Our hope is from above! Look up!

September 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

I know that this was the verse from yesterday, but something stood out about this passage and how Stephen responded that warranted further consideration. I want you to pay special attention to how Stephen reacted when he was confronted by the Sanhedrin.

Most people, when confronted, will look down. This is often taken as a sign of surrender. Stephen did not surrender.

Some will look their accusers in the eyes. This can be taken as a sign of confidence in their stance based on their own merits. From what has been written, Stephen did not look his accusers in the eyes to stare them down.

Stephen also did not turn away out of shame, or as a veiled attempt to escape.

He looked up!

Stephen, even in his circumstances that lead to his death by stoning, refused to focus on anything else but his God and Savior. As a result, God appeared to him to give him confidence, to give him assurance, and to give him hope. Stephen was not disappointed by his focus!

I have been reading and watching many testimonies lately about dreams and visions that members of the Body of Christ are having. There is a common theme to these dreams and visions. We must keep our focus on Jesus no matter what the world may send our way. We must remember that our hope is not of this world. We have a God who loves us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son to live as one of us and to die bearing our sins. We have a risen Savior who was willing to suffer death on the cross and was resurrected so that He could now sit at the right hand of God, the Father. If we have them with us, as the Body of Christ, where else do we ever need to look?

We must never lose focus, because our hope is from above! Look up!

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

Advertisements

More birth pains and they are closer together!

November 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With recent events, I found myself returning to the following which was originally sent out on March 24, 2008. Stand firm in your faith! Do not be deceived!

******

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

Birth pains!

Every day we read about still one more thing that could very easily be birth pains. There are wars and rumors of wars in many places. Terrorism is a war that is being fought on many fronts. Kingdoms are in constant struggle with one another. When these words were written, a nation referred to an ethnic people group such as the Israelites, the Hittites, and Assyrians. Today, it seems that ethnic struggles are increasing. Millions of people have been killed in Africa because they do not belong to the correct ethnic group. Israel is under constant threat because, in the eyes of the many Muslims, they are the wrong ethnic group.

Earthquakes are increasing. Everything seems to be going to the very extremes. One part of the world suffers a very severe draught while their neighbors suffer from very severe floods. One day we have winter. The very next is very warm. The next day we have rain. The next day we have very severe storms and tornadoes.

Man’s economies are getting further and further into trouble. According to the media, many people are losing their homes. To make matters worse, I saw a major headline today that said food prices are skyrocketing worldwide. Could we be far away from being able to buy a bag of gold with a piece of bread?

It is very easy to get depressed when you consider all that is going on in the world, but, don’t let the events of this world make you lose sight of your greatest hope. That hope is Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

When the events of this world have you looking down, look up! Our hope is built upon the Son of God who sits at the right hand of God the Father. We have nothing to fear. All around us may fall apart, but we have a hope. We have a peace that passes all understanding. No matter what the world sends our way, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

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 12:2-3 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you ready to see the glory of God?

September 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40 (NIV))

With recent events, it is often hard to imagine how God can be glorified in the midst of all of the issues that we now face.

Take heart. God is working in and through everything.

When we feel that things are going wrong, look up. God can and will turn them around. When we feel that all hope is lost, look up. God has given us a hope that cannot be taken away. When we feel that the enemy is winning, look up. Satan thought he was winning once before when Jesus hung on the cross, but it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would. With that in mind, why do you think that Satan will get the upper hand in any other attacks that he tries?

We know how it ends. We know who wins. If things seem a little bad now and then, we must simply remember who holds the future and thank God for that all important fact and pray. We must pray for peace. We must pray for understanding. We must pray for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Then, when we believe, we will see the glory of God as He works miracles.

Are you ready to see the glory of God?

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


Kneel down and look up!

March 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: `Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
(2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV))

How often do we forget that the battle is God’s? If you are like me, it is probably all too often for your own tastes.

We all face our own “vast armies” on a daily basis that seem to distract us and keep our focus off of God. It is when we loose our focus on God that these distractions can overwhelm us just as the vast army discouraged King Jehoshaphat and all of the people who lived under his authority.

Our “vast armies” are many and range from extremely personal to vastly public. Society has made some shifts that I am sure are causing Satan to celebrate. Don’t let these discourage you. We are in a battle between the army of God and the army of Satan. It may appear that Satan is getting the upper hand, but take heart, read God’s Word. He wins!!!

We tend to forget that God does win, especially when we are right in the middle of the battlefield. It is hard to see the glorious victory when all around you is chaos. It is important to stay firmly grounded in God’s Word so that we will have the faith to take the words of 2 Chronicles 20:15 to heart, for the battle is truly not ours to fight. It is God’s!

Are you discouraged?

Kneel down and look up!

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


%d bloggers like this: