Boast about Jesus!

July 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.
(Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV))

Do you ever boast and brag?

Be honest!

It is human nature to boast about things. Even when we don’t mean to, we have a tendency to boast and brag. If you have ever written a resume or gone on a job interview, you have probably boasted about your accomplishments.

Have you ever been around someone who bragged so much that they were difficult to put up with?

Let’s face it, there is a fine line between being truthful and being prideful. It is a fine line that is very easy to cross.

What happens if someone asks you about your job? Do you tell them that you are part of a team or do you lay out your responsibilities to make it sound like you are the central core to all of the functions that are performed at your office?

What happens when someone asks you about your children? Do you respond with what they are doing or do you go on an on about how they are the center of every activity that they are involved in?

We all boast, but is there anything in our lives that we can truly boast about? Did we create our job? Did we build our house? Did we design our car? Did we teach our children all that they know? We have had a hand in none of these things, yet we boast about them all of the time.

What do you do when you are confronted about your faith?

What do you do when you are confronted about knowing Jesus?

Personally, I find it very disturbing that people do not boast about knowing Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Creator of all things, God, the Father, has sent His only Son, Jesus, to save us from our sin. Jesus calls us by name. God calls us by name. The Creator knows my name and He has a plan to redeem me for a full relationship with Him.

If this isn’t something to brag about, I don’t know what is!

Our society has become too complacent, too jaded with God and with Jesus. We have gotten to the point where we simply take it for granted. We are not willing to share the good news. We are not willing to boast about our relationship with the Creator. We are not willing to boast that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin! Instead, we boast about things that are trivial. We boast about the football team that we support. We boast about the fish that we caught. We boast about our new car. We boast about everything but that we know and understand our Lord.

Will your car save you? Will your job bring you eternal life? Will your favorite football team pay you when they win?

Boast about Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you take refuge behind a baby in a manger?

December 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

Do you think of the baby laid in a manger as a fortress?

Be honest with yourself. It is so hard to picture ourselves taking refuge behind a baby. I know that this verse was written to refer to God the Father, but in all honesty, we must picture Jesus in this same role, no matter at what point in His earthly walk.

But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.
(John 10:34 (NIV))

If we, as the Body of Christ, truly believe John 10:34, then we should have no trouble claiming that the baby in the manger is our fortress. He is our rock. He is our salvation.

When you were born and as you grew up, your family probably took pictures of you at the various stages of your life. They did not take a picture of the next door neighbor and claim that it was you. In similar fashion, when Jesus was born into this world, He did not change from someone else into who He was born to be. He was born Lord and Savior. He lived as Lord and Savior. He died to fulfill His mission as Lord and Savior. At no point in His earthly existence was He you or I. He was Jesus!

At Christmas, we think of Jesus as a baby, but we often overlook the fact that Jesus was more than just a baby. God ordained that from birth Jesus would be Lord and Savior. The baby in the manger was our fortress and our refuge just as He is now our fortress and our refuge.

Think about this the next time that you see a manger scene. It is not a bunch of people gathering around a baby, they are gathering around their King, a king who was responsible for their future!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What traditions do you follow?

November 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
(1 Corinthians 1:22-23 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting how different groups of people look for different things before they will believe.

Jewish history is full of signs, wonders and miracles, so they expect something from God to be announced in that matter. The Greeks have always been known as the creators of intellectual thought, so therefore, anything must be analyzed and make logical sense.

What other traditions have we inherited that make us look at Jesus in ways that don’t allow us to truly see him as God the Father intended? What has society done to further distract us from seeing Jesus?

Humanity tries to do things the way that we think that they should be, but hasn’t God told us that His ways are not man’s ways. If we try to approach Jesus in any way that man has devised, then we will miss the intentions of God when He sent Jesus to us.

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)

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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“Do you believe this?”

November 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

Salvation comes down to four simple words!

“Do you believe this?”

Each of us believes in something. Some of us believe that they will win the lottery. Some of us believe that they will have a perfect life. Some of us believe that they can do no wrong. No matter what you believe, these beliefs will eventually leave you disappointed and heart broken.

There is only one thing that you can believe in that will absolutely never leave you disappointed in the long term. That is a belief that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and that through His redemptive sacrifice on the cross, we have eternal life with God the Father if we only believe and act on our belief.

All of eternity comes down to four simple words. How and where you spend eternity depends on your personal answer.

Have you fully embraced the grace and mercy that is yours if you only profess a belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you prepared to fully embrace the consequences of your beliefs?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you endure or do you give in?

October 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12 (NKJV))

Temptation is everywhere. Is it really possible for anyone to resist the temptation that they see everywhere they look? Even those who follow God have given in to temptation at some point in their lives.

Take a look at David. The Bible says that he was a man after God’s own heart, yet, in a moment of weakness, he did something that was a direct result of temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. When he was in the desert, Satan tempted Him, yet, Jesus held firm. What was the difference then between David and Jesus?

Only Jesus, as God’s Son, could perfectly resist all temptation. Frail humanity does not have the wisdom and insight that Jesus had due to His direct communication with God the Father. Jesus was perfect. No one else can ever be perfect in this world because of the sin introduced through Adam and Eve.

But, we have the power of forgiveness! God, through His infinite wisdom and mercy gave us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way to wash away the sins of this world. All we have to do is call upon the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior and the sin results of temptation will be as far from us as the east is from the west.

Do you endure or do you give in?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your freedom?

July 5, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16-1 (NIV))

We have just celebrated another July 4th. It is a day of celebration for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. It is a day that we celebrate the resolve of our founding fathers to break the chains that tied them to a king and country that did not see them as equals.

What was done by our founding fathers was great, but I want you to think about what Jesus did.

