Are you thankful?

May 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV))

Would Paul be able to write these words about you and I today? Would he thank God that we received the word of God as the truth that it is? Would Paul find that the word of God is at work in us?

In other words, would Paul thank God that you and I believe?

I often wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to have been one of the early believers in Jesus. Even more so, I wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to preach the word of God as an early believer. Are we as faithful now as the early church was then? They faced persecution, condemnation and even death, yet they were faithful. Because of their faith, we can proclaim our faith.

But, will we be able to stand firm when we face the troubles that are coming?

We see hints of it every day. We see the persecution and the condemnation toward people who profess a faith in Jesus. Will we be able to make someone thankful that we held on to what we have received? Think about that for a moment. The people that Paul was thankful for were the people whom he had led to faith in Jesus. He saw them as his spiritual children. Who led you to faith in Jesus? Would they be thankful for what you have become? Will they be thankful for your faith when we face tribulations?

Let’s take this one step further.

Who are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have a right to be angry at the world?

October 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
(John 2:15-16 (NIV))

Do you ever get mad at those who ridicule and mock God?

I can hear the wheels turning inside the heads of many people right about now. It is believed that if you follow Jesus that you are not supposed to get mad. It is believed that you are supposed to just let people run over you and your faith because that is what Jesus would do. After reading the passage above, do I need to remind you what Jesus would actually do?

As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
(Galatians 5:12 (NIV))

Did you ever read this passage that was written by Paul? He got mad at people twisting God’s word, too. He never went so far as to do what Jesus did, but he did get extremely mad. He got so angry that he wished that those people would emasculate themselves.

If Jesus, who is God’s only begotten Son, and Paul, who spread the Gospel to the Gentiles, could both get mad at those who abused God’s temple and His Word, why do we sit back and take what society sends our way? I am not saying that we should be violent, but what I am saying is that the events of this world should make us extremely angry. If they don’t make us angry, what does that actually say about our faith? Do we lack the faith to stand up to the world for what we know to be true? Do we simply look at the events of this world and say to ourselves that Jesus must be coming for us at any moment, so why do we bother? Have we been so conditioned by the world that we believe that we can’t do anything about it?

I will say this. The things that I see in this world do make me angry. They make my spirit groan. At what point do we, as the Body of Christ, fall to our knees in earnest prayer because the things of this world make us extremely angry?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you like-minded?

September 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
(Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It is amazing what God can do!

Saul, who was persecuting the Body of Christ, had such a tremendous change in his life when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was on his way to arrest and kill believers when he had an experience with Jesus that turned him from that task to a task far greater than any other human who has ever lived. He had such a profound change in his attitude that he even changed his name to Paul to reflect that change.

He not only accepted Jesus, he fully embraced Jesus and the task that he was called to complete. He walked away from his former life as a respected man and became united with Jesus in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. He had seen the truth and he came away with a purpose. That purpose was to tell as many towns as he could about the love of God and what Jesus willingly did to save them. He was not afraid to face anything for the sake of the Gospel for he knew it to be true!

He asked the church at Philippi if they accepted Jesus in a similar manner. He asked them to be like-minded. Just what does that mean? I honestly believe that Paul was asking the church to stand firm in their faith, to share the Gospel even when it was not conducive to do so. I also believe that he was asking them to be united with each other just as they were united in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them individually as well as collectively.

How do you think Paul would address your church and community today? Would he encourage you or would he say that we could all do better? Would he say that your are like-minded as he encouraged the church at Philippi to be like minded?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you like Paul?

January 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:21-25 (NIV))

I find it very interesting that Paul, the very man whom we all are indebted to for bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced these temptations and issues in his life.

I also find it very comforting to know that he faced these issues in his life!

I know that this sounds strange, that it sounds like I am glad that he faced the issues, but it is not a macabre sense of gloating even though it may sound like it. Paul’s account of his trials gives me comfort, for if someone who faced these tests as often as he says he did can find salvation and favor in the eyes of God, then it is possible for even me to find salvation and favor.

Paul considered himself to be chief among sinners, one of the worst, yet he found salvation. He found grace! He found it in the midst of his sin on the road to Damascus. He found it while on his way to commit a horrendous sin against God and against the Body of Christ. Paul’s life is an example of how God can turn someone around and use them for His glory no matter how off course that person may have been to begin with.

When God finds you, be prepared to have Him show you the things that cause you to sin. You will be amazed at what you do that you wish you didn’t. Rejoice in the good news that in the midst of your sin, Jesus is advocating for you and working within you.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long to be someone that people thank God for?

September 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV))

What a testimony of faith this passage is!

Paul, the man whom Jesus picked to be His messenger to the Gentiles, praises the church of the Thessalonians.

Faith, hope and love!

They held fast to these precepts and did it well enough to be lifted up to God in prayer as an example of how it should be done.

Do we live up to that example?

Would Paul thank God for us in the same way that he thanked God for the church of the Thessalonians?

In self-reflection, I find myself lacking. I find myself not always responding the way that I desire to respond. Human nature takes over just when you don’t want it to. It is a constant struggle that every person has no matter what you desire to do. Still, it is a goal that we should all have.

It is a matter of priorities!

Do you long to be someone that people thank God for?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living your life in obedience to God’s calling?

