Do you believe that Jesus said this?

December 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
(Luke 22:35-36 (NIV))

How many of us choose to ignore these words spoken by Jesus?

Think about them in context.

We know that Jesus sent the disciples out with instructions to not take anything with them. They had obeyed and all returned. From the words that were written, they were successful in their endeavors.

This was before!

This was before the arrest. This was before the crucifixion. This was before the resurrection, and this was before the persecution that the disciples and the early believers were going to face.

What changed?

I honestly believe that the first time that Jesus sent out the disciples, it was a trial run. It was used to build their faith and trust that Jesus would provide. I believe that He sent them out as innocents to get their feet wet.

These words were spoken to the disciples right after Jesus told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. In other words, Jesus was telling them that it was time to face the truth of the world. It was time to realize that the world, in its fallen state, is not a safe place and that they must take precautions to protect themselves. He did not tell them that He wouldn’t be with them, but He did tell them to be wise to the ways of the world and to arm themselves for their own protection.

I realize that many people will not like what I am saying, but we have to realize that Jesus gave us these instructions. Don’t get me wrong and start saying that I believe we need to be violent and warlike. That is far from the truth. What I am saying is that Jesus told His disciples to arm themselves for protection from the world. In other words, He was telling them to be alert and to be wise to the ways of the world. Not everyone shares the same values and beliefs as those who profess a faith in Jesus.

No matter how we are to be prepared in the physical world in which we live, we are also to be prepared in the spiritual world as well.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good is the church if we condone sin?

April 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

I just saw something that made me wonder what is going on with people in this world!

To be more specific, what I saw makes me wonder if some churches even believe in the Gospel anymore.

I am certain that you are aware of the debate about homosexual marriage. Let’s take that one step further and completely stop focusing on sin in church! That is the very report that I just saw. A pastor has decided for himself that the church focuses too much on sin and salvation.

That is the very reason for the church!

The Body of Christ is called to be the church. We are to let people know about sin and God’s plan for salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus. The job of the church is to preach the good news. How can we tell people that they can be saved from their sin if we don’t tell them about sin?

Jesus did not come to make everybody feel good about themselves. He did not come to bring social justice. He did not come to promise earthly prosperity to those who follow him. Jesus came into this world to live a sinless, perfect life. He came to offer himself up as the sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. He died so that He could be resurrected and sit at the right hand of God, the Father.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We must be aware of the false teachers. We must be aware of the lies from the enemy. We must be aware of the thief that has found his way into the pulpits. We must test everything that we hear against the Word of God. We cannot pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The other side of rest

August 26, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

I realize that this is the same passage from a week ago. Today, I am looking at it from the other side of a long awaited rest from the world.

It was wonderful to escape the day to day trials of the world. It was wonderful to rest and recharge. It was wonderful to look out and see the majesty of God’s creation and to simply take it all in. I am thankful to have been able to spend the last week with my wife as we celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Both of us rested from the hectic pace that is our daily lives.

No cell phones. No Internet. Then reality hit.

We are back and the world is still in turmoil. The world is still hectic. The world is still facing things that can only be described as attacks from the enemy. Satan did not go away while we were gone. All of the worldly crises did not go away while we were gone. If anything, even more attacks seem to have reared their ugly head while we were gone.

Should I be worried? Should I, as a member of the Body of Christ, turn and seek safety?

We are called to be in the middle of the spiritual battle that is taking place. We are not called to retreat. There are times when we will need rest so that we will be able to continue our part, but we, as the Body of Christ, should never run from the enemy.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV))

We are told to rest in God’s presence. We are also told that we are to put on the full armor of God. We are only human. We cannot go all out in part of God’s calling. We need rest. We need quiet time to spend time with God and to recharge.

Too much rest and we become lazy. Too much battle without rest and we become burned out.

Even Jesus had to get away from the crowds and rest in God’s presence. What makes us think that we can do it differently?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Commitment shows in all that you do

July 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:1-10 (NIV))

How true these words are! If you are committed to something, it shows in all that you do.

A good soldier lives, eats and breathes military issues. Are we not soldiers of Christ? Then we should live, eat and breathe only righteous issues, things that Jesus would deal with if He were here in our places. If we do as the world does, and focus on our objective, then we will be rewarded as those in the world are rewarded: We will be the first to receive a share of what is righteous.

The world receives worldly things that will tarnish and fade with time. Our reward will be eternal salvation and glory with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All the rewards the world has to offer pale in comparison to the reward that will be ours if we are strong in our faith and witness reliably to all who can hear.

Is your witness reliable and are you focused on Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Veteran Prayer Warriors

November 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV))

With Veterans Day prominent in many areas of our lives the last few days. I wanted to take a moment and thank those who have served. It was through your service and dedication that we enjoy our God given rights today.

Now, I want to bring to light another group of veterans that we need to all strive to be a part of. This group of people is not limited by military service. It is not limited by age, race, or sex. It is a group that fervently seeks after God’s own heart through prayer.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Are you a prayer warrior?

Do you seek God in times when most people simply choose to go about their lives? Do you feel God tugging at your heart when things are not right in the eyes of God? Do you utter prayers that are only groans because you cannot find the words to express what you know needs to be lifted up? Are you saddened by the state of the world and pray for revival? Do you feel the anguish that God must feel at the way that people are turning their backs upon God?

If you have prayed for God’s Will to be made manifest in this world and in your life, then you are a willing soldier in the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. You have placed yourself in the line of fire from the enemy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV))

Nobody likes to hear about enduring hardship for your beliefs or actions, but take heart, for we are clothed in Godly armor if we truthfully claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. To quote an old kid’s song – “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary, shoot the artillery. I may never zoom over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” Our primary weapon is prayer.

I pray that we may all become veteran prayer warriors.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to recognize the enemy?

May 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

We must remember that we are in a battle. This battle may show no physical signs of war such as physical destruction, wounds and death, but we are in a battle just the same.

Preparation is the way to win at anything. Athletes train in order to be prepared for the big race. Soldiers train in order to be prepared for the battle. Firefighters train in order to be prepared for the big fire. We, as believers, are in the Lord’s Army and we must prepare for the day and time when we will face the battle. We must train in order to face the enemy whenever and wherever he may present himself.

How do we train to face Satan? By fully relying on God! Rely on His promises. Rely on His Word. Rely on His Son, Jesus Christ, and rely on the Holy Spirit. If we fully rely on God and trust in all that He has promised, we will be prepared to face the enemy. We will also be able to recognize the enemy, for he is crafty and deceiving. It is not unlikely that we have already faced the enemy and we did not recognize him because we had not yet followed the instructions that Paul gave to the Ephesians. In fact, we face the enemy every day, whether we realize it or not.

Are you prepared to recognize the enemy and repel his attack?

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