Do you long for the light?

December 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light!

When Romans was written, Saul had already experienced his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus Road. He was left blinded but he was also left with a new perspective. It was only a few days before his eye sight returned, but he gained so much more than just the return of his physical eyes. He had witnessed the darkness of the world through the eyes of Jesus. He had come away with the realization that he had been a part of that darkness. He had come away from this experience with a new name. He was no longer called Saul. He was to put the past behind him and follow Jesus wherever He would lead. He was to be a witness to the Gentiles of the power of the light. He was to be called Paul! He was called out of the darkness of his former self and called into the marvelous light as a servant of the Lord Jesus!

Think about that. Paul was given the light. He knew that his path was to follow Jesus, yet, he still had to navigate through the darkness of this world. The darkness tried to stop him. Even so, Paul pressed on toward the light. He made it a priority to always pursue the light and to show others how to find it themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV))

Once you have found the light and have accepted His saving grace over your life, your night is nearly over. There will always be things in your life that remind you of the darkness. They will try to drag you back into it, but take heart. You have seen the light! You have encountered Jesus!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Do you long for the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

October 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
(2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, it is understood that he wrote them from prison in Rome. Even in the midst of being in prison, he had the strength of faith to reach out to assure Timothy and others that he stood firm in his faith. Paul knew beyond any doubt that his belief in Jesus was true. All you have to do is remember his Damascus Road experience to understand Paul’s strength of faith.

Even though Paul was strong in his faith, there is one statement in this passage that made me stop and reflect on my own attitude. It made me think about human nature and how any of us would react if we were put in prison. Most would feel ridicule, regret and shame. Now, how would you feel if you were thrown in prison for doing what you know is right? Does that sound like it is highly improbable? Take a look at Paul. Take a look at certain countries around the world where professing a faith in Jesus is either a prison sentence or a death sentence. Do you believe that this type of thing could not possibly happen to you?

We don’t know what is in store for us in the future.

We do know who holds our future!

The world may throw things at us that are unexpected. The enemy definitely will attack us with things that are unexpected. Professing a faith in Jesus is not a guaranteed life without hardships.

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 may not have recorded the words that Jesus spoke, but he definitely believed them and lived by them. Relying on your faith in Jesus is not something that we should ever be ashamed of. A true faith means that we are convinced that Jesus is with us even in the midst of suffering. A true faith recognizes this and is willing to deny the world even when it means suffering.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not implying that we must suffer to prove our faith. What I am saying is that there may come a day when we are called to reject Jesus or suffer. If this day ever comes, I pray that all who currently call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will stand firm in their faith.

Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you like to boast about?

March 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 (NIV))

Do you like to boast?

We are all guilty of it. It is human nature to toot our own horn. I have often wondered if this happens because we know ourselves and we are afraid to allow others to truly know us like we know ourselves. We say and do things to elevate ourselves in the eyes and minds of those around us so that they don’t see the real us. I suppose that you could say that we are all guilty of deception by the proverbial smoke and mirrors.

Paul had every reason to be able to boast based on his position in the Jewish society of his day. After his Damascus Road encounter, he realized that all of his accomplishments were nothing when compared to what Jesus had done for each and every one of us. His boasting went from that of self-centered, look at me actions to an I am nothing, look at Jesus type of action.

Why do we think that we have to elevate ourselves? Is it the sinful nature that is central to humanity? If you stop to think about it, boasting is an outward manifestation of pride.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Is this what we want to have happen? Do we want to be prideful and boast about ourselves, or do we want to change?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

What do you like to boast about?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to share more than God’s Word?

March 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
(1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV))

Have you ever met someone who wanted to tell you about Jesus, but didn’t want anything else to do with you?

Have you ever been that person?

What would Paul think about those actions? Would he say that these types of actions are Christ like? What if we took that one step further and asked if this is what Jesus had in mind when he told us to go and make disciples of all the world? Do you honestly think that Jesus meant for us to tell people about Him without sharing our lives and telling them about what He has done in our lives?

Think about that for a moment.

Are there things in your life that you have been through that you could use as a witnessing tool to people who are going through something similar?

Everyone has experiences and life events that have meaning and have had an impact in our lives. It is these very events that have made us who we are. Do you think that Paul never told people about his Damascus Road experience? Do you think that Paul never told how he was transformed from Saul into Paul?

God created humanity to share an intimacy with Him. That intimacy, even though it was lost, can be restored by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. That intimacy that has been restored is meant to be shared with others in such a way that it allows them to see Jesus in you. If you aren’t willing to share of yourself, are you truly following Jesus?

Are you willing to share more than God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

January 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
(1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

How do you react when you are asked to do something?

Typically, human nature can be boiled down to just a few basic types of responses. You get angry and proclaim that you already have too much to do. You run from the question. You say yes with the intent of not fulfilling your word. You say no and feel bad about your answer and do it anyway. You say yes and willingly step up to the task.

How do you typically respond to someone asking you to do something?

How do you respond when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you have a feeling that God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is calling you to service?

Saul, in his Damascus Road experience and his ultimate conversion to Paul, could possibly have responded with all typical human responses. Fortunately for us, the Gentile believers, Paul ultimately accepted that calling and responded. If Jesus can take someone who was persecuting the Body of Christ and turn him into the person who would be responsible for spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, then why do we limit what Jesus can do in our lives?

We should proclaim our trust in Jesus. We should acknowledge that Jesus has given us strength to do the things that He has called us to do. We should be faithful in our calling as we serve Him!

Do you thank Jesus for the strength and the faith to be of service to Him?

Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

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