Do you desire to be above reproach?

October 29, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
(1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NIV))

The word overseer implies someone in a position of authority in the church. Typically, this is translated as pastor, elder or deacon, but if you stop to think about it, everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is in a position of authority. We are all able to minister to each other and to those around us. We are all called to tell the world about Jesus. We are all able to lead someone to eternal salvation, and, sadly enough, we can all fall short of our calling.

Everyone who professes to be a member of the Body of Christ is in the spotlight. We are being watched by those who do not believe. Every action and every word is under constant scrutiny by an unbelieving world. We should all strive to be above reproach. We should all be faithful, temperate and self-controlled. We should all be respectable and hospitable. Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus should be able to teach others about the one who has set them free. We must set a good example, a high benchmark, for others to follow as we strive to follow Jesus.

Our actions should reflect the character of Christ! We should strive to fulfill the instructions put forth for an overseer.

Think about that.

Have you ever lost your temper, even in the privacy of your own home? Have you ever lost self-control? Do those who live with you and work with you think that you are respectable and above reproach? Have you ever been less than gentle? Have you ever participated in or started a quarrel? Do you treat those around you with respect and dignity even when you are in a position of authority over them?

If we are human, the answer to these will probably be a yes, for we are all far from perfect.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our lack of ability to be perfect. We never will be perfect on our own. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look to ourselves, or the world, that we fail miserably. Only when we keep our eyes on Jesus are we able to begin to come close to possessing these characteristics. We may never hold a position of pastor, elder or deacon, but we can all strive to fulfill these Godly characteristics in our lives. We can all strive to be above reproach!

Do you desire to be above reproach?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Stand firm in your faith. Stand with Jesus. Stand with other believers.

September 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

There are two very important lessons contained within these words. Sometimes it is difficult to believe the second lesson, but we all know the first lesson. The first lesson is that the we must be firm in our faith for when the devil attacks us. Think back on your last attack from the devil. How did you make it through? There is a very good chance that you prayed and stayed within God’s Word, constantly looking for guidance and assurance. Perhaps this last attack even brought you back to these habits. Regardless of when and where the attack came, it did come. The devil does not give up. When your resistance is low, he will attack again, for when your resistance is low, your relationship with God is probably low as well.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 (NIV))

By now you can probably discern what the second lesson is. I have alluded to it through what appears to be a common occurrence for everyone. The second lesson is that you are not alone in your attacks from the devil. Sometimes it seems that we are the only one who faces these attacks, but it is at these times when we become so self focused that we seem to lose the ability to see what is going on with other believers. Many people are facing attacks at this very moment. They never come when we are ready for them. We can only respond based on how strong our faith is. We can also respond with other believers and unite with them in resisting the devil. Faith is both a personal and a communal characteristic. We need to reach out to God on the personal level, but we also need to reach out to others at the communal level to lift up and to be lifted up, to resist and to help to resist.

Stand firm in your faith. Stand with Jesus. Stand with other believers.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


The Body of Christ should know better!

August 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:11-12 (NIV))

I sadly know why the world looks at the church and calls us hypocrites. I have seen grudges and anger within the confines of the walls of many church buildings that could easily rival the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I have to have it my way or it’s no way!

I refuse to speak to that person!

Who do they think they are? My family started this church.

I’ve been here all my life. I’m not going to let someone come in and change what we have.

I’ll just be mean to them until they leave.

They don’t look and act like us. Maybe they will leave.

Have you ever thought or said anything like this about your local congregation?

What if Jesus had said that about us? What if He had said things like this about you?

Does God live in people who think or act like this? Think about that question and your thoughts and actions. Are you convicted of being arrogant and prideful, angry and obnoxious, hateful and back stabbing? None of these traits sound anything like love.

What would Jesus think?

What would Jesus do?

I honestly do not believe that He would condone this type of behavior. If we are His Body, why would we condone it? Why we would do it? This is the type of behavior that drives people away. It is not rooted in love. It is not rooted in the Fruits of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Personally, I do not see back stabbing, hate, meanness, anger and pride as one of the characteristics listed. Why do so many members of the Body of Christ think that they are?

We should know better!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


We should strive to sow things that please the Spirit

May 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

I am sure that everyone has heard the old saying about sowing wild oats. In light of this passage of scripture, what do you think of that saying now? Is it ok to sow a little wild oats and not reap the consequences, or do any and all actions that go against the will of God result in destruction?

