Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

Image

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
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook

Advertisements

Are we capable of this type of obedience?

April 26, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
(John 5:8 (NIV))

I don’t know too many people who like to be given orders!

Most people I know don’t even like to be given instructions, especially the men. It is human nature to only do things if we think that it is our idea, and then we still procrastinate terribly before we actually get started.

Is this situation any different from your typical life experience where you are told to do something?

Think about that for a moment. There has to be a motive, a desire to do the things that we are being commanded to do. If in doubt of this, simply remember your childhood and two commands that each of us have probably heard more than we care to admit. The first command is “Go clean your room!” Did you? Would you? If you are like me, this was a very dreaded thing to do and was always met with procrastination. The second command is “Go outside and play!” Chances are that this was said when you were inside and getting into trouble. It is almost a certainty that you were probably outside before those words stopped echoing off of the walls.

What is the difference?

It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of desires. When Jesus spoke these words to the man who was paralyzed, you have to put yourself into the life of this man. He wanted nothing more than to walk. He wanted to be healed! The command that Jesus gave this man was exactly what he wanted to hear. He was obedient to the command! In his obedience, he received a blessing. If the man had not been obedient to Jesus, he would have spent the rest of his life on that mat. God has so many wonderful blessings in store for us if we would simply be obedient to His calling.

Are we capable of this type of obedience?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What season and time is it?

September 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

What time do you think that it is?

We are told there are many different times that God has planned for.

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV))

I realize that some of these are not very pleasant. I realize that we experience all of them to some extent in our individual lives. Collectively, we seem to experience them as well. With all that is going on in the world right now, it seems as though we experience many of these on a daily basis. I have often wondered if there was any particular reason for the order of these events in these verses. I have also wondered how I am expected to react in each of these pairings of events. Each element in each pairing is the polar opposite from the other element in the pairing. Is God telling us that we will experience every possible situation in our lives and this is how He explained it by giving us many extremes of the same thing?

Life is precious!

Sadly, due to the fall from grace, we will experience life’s extremes. We will see things that will give us unimaginable joy and the very next minute, we will see things that bring us unimaginable pain.

I love the outlook that a friend has about life. He says that “I have never had a bad day. I have had some bad things happen on a good day, but I have never had a bad day!” If you believe that life is precious, then I pray that you see the wisdom in these words the next time that you face some of life’s extremes.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

August 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:25 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that there was nothing that you could do that would make the outcome be any different than a total disaster?

Where you surprised when the outcome was completely different than everyone expected?

All too often, we see things from our limited perspective, our limited understanding and our limited capabilities, and think that there is nothing that can be done. We see things as being impossible because we do not see the complete picture. I want you to think of a mouse in a maze. As you picture that mouse, it scampers all over the place trying to find its way while you have a birds eye view and can see exactly the path that should be taken. From the perspective of the mouse, it is impossible to find the way, but from your perspective, you can see every possible scenario and how to navigate to the destination. Does the mouse pay attention to you? Does it look up to you and try to figure out where it should go based on what you are doing?

I am not comparing anyone to a mouse, but our impossible situations that we experience are often no more than our inability to find our way according to the master plan of the maze that we call life. We see things from our perspective and our perspective is heavily weighted by our fears and our emotions. We experience the world through a limited understanding. We fail to see the possibilities with God because we focus on the impossibilities that we see.

What is it that is holding you back from the possibilities that are of God? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it a lack of faith and trust? Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and let God take over even when we think that what we need to do is possible in our own strengths?

Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: