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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Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

March 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“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))

What do you think of when you hear the word “trouble?” Perhaps it makes more sense to you to use the word “tribulation” instead. Perhaps you like to cut to the chase and you have come to the realization that trouble usually implies suffering and you choose to use the word “suffer” instead of the word “trouble.” The following three translations are good examples of word choice, but they all have the same underlying meaning, and that is that while we, as followers of Jesus, are alive and in this world, we will be faced with things because we are followers of Jesus. Though the word choices are different, they also all have the assurance that placing our faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome those troubles.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NASB))

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.”
(John 16:33 (CEVDC))

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (KJV))

Just as some people will say “Good morning,” others will simply say “Mornin'” or even “Hi!” It is the intent, it is the true meaning behind the words that we must understand. With that said, the message in John 16:33 boils down to this. If we rely on our own actions and our own abilities in this world, we will face things that will test our faith. They will test our very peace of mind. Focus on Jesus and let Him deal with the things of this world. Turn over your troubles, your trials, your tribulations and you suffering to the Lord of all creation. He is bigger than any problems that you will face.

Take a good, long look at your life!

Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Kingdom against kingdom!

November 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
(Matthew 24:7a (NIV))

I know that we are all very familiar with these specific words and with the whole passage of scripture that this is taken from. Last night I had a thought that sent chills through my body.

We all know that when this passage refers to nations, that it means people groups. We are very aware of the fact that people groups are rising up against each other. If you don’t believe this, then all that you have to do is turn on the news, any news, and you will see that almost every headline proclaims this loudly.

I have heard that the kingdoms referred to within this passage are human governments, and this makes sense. We see not only people groups, but governments turning against each other.

But, …

Or perhaps I should say “And, . . . “

We all know that God’s Word has multiple meanings. We, as the Body of Christ, long to see the kingdom of heaven. Many places within the Bible refer to God’s kingdom and the nations of the earth.

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
(Matthew 13:38-39 (NIV))

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matthew 24:14 (NIV))

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36 (NIV))

We also see that Satan is ascribed a kingdom.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
(Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV))

It never ceases to amaze me that God will show us something new when His timing is right. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read the words to Matthew 24. I honestly don’t know how many times that I have quoted these words in reference to what is going on in this world.

I find it amazing that what we read as simple words on a page take on so much more. How many of you have recognized that the kingdom against kingdom can actually mean the kingdom of God against the kingdom of the air? Are we seeing these kingdoms at war with each other? If you are like me, it appears that these two kingdoms are locked in a war that is rapidly coming to a point where only one will survive.

Take heart, for we know that God wins!

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
(Revelation 11:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

October 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
(1 Corinthians 15:9-19 (NIV))

Why do you profess a faith in Jesus?

Is it for what you will receive in this life? Do you believe that following Jesus will get you ahead in the world?

There was a time when professing a faith in Jesus was socially acceptable and expected. Today, that is no longer the case. In this country, it often brings ridicule and it is rapidly getting to the point where it brings much worse. In many parts of the world, it can mean death.

Are you following Jesus for what you will receive in this world?

Based on what is happening, from a worldly perspective it makes no sense to follow Jesus.

However, we are not following Jesus for what we will receive in this world.

Jesus actually told us that we would face persecution for proclaiming His name. He told us that we would face troubles.

“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))

Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome the power of sin and death! We have the faith to follow Jesus because of what we hope for in the future and not what we will receive today.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I know that God wants to bless His people, but we must not lose site of what the real blessing is that awaits us. If we love the world, then we will want to be blessed in this world. If that is all that you desire, then I ask that you take a long hard look at what your relationship with Jesus is all about.

Do you desire peace? Do you desire love? Do you desire hope? Do you desire to know God’s Word? Do you desire to know Jesus? Do you desire to know the very heart of God? These are things that are not of this world. These are things that we seek when we place our hope in Jesus.

Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your faith been tested?

May 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
(Luke 22:31-32 (NIV))

Simon thought that he was willing to face what Jesus was about to face. Jesus knew the heart of Simon and He knew that Simon meant well, but that he was weak.

Isn’t it ironic that Satan asked Jesus if he could sift Simon like wheat. I almost picture Satan as one of those television characters that is extremely hyper and edgy, constantly asking to have an outlet for what is inside. The only difference is that what is inside of Satan is pure evil.

Did you take note of Jesus’ reaction to Satan’s request. He prayed for Simon. Jesus, who was God made man, prayed for Simon’s faith. He could have easily told Satan that he could not touch Simon. Instead, Jesus prayed that Simon’s faith would not fail. Jesus knew that Simon would be strengthened by the attack. All too often, we, as the Body of Christ, forget that we would face tribulation.

“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))

When we face the enemy, we must remember the words that Jesus told Simon. We must remember that Jesus is also praying for us to have a faith that will not fail. Once we have that faith, we, too, can strengthen our brothers and sisters.

Has your faith been tested?

Are you able to strengthen others?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will we get tired of waiting for the Lord?

December 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

We have problems waiting for an answer to a pray if it is not answered immediately. We have problems waiting for special events and special days, such as Christmas. We act as if they will never get here.

Could we have the patience that Job had? Could we have the patience that Noah had when he was told to build the ark? I wonder how many days Noah and his family thought that they would never get through with the construction. Look at Abraham and the patience that he exhibited. How did these people handle the anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promises?

Think about those who earnestly looked for Jesus to come to this earth. We think that we have problems waiting for Christmas each year, yet these people waited without knowing when God would send the Messiah. We know that the day that we celebrate as the birth of Jesus will come every year, so we only have 365 days to wait until it happens again. Those people who earnestly waited for God and for the Savior to be born did not know when it would happen. Their anticipation was an open-ended anticipation. It required a faith and a hope far greater than we are probably capable of understanding when we live in a society of instant gratification.

Did any of these people simply give up on life and focus on their waiting? Did Job give up and die? Did Noah and his family give up and not build the ark? Did those who looked for the Messiah to come simply stop taking part in every day life?

They pressed on! They moved forward in what they had to do. They did not simply give up all hope and give up on life because they thought that they had waited too long!

Do we truly understand what it means to wait for the Lord?

Are we willing to persevere in our patience as we wait for the Lord?

Do we have the faith and the hope that will sustain us if what we wait for does not happen when we want it to?

Many people believe that we are rapidly approaching the time when we will no longer have to wait for the return of Jesus. We do not know the hour or the day, but we can know the season. Many signs point to this being the season, but what happens if the season takes longer than we hope?

Will we get tired of waiting for the Lord?

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