Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your reaction times like?

April 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
(James 1:19 (NIV))

It seems that we are always being judged on our reaction times. What I find interesting is the things that we are being measured for. Some of them are important, such as how quickly you can apply the brakes in a car if an emergency arises. Some of them are just ridiculous such as how fast someone can eat a hot dog. Other reaction times can determine your life’s direction and your career choices, such as how fast you can run 40 yards. In the grand scheme of things, we face many things in our lives that are used to measure us for some aspect or another.

For what things do you wish your reactions times to be measured?

Are they the things of this world or are they something different?

If someone were to give us an evaluation based on the things in James 1:19, how would we be rated? Would we be considered quick to listen? Do we honestly hear what is being said? Do we understand and give our undivided attention? Do we hold our tongues? Do we quickly become angry? These are all things where we should strive to improve our reaction times, for when we do, it reflects not only on us, but on the one that we claim to follow.

What are your reaction times like?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will God reward you for your integrity?

May 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.
(Psalms 25:20-21 (NIV))

God rewards integrity! Do what is right in the sight of the Lord, and you will not go wrong. Our hope is built on the faithfulness of God. He has proven that faithfulness through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. His promise was kept, just as all of His promises are kept. We must strive to keep all of the promises that we make. We must not make these promises in vain. We must carefully consider what we promise. We must weigh our promises against God’s Word and if it fits within God’s Word, we should say that we will do it.

Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your `No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:37)

Integrity comes when we do what we say we will do. Do not try to emphasize something by drawing attention to it. Simply, do what is right in God’s eyes and do it without drawing attention to yourself. Do it to reflect the fact that you are a child of God, and you have the Holy Spirit within you reflecting the Light of the Father.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what God hates?

March 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.
(Zechariah 8:16-17 (NIV))

Based on this, what does God think of our society and our world today?

I know that the world is in great need of Jesus, but what about His body? What about the church?

Do we speak the truth to each other or do we tell each other lies because it is easier to lie and then move on? Truth requires work. It requires commitment. Do we, as the people who profess a faith in Jesus, commit ourselves to the task of being truthful in all circumstances?

Is there such a thing as true and sound judgment anymore? Our laws and our courts are in a pitiful state when they are more concerned with the perpetrator instead of the victim, and the letter of the law instead of the intent. Do we, as the Body of Christ, live up to God’s expectations or do we fall to humanity’s expectations? Do we accept the fact that we are to be held to a higher standard than the world’s standards?

Do we plot against our neighbors like the world plots, or do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do, but regardless, we must seek to do what God has called us to do. Can you imagine if the Body of Christ did as we are instructed?

Do we swear falsely? Perhaps I should ask if we lie and curse. Do we take the Lord’s name in vain? Do we say things with an angry heart?

I want you to think about these questions and be honest with yourself. If you are like me, you are guilty of most of these on a regular basis. What makes us different from the world?

Grace!

It has been freely given. We have freely accepted it. We strive to live according to it. We will falter. We will fail, but it is by the grace that is ours through the shed blood of Jesus that we are different. We have a hope that is eternal. We have a faith that our hope is not wrongly placed. We have a light that has been shared with us, and now it is our turn to share it with others. We will not be trusted by others if we don’t speak the truth. We won’t be trusted if we show faulty judgment. We will not be trusted if we plot evil, and we will not be trusted if we swear falsely. Not only does God hate this, but it also makes our witness unbelievable.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fight the good fight. Keep the faith!

May 29, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of man. Rather, the Lord’s delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
(Psalms 147:10-11 (NLT))

All of our accomplishments are nothing. We strive and strive for a whole lifetime in hope of making a strong name for ourselves. We want this strong name so that we will be remembered by men.

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16 (NIV))

How foolish is the strength that we seek. We will not be remembered for very long. Even if we are remembered, the memory will change or it will be questioned as time wears on. All that we have to do is take a look at the history of this nation. What once was accepted as fact, is now bitterly argued as a lie. What am I speaking of? The recent and vehement removal of any reference to God in our government because some people alive today are reinventing the memory of why this country was founded and upon what principles.

Only one strength will have eternal meaning. That strength is the inner strength to call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Once we do this, we must be prepared to fight in His strength and tell all who will listen of His grace and His mercy.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV))

If we accept Jesus, then God will remember us through Jesus’ strength. Then we will be able to proclaim:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV))

Rely on the strength of Jesus and proclaim that you have kept the faith.

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