How do you react?

August 31, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:9 (NIV))

I can picture the moment. Everybody is gathered around Jesus and everyone there is asking Him questions. They are filled with excitement. They have spent three years with Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles. They saw Him beaten and crucified. They saw Him die. And, they saw Him in His resurrection. Now, after the resurrection, they are eagerly looking for Jesus to bring God’s kingdom to this world.

And then . . .

The unexpected happens.

At least in their eyes, it does.

They were expecting Jesus to take His authority then and there, but He disappears!

Can you imagine how these people felt? Everything that they had seen. Everything that they had been a part of. Everything that they now expected was completely changed. I can imagine that their first reaction was that they were being abandoned. How would you feel?

God knew their hearts. He knew that they were expecting something that was not in His plan. God had compassion on these people. He sent messengers to tell them that their timing was not His timing.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

Instead of despair, these people had a reason to believe. They had a reason to hope. They had a reason to pray. And pray they did.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
(Acts 11:12-14 (NIV))

How do you react when things don’t go as you expect them to?

We should take a lesson from these first believers. When things don’t go as we expect them to go, we should pray for God’s guidance and His wisdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in the downward spiral or in the uplifting arms?

August 30, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
A wicked man listens to evil lips;
a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.
He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool–
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it;
wherever he turns, he succeeds.
He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
A rebuke impresses a man of discernment
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
An evil man is bent only on rebellion;
a merciless official will be sent against him.
Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool in his folly.
If a man pays back evil for good,
evil will never leave his house.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent–
the LORD detests them both.
Of what use is money in the hand of a fool,
since he has no desire to get wisdom?
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge
and puts up security for his neighbor.
He who loves a quarrel loves sin;
he who builds a high gate invites destruction.
A man of perverse heart does not prosper;
he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.
To have a fool for a son brings grief;
there is no joy for the father of a fool.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the course of justice.
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the one who bore him.
It is not good to punish an innocent man,
or to flog officials for their integrity.
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
(Proverbs 17:1-28 (NIV))

It seems that society has chosen to forget these words from Proverbs. How far we appear to have fallen!

We fell from grace through Adam and Eve. We have been offered redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. For those who have accepted that redemption, grace has returned. For those who have not accepted that redemptive grace, the fall from grace continues to grow worse. The laws of gravity appear to apply to a fall from grace also. Unless you accept help, you continue to fall, spiraling ever farther and faster from God. This is what we see in today’s society. Spiraling farther and farther from God’s Will. But it is not hopeless. Those who are on this spiral must be made aware of the gift of God’s Grace. He accepts us where we are and removes us from the sin and the spiral and then lifts us up, even though we do not deserve it.

Where are you? In the downward spiral or in the uplifting arms?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you radiate?

August 27, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
(Exodus 34:29-30 (NIV))

Isn’t that just like human nature?

If you knew someone who had been in the presence of God, how would you react? Would you be afraid like the Israelites were. Would you be drawn to that person with a desire to know what they had experienced in the presence of God?

It is hard to say what each of us would really do if we were given the opportunity to be in the presence of someone who glowed because of a contact with God. It is even harder to say what we would do if we were that person who had the contact.

Think about it. It is not an every day occurrence, and most of us would be terrified at the thought of being in the presence of God. Yet, isn’t that what we claim we want when we accept Jesus as our Savior? There is nothing to be afraid of. There is only grace and mercy at the cross of Jesus!

We can radiate what light we have been given. We may not glow in the same way that Moses did, but we still have been given a light. We are to share that light. We are to be the light to the world. Even when we don’t feel like we are capable of reflecting God’s light, we have accepted that light and we must show it to others.

Faith is a choice. There are days when I don’t feel saved. There are days that I don’t feel peace. There are days that I don’t feel that grace can cover my sins. Even when I don’t feel like I am loved by God, I have to keep telling myself that faith isn’t about feeling or seeing.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must have the faith to radiate God’s love to all whom we see. We must ahve that faith even when we may not feel like it.

In your day to day lives, if someone sees you, would they think that you radiated the love of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How well do you know God?

