Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you seen?

July 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

I often wonder what it would have been like to have seen Jesus walk the earth!

Do you ever think about seeing first hand all that transpired? What aspect of His life on this earth would have been your primary interest? Would you like to have witnessed the heavenly hosts proclaiming His birth? I often wonder what it would have been like to witness His baptism and to see the Holy Spirit descend upon Him like a dove. Perhaps Jesus calling together His disciples is of interest to you. I personally have spent considerable amounts of time reading about the miracles that He performed. I have also spent a considerable amount of time reading about the lessons that He taught. Many of us have probably tried to place ourselves in the Upper Room and imagine the events that transpired there and afterward. Would you honestly be able to stand and watch the events of the crucifixion? How many times have you tried to imagine the amazing events of the resurrection and His glorious appearances to the disciples and the masses? After everything that transpired, how would you react when you see Jesus ascend into heaven?

I find human nature to be such a funny thing. There were multitudes of people who did see these events transpire, yet we know that the multitudes turned on Jesus and demanded His crucifixion. Even with having witnessed the life and miracles of Jesus, many people turned on Him. They rejected Him! The human mind could not comprehend what the eye had seen. They did not understand exactly what they were seeing.

The problem is that they had not seen with their hearts!

God, in all of His glory, is Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit. In order to reach a physical world, He had to take on human form. Even though He had told us what would happen, people failed to recognize Him because they did not recognize the truth in the words that described how He would come. They failed to see, just as many fail to see today. Thankfully, there were those who did see and who did recognize Jesus.

We have the ability to build our faith upon the words of our predecessors. Would our faith have been strong? Would it have even existed if we had seen things first hand?

Have you believed all that you have seen?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Return to the freedom that is ours through God

January 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
(2 Chronicles 15:3-4 (NIV))

Israel did many things that were detestable in the eyes of God. They turned completely away from Him. They worshipped at the temples of Ba’al. They did whatever was pleasing in their eyes. All of the while, God waited for them to return to Him. Even though they sinned against Him in practically everything that they did, God waited for them to return to Him. He knew that one day they would realize their iniquity and call out to Him. He knew that one day they would seek after His face once again.

We are all familiar with the parable of the prodigal son. What we have in 2 Chronicles 15:3-4 is a story of a prodigal nation that had strayed away from what they should be doing. Even so, when they realized the error of their ways, just as the prodigal son did, God, the Father, welcomed them home. He allowed them to find Him, and in so doing, they found themselves. They found the freedom and the joy that comes from knowing God. When you find freedom and joy, you truly do find yourself, because, without freedom and joy, the person that God created is not allowed to shine.

We must also realize that God is never very far away from us. No matter how far we may stray, God is as close as a simple turning away. We do not have to go all the way back to where we started to find God again. He will be there as soon as we make an effort to return to Him. Perhaps that is why He is so easily found once we truly seek Him, for He never really abandons us. We turn our backs on Him, but He never turns His back on us. This is true for an individual and it is true for a nation.

We are a nation that was founded on being able to turn to God. Our forefathers gave their lives so that they could have this freedom. Are we willing to return to the freedom that is ours through God?

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