We cannot live in both the light and the darkness. Choose!

April 23, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 (NIV))

Have we forgotten that we are not supposed to be in darkness? Too many people who say that they are Christians stumble in the darkness out of choice.

Darkness can mean many things, but primarily it means that we walk away from the will of God. Whether we do not read and study the Scriptures or we argue amongst ourselves, we are not walking in God’s perfect will for us, and are, therefore, walking in darkness.

Each of us steadfastly holds on to things that we do not want to give up because we love our sin too much. Is this what Jesus died for, to allow us to continue to hold ourselves higher than God?

Closely examine Jesus’ life and then examine your life. Do you look more like one of His disciples, or do you look more like the rich young man who did not want to give up his worldly sin for eternal life?

If we are truly in the light, then we must be willing to examine our lives as they are shown in and through the light and not hide things in the darkness. We cannot live in the light and in the darkness at the same time. We must strive to be in the light so that the words that Paul wrote can apply to us.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith armor ready?

September 13, 2012

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))

Stand firm!

We cannot apologize for our faith. We cannot apologize for our convictions. We must be alert for the world is becoming more and more a place where the enemy runs rampant. Evil abounds when the Body of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does not stand firm.

What keeps the enemy and his evil in check?

It is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot work if the Body of Christ is not earnestly seeking God’s Will and seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy has worked through world events in the past and he is definitely working in world events today. God has a plan that will counter the enemy, but we must be self-controlled and alert so that we do not fall for the lies and the tricks.

Believers are being persecuted and killed in various parts of the world simply because they will not submit. They are standing firm in their faith. They have the backbone to stand up against the enemy even if it means that they will lose their earthly life. They know that their reward is not of this earth.

What are we willing to stand firm for?

The generation of Americans that lived during World War II are often referred to as The Greatest Generation. They had the conviction to resist evil. They stood firm in that resolve. I feel that we are facing a greater evil. Satan has regrouped and is working through all parts of the world. Will the Body of Christ be prepared for what we may face?

I know that there is heated theological debate about the Rapture and when it will happen. Some people say that God has always delivered His people “through” troubles and not “from” troubles. How did God deliver Noah and his family? Was it through the flood or from the flood? How did God deliver the Israelites from bondage? Was it through the Red Sea or from the Red Sea? I have come to the conclusion that God delivers His people through things so that they can be delivered from something far worse. God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army. God delivered Noah and his family through the ark to deliver them from the flood.

We are facing uncertain times, but take heart. God will not forsake the Body of Christ in these times. We are called to be prepared. We are not called to be gullible and unaware.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you self-controlled and alert? Are you strong in the Lord?

Is your faith armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your example?

June 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 3:1-12 (NIV))

Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin. However, the Bible clearly states that those in positions of authority should be “models.” Are the priests to model sin? If they renounce the sin, it is one thing, but to continue to embrace the sin is another. Do you agree that priests should model righteousness?

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Forget about the ordained clergy for a minute. We, as the Body of Christ, are all priests. We are the royal priesthood. We have been given instructions. If we are the royal priesthood, then we, as the Body of Christ, must model righteousness and not sin.

Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Coveting is a sin. Greed is a sin. Knowing that something is a sin, yet making a conscious decision to continue down that path is one biblical definition of wickedness.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV))

However, this is not from our own hand.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:21-23 (NIV))

This does not mean that it is ok to continue to sin. Grace is not a free pass to do whatever we want.

As we grow in our faith, we are “perfected” in the image of Jesus. Jesus was sin free. He was not a sinner.

If you remember the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned, think about what Jesus told her:

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:1-11 (NIV))

LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN!

The church cannot have leaders who refuse to follow the teachings of Jesus. We, as the Body of Christ, are the leaders. We should set an example for the world to follow.

What is your example?

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