Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered authority to whom it belongs?

May 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
(Luke 6:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to try and put God in a box. We try to twist words based on our limited understanding. We try to put limitations on God simply because we fail to understand that He has no limitations. We fail to realize that the limitations that have been given to us are the same type of limitations that a parent would put on a child. They are there for our protection, for our education and they are not there for the person who placed the limitations. A good example of this is the bedtime for a small child. That does not mean that the parents go to bed at the same time!

When God sets boundaries and establishes rules, He is fulfilling His role as God the Father. He is guiding us. He is keeping us from harm. In much the same way as a parent telling a child that he or she cannot have ice cream because it is bedtime, God established things that we must live by. One of those is the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We are to rest. We are to be reverent in our attitudes. We are to spend time in God’s presence. We are to slow down.

Be still, and know that I am God…
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

When we spend time in God’s presence, we begin to realize that we do have a tendency to place God in a box. If you want a modern day translation of the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:5, perhaps something like this makes sense, although it may sound condescending. “I created the world and I created the Sabbath. I can do what I deem as appropriate because I made the rules for you and not for myself!”

We have a big problem with realizing that God makes the rules and not us!

We need to surrender Lordship of our lives!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to limit God?

April 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

In our limited understanding and ability, this seems impossible that anyone could do immeasurably more than we could imagine. We tend to place human limitations on God. We tend to put Him within a box that is all neet and tidy and has defined boundaries that we can understand in our limited wisdom. After all, we have a limited understanding of God’s ways.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9)

What is it about God’s ways that we find so difficult to understand? Is it the fact that He never waivers or falters from His true nature and that this nature never changes? Is it the fact that He is Creator and we are the creation that limits our understanding? Perhaps, it is the fact that humanity fell from grace into sin. We are tainted by the world view of everything which has a tendency to place “me first.” Since we do not have the capabilities of immeasurably more, we, in our self-centeredness, assume that we are the most powerful beings around and that no one can do more than us.

Does this sound familiar? It is exactly the attitude that lead to Satan’s fall. He wanted to place himself above God. In our attempt at limiting God, we are also placing ourselves above God, or, at least, as equals to God! Even God’s own Son, Jesus, when He walked this earth, did not consider himself as equal with God. Jesus also did not limit what God could do. If our Savior and Lord took this attitude, what attitude should we have?

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

October 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.
(2 Chronicles 26:16-20 (NIV))

Pride and arrogance!

How many times have we all stepped over the boundaries that we knew had been established for one reason or another? Everyone has boundaries and limitations that have been placed on them in one form or another. In Uzziah’s situation, he had become king, yet that wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach God directly before that was possible. He attempted to fill a role that God had not planned for him. He wanted to do the job of the priests.

His pride and arrogance caught up with him.

God punished Uzziah for the same sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. Uzziah wanted to be equal to God and proved it through his attempts at approaching God directly. Even Moses was not capable of approaching God directly.

Thankfully, today, we have the ability to approach the throne of God through the redeeming blood of Jesus, yet, I still feel that we have something to learn from Uzziah. God allowed him to keep his position, yet, he lost all of his authority. He was king only in name. If we, who are bought by the blood of Jesus, fall pray to pride, we may be able to keep our position of salvation, yet, we will lose our effectiveness in doing the work that the position calls us to.

How is your pride?

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