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))

God the Father had the resolve to break our captivity to sin. Jesus the Son had the resolve to do what was needed to break our chains of bondage. He willingly went to the cross so that we could be free; so that we could have salvation. He freed us from a far greater bondage than any physical oppression. He freed us from sin!

“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))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Please think about the fact that nothing in this world lasts. It is possible that something will happen and we will lose some or all of our freedoms that our founding fathers fought for.

The freedoms that are given through the Blood of Jesus can never be taken from us. We, in our human frailty, can turn our backs on the freedom from sin, but Jesus will never take it from us.

Jesus has broken every chain that can bind us to the law of sin and death!

All that you have to do is accept it.

Have you accepted your freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Resist the world and keep your eyes on the eternal

June 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:6-11 (NIV))

Remember that the world says to exalt yourselves and that the world does the opposite of what God would do, for it is ruled by Satan. Therefore, we must do opposite of what the world would do, for it is Godly and righteous.

We must not let the enemy sneak up on us, for he is cunning and crafty and the father of all lies. We must keep our eyes focused on God and Jesus and do the will of the Father in all that we do. We are called to become like Christ.

Jesus resisted the temptations of the world in the desert. Satan offered Him everything that is considered good in the eyes of the world, yet Jesus kept His eyes on God and rebuked Satan. Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. If He had accepted Satan’s offer, His glory would have come on this earth and not in heaven. We would not have a Savior, and we would not have a Redeemer.

Resist the world and keep your eyes on the eternal.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The keys to the kingdom

May 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:22-23 (NIV))

Who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to that single question carries more hope and faith than just about any other answer to any other question ever conceived. No matter how you answer, you are placing your faith in your understanding of God and His creation. Even if you do not believe that God exists, you are placing all of your faith in your answer. Your very being hinges upon your faith in something.

Faith is such a peculiar character trait.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There is a void in each of our lives. That void is designed to be filled by God. Since sin came into this world, many things have been used to try and fill that void. Some use power. Some use wealth. Some use lust. Some even try to use God to fill that void. Everyone has faith that what they use will fill the void. Nothing can fill that void while we are still sinners. God cannot associate with sin. He cannot fill us when we are sinners. To this end, those who seek God without seeking salvation cannot find God. Salvation is available only through Jesus.

To those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior, we place our faith in the Biblical account of all of creation and God’s plan for redemption. Through this plan, we are given it all. We are given grace and mercy. We are given the atoning blood. We are given the Holy Spirit, and we are given God the Father.

Have you ever longed for a new car? You can test drive what you want. You can look at them at the dealer. You can sit in one, but it does not mean that it is yours. You have to take possession of the car. You have to have the keys! Trying to take possession of a new car without taking possession of the keys will get you nowhere. Take possession of the gift that is Jesus. He is the key to having God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Who is the liar? Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He was crucified, dead and buried. He arose on the third day. Thousands of people saw Him after His resurrection. They saw Him ascend into heaven. Is Jesus the Christ? Is He your Savior? Is He your key to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

March 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

Peace!

Have you ever stopped to think about the opposite of peace?

War!

I saw something the other day that made me think about God’s peace in a different light.

Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, through our sin, we have been at war with God. We have attempted to do things our way with results that are less than stellar. We, as humanity, have been and still are in a war with God. We have rebelled and we are still fighting Him in all that we do. As a result of our war with God, things have happened throughout history and in each of our lives. We have suffered for our rebellion, and not because our Lord is a mean God. We suffer because we have rebelled. We have fallen away from His grace, but not His authority.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is an acknowledgment that you are tired of fighting the war and the battles with sin. I know that to those who don’t understand, this next statement will label the Body of Christ as weak. Those who profess a faith in Jesus surrender to the authority that God was, is and is to come. God did not create us to be at war with Him. He created us to share in His peace. He created us to share in His blessings.

Once we are at peace with God the Father, we experience the blessings of life in ways that we could never imagine. We see the joy in a sunrise. We see God’s grace in the midst of troubles. We hear the voice of God when the world is shouting at us loudly. And in all of this, we become content.

The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied.

We are not content in the state of the fallen world. We are content in knowing that whatever happens, God loves us and will see us through whatever the world may send our way.

Have you ever known someone who is content in the middle of chaos? I have met a few individuals who can fit into this picture, however, this is not the image that we are given in God’s Word. God offers us peace and happiness even when we, as fallen humanity, are at war with God’s grace.

Are you still at war with God?

Have you surrendered?

Have you found peace?

Have you found true happiness and contentment?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

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

March 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
(Colossians 3:12 – 4:6 (NIV))

Many people have taken bits and pieces out of this scripture to uphold their beliefs about someone’s role in their household or in society in general.

Let’s take a look at the whole text and examine the overall meaning. Instead of saying that wives are inferior in status to their husbands, or that slavery is justifiable, take a look at the overall theme running through the scripture.

Paul was writing to not justify the bad practices of society, but to set an example of how we are to act even if we find ourselves in situations that are in authority or are in submission. Simply stated, Paul was saying that we are to be Jesus to the people that we are around, no matter how we find ourselves in relation to them.

If we are in authority, we do not need to take advantage of that authority and harm people under our authority. The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. But, we must remember who is our absolute authority and focus on that.

If we find ourselves in a position of submission to others, we must not desire the power for ourselves, nor must we be angry about our situation. Do your tasks with joy and you will be rewarded. Bitterness is a hard pill to swallow. If you go about your day with bitterness because of your situation, others will treat you as you treat them. If, in your situation, you still maintain a glad heart and joy and love are reflected through you, others will reflect these back to you and your situation will not be as bad as it appears.

To use a saying from the computer industry, “Garbage in, garbage out!” Basically, what you put into life is what you will reap. Put Jesus into yours.

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