Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

February 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
(Hebrews 3:1 (NIV))

What do you think about?

When you fix your thoughts on something, you make a deliberate effort to think about that one thing. Following Jesus is a deliberate process. You cannot simply set out to do whatever you want to and claim that you are a follower of Jesus.

Deliberate effort!

In other words, you must choose Jesus at all times. You must constantly think about Jesus and His actions and His teachings. These are the actions and the teachings that we are to follow. We are to fix our thoughts on these actions and teachings. We are to fix our hearts as well as our thoughts. We are to focus. We are to make every effort. We are to be deliberate in our thoughts and our actions so that they reflect Jesus in all that we do.

Following Jesus requires us to be deliberate!

We cannot be nonchalant in our faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you prepared to face?

August 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
(John 15:18 (NIV))

Do you think that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior that everything will be smooth sailing?

Think about the words from John.

Did Jesus have it smooth during His time among us? He faced crowds that wanted to hurt Him. He was betrayed. He was falsely accused. He was severely beaten, and He was crucified.

Jesus was hated by the worldly systems and the powers of the earth.

Are we, as the modern church, ready to face this same type of hatred? Are we willing to surrender our lives and take a stand for Jesus?

We have all seen the reports of what is being perpetrated by ISIS on Christians. We have seen the threats that they are coming to this country. We have seen society turn away from Jesus and anything to do with Christianity. We have watched as the lie of separation of church and state has become the accepted thought. We have watched as our own government is abandoning Israel and embracing its enemies.

What are you prepared to face?

Will you abandon your faith in Jesus because society tells you to, or will you take a stand for Jesus and face the hatred that the enemy and the world heap upon you?

Following Jesus is not an easy task, but the rewards for being faithful are like no other. We will face the enemy. We will face death. We will face more than we can possibly imagine, but take heart. Jesus is returning for His bride. We will be embraced in the loving arms of God. Our sins are forgiven because we have placed our faith in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sincerity your goal?

August 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:9-16 (NIV))

Simple rules to live by. A simple philosophy to hold fast to when all around you is falling apart.

If that is the case, then why do many of us cling to what is evil and reject what is good? Perhaps we will never truly know why human nature has sunk to a point where sin and Satan cloud our hearts, minds and spirits. They are clouded so much that we cannot see what is good when it is right before our eyes. Even believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have trouble with these characteristics and discerning which is from God.

I cannot remember who said it, but there is a quote that says something to the effect that Christianity is a good thing, but it is too bad that nobody has ever practiced it. Following Jesus is a good thing, however, in our human nature and in our sinful flesh, we cannot follow Jesus on our own without making mistakes. Perhaps the person who spoke those words did not understand that we are not perfect, and as a result, our worship of Jesus as Lord and Savior, and our attempts to follow Him are far from perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect that they missed is that they are not perfect and are in need of a savior to justify themselves to God.

We must strive to be like Jesus in all that we do, yet, we must not be proud or conceited, for it is not anything that we have done that has allowed us special favor with God. It was a sacrifice planned by God that has allowed us to be forgiven when we are less than perfect. Perhaps the person who spoke about nobody practicing Christianity did not take into consideration the word “practice.” The last time I looked, the word “practice” meant to do something over and over again in hopes of getting better at it.

This is my goal, to get better at following Jesus. I desire to practice Christianity so that the words in Romans are more than mere words. What is your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship

September 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:14-18 (NIV))

Following the words of Jesus is often a contradiction of what the world would have you believe. These two examples are excellent proof of that.

Forgiveness is not something that human nature automatically and freely gives. In the eyes of society, and especially with men, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. Weakness is not a trait that is welcome in this world. Strength and power are the goals in the worldly life.

Prayer is another area that the world sees as a weakness. It is either considered a weakness if you pray, or, in certain aspects of society, it is considered a weakness if you do not pray loudly and in public.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God does not call you to yell to Him in front of many people. That is not a relationship. It is more like cheerleading. God calls us to be in a relationship with Him. Relationships require one-on-one time and close, intimate conversation. How many times has a man won a bride by yelling at her in public? Not too often, if any! It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship.

Do you go against the world view?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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