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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Are you amazed by the power in His name?

February 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””
(Matthew 8:27 (NIV))

Everyone should recognize this passage from when Jesus calmed the winds and the waves with His words. It is one thing to read it. It is a completely different thing to place yourself into the situation that lead up to this.

Have you ever been in a small boat without an engine and probably without any shelter from the elements? You are out in the middle of a large body of water. It is one big enough that you cannot see either shore when you are in the middle of the water. You are far from land and a very violent storm suddenly appears. The winds are blowing the boat and the waves are rocking it. It is completely out of control. You see no end in sight!

You are in a panic.

You feel that you are going to be cast overboard, or the boat will capsize, and you will drown.

You have probably never felt more terrified in all of your life!

In the midst of this scene, Jesus is asleep. Someone in the boat wakes Him up and with just a few words spoken to the wind and the waves, they completely stop!

You have been rescued out of the middle of what looked to be certain death and it had been done with just the spoken word!

How would you react?

Would you be able to speak?

Would you be in awe at the power that Jesus was able to bring into the situation?

Would you feel a little fearful of the one who calmed the sea with His words?

If you stop to think about this situation, Jesus did for all of us through the cross what He did for His disciples on that boat. With His spoken word, life was restored from the certain brink of death. When He cried out that it was finished, He completed the way to safety for all who would believe.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In spite of severe suffering!

September 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

In spite of severe suffering!

Think about that the next time you feel like you are asked to do too much in our current easy life. Today’s church is not willing to go the extra mile in many cases. We see the world from the safety of our living room couches as we watch television or we see it going by as we drive in air conditioned comfort. To be honest with you, transportation in today’s world is like watching television. We see the world pass us by through the glass and we don’t even feel the wind, the cold or the heat. What we see takes on an aura of something that is not real.

Are we, as today’s Body of Christ, willing to follow Jesus even in severe suffering? Are we ready and willing to face the reality that following Jesus has a cost? The early church knew this. The early church accepted this.

Think about the brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us. Would you have been able to stand firm in your faith when Saul was persecuting the Body of Christ? Would you have been able to stand firm when the Roman empire was killing followers of Jesus in the Coliseum?

Are you able to stand firm in the face of what may be coming to this part of the world as those in other parts of the world are facing now?

In spite of severe suffering!

It is my prayer that all of us are able to stand firm in our faith no matter what we may face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have trouble with your confession?

June 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever stopped to truly reflect on this passage?

We know that if we confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior before men, then Jesus will not deny us in heaven.

Do you have a difficult time confessing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Perhaps you have a few friends that you simply never mention Jesus when you are with them. Do the people that you work with even know that you profess a faith in Jesus? Are you too ashamed to even put a Christian emblem on your car?

We currently live in a nation where we might be looked at strangely for our faith, but we really don’t suffer any physical threats or death because we profess a faith in Jesus. At most, we might be called a few not so nice names. I find it all too sad that far too many people will not take the step of faith to publicly profess Jesus in relative safety. How can these same people think that if and when they will be put to the test of faith when it truly means something, they will respond with a boldness that they don’t have now? That happens when they are before a group of people who desire nothing more than to kill them if they profess Jesus?

Think about those questions and then think about this simple, yet true concept.

When you are learning anything in life, do you start off with the most difficult aspect or do you start off with something simple so that you can build up confidence? If you are five years old and want to play baseball, do you start off facing a pitcher who can throw 90 plus miles per hour, or do you start off hitting the ball off of a T?

How can we expect to profess Jesus when the enemy is coming at us at 90 miles per hour when we haven’t even been able to get to the point where we can profess Him in the safety of friends?

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

October 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
(Proverbs 29:18 (NLT))

Accepting guidance is a sign of maturity, after all, guidance was established for a reason. Most of the time the reason is for the safety and welfare of yourself and others. Other times guidance is used to assist you in learning something more quickly than you could on your own. When we accept guidance, we admit that we are in need of instruction in that particular area. We become willing to submit our intellect and ego to the authority of another.

Divine guidance is the same. We must be willing to submit to the Word of God and take it to heart. We must reflect upon the words of truth that God has placed in our hearts, meditating upon them as we go about our daily lives. We must partake of the the very substance of their fiber. We must eat of the Word of God and taste the sweetness of it (Ezekial 3:3). We must take God’s Word into our bodies and make it become an integral part of us.

When we accept God’s guidance, through His Word, we allow Him to come in and instruct us in His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8(NIV))

There is an old saying that ignorance is bliss. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, what do we honestly have? We do not know God. We will not know the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) if we do not know God. Does ignorance sound like it is blissful? If we do not have peace, how can we honestly be happy?

Have you accepted God’s guidance in your life?

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