How is your faith through the wilderness?

May 10, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
(Mark 1:12-13 (NLT))

Do you ever stop to think about what Jesus actually experienced when He went into the wilderness for these forty days?

What temptations do you experience when you face each day of your life?

Do you face greed and lust? What about anger and frustration? Do you have to deal with ego and pride? I think I can safely say that all of us have also had to deal with resentment and bitterness. Now, consider how you have reacted when faced with these temptations. How did you react? Even on our best day, we fail miserably in most if not all of these temptations.

How do you think that Jesus reacted to each of these temptations?

We know that He faced every temptation known to humanity and did not give in to any of them, but I often wonder how he reacted. Did He simply turn away from them or did He reflect upon our weaknesses as He defeated each and every temptation that He was given? Did He think of what He was doing with respect to what it would mean for us? How did He reject the temptation? Did He look at it with disgust and think “How can someone give in to this?” Did He keep His eyes focused on what was at the end of the forty days on the other side of the wilderness?

Each of us face our own wilderness situations and temptations. We must look to Jesus and His experience so that we may keep our faith through our wildernesses. Because Jesus went through His wilderness experience, He now walks with us through ours. He will give us strength. He will give us comfort. He will give us peace.

The world today seems to be sending all of us into the wilderness. How we respond will determine many things. Will we have the faith to see ourselves through the wilderness or will we falter and give in to the temptations we face?

How is your faith through the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you headed for destruction and a fall?

July 30, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Have you been able to overcome these attitudes?

Human nature is such a strange thing. It is so easy to slip into a state of pride and arrogance. We do it so often that many of us probably don’t ever realize that we are doing it! If you find this difficult to believe, simply look at the last time you experienced something like one of the following at work and how you reacted.

You finish up a large project of which 90% of the project was your contribution, and then someone else gets the credit.

You now the business and the job so well that everyone comes to you for answer, yet, someone else gets the promotion or the raise.

Did you find yourself responding with an attitude like, “How dare they do that. This company wouldn’t even be able to do what we do if it weren’t for me!”

I could go on and on with examples and responses, but the overall idea is that all of us can easily slip into attitudes that are far less than what we know we should do. We slip into pride and arrogance!

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and recognize our sinful nature when it raises its ugly head. We need to turn away from our sinful nature and turn toward Jesus so that we don’t find ourselves headed for destruction and a fall.

Are you headed for destruction and a fall?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


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


I pray that my eyes will always be open!

August 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact that prayer has? Have you ever stopped to think that it is your prayers for God’s Will that God may use as the benchmark of whether or not to release the heavenly forces that He has at His command?

God will protect His people. We have seen this in the Scriptures. We have seen it possibly in our own lives.

The passage above makes me realize that God has more waiting for us than we can ever possibly imagine. It only takes faith and prayer to see God’s mighty hand at work.

I often wonder if I were in this situation, how would I have reacted? Would I have had the faith of Elisha or, in all probability, would I have been like his servant?

Can you imagine the fear and panic that the servant felt when he saw that the army had surrounded the city? How would you have reacted? It probably would initially be a very human response, a response that is based on the fight or flight instinct that seems to possess humanity in times of troubles.

Now, put yourself in the servant’s position after his eyes have been opened as an answer to prayer. I honestly believe that shock and awe occurred in this instance long before that phrase became to be known for military strategies in this current age. If you stop to think about this servant, he experienced something that took his faith level off of the charts. I can only imagine the stories he would later tell his friends and family of how God had miraculously saved him.

No matter what the world may send our way, we, as the Body of Christ, must pray that our eyes will be opened to see what the Lord is really doing in each and every situation.

Are your eyes open?

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


Do you have the faith that Joseph had?

December 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if you had been Joseph? Would you think about calling off the wedding? Would you feel betrayed? Would you be able to look at Mary without thinking that she had turned you into the laughing stock of all of Nazareth? Would anger and resentment show themselves through your actions?

We may never know exactly what was going through Joseph’s mind, but I think that it is safe to say that he was deep in prayer. If it were I who had to fill his shoes, I would be pacing the floor and expressing myself through thoughts such as, “Why me, Lord?” “What have I done to deserve this ridicule?” I suppose that is the difference between Joseph and myself. It appears that Joseph was more concerned about Mary and how she would be treated. He knew that she would be stoned. He did not want that for her. Even in his uncertainty, Joseph thought of Mary. Would any of us be so noble in our thoughts and actions?

God knew exactly what He was doing when He selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He also knew what He was doing when He selected Joseph. Think about that for a moment. In Hebrew society, an unwed mother would be shunned. It took a man who would listen to God and be willing to obey even when it may mean ridicule for him. Raising the Son of God required a husband and a wife, a mother and a father. Joseph was part of God’s plan just as much as Mary was. Joseph’s story is one of obedience and faith. History has relegated him to a lesser role, but I honestly believe that without Joseph and his strong character, things would have been different.

This visit by an angel of the Lord was not the only time that Joseph heard and obeyed. He was told to take the baby and flee to Egypt. He was told when it was safe to return. This first appearance was only the beginning. It was a step of faith that would lead to many more steps. Isn’t that the way that God works. If you are willing to take the first step, He will lead you to places that you would never have imagined.

Are you willing to do like Joseph?

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


How would you react if someone said that they are the Son of God?

May 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
(Matthew 26:62-66 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if someone said that they are the Son of God?

Now, put yourself into Jerusalem some two thousand years ago and imagine that you do not have the perspective of history. You don’t know about the resurrection because it hasn’t happened yet. You can simply base all of your decisions and reactions upon the traditions that have been taught to your fathers and to you. Based on these traditions and interpretations of the scriptures, you and everyone you know expects the Messiah to be a strong military leader who will establish His kingdom. With this in mind, you realize that this man does not fit your expectations of what the Messiah is supposed to be.

But that is not the complete picture!

Would you have been wise enough to recognize that God never does things in an expected way? I can only pray that I would recognize that.

Looking back, we have the ability to see that God had told Israel that the Messiah would come to this earth twice. The very scriptures that they read and thought that they understood also pointed out their very actions.

We celebrate the crucifixion and the resurrection, but would our hearts have been open, would our eyes have been open to what God was doing right before us? I often wonder about this and then I become thankful that I have the perspective of history. I may never know how I would have reacted. I may never know if I would have recognized Jesus as the Messiah. I only know that because of the plan that God put into action from the beginning of time, I can, at this very moment praise God for the grace and mercy given to me through the cross.

We may never know how we would have reacted if we were alive then, but we can know how we react today. Does His name bring anger like it did to the high priest, or does His name bring you the greatest joy?

How do you react to Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

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


%d bloggers like this: