Focus !!!

September 18, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NAS))

No matter what you may face in this life, there is one constant that you can always count on. This constant can provide a peace of mind when all around you is falling apart.

What can possibly give you peace when everything is going to the dogs?

The assurance that God is in control, and that salvation is yours through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

Do you have a peace about you at all times? Do you honestly want that peace? It is yours for the asking. Simply admit that you are a sinner and ask Jesus into your heart.

Some people experience the peace quicker than others, however, it is attainable. Focus on Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and the rest will come. The key word is to FOCUS! Do not take your eyes off of Him, for it is through His redemptive blood that we are saved and given this peace.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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So let it be

September 17, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

I had a very interesting conversation recently. It involved a very deep reflection upon my favorite verse and how we don’t always recognize how we can fulfill Psalm 46:10 and “Be still” and know God. It is very interesting how our own egos and desires creep into our quiet time with God. Sometimes, it is difficult to discern whether you are hearing God or you are simply listening to your own desires. Let’s face the truth, unless you are so in tune to what God is saying, your desires will not be God’s voice. Even in the times when your desires are what God is calling you to do, it is not always easy to accept this and move forward in confidence. We are only human, and we feel inferior and uncertain about what we are to do.

All too often we do not see immediate results when we do step forward, and as a result, our human frailties begin to take over and we begin to believe the lies of the enemy. Lies like “God wouldn’t use a sinner like you to do anything for Him.”

When we begin to feel like this, we must remember the “Yes” and the “Amen.” God’s promises are “Yes” if we stand firm in the faith that He has called us, not into our desires but into His. Did you know that “Amen” can be loosely translated to mean so let it be. When we proclaim “Amen” we are accepting God’s desires. Once we accept them, there will probably be a period of maturation and preparation to prepare us for what God has planned. During this preparation and maturation, do not lose focus. Do not take your eyes off of Jesus, for when you do, you will end up like Peter.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:28-31 (NIV))

If God calls you to a task, He will equip you. It is the times when you take your eyes off of Jesus that you begin to sink. It is a matter of focus. Do the one thing that God has called you to do. Even if you feel that He has given you multiple tasks, there is always a single task that is your first calling. Answer this calling as your priority and wait for the other callings to fall into place.

Everything is in God’s timing. Stand firm in the knowledge that if He has called you, then His promises to you are “Yes” and “Amen.”

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Authority and submission

September 15, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
(Colossians 3:12 – 4:6 (NIV))

Many people have taken bits and pieces out of this scripture to uphold their beliefs about someone’s role in their household or in society in general.

Let’s take a look at the whole text and examine the overall meaning. Instead of saying that wives are inferior in status to their husbands, or that slavery is justifiable, take a look at the overall theme running through the scripture.

Paul was writing to not justify the bad practices of society, but to set an example of how we are to act even if we find ourselves in situations that are in authority or are in submission. Simply stated, Paul was saying that we are to be Jesus to the people that we are around, no matter how we find ourselves in relation to them.

If we are in authority, we do not need to take advantage of that authority and harm people under our authority. The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. But, we must remember who is our absolute authority and focus on that.

If we find ourselves in a position of submission to others, we must not desire the power for ourselves, nor must we be angry about our situation. Do your tasks with joy and you will be rewarded. Bitterness is a hard pill to swallow. If you go about your day with bitterness because of your situation, others will treat you as you treat them. If, in your situation, you still maintain a glad heart and joy and love are reflected through you, others will reflect these back to you and your situation will not be as bad as it appears.

To use a saying from the computer industry, “Garbage in, garbage out!” Basically, what you put into life is what you will reap. Put Jesus into yours.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Traditions

September 15, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
Consists of tradition learned by rote,
(Isaiah 29:13 (unknown))

I had the honor of seeing a tradition this evening. It was a right of passage. My sixteen year old son and many of his classmates went through a ceremony in which they received their high school class rings. I honestly doubt that any of the junior class nor their parents will forget the moment that they opened up the boxes and put the rings on their fingers. It is a tradition that many schools have been honoring since the first class rings were ordered by West Point graduates in 1835.

Some traditions are a good thing. They anchor us in our past. They provide guidance for our future. This give us a point of reference on which to reflect and base our lives. Unfortunately, too many of our traditions have become rote memorization.

I am not speaking of the once in a lifetime traditions such as class ring ceremonies, graduations, or weddings. I am speaking of the ones that we repeat every Sunday when we attend a church worship service.

