What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

October 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There was a very popular song released in the early 1980s that said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There have been many instances throughout popular culture that use something similar. If I remember correctly, there was a ketchup commercial that used a similar idea to describe the anticipation of the ketchup coming out of the bottle. Whether you are waiting or anticipating, human nature does not like to wait. There is something within our nature that simply does not like the idea of waiting. We get antsy. We get impatient. We get restless. We get irritated and then angry.

If we act like this when waiting for things that we can see in this physical world, how much less patience do we have for things that we cannot see?

There is an old saying that patience is a virtue.

I definitely agree with this idea. I also firmly believe that it is a character strength. I know that it is something that we must cultivate and allow to mature.

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))

It is common to refer to things as getting stronger as they mature. If that is the case, then patience grows stronger as it matures as well. Waiting requires patience. It requires the strength of character to be willing to be still and wait. For those who love to fish, do you grow impatient after your fist cast? You know that getting what you came for requires time and effort.

Time and effort!

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the Lord is testing us to see if we are willing to commit the time and effort to get to know Him and to wait for His truth? Think about that for a moment. He created us. He knows that we are impatient since the fall from grace. He knows that it will require a commitment, it will require a strength on our part, to wait for Him.

Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face your trials with joy?

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

November 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(Colossians 1:9 (NIV))

Do we, as the modern church, follow this example?

I know that the Body of Christ prays, but what do we honestly pray for?

Have you ever noticed that prayer comes in levels. Someone new in their faith will pray for things that directly effect them. A little maturity shifts the focus and slightly enlarges the circle of inclusion. As maturity increases, prayers are offered up for those who we don’t personally know.

Where are you in the process? How mature is your faith? Do you pray for those whom you do not know? Are you like Paul and willing to pray for those that you hear about even though you may never meet them? Paul was willing to pray for those whom he heard about. He was also willing to go to these very people and give them more than his prayers. He was willing to take his time to go and share the gospel with people whom he had never met.

Are you willing to do what Paul did? Are you willing to go as well as pray?

Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is our constant . . .

November 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

We as a nation have just been through an agonizing ordeal where it seems as if everything has been turned upside down. Some people are happy with the results, while others are devastated by the results. If you ask me, the whole drama is highly blown out of proportion. There will always be the range of people from those who love to those who hate. Ironically, this is not limited just to the political arena. Everything in life is that way. If you don’t believe me, why are there 31 flavors at one ice cream chain? Not everyone likes the same thing. We, as humans, also go through changes in ideas, likes and tastes as we live life. We mature and grow and what used to be our favorite of the 31 flavors is now something that we can no longer stand.

Do you want a constant in your life? Do you want to cling to something that is steadfast and never changes even when we are constantly changing?

When we go through constant change, often in search of something better or different, we need a constant. We need Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are the things of God clear to you?

August 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(Philippians 3:15 (NIV))

I know that this passage was written by Paul to explain that what we hold important in our physical lives has all been turned upside down by Jesus. This comes right after Paul told the church at Philippi about his former standing as a Jewish citizen where he was considered a member of the elite. It comes right after Paul telling them that his old priorities no longer mattered and his new top priority is knowing Jesus.

Are you willing to profess such a bold statement? Are you willing to give up everything that you used to hold dear and follow Jesus?

The passage above reflects Paul’s decision and his desire for believers to mature in their faith and seek Jesus as their new and only priority. However, I find it interesting that these very words also serve to instruct people to seek not their interpretation of God, but the truth as it is written in His Word. It is human nature to read something and take it completely out of context to the point where we see what we want to see. Paul, in his wisdom, told us that if we don’t understand something the way that God wants it to be understood, keep studying. Keep praying. Keep seeking God and He will open our eyes to the true meaning of what He is saying.

We don’t want our spin on God’s Word. We don’t want society’s spin on God’s Word. We want to know God’s Word through His heart and His mind.

Are you willing to allow God to make things clear to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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