June 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
(Ephesians 4:1 (NIV))

I realize that Paul was in prison or under house arrest when he wrote to the church at Ephasus, but have you stopped to think about his words from a spiritual side?

What could be the meaning in your life for being a prisoner for the Lord?

Are you able to escape?

Are you bound to Him?

Are you a servant to the Lord?

There are many ways that we can be a prisoner for the Lord. What has He called you to do that you are joyously bound to complete? We all have been given a calling in our relationship with the Lord. It is not a relationship of bondage, but it is a relationship of joy. Paul willingly went into the situations that he faced, even the ones that he knew would end in his being placed under arrest or in prison. He knew that once he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life was not his own. He knew that he was forever bound to do the will of Jesus in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul lived his life in obedience to that calling.

Are you living your life in obedience to God’s calling?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we allow the world to steal the power of God’s Word?

May 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You shall not steal.
(Exodus 20:15 (NIV))

Does society even pay attention to any of God’s Commandments anymore?

I know that the world is far from perfect and that there are complaints that are legitimate, but with far too many episodes in the news such as Baltimore, it appears that far too many people think nothing of breaking any and all of God’s Commandments.

How should the Body of Christ respond to the problems that face society?

We know what the world truly needs, but do we come off as judgmental and condescending when we try to share the answer?

I want you to think about something for a moment.

When Jesus walked the earth, how did people react to Him telling them how to live according to God’s laws? How did the religious leaders treat Him? How did the general population treat Him once the religious and political leaders worked them up into a frenzy?

Think about Paul. What happened to Paul when the people that he was called to minister to turned on him? He was stoned,, imprisoned and eventually martyred.

Think about Stephen. He was stoned to death for preaching about Jesus.

The Body of Christ has the answer to all of the problems in this world, but we have good examples of what can possibly happen when we take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. Sadly, we allow these examples to hinder us from doing what we should do.

The Body of Christ is to be salt and light. We are to be the city on a hill. We are to be the ones who share the Gospel to a dark and dying world. We are to hold fast to the truth and let God’s truth impact the world. Far too often, we allow the world to impact our understanding of God’s truth.

I believe that the Body of Christ is often guilty of allowing the power of God’s Word to be stolen!

Stand firm in God’s Word!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is there division among us?

February 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
(1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV))

Have you ever seen a physical body that was not united in mind, thought and action?

Chances are that you came away from seeing such a body with the single thought that the person was not mentally right. Perhaps you even felt sorry for them. Whatever the reaction, you could sense that there was something unusual about that person and the body that they inhabited.

What does the Body of Christ look like to someone who is not a believer? Do they see a body that is united in mind and thought or do they come away with the sad thought that there is something wrong with that body for they do not agree upon what to do and how to do it?

All too often, we, as the Body of Christ, come across to nonbelievers in such as manner, for they see the petty differences that have a tendency to divide us instead of the common beliefs that unite us.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians still applies today. We must agree to unite on the commonality of the atoning blood and the saving grace of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and put aside the trivial issues such as doctrines created by man.

If Paul were writing to us today, would he still write these words? Perhaps they would be harsher. Perhaps they would be nicer. What do you think Paul would write?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we truly being what Jesus is calling us to be?

January 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
(Ephesians 5:3-5 (NIV))

I want you to read the passage again. I know that I have read it multiple times to let it sink in.

Did Paul actually mean what he wrote?

Were these words Paul’s or were they the teachings of Jesus and the early church?

How do we live up to these words?

Would we be considered sexually immoral? Would we be considered impure? Are we greedy? Are we guilty of foolish talk and coarse jokes?

We may not think so, but what do we know? We can’t see the log in our own eye!

It is so difficult to read passages like this and be honest with ourselves. We simply fail to recognize our own sins for what they are. We can easily spot someone else’s sins, but ours are a different matter. To be honest, we have rapidly moved away from being able to spot someone else’s sins. We look at sin as an alternative lifestyle. Doesn’t that sound so much more acceptable to say an alternative lifestyle instead of labeling it what it truly is in the eyes of God?

I often wonder what Paul would write to the church today in this country. I often wonder what Jesus thinks of His church today in this country. Are we living up to the standards that have been laid out before us?

Are we truly being what Jesus is calling us to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must embrace Jesus as both Lord and Savior!

October 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
(Acts 19:11-16 (NIV))

Doing things in the name of Jesus may not be enough !

Don’t get me wrong, because calling on the name of Jesus is a very powerful thing, but there is a time when it fails.

Calling upon the name of Jesus requires a faith. It requires a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord, not just as Savior. You must recognize His authority and not just His saving grace. If you do not recognize His authority over all situations, then calling upon His name will only get you in trouble. The enemy will recognize that you do not have the power and authority that is available through Jesus. The enemy knows the names of those who have truly claimed Jesus and they will turn from these servants. They do not know those who halfheartedly call upon Jesus.

We must embrace Jesus as both Lord and Savior. Only then can we:

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

Taking on the enemy without the “full armor of God” is not a wise move. Be sure that you have fully clothed yourself in the authority that is only available through the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and not only the salvation that is your through Jesus as Savior. Then, and only then, will the enemy know your name as a mighty warrior of God.

Does the enemy know your name because you have the power of the blood of Jesus, or does the enemy overpower you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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