Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

January 23, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
(2 Corinthians 11:27 (NIV))

Your first reaction to this passage was probably like mine!

This is not something that I would willingly put myself through, nor would I want to find myself unwillingly in this type of situation.

Let’s face it. We have become creatures of habit. Perhaps I should say that we have become creatures of comfort! We have become so used to the air conditioned house with our refrigerators and entertainment devices that we forget what real sacrifice is. We leave our air conditioned homes, get in our air conditioned cars and drive to an air conditioned building to worship. Are we really sacrificing anything to praise God? Are we sacrificing anything to help spread the Gospel?

What if Paul had the same attitude that many of us have?

What if Paul was not willing to suffer for the Gospel?

How many of us would willingly do something that could land us in prison? How many of us would go head first into a situation knowing that the outcome could mean stoning, prison or death? Paul was willing to do this and so much more! Because of his desire to share the Gospel and his willingness to do whatever it took, we can claim our salvation. Can anyone claim their salvation because of what you are willing to do?

Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

November 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
(Psalms 51:17 (NIV))

We all make sacrifices. Some of us sacrifice for our spouses. Some sacrifice for their children. Some people will sacrifice for their jobs and some will make sacrifices for their church, but how hard is it to overcome human nature? It is this human nature that at times makes each of us think that we are the center of the universe.

Does this sound like a broken spirit?

Does this sound like a broken and contrite heart?

The sacrifice that God does not despise is the one in which we come humbly into His presence. It is a sacrifice in which we offer up our humility, our ego and our pride. It is a sacrifice that places our needs and desires much lower than our selfish human nature demands. It is a sacrifice that recognizes that we are not capable of doing anything that will make us righteous in God’s eyes.

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))

It is a sacrifice that places God first and others as equals with ourselves.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mark 12:33 (NIV))

Our sinful human nature makes it so difficult to sacrifice ourselves in this manner, but it is exactly what we must be able to do.

Are you able to bring this sacrifice?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

April 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
(Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV))

Are you willing to suffer for Christ?

We think of Paul as a great evangelist. What we often fail to recognize is his willingness to be placed in jail for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was willing to place himself in harms way in order to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When was the last time that you were willing to go across the street to do something that would further the Gospel? Have we become lazy and too self-centered to place the eternal souls of others before our own temporary comfort? Personally, I find myself falling into that category far too often. What would Paul write to us today to encourage us? What would Jesus say about our actions? Would He find us lukewarm?

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

We need to be prepared to do as Jesus commanded.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and willing?

April 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you.
(Joshua 23:9 (NIV))

See what God can do!

When we fully rely on God and earnestly seek His will, then we align ourselves with what God desires to do. We become instruments through which God can be glorified. It is not of our own doing that we glorify God, but it is through our willingness to become servants that God can be glorified. Nothing that we can do of our own can ever glorify God. Our desires open up our lives so that God can work through us.

All God needs is a willing heart and an open heart in order for His will to be done. We don’t even really need to be capable of doing anything on our own. In fact, God uses people who the world sees as not capable. Perhaps all we need is an attitude like that conveyed in Isaiah.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

In order for God to work as He did in Joshua, we simply need to be willing to go.

Are you ready and willing to be ready just like we are told in Isaiah?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus was willing. Are you?

June 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
(Matthew 8:1-4 (NIV))

“I am willing.”

Three little words that changed the course of history! Three little words that allowed each of us to receive grace and mercy.

I can imagine a conversation in heaven a long time ago in which God the Father says something like, “I have a plan to offer grace, mercy and salvation to my creation. It will require a great sacrifice. Are you willing?”

“I am willing.”

It is very easy to comprehend the idea that when Jesus spoke these words to the leper, it was not the first time that He had said them. Perhaps the best part of this is that He says them still. He says them to each of us who willingly come to Him as Lord and Savior. No matter what garbage we bring with us, we can ask Him if He is willing to take it from us and His answer will always be “I am willing.” The only thing that holds us back from hearing these words and receiving His gift of grace and mercy is the simple fact that we do not answer Him. He asks each of us “If you are willing, I can take that from you.” Far too many are not willing. Far too many will never know God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus was willing. Are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your testimony help change the world?

May 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
(Acts 4:33 (NIV))

Do people give their lives to something that they do not know to be true? Are people willing to boldly proclaim something as the truth if they know that it is not? Do people willingly go to their own deaths for something that they have made up?

Carefully consider the twelve who were with Jesus. All of them were timid with respect to public speaking, especially if it meant that they might be put to death for their words. They all wanted an end to the Roman rule, but I have not found any evidence that indicated they were willing to die to see this happen.

What made these ordinary men speak out with such extraordinary power and authority even when their very lives were threatened because of what they said? They possessed a zeal that only comes when someone has had a life changing experience. This experience had proven to them beyond any doubt that what they testified to was true. They had all witnessed it!

Because of their faith and willingness to testify to what they knew to be true, the world has forever been changed. It all started with a handful of people who had the power of truth on their side; people who were willing to share that truth no matter what the cost. They knew that nothing in this world could change that truth that had empowered them.

Their testimony literally changed the world for they testified of the truth of the grace and mercy offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They were willing to offer that to any and all who would hear it.

Are you willing to offer what they offered in power and authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Protection from the evil one

January 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
(John 17:15 (NIV))

Everyone who claims that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior clings to the hope that they will be taken to heaven. It is a promise that, if we maintain our faith, will come true. However, there is a fine line that many cross. Whenever they face troubles, they pray for that time to come quickly. They pray for Jesus to come and take them out of the world. Personally, I look forward to the day when I will be with Jesus in heaven. I also know that His timing is perfect and that I must remain strong and be patient. There are many times when I feel that I would rather be taken out of the world, but I know that it is not God’s timing. It is my desire to escape the attack of the evil one. I would rather flee than stand my ground.

Let’s face it. No one really likes confrontation. We want to avoid it if at all possible. The words that Jesus spoke in John 17:15 tell us that He does not want us to avoid confrontation. He does not want us to be removed from this world. He wants us to stay in the world and to stand up to the attacks of the enemy. He wants us to not only stand up to them, He wants us to be victorious. Jesus prays that God the Father will give us strength and that He will protect us so that the victories will come through Him and His strength. How is God glorified if He removes us from our attacks? God is glorified when we allow Him to be with us in all that we do.

If Jesus prayed for us not to be taken out of the world, why do we look for it when we are under attack? We must remember His prayer and join Him in His prayer for God to protect us. We can then be used to glorify God. There is an old saying that someone can be so heaven minded that they are no earthly good. How is God using you in the world? What battles has He won because of your willingness to go?

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