Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

January 23, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
(2 Corinthians 11:27 (NIV))

Your first reaction to this passage was probably like mine!

This is not something that I would willingly put myself through, nor would I want to find myself unwillingly in this type of situation.

Let’s face it. We have become creatures of habit. Perhaps I should say that we have become creatures of comfort! We have become so used to the air conditioned house with our refrigerators and entertainment devices that we forget what real sacrifice is. We leave our air conditioned homes, get in our air conditioned cars and drive to an air conditioned building to worship. Are we really sacrificing anything to praise God? Are we sacrificing anything to help spread the Gospel?

What if Paul had the same attitude that many of us have?

What if Paul was not willing to suffer for the Gospel?

How many of us would willingly do something that could land us in prison? How many of us would go head first into a situation knowing that the outcome could mean stoning, prison or death? Paul was willing to do this and so much more! Because of his desire to share the Gospel and his willingness to do whatever it took, we can claim our salvation. Can anyone claim their salvation because of what you are willing to do?

Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There are no limitations to God’s grace!

October 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed grace and mercy? Have you ever come to the false conclusion that you are so far gone that God cannot help you? Do you think that your sins are so great that God cannot rescue you?

All too often I hear people say that God couldn’t possible love them because of all of the things that they have done. I hear people say that God would not want to rescue them because of these very same things. I hear them say, “How could He love me after all that I have done?”

Luckily, grace knows no limitations for none of us are worthy!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Thankfully, grace is not based on our righteousness. It is based on God’s love. Think about God’s love based on these words from John 3.

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

If God was willing to offer His only Son, what does that say about His love for us? With this in mind, I pray that you come to the realization that there are no limitations to God’s grace!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you free of condemnation?

August 17, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you are always guilty of something? Do you go through life looking over your shoulder, afraid that something you did in the past will come back to haunt you? Do you feel that you are constantly just one step away from being trapped in a situation from which there is no escape? Do you feel that God is out to get you?

Rest assured that God is not out to get you. Satan is the one who is constantly trying to trick you. He is the one who is lying to you and making you feel as if there is no escape. Ever since Satan tried to overthrow God, he has made it his purpose to trap and trick God’s greatest creation in order to keep us from God. It is he who condemns. It is not God!

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

We have a God given way to escape condemnation! We can rest assured that the accuser has no legal claim on us. All that we have to do is accept the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given at the cross. Jesus paid it all so that no accusations against us have any merit whatsoever. All of our sins have been washed clean!

Are you free of condemnation?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

August 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:25 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that there was nothing that you could do that would make the outcome be any different than a total disaster?

Where you surprised when the outcome was completely different than everyone expected?

All too often, we see things from our limited perspective, our limited understanding and our limited capabilities, and think that there is nothing that can be done. We see things as being impossible because we do not see the complete picture. I want you to think of a mouse in a maze. As you picture that mouse, it scampers all over the place trying to find its way while you have a birds eye view and can see exactly the path that should be taken. From the perspective of the mouse, it is impossible to find the way, but from your perspective, you can see every possible scenario and how to navigate to the destination. Does the mouse pay attention to you? Does it look up to you and try to figure out where it should go based on what you are doing?

I am not comparing anyone to a mouse, but our impossible situations that we experience are often no more than our inability to find our way according to the master plan of the maze that we call life. We see things from our perspective and our perspective is heavily weighted by our fears and our emotions. We experience the world through a limited understanding. We fail to see the possibilities with God because we focus on the impossibilities that we see.

What is it that is holding you back from the possibilities that are of God? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it a lack of faith and trust? Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and let God take over even when we think that what we need to do is possible in our own strengths?

Are you ready for God to accomplish the impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you covered by grace?

July 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:17 (NIV))

If you were pulled over for speeding, would you want to be dealt with based on the laws that you broke, or by the grace of someone in authority over you?

Think about the ramifications of that for a moment and consider that laws are written and enforced with exact wording. Using the speeding example, if you were driving 56 miles an hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, you are guilty of breaking the law. A strict adherence to the law would mean that you would suffer the consequences of your actions. Is that truly what we would want to happen to us in that situation?

Now, consider the laws that God has given through Moses. Unlike our traffic laws, these were written in stone by the hand of God. How do you think that these would be enforced if there was no hope of grace? We would be, and we all are, guilty of breaking every single one of God’s laws. How could we expect to uphold such a high standard when we can’t even keep from driving 56 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone?

Since the fall from grace, every single person who has ever lived has broken God’s laws. We are all guilty!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I am so thankful for grace! God’s amazing grace!

We are held accountable by the law of Moses and vindicated by the grace of Jesus!

When God sees you, does He see you as covered by grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

July 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27 (NIV))

Too many people look at this as an either or situation where they look after orphans and widows or they try to keep themselves from being polluted by the world.

We are called to do both!

We are to reach out to those in need and give them help. There are many passages that can be used to temper this so that it is not a lifelong help. We are to assist those in need. For those who believe Jesus called us to minister to the poor, He did. We are not called to provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
(John 12:8 (NIV))

When we begin to feel that we have to take care of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, are we truly doing as Jesus commanded? Jesus knew that people will always have physical needs, but He did not come to provide physical comfort. He came to bring salvation. He came to bring mercy and grace. He came to bring forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not die on the cross to bring three meals a day and an air conditioned house for everyone. Those things are fleeting. He came to offer eternity with the Father and not perpetual creature comforts in this life.

The other part of this passage is a command to not get polluted by the world. In other words, don’t adopt the ways of the world. Don’t give in to the temptations that are going on all around you. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse the miracles and good works that Jesus did with His primary mission. Don’t buy into the world’s definition of “Jesus is love.” The polluted concept of Jesus is that since He loves everyone, then anything that they do is acceptable. Temper your view of the world with a very healthy dose of prayer and study of God’s Word.

Stay true to God’s Word. Don’t get polluted by the world!

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