Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are all called to be a witness to His light!

July 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
(John 1:8 (NIV))

It would have been so easy for John the Baptist to claim some of the glory, after all, it was John that the crowds originally went to see. It was John and the message that he brought that made the people go into the wilderness and seek his message. When asked point blank if he was the one, he stood his ground. He only claimed to be who and what he was sent to be. He then clearly pointed to where praise, honor and glory needed to go.

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”
(John 1:23 (NIV))

John was sent to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Jesus. He simply stood at a point in time where he would be used to clearly point to the Light that was to come. Everybody who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior should take a lesson from John and pay special attention to his modesty. The only attention that he wanted was the attention given to his message of repentance. Still, people pressed for answers.

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
(John 1:24-27 (NIV))

John was exemplary in fulfilling his mission, which was to point to the light. He proclaimed that the light was coming and when Jesus came, John stepped aside so that the light could shine. To be honest with you, isn’t that what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are all called to be a witness to His light! Then we are to step out of the way so that it can shine!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Never stop studying God’s Word!

November 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
(Matthew 22:29 (NIV))

I know that Jesus spoke these words to the Sadducees when they were trying to trick Him with a question about the resurrection, but I often wonder if He looks at me and thinks that of me?

Let’s face facts. We have all had these feelings and thoughts, for the more we study God’s Word, the more we realize that we don’t know. I often wonder about this aspect of God. We are told that His ways are not our ways and that our understanding is as if we were looking through a dark glass. Just when we think we understand what we see through the dark glass, God turns up His light just a little and He shows us more about Himself. After this had happened to me a few times, I realized that I knew nothing of God’s infinite wisdom and His power.

All that I was seeing was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to truly knowing God. It takes a lifetime of studying God’s Word. It takes a lifetime of prayer. It takes a lifetime spent in His presence to ever begin to fathom the depth and breadth of God and His love for us.

I want you to promise me something. Actually, I want you to promise yourself something, and that is that you will never stop studying God’s Word, that you will never stop praying, and that you will never stop seeking to be in God’s presence. I pray that as we all do these things, that there will eventually be fewer times where Jesus will tell us that we are in error because we do not know the Scriptures. I also want you to promise that your study will not simply be for gaining head knowledge. Let the power of God’s Word permeate your thoughts and the wisdom settle in your heart!

I long to truly know the Scriptures and the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our society has enough darkness. Don’t add to it!

September 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

Jesus brought the “Light” into this world. We, as believers, have accepted His Light and have been blessed to shine so that others may see His Light. Do not be ashamed to shine His Light for others to see.

That is the most important task that we are to do. If we fail at this task, then we fail Jesus. We have not done the thing that Jesus came into this world to do.

He did not hide His Light, nor did He only let it shine when it was safe for Him to do so. He let it shine so that all could see. He also did not select when it would shine. The Light of God shone through Jesus at all times.

It is easy to let the Light shine through us when we are around other believers. How are you at shining when those around you are not believers? Do you still shine as bright, or do you have a spiritual dimmer switch?

Our society has enough darkness. Don’t add to it!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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But who are you?

July 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
(Acts 19:15 (NIV))

Think about that question for a moment.

“But who are you?”

Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
(Acts 19:16 (NIV))

Simply invoking the name of Jesus does not work!

Let’s back up just a bit and look at the beginning of this passage.

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
(Acts 19:13-14 (NIV))

These men did not know Jesus. They did not know His power and authority. They had heard about it through what they had heard about Paul. They thought that they could simply mention the name of Jesus and the evil spirits would leave.

Think about that for a moment. This sounds like people who claim that they can get a “celebrity” because a friend of a friend’s aunt went to school with the celebrity’s mother. In other words, they know nothing of the person. There is no relationship there. They are basically name dropping.

These men who were invoking the name of Jesus to drive out evil spirits were name dropping. There was no relationship with Jesus that they could call upon and the evil spirits new this. Keep in mind that the evil spirits used to be angels and they knew Jesus. They cowered at His name, yet, when confronted with someone that they knew did not know Jesus, they took full advantage of it.

Jesus is not a magical name that you can simply pronounce and all evil will flee. Jesus is not a genii who will do your every bidding.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Evil spirits tremble at His power and name. If you invoke the name of Jesus, make sure that you have a personal relationship with Him. Accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Spend time in God’s Word. Become intimate with what Jesus said and did. Learn how to mature into the image of Jesus. Know His heart and seek to walk in His Light. If your heart longs for the things that are of God, then the evil spirits will know your name. They will see the evidence of His presence in your life. They will see the touch of the Holy Spirit upon you and will know that you are not just dropping names.

The evil spirits will not respond with “but who are you?”

They will know that you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

But who are you?

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