Do you desire to be above reproach?

October 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
(1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NIV))

The word overseer implies someone in a position of authority in the church. Typically, this is translated as pastor, elder or deacon, but if you stop to think about it, everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is in a position of authority. We are all able to minister to each other and to those around us. We are all called to tell the world about Jesus. We are all able to lead someone to eternal salvation, and, sadly enough, we can all fall short of our calling.

Everyone who professes to be a member of the Body of Christ is in the spotlight. We are being watched by those who do not believe. Every action and every word is under constant scrutiny by an unbelieving world. We should all strive to be above reproach. We should all be faithful, temperate and self-controlled. We should all be respectable and hospitable. Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus should be able to teach others about the one who has set them free. We must set a good example, a high benchmark, for others to follow as we strive to follow Jesus.

Our actions should reflect the character of Christ! We should strive to fulfill the instructions put forth for an overseer.

Think about that.

Have you ever lost your temper, even in the privacy of your own home? Have you ever lost self-control? Do those who live with you and work with you think that you are respectable and above reproach? Have you ever been less than gentle? Have you ever participated in or started a quarrel? Do you treat those around you with respect and dignity even when you are in a position of authority over them?

If we are human, the answer to these will probably be a yes, for we are all far from perfect.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our lack of ability to be perfect. We never will be perfect on our own. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look to ourselves, or the world, that we fail miserably. Only when we keep our eyes on Jesus are we able to begin to come close to possessing these characteristics. We may never hold a position of pastor, elder or deacon, but we can all strive to fulfill these Godly characteristics in our lives. We can all strive to be above reproach!

Do you desire to be above reproach?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

August 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Titus 2:2 (NIV))

There is an old saying that with age comes wisdom.

I suppose that all depends on your definition of wisdom!

Far too many people falsely think that knowledge is wisdom, but they fail to recognize the fact that what you may know can lead to bad results. Wisdom is so much more than knowing facts, especially when you consider that facts can be twisted to make you come to wrong conclusions. Wisdom takes the facts and allows you to discern truth. It is the application of good judgment to the facts. It is possible to be filled with knowledge yet still be unwise. It is also possible to be older and unwise. Sometimes even the wisest among us will still have things that they need to learn so that they can be better at discerning the truth.

I love the fact that this passage starts with “Teach the older men.” Instantly it implies that each of us still have much to learn with respect to our faith walk no matter what our age may be. It also implies that not a single one of us is completely mature. Each of us may need to realize that we may not be as mature in our faith as we think.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:11-13 (NIV))

We have so much to learn in our faith journey with Jesus. Not a one of us is perfect. We all have lessons that we are learning and many that we still need to learn.

How well are you learning what the Lord is teaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and paying attention?

June 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
(1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NIV))

Do you pay attention to what is going on in the world? Are you alert and watching and waiting or are you asleep? Are you ignorant of the things that God is unfolding right in front of us? Are you oblivious to the attacks of the enemy in the world in which we live?

Do you recognize God’s timeline unfolding or do you simply think that everything is as it has always been?

You can call me an escapist. You can call me someone lost in fantasy. You can call me a conspiracy nut. You can call me a Jesus freak, but nothing is going to change my mind. Nothing is going to change this inner feeling that there is something unfolding as we have been told in God’s Word. I refuse to lay down and sleep!

Let me ask you one simple question. Are you aware of the things that happen around you when you are asleep? Unless something startles you out of a sound sleep, you are oblivious to many things such as a gentle change in the weather, a power outage, a child coming into your room and standing next to your bed, and many, many more such things. It is the subtle changes that allow you to stay in a state of slumber. It is only the drastic changes that wake you to the events as they unfold. The enemy works in the same way. He has been and continues to slowly and subtly change things in a manner that will not shock you out of your slumber. Those who are not paying attention to the subtlety miss it. One day there will be a drastic change and they be awakened and it will be too late!

The Body of Christ is called to be alert and self-controlled. We are to be a witness for Christ. We are to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness of this world. How can we shine into and through this darkness if we fail to see and recognize the darkness?

Are you alert and paying attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Conform to the image of Jesus!

October 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV))

For anybody who professes to follow Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, this is excellent advise.

Too many people in the world today have the false impression that whatever we do is ok because God loves us and He wouldn’t condemn us for being who He made us to be. What they fail to take into consideration is that God did not create us in the current state that we find ourselves in. He created us to live in a perfect paradise and have a perfect relationship with Himself. Satan entered the picture and sin separated us completely from God. God did not create us to rebel and have a sinful nature. That was our doing. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we have been a fallen race. We have been doing things that God does not want us to do. God’s perfect creation was ruined by our rebellion. God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden because of that rebellion. What makes you think that God would accept us and our sins since He didn’t accept the original sinners when all that they did was disobey Him? We disobey God every single day of our lives.