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
(Matthew 3:10 (NIV))

When we sow, we are preparing to bear fruit. What fruit do we bear when we sow anything contrary to God’s righteousness? If we sow contrary to God, then our fruit will mature contrary to God and it, along with the sower, will be thrown into the fire.

We should strive to sow things that please the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Take a good look at what you are sowing. What will it yield when it matures? Will it please God or will it be thrown into the fire?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Bitterness, rage and anger

November 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
(Ephesians 4:31 (NIV))

These traits are not from God. In fact, they go against everything that we are told is a fruit of the Spirit if we are truly a follower of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25)

We are to follow this example if we truly belong to Jesus. How can anyone who claims to have allowed Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior exhibit the traits that are spoken of in Ephesians? If we truly allow Jesus into our hearts, then the Holy Spirit will enter our lives and begin to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.

Did you ever see Jesus exhibit bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, or any other negative trait that was directed at a person? Jesus was angered by the money-changers’ actions, but He would not have kept them from asking for forgiveness if they had approached Him with that in mind.

We must not allow any of these traits to enter into our lives or they will destroy us by separating us from the saving grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Men who fear God

November 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
(Exodus 18:21 (NIV))

We think that who we elect to our public offices doesn’t really matter, or, even worse, we don’t think that what we have to contribute will make a difference. God is calling us, just as He called righteous people in the days of Moses, to assume positions of Godly authority or to support people who will support Godly authority.

The people that have authority over us direct the way that our nation turns. They also direct the way that God will deal with us as a nation. If we have Godly authorities who desire to do God’s Will in all things, then God will bless that desire and bless us as a nation.

If we elect people who will appoint judges who say that there is no God and that anything is all right in our society, except the mention of God, then we will suffer and our children will suffer.

Truth is truth and is not dependent upon the circumstances. If we cannot be a nation that does not waiver on our convictions before God, then we will slowly cease to be in God’s favor. Perhaps we have gotten to the point were we are now rapidly descending into a place that is not only no longer in God’s favor, but rapidly turning to where we are considered as an enemy. I pray that we are not descending so rapidly that our descent cannot be reversed!

Pray for God’s guidance in how you vote this election. Don’t assume that God does not want His people in positions of authority. Our nation was founded by people who held fast to the very Word of God. How would they react to what they would see today?

How do you think that God is reacting?

Pray as if your future depends upon who has authority over us, for your future and that of your children’s children will be determined by the laws that they make and interpret.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Is your faith armor ready?

September 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

Stand firm!

We cannot apologize for our faith. We cannot apologize for our convictions. We must be alert for the world is becoming more and more a place where the enemy runs rampant. Evil abounds when the Body of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does not stand firm.

What keeps the enemy and his evil in check?

It is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot work if the Body of Christ is not earnestly seeking God’s Will and seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy has worked through world events in the past and he is definitely working in world events today. God has a plan that will counter the enemy, but we must be self-controlled and alert so that we do not fall for the lies and the tricks.

Believers are being persecuted and killed in various parts of the world simply because they will not submit. They are standing firm in their faith. They have the backbone to stand up against the enemy even if it means that they will lose their earthly life. They know that their reward is not of this earth.

What are we willing to stand firm for?

The generation of Americans that lived during World War II are often referred to as The Greatest Generation. They had the conviction to resist evil. They stood firm in that resolve. I feel that we are facing a greater evil. Satan has regrouped and is working through all parts of the world. Will the Body of Christ be prepared for what we may face?

I know that there is heated theological debate about the Rapture and when it will happen. Some people say that God has always delivered His people “through” troubles and not “from” troubles. How did God deliver Noah and his family? Was it through the flood or from the flood? How did God deliver the Israelites from bondage? Was it through the Red Sea or from the Red Sea? I have come to the conclusion that God delivers His people through things so that they can be delivered from something far worse. God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army. God delivered Noah and his family through the ark to deliver them from the flood.

We are facing uncertain times, but take heart. God will not forsake the Body of Christ in these times. We are called to be prepared. We are not called to be gullible and unaware.

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))

Are you self-controlled and alert? Are you strong in the Lord?

Is your faith armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: