Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

April 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
(Psalms 119:95 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the enemy is out to get you?

If you are like most people, including myself, it often seems that the world is out to steal our joy. With that said, Jesus told us that this would happen. He let it be known that life would not be easy. He told us that we would have trouble.

“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))

Sometimes it feels like the wicked are waiting to destroy.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10!0 (NIV))

Just as Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this world, He also told us that by placing our faith in Him, He will be with us. He will overcome the evils of this world. Placing our faith in Jesus and calling upon Him as our Lord and Savior does not mean that we will have an easy life, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way.

There is an old saying that there are only two things for certain in this life – death and taxes. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is his. That is a worldly debt. Jesus has overcome death. He has overcome the wages of sin. Before Jesus, life meant sin and sin meant death, both physically and spiritually. He has overcome the spiritual debt that we could never pay on our own. Since our debt of spiritual death has been paid, what do we have to fear? Because we do not have to fear spiritual death, we should lift praise unto God even when the enemy is trying to destroy us. We should praise God in the good, for He has blessed us, and in the bad, for He will provide.

Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you allow into your house?

March 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
(Deuteronomy 7:26 (NIV))

Would you bring a wild, rabid animal into your house?

Would you allow a thief into your house?

Would you allow an elephant into your house?

I think that it is safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!”

No one in their right mind would allow such destruction, such danger, into their homes. Ironically, we think nothing of doing just that with respect to our lives and to our bodies. Our bodies are our earthly shell, our earthly home, while we walk this earth. In addition, if we have invited Jesus into our lives, our bodies are much more than just our earthly shell.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV))

If this is the case, why do we bring detestable things into our lives when we claim to be followers of Jesus?

We rightly turn away from murder and stealing. We turn away from drugs and alcohol. We turn away from many detestable things that are clearly visible, but yet, we allow many detestable things into our lives that are just as dangerous, but are not glaringly obvious. Why do we allow greed, envy, anger, and lust to take up residence? Why do we allow hate, pride and ego to have free reign in our lives when there is something so different that we should be letting in?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22 (NIV))

What do you allow into your house?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which visitor would you prefer?

November 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10 (NAS))

Which visitor would you prefer? Would you welcome the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, or would you welcome the one who brings abundance?

For me, the choice is obvious, but far too many people seem to want to welcome the thief because they doubt the free gift of abundance. Why would someone willingly welcome destruction? Perhaps it is a simple matter of trust. Let’s face the truth. If we have never been able to trust someone when they make a promise, it is difficult to start to trust when you are told that you can have life in abundance and all that you have to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I know that it sounds too good to be true, and that is exactly how many people look upon the salvation offered through the atoning blood of Jesus. They simply think that it is too good to be true; that it is too easy.

How can we bring these people to a salvation through Jesus if they will not listen to the simplicity of God’s plan for salvation? We must gain their trust. We must do what Jesus would do when dealing with them. We must love them and show them the truth behind God’s plan for salvation. We must show them Jesus in all that we do.

I know that it looks obvious whom we should invite in, the thief or the one who brings abundance, but the world has confused many people. We must show the love of Jesus so that they will turn away the thief.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found what Jesus was sharing?

September 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

When you hear the word “yoke” you probably think of the large, heavy piece of farm equipment that is put on oxen so that they can pull a plow. We when think of a yoke, we think of a physical burden. Sometimes following what church traditions and the Law say we need to do is looked upon as such a burden. With this attitude, it is easy to understand why people are fearful of church and following Jesus. They think that it is hard work and impossible to do. They do not realize or understand the yoke that Jesus offers is a different type of yoke.

It is difficult to follow the Law faithfully. No one can do it. That is a burden that no one can bear. However, Jesus has born that burden. As the Son of God, He came to this earth as a man and accomplished what no man could accomplish because of sin. He willingly took upon Himself the very burden that we could never carry. In return, He gave us His yoke.

