Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

August 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you honestly hoped that the subject of Jesus did not come up? I don’t know if that is the same as actually denying Jesus before men, but it is too close for comfort.

This is a tough saying to deal with, for everyone probably has times when they at least thought about it. Only when your faith has matured do you face the question with a more stable attitude. Even so, everyone likes to think that they would not deny Jesus before men, that they would die rather than deny Him. I pray that this is true, yet no one really can say for certain until they are actually in that situation.

Faith is a strong thing if it is firmly rooted in God’s Word. Self preservation is also a strong thing, and unless faith is stronger, self preservation will win. How can you strengthen faith? Faith is very much like a muscle in that if you do not use it, it atrophies. If you practice acts of faith, your faith will increase.

Do not let your faith “muscle” atrophy from lack of use. If it does, the results may be denial. You will deny God and He will deny you.

Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

July 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
(Matthew 22:37 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving of yourself so thoroughly and so completely as Jesus described in this passage?

Think about that for a moment!

Can you love the Lord with all of your heart? This implies that there is not room for any other love in your heart.

Can you love the Lord with all of your soul? This implies that you are completely devoted to the Lord.

Can you love the Lord with all of your mind? This implies that you think of nothing else.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty tough. It sounds extremely difficult, and it sounds impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at these three aspects of how we are to love the Lord with a fresh persepctive, with God’s persective.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your heart and still have room to love others. When you love the Lord with all of your heart, you begin to see the world through His eyes and with His heart. You then learn to love others with the same love that the Lord loves them.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your soul with a devotion to the Lord that overflows to those who are around you. They will see the joy and you will see the love and devotion that the Lord has for them.

And, yes, it is possible to love the Lord with all of your mind. Because you focus on loving the Lord and His Word, you begin to live what you love.

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 (NIV))

You walk in His Word. You study. You sit quietly in His presence. As you learn to love the Lord with all of your mind, you learn to love His creation because He loves His creation. You learn to find solice in His word.

In all honesty, loving the Lord is an all consuming endeavor, but as you grow in your love for the Lord, your ability to reflect that love to others grows as well. We are told to love the Lord, but Jesus took this one step further and told us to love each other as we love ourselves.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:39 (NIV))

Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

May 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11 (NIV))

Discipline is a tough thing to undergo. I don’t know anyone who is willing to admit that they actually like being disciplined. It is human nature to do what we want to do regardless of the consequences. Without discipline, we resort to our fleshly sinful nature.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

Just for the sake of example, is there anyone in your life who exhibits any of these characteristics without any signs of remorse or regret? Are they easy to be around? Are their actions pleasant? Are they always causing trouble? The old saying that you reap what you sow is definitely true. Anyone who sows any of the characteristics of the acts of the flesh will produce a harvest equal to the sinful nature that they exhibit.

What do you consider to be characteristics of righteousness?

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 5:22-23 (NIV))

Based on these two sets of characteristics, the ones that come naturally lead to sin. The ones that lead to righteousness require discipline, both self discipline and correction from God. Do you find yourself under discipline?

What kind of harvest is being produced in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Tough choices

October 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
(Matthew 18:15 (NIV))

This is not such an easy thing to do. Most of us would rather simply hold a grudge instead of facing a confrontation, even if the potential outcome of that confrontation would have good results.

Human nature is such an interesting thing. We would rather bask in our anger, because it is what we know, than to take a chance of making peace. We have such trouble reaching out to each other. Perhaps that is why so many people also refuse to accept that God reached out to us. They simply cannot comprehend that someone is willing to bridge the gap and make peace.

Think about this passage. We are being told to do exactly what God did through Jesus. We had sinned against God. He came through Jesus to show us our faults so that we could be reconciled to Him. To those who listen, we have become members of the Body of Christ. To those who do not listen, they are still lost in their sin.

In other words, we are to treat each other as God has treated us. We are to seek reconciliation. We must be willing to reach out just as God reached out.

I am certain that each of us has at least one person who has sinned against us in such a way that we would prefer to never see them again, or to even think of them again.

What would Jesus do?

What would you do if you discovered that they had repented and were seeking reconciliation?

Sometimes faith is tough. Sometimes grace is tough. Sometimes obedience is tough. Sometimes love is tough, after all, love is a choice.

God made a tough choice to love us even when we did not love Him.

Are we ready to make that tough choice when it comes to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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