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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What is it that you pray for?

July 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I know that many people long to know the times and the dates that God is using to unfold His plan. With what happened recently in Charleston and now what has happened in Chattanooga, I know that many people are praying for God’s grace. Many are praying for His mercy.

Are we praying for the right things?

Many of us are praying for peace in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation and in the world, but is peace what we should be praying for?

We are told that certain things must transpire before the return of Jesus. We also know that all of these things are not only not pleasant, but are downright dangerous and evil. Are we seeing these events unfold? Are we praying for peace because we want to get back to the status quo for our lives. Lives that used to be consumed with family, friends, jobs and the future. Should we be praying for peace when we know that God’s plans do not call for peace? Should we possibly be praying for God’s plans to be made manifest among us? Should we be praying that God will use us mightily for His Kingdom?

It is true that we do not know the times or dates, but that does not mean that we simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in hopes that it will go away. If all of the things that we see simply went away, would we truly have peace? Would we turn to God during these times? Would we truly have the faith to stand firm in God’s promises?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus! We must keep looking up to the true source of peace. We must earnestly seek God and be willing to discern His true intentions.

What is it that you pray for?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you want to be a citizen?

July 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 3:20 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are very upset with what is currently going on in the world. Nothing seems to be going according to what society used to consider good. In fact, it is exactly the opposite and getting worse all the time.

With that in mind, are you truly surprised that all of these things are happening? We have been told that they would. We have been given instructions on what to expect, yet, too many people are too tied to the things in this world.

We are only passing through. Our true home is with Jesus!

What happens in this world is very discouraging and sad when you consider those who are lost. We must pray for the lost and we must not focus on this world.

Think about your last vacation.

Each day you were in unfamiliar surroundings. You recognized the fact that there was both good and bad where you were. You made it a point to avoid the bad and concentrate on the good. After a few days, you probably got homesick. You start looking around and you start to realize that no matter how enticing things look, it is not home. It is not where you really want to be.

Our time in this world should be like that. The more that we look around, the more that we realize that we are not home. We long to be where we will be at peace and truly loved.

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus should long to be with Him. If you long to stay in this world, what does that say about your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to go into the world?

June 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
(Luke 22:35-38 (NIV))

What do you see in these passages above?

There is so much involved in these few words that I wonder if most people understand what is going on and what Jesus is telling His disciples.

Jesus had sent His disciples out without any money, possessions or anything to use for self defense. I believe that He had them go this way to help build their faith. It was a lesson in trusting God and in building their trust in Him.

The next part makes me wonder.

Jesus, immediately after asking about that first time, instructs the very same disciples to go prepared into the world. He even instructs them to take weapons for self defense. Is Jesus telling the disciples that He is not able to protect them at all times? I honestly believe that what Jesus was doing was trying to teach the disciples to use common sense. It is a fallen world, and you don’t venture out into the world without knowing what you may face and without at least preparing for some possibilities of what you may encounter. Jesus never told the disciples that they would have it easy. In fact, they had seen the instances where the crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus did not tell the disciples to go unprepared!

I realize that there is much more that Jesus was saying in these passages, but for the sake of length, I will stop at this point.

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that the world is fallen. We must realize that even Jesus told His disciples to be prepared.

I can hear you thinking!

Many are thinking that Jesus preached peace. Why did Jesus heal the man’s ear when it was cut off with the sword? Why did Jesus not resist when He was put on trial and placed on the cross?

Jesus was called as the Lamb of God. He was to go quietly to the slaughter. It was all part of God’s plan. This is the Jesus that most people know. What they fail to realize is that He will return as a mighty warrior, a mighty king, who will deal with sinful humanity. In the interim, we are to go into the world. We are to walk where sinners walk. We are to use common sense. We are to use Godly wisdom. We are to use the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the consequences?

June 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
(Hebrews 12:14-17 (NIV))

I have to honestly ask myself if I can remember the last time I lived through a day when I did not witness a conflict. I also wonder if society has completely forgotten what it means to be holy, or if most people even care anymore?

Everyone is concerned with what is in it for them and as a result, too many people simply will do whatever it takes so that they come out on top. With this type of mentality, people fail to see that any of their actions are sinful and have consequences. It’s almost as if people have become ignorant and arrogant as opposed to thoughtful and well mannered. I may be naive, but when I was a child, if I even thought about doing any of the things that I see children and teenagers doing, I would have been taught otherwise.

Consequences!

These still exist no matter what society may say.

Can a person commit murder, ask for forgiveness, and simply walk away?

Can a person rob a bank, say that they needed the money to feed their family, and get to stay out of prison?

What is true in the physical world is true in the spiritual world.

God will forgive you if you accept Jesus and earnestly repent, but He does not alter the consequences of your sin. If you have committed sinful acts that have altered your health, your health will probably still be the same after you repent. Decisions that you make in life are things that you have to live with. Just like Esau, things that we do will come back to haunt us. Grace and mercy are there for all who will simply ask, but the physical consequences of an imperfect life in an imperfect world will be a reminder of the sins that we have been set free of. I know that God will restore what the locust has destroyed, but it may never be the same.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to rely on Jesus in times of trouble?

May 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV))

Jesus told us that we would have troubles in this world. He did not promise that following Him would be easier than following the world. He did promise us, though, that He had overcome the world.

“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)

Jesus overcame the ruler of this world, Satan. Satan spreads sin and death. Jesus overcame sin and death. True, we will die a physical death, but the physical death now does not have the finality that Satan intended when he deceived Eve. Instead of a permanent separation from God, the physical death is merely a transition from this world to heaven.

Be prepared for the troubles that this world brings. Rely on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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This promise WILL come to pass!

December 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV))

This promise WILL come to pass! Man has made a shambles of all forms of government since the fall from grace. Satan sold Adam and Eve a lie and the world has paid the price ever since.

Only once Jesus returns and establishes His authority over the world will there be true justice. All government will be God’s. We will know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit intimately and will do what is righteous in God’s eyes. This will not be done out of fear, but out of love. All things are God’s and that includes us.

He is the creator. He created us to be in relationship with Him. A relationship is built on love. There will be no deception, but truth. God will be the ultimate Father. Jesus will be the ultimate big brother, and the Holy Spirit will be the ultimate comforter. Three in One. Just as a man can be husband, father and friend, God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Do you look forward to relinquishing control to Jesus?

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