Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

November 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

At first read, this passage seems wordy and long, but if you stop and truly consider what is being said, everything comes into focus. In fact, this passage should become the prayer that we all pray for every member of the Body of Christ!

These words bless the person to whom they are directed.

These words identify from whom that blessing flows.

These words give glory to whom the blessings flow from.

These words describe the power and authority of Jesus and God our Father.

These words tell us of the great love that is held for us by Jesus and God the Father.

These words tell of the grace that is ours because of this great love.

These words should encourage us because they clearly show that we are His children.

And, because of this encouragement, these words give us strength to face the world.

It is amazing the power that words hold. God spoke everything into existence. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Our words can be used to approach the throne room of God. Our words of acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior bring grace. Words can bring blessings. Words can bring encouragement and strength!

Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your belief clouded by doubt?

November 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6 (NIV))

Why would anyone bother to ask for something if they didn’t believe that it could be attained?

Why would you ask and then vacillate, or waiver, about what you just asked for?

Think about this concept in the following contexts. From a man’s perspective, how would the following scenarios play out in relationship to the two questions above? Would you ask someone to marry you if you didn’t believe that it could happen? What if you asked someone to marry you and then immediately responded with something like, “Never mind! I didn’t mean it!”? Now, suppose that you then asked again and then changed your mind again.

The first scenario shows your lack of faith while the second scenario shows your lack of decisiveness. Both scenarios reflect negatively on you.

Think about this in terms of asking for something from God.

Why ask God for something if you don’t believe that He can or will do it? We have a tendency to place God in a box of our own design and by so doing, we limit Him to our understanding. If God spoke everything into existence, what makes you think that He is limited in His response to you?

Why ask God for something if you can’t decide what you want to ask Him? We are told that we should approach God with confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 (NIV))

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

With this in mind, let’s take this one step further. When we approach God in confidence, we are told that this is the very definition of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must rest assuredly on the promises that we have been given. We must have faith that when we seek God’s will and when we ask for something in confidence according to His will, that it will be done. We must not be clouded in doubt?

Is your belief clouded by doubt?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand the power of authority?

November 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

Have you given any thought to this passage?

Perhaps we should step back and take a look at the definition of authority. The common traits among the various different dictionaries all point to something similar to the following. Authority is the power to determine or provide legal resolution. In essence, authority is the power to settle issues and disputes or to control, command or determine outcomes.

In other words, Jesus has all power!

He is God’s legal authority over all of creation. It is by His power that we are either able to claim salvation or face condemnation. Jesus has been given the authority, but we have been given the choice. If we choose to accept God’s gift of grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, then Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins. If we reject this gift of grace, He has the authority to deny us just as we denied Him.

Sadly, many people fail to truly realize just how powerful authority truly is. When Jesus walked the earth, He encountered a Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. This Roman centurion realized that Jesus had the authority, the power, to perform what was asked without ever going to visit the servant.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

Authority means power! Authority means that the one with the authority can change outcomes! The centurion realize this. The centurion’s faith amazed Jesus and with a few words spoken, Jesus utilized His authority and honored the faith of the centurion by healing his servant.

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

I love the implications of the words that Jesus spoke. “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” When belief in Jesus recognizes the authority of Jesus, the power of Jesus is unleashed.

Do you understand the power of authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to make up your mind!

November 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
(Revelation 3:15 (NIV))

Are you still sitting on the fence?

Are you thinking of following Jesus but still enticed by the world?

Does your attitude change based on whomever you are with?

Do you go from one extreme to the next in your thoughts and actions?

Jesus referred to people like this as being lukewarm. They can’t make a commitment to stand firm. They do one thing that is right in the eyes of God and the very next thing that they do is a major sin. Perhaps you simply walk a path that is neither an attempt to follow Jesus, nor is it a rejection of the world. Unfortunately, there are consequences for this type of behavior.

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

You may ask, “What about grace?”

If you call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and then deny Him, have you truly accepted God’s gift of grace? Have you decided in your mind that you are a sinner in need of a Savior?

It is time to make up your mind!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has the Lord ever failed you?

November 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
(Psalms 34:19 (NIV))

Does God keep all of His promises?

I realize that this is a very deep concept and question, but can you think of a single promise that God has not kept? I can almost hear some of you asking if the ones that haven’t been fulfilled as of yet count as a promise that has not been kept. If you feel that this is a representation of a promise that has not been kept, I want to pose a question to you. Do you believe that faith in Jesus will give you eternal life with God the Father? Are you in God’s presence now or are you still in your body? Does this mean that because you still walk this earth that His promise is not going to be kept?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

I realize that human nature seeks instant gratification for we are limited in our patience and understanding. We must learn to put away our human nature and look at things through eternal eyes. God’s promises are for us personally, but they are also for everyone who will believe. Because of this, God delays what all believers long for. God is not slow, but patient.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Perhaps you prefer the concept as presented in John. We will all face troubles in this life. We have been promised that the Lord will be with us through the troubles. With that in mind, have you been through all of the troubles in this life that you will face? I hardly doubt that the rest of your life will be trouble free. Does this mean that this promise is not true?

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Faith is a valuable thing. It means that we hold on to the promises even if they haven’t come true yet. It means that we stand firm because we know the promises that have been fulfilled. It also means that we can stand firm on His track record and claim that He will always keep His promises.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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