What comforts you through the darkness?

June 8, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (NKJV))

Everyone faces darkness and tough times in their lives. What do you do when this happens? Do you cower in fear? Do you give in to the attacks of the enemy? Do you throw yourself a pity party and lock yourself away from the world in hopes that your tough times will go away? Do you lash out at the world trying to put up a front? Do you attack head-on in such a way that you think that you are able to overcome these times on your own?

To be honest with you, we have all probably used each one of these approaches in our lives when dealing with darkness and tough times. Have any of them truly worked? Did the tough times go away? Did your stress levels return to a peaceful state?

I have been on my journey with Jesus for a long time, and each time that I have faced a tough time in my life over the years, it has actually gotten easier to deal with. With each event, I have learned more about the promises of God. I have learned that I can trust Him to see me through, even when the world seems to be crashing in all around me. It hasn’t come easily, and my journey is still a work in progress, but I know that my faith is firmly placed in the One who created all things. I know that He will see me through all things, even the darkness. With the track record that the Lord has allowed me to experience, I can look back in all honesty and see how He was leading me. With this assurance, I can look ahead in all faith and know that He will lead me according to His will with my maturity in Jesus as the goal.

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in this truth even when I do not see any worldly way out of the darkness. I find great comfort in knowing that He is always with me!

What comforts you through the darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Jesus is alive!

April 13, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
(Matthew 28:6 (NIV))

Looking back at the last several weeks and what the whole world has endured, we need some good news!

There is no better news that we can receive than a heavenly announcement and acknowledgment that Jesus is alive!

When the angels announced that Jesus was not in the tomb, those who followed Jesus probably had been thinking prior to this announcement that their hopes had been shattered at the crucifixion. Can you imagine the joy that these words brought to them? They probably went from a feeling of despair and hopelessness to a feeling of jubilation and a peace that they did not understand.

What type of feelings have you experienced over the last several weeks? Be honest with yourself. Have you focused on the events of this world instead of focusing on God’s promises to those who love Him? If you have focused on God’s promises, I would venture to say that this Resurrection Sunday was probably a unique one as well as a blessed one. We may not have gathered in our church buildings to celebrate, but this reinforces the fact that buildings don’t make the church. People do!

Jesus came into the world to bring salvation to people, to individuals who would place their faith in Him. No matter how many people may be around you, in God’s plan, it doesn’t matter. He can call you in the middle of a large crowd or He can call you in the middle of a desert. If the world tries to keep His people from meeting together, then the Lord can meet with each one of us individually as He sees fit. This can only be done because we have placed our faith in His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior. This only matters because of one very important piece of good news!

The grave could not hold Him!

The stone has been rolled away!

He defeated the power of sin and death!

There are many ways to express this absolute truth, but perhaps the one that is best is also the simplest.

Jesus is alive!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


God’s love is not how the world loves!

February 13, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Does this sound like the world’s current definition of love?

Society has taken the concept of love and twisted it so far from how God defines love. According to God’s plan, love is sacrificial, but there are some overlooked aspects.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

We, as the intended recipients of God’s love, must be willing to walk away from our sin. We must be willing to embrace the truth, the only truth, that is God’s Word. Once we do, we are called to love as God loves, but that doesn’t mean that we condone the sin and the evil in people. I realize that this is often overused, but there is an old saying that, “We are to love the sinner and hate the sin.” Think about that in relation to the following example.

You are a parent who has a child that is involved in things that could get them in trouble with the law. Which of the following options shows true love? Do you overlook these actions because you say that you love them and you don’t want to interfere with their life, or do you try to make them change their life so that they don’t face any consequences from their activities? The first option actually shows that you don’t care enough to take action to prevent something bad. It may appear that you love them in the present, but you don’t love them enough to take action so that they will have a better tomorrow. Love sometimes has to be tough! As a parent, you have to stand in the gap and fight for the well being of your family so that they have a life that is not a result of bad decisions.

Put this into perspective by changing the scenario with respect to eternity. This time the child is rebelling and is lost. Do you overlook these actions or do you pray for them, do you try to reach them, do you love them enough to stand in the gap interceding for them? This time, the consequences have a much different and longer result. If we truly love this child, we will do anything and everything to bring them into a right relationship with the Lord.

