Happy Valentine’s day

February 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.
(Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV))

What else needs to be said.

Happy Valentine’s day with the right perspective on love.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does your armor shine?

February 11, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

All throughout history, humanity has lived in the darkness of “night” caused by the sin of Adam and Eve. When Jesus came into this world, the lightness was made possible for all of humanity. However, knowing that light exists does not make you an expert on the light, just as seeing a computer does not make you an expert on computers. Jesus provided the means for us to step into the light, yet, it is up to each one of us individually to take that step.

We must want to take that step. We must long to end the darkness in our lives. It must be a burning desire to walk in the light and avoid the darkness at all costs. It is not good enough to simply prefer the light. We must hate the darkness from which we came. If we only prefer the light, then we will be prone to return to the darkness when the light is not available, or when it is not convenient for us to stay in the light.

If we truly desire to “put on the armor of light,” then we will shine wherever we may be, bringing the light into the darkness. If we only prefer the light, then we will not shine, but we will be like a chameleon, adapting our persona to the surroundings in which we find ourselves. A chameleon does not have an impact on its surroundings, its surroundings have an impact on it!

Put on the armor of light and shine! Shine in the darkness. Do not change to exist in the darkness.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your answer?

February 10, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
(Matthew 21:23 (NIV))

Have you ever thought of asking these questions of Jesus? If you did ask them, He probably answered in much the same way that He answered the chief priests and elders. He asked a question to get them, and you, to look inward.

Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism–where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will ask, `Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, `From men’–we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
(Matthew 21:24-27 (NIV))

I hope that the difference between your answer and their answer lies in faith and not in reason. The chief priests and the elders discussed amongst themselves and came up with an answer to Jesus’ question solely based on their ability to reason and discern their situation. They tried to come up with an answer that would not make them lose credibility among those around them.

How often have you answered Jesus’ questions of you in such a manner that you tried to reason your way into an answer that would not diminish your credibility?

Knowing Jesus is not a matter of reason. It is a matter of faith!

Don’t give Jesus an answer based on reason when He asks you what He asked His disciples.

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
(Mark 8:27 (NIV))

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

February 9, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
(Matthew 24:32-34 (NIV))

Is it possible that we need to learn a lesson?

Is it possible that we are oblivious to what God is unfolding right before us?

This brings to mind that old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Are we so focused on the individual events that are unfolding before us that we cannot see that they are all related? Have we become so indignant that we think we make our own history, that our own plans will shape the course of history?

I look at Egypt as another sign of God’s plans unfolding. I do not pretend to know the details of what He is doing, but many believe that Isaiah 19 is beginning to unfold right before us.

I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian–
brother will fight against brother,
neighbor against neighbor,
city against city,
kingdom against kingdom.
(Isaiah 19:2 (NIV))

I know that you can argue that this could be interpreted in such a way that you could say it happens every day. However you look at it, it is very interesting to look at the world and the events within it from a perspective of “What if?” I am not professing an escapist theology, but I am professing that we need to heed the words that Jesus spoke and Matthew recorded. We must not hide our heads in the sand. We must not ignore the signs that God is showing us. We must not be ignorant of what those signs are. We must be able to recognize the season just as anybody can tell when summer is near.

The signs of summer are obvious. I firmly believe that Jesus was telling us that the signs He spoke about are also obvious. We simply must learn to recognize them.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Matthew 24:36 (NIV))

Just as with the fig tree when we see the twigs get tender and the leaves come out, we know that figs will soon appear. We do not know exactly when they will appear, but we know that it will come because the sings that foretell of the arrival have already come.

Do you see the forest as well as the trees?

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

February 8, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV))

As I read this passage, I had to stop and pray that my desires are the same as the ones professed by the Psalmist.

It is so easy to simply give “lip service” to God professing to desire what He desires for us. All too often, even under the best of intentions, we get carried away by the ways of the world and we simply forget to seek God in an earnest and sincere way. We get so involved in the daily details that are trivial in nature that we forget to seek after the things in our lives that are eternal in nature.

One hundred years from now, will it matter if you got that promotion at work? Will it matter if you were a member of that elite club that you just have to be a part of? Will it matter if your house is the biggest one in town?

There is only one thing that will matter in one hundred years!

I don’t want anyone to look back and realize that the one thing that truly mattered, they overlooked.

What is that one thing?

It can literally change your perspective on eternity.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you earnestly sought after God’s own heart and realized that He is leading you to the saving grace that is only yours through the atoning blood of Jesus? That is the way that is everlasting. Allow God to search you and to lead you to the saving grace that He has freely given to all who will simply receive.

For those who have accepted this grace, allow God to search your heart and lead you away from any offensive way. That is my prayer for each of us, including myself.

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

February 7, 2011

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.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

What could be more comforting than to know that God plans to prosper us?

Do you fully rely on the promises of this passage? Do you expect God to give you hope and a future? Do you expect God to bless you and to not harm you? Do you expect God to prosper you?

I don’t want to sound like I am extolling the virtues of those who preach a gospel of prosperity. All too often these people preach nothing more than prosperity. They do not teach salvation and the saving grace that is only available through the atoning blood of Jesus. They simply teach that God wants to proper you. They look upon God as a big piggy bank with an abundance of resources that are to be given out if you will simply ask for them. They ignore the spiritual side of prosperity and teach the physical rewards of prosperity.

It is true that God does want to prosper each of us. Jeremiah tells us so. What we must remember is that God desires to prosper those who earnestly seek His face. He wants to give the keys to His Kingdom to those who desire to be in His presence. He knows that their hearts will guide them in all that He desires for them. God desires to proper each of us, yet, He cannot prosper those who are not ready for His blessings. They would squander the blessings. They would waste the blessings. They would hoard the blessings.

