Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

February 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

It is definitely not human nature to rejoice over suffering!

Who will willingly go headlong into a situation where you know that you will suffer? What if you know that there is another way and that you will not suffer at all? Would you still choose the path that results in suffering?

On the surface, these types of questions seem to be sheer stupidity. After all, everyone likes things to be smooth sailing with no resistance, but . . .

There is always a “but”!

What happens when you look at things with an eternal perspective?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
(Luke 6:22 (NIV))

There is a time when suffering in this world is a choice that I would gladly make. It is an indication that I have rejected the world and its sinful nature. It is an indication that I have accepted the salvation bought and paid for in full at the cross. It is a sign that I have been rejected by the world just as the world rejected Jesus. It is a sign of faith to choose to face suffering in this world instead of rejecting Jesus and facing suffering for all eternity.

When you look at this passage from this perspective, it brings a whole new understanding to the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

November 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV))

Most of us just finished a meal, a feast, in which we gathered together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings that we have. It is good to be thankful, especially when you consider that whatever you are thankful for can be gone in an instant. Loved ones can be taken from us. Health can be good one minute and forever a problem the very next. The homes that we have can go up in smoke and the finances that we store away for our future can be worthless the very next day.

No matter the state of the things of this world, there is one thing that we should be eternally thankful for. There is a treasure that lasts forever! That treasure is Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

We celebrate an earthly thanksgiving with a meal. We also celebrate an eternal thanksgiving by partaking of a holy meal, a holy communion. This participation in the cup and in the bread is a special symbol of our thanksgiving for what we have been given, but we should not limit our thankfulness to the Lord to just this particular moment. Every meal should be a reflection, a moment of thankfulness to God, for what we have been given. Not only every meal, but everything that is good should cause us to give thanks to the true source of all that is good.

Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly triumphant?

September 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
(Revelation 12:11 (NIV))

Do you have what it will take to triumph over the enemy?

Are you willing to do what it takes to find eternal life?

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
(Matthew 16:25 (NIV))

If you truly stop to think about those two questions, there really isn’t any difference in what it takes to triumph over the enemy and what it takes to find eternal life. Both require placing your faith and trust in the blood of the Lamb. They require trusting Jesus completely with all aspects of your life, no matter what the world may do to you.

Do you trust Jesus completely?

Is your faith strong enough to lay down your life if necessary?

Jesus did it for you! Jesus did it for me!

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Jesus calls you and I friends. He laid down His life for us in faith that we would be able to accept His gift of grace and mercy. Have we taken this gift to heart and can we truly claim that we triumph over the enemy by His blood? Do we love this life or do we long to be with Him?

Are you truly triumphant?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you gather in His name?

May 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
(Matthew 18:20 (NIV))

Have you ever truly encountered Jesus?

Based on this passage, it is clear when Jesus will grace us with His presence.

Do you encounter Jesus in your church? Do you encounter Jesus in your home? Do you encounter Jesus with your friends? Are these gatherings truly in His name or are they just a social event? What is the main purpose of these gatherings? Is there bickering and gossip? When you friends gather, do you talk about Jesus or do you talk about something else, such as work or sports?

Think about your answers for they will be very revealing about when and how often you actually do encounter Jesus.

My mind is racing all over the place with thoughts about missed opportunities to be with Jesus. If He is our Lord and Savior, we should gather with others who have been redeemed and praise His name even if it is with just one other person. He will inhabit the hearts of the faithful!

Do you want to bring about revival?

Do you want to see God move in your city?

Do you want to see lives changed?

Gather in His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How strong is your love for God’s children?

April 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

Are you willing to go to this extreme?

Are you willing to lay down your life so that others can know salvation?

That is what Jesus was willing to do when the Father looked down from heaven and saw the sin in the world. That is what Jesus was willing to do so that all may be able to be redeemed. This is what Jesus was willing to do so that we may have the ability to spend eternity with God.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this simple fact. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for you. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for me. He would have done it for only one person, but He did it for all. Through deductive reasoning, we are friends of Jesus and He is a friend of ours. If someone is willing to lay down one’s life for you, then they must consider you a friend.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:2 (NIV))

The primary work that Jesus came to accomplish was to lay down His life so that we may know salvation. Are we, as the Body of Christ, called to do any less so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? God’s love for us was made manifest through Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to allow God’s love to shine through you?

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