Are you confident and unashamed in your faith?

November 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
(1 John 2:28 (NIV))

It has been almost two thousand years since these words were spoken, yet the message is as true today as it was then. We must stay focused on Jesus. We must keep our eyes on the prize. We must not forget that He is coming again.

When Jesus returns, are you confident that you will be rewarded? Have there been times that you did less than you should have simply because you were in a group of people and you did not want to be thought of as a Christian? Have you been ashamed to show the world that you have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb? It seems that no matter how hard we may want to do what Jesus asks of us, we falter and we deny Him. We are not alone.

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
(Matthew 26: 34-36 (NIV))

We all know what happened to Peter a few short hours later. He did just as Jesus said He would do. Thankfully, Jesus did not come to condemn us in our sins. He came to forgive us of our sins. He looks at the heart. Just as He forgave Peter, He will forgive you if you simply ask for it. Even when Peter felt that he couldn’t be forgiven for his betrayal, he found that Jesus would not betray him. He fulfilled His promise. He encouraged Peter’s faith. He embraced Peter as if he had never sinned.

Are you as confident and unashamed in your faith as Peter?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you worship?

April 25, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
(Ezekiel 1:1 (NIV))

It sounds like Ezekiel was completely overwhelmed with his visions of God. He did exactly as I would do. He memorized the exact time and place that God came to him. I know that I would never forget such an experience, and it is human nature to want to create points of reference so that we can remember our special moments. However, we must be careful not to make the location more important than the encounter.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
(Matthew 17:4 (NIV))

Just like Ezekiel, Peter had an experience where he witnessed something that God desired for him to see. Peter was so moved by the experience that he wanted to build what basically would have been a set of shrines, or places of worship. The only problem is that Jesus knew the shrines would become more important than what actually happened there.

Ezekiel did not dwell on the location. He did not turn it into a place of worship. He knew that God was and is to be worshipped in truth and in spirit.

Take a serious look at your worship life. Have you turned your worship into a routine dictated by a place? Have you become so rooted in your habits that the place of worship is more important than the worship? We must learn not to dwell upon the insignificance of the place, but rather, we must learn to focus on the importance of “Who” we worship. God is not limited to only one place. He is everywhere. We must worship at all times and when we come together on Sundays, we must worship in unity as a single Body of Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How many times do you want God to forgive you?

March 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage?

It almost sounds like Peter was looking for an “exit strategy” on forgiving others. To be honest with you, most people are probably looking for a count after which they can say that they have forgiven someone all that is required. In other words, Peter was asking if he had reached the maximum number of times that he needed to forgive someone.

Now come the tough questions.

Have you ever felt like you have forgiven someone as many times as you possibly could?

Is there someone whom you just don’t want to forgive?

What did Jesus tell Peter?

I honestly think that Peter was surprised at the answer that Jesus gave him. Peter was a down to earth person and did not mince words. Some would even say that he was rough around the edges. In his lifetime, just as in ours, he probably had someone who took advantage of him or mistreated him on numerous occasions. Perhaps Peter had grown a little callous and was looking for a way to justify his thoughts. Perhaps he was simply asking a question that had been burning inside of him.

We don’t really know exactly what Peter was thinking, but the answer that he received made him realize that forgiveness is a never ending process. I am thankful that it is.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven!

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12 (NIV))

I want you to honestly answer a question.

How many times do you want God to forgive you?

Is it only seven?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is not an invented story!

September 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 Peter 1:16 (NIV))

Are you able to tell when someone is trying to feed you a made up story?

Can you tell when someone is sincere in what they are communicating to you?

What is the difference?

What made the difference in the lives of the Disciples? Why were they willing to go and boldly proclaim the Gospel?

Would you be willing to face persecution, and possibly death, for an invented story? I have yet to meet anyone who is willing to face death for a lie, yet, people still find it difficult to believe that these men could suddenly be empowered with boldness and enthusiasm for what they preached. Many feel that they decided that it was better for them to have faced death than to recant on what they preached.

If you were witness to the things that Peter is referring to, would you be willing to spread the Gospel in the same manner as these men did? Would you be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and tell the world what you had witnessed?

Too many people believe that God does not work miracles in today’s age.

What do you think?

I personally believe that God is unfolding things right before our eyes and many are ignorant of this. I feel that we are seeing possibly the biggest move of God in all of history unfold right before our eyes. I know that we cannot know the hour or the day, but we are told that we will recognize the season. We, as the Body of Christ, have something wonderful to tell the world. It is not an invented story. It does not try to rewrite history. It does not go against what the church has been teaching for two thousand years. It does not have Jesus returning at the side of an imam.

It has Jesus returning in glory!

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
(Revelations 19:11-16 (NIV))

We have good news to tell the world!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus is not an invented story!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

September 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Have you ever actually seen an eagle soar?

It is graceful and effortless in flight. It is beauty in motion. The eagle soars over all of the trouble below. It observes but does not involve itself in the mess that is below. It is master of its domain.

How can we, as believers, mount up with wings like eagles?

If we wait upon the Lord, we will seek after His heart. We will know His heart. We will be guided effortlessly through the ordeals of this life. We will soar through above the troubles.

Think about that. How we experience life is a matter of perspective. If we find ourselves living among those who do not follow God, we will have troubles. We may even find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have the assurance that he will carry us through all tribulations and trials that this world sends our way. When we walk with Jesus, we walk above the trials and tribulations.

Take a look at Peter.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV))

When Peter waited on the Lord, he was able to do something amazing. When he started to look at what he was doing through his eyes, he started to fail.

Our assurance comes from Jesus!

Our effortless movements come from Jesus. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to labor. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to grow weary. It is at that time that we faint.

Our actions are labored. God’s actions through us are effortless. We do not grow weary. Through God, we will mount up with wings like eagles. God will direct our efforts and He will keep us above the sins of the world.

Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your will or God’s?

March 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Mark 8:33 (NIV))

Do you ever stop to think that Jesus would tell you, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Think about that for a moment.

Jesus rebuked Peter! Peter was the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. If Jesus rebuked Peter, where does that leave us? Peter walked with Jesus. He lived with Jesus. He knew Jesus as well as any of the twelve, yet, Peter failed to recognize God’s Will and wanted to impose his own.

Have you ever wanted to impose your will upon God?

I know that is sounds absurd, but most of us are guilty of doing just that. In fact, why should we be any better than the man whom Jesus called the Rock? Are we stronger in our faith than Peter was? Are we capable of discerning God’s Will any better than Peter was? Peter loved Jesus and he did not want to see Jesus come to harm, yet in his love, he was blinded to God’s Will. We, too, are capable of being blinded to God’s Will by various things. We may not recognize it because we are not walking with God as closely as we should. We may not be able to discern God’s Will because it sounds absurd in human terms. We may not be willing to accept God’s Will simply because it goes against what we want.

It all comes down to three words.

What we want!

These three words all too often keep us from following God’s Will. They lead to us wanting the things of man.

I don’t know about you, but I long to hear different words.

“His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

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