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
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook

Advertisements

Are you like-minded?

September 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
(Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It is amazing what God can do!

Saul, who was persecuting the Body of Christ, had such a tremendous change in his life when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was on his way to arrest and kill believers when he had an experience with Jesus that turned him from that task to a task far greater than any other human who has ever lived. He had such a profound change in his attitude that he even changed his name to Paul to reflect that change.

He not only accepted Jesus, he fully embraced Jesus and the task that he was called to complete. He walked away from his former life as a respected man and became united with Jesus in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. He had seen the truth and he came away with a purpose. That purpose was to tell as many towns as he could about the love of God and what Jesus willingly did to save them. He was not afraid to face anything for the sake of the Gospel for he knew it to be true!

He asked the church at Philippi if they accepted Jesus in a similar manner. He asked them to be like-minded. Just what does that mean? I honestly believe that Paul was asking the church to stand firm in their faith, to share the Gospel even when it was not conducive to do so. I also believe that he was asking them to be united with each other just as they were united in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them individually as well as collectively.

How do you think Paul would address your church and community today? Would he encourage you or would he say that we could all do better? Would he say that your are like-minded as he encouraged the church at Philippi to be like minded?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Is Jesus your strong tower no matter what may come?

April 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

No matter what the world may say or do, God is not dead. No matter how many people say that right is wrong and evil is right, God is not dead. No matter how many things are ridiculed as old fashioned and bigoted, God is not dead.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:23-30 (NIV))

We have been told that righteousness and evil will grow in the world. We have also been told that those who trust in the Lord shall be saved. The parable from Matthew 13 and the passage from Proverbs 18:10 tell us the very same thing. We are to turn to the Lord. He is our refuge. He is our shelter. He is our strength.

When was the last time that you willingly walked out into a violent storm? It is probably a safe assumption that instead of doing this, you took shelter in a warm and welcoming place of refuge. You spent the time watching the storm, knowing that you were safe from the bad things that the storm could bring. You found strength in the safety of your shelter.

Is Jesus your shelter in times of trouble? Is He your shelter only during these times, or do you take refuge in Him at all times? Just as a shelter is welcoming during a storm, it is also a bright and fulfilling place in other times. It is a safe harbor to call home. It is a place of familiarity and comfort. To most people, their home is such a place.

Is Jesus such a place? Is Jesus your home no matter what may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

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))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


How will you respond?

November 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world? Do you feel like the world is always under the shadow of death? Do you feel like you are always under the shadow of death?

I wholeheartedly agree that things in this world are under the shadow of death. The world has long been turned over to sin and it just keeps getting worse. I know that we, as the Body of Christ, think that what we are experiencing is far worse than what has happened in the past, but be honest with yourself. Have you been threatened with death because of your faith in Jesus? Have you been socially outcast because of your faith in Jesus? The Body of Christ in this country has not seen the tribulation and the troubles that early church members experienced. We are not seeing the executions that other parts of the world are seeing. We think that we have it bad, but I want to point out the fact that we have lived under a blessing in this country. We have been free to express our faith in Jesus without any repercussions. However, that time appears to be changing. Anyone who expresses a faith in Jesus is ostracized. We are told to be more tolerant. The next step may be an extreme step in the wrong direction.

If that happens, members of the Body of Christ in this country may experience many of the things that believers in other parts of the world are experiencing. If this happens, I want you to stop and think about these questions.

How will I respond if I truly do walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Will my faith be strong or will I cave in to the ways of the world?

When the time comes, I pray that you remember the rest of this passage and do not fear any evil because God is with you. Do not be discouraged for God will comfort you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you prepared to rely on Jesus in times of trouble?

May 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV))

Jesus told us that we would have troubles in this world. He did not promise that following Him would be easier than following the world. He did promise us, though, that He had overcome the world.

“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)

Jesus overcame the ruler of this world, Satan. Satan spreads sin and death. Jesus overcame sin and death. True, we will die a physical death, but the physical death now does not have the finality that Satan intended when he deceived Eve. Instead of a permanent separation from God, the physical death is merely a transition from this world to heaven.

Be prepared for the troubles that this world brings. Rely on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

March 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I lift up my eyes to the hills–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

Where do you turn to when you are in need of help?

Perhaps I should simply ask, “Where do you turn?”

People are strange when it comes to where they place there trust, where they turn in times of trouble and where they turn in times of joy.

For many people, they have different answers to each option. Some will turn to a best friend, some will turn to alcohol or drugs, and some will simply turn inward. Some people will turn to the same thing no matter what the circumstances. It is the very heart of these people that causes them to seek comfort in a single solution. They will turn to it when they are seeking trust. They will turn to it when they are in trouble, and they will turn to it in times of joy. Alcohol is a good example of this kind of comfort and help.

Have you stopped to think that there is another single source that is there no matter what you may face. This source of comfort will never let you down. It will never turn on you. It will never leave you lonely.

It is a strong person of faith who turns to the Lord in all instances. Many people will turn to the Lord only in times of trouble trying to make a deal. They are the very same people who ignore the Lord when things are good. God is not a magic genii who is there only for your troubles and hard times. He is there for all times – good, bad and in-between.

Think about that for a moment while I ask another question or two.

I want you to think of your best friend. Have they ever abandoned you in times of trouble? Have they been there to help you rejoice when things are good?

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

There is someone who will always be there. He will always help. He will always rejoice. He will always guide, and He will always love.

Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery