Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

Image

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 season and time is it?

September 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV))

What time do you think that it is?

We are told there are many different times that God has planned for.

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV))

I realize that some of these are not very pleasant. I realize that we experience all of them to some extent in our individual lives. Collectively, we seem to experience them as well. With all that is going on in the world right now, it seems as though we experience many of these on a daily basis. I have often wondered if there was any particular reason for the order of these events in these verses. I have also wondered how I am expected to react in each of these pairings of events. Each element in each pairing is the polar opposite from the other element in the pairing. Is God telling us that we will experience every possible situation in our lives and this is how He explained it by giving us many extremes of the same thing?

Life is precious!

Sadly, due to the fall from grace, we will experience life’s extremes. We will see things that will give us unimaginable joy and the very next minute, we will see things that bring us unimaginable pain.

I love the outlook that a friend has about life. He says that “I have never had a bad day. I have had some bad things happen on a good day, but I have never had a bad day!” If you believe that life is precious, then I pray that you see the wisdom in these words the next time that you face some of life’s extremes.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for what God will give in its proper time?

August 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV))

Given in its proper time!

Have you ever stopped to think about God’s timing? He is never late. He is never early. Everything happens according to His timetable. Satan has tried to stop Him. Humanity often works against Him, yet, everything unfolds just as God has ordained.

Do you believe that God sent His son, Jesus into the world at just the right point of time? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected according to God’s timeline? Do you believe that Jesus will return at just the precise moment that God has ordained?

I find it sad that far too many people mock and ridicule God’s timing. They ask such things as where is He and why hasn’t He come back yet?

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Think of the two passages together. Does a mediator rush things and force his hand to make those he has come to help simply give up? A good mediator takes his or her time to make sure that the proper solution is achieved. It is a solution that benefits everyone. Jesus came to offer grace and mercy to everyone. Why would He rush to draw things to a close when too many have not accepted the offer that He came to bring?

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

God’s timing is perfect!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel like a stranger in this world?

December 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

By definition, an alien is someone who is in a land that is not their own home land. They feel out of place and long to return to familiar countryside where sites and sounds will not be an occasion to constantly try and figure out what is going on. Their home land will bring familiarity and peace.

How do you feel in this world? Do you feel at home and part of the crowd, or do you long for a place that you have never been to, but yet, you still know is home?

A person who is not in their home land is under constant scrutiny. Everyone looks at them to see how they will react in any given situation, after all, they may not be familiar with the local customs. It is almost always a guaranteed good show to watch an alien try to maneuver through a setting that they are not familiar with. With this in mind, it is human nature to watch the “new kid” or the “stranger” to see what they will do and how they will make a fool of themselves.

We may be strangers in this land, for our home is not of this world, but, we have a tour guide who will assist us in our daily walk among the strangers. That guide is the Holy Spirit. He will guide us in what to say and do, and maybe even more importantly, He will guide us in what not to say and do. He will instruct us in the ways that are appropriate for any situation. He will lead us in a pure direction if we will only listen to His guidance. To hear His guidance, we must have allowed Him into our lives in the same manner that we allow Jesus into our lives. Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit becomes our instructor in righteousness.

What does the world see when they see you? Are you a stranger or are you embraced by the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Tomorrow is in God’s hands

November 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

All throughout history since Jesus ascended into Heaven, man has thought that His return was going to be in their lifetime. We cannot know exactly when He will return, but we can know the season.

War has been on the increase since 1900. It has been reported that there have been more ethnic wars and major wars this century than in any time before. The famines that have hit Africa are the worst in recorded history. In any given week, it is probably safe to say that there have been at least three major earthquakes throughout the world. It is reported that there have been more earthquakes this century than ever before. It is also reported that the frequency of these earthquakes is increasing. Just as birth pains increase in frequency and strength before child birth, so to are the “birth pains” that the world is experiencing before the return of Christ.

We may not live to see His return, yet the signs are obvious. The season is upon us and the time is getting closer. Jesus may return for His true church next week, next month, next year or next century. God did not say how long the “birth pains” would last before Jesus returns. God did say that at a certain point in those birth pains, the antichrist would arise and then there would be a last period of seven years before Jesus returns to put an end to sin.

All we can do is pray for God’s will to be done in our lives and in the world and be ready for whatever today may bring. Tomorrow is in God’s hands.

Are you in touch with the frequency of wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes? Is it time for us, as believers, to call for the Great Physician to come?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

March 7, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV))

Peace!

Have you ever stopped to think about the opposite of peace?

War!

I saw something the other day that made me think about God’s peace in a different light.

Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, through our sin, we have been at war with God. We have attempted to do things our way with results that are less than stellar. We, as humanity, have been and still are in a war with God. We have rebelled and we are still fighting Him in all that we do. As a result of our war with God, things have happened throughout history and in each of our lives. We have suffered for our rebellion, and not because our Lord is a mean God. We suffer because we have rebelled. We have fallen away from His grace, but not His authority.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is an acknowledgment that you are tired of fighting the war and the battles with sin. I know that to those who don’t understand, this next statement will label the Body of Christ as weak. Those who profess a faith in Jesus surrender to the authority that God was, is and is to come. God did not create us to be at war with Him. He created us to share in His peace. He created us to share in His blessings.

Once we are at peace with God the Father, we experience the blessings of life in ways that we could never imagine. We see the joy in a sunrise. We see God’s grace in the midst of troubles. We hear the voice of God when the world is shouting at us loudly. And in all of this, we become content.

The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied.

We are not content in the state of the fallen world. We are content in knowing that whatever happens, God loves us and will see us through whatever the world may send our way.

Have you ever known someone who is content in the middle of chaos? I have met a few individuals who can fit into this picture, however, this is not the image that we are given in God’s Word. God offers us peace and happiness even when we, as fallen humanity, are at war with God’s grace.

Are you still at war with God?

Have you surrendered?

Have you found peace?

Have you found true happiness and contentment?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

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

January 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

Have you ever thought about how you would know what time was called for?

Some are obvious. Birth and death and many others, but most are difficult to determine, especially if we follow the command to love one another.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

How do we balance this command with the words from Ecclesiastes? How do we treat the world and those who flaunt their sin at our faith? I know that everyone is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. This implies that God is patient with us and wishes for us to return. We are to show the same patience with those who flaunt their sin, yet we are also told of what will happen if they do not repent.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

How do we respond to those who claim that Jesus is love and yet they still continue in their sin?

How do we, who are called to do as Jesus did, respond when we are told that everything has its time under heaven? Will there be a day when we, as the Body of Christ, are called to hate? Will we be called to kill? Will we be called to turn away when in our hearts we know that we are to love? Will there come a point in time when we can no longer associate with sin because we are called to be with Jesus?

I have come to the conclusion that in order to know the time, we must know Jesus. In order to know Jesus, we must seek Him in all that we do. We cannot follow Jesus while we watch sports or our favorite television show. We follow Jesus by embracing Him in all aspects of our lives. Only then will we be able to begin to understand the time under heaven.

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