Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you walking hand in hand with Jesus through your trials?

October 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

Over the last few years, I have faced situations that at every turn were becoming more and more frustrating. No matter what I did, the situation never would resolve itself in a way that was needed. I found myself in a daze and was not able to function. I found myself simply resigning to what appeared to be the overwhelming obstacles that I faced. I had no idea how to persevere. I had no idea why the situation was presenting itself in the manner that it was. I simply felt like giving up.

Does this sound familiar?

I am sure that all of us have faced similar situations in the past. I am also sure that we will all face similar situations again in the future. These types of situations are the very trials that are written of in James. Satan will find anything and everything that can be used against us in an effort to defeat us.

It is so easy to simply give in, to simply say that we cannot handle the trials. It is at these very moments when we must remember that we are not expected to endure them on our own. We simply need to remember that God is with us. We must remember that we have a brother sitting at the right hand of God who will intervene on our behalf. Jesus will walk with us. In fact, if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then He always walks with us. It is a matter of our perception that makes us think that He is not with us. It is at these times that we look at our trials through human eyes and not through the promises that we have been given.

These situations can be depressing and overwhelming, but we must remember that we do not have to face them on our own. Jesus is walking with us. Simply stop and take His hand. He will guide you. He will give you peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Who or what guards you heart in times of trial?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessings come in all forms!

January 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Based on this passage, the people who are teaching a theology of prosperity may need to rethink what they are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. God does want to bless us, but we have also been told that we would have trouble. Jesus did not say that He would remove the trouble. He clearly said that we would have trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

We, as believers, will face troubles. We will face troubles that other people do not face. We will be persecuted simply because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This type of trouble should be welcome, for if we are ridiculed and persecuted because of the name of Jesus, then we are doing what He has called us to do. We are making ourselves known as members of His Body.

We will be blessed, but the blessings will come if we are willing to bless others. The blessings are not intended for those who simply seek the blessings. Perhaps we should even think of the troubles as a blessing, for they build character and mark us as followers of Jesus.

How are you blessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And that is what some of you were!

July 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV))

“And that is what some of you were!”

Do you like to be reminded of the mistakes that you have made in life? Do you like to be reminded of the terrible things that you have done?

Better yet, do you like to be reminded that all that has happened is in the past? It is forgiven!

The enemy likes to twist things around and remind us of what we were. He drives it home. He uses it to keep us from the grace and mercy that we have been given through Jesus.

Have you ever stopped to contemplate that Satan also twists this in such a way that he gets people to ignore the part about “And that is what some of you were?” He uses the concept that Jesus came to redeem us, to offer us grace and mercy. However, he twists this to the point where people believe that they can stay in their sin because God is love. I believe the biggest lie that the enemy uses is the one where people think that God will allow them entry to heaven because they are a good person. I know many so-called “good people” who live a life of sin but refuse to even consider giving up that sin.

God is love, but He did not send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we can continue to sin. He sent His Son to provide an example of how we should live and to offer us grace when we fail to live up to the standard. Jesus did not come into this world and tell us that we could do whatever we wanted. There is not a single scripture passage or quote where this concept is even suggested.

Pray that those who believe the lies will have their hearts opened so that they will know. Pray that they will have their eyes opened so that they will see. Pray that they will have their minds opened so that they will understand. It is my prayer for both those lost in the lies and for those who strive to walk daily with Jesus that all may claim this passage for themselves.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to obey?

May 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NAS))

As a child, probably everybody sang the song about being in the Lord’s Army. If we are in the active service of Jesus, then we have an obligation to follow the “marching orders” that we are given.

In our nation’s army, a private obeys the orders that he is given by his sergeant or he faces disciplinary action. How can we, as believers in Jesus Christ, not obey the orders that we are given by our commander, after all, Jesus outranks the sergeant that the private obeys!

Yet, many people do not follow the orders or even worse, they ignore them.

We have a mission far more important than that of a soldier in a worldly army! We are to be the light in a dark world and we are to take that light to the world. If the private does not obey the sergeant for an extended period of time, he is subject to court martial. If believers do not listen to God, we are not subject to court martial or any retribution, but God does continue to give us “orders” for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is our choice whether we obey or not!

If we are truly soldiers in God’s Army, then we should be willing to obey.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can choose who we deny

April 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34b (NIV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted? It is a common passage to be used when we think of the sufferings that we are told we will encounter in this world if we choose to follow Jesus.

I have a problem with teachings that are financial blessings based. It is true that God desires to bless us, but, we must not forget the opposite side of this, for we are told that we will have to take up our cross and follow Him. Bearing a cross is not a teaching of no problems and of rosy futures. We still have to face the truth that the enemy has dominion over this earth. When we make it known that we have placed our faith in Jesus, we become fair game for the attacks of the enemy.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus knew that we would face troubles in this life. He did not promise that the troubles would go away. He did promise that He has overcome the world. This passage does not say that He has overcome the troubles and has made them stop. It states that He has overcome the troubles and will provide a way for us to walk through them.

We can either deny ourselves or we can deny Jesus!

If we deny ourselves, it may be possible that we would have an easier time in life. We don’t know what will happen in this life. We do know that if we deny ourselves in this life, eternity will be a blessing.

If we deny Jesus, I know that we will have a much harder eternity.

We can choose who we deny. Who will you deny?

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