August 26, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

How often can you take the time to sit in silence? If you are like me, the hectic lifestyles that we live do not allow any time like this. Yet, God has made us for these times. He did not make us to live in this hectic pace. He made us to be at peace with Him, with the world, and with ourselves.

How can we receive this peace?

God told us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” He did not tell us to live our lives frantically striving to attain something worldly. He told us to be still.

God is not going to shout to get our attention. God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on anyone, yet He is there for everyone. You must approach Him! You must then learn to be still in His presence and nurture the relationship that He longs to have with you. You must learn to long for a relationship with God.

How do you approach someone that you wish to get to know? Do you go somewhere where it is really noisy, or do you go somewhere where it is quiet and you can talk. God wishes to talk to us in this manner. He also wishes for us to talk to Him in this manner.

Be still and listen.

Be still and talk.

Be still and know.

How well do you know God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you seek?

August 25, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV))

What is it that you seek after will all your heart?

Is it wealth? Is it fame? Is it fortune?

Is it God?

Far too many people seek other things before they seek God. They give “lip service” to God and then live as if they did not proclaim Him as Lord. In other words, they do not seek Him with all their heart. They have replaced God with a multitude of personal “gods” that they let control their lives. All of this is done in the name of prosperity, greed, security, and a number of other ideals that they have set for themselves. They look upon God as a benevolent, jolly “old man” who watches as his children do something not quite righteous. They then expect God to tell them that what they are doing is ok because they are loved and can do no wrong.

God is not like that !

He wants each of us to turn from our sinful ways and to turn one hundred percent toward Him. He longs for us to seek after His heart, for He longs to prosper us in ways that we cannot imagine. He longs to give us hope and a future. Unfortunately, too many of us look toward ourselves for the hope of the future and we look to God as our “parachute,” our safety net.

We need to look to God first in all things !

God created each of us for a purpose. That purpose was not to lay devastated within our sin. He created us to be with Him. Do you think that the creator of all the universe lacks for anything? He is ready to prosper each of us according to His riches, but first we must have a change of heart. We must stop seeking after the prosperity and seek after God first.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do people thank God for you?

August 24, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge
(1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV))

Besides salvation, what can be more rewarding than to have someone say that they always thank God for you?

Personally, that is my goal. I want to be able to hear my Lord and Savior say the following words to me on the day that I stand before Him.

His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

I know that we are not supposed to seek after recognition from men, but Godly thanks, such as described in 1 Corinthians, could be an indicator of our personal commitment to Jesus. If men are to utter things about us, it is better that they say that we walk with Jesus and do what He calls us to do.

What is it that would make people thank God for you? I can imagine that it is having a heart that seeks after things that God desires. Galatians tells us just what that means.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I cannot think of a more desirable thing for someone to say about me than to say that I seek after love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, for these attributes are from God.

Do people thank God for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith

August 23, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV))

Think about that passage for a moment.

The society was an agricultural society. What this passage describes is the equivalent of someone saying today:

Though the car breaks down
and the refrigerator needs repaired,
though the lawnmower won’t run
and the bill collectors are calling,
though there are no jobs to be found
and the house is being foreclosed,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

No matter what the situation, we must rejoice in the Lord. No matter how desperate things may look, we must rejoice in the Lord. We are not the only people to have ever gone through trials and tribulations. We are, however, the ones who are facing them now.

Each generation goes through trials. We undergo tests of our faith. No matter what we may face, we can rest assured that the world cannot take our faith, unless we willingly give it up.

Faith is a choice. It is not something that we lose when things get bad. It is not something that we can set aside when things are going well. Faith should be an integral part of our daily lives. Faith is what sees us through the tough times. Faith is what we rejoice over during the good times. Faith is what we look back on and realize that it was faith that brought us through tough times.

Tough times fall on everyone. It is faith that makes the difference between despair and hope.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I am certain that things will get better. I am certain that God will see us through this time. I am certain that the fig tree will bud and that there will be grapes on the vines, and that the car will run and the jobs will return. I am certain that no matter to what extent that these things happen, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will strive to maintain my faith.

What are you certain of?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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