We must have an attitude similar to that of Jabez so that the blessings and prosperity that we receive will become blessings to others as we use these blessings to spread the Word of God.

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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Persevere!

February 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:4 (NIV))

Are you like the vast majority of people today? Do you expect things to come to you instantly?

Noah spent over one hundred years building a huge ark when there was no water anywhere close by. How could such a huge ark be taken to the water? Still, Noah stood firm in his faith, even though he did not understand how it could happen.

I want you to carefully consider Abraham. He was given a promise by God that he would be the father of many nations, yet, when he was ninety years old, he had no children. Still, Abraham stood firm in his faith, even though he did not understand how it could happen.

What about Moses? He had fled Egypt and became a shepherd. God called him to return to Egypt and bring his people out of bondage. How could a simple shepherd bring out the vast numbers of people enslaved by Egypt? Still, Moses stood firm in his faith, even though he did not understand how it could happen.

Each of these people persevered in their faith even when they did not see any physical way that things would turn out the way they did. If maturity is the attaining of a final or desired state, then each of these people persevered until their faith saw maturation. We can mature in many ways, but being able to say that we possess a mature faith means that we lack nothing. We place our complete trust in God. We know that He will provide no matter what we may face.

I pray that we may all persevere until our faith is mature.

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

February 3, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

The world is not a safe place.

Most people only see what is in the physical and do not see the spiritual side of things that happen in this world. They are closely related and inseperable. We are to stand firm and be prepared to face anything that the enemy may throw at us in the physical and in the spiritual.

How does a soldier prepare for war? Constant training in the methods of warfare and in the tactics of the enemy is the standard preparation for any battle. We are to arm ourselves in a similar manner.

We are struggling against the evil side of the spiritual world. In order to prepare for this battle we must study the manual that God has given to us. We must utilize the tactics that we are told about. We must learn to recognize the enemy in all situations. We must immerse ourselves in God’s Word and be prepared to call upon it at any time in our lives and not only on Sunday morning.

It is true that we are taught to have love for another, but the Bible also tells us to do battle with the forces of the enemy. In other words, we must not just sit idly by and allow the enemy to do whatever he desires.

Arm yourself and prepare for a spiritual battle.

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

February 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2 (NIV))

The body of believers is not to go through this world in a vacuum, with no interaction with other members of the body. We are to lift each other up. We are to support each other. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to each other as well as to those who are not part of the body of believers.

Can the feet stop carrying the arms? Can the hands stop feeding the stomach? Can the eyes stop guiding the legs? Just as the physical parts of our bodies rely on other parts of our own bodies, the Body of Christ relies on each member to be the best that it can be. If we stumble in our faith, then we hurt those who rely on our strengths to keep them in line. If we completely abandon our faith, we leave holes that have a very drastic impact on those left on their edges.

Consider our physical jobs. Each of us has a certain responsibility where we are employed. If we do not perform that responsibility, then others feel the impact. They either must assume duties that they may not be ready to assume, or the duties are left unattended. Imagine what would happen in a business if that were to happen without anything being done to correct it. Imagine what would happen in our physical bodies if your heart decided it was no longer going to provide blood to the rest of the body.

What roles do you play in your walk of faith? Do you give encouragement to others? Do you pray for those around you? Are you always available to give godly counsel? Are you willing to give someone your last dollar so that they will not go hungry? Do you step up and fill a void in your church and in your family? Each of us impact countless lives around us. We are responsible to more than just ourselves. We do not exist to simply rely on others. We are responsible to each other to be a supportive member of the Body of Christ.

Are you a vital and supportive member of the Body of Christ? What is God calling you to do in order to help carry the burdens of others?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What can you do without God?

February 1, 2011

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

What can you do on your own?

If you are like me, you probably rattled off the basics such as work, play, breathe, love and a few others. How many people would venture to claim much more than that? How many people would claim that they could build a city. How many would claim that they could compose a major piece of music? Still, how many would claim that they can take a person’s dying heart and replace it?

I want you to step back for a moment and consider the basics. These are all things that we each take for granted, yet, I want you to look at the basics from a different perspective.

Who gave you life?

Who gave you breath?

Who gave you your passions?

Who gave you grace?

I seriously doubt that any of us could have done any of these on our own, yet we take them for granted. Without God, we would not be able to do any of these. Without God, we would not exist. It is only through His strength that we are able to live, breathe and love. It is only through Him that we have been given grace. It is only through Him that we are blessed to even know what stirs passion deep within us.

Let’s face the truth, everything that we do is because of the strength that we have been given. How we use that strength is up to us. We can choose to live a peaceful, quiet life. We can choose to dream of great accomplishments. We can choose to glorify God or we can choose to glorify ourselves.

It is a matter of priorities and perspective.

We can acknowledge where the strength comes from and give all of the glory to God, or we can ignore God and claim it is all our own doing. For those who feel that they can claim it is their own doing, I would simply like to once again ask a few questions.

Did you give yourself life?

Did you give yourself breath?

Did you give yourself grace?

God created each of us to be unique. He created us. Everything that we do is a direct result of the simple fact that He gave us life. I have always read this passage and understood it to mean that nothing is impossible with God, and that is true. However, I want you to come away with a meaning that may not have crossed your mind before.

Everything that I am capable of doing is because God created me and gave me the strength to do it.

Since God created each of us and gave us the strength to do what He has called us to do, it is my prayer that each of us find that calling and live it out with all that strength that God will provide.


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