What are the reasons for what you seek?

October 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

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))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

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

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your armor ready?

August 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 6:13 (NIV))

Armor is something that is thought of as protection, as something impenetrable. In the physical world, armor is often associated with metal and is imposing in nature. In the spiritual world, armor is not something that you wear, but something that you carry. You carry it in your hands and in your heart. This armor is the Word of God and it is a strong foundation on which to build everything that you do. The strength and protection that you receive from this armor comes from fully knowing that God always keeps His promises. He always protects His children. It is this knowledge, and the faith to hold on to this knowledge no matter the circumstances, that is the strongest armor that has ever been created.

All throughout history, men in armor have fought bravely and valiantly for something that they believed in. Even today, men in armor such military vehicles continue this tradition. They are fighting for earthly causes. How can we, when equipped to battle in the spiritual realm with God as our commanding officer and protector, not fully train to be part of the battle? We must keep our armor ready for we do not know what tomorrow may bring.

Do you have the right equipment for the coming battle?

Is your armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand the mystery?

April 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV))

For many people, this is easily understood and makes perfect sense. To others, it is complete foolishness.

If you stop to think about the word foolishness, it means a ridiculous act or idea. Just what is so ridiculous about the idea of God as a loving creator? If God can create with words, why can’t His words reflect love and beauty? Why can’t they shine grace and mercy into a world that has fallen into sin and evil desires? Why is there such a mystery around the concept that God loves us enough to do something that will bring redemption to us?

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))

I once heard a story that puts a unique perspective to this!

A man who questioned the whole story of Jesus found himself out on his property during a bad snow storm. There was a huge flock of birds who were unable to fly away due to the weather. They were also freezing to death in the snow. He had a large barn so he went out to open the doors to let the birds go in, but no matter what he did, they would not go. He tried everything and still no luck in getting the birds to move. In desperation he thought, “If only I were a bird. I could lead them where they can find safety.” At that moment, he realized that this is what God had done. He became a man in order to show us the way to life! In an instant, he understood the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. It was not foolishness!

Do you understand the mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

October 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
(2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, it is understood that he wrote them from prison in Rome. Even in the midst of being in prison, he had the strength of faith to reach out to assure Timothy and others that he stood firm in his faith. Paul knew beyond any doubt that his belief in Jesus was true. All you have to do is remember his Damascus Road experience to understand Paul’s strength of faith.

Even though Paul was strong in his faith, there is one statement in this passage that made me stop and reflect on my own attitude. It made me think about human nature and how any of us would react if we were put in prison. Most would feel ridicule, regret and shame. Now, how would you feel if you were thrown in prison for doing what you know is right? Does that sound like it is highly improbable? Take a look at Paul. Take a look at certain countries around the world where professing a faith in Jesus is either a prison sentence or a death sentence. Do you believe that this type of thing could not possibly happen to you?

We don’t know what is in store for us in the future.

We do know who holds our future!

The world may throw things at us that are unexpected. The enemy definitely will attack us with things that are unexpected. Professing a faith in Jesus is not a guaranteed life without hardships.

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))

Paul may not have recorded the words that Jesus spoke, but he definitely believed them and lived by them. Relying on your faith in Jesus is not something that we should ever be ashamed of. A true faith means that we are convinced that Jesus is with us even in the midst of suffering. A true faith recognizes this and is willing to deny the world even when it means suffering.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not implying that we must suffer to prove our faith. What I am saying is that there may come a day when we are called to reject Jesus or suffer. If this day ever comes, I pray that all who currently call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will stand firm in their faith.

Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free of condemnation?

August 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you are always guilty of something? Do you go through life looking over your shoulder, afraid that something you did in the past will come back to haunt you? Do you feel that you are constantly just one step away from being trapped in a situation from which there is no escape? Do you feel that God is out to get you?

Rest assured that God is not out to get you. Satan is the one who is constantly trying to trick you. He is the one who is lying to you and making you feel as if there is no escape. Ever since Satan tried to overthrow God, he has made it his purpose to trap and trick God’s greatest creation in order to keep us from God. It is he who condemns. It is not 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

We have a God given way to escape condemnation! We can rest assured that the accuser has no legal claim on us. All that we have to do is accept the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given at the cross. Jesus paid it all so that no accusations against us have any merit whatsoever. All of our sins have been washed clean!

Are you free of condemnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the gates be open for you?

July 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 (NIV))

When this was written, grace was only an unfulfilled promise. Even though it was an unfulfilled promise, the psalmist knew that the promise would be fulfilled. He knew beyond doubt that if God had promised that He would provide a way for us to enter into righteousness that it would truly come to pass. He longed for that day.

The writer of this passage never lived to physically see the promise fulfilled, but he held fast to that promise. We have the benefit of being on the other side of that promise. We know that God sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. We have the full account of how He came to earth born of a virgin. We know of the people that he gathered together to teach. We know of the miracles that He performed. We know of the crucifixion and the resurrection. We know of the ascension, and we know of the power behind the spreading of the Gospel.

With all that we know, do we have the faith that the psalmist had? All that he had was a promise and he believed. We have all the accounts of those who knew Jesus and witnessed the events of His life, and some of us still have problems with faith.

Is your faith based on a promise or is your faith based on written accounts? Which takes more faith, to believe a promise or to believe after the fact? Am I the only one who looks at their faith and wonders if my faith would have been strong enough to believe a promise? I like to think that it would have been. Would I have been able to turn my eyes to the Lord and lift up my voice to heaven and proclaim that even though I have not seen, I will believe?

To be honest with you, I am simply thankful for the promises, for I know that they will always be “Yes” through Jesus! Because of Jesus offering us grace and mercy, those who accept that grace and mercy can enter the gates with thanksgiving and praising the Lord!

Will the gates be open for you?

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