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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Who do you speak to please?

March 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV))

Paul wasn’t afraid to say what he knew to be true. I often wonder what he would think of our politically correct society? Perhaps I should take that one painful step further and ask the question that too many of us are thinking. How do you think Paul would react when confronted with our politically correct churches?

I hate to say this, but have we become too concerned with pleasing people, with not telling the truth because it would hurt their feelings?

Did Paul ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings?

Let’s go one step further. Did Jesus ever hold back the truth because it would hurt feelings? I’ll give you a little hint. Go ask the group of people whom He called a brood of vipers.

Sugar coating the truth does more damage than it does good.

Imagine that you are in a situation where you come across a group of people who are badly injured and dying. You look around and you see that there is a hospital across the street. Do you calmly tell them to be patient and that they will be all right, or do you tell them the truth?

If you want to live, follow me! I will take you to someone who can save you.

Paul knew the urgency of the words that he had been given to preach. He spoke with the desire to help people find salvation no matter what they may think or feel. He knew that his words would make some people angry. He knew that his words would make some people want to imprison him or kill him.

If given a choice between speaking words that please people of that please God, who do you speak to please?

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

January 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
(2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

Paul’s words to Timothy seem to start off to place blame, yet, he quickly turns that around to profess that he is not ashamed. He knows what he believes. He professes a faith that will see him through anything that the enemy may send his way.

How does this compare to what we have all been guilty of? How does this compare to our own situations?

For too many believers, blame is an easy thing to place. We have a tendency to revel in our own self pity in hopes that someone will acknowledge that we are suffering. I hate to say this, but it is almost an ego centered self pity. We want to be the best at something in order to draw attention to ourselves, so we seem to excel at suffering and blame.

God did not create us to be trapped in this ghastly situation. He did not send His Son, Jesus, to live, teach, suffer and die so that we can wallow in self pity and blame. He sent His Son to give us hope, grace and salvation. He did not send Him to give us suffering and self pity.

These come from the enemy.

When we, as the Body of Christ, suffer at the hands of unbelievers, have faith. Do not be ashamed when these attacks come your way, for they are designed to sway you from your faith. Rejoice in Jesus and stand firm in the assurance that He is able to guard what you have entrusted to Him.

The world does not understand how we can rejoice when we are suffering. The world wants to break us. The world wants to strip us of our faith. Our faith is not based on this world. Our faith is based on Jesus.

I once heard of a Chinese pastor who had been imprisoned for his faith. Part of his “job” while in prison was to shovel human waste. It is told that he stood waste deep in it for most of the day, yet he clung to his faith. He sang the whole day and always had a smile on his face in spite of his surroundings. He possessed a faith that saw him through all that the enemy sent his way.

Are you suffering because of your faith? Are you ashamed of your faith?

Examine your heart and ask yourself this question.

Am I convinced that Jesus is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him?

I pray that your answer is honest.

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