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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Have you returned? Are you still returning?

March 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

Are you ashamed of where you have been?

Perhaps I should ask if you are ashamed of where you are?

Let’s face the hard, unadulterated truth. We are all human, and human nature means that we are not perfect. We have all done things that are far from what Jesus calls us to do. Most of us like to think that this is all in our past, after all, we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! In reality, we still sin. Our human nature doesn’t go away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, to control the sinful nature that lies within all of us.

We must repent daily!

When we repent, we turn away from our sin and return to God. It is an act of obedience that we must do daily, if not more often, for our sinful, human nature will try to make us return to our sin.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not the end of your walk with Jesus. It is only the beginning! When you go for a walk, do you ever find yourself making mid-walk corrections and adjustments to make sure that you end up at your ultimate destination. Sometimes you must turn left. Other times you must turn right. Along the way you may have to step over or around obstacles. Sometimes you must turn around or return. Walking with Jesus is much the same way. Our sinful nature will start to lead us down a path that is not right. We must be sure to listen for the call to return to the path that Jesus desires for us to walk.

Have you returned to the Lord to be able to begin anew? Are you returning to Him on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of or embarrassed by Jesus?

January 26, 2017

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))

Have you ever been ashamed of something or someone? Have you ever been ashamed of your own actions and thoughts?

Think about that for a moment in relationship to the meaning of the word ashamed. It means to feel shame, guilt or disgrace. It also means a reluctance or unwillingness to do something because of shame or embarrassment.

Embarrassment!

Are you embarrassed by Jesus? Do you feel that Jesus does not fit in with your friends and that you have to make excuses, or even worse, you have to hide?

Are you embarrassed by the Gospel? Do you love your sin so much that you would choose to stay in your sin because you are embarrassed to admit that you need a Savior?

I have one simple, yet profound question to ask.

Are you willing to pay the price for your sin because you are embarrassed by the one and only way to receive salvation? Are you willing to go to hell because your are embarrassed? This sounds like a severe case of pride and ego. Too many people hate to admit that they are not capable of doing good on their own. They don’t want to publicly admit to anyone that they need Jesus. They would rather wallow in their shame because they are too afraid to face their embarrassment. Instead they hide the light from themselves and others.

Personally, I would rather be like Paul and proudly proclaim that I am not ashamed!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and pray!

October 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
(2 Peter 3:3 (NIV))

Are you getting tired of all of the people who are scoffing and mocking Jesus and the Body of Christ? It has become so rampant, that there are very distinct battle lines being drawn between those who profess a faith in Jesus and those who think that they are too educated to believe in such things. It has even come to the point in our country where the two major political parties appear to have taken sides. One party refuses to mention Jesus or God and the other party acts like they expect everyone to be perfect like Jesus. I am not trying to be political, but there are now reports of one of the presidential candidates saying extremely bad things about people who profess a faith in Jesus.

I am so ashamed of what we have become. I am so tired of seeing these things increasing in what seems like a very rapid and very public change.

With what we are seeing, are you convinced that 2 Peter 3:3 is coming to pass if it is not already here?

My heart is heavy. My spirit is burdened, for I see what is going on and I fear for those who do not know Jesus. Are their hearts so hardened that they cannot be softened by the truth of the Gospel? Are they blinded by the false delusion and beyond hope?

We may see that the times are rapidly changing into the times that the Bible calls the last days, but we are not called to sit back and wait when we see this happening. If there was ever a time to be bold in our faith, it is now. We may be the one that Jesus uses to reach someone who is currently scoffing. We may be used by the Holy Spirit to soften a hardened heart and turn that heart to Jesus.

I earnestly pray for God’s will to unfold, but I am still human. My heart still breaks for those who need Jesus even if they are currently scoffers.

Stand firm and pray!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever felt ashamed of Jesus?

September 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you earnestly hoped that no one pointed you out as a follower of Jesus?

Perhaps you were in a situation where you knew that someone would criticize you or even threaten you if they knew you proclaimed a faith in Jesus? What did you do?

