Blessings come in all forms!

January 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1 Peter 4:12-17 (NIV))

Based on this passage, the people who are teaching a theology of prosperity may need to rethink what they are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. God does want to bless us, but we have also been told that we would have trouble. Jesus did not say that He would remove the trouble. He clearly said that we would have trouble.

“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))

We, as believers, will face troubles. We will face troubles that other people do not face. We will be persecuted simply because we call upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This type of trouble should be welcome, for if we are ridiculed and persecuted because of the name of Jesus, then we are doing what He has called us to do. We are making ourselves known as members of His Body.

We will be blessed, but the blessings will come if we are willing to bless others. The blessings are not intended for those who simply seek the blessings. Perhaps we should even think of the troubles as a blessing, for they build character and mark us as followers of Jesus.

How are you blessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Look at the gift that Jesus gave us!

December 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Luke 16:13 (NIV))

Who or what do you serve?

It is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, yet, society has turned this celebration into a monetary event. The celebration of the gift of salvation and grace has been over-run by commercialism and the need to spend. Don’t get me wrong. Gift giving is good, for we give gifts to celebrate the greatest gift that we could ever be given. It is when we lose sight of what is truly being celebrated that we start to become enslaved to the monetary side of the celebration.

It is not the monetary cost of the gift that is important. Look at the gift that Jesus gave us. It’s monetary cost was nothing, yet, it was done out of love for God’s creation. Its true cost to Jesus was something that could not be measured in gold. It cost Him His physical life, yet, He gave freely of something that had not monetary value, yet was more costly than anything this world can throw at us. He did not serve money. He served God!

Remember this simple, yet profound truth at this time of the year. Money is not your lord and master. It cannot save you. It cannot bring true happiness. It cannot bring eternal life.

What is your perspective?

What do you value?

Who do you serve?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you focused on?

December 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
(Titus 3:3-8 (NIV))

Yes, they are profitable for everyone.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36)

There are some things that are more profitable to man than others. One of these is salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to focus on Godly things and not on earthly things, for earthly things are foolish in the site of God. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we no longer are living of the world. We are in the world, but we must set our eyes on higher things.

What are you focused on? What is the prize that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness!

October 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I am sure that you have encountered people who give lip service to Jesus by saying that they are Christians, yet their actions do not speak the same message. Many of these people believe that they can do whatever they want because they have been forgiven. It is true that they have been forgiven if they earnestly accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, but, this does not mean that they can do whatever they want. Paul wrote the contrary to this belief when he wrote to Timothy. Jesus even told the prostitute:

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b)

He did not tell her to do whatever she wanted, because she was forgiven. He told her that she was forgiven, and to NOT sin anymore!

This is a far cry from what many people believe today. Jesus never taught that it was okay to sin as long as you believed in Him. True belief in Jesus does not allow sin to enter, for Jesus and sin are diametrically opposed to each other just as day is opposite of night. They can never co-exist.

People do have the natural world to deal with, however. We have the distractions of everyday life that come into our view. How can this be stopped? By focusing on Jesus and ignoring everything else that is not from Him. Just as your eyes can focus on certain details and “blur” the other things within the range of vision, so too can our spirits “blur” the things that are not of God. When we do not focus on God, these other things do not appear blurry, and they attract us, or distract us, from where we should be focusing.

What are you focusing on?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God gave us the ultimate gift!

September 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Before Jesus came to this world to live and teach, and then to die for our sins, everyone lived under condemnation. No one was worthy to approach the Throne of God as righteous and blameless.

No one in all of history could have earned salvation on their own!

God knew that this was an impossibility due to the sinful nature of man ever since Satan was allowed dominion over this world. Still, God had a plan for a redemptive gift.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21)

God gave us the ultimate gift! The gift is freedom from condemnation through Jesus Christ. All of our sins are forgiven once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t forget Jesus!

September 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
(John 6:16-21 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this story, but there are some things that just need repeating.

Jesus was not with them.

They were caught in a storm.

They saw Jesus and they were not afraid.

They were willing to take Jesus in.

The storm calmed.

They got to where they were going.

How many times do we try to fight the storms of this world without Jesus? How many of these times are the storms caused by our failure to take Jesus with us? Just like the disciples, how many times do we realize that we should have taken Jesus with us to begin with?

We are only human and human pride makes us think that we can do things on our own. It makes us think that we don’t have to involve Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Think about that human trait and then think about what happens in your life when you don’t involve Jesus. I would venture to say that most of the time things don’t go as you plan.

Why do we, those who proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, often leave Jesus behind? Why do we think that Jesus could not be interested in the small stuff in our lives? Why do we ignore God’s grace and mercy when it is not on our own terms and timeline?

We must walk with God at all times. We must learn to not leave Jesus behind. We must learn to realize that Jesus is the one who calms the storms. He is the one who safely guides us to where we are being called.

Don’t forget Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

September 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I know that Jesus told us that these things would occur and that they would increase. I know that Jesus is returning. I know that God’s plan is unfolding. I know that the prophesies will come to pass, still, I find it very sad that our world has come to this.

We see not only wars, but outright slaughter of whole groups of people. Most of them are part of the Body of Christ. We see Israel being attacked. We see people denouncing Israel as barbaric and many are comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. All of this while the true barbaric activities go unanswered and unchallenged. Sadly, it appears that our own government now has policies in place that deny Israel and support the barbaric groups that are attacking them.

The anniversary of 9/11 is rapidly approaching. I just read something that makes my heart very heavy with grief. It is reported that eleven commercial aircraft have been confiscated, or should I say that they were stolen, by Islamic extremists. I pray that these reports are wrong, but my spirit tells me otherwise.

How is your relationship with God?

How is your relationship with Jesus?

Is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life?

Would you, could you proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior even if it meant your physical death?

Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

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