Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we united and all together?

September 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
(Acts 2:1 (NIV))

At first read, this passage doesn’t seem to say much, but something struck me after reading it again!

Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the body of believers and the church was conceived. Power and authority were given to the church to do the things that Jesus had said we would be able to do. Signs of this power and authority were clearly visible to everyone, for they were all gathered together and they all saw the outward manifestations of the power coming to them.

They were all together!

Not only were they together physically, I believe that they were also together spiritually. They were completely united in their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This was before man could interject subtle differences that split the body into factions. They focused on Jesus and His power and authority. When was the last time that you have seen the complete Body of Christ united under one Christ-centered banner? Have any of us ever seen this?

Have any of us ever truly seen God’s power and authority manifested as it was on the day of Pentecost? Some of us belong to congregations that say God doesn’t do this anymore. Some of us belong to congregations that would love to see any glimpse of God’s power. Some of us belong to congregations where God has provided more than a glimpse. No matter which type of congregation you may attend, one thing is certain and that is God will not be recognized as manifesting Himself if there is not a desire to see Him. We have to seek Him. We have to desire His presence. We have to be receptive to His power and authority!

Looking back at Pentecost, do you think that there were people that denied what had happened? Did they come away saying that God doesn’t do that anymore? Perspective is an amazing thing. It makes us see things differently from each other. Do you think those that were a part of what happened at Pentecost had a different perspective or were they united and all together in their understanding of what God was doing?

Are we united and all together?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is amazing power in God’s Word!

May 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Do you truly realize just what this passage is saying?

We all know that Jesus is the Word made flesh. From this passage we also know that Jesus existed from the beginning. We know that Jesus was with God from the beginning. We also know, based on logical deduction, that Jesus was and is God!

Still, there is one very important realization that each of us, as the Body of Christ, must fully embrace, and that is that for us to know God we must get to know Jesus. In addition, we come to the realization that in order to know Jesus, we must know the Word! This passage clearly tells us that what we call the Bible is how we get to know God, for it is a direct reflection of God’s character.

Now that we have established some fundamental principles, I want to ask a few questions.

Do you believe that God is all powerful?

Is He able to do things beyond your imagination, or have you put God into a box and limited Him to what you can understand?

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

Did you have to think about your answers or were you able to quickly affirm that God is all powerful and that the Bible if the Word of God? If you were able to do this, I want you to logically think about what this implies based on what John 1:1 says about the Word was God. This implies that the Bible is all powerful since it is the Word of God and that the Word is God!

Do you realize the amazing power that is God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sarcastically reluctant or are you obedient?

January 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

Because you say so!

Those words go against every natural, worldly human reaction that I have ever seen or heard. Perhaps we should think of them slightly reworded to fully understand the sarcastic emotion that they normally convey.

If you say so!

Think back on the last time that you said these words. I would venture to say that they were uttered as a biting, sarcastic comment to something that someone had just told you. Come on! Admit it. We have all been guilty of saying these very words with this very attitude.

Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question!

Were you ever completely surprised by what happened immediately after you said these words?

Think about Simon. Have you ever stopped to think about his reaction after the events that followed his comment to Jesus? Have you ever heard the saying that he ate crow? Literally, the expert fisherman had to swallow his pride and stand there completely and utterly amazed and confused when a carpenter showed him up. I admire Simon for his attitude. He was willing to humble himself. He was willing to acknowledge that because of his obedience, he was shown something amazing.

He was also willing to take a step of faith and see where that step would take him. He left his boats and nets and followed Jesus.

He became a fisher of men.

That is quite a big change in attitude from what was probably said in sarcastic frustration. I just love the way how Jesus can take our obedience, even our halfhearted obedience, and turn it into something amazing.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this the meaning of Christmas to you?

December 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

Does this passage make sense to you with respect to the upcoming celebration of the birth of Jesus?

Think about the words that are recorded by John. Think about the amazing fact that Jesus knows who belongs to Him and they know it as well. Think about the amazing gift that was freely given to all who will simply accept. It was freely given through the laying down of His life.

We take it for granted that Jesus knows us, but have you ever stopped to think about how we have gotten to know Him? In all of the infinite wisdom that is our Lord, it was decided that the best way for people to actually get to know Him was for Him to become one of us. This removed any misgivings. This removed any false concepts and false teachings. This allowed for the creation to live with and get to know the Lord. Instead of books dictated to humanity, the Gospel accounts are recorded by people who knew Jesus when He walked among us. They were written by people just like you and I. They had doubts. They had fears. They had heartache and troubles, yet, they chose to record something out of the ordinary. They chose to record their first hand encounters with the Lord of all creation.

Pretty amazing!

I have one more thing that I want to point out, and it is contained in the words “and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

What is your definition of life? Does your definition include death? Think about that for a moment. In order for Jesus to lay down His life for us, He had to have a life like ours. The eternal nature had to be put on hold so that He could have a physical nature and ultimately suffer a physical death. Have you ever stopped to think about the process of going from eternal Lord to a mortal infant? Have you ever stopped to wonder just what the baby Jesus possessed as far as infinite wisdom?

Jesus came into this world to lay down His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. As I stated previously, He had to have a physical life that He could willingly give up. Could you imagine being in the splendor of heaven one moment and then the next you are being placed in a manger? You go from King of all kings to a helpless baby!

That is the message of Christmas! That is the redeeming love of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no greater gift!

November 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV))

Short, sweet and to the point!

This passage gives us a very concise reason why we should praise God.

Another translation states it as follows.

Thank God for his Son—a gift too wonderful for words!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 (NLT))

Either way you translate the original words, it boils down to a very definable and unwavering declaration.

Thank God for Jesus!

Even if you have nothing else in this world to be thankful for, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

Even if you have everything in the world, your salvation was purchased by Jesus when He died on that cross to pay the price for your sins.

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

The amazing gift that Jesus willingly gave is readily available to any and all who will simply receive. No matter your status in the world, no matter your financial resources, no matter how sinful, Jesus paid the price that brings the only way to redemption from our sins.

There is no greater gift!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is faithful!

July 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
(Genesis 9:12-16 (NIV))

God is faithful!

When God first created a rainbow, it was as a promise to those who had followed His commands. It was, and still continues to be, a visible reminder that God is faithful to deliver those who call upon His name; for those who place their faith and trust in Him.

With all that is going on in the world, we all need a gentle reminder that God is faithful and that what He has promised will come to pass. I realize that this sounds like a weak faith, but in reality it is a strengthening of faith, for it is a sign from God that what He has promised will come to fruition.

Have you ever needed a gentle reminder from God?

To be honest with you, I don’t think that there is a single person alive who does not need this reassurance every once in a while. God knows us intimately. He also knows that we face things in this world that can overcome us. He sent Jesus into this world to overcome sin and death. He sent the rainbow to show us that He is faithful to keep His promises. God has an everlasting covenant with His creation. That covenant is our hope and our faith. To those who believe in that covenant, we see signs all around us of the majesty that is our God. Sadly, those who do not believe see the same signs but miss the meaning. They miss the promise.

With all that I have that burdens my heart, today was a day that I was reminded of the faithfulness of God. The day was stressful with the typical news as of late. Other issues clouded my mind. Late in the day I decided to step outside for a breath of fresh air. My mind was racing trying to comprehend all of the events of the day. I turned to look back at my house, and there it was! The biggest rainbow that I have ever seen arching down from on high and disappearing behind the roof.

It is amazing how something that God sends your way can instantly change your day. I went from a heavy heart to a smile and joy in no time at all. I was reminded of God’s love for us and His faithfulness to those who love Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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