Which type of fear do you have?

April 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
(Isaiah 33:5-6 (NIV))

Sometimes, fear is a good thing. It keeps us from jumping off of tall buildings. It keeps us from jumping in front of moving cars. It keeps us honest with God.

Or, it should.

A healthy fear out of respect should accompany your faith in God. You would not expect your children to respect you if they did not fear the punishment of a just and loving parent when they do something wrong. It is the same with God. God wants us to love Him, yet, we should fear the parental discipline if we fall outside of His Will. His Will is perfect. We are not perfect, although we can grow towards that image if we allow Jesus to enter our hearts and the Holy Spirit to fill us. True, we will not attain that image in this world, but through Jesus Christ we can mature into it.

If we trust in God, who is our firm foundation, we have nothing to fear from this world. If we do not have Jesus, then the fear of respect should turn to fear of His presence, for if you do not have Jesus, then you truly need to fear God and His Judgement.

Which type of fear do you have? Out of respect or out of an unrealized dread because you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are all one in Christ Jesus

December 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fight the good fight

December 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he wrote encouragement to a young friend and brother in Christ. He knew that Timothy would face, and probably already was facing, struggles from those whom he was ministering to.

The worldly system is a big stumbling block for many. Greed, lust, envy, anger, and temptation are difficult to see beyond at certain times. Paul wrote to Timothy, expressing Godly principles on how to stay focused on the paths of righteousness and on Jesus Christ. Through all things, stay focused on Jesus Christ and God the Father, for there is none who is worthy of praise, honor and glory above them. No other can offer salvation, mercy and grace wrapped in the present of eternal life with them. Do not let the world detour your faith.

As Paul so aptly states it, “Fight the good fight of the faith!”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you reflect?

November 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NAS))

Does the church truly follow this?

How do you treat someone who has recently had a big success in their life? Do you wish it had been you instead of them? When you have something that the world sees as a success, do you brag about it? Do you have a tendency to “rub it in someone’s face?”

Suppose that you know of someone who is supposed to have done something wrong. Do you embrace them despite this wrong, or do you hold it against them?

Carefully reflect on this passage from 1 Corinthians and the situations that I have presented. How would Jesus have treated each situation and each person? Do we, as the Body of Jesus, do what Jesus would do in these situations? Do we truly show the love of Jesus in these situations?

Love is a two way street. We give love through our actions. We also receive love through the actions of others. One we can control, but we cannot control the actions of others. We must not let the actions of others make us lose sight of the words spoken in 1 Corinthians.

We must reflect Jesus’ love, not the actions of the world.

What do you reflect?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which type are you?

September 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
(Job 23:11-12 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the trials and tribulations that Job faced.

Think about that for a moment and then consider whether you would have been able to proclaim what Job proclaimed.

How would you react to losing all of your wealth? How would you react to losing all of your property? How would you react to losing your social status? How would you react to losing all of your family? Personally, I believe that I could face anything in this world, except the thought of losing my family. I pray that I would have the strength, but I pray more that I am never faced with knowing what Job faced.

We, as created beings, are weak in our faith. We proclaim that we believe, yet many of us have never truly been tested. Job was a remarkable man. He faced every trial imaginable short of facing his own death, yet, he had the courage to stand firm in his faith. Human nature, when faced with circumstances similar to what Job faced, has a tendency to seek to blame someone for their misfortune. All too often, that someone is God. We seek to blame Him for the bad things that come upon us. In our hour of need, we turn upon the one who offers us grace and mercy.

I know that I am oversimplifying this, but there are four basic types of people when it comes to faith.

The first type, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t believe at all.

The second type professes a faith until something happens and then they blame God.

The third type don’t even think about God until something bad happens and then they try to make up for lost time.

The fourth type are those who are steadfast in their faith no matter what may come their way, for they know one thing that they can hold firmly to no matter what they may face.

Job was an excellent example of the fourth type. He never wavered in his faith. Even when all around him was bad, he never blamed God. He did question God, but he never blamed Him. Even when pressured by friends, he never gave up his faith.

It is my prayer that I will always be the fourth type. I also pray that I may never have to face such trials and tribulations, but if I do, I pray that I will be able to hold fast to my faith no matter what.

Which type are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you flatter God?

September 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there an adult that you wanted to be just like? Perhaps it was a parent, or perhaps a grandparent, or even an aunt or uncle. No matter who it may have been, chances are very good that you did have someone in your life that you tried to model everything after.

I can safely say that you probably imitated what they did down to the smallest of details.

What, in your mind, made that person such an object of your devotion?

There are probably two main reasons. They loved you and they did not hesitate to let you know.

Think about God in that perspective.

He created you. He sent His only begotten Son to die for you. Again, love and a strong way of letting you know.

Do we imitate God in the same way that we imitated that special adult when we were younger? Do we strive to be just like Him? Do we impatiently wait to be in His presence? Do we find joy in His presence? Do we eagerly go with Him wherever He may lead?

Simple questions, yet the answers are not so simple.

What is the difference?

As we became adults, have we “outgrown” the ability to imitate? Have we spent so much time trying to establish our own identity that imitation is the farthest thing from our minds?

We do not lose ourselves in imitation. It is how we learn. We imitate our teachers as they tell us about what we must learn. We imitate our peers in social environments so that we can learn what is appropriate. We imitate our bosses so that we can work more efficiently and get that much wanted raise and promotion.

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and a faith in God, then we should strive to learn all that we can. The best way is by imitating what Jesus said and did.

There is an old saying that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Do you flatter God?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you glorify?

July 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.
(Genesis 41:14-16 (NIV))

I have a very serious question to ask and I want you to reflect and answer truthfully.

How would you respond if you find yourself in a situation similar to what Joseph found himself?

Would you have boasted and loudly proclaimed that you indeed did have the ability to do as he had heard? Would you proclaim that you could do as he asked? Would you come across as arrogant and egotistical when presented with a situation that could potentially glorify you?

Or would you do as Joseph did and acknowledge that all things come from God and only by His grace can you do as you are asked?

Human nature is a fickle thing. We tend to think that we would give the glory where the glory is due, yet, all too often we fall short. We allow the glory to be directed toward our own abilities even though we are not worthy of glory.

We must train our hearts and minds to desire to reflect the glory of God, for we are not worthy of glory.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Even in our filthy state, we are to glorify God in all of His righteousness. We must never glorify ourselves.

Who do you glorify?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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