July 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:17 (NAS))

Someone once told me that “Amen” means “So let it be.” If that is true, then these words definitely need an “Amen” for they are true beyond anything that we could ever imagine.

No one in all of history can compare to what God was, is, and is to come, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

We are in interesting times. Times when society tries to forget about God in our daily lives. Times when it seems that we need God more than ever. Some people think that we are in the times that are before the Tribulation. Whatever you may think, or whatever we may be in the middle of, one thing is certain: God is greater than anything we may be facing and He will always be there. All we have to do is call upon His Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior, and we can count on the steadfast grace and mercy that God has promised.

Can you think of anything that would be better than this?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you see?

July 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

How many times are we guilty of the same thing as Elisha’s servant? We see only with the natural and do not even acknowledge the supernatural that God is doing all around us. We do not stop to realize that God is capable of doing anything and that we do not have to see it happen in order for it to happen.

Could you imagine how Elisha’s servant felt after his eyes were open and he was allowed to see what God was actually doing? I can honestly say that I would have been humbled and humiliated especially when you stop to consider who I would have been serving. Elisha was a man of God. He was a prophet with a track record that just would not quit. It should have been obvious to his servant that God had something in the works, after all, Elisha had walked earnestly with God and God had honored that walk with allowing Elisha to speak His Will to the people. God always delivered what He said would happen as told by Elisha.

Has something happened recently that has made you feel like Elisha’s servant? Did you come away from that episode or event with a clearer understanding of God? Will you look at future situations with more faith as a result of that event?

How do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you the wayward child?

July 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’
(Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV))

Why will you die?

How much more to the point can God be?

I can imagine the anguish in God’s voice. I can imagine the frustration that He must feel with those who have chosen to turn from Him. The frustration is not one of arrogance because they refuse to listen, but one of hurt and compassion because He loves all of His creation and does not wish for any to perish.

It is identical to what a parent feels for a wayward child.

Perhaps you know of someone who has a child that has gone astray. Perhaps you are that parent. You know the anguish that you feel when you see them doing the things that they do. You know the extreme hurt and the extreme love that is caused by that child.

God is no different. He is our Father. He feels the anguish of each of our sins. He feels the hurt when we turn away from Him. He feels the love even when we turn.

Now, multiply that feeling that you are capable of comprehending by a factor too great to imagine, for God loves and hurts for every single person who has ever lived or ever will live. Could your heart hold all of that?

Now, you can understand why God sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sins.

In our hearts and in our minds, we know that we would do anything that we could to turn the wayward child back to what is good. We lose sleep. We pray. We try to get them to see the error of their ways. I am sure that some people have even gone so far as to say, “Why do you chose to die?”

Many people read this passage from Ezekiel with a stern voice and domineering persona. On the contrary, I firmly believe that this passage shows us more of God’s heart than just about any other passage from the Bible. It shows His heart. It shows His compassion. It shows His desires, and it shows His loving role as Father.

God is desiring for all of us to turn to Him and turn away from our sins.

Are you the wayward child who is breaking His heart?

He came so that all of His wayward children could be brought to peace and live.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know your destination?

July 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You know the way to the place where I am going.
(John 14:4 (NIV))

If you heard these words, would you know the destination?

We have the fortunate perspective of time on our side, so I hope and pray that each of us would know the destination that is being spoken of.

What about the people that you see on a daily basis? Does the man in the drive thru where you buy your coffee know of the destination? Does your favorite bank teller know? What about the police officers that patrol near your office? What about the postal employees that deliver your mail? What about the people who teach your children? Do any of them know of the destination that Jesus speaks of?

More importantly, if they don’t, have YOU told them?

God’s grace and mercy is not for a select few. It is for everyone.

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))

If salvation, grace and mercy are for everyone, what gives us the right to keep it from someone? What gives us the right to be selfish with a gift that we did not give and we have received through mercy even when we did not deserve it? We must realize that there is more than ample supply for every single person who has or will ever live? God’s grace is limitless.

Slow down and listen to God. Listen to His gentle nudgings. He is asking us to tell someone of the place that Jesus spoke of. He is telling us to invite them along.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who do you glorify?

July 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.
(Genesis 41:14-16 (NIV))

I have a very serious question to ask and I want you to reflect and answer truthfully.

How would you respond if you find yourself in a situation similar to what Joseph found himself?

Would you have boasted and loudly proclaimed that you indeed did have the ability to do as he had heard? Would you proclaim that you could do as he asked? Would you come across as arrogant and egotistical when presented with a situation that could potentially glorify you?

Or would you do as Joseph did and acknowledge that all things come from God and only by His grace can you do as you are asked?

Human nature is a fickle thing. We tend to think that we would give the glory where the glory is due, yet, all too often we fall short. We allow the glory to be directed toward our own abilities even though we are not worthy of glory.

We must train our hearts and minds to desire to reflect the glory of God, for we are not worthy of glory.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Even in our filthy state, we are to glorify God in all of His righteousness. We must never glorify ourselves.

Who do you glorify?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Help me to overcome my unbelief!

July 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:24 (NIV))

“Help me overcome my unbelief!”

Are you willing to be so honest with God and yourself that you realize that you have unbelief?

We all have unbelief. To many of us, it is that single thing that we are not willing to turn over to God. We think that it is our problem and that God does not deal with things like we have gotten ourselves into. Is the Creator of all heaven and earth too small to handle your finances? Is He too small to handle your past sins? Is He too small to get your through an illness? Let’s face the truth. Far too many members of His Body, His church, fall into this type of unbelief.