Thankfully, God gave us a way to return to Him of our own free will. He knows that we cannot be sin free and righteous all on our own, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sinful nature. To receive this gift of grace, all that we have to do is accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. God never told us that we could go on sinning! He wants us to conform to the likeness of Jesus. He wants us to be holy. Our holiness is inherited. It comes from accepting grace through Jesus. It comes new every day, for each day we fall short of being holy. Thankfully, we are washed anew every day when we repent and ask Jesus to guide us.

On my own, I am far from holy. With Jesus, God sees me as holy because He sees Jesus in me!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared for Jesus to be revealed?

September 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:13 (NIV))

This passage has at least three possible interpretations, all of which are very valid, for, many passages within the Bible have both a near-term and a far-term meaning.

When Jesus is revealed to us on a personal level as our Lord and Savior, we are allowed this revelation because we have had our mind prepared for this impartation of the truth. We have been taken on a personal journey that has allowed us to be shown the truth so that we will recognize and acknowledge it. We have been shown grace and given the means to partake of it.

Jesus will be revealed to the world. As believers, we must keep our focus and constantly stay alert and self-controlled so that we may be ready for Jesus whenever He may manifest Himself, whether it is through others or when He physically returns. Jesus is revealed to the world in every action and word that we, as the Body of Christ, do and say. With this in mind, we must be prepared for action and self-controlled so that the world will see Jesus in our actions.

Finally, Jesus will return and will be revealed to the world. We do not know when, or if we will be around. There is even uncertainty among the Body of Christ whether the church will be in the world when this revelation takes place.

No matter when He is revealed, we must prepare ourselves so that we may prepare the way for His return. We must set our hope fully on the grace that is ours through His atoning sacrifice. We must pave the way for others to accept salvation.

Are you prepared for action? Are you self-controlled? Where is your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you embracing worldly passions or suffering for your faith?

January 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Have we forgotten how to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions?

I see so many things going on in this world that makes me wonder if the Body of Christ is having any influence or if the world is influencing us.

Take a serious look at your life. Are there things that have crept in and slowly taken over? Have you lost the self-control that you may have once had? Do you find yourself forgetting godliness and righteousness because you have become too close to the world?

I have a question for your personal reflection.

Have you stopped longing for the return of Jesus?

Perhaps you are someone who does not want Jesus to return for His Bride because you are having too much fun in this world.

Do you truly embrace the grace that has been given to us, or are you still clinging to things of this world? What worldly passion keeps you from the full realization of God’s grace?

We never know when our life will end. We never know at what moment Jesus will return. We should never allow a distraction that is fleeting keep us from eternal salvation. We must truly live our lives each and every moment as if it were to be our last. We must live out our faith as if it is the most important thing in our lives.

I read something today that I want to share with you about faith, focus and worldly passions. It was about placing your faith in the wrong place and how it can lead to worldly passions, even in the Body of Christ. If the only reason that we profess a faith is because we believe that our faith will bring blessings, do we really have faith? God did not promise financial blessings. He did not promise an easy life. We have been told that truly following Jesus would cause tribulation, or stress, within our lives.

Following God has never been easy. Noah could have taken the easy way out. Moses had to flee. Joseph was tossed into a well and then sold into slavery. Jesus went to the cross. Why do we think that we will have financial blessings and an easy life if we turn our back upon worldly passions. We will be attacked by the enemy. We need to prepare for it. Today’s church has forgotten that the church was birthed through suffering, and that if we are true to our calling, we will be in the middle of it at every turn.

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))

Are you eager to do what is good even if you will suffer?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in your faith. Stand with Jesus. Stand with other believers.

September 3, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

There are two very important lessons contained within these words. Sometimes it is difficult to believe the second lesson, but we all know the first lesson. The first lesson is that the we must be firm in our faith for when the devil attacks us. Think back on your last attack from the devil. How did you make it through? There is a very good chance that you prayed and stayed within God’s Word, constantly looking for guidance and assurance. Perhaps this last attack even brought you back to these habits. Regardless of when and where the attack came, it did come. The devil does not give up. When your resistance is low, he will attack again, for when your resistance is low, your relationship with God is probably low as well.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 (NIV))

By now you can probably discern what the second lesson is. I have alluded to it through what appears to be a common occurrence for everyone. The second lesson is that you are not alone in your attacks from the devil. Sometimes it seems that we are the only one who faces these attacks, but it is at these times when we become so self focused that we seem to lose the ability to see what is going on with other believers. Many people are facing attacks at this very moment. They never come when we are ready for them. We can only respond based on how strong our faith is. We can also respond with other believers and unite with them in resisting the devil. Faith is both a personal and a communal characteristic. We need to reach out to God on the personal level, but we also need to reach out to others at the communal level to lift up and to be lifted up, to resist and to help to resist.

Stand firm in your faith. Stand with Jesus. Stand with other believers.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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