Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

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

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loves us enough to give us a lifeline!

February 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

I saw this passage and had to share it. This definitely confirms that God loves us, but not in the way that society claims!

God loves us enough to offer His Son as an atoning sacrifice!

A sacrifice is something precious that is surrendered or destroyed for the sake of something else. According to this definition, it doesn’t make sense that God would surrender His Son to be killed if there was not a very good reason to do so. If, according to society, God accepts us as we are, then why would a sacrifice need to be made on our behalf? If you believe society’s interpretation, we are all perfect in the eyes of God. Think about this from a different perspective. If you are a parent and you have family members who are doing what you know to be right, would you willingly put yourself in harms way for no reason? Would you willingly suffer to rescue someone who didn’t need to be rescued?

I find it overwhelmingly sad that too many people reject Jesus because they don’t see that what they do is wrong in the eyes of God. They believe that God loves them and will welcome them with open arms just as they are. They fail to recognize their sinful nature and the righteous nature of God. They don’t see a need to be made right, to be redeemed, in the eyes of God. All that they choose to understand is that God is love. They fail to understand that we chose to rebel, and, as a result, we have no way back to God. We are without hope and we are perishing. In the midst of our hopelessness, God has given us a lifeline!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you responded?

December 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about this passage from a different perspective where we don’t follow human nature and put ourselves first?

It is human nature to read this and think that Jesus is calling me to come to Him, and, in all honesty, He is. I just realized that I have overlooked the obvious in this passage, and I am certain that I am not the only one. It is a huge obvious!

In order for Jesus to call you and I to Himself, He had to first come to us! He had to make Himself accessible for those who would answer His call. Think about that for a moment. It is one thing to say come here, come to me, but it is quite another to take the first step, especially when that step is probably ninety-nine percent of the distance that needs to be traversed.

We all know what was planned and completed.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

When God reached out to us, He didn’t say that if we could reach Him, then He would forgive us. He didn’t say that He would meet us half way if we were able to make it. He sent His only Son to meet us where we are. All of the effort was put forth for us. All that we have to do is answer the call.

Come to me!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you speak, what do you say?

September 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
(John 7:16-18 (NIV))

When you speak, what do you say?

Do the words from your mouth glorify you or do they glorify the Father?

If Jesus, as part of the Trinity, never spoke to glorify himself, what should our words be doing?

It is human nature to be self-promoting. It is human nature to stroke our own ego and to make ourselves sound more important than we really are. I often think that the fall from grace in the garden took away more than most people realize, for it took our ability to be at peace with our gifts and talents in relation to everyone else. It made us feel inferior while giving us a major desire to make ourselves feel superior. We want, or perhaps I should say that we need to feel that we are much more than we are. Have we been hardwired with a desire to be what we were in the garden only to be left without any understanding of what that was or how to regain it?

All of human history, from the fall from grace to this very day, has been nothing more than billions of stories all focused around me, myself and I.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

Can any of us honestly say that we would be willing to humble ourselves in such a manner as to point completely to someone else? That is exactly how Jesus lives His life when He walked among us. Everything He said and everything He did pointed to God, the Father.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

According to Jesus, we should be following His example!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted that you are an heir?

May 26, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:3-7 (NIV))

Do you believe that you are an heir?

An heir is entitled to all that is owned by the father. An heir is treated with respect and dignity. An heir is not cast out nor is he sold into slavery, or to put it in today’s societal terms, he is not fired.

Being an heir brings certain privileges and responsibilities.

We are welcome in the father’s presence. We are also responsible for looking after the father’s business. This sounds just like the privileges and responsibilities we have through our relationship as a son to God. We are allowed in the Father’s presence and we should be about the Father’s business. When we are about the Father’s business, we are telling others about the grace and mercy that is freely given to everyone through the atoning blood of Jesus. In essence, we are helping other people realize that they are also heirs. Unlike an earthly father who has numerous heirs, when God’s heirs are given of His kingdom, they do not receive less because there are more heirs. God’s abundance is unlimited. He gives freely to all who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

When I think of God’s heirs, I think of the great multitude too numerous to count!

Even in the midst of this great multitude, God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He loves us enough to have sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. He loves us enough to have reached down from heaven and called us to Himself. He loves us enough to have come up with a way to pay our debt born from sin.

If you claim that gift for yourself, then you are an heir!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What gospel do you believe?

May 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
(2 Corinthians 11:4 (NIV))

What Jesus do you worship?

The world has twisted so many things, and, unfortunately, Jesus and the Gospel have not been immune to what the world does. Too many people believe what the world has to say instead of what the Bible actually says.

Do you believe the statement that says God is love? Biblically, this is true, but the world has ignored the caveat to this. They have ignored the truth about what God did because of His love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
(1 John:8-9 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world says, God does not follow the world’s definition of love. His love does not accept our sin. His love sent His Son, Jesus, to give us a way out of our sin and not a way to condone our sin.

With this truth exposed, we must be ever vigilant about what we follow, about what we allow into our lives. If someone preaches that because God loves you, you can do whatever you want, run! This is a lie from the enemy and is not founded in truth. If this were true, why did God send Jesus to live among us? Why did Jesus have to die for our sins? Why does the Gospel tell us that we must repent of our sins and call upon the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior?

The truth of the Gospel is simple. Perhaps that is why people will believe a false gospel. They believe that in all of God’s glory and wisdom, why would something so important be so simple.

What gospel do you believe?

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