We believe that God can send His Son, Jesus, to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins and then we limit what He can do in our lives because we feel that our sins are too great to be forgiven. We do not believe that we can be part of His Kingdom because of what we have done. We are calling God a liar. He did not say that whoever is perfect and believes will He save. He said whoever believes will be saved.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I struggle daily with belief, or should I say unbelief. I know the words, but some days I just don’t feel it. I have heard it said that this is where faith comes in.

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

Faith is believing even when we cannot see what we believe.

Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief so that my faith may grow. Without belief, faith is nothing. Without faith, hope is lost. Without hope, the enemy has won. Without that victory, Jesus’ death was in vain. If His death means nothing, then there is no power in the resurrection.

Help me to overcome my unbelief!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Where is your reward?

July 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35 (NIV))

In today’s society, everybody wants to be served and no one wants to serve. No one wants to wait for anything.

Be honest. How many of you would take a job at a fast food restaurant if something else was available? Even the fast food restaurants are playing up the fact that people want to be served and served in their own way. We get upset if we have to wait for anything. What does that say about us, as a society? We have become self-centered and lazy. We are willing to be a part of something only if we get something out of it. The saying “What’s in it for me” is all too common.

Does this sound like the words of Jesus are having an impact on the lives of the people today? What is your attitude about being a servant and not being first?

I once knew a man whose 12 year old son did not like living where they lived. His complaint was that nothing came out first there and that he deserved to be first. This sounds typical of our society. Through various different aspects of our society, we have quickly become self focused. I hate to say that even some believers have fallen prey to this attitude.

Closely examine your life. Are you doing anything to be a servant to others? Are you willing to allow others to be placed before you without getting upset? If we follow the words of Jesus, our reward is in heaven. Remember that we are told that the Pharisees got their reward in this world for placing themselves above others.

Where is your reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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July 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mark 3:24-25 (NIV))

Truer words cannot be spoken, especially when you consider our country and our world in today’s circumstances.

In my lifetime, I have seen things change so rapidly, yet, not all change has been good.

One thing that appears to have changed for the worse is the deep divisions that are now so prevalent between people.

It used to be said that people could disagree and then put their disagreements aside and be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is as if you are personally attacking them. There is too much selfish ego involved and no thought given to the simple fact that we are all human, and no one is perfect. Not a single one of us is right on everything. In fact, I think that I can safely say that most of us are wrong more times than we are right.

Are we so willing to alienate and create division when perfection is out of our grasp?

I understand the desire to create policies that take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I understand the need to defend ourselves. I understand the need to be responsible to God, to others, and to ourselves.

I understand the need to be good stewards.

We must look upon everything that we have as a blessing from God and not as if it were ours to take and do with as we please.

Have you ever thought how history will look upon us?

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: ‘From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.'”
– quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747?1813)

I am not trying to be political, but rather bringing something to light. We, as a society have become far too divided, with far too little common ground in the middle. For a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it has now come to mean freedom from religion in the eyes of far too many people. Our ancestors fought to break the bondage that tthey were under. Jesus died to free us from the bondage of sin and death. Why are we headed back into bondage?

This must change.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is time to return to prayer and earnestly seek God’s face. We must turn from our wicked ways and pray that God will heal our land. We must pray that the words of Alexander Fraser Tytler, through God’s grace, will not come true.

Although, there is something else to consider.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
” `An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

Is the world becoming divided, even polarized, in preparation for this to be fulfilled?

Whether this division is man made or all a part of God’s plan, we, as His church must pray, for without prayer, we are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you fully dressed?

July 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:11 (NIV))

We all think that we could recognize the devil’s schemes. Sometimes I wonder if that is possible without putting on the full armor of God.

Think about that for a moment.

When we put on the full armor of God, we clothe ourselves in God’s Word. We fully embrace the Holy Spirit’s presence within our lives. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. He is our personal Lord and Savior. In other words, we long to know God and His commands. We should be able to discern what is from God and what is from the enemy. It should be second nature to us. We should know the voice of our Lord, Savior and Master.

Now consider that Satan will often masquerade as an angel of light. Is our faith and understanding of God strong enough to distinguish a false angel of light from the voice of God? I would like to think that each of us is to that point in our faith. I would like to think that we are fully clothed in the full armor of God so that Satan cannot catch us off guard through one of his deceptions. Unfortunately, none of us is perfect. We can fall if we let down our guard.

We must be prepared!

Study God’s Word. Pray for guidance and discernment. Pray for wisdom. Be ready to recognize God’s voice and reject the devil’s schemes.

Are you fully dressed in the armor of God or do you have areas that leave you vulnerable to attack?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The lost

July 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:8-10 (NIV))

Is there someone in your life that you would rather forget about?

Someone who just seems to be a thorn in your side no matter what you may do or say. Is there someone who just irritates you?

Do you find yourself thinking that it wouldn’t matter to anyone if they just disappeared?

Isn’t life ironic at times? You do your best to do what you know to be the right thing. You devote yourself to being the person that Jesus is calling you to be, yet, still you have issues with other people who just seem to rub you the wrong way.

Personally, I honestly believe that these people are no accident. They are placed in your life for a reason. I find it best to take on the attitude of prayer, not only for these type of people, but more often for myself. I have to remind myself that heaven rejoices just as much for this person as it does for me. I am no better than the person in question and I need to repent of my thoughts.

With this in mind, have you ever pictured what heaven would be like? Do you envision vast numbers of people exactly like you? How will you handle seeing people from different cultures and different nationalities who will not be like you? How will you handle being among people with whom the only thing that you may have in common is the fact that you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? What will you do when you see the person or persons from your life that were those people who were the thorns in your side? Will you rejoice with all of heaven or will you ask why they are there?

I have often heard this question asked, “How would you react when you got to heaven and discovered that Adolf Hitler had repented and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior?”

If heaven can rejoice when a sinner repents, then we should rejoice as well. In fact, we must pray for those who are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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