How would your spouse respond if you went through a memorized speech about how much you love them? How would you soon respond in your heart if you said this same speech over and over again? It would be recited out of memory and not out of love. It would be recited out of duty instead of desire. It would be a tradition that would soon lose its meaning.

We, as the body of Christ, must be careful not to fall into this category. We must look upon each worship service as something new and exciting. We must come with the desire in our hearts to renew our faith and love of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We must never simply provide lip service. We must never simply recite something out of tradition. We must take each word and each service and completely dedicate it to God in all of His Glory, in all of His triune majesty.

Stop and look deep inside. Stop and reflect upon the words that you sing. Stop and reflect upon the words that you recite.

Don’t allow your worship to simply become a tradition.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Acquittal

September 14, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:17 (NIV))

In man’s courts, when we stand accused, we can be condemned or acquitted. Before Jesus came into the world, we did not have an option to be acquitted when we stood in front of God to be judged, for, through Adam and Eve, we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23(NIV))

Jesus came willingly to give Himself as a living sacrifice so that we could be given grace and mercy. In other words, we have been given the ability to be acquitted even though we are guilty. We will not be condemned if we call upon the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2(NIV))

Just what is condemnation? It is a just punishment for the actions that are not forgivable in the eyes of the judge. The judge is God! He did not wish to condemn us in our sin. He wished to free us from our sin. Through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, we are saved from ourselves. All you have to do is earnestly turn to God through Jesus Christ, His Son. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior will grant you the mercy. It will grant you the acquittal from a death sentence.

Have you been acquitted?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is coming

September 11, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
(Revelation 1:7 (NIV))

This sounds like a very severe day in the history of humanity, and it will be for those who witness it.

No matter what you may think about the Rapture and when it will occur, all theories place the Rapture on or before this event. Many human interpretations of the Rapture do not make sense when considering the total sequence of events that must happen, however, they all agree that those who call upon the name of Jesus before a certain point in time will not see this event from the earthly perspective. Those who are left at this point will be recent believers and those who have received the mark of the beast.

Can you imagine the anguish of those who have misplaced their faith upon seeing Jesus return? They will feel severe desolation, panic, and fear, while those who have placed their trust in Jesus will feel happiness, elation, and victory. Can you imagine the sudden realization that everything you have ever believed to be true was totally wrong and that you were eternally lost because of this? All throughout history, people have committed drastic actions upon realizations similar to this. Look at the United States when the Stock Market crashed. People were jumping to their deaths because they had lost “everything.” Can you imagine the reactions when the realization is the ultimate loss?

People often reflect on their lives and wonder “what if.” Those who witness this will realize in an instant the “what if” that they could have been experiencing. This is going to be a sad day for those who are left to ask this question.

Do all that you can do to make sure that you and those whom you encounter are not among those. Tell them of the great love that God has for them. Tell them of how He sent Jesus to be an atoning sacrifice to save them from this day!

Tell them that God does not want any to perish, and that He loves them!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Frustration

September 10, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

Frustration !

Have you ever been in a situation in which nothing seemed to ever go right? You know how things should go, or at least how they should go according to your plans and desires. If you are like me, you have probably had times when you simply want to throw your hands up in desperation. You simply want to quit.

Think about that.

Are these the situations in which you feel you are doing the wrong thing and going in the wrong direction, or are they the times when you feel that you are under attack by Satan because you are doing what you are supposed to do? Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference. This causes frustration. Do you have times when you feel that you are simply going through the motions and that what you do will have absolutely no impact or effect on how things will turn out? This causes frustration.

Did Jesus ever get frustrated? The time that He overturned the tables of the money changers at the temple may come to mind. John 2:15 indicates that this was not frustration, but anger. Jesus hated what they had done inside the temple.

According to Merriam-Webster, “frustration” is a state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs. In other words, frustration is brought about by personal needs and an anxious desire to see them fulfilled when they are not being fulfilled.

I almost dare to say that frustration can be looked upon as a sin, for many times it has its roots in sinful pride. Perhaps that is why Paul tells us “Do not be anxious about anything,” for it is a fine line between a righteous desire and sinful pride. It is a fine line that is so easy to cross even when you are trying to be faithful.

Pray for patience. Be thankful for what God has done in your life and be thankful that He is not finished with you yet. Keep your eyes focused on God, and frustration will fade away.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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