Has your faith stayed strong?

June 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:36-47 (NIV))

The early church did not have the ability to look back into history and see what Jesus had done. They didn’t need it! Many of the people who came to be believers in this time had seen Jesus perform the miracles and had heard Him teach. They had seen Him crucified and had seen Him resurrected. Those who did not see all these things happen, knew of them. They also had the eye-witness accounts of the disciples who had been with Jesus during all of this. No matter how they knew of Jesus, they knew that He is Lord and Savior of all Creation. They fervently praised God and prayed for what they knew comes from these actions.

Have the centuries dulled our intensity? Have they caused us to be less than our brothers and sisters from the early church? We have more evidence today that all of these things happened. Historical records besides the New Testament verify many of the accounts of Jesus’ life. Have we grown complacent in our faith? Take a serious look at your life and priorities. Can you say that you devote yourself to Jesus’ teachings and fellowship with other believers?

Has your faith stayed strong?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we gathering in Jesus’ name?

May 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

We must not forsake fellowship with other believers. God intended for this fellowship to strengthen us, encourage us, and enable us to reach others for Jesus. It is tremendous how the early church grew even under the persecution that they faced for their beliefs. This growth was made possible by the fellowship and strengthening that comes from sharing and encouraging others in the faith.

The church was not intended to be buildings as so many today think of it. The church is the Body of Believers, no matter where we may be gathered. The early church gathered in homes and grew strong in the faith. Today’s church meets in buildings once or twice a week and many see it as a duty, not as a time for fellowship with other believers and with Jesus.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

Are we gathering in Jesus’ name or are we just gathering to be seen by man?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

November 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

Many of us know these verses and the other verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke describing what is called The Last Supper. It is this simple act that we have come to know as Holy Communion.

I wish to propose that, based on what is written, we do not partake often enough, for it says that we should do this in remembrance of Jesus. Should we, as believers, remember Jesus more than once a month, or once every 6 months? It does not say, as the Laws of Moses did, to have celebrations on certain days. Jesus commanded us to remember Him “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup”, not the first Sunday of every month. We can partake of the simple act of thanksgiving and remembrance whenever we sit down to a meal.

Jesus was, and still is, “. the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35b (NIV))

Perhaps, since Jesus is the bread of life and we are to partake of Holy Communion whenever we eat, does this mean that we are to partake of Jesus all of the time? Consider that without bread, we will physically grow weak and die. Is that also true of the spiritual bread that Jesus gives us?

We can be thankful and acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior in all that we do.

How often do you give thanks for the “bread” and the “wine”?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still hunger and thirst?

September 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus liked to put spiritual things in a physical context so that people could understand them. In order to understand them, it is essential that you think outside the proverbial box of this physical world and come to the realization that Jesus is drawing a parallel to something that we can associate with. Many things, such as this passage, are not to be taken literal from the physical perspective, but that are absolute truths when you look at them from the spiritual perspective.

In the physical world, we know that when we eat or drink something, we will find ourselves hungry or thirsty in a short period of time. It is simply the way the physical world is.

But . . .

If you partake of Jesus, He offers eternal life. When you turn to Him as your personal Lord and Savior, your hunger for grace and mercy is forever satisfied. Your thirst for abundant and eternal life is forever quenched. It only takes one honest and sincere repentance and acceptance of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior to find that you are forever satisfied. You may be asking about times that you do things that you shouldn’t and you need to repent. Everyone has those moments. Everyone must turn to Jesus and repent for things that we all do, but this does not mean that you have to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior all over again. That has already been done!

Think of your relationship with Jesus in terms that may be easier to understand.

Everyone has people that you love. Have you ever done something that hurt that person? If you are wise and you value that relationship, you ask for forgiveness for that particular instance. You don’t have to start the whole relationship over. You have a small setback and then you get back on track. When you choose to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, the sinful things that you do after that moment are not a reason to start all over. They are a reason to repent, to make a mid-course correction, and to get back on track with Jesus.

Everyone who has ever lived knows what it is like to hunger and thirst physically. Have you ever ached so much spiritually that it felt just like a severe physical hunger or thirst? Turn to Jesus. He will satisfy your spiritual hunger and He will quench your spiritual thirst.

Do you still hunger and thirst?

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

June 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
(John 6:35-40 (NIV))

These were powerful words for the Jews to hear some 2000 years ago. They are still powerful words for the world to hear today. Salvation is such a simple gift from God, yet today, as then, many people have studied themselves into a box in which they have applied their own meaning or someone else’s meaning to God’s plan.

The Jews had the Torah and the Pentateuch to point them to Jesus as the Messiah, yet, they had studied and applied their misguided logic to God’s Word to the point that they did not understand what was happening right in front of them. Today, we have the benefit of 2000 years of history to prove that Jesus was and is who He said. There is more historical evidence to validate the Resurrection than there is to validate that any of us live, yet people fail to see the Truth when it is right in front of them.

The Jews who heard these words did not believe them then.

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, `I came down from heaven’?”
(John 6:42 (NIV))

Do you believe them now?

People have been blinded to the Truth ever since Jesus came to earth. We must pray that they have their eyes open before He comes the second time!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do we try to tell God what to do?

April 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
(Romans 11:34 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to give advice to anyone and everyone? Why do we think that the world would be so much better off if everyone would simply listen to us? Is it ego, pride, or arrogance that makes us feel that we have all of the answers, or is it a combination of all of these traits and many more? What is so interesting and sad at the same time is the fact that we even do this with God. This is the equivalent of a loaf of bread arguing with the baker who made it. Our perspective, our understanding is nothing in comparison to that of the Lord.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Who has known the mind of the Lord?

I find that question so laughable since we, as humanity, don’t spend enough time drawing close to the Lord. Through His Word, He has given us insight into His heart and mind, but very few of us spend enough time diving headfirst into this treasure to truly know God. We read something and take it out of context and soon twist it to mean what we think that it should mean. We then point a proverbial finger at the Lord and accuse Him of not doing what we think He should do based on our twisted understanding.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, each other and with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do or say that will be above and beyond what God has thought. To be perfectly honest, I believe that the following passage, even though it refers to our righteousness, can be applied to our wisdom and understanding.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Again, I wonder what it is about human nature that makes us want to give advice when we truly don’t understand anything. Why are we so arrogant that we feel that our understanding is far above what it truly is?

Why do we try to tell God what to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your diet consist of?

July 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

We think that we know this passage. We hear it quoted so often, though, that I think we may miss the deeper meaning to these words.

We read them and understand them for the surface meaning where we need more than food to survive. We need the Word of God, and we need God.

I would venture to say that there is also an extended meaning to these words. A meaning that takes what we understand and takes it that one step further.

Is bread physical? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Can you taste it?

Is God physical?

He is exactly opposite. He cannot be seen. He cannot be touched. He cannot be experienced in any of the ways that our physical senses are used to experiencing things. God is spirit. We must encounter Him as He is. This does not mean that God cannot manifest Himself in physical ways, but it does mean that He is primarily in a realm of existence that we do not experience in our physical existence.

We must seek Him beyond the physical realm that we know. We must seek Him in His realm.

Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.
(Psalm 144:4 (NIV))

In our physical existence, we are here only for a short time. Even in our short, physical existence, God loves us. He wants us to be with Him. He has overcome our physical existence by sending Jesus to the physical world.

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))

We can, and must, reach out to Him in the spiritual realm. We experience God by allowing ourselves to reach beyond the physical and take small glimpses of the spiritual.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:!2 (NIV))

When we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we begin to see the reflection clearer.

What do you live on?

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