I honestly think that all of us have been in predicaments like this. It is a matter of how you handle it. It is a matter of your priorities. Is there a difference between these two possible responses: not speaking of your faith in Jesus; and denying Jesus if you are confronted? We have all been in situations where we feel uncomfortable. We have all been in places that we could tell were not friendly to those who follow Jesus. It is human nature to not divulge information that would put you in danger. In these types of places, we simply find a way to exit as soon as possible.

Do you think that Jesus sees our actions as being ashamed of Him?

Many people see this as an act of self-preservation. To quote a phrase used in today’s society, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” How do you see this type of action? What happens if they ask? Do you keep quiet and not answer? Do you deny your faith? Do you boldly proclaim that you believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is?

Where does Jesus draw the line as far as what He considers as being ashamed of Him? Is our silence an admission of shame? Is our denial an admission of shame? Are any of these situations justified as self-preservation?

We all remember the story of Stephen being stoned to death. He did not deny Jesus and, as assurance, he saw heaven open up. Most of us remember the young lady at Columbine High School who was asked if she was a Christian. She did not keep quiet. She did not deny her faith. Her answer cost her life. She was not ashamed.

I know that we are only human and our actions are not perfect, even after we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. All that we have to do is look at how Peter denied Jesus and how Jesus forgave him to see grace in action. Then, as now, it is a matter of priorities. Peter repented and was forgiven. He went on to help spread the Gospel. We can repent when we deny Jesus. We can still be used to fulfill His will. The key is a repentant heart!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident and unashamed in your faith?

November 14, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
(1 John 2:28 (NIV))

It has been almost two thousand years since these words were spoken, yet the message is as true today as it was then. We must stay focused on Jesus. We must keep our eyes on the prize. We must not forget that He is coming again.

When Jesus returns, are you confident that you will be rewarded? Have there been times that you did less than you should have simply because you were in a group of people and you did not want to be thought of as a Christian? Have you been ashamed to show the world that you have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb? It seems that no matter how hard we may want to do what Jesus asks of us, we falter and we deny Him. We are not alone.

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
(Matthew 26: 34-36 (NIV))

We all know what happened to Peter a few short hours later. He did just as Jesus said He would do. Thankfully, Jesus did not come to condemn us in our sins. He came to forgive us of our sins. He looks at the heart. Just as He forgave Peter, He will forgive you if you simply ask for it. Even when Peter felt that he couldn’t be forgiven for his betrayal, he found that Jesus would not betray him. He fulfilled His promise. He encouraged Peter’s faith. He embraced Peter as if he had never sinned.

Are you as confident and unashamed in your faith as Peter?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

September 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
(John 3:19-21 (NIV))

How can we be the light of the world and share the Light of Jesus if we remove God and Jesus from everything in our public life?

Too many have given up talking about Jesus because we do not wish to offend anyone. Are we ashamed of Jesus?

Paul was not ashamed.

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))

Do we deny Jesus?

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
(Titus 1:16 (NIV))

Do we disown Jesus?

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

These passages are clear about what happens if we are ashamed, if we deny, or if we disown.

We have allowed God to be removed from public life. We have allowed prayer to be removed from school. We have allowed the removal of any reference to God or to Jesus from many aspects of our life and today, I read, and verified with several news agencies, something that completely broke my heart.

One of our political parties has completely removed any reference to God from their platform.

Are we, as a nation, ashamed of God?

Are we, as a nation, denying Jesus?

Are we, as a nation, disowning Jesus before men?

I can hear the comments already. Some of you are saying that this does not mean that these people are not believers. I do not know the people involved, so I am in no position to speculate. I am also not qualified to judge. What I do know is that which is written in God’s Word.

If we are ashamed of Jesus, or if we deny Jesus, or if we disown Jesus, then Jesus will not claim us as His own.

Sometimes what we omit speaks volumes more than what we say. If you proclaim that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, do not fall into the mindset where you are ashamed of Jesus.

Would you intentionally deny Jesus?

Sometimes, what is not presented is the presentation. If we remove God, how can we call upon His name and how can we claim to be in His will? Our act of omission may cause us to hear these words from Jesus.

Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:23 (NIV))

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