My next thought was to ask you how do you think God feels, but I have already told you how He feels. He loves the world so much that He had a plan to redeem the world. That plan was not an easy thing to bring about. It cost the physical life of His only begotten Son, Jesus. Jesus came to defeat evil and sin. He came to protect us from the consequences of sin. God’s love perseveres and because of His great love, we have the glorious hope that we can trust in His Word. All that He asks is that you believe and turn away from the darkness of the evil that is in this world.

The world says that if you love someone, you accept them and don’t try to change them no matter the consequences. God loves us as we are, then calls us to repent so that we don’t face the consequences.

God’s love is not how the world loves!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you delight in what brings delight to Jesus?

March 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Is this your definition of love?

Did you notice that this passage doesn’t say that love is accepting of the evil that is sin? Love does not delight in evil, so why do we think that if we love someone, then we accept the sin that they are involved in? Love means that we want the best for the person. Why would we accept evil and claim that evil is what is best for any person?

Jesus loves each of us, yet He didn’t say that it was okay for us to stay in our sin. He didn’t condemn us when He came to this world. He called us to repent. He called us to leave our life of sin.

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

I often wonder if this is how people have come to believe that Jesus will allow sin? Do people think that because Jesus didn’t blast sin while He was on the earth that we won’t face judgment for our actions? When Jesus came to this world, He didn’t come to judge. He came to offer salvation. He came to offer hope. He came to offer a way to repent before the judgment happens, and it will happen.

Jesus came to bring truth so that the truth would conquer evil. He came in love. He came so that we can overcome the evil of sin.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


How do you love?

December 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that.
(Luke 6:32-33 (NIV))

Exactly what is love?

Do you have a perception of love as a romantic feeling between a man and a woman? Perhaps you have a deeper understanding and realize that it is the feeling a parent has for a child. Perhaps you may even say that it is a feeling of concern for someone else’s well being.

The key word to each of these ideas about what love is can be broken down to one simple word – “feeling.”

It is easy to feel something for those who feel something for you. In essence, you love because you are loved. This is a form of love, but what happens when someone hates you? It requires more than a feeling, for when someone hates you, it is human nature to return like feelings. It requires a commitment. It is at this point that love becomes a decision. It becomes a willful act even when you know that your willful act may not be returned. In essence, you choose to love even when you may not be loved in return. It is at this point that you start to understand how God sees love.

Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment even when there are no feelings.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

What is love?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Love

March 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Do you think that your pet sin loves you? Does greed love you? Does envy? Does lust, just to name a few? Will they stand by your side when all else fails you?

These are the very things that the enemy uses to bring you down. Love empowers you. It lifts you up. It seeks after your best interest. The things that the enemy uses to get us hooked are only designed for one thing and that is to make us falter, and eventually fall. Love doesn’t seek our failure. It doesn’t seek out the very thing that is promises and then use it to destroy. Love is many things, but it is not destructive.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV))

Exactly what is evil? Based on these passages, it is easy to come to think of evil as the opposite of love. If we define evil as the opposite of love, then what is love?

We are told that God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 (NIV))

If God is love, then He is patient. He is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. He is not rude. Think of Jesus as He walked this earth. It is not difficult to think of examples of each of these characteristics from His time among us. Think of the ultimate gift that He, through His love, gave to each of us. Would your pet sin do that for you? Would the enemy say that you have been tormented enough, I will put a stop to your failures.

Only the love of God rejoices with you. Evil scowls at your victories. It detests when you allow God’s love to shine, so let the love of God shine in you and through you. you will be amazed at the difference love makes.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Love is its own reward

January 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV))

When asked what their one regret is in life, no one has ever said that they wish they spent more time at the office. All of the wisdom or wealth in the world does not replace the one true treasure that this world has to offer.

1 Corinthians speaks of this treasure. When all else fades away, love is the only thing that really matters. The true test of someone’s character is not what they have in terms of wisdom or wealth, but in how much they love and how much they are loved.

Jesus taught out of love. He came to this earth out of love. He went to the cross out of love. He did not go to the cross because it would benefit Him financially. He did it all for love.

When you leave this world, the only thing that you take with you is your love; your love of God, Jesus, family, friends and your fellow man.

Love is its own reward.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: