Expect the unexpectable!

July 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:5-6 (NIV))

How would you have felt if Jesus told you to increase your faith, and then proceeded to tell you that if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, God can do things through you? In other words, would you have perceived this as an insult or would you have taken it as instruction to see beyond the physical and expect things in the spiritual?

I have read this passage many times, but this evening, human nature saw something that it hadn’t allowed me to see before. I saw the potential for a wrong perception in these words. I seriously doubt that Jesus was hurling an insult at His disciples, after all, that would be a sin. However, it is interesting how human nature can read something and see the wrong message in it. Even though Jesus was telling His disciples, who were still infants in the faith, to increase their faith, He was not being degrading. He was telling them what they could expect if they did increase their faith. Perhaps it was their willingness to increase that allowed Jesus to increase it exponentially. Take a look at the miracles that His disciples were a part of after His resurrection.

Don’t allow the enemy to twist God’s Word. A simple passage can have many meaning, but make sure that the meaning you receive is of God. Test it to make sure that it follows the principles and teachings that God has already set forth. He cannot contradict Himself. Prepare yourself through study and prayer so that when you do see things from a “human” perspective, you are able to recognize them as just that. Do not allow your perceptions to cloud what God is really saying. Increase your knowledge and increase your faith. The more that you know about God and His Son, the more that you expect God to do great things.

Nurture your faith and allow it to grow into that mustard seed. Expect the unexpectable!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to make a choice! Choose God!

February 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.
(Deuteronomy 8:1 (NIV))

Do you believe that the world truly follows the commands of God?

Perhaps I should ask that question in a different way!

Do you believe that the world rebels against the commands of God?

Do you follow the world’s leading or do you follow God?

It is rapidly coming to the point in time when following God is wrong in the eyes of the world. No matter what the world may say, keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Keep running the race to win the prize!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV))

It is time to make a choice! Choose God!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Strength

June 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 8:10-14 (NIV))

Has our nation become proud?

Have we as a nation forgotten the Lord our God?

Has the church become proud?

Has the Body of Christ forgotten our first love? Have we forgotten why we are the church? Have we watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or even worse, have we abandoned the truth for something that is politically correct?

Israel was warned that this could happen. There were times where they, as a nation, did forget. There were times, when they, as a nation, became proud. No nation is exempt from the possibilities of turning their back on God.

And, no nation is exempt from the consequences if they do!

Israel had times in their history where they strayed and where they paid the consequences.

I believe that this nation is also being led astray. We have become proud and arrogant. We have forgotten the Lord. We have allowed whatever that enters our heart to become our god.

Where is the church in all of this? We are called to hold fast to our faith. We are called to be the light into the darkness. We are called to be witnesses to the world.

We are called to pray!

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13 (NIV))

Are we doing our part? Are we praying for our nation? Are we praying for our world?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

We can be effective. We can be powerful, but not in our own strength. We must not forget the Lord. We must not become proud.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

If we, as a nation become proud, we will be humbled. If we, as a church become proud, we will be humbled. If we humble ourselves, then God will hear us. It is when we are humble that we are strong in the Lord.

Where is your strength? Where is the strength of the church? What is the sttrength of our nation?

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

March 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He must become greater; I must become less.
(John 3:30 (NIV))

The American Standard Version translates this passage as “He must increase, but I must decrease,” but no matter how you translate it, the concept is the same. We must seek more of Jesus in our lives and less of us.

To those who are not believers, this sounds like we are willing to give up our individuality. It sounds like we are willing to become mindless followers. It sounds like we are weak minded and not able to make decisions for ourselves.

How do you feel about how the world sees this passage?

Do you agree with this, or do you have a different understanding of what this means to a follower of Jesus Christ?

What traits about Jesus do you love? I know that we are glad to call him Savior, but what about Him makes us want to call Him Lord? What traits do we want to see increased in our lives?

More difficult questions that the unbelieving world does not understand, yet, we need to be able to understand this for ourselves. We need to be able to defend our faith when we are confronted. I know that we are to rely on the Holy Spirit in times like this, but we are also called to be prepared.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

I firmly believe that Jesus lived an example of the traits that we should desire to see increase within us. We know them as the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We know our actions and thoughts as well. They are of a sinful nature.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:24 (NIV))

If we look upon John 3:30 with this in mind, then it is clearly a matter of self examination. If we follow Jesus, we don’t want to give up our individuality. On the contrary, we want to give up our sinful nature and fill ourselves with what fills Jesus.

Personally, I do not know of anyone who is truly happy in their sin. The drunk does not want to be a drunk. He is trying to wash away something. The same can be said for any sin. The sin is an attempt to fill a void, and it often leaves a scar. If we seek to remove the sin and fill ourselves with Jesus, we are seeking healing. We are seeking peace, and we are seeking the truth.

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