Do you have pure joy in your trials?

June 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Here is another thing that we, as humanity, have problems with. It just doesn’t make sense to us that we should be joyous when we are facing troubles. It is human nature to wallow in self pity when the least little thing doesn’t go our way. We equate joy with happiness and happiness with a life in which everything goes our way. Following that logic, how is it possible that we could experience joy when we should be experience anxiety, anger and frustration?

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 have been told by Jesus that following Him would not make the troubles go away. Jesus stressed that we would still have troubles, but that He would be with us to walk through them. We have also been told that we would be persecuted just like He had been persecuted. I know that this sounds strange to the world, but to be tested in our faith and to stand firm is a thing that should bring joy to each and every person who proclaims a faith in Jesus. It is only possible to have joy when we are at peace, even in the midst of trouble. There is only one type of peace that can bring us this joy.

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

Do you have pure joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face your trials with joy?

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In spite of severe suffering!

September 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

In spite of severe suffering!

Think about that the next time you feel like you are asked to do too much in our current easy life. Today’s church is not willing to go the extra mile in many cases. We see the world from the safety of our living room couches as we watch television or we see it going by as we drive in air conditioned comfort. To be honest with you, transportation in today’s world is like watching television. We see the world pass us by through the glass and we don’t even feel the wind, the cold or the heat. What we see takes on an aura of something that is not real.

Are we, as today’s Body of Christ, willing to follow Jesus even in severe suffering? Are we ready and willing to face the reality that following Jesus has a cost? The early church knew this. The early church accepted this.

Think about the brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us. Would you have been able to stand firm in your faith when Saul was persecuting the Body of Christ? Would you have been able to stand firm when the Roman empire was killing followers of Jesus in the Coliseum?

Are you able to stand firm in the face of what may be coming to this part of the world as those in other parts of the world are facing now?

In spite of severe suffering!

It is my prayer that all of us are able to stand firm in our faith no matter what we may face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and waiting?

February 1, 2016

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))

Are you ready?

Do you grow tired of waiting?

Two simple questions, yet, they seem to summarize a person’s walk with Jesus.

What does it take to be ready for Jesus? Perhaps it is a good idea to read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Jesus told them specifically what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. Most of the praise was focused on the steadfastness of the churches that held to the teachings of Jesus. They held true to the Word and did not compromise. They did not pollute their lives with the evils of the day. They stayed true to the Word. Sadly, there were churches that received instructions to repent. These churches were not holding fast to the truth within God’s Word. They allowed society to influence them. They adapted their beliefs to those of the societies in which they lived. They added to or took away from the truth of God’s Word as it benefited them in the society in which they lived. They changed God’s Word to benefit themselves. In other words, they compromised!

Which way is the way that God desires? It is clear that He desires for us to hold fast to His Word. We are not to compromise what is truth in order to thrive or even survive in this world. With this truth in mind, are you ready?

With what is going on in this world, do you grow tired of waiting?

Think about that for a moment. I long to see Jesus come for His church, His bride, yet, I know that the timing is not up to me. There are times when I would love to escape the things of this world, but I realize that escape is not what I am called to do. I am to persevere. I am to press on toward the prize, and while I press on, I am to share the Gospel with any and all who will hear. It is true that I grow weary at times, but it is at those times that test my faith, my perseverance. Do I honestly believe in Jesus or do I simply give lip service that will change at the first sign of things not going as I expect them to go?

I have a mission. I have a task just as everyone who has professed a faith in Jesus has a task. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to persevere till His return. Do we give up on our task? Do we grow tired of waiting even though we are told that no man knows the hour or the day?

When you find yourself where you doubt your readiness, look up! When you find yourself where you doubt your ability to persevere, look up! If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, He will make sure that we are ready and He will give us the strength and patience to persevere!

Are you ready and waiting?

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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Are you ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

April 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:8-10 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to testify about Jesus?

Are you willing to suffer for the Gospel?

Chances are very good that if you are ashamed of Jesus, then you will not be willing to suffer for the Gospel. Let’s face the truth. Are you even willing to tell someone about Jesus or do you change who you are depending on who you are around?

Faith in Jesus is not something that can be turned off and on to suit your needs. In fact, I would venture to say that this is not a true faith at all. We already know what will happen if we deny Jesus before men.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

That group of words should be enough of a reason to stand firm in your faith. It should be enough of a reason to make you be consistent in testifying about Jesus. Sadly enough, though, there are many people who will change their story depending on whom they are around.

Did Paul waiver in his faith? Think about all of the times that he was stoned or ran out of town because of his faith in preaching the Gospel. Think about the house arrests and the imprisonments. Think about his martyrdom. Paul did not waiver in his faith. He did not change depending on who he was around even though there were times, from a physical human perspective, where it could have benefited him.

How would God have treated Paul if he had wavered? How would the church that grew from his faith look today if Paul had wavered?

I honestly don’t think that we will see too many more years pass before we see Jesus return for His bride. With this in mind, what do you think that the members of the Body of Christ in your circle of influence would look like if your influence is all they see and they see that you are ashamed of the Gospel?

Your testimony matters! Your story matters! Your faith matters!

If you are the only representative of Jesus that people will see, what will be their impression of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on the ultimate power and authority

October 31, 2014

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 matter what the world throws at us, we have to focus on the ultimate power and authority that will eventually claim His own and then the world for Himself. We cannot be swayed by powers of this world, for they are fleeting.

A person’s life has been compared to a blade of grass. We are here for a short time, and then the world remembers us no more. With this kind of certainty in the physical world, we need to place our hope and faith in something that has better lasting potential than a blade of grass.

No matter how the world is going in your opinion, remember that God IS in control, and all powers of this earth have been put here for a reason. We do not know the exact details, but we can pray that God will be in control of us as well.

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