What is your relationship to evil?

November 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:21 (NIV))

As I sit here contemplating this passage, I can’t help but think about the things that are going on in the world at this time. How do we, as the Body of Christ, react to a world that is becoming vehemently anti-Christian? How do we react to a world that says it’s ok for people to do whatever they feel is right, yet that very same world condemns those who profess a faith in Jesus?

I have often wondered if the following passage, just as most passages of scripture, have both a near-term and a far-term meaning.

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))

These words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples as He finished telling them that they would scatter because of what was coming. He also told them that they would not see Him for awhile, but He would return. The time that Jesus spoke of to His disciples had them uncertain about their lives. This was the period of time between the crucifixion and the resurrection. They probably felt that the whole world was against them. If you remember, they even stayed indoors and locked the doors because they were afraid of what they thought might happen.

Was Jesus also speaking to us today?

We have been told that in the last days we would face trouble. We are seeing it beginning to unfold. We wonder what the world is going to send our way. We even wonder if we just simply need to stay to ourselves and avoid the world. I realize that none of us were alive when Jesus spoke these words, but they seem to apply to us more and more each day. So, just how do we face this world as it turns further and further away from Jesus? How do we face the world when the very thing that gives us, and the world, hope is the very thing that they hate? We have been told things like turn the other cheek. We have been told to go the extra mile. We have been told to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps we simply need to realize that if we had not come to the realization that we are sinners in need of a savior, we might still be part of the world. We might still be part of the problem instead of the messengers proclaiming the solution!

We must not allow evil to overcome our faith. We must not allow evil to silence the message that we are called to share. We must not withhold the Gospel because we are afraid! We must stand firm and be bold, especially in the face of evil.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4 (NIV))

We must remember that Jesus is greater than, and has already overcome, any evil that may come our way. If we have called upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, that relationship is greater than anything the enemy will send our way!

What is your relationship to evil?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you been set free for?

September 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

How many people do you know that have claimed to have surrendered their lives to Jesus only to return to the sin that they wanted to break free from?

Is it just me, or did everyone take a big pause and let out a big sigh as you took a quick, but serious look at your life?

Since we are human, it wouldn’t surprise me if everyone who claims Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has moments in their lives where we find ourselves picking up things that we wish we could learn to leave alone.

We have the freedom to do anything that we desire.

We have the freedom to rebel. We have the freedom to be greedy. We have the freedom to lust. We have the freedom to covet, and we also have the freedom to repent of all of these sins and anything else that comes between us and our freedom in Christ! Freedom does not simply mean that we can do whatever we choose. Merriam-Webster has one definition that I love. Freedom means the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. In other words, we, as the Body of Christ, are not bound by our sinful nature. We do not have to sin. We do not have to live a life engulfed in sin. We do not have to face an eternity that is the dire consequences of sin.

Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death!

With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we have a Savior who has paid the ultimate price for our redemption. With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we can never repay that debt. With our freedom, we can also face each day with a desire to share this great freedom, this great gift of grace, with all that we see. We can use our freedom to lead others to the same freedom that we profess.

What have you been set free for?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You will find blessings when your journey is through!

September 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
(Job 23:10-11 (NIV))

Job was tested to the limits of human understanding and tolerance. All throughout his ordeal, his friends kept trying to get him to turn away from God. Many of them even accused Job of doing something against God and his ordeal was a punishment.

Do you have any friends like that?

Maybe the term “friend” is not the best way to describe these type of people. A friend is one who always has your best interest at heart. They will do things for you that others will not. They will defend you when you need defending. They will stand by you in times of trouble. Did this happen with Job?

In his ordeal, Job knew in his heart that he had done nothing wrong in the eyes of God. He knew his own heart. He knew that what was happening was not of God. He knew that he was not going to waiver in his faith. He kept his eyes focused on the promise of a better tomorrow and a hope of redemption.

