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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Why did the crowds turn on Jesus?

March 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
(John 12:12 (NIV))

Jesus made a very triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. It fulfilled prophesy. It ignited the hopes of the people. It united the people in believing that Jesus was a king, but not in the way that He truly was and is.

What happened in the few days from Sunday to Friday?

Why did the crowds turn on Him?

What made them go from enthusiasm to what can only be called rebellion and hatred?

I have often heard the saying that a person is intelligent, but people are dumb. They are like sheep when in a mob. The mob mentality was and still is something that can turn very quickly from a positive to a negative. Satan used this for what he thought would be his victory.

Are we still falling prey to the mob mentality today? Is the Body of Christ easily swayed by lies planted by the enemy? Do we simply accept things without verification when we are in large crowds? Why do we lose our ability to discern the truth? Are we afraid to stand apart from the crowd?

Think about these questions.

What happens to us, individually, as members of the Body of Christ if we fall into the mob mentality and go along with the mob? What happens if we deny Jesus? What happens if we go along with the mob to save our physical existence but lose our eternal existence with God?

Human nature is a fickle thing. One day we can be enthusiastically embracing something and the next day we can be vehemently denying it. It is my prayer that we can stay focused on Jesus and learn to deny our human nature. I know that I can trust Jesus. I am positive that I cannot trust myself.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

June 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:34-36 (NIV))

In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

“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))

No matter what we may face in this life, we must never forget where our strength lies. We must never forget that we are not our own source of strength. If we rely upon ourselves, then we will be weighed down by the anxieties of life. Our anxieties are far greater than we are. They are not greater than Jesus. When we focus on Jesus and the promises that He has fulfilled, then our anxieties tend to pale in comparison. We see His eternal strength and the fleeting problems soon are no longer important. They may still be there, but Jesus will give us the strength, His strength, to see them through.

We must stay alert and watch so that we will be able to discern the anxieties that come our way. Our vision will see them approaching and in our frail humanity, we may panic. We must learn to see them through the eyes of Jesus. Through His eyes, all obstacles are made easier. He teaches us how to rely on Him while we encounter them.

Are you ever watchful?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Commitment shows in all that you do

July 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(2 Timothy 2:1-10 (NIV))

How true these words are! If you are committed to something, it shows in all that you do.

A good soldier lives, eats and breathes military issues. Are we not soldiers of Christ? Then we should live, eat and breathe only righteous issues, things that Jesus would deal with if He were here in our places. If we do as the world does, and focus on our objective, then we will be rewarded as those in the world are rewarded: We will be the first to receive a share of what is righteous.

The world receives worldly things that will tarnish and fade with time. Our reward will be eternal salvation and glory with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All the rewards the world has to offer pale in comparison to the reward that will be ours if we are strong in our faith and witness reliably to all who can hear.

Is your witness reliable and are you focused on Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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According to your faith will it be done to you

December 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;
(Matthew 9:29 (NIV))

Think about that passage. The words that Jesus spoke cut right to the heart!

“According to your faith will it be done to you”

What type of faith do you have? Is it a faith that will leave you desolate and barren or is it a faith that will leave you rejoicing and thankful? It is up to you. Your faith is your decision. You can decide to have little faith or a great faith. You will also reap the rewards for your type of faith.

In our world today, it is very easy to allow the world and its problems into our lives. When this happens, it is very easy for faith to falter. Sometimes it will even fail. Even when this happens, faith is resilient. It can grow back from almost nothing into something mighty.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

Faith truly is like the mustard seed. It can start out small, but with time and attention, it will grow. Each time you see faith at work, it will feed upon itself. Faith grows faith. Soon it will be like the mustard seed.

Be careful, because just like any physical thing that grows, faith can also be killed. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus in all things. If bad things happen, don’t let that kill your faith. Focus on Jesus and use your faith and His strength to see you through it. Perhaps faith is a matter of perspective. If you choose to see it and use it, it will grow. If you choose not to see it, then it will die.

If you ask something of Jesus, what will you receive when He says, “According to your faith will it be done to you”?

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