Do you boldly proclaim or are you ashamed?

August 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Paul, in the face of danger and death, proudly proclaimed the gospel. He said that it is something that you should not be ashamed of and he is absolutely correct. If you are ashamed of the gospel, then you are not truly a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus, Himself said:

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
(Mark 8:38 (NIV))

It could not be simpler. We, as believers, must not be ashamed of the good news and we must proclaim it and not hide it from the world. It is the only thing that by which you can be saved. If you are ashamed of it, then you are not saved (re-read Mark 8:38). You have not accepted it completely, and will not be accepted by Jesus as part of His Body.

Take a serious look at what you believe and whether you would proclaim it to the world! Or, would you cower in shame and embarrassment at the thought of the world knowing? Your answer is very important, for it can mean your eternal life!

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

July 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Paul was not ashamed. Are you?

Think about everything that has ever meant anything to you. Chances are that you did not try to hide it from anyone. Honestly, every time that I have had something mean anything to me, I was very proud of it. I wanted people to know what I had done or what I had been selected to do. We are human, and ego does take over even when we don’t really want it to.

Have you ever reacted in this manner? Have you ever been proud of what you had done and you wanted everyone to know what you had done?

Is your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior one of these moments?

It should be !

If it is not one of these moments that you want everyone to know about, then closely examine yourself. Have you truly accepted God’s grace and mercy along with the willingness to reject the world?

Do you temper your references to God when you are at work or with your friends? Do you avoid situations where you will be called upon to exhibit your faith in public? Are you content to simply sit in church and then rejoin the world the rest of the time? Are you ashamed of Jesus? Consider the consequences.

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
(Luke 12:8-9 (NIV))

Are you ashamed?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have reason to rejoice?

July 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
(Luke 6:22-23 (NIV))

In this day and age when good is considered evil and what is evil in the sight of God is considered good, hold fast to the truth that comes from God!

When believers face persecution because we take a stand for the Ten Commandments, we are living out the words of Luke 6:22. When we are labeled as old-fashioned and bigoted because we take a stand against what is wrong in God’s eyes, we are living out the words of Luke 6:22. Don’t give in to what the world says is correct. Stay focused on the Word of God and what He calls you to do and remember that we are told that we can rejoice when this happens. Our reward awaits us in heaven from God the Father for we did not buckle under the pressure that the world sends our way.

Do you have reason to rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to obey?

May 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:4 (NAS))

As a child, probably everybody sang the song about being in the Lord’s Army. If we are in the active service of Jesus, then we have an obligation to follow the “marching orders” that we are given.

In our nation’s army, a private obeys the orders that he is given by his sergeant or he faces disciplinary action. How can we, as believers in Jesus Christ, not obey the orders that we are given by our commander, after all, Jesus outranks the sergeant that the private obeys!

Yet, many people do not follow the orders or even worse, they ignore them.

We have a mission far more important than that of a soldier in a worldly army! We are to be the light in a dark world and we are to take that light to the world. If the private does not obey the sergeant for an extended period of time, he is subject to court martial. If believers do not listen to God, we are not subject to court martial or any retribution, but God does continue to give us “orders” for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is our choice whether we obey or not!

If we are truly soldiers in God’s Army, then we should be willing to obey.

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

May 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV))

This is an interesting passage. Carefully read it again. Do you see the irony?

Human nature tries to keep things hidden, especially things that are not that good. Instead of dealing with the proverbial skeletons in the closet, we try to lock them away so that we can hide all of the bones. We don’t want anybody to look at us too closely for we are afraid that they will see our frailties and our shortcomings. Most of us are actually afraid to look at them ourselves.

God desires for us to turn our lives over to Him. He desires for us to ask Him to search us and redirect us away from the things that are not of Him. This goes against every aspect of our sinful human nature that I have ever witnessed. It is true that on occasion, we will do something right, but we often make up for it in the other direction.

If it is human nature to hide things and God wants us to allow Him to search us, how do we bridge that gap? How do we unlock the closet and clear the skeletons?

Grace !

Mercy !

Grace tells us that we can be cleared of those bones. Mercy tells us that the skeletons will be forgiven. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we unlock the innermost parts of our being and allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to come in and search us, test us and lead us. It is a struggle. Each day, God has to point out something else within my life that needs to be removed. Some days are hard, for these are the days that I face one of these moments head on. Thankfully, He does not give up on me.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

Faith is a growing process. It requires us to allow God to search us, to know us, to test us and to lead us. Ironically, this is exactly what our sinful nature wants to hide. Open yourself up to God. He loves you too much to leave you like you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

May 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:51-56 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to take a stand in the face of adversity?

Do you have the faith to speak God’s truth even when it is not physically safe to do so?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

I know that these are tough questions. We all would like to think that we would stand firm in our faith even when faced with danger and even death. It is my prayer that you never have to be put into a situation that requires this type of an answer. It is also my prayer that if the circumstances ever do arise, that each of us would show the faith that Stephen showed.

His faith was rewarded!

He saw heaven. He saw God and Jesus. He was given the assurance that what he believed in was true. Because of this glimpse of the promises that God had made, Stephen was able to face whatever the crowd would do to him, for he knew beyond any doubt where he would be.

We all know that Stephen was then stoned to death. He was faithful to the end.

I am currently teaching an adult Sunday School class, and the topic for what should have only been one week, now going into four, is heaven. This particular passage brought some interesting conversations, with everybody trying to visualize what heaven is actually like. Simply put, heaven is eternity with God, the Father. We have many passages throughout the book of Matthew that tell us what heaven is like. All of these are attempts to explain the awe and majesty of heaven with words that are mortal in nature. This morning, someone said that they hoped that there would be Krispy Kreme doughnuts in heaven because they taste so good. My response was that there would be things much better.

Imagine!

If Stephen was willing to speak out knowing that there may be a chance of death, what did he see in his vision of heaven that made it worth it? We all have our own vision of what we think heaven will be like, and yes, some of those include Krispy Kreme. How far can you allow your faith to see beyond the physical limitations and knowledge and simply embrace eternity with God?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

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