Have you ever felt like everything was against you even though you did what you knew to be the right thing? Stand firm in your faith just as Job did. Don’t allow the enemy to weaken you by the attacks that come your way. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and allow His strength to carry you even when you feel that you cannot go on. Tomorrow is another day. It brings hope. It brings a new beginning. Placing your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior also brings grace and mercy. Where there is grace and mercy, love abounds.

Stay close to the love of God and allow Him to guide your paths. Follow closely in His steps and do not turn aside.

You will find blessings when your journey is through!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to make up your mind!

November 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
(Revelation 3:15 (NIV))

Are you still sitting on the fence?

Are you thinking of following Jesus but still enticed by the world?

Does your attitude change based on whomever you are with?

Do you go from one extreme to the next in your thoughts and actions?

Jesus referred to people like this as being lukewarm. They can’t make a commitment to stand firm. They do one thing that is right in the eyes of God and the very next thing that they do is a major sin. Perhaps you simply walk a path that is neither an attempt to follow Jesus, nor is it a rejection of the world. Unfortunately, there are consequences for this type of behavior.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

You may ask, “What about grace?”

If you call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and then deny Him, have you truly accepted God’s gift of grace? Have you decided in your mind that you are a sinner in need of a Savior?

It is time to make up your mind!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

October 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
(2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, it is understood that he wrote them from prison in Rome. Even in the midst of being in prison, he had the strength of faith to reach out to assure Timothy and others that he stood firm in his faith. Paul knew beyond any doubt that his belief in Jesus was true. All you have to do is remember his Damascus Road experience to understand Paul’s strength of faith.

Even though Paul was strong in his faith, there is one statement in this passage that made me stop and reflect on my own attitude. It made me think about human nature and how any of us would react if we were put in prison. Most would feel ridicule, regret and shame. Now, how would you feel if you were thrown in prison for doing what you know is right? Does that sound like it is highly improbable? Take a look at Paul. Take a look at certain countries around the world where professing a faith in Jesus is either a prison sentence or a death sentence. Do you believe that this type of thing could not possibly happen to you?

We don’t know what is in store for us in the future.

We do know who holds our future!

The world may throw things at us that are unexpected. The enemy definitely will attack us with things that are unexpected. Professing a faith in Jesus is not a guaranteed life without hardships.

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))

Paul may not have recorded the words that Jesus spoke, but he definitely believed them and lived by them. Relying on your faith in Jesus is not something that we should ever be ashamed of. A true faith means that we are convinced that Jesus is with us even in the midst of suffering. A true faith recognizes this and is willing to deny the world even when it means suffering.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not implying that we must suffer to prove our faith. What I am saying is that there may come a day when we are called to reject Jesus or suffer. If this day ever comes, I pray that all who currently call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will stand firm in their faith.

Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith built on substance and confidence?

October 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

Have you ever truly stopped to reflect on faith and what it means? Many people confuse faith with hope. If you imagine yourself going on a journey with faith as your destination, you would travel through hope long before you ever get to faith. Hope basically can be summarized as an optimistic attitude. Faith can be described as a confidence or a trust that something will happen. The two are related, but they are not the same. When you consider that the Bible uses the word “hope” to define faith, it quickly becomes obvious which is greater.

Faith is so much more than hope. Faith is substantial. Faith is what gives us strength to stand firm and strong when the storms of this world dash our hopes against the rocks. Faith is what gives us strength to guide us when the world throws us into a dry and barren place. Faith is what gives us strength to keep us focused on the prize when the enemy sends anything and everything at us to try and distract us. Faith is the peace that passes all understanding if we only allow it to firmly take root in our lives!

Faith is substance!

I love the way that the New International Version (NIV) translates Hebrews 11:1.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Faith is confidence!

With that in mind, let’s look at hope and faith with two simple questions.

Do you have hope that you are saved?

Do you have faith that you are saved?

Do your answers show that you are hopeful in your salvation or do your answers show that you are confident in your salvation?

Is your faith built on substance and confidence?

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