To the people who originally heard these words, they knew that a rabbi’s interpretation of God’s Word was called his yoke. Some rabbi’s made it very difficult to follow God because of the very burdensome interpretations that they placed upon people. I am sure that we all know people who do that even today. Luckily, Jesus gives people a very light yoke unencumbered by the interpretations of man. Jesus, as rabbi, taught us that there is an alternative to the yoke of the Law. He gave us rest. Can you imagine the burden of trying to live perfect lives according to the Law? People were stressed. They were so caught up in trying to be perfect that they didn’t enjoy the life that God gave them. They knew that Satan used the Law against them.

Jesus changed this.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Does this sound like an easy burden?

Jesus did not come to this earth to burden us down. He came to free us from those burdens. Take His yoke upon you and learn. Find the rest that God desires for you.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is willing! Are you willing to receive?

August 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
(Matthew 8:1-3 (NIV))

Sometimes I think that we tend to look at this story and see the severity of the unclean man. We look at him and then we compare ourselves to him and we draw conclusions. I honestly think that these conclusions are sadly weighted in our minds to hurt us. We see the severity of the affliction of leprosy and then we look at our own lives and we think that we aren’t as bad off so why would Jesus be willing to help me. My affliction is something that I can live with. I have grown accustom to it and it is not that important that I receive healing for my affliction.

We have a tendency to think that we are not as bad off as others and therefore, we don’t think of ourselves as worthy of the time and effort that Jesus would need to put into our lives.

I have a question for you? Do you honestly believe the following passage?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

If Jesus came to give us life to the full, what makes you think that He is not willing to take whatever affliction that you carry and free you from it?

Jesus is willing! Are you willing to receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you dressed and ready to serve God?

April 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

We can not always be physically dressed and waiting for Jesus to return. We can be spiritually dressed, though. We can put on the full armor of God and be prepared to face whatever the enemy may send our way. We will also be prepared to receive Jesus when He returns, for we will know of His impending return and will wait to greet Him just as in the parables retold by Luke.

Jesus often spoke in symbolism. Being dressed and ready for service is a symbol of being spiritually prepared for service in the army of God. Are you spiritually dressed and ready to do what God would have you do?

Every day I see things that cause my heart to hurt and my spirit to moan. I know that I have to pray about what I see, and I do, but it is so overwhelming at times. I know that we are told to put on the full armor of God so that we will be ready?

I have seen many things recently that have me trying to do my best to be ready. One such thing is hard to believe that it is actually going to happen in just a few days. Baal was a false god that deceived the Israelites into practicing all kinds of sexual immorality and child sacrifice. As of April 19 of this year, a replica of the temple to Baal will be put up in Times Square in New York and Trafalgar Square in London.

Christians are sued and jailed over their beliefs while our society erects a temple to a pagan god!

No matter what we may face, we need to be ready for service. We must keep our lamps burning. Are we ready to serve the one true God? Are we still on fire for sharing the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you compromise to get along with others?

December 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV))

Are your deeds complete in the sight of God?

Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus was saying to the church at Sardis?

I recently saw something that made me take a look at this from a new perspective.

In essence, this fresh perspective can be summarized by a simple concept – Getting along with others!

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but what happens when you compromise your faith to get along with others? What happens when you compromise what God has instructed you to do in order to get along with others? My first reaction to this concept can be summarized by the bumper stickers that I am sure that we have all seen telling us to coexist with other religions.

This is where we, as the Body of Christ, must be extremely careful. There is a difference between coexisting and compromising. We are facing some very severe pressure today to coexist, but in reality, they are asking for us to compromise. To some, it may seem insignificant, but in the eyes of Jesus it is a major issue.

A good example of this compromise can be summarized by this passage.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father or do you believe that He is one of many ways? Do you believe that Jesus is the only way for everybody or do you believe that He may not be the way for some people?

John 14:6 clearly states that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. If you have allowed a different teaching to influence your life, then you have compromised. If you believe that it is ok to follow the world and only turn to Jesus once a week, then you have compromised.

Following Jesus is a tough road to travel. There are many distractions along the way. There are many paths that look good in the eyes of the traveler, but are a compromise in the eyes of Jesus!

Don’t let the world distract you and don’t compromise what you know to be true!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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