Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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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))

I don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you let yourself be sharpened?

May 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 (NIV))

Do you like to be held accountable?

Do you like to have your feet held to the fire?

Each and every one of us have a set of expectations placed on us by our families, our friends and our employers. Have you ever stopped to think about the expectations that the Body of Christ has for you? Have you ever stopped to think about your responsibility to other members of the Body of Christ?

As members of the Body of Christ, we are to hold each other accountable. We are also called to support each other in times of need. We are called to keep each other accountable not only to each other, but also to God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Son. We do this by getting involved in the lives of each other. We can’t simply just gather together for an hour on Sunday and possibly think that this is all we need.

We are called to be community. We are called to be the Body of Christ!

Does a body only exist together for a short time and then go separate ways? Does a hand get up and leave the body? Each member is there to provide support and to be supported.

We get our strength from each other. As one member grows, all members grow. As one member is sharpened, all members are sharpened. All of this occurs because we learn from each other. We mature in our faith when in community.

We are told to fellowship with other believers. We are told that fellowship is part of the Gospel.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

Do you let yourself be sharpened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you find yourself going?

August 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Perhaps a better way to look at this is to replace the word aliens with the word tourists.

Let me explain.

The last time that you went on a vacation, did you seek out the sinful areas of the places that you visited or did you seek the places of beauty? A tourist does not go somewhere seeking to find the sin. They go seeking to see something of beauty that is different from what they are used to. Some love to go to the mountains. Some love to go to the beach. Others love to go on cruises, but no one goes looking to find the depravity of the areas that they visit.

We, as members of the Body of Christ, are aliens, we are tourists, in this world. We should not be focused on the sin that has overtaken the world or we may find ourselves falling into that very sin.

We are to remain blameless!

I know that this is impossible in our humanity, for we are all fallen. However, we have one who intercedes for us so that we can rely on His strength instead of ours. When we are facing temptations within this world, rely on Jesus to see you through them. Don’t allow the enemy to trick you into going somewhere that you don’t want to go.

Accountability, fellowship and community are important.

Think back on the tourist concept. When you are a tourist, do you go alone or do you go with other people? Being alone is dangerous. The enemy will recognize that you are alone and vulnerable. That is when sin has the opportunity to arise.

Where do you find yourself going?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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