We must continue to have faith!

September 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For nothing is impossible with God.
(Luke 1:37 (NIV))

It is so easy to get discouraged, especially when you take a look at all of the things that are going on in the world today. Wars and rumors of wars are rampant. Sin is increasing. What is good is now called evil and what is evil is now called good. We are living in a time where nothing makes sense, for what is in each person’s heart is what is considered truth. Truth is no longer looked upon as absolute. We can create our own truth. It sounds like we are rapidly becoming a world that now chooses to no longer believe that there is a greater power than us.

We are not capable of being able to discern good from evil. We are not capable of creating our own truth. If humanity is capable of so much good, then why do we have all of the wars and the rumors of wars?

We are experiencing things that are foretold of in Daniel, Ezekiel and in Revelation. It seems that all around us is chaos. Do not fear, for we are given hope through the words written in Luke.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
(Luke 21:25-28 (NIV))

In the midst of all that we face, we must continue to have faith, for it is by faith that we are saved. Consider the events depicted in Luke 1:27 – Luke 2:20. Mary exhibited a faith that led to the birth of Jesus. She held on to a faith that allowed a virgin to give birth. She held on to a faith that brought forth a child that would become the Lamb of God.

For nothing is impossible with God.
(Luke 1:37 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you listen to advice?

May 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
(Proverbs 19:20 (NIV))

Do you listen to advice or do you try to do things on your own?

There is an old saying that says that two heads are better than one. In essence, advice is a wise thing to receive. It often gets you to stop and think things through. It often gets you to look at things from a different perspective. It gets you to slow down before you act without thinking.

Of course, not all advice is good. We must learn to balance where the advice comes from with the credibility of the one giving the advice. In other words, don’t be foolish and accept marriage advice from someone who has never been married. Definitely don’t accept advice about spiritual issues from someone who thinks that each of us is a god. Weigh the credibility and discern which advice to listen to.

Perhaps wisdom comes from being able to discern the fact that you need advice and the ability to discern that not all advice is good. Only one source of advice is completely correct all of the time. That is the source that you should trust implicitly for all of your instruction. Turn to the one who made everything. Turn to the one who wrote the instruction manual. Turn to God and His Word for all of your advice and instruction. Rely on Godly counsel also, but test their counsel to make sure it follows God’s Word.

Wisdom comes slowly. It comes from knowing that you do not know everything. It comes from knowing that other people do not know everything. It comes from realizing that God, who created everything, is the only true source of instruction. It comes from realizing that God is God and we are in need of Him. Rely on God’s Word and wisdom will follow.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose acceptance is more important to you?

May 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
(John 5:41-44 (NIV))

Ouch! That hurts.

Would Jesus say this to us today? Have we become like the people that He was condemning in this passage?

Many claim to be part of the Body of Christ, but do our actions reflect this? Do we seek acceptance from man more than we seek acceptance from God? Do we look to people who are accepted by man and think that they must be Godly for they have been blessed with fame and fortune? How do we look upon Christian music artists and mega-church pastors? Do we praise them for their fame or do we listen and discern what they are saying with respect to God’s Word?

It doesn’t only apply at the grand scale. It can apply to a local congregation if we seek acceptance from one another instead of from God. Please do not confuse this type of acceptance with what we are called to do as a church. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to accept people as Jesus accepted people. We are not called to place the desire to be accepted by people above accepting Jesus.

After we have done something that the Lord has called us to do, do we seek acceptance from our friends, family and fellow members of the Body of Christ? I honestly believe that the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector has merit in our ways of seeking acceptance.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

When we seek acceptance from anyone else but God, we are trying to exalt ourselves. We are prideful. We want everybody to know who we are and what we have done. Is this how Jesus told us to serve?

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

We can seek the acceptance of man or we can seek the acceptance of Jesus.

Whose acceptance is more important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Good instructions then and now

June 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

Paul often wrote words of encouragement. The words just before this passage start off reminding people that they cannot know the hour or the day, for it will come like a thief in the night. Paul encouraged the church of Thessalonians to stay away from the darkness and to stay in the light. He urged them to encourage each other. He encouraged them to live in peace with each other.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 (NIV))

Being a part of the Body of Christ is more than claiming Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That will give you salvation, but it is not all that Jesus asks of each of us. We are to live out our lives encouraging other members of the Body of Christ. We are to live by the teachings that we have been left, and that does include the Old Testament.

We are to be examples to each other and to those who are not part of the Body of Christ.

We are to also listen to the Holy Spirit. We must live our lives in such a way that we respond to where He is leading us. We must not turn away from that leading, and we must not do anything that will cause others to turn away from that leading. We must listen to those who are in authority over us spiritually, yet we must not take that authority blindly. We must know God’s Word.

We must be able to discern when something is not true.

As Paul so aptly put it, we must test everything, for the enemy can make a lie sound like the truth. The enemy can seduce us with lies that are pure evil coated in an appealing shell of partial truth. If we are not careful, we can be be lead astray.

Paul knew this and his words to the Thessalonians were good instructions then and now. They are extremely good words to live out your life of faith in Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NIV))

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