those seeds. God will use others to do that. In fact, sometimes we may plant. Other times we may water, and still other times we may see the harvest. It is all part of the same mission.

We must never forget, as members of the Body of Christ, that we have a mission. We must plant the seed of God’s Word into the lives of others.

Have you accepted your mission?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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