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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Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

August 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV))

I realize that you have heard this concept before, but please take note, for it is true.

When you professed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, people started watching you. Some want to see you fail so that they can reinforce their personal conclusion that Christians are hypocrites. Others are watching you and praying for you. Many are somewhere in the middle. They could care less if you persevere or if you fail, but they will be very vocal if you do fail. It should be the goal of every believer in Jesus to persevere, especially when those around you expect you to fail. This shows the power of the Lord working through you.

I love Paul’s take on this. He wanted people to know that he is weak and that whatever happens is not a result of his strength.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV))

When we can show weakness in our own strength and still persevere through the Lord’s strength, then we are a strong witness to those around us of the power of God! When we persevere, people will sit up and take notice. They will want to know how we were able to persevere. They will want to know our secret. That is the time that we share the power of God with them. That is when we share the grace and mercy of God with them.

That is when the faith that saves us will also save others.

Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

August 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Most people in today’s society are not able to identify most fruit bearing plants and trees simply by looking at them during the off season. We are more used to going to the store and getting what we want from the produce department. However, most of us would still be able to tell an apple tree from a pear tree if there were apples hanging from the limbs. Even with fruit hanging from the limbs, we are pushing our limits when we try to identify what type of apple, for some are sweet while others are tart.

Are we able to tell anything about a person at first glance? Can we tell whether they are a believer in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior simply by knowing their name? Can we tell any more about someone if we simply look at them?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Based on the examples that we see as the fruit of the Spirit, we can sometimes see these traits simply by looking at someone. However, everyone can have a period of time when these traits appear to be genuine and the same person can have a period of time when these traits appear to not be present at all in their lives.

It takes time for fruit to mature!

Can you walk up to a tree and pick an apple and eat it as soon as the flower falls off and the fruit starts to grow? We may see the potential for a mature fruit, but we have to be patient. The same is true of people. We can see the potential for the fruit of the Spirit, but we have to allow it to mature. Jesus spoke of this using seed.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
(Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV))

Just because something, or someone, has the potential to be something, that doesn’t mean that it will happen. Many things come into play. For people, many distractions can keep us from bearing the fruit that God has intended. It is human nature to be able to see the shortcomings of others when this happens, but do we easily recognize it in ourselves?

Do others recognize the fruit that God wants you to bear?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does Christmas mean to you?

December 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV))

I was reading through my older devotionals and came across this. I feel that it is worth another look.

Have you ever stopped to think that Christmas is the celebration of your birthday also?

Think about that for a moment.

I am not proclaiming that each of us who call upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior is of equal stature as Jesus. Rather, through the birth of Jesus, God moved to fulfill His plan for our salvation. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our salvation was given life. Through the physical birth of Jesus, our hope was given wings. Without the birth that we celebrate during this time of year, there could never have been a crucifixion, resurrection or ascension. Without these glorious events, the price would never have been paid in order to redeem us from the law of sin and death.

Christmas is, in essence, the beginning of our new life through grace. It is the beginning of the life that paid the price so that you and I can be redeemed.

If you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have every right to celebrate the birth of the One who freely died so that you could be born again.

Many historians and theologians believe that December 25 is not really the actual date of Jesus’ birth. Many believe that it was actually in April. Still, no matter what the actual day, we celebrate an important birth. It is the most important birth in all of human history. It is the birth of the One who allows the rebirth of all who will simply proclaim Him. It is a new beginning for all. It is the beginning of the removal of all of our sins. All that we have to do is accept.

Christmas is the day that we can point to and claim that God’s redemption has arrived. Perhaps that is why people used to wish everyone a Mighty Christ’s Mass. They realized just what this day means. It is the day that God broke through the barrier of sin and death to reach out to offer each of us salvation, grace and mercy.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you see Jesus?

October 28, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

I think I understand some of the nonbelievers mindset when it comes to Jesus!

Think about human nature and then think about what most people spend a lifetime trying to do. If you came to the conclusion that most people spend a lifetime trying to prove that they are better than everyone else, then I think you may be thinking what I am thinking.

Human nature, in its sinful, fallen state, wants to think that we are better than everyone else. We spend a lifetime trying to elevate ourselves to a place of being worshipped and served. Jesus took the exact opposite approach. He lowered Himself to our level. He left heaven and became a servant. This is a very difficult concept to grasp, especially for those who fail to recognize that being worshipped and served is not what life is about.

We want to have control. We want to be in a position of authority. We want fame. We want people looking to us and worshipping us. In essence, we want to be the god of our little world. We just can’t comprehend the fact that Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. He was willing to surrender what each of us have strived for in one way or another.

Jesus came from heaven and lived among us. He did not seek to be worshipped. He came to serve. He did not seek glory. He came in humility. He did not seek power. He deliberately left all power and authority behind. He did not come to be rich. He was born in a stable!

Too many people simply cannot comprehend the idea of deliberately lowering your status to help and serve others. We are always looking for the next pat on the back, the next promotion and the next raise. Where is Jesus in any of these activities?

The attitude of a believer should be exactly opposite of what the world says. Jesus turned the world upside down. Believing requires us to see things as Jesus sees them and not in the way that the world sees them. To many people, this makes absolutely no sense.

Pray for them, for they see Jesus through their senses and the so called logic of this world.

How do you see Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lead and guide me Jesus!

May 22, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
(Psalms 31:3 (NIV))

This should be the prayer of every believer. We made a decision to follow Jesus Christ, yet do we truly want Jesus to lead and guide us?

Our answer should be “YES”.

If we do not follow the lead of Jesus, then we are held more accountable than a non-believer. We will still have salvation, but we will not be rewarded for our faith. We call on the name of Jesus to be our Savior, yet we are reluctant to call Him Lord.

It is so hard to let human nature take a back seat. Human nature, due to the fall from grace, calls for us to be in control, for us to be our own lord and master. We must give this up and let Jesus truly be our Lord and lead and guide us in all that we do.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith to be made new

October 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

David hit the nail on the head when he wrote this. It is the prayer of every believer. It is the hope of every believer. God will provide for us in ways that we can only imagine. If we fully rely on Him, then He will deliver us, He will guide us, He will prepare a place for us.

When faced with what the world sends our way, we have a shelter to run to. Peace is what God offers. Chaos is what the world offers. The natural order of things since Adam and Eve fell is degeneration. Through God, we can be made new again. It only takes a simple act of faith. The faith that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and our only Lord and Savior.

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