Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

February 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

It is definitely not human nature to rejoice over suffering!

Who will willingly go headlong into a situation where you know that you will suffer? What if you know that there is another way and that you will not suffer at all? Would you still choose the path that results in suffering?

On the surface, these types of questions seem to be sheer stupidity. After all, everyone likes things to be smooth sailing with no resistance, but . . .

There is always a “but”!

What happens when you look at things with an eternal perspective?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
(Luke 6:22 (NIV))

There is a time when suffering in this world is a choice that I would gladly make. It is an indication that I have rejected the world and its sinful nature. It is an indication that I have accepted the salvation bought and paid for in full at the cross. It is a sign that I have been rejected by the world just as the world rejected Jesus. It is a sign of faith to choose to face suffering in this world instead of rejecting Jesus and facing suffering for all eternity.

When you look at this passage from this perspective, it brings a whole new understanding to the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is Jesus your Lord, Savior and Redeemer?

January 16, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.
(Job 19:25-26 (NIV))

Many people do not like to read the book of Job for they see suffering and do not want to acknowledge that suffering can be a part of God’s world.

God did not allow suffering and sin into the world. We did!

Job goes through the suffering not because of anything that he has done. Suffering happens in this world because of the fact that sin runs rampant all around us. Yet, Job, in all of his suffering, kept his eyes focused on God even when he was angry with God. He also knew that his, and our, Redeemer lives and that He would come to this earth and gather all who call upon His Name to His side. Even those who have died and their bodies no longer are together will see this day. The only entrance requirement for this event is calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

Is Jesus your Lord, Savior and Redeemer?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does the world accept or despise you for your faith in Jesus?

March 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:3-4 (NIV))

Does this sound like it would describe the one that God sent to earth to save us from our sins?

Does this sound like it would describe the Savior of the world?

Human characteristics are not what God looks at. When we see a strong physique, God sees the heart. When we see a pleasing exterior, God sees what is on the inside. Fortunately, Isaiah 53:3 was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning of the story that God would unfold to offer grace and redemption to a lost creation. Since humanity, in all of our fallen nature, looked up to the worldly as beautiful and of importance, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the exact opposite of what we would expect. Instead of elevating Him to a place of worldly power, God sent Him to be a lowly servant. It was the nature of servanthood that made everything possible.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:4 (NIV))

Jesus willingly left the presence of God and came to earth as one of us. Would any of us do that?

Jesus willingly took upon Himself the weight of the sin of all humanity. That is a heavy burden to bear.

Jesus willingly suffered and died so that we could be offered grace and mercy! Would any of us be willing to suffer so greatly for those who rebuke us?

After all that Jesus suffered, He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He told those who choose to follow Him that they, too, would be despised because of Him. He was telling us that the world would see us differently. The world would not see us by worldly standards and accept us. The world will see us by God’s standards and despise us.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In spite of severe suffering!

September 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

In spite of severe suffering!

Think about that the next time you feel like you are asked to do too much in our current easy life. Today’s church is not willing to go the extra mile in many cases. We see the world from the safety of our living room couches as we watch television or we see it going by as we drive in air conditioned comfort. To be honest with you, transportation in today’s world is like watching television. We see the world pass us by through the glass and we don’t even feel the wind, the cold or the heat. What we see takes on an aura of something that is not real.

Are we, as today’s Body of Christ, willing to follow Jesus even in severe suffering? Are we ready and willing to face the reality that following Jesus has a cost? The early church knew this. The early church accepted this.

Think about the brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us. Would you have been able to stand firm in your faith when Saul was persecuting the Body of Christ? Would you have been able to stand firm when the Roman empire was killing followers of Jesus in the Coliseum?

Are you able to stand firm in the face of what may be coming to this part of the world as those in other parts of the world are facing now?

In spite of severe suffering!

It is my prayer that all of us are able to stand firm in our faith no matter what we may face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you follow the world’s plan or God’s plan?

April 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

This world calls for us to do things on our own. A song that was recorded approximately fifty years ago loudly proclaims the motto of the world – I did it my way! All too often those who do it their way, even though they experience some worldly success, eventually end up suffering greatly for the actions that they felt they had to do in order to do it their way. Those who chase after the world are constantly running away from the troubles that they find when running after their worldly goals.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
(Psalm 37:7)

God’s plan is much different from the world’s plan. The world tells us to hurry and grab for all the gusto you can, while God’s way tells us to enjoy the world that He has created for us. Nothing in this world is permanent, so nothing that we seek in this world will have lasting value. But, if we wait upon God for His direction, then all things that we focus on will be of God and we will have God on our side and on His timeline.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8)

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

March 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(John 17:1-5 (NIV))

We are rapidly coming up on Easter, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

I am thankful for the resurrection! I am thankful for the defeat of death that the resurrection brought, yet, we, as the Body of Christ, have glossed over the pain and suffering that Jesus endured before and during the crucifixion.

Jesus knew exactly what was coming!

We see images from reenactments of the passion, yet, we still don’t truly understand what He went through in order to redeem us, to bring us salvation from sin and death.

Have you ever caught your arm in the thorns of a rose or bush? Did it draw blood? It probably hurt. Now, think of the flesh being ripped from your back with each lashing of the scourge. Think of the crown of thorns being driven into your head. In comparison to what you have experienced, can you even comprehend the pain that Jesus endured so that you could claim salvation?

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? It hurts. In comparison, can you imagine the pain that Jesus endured when they drove the nails into and through his hands and feet?

Jesus knew that all of this, and much more, was waiting for Him. He willingly went through all of this just so that each of us could be offered grace and mercy through His shed blood. The price that Jesus paid was far greater than many of us can even imagine, yet, He paid it willingly. I want you to stop and think about the passion. I want you to stop and think about the pain. I want you to stop and think about the love that drove Him to the cross.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

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