Do you spend time searching God’s Word?

August 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

Do you believe everything that you see or do you search for confirmation?

Sometimes, the English language just can’t express what was recorded in the original language, or sometimes there are just more ways to say the same thing. I like the following translation. It gets right to the point.

They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really telling the truth.
(Acts 17:11 (NLT))

In other words, they wanted to make sure that Paul and Silas were not making things up. They verified their teachings. Let’s face it, just because someone teaches doesn’t mean they know the truth. If you don’t believe this, simply look at what is going on in the world.

Test everything. Hold on to the good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV))

What do we use as a benchmark to test against?

Sadly, the world uses whatever criteria they find appropriate at the time. There is no set standard in the eyes of too many people in this world.

There is a standard!

It is unwavering. It is constant. It is infallible.

It is God’s Word!

The Body of Christ must learn to validate, to verify, everything against Scripture. God will not contradict Himself. He will not say that something is a sin and then change His mind and say that it is no linger a sin because society has changed. Where is the truth in that? Where is the firm foundation upon which we can build an unshakable faith?

If we don’t know God’s Word and search it daily, how can we distinguish between the lies of the enemy and the truth of God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“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))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that tempts you?

November 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12 (NKJV))

Many of you may remember the comedy routine of Flip Wilson and his “The devil made me do it,” but where does temptation really come from?

It is true that Satan tempts us, just as he tempted Jesus, but what makes us give in to this temptation when Jesus was able to stay strong? I know that human nature is weak, but there is more to this than a weak character. We cannot be tempted by things that we are not fascinated with to begin with.

Think about that last statement!

What is the one thing that causes you to shudder? What is the one thing that makes you literally turn away in disgust?

Could you honestly ever be tempted by that?

Now, what is the one thing that you long for? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it power? What if someone offered you a million dollars to do the one thing that disgusts you? Which would win out?

Satan uses our innermost desires to tempt us. He finds out what they are and then he turns the lies up full blast until we give in to his lies.

We must stand firm! We must stand strong on the promises that God has given to us. We must focus on God’s Word and on Jesus! If we make these things our innermost desires, what desires do we have that Satan can use to tempt us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are what you eat!

July 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV))

The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true also for the spirit. If you feed on things of this world, then you will continue to hunger for things of this world. If you feed on what is righteous in God’s eyes, then you will grow to hunger for His righteousness no matter what the situation you may be in.

A true test of someone’s character is when they are in a different situation all alone. How many times have you been tempted when you are not around your family or church family? It is in these times that the test of your character comes about. If you have fed on what God wants you to feed upon, then you will be that and display all the appropriate character traits of righteousness. If you have not fed on things that are of God, then you will “feed” on the world when you are able.

From where do you feed?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is your allegiance?

July 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
(Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV))

I don’t think that there has ever been a story of greater allegiance than this story.

Ruth’s husband had died and the only “family” that she had left was her husband’s mother. She was willing to leave her family and go with her mother-in-law at a time when women were considered to be second class citizens or even property. A woman without any sons to care for her was destined to have a life of poverty and begging. How could someone willingly choose this life for herself over a life where she could return to her birth family and be welcomed back?

Ruth showed a strength of character that many may never show. She was willing to face less than ideal circumstances for herself in order to make sure that someone else would not suffer. She had the opportunity to have a fairly comfortable life, but chose to go with the woman who had accepted her into her own family as a daughter-in-law. Ruth new that Naomi’s life would be difficult without help. Ruth was willing to make the sacrifice to help her.

When was the last time that you were asked to make a sacrifice in order to help someone else? Did you do it, or were you like the majority of humanity and only think about how it would effect you? It is hard to make such a sacrifice, to make such an oath of allegiance.

Each of us, as believers in the saving grace freely given to us through the atoning blood of Jesus, have made such an allegiance to God. I don’t know about you, but I stumble and fall many times during each day, yet, I desire nothing more than to have the faith and allegiance to God that Ruth had. She was a great person of faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessings come in all forms!

January 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Based on this passage, the people who are teaching a theology of prosperity may need to rethink what they are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. God does want to bless us, but we have also been told that we would have trouble. Jesus did not say that He would remove the trouble. He clearly said that we would have trouble.

“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))

We, as believers, will face troubles. We will face troubles that other people do not face. We will be persecuted simply because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This type of trouble should be welcome, for if we are ridiculed and persecuted because of the name of Jesus, then we are doing what He has called us to do. We are making ourselves known as members of His Body.

We will be blessed, but the blessings will come if we are willing to bless others. The blessings are not intended for those who simply seek the blessings. Perhaps we should even think of the troubles as a blessing, for they build character and mark us as followers of Jesus.

How are you blessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In this world you will have trouble

January 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

It is evident that this is something that our society has forgotten. We have become a people who look upon suffering in a much different way than Paul did when he wrote these words to the believers in Rome. Too many of our society, including many people who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, expect this life to be free from suffering. They expect things to be perfect, without any obstacles, happily ever after!

It has been said that our character is slowly chiseled by the trials that we face and how we face them. Paul knew this very well. He suffered greatly for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During his sufferings, he was imprisoned, beaten, and rejected by those from whom he came. He developed strength of character through his sufferings that allowed him to be the instrument that God used to build His church for the Gentiles. We owe our heritage and our salvation to the fact that Paul was willing to suffer so that others would know of the grace and mercy given to us through Jesus.

Character is something that cannot be developed in good times. It is developed in times of suffering. If you follow Jesus, then you must be prepared to face the suffering.

“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 also knew this and wrote to share this with us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-6(NIV))

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