I long to become a dedicated servant!

September 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

What do you serve?

Think about that for a moment.

Basically, a servant is a person who is in service to another.

If you have ever served in the military, your “service” was a given fact. If you have ever worked for a living, your service to your job was a given fact. Once you come under the authority of someone, your service is expected, whether that authority is to a military leader or an employer, you are in service to them.

Are you a servant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Have you come under the authority of Jesus and the grace and mercy that goes with that?

Do you accept Jesus as your Savior?

Here comes the question that too many people either trip up on or choose to ignore completely. Is Jesus your Lord? Does Jesus have authority, control and power over you? Is He your master? Is He your Lord?

If Jesus is your Lord, then by simple deduction from the definitions of Lord and servant, we should be serving Jesus in all capacities. We should proclaim, just as Paul did, that we have become a servant of the Gospel.

Or, do you have the mindset that God is to serve us? Do you expect God to give you everything that you want when you want it? Perhaps you have mistaken God for the genii in the tale of Aladdin. God is not here to grant you wishes, not even just three. He is God the Father, Creator of all things.

He gave us life.

We sinned and fell into the punishment of death.

He sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem us from death for Himself.

He has given us everything. He has rescued us from eternal death.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua:15 (NIV))

In many cultures, there is an old tradition that if somebody saves your life, your are in service to them until the debt has been paid. God, through His Son, Jesus, saved our lives. What are we doing to repay that debt. What are we doing to be of service to the very Gospel that saved us?

I long to become a dedicated servant!

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is with you through your troubles

September 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV))

Lately, if you are like me, that last statement is definitely true – “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How many of you had a day that you wish you could forget? I want to let you in on a little secret. Tomorrow will have its share of troubles, too. They don’t ever really go away, but with the promises that God has made, we will see them through if we place our faith and trust in those promises.

Think about Jesus when He walked this earth. Many of His days had troubles. The crowds wanted to throw Him off a cliff. The chief priests wanted to keep Him quiet and later they wanted to kill Him. He was beaten, scourged and crucified. He died. In my opinion, these are all major troubles, yet, He overcame His troubles so that He could be there for us so that we can overcome ours. In fact, He overcame the biggest trouble that anybody could ever have. He overcame death by arising on the third day.

If we place our faith in Jesus, then we will overcome all of our troubles as well. Jesus did not promise to remove our troubles.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

He is with us as we go through our troubles. He is guiding us and teaching us. Through our troubles, we are being made more perfect, more mature. If you are like me, sometimes you may wish that we could mature a little slower, but by keeping your faith firmly rooted in Jesus, you will endure.

Keep in mind how God defines Himself.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
(Isaiah 42:8 (NIV))

You have probably heard that God is not called “I was” because He is alive today. He is not called “I will be,” for He is now and forever. He is firmly rooted in your today. He will be there even when you do not feel that He is. He is “I am” and He is with you through your troubles.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to remodel?

September 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

When did the government take prayer out of public schools?

When did abortion become legal?

When did the rights of the criminal become more important than the common good of society?

When did we start allowing the vocal minority to remove God from our society?

When did it become socially unacceptable to mention Jesus in the military, in government and in everyday life?

The LORD may have built this house, but we have allowed it to be remodeled in a way that has excluded God. It is time to remodel it again and rebuild it with God’s help.

I often wonder what the founding fathers would say about what has happened. History books are being rewritten. Men and women who were once revered as godly and righteous are now simply mentioned as owning slaves. I don’t condone slavery, but to relegate all of the great achievements to a lost bit of information simply because they happened to own slaves. No one is perfect, yet these very same people followed God’s leading and established the tenants that would later bring freedom to all.

We need to allow God to not only rebuild, but to also watch over this country and this world. In order for that to happen, we must turn to Him. He will not do it if we do not ask.

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))

People wonder why we have such troubles and such insecurity. We have been given the answer. I pray that we, as the body of Christ, will rise to the occasion and allow God to rebuild us and to watch over us once again.

Are you ready to remodel?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which man are you like?

September 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
(Proverbs 10:20 (NIV))

Consider two men.

One does not know the Lord and seeks after only his own desires no matter what the consequences. This person becomes more self centered and less compassionate as time passes. He thinks less and less of others except for the way that he can use them to further his own desires. By putting himself first in all matters, he alienates any true friends that he may ever have. No one can trust him. No one desires to be with that person. It becomes a viscous cycle in which the more he is self centered, the less people desire to be around him, and the more he rebels and says to himself that he doesn’t need people. This drives his heart to be more hardened and wicked, which eventually leads to this person cursing God or blaming God for his short-comings.

The other has placed Jesus Christ at the center of his life and allowed the Holy Spirit to inhabit his heart. His life is filled with the fruits of the Spirit and this shows in all aspects of his life: speech, actions and works. He is joyous all of the time because he has realized that nothing on this earth can make him happy. True happiness comes from knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Once this realization is made, this person will seek to do God’s Will for his life. By seeking God’s Will, this person opens himself up to the righteousness of God and the wisdom that accompanies this righteousness. Everything that comes from this person’s life will be God focused and beneficial to others.

Can you think of people who fall into both categories? In this imperfect world that man has allowed Satan to take control of, it is impossible to be truly righteous without God in your life. Reflect on the people that you have known that fall into the two categories. Who would you rather associate with in all aspects of your life? Who would you like to use as a role model?

Which man are you like?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He who trusts in himself is a fool

September 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
(Proverbs 28:26 (NIV))

In today’s world, there are far too many “fools” who have placed their trust in themselves and in others who have also placed their own trust in themselves. In other words, too many of our society think that they are in control and can solve every problem. They feel that they can make society better if only they can enforce their ways upon others.

They have lost sight of wisdom. They have lost sight of the fact that the very nature of fallen, sinful humanity takes its very essence from the one who fell from grace. Satan thought that he could do a better job, so he became obsessed with taking God’s place. Arrogance, ego and pride can lead even the angels of heaven to do things that are foolish. We all have the capabilities of doing the very same thing if we forget where our strength and our wisdom comes from.

As created beings, it is not from within us that we find something that we can trust. We can only place our trust in the wisdom that comes from God and His Son, Jesus Christ. If something points to anything else but God, then we should not place any amount of trust in it at all.

Is there anything within this world that we can place our trust in?

Can we trust in the governments of the world?

Can we trust in corporations?

Can we trust in our jobs?

Can we trust in our friends?

Can we trust in our families?

I think that we have already established that we should not place trust in ourselves.

Everything that is in this world has been tainted by sin, and in spite of the best of intentions, nothing is perfect. If you doubt that, consider yourself.

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))

We cannot trust in our own wisdom, for our own wisdom is tainted. It is like filthy rags. We have only one place in which to put our trust, and that is in the wisdom of God.

Do you trust in God, or are you a fool?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What if God recorded your life as an example?

September 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
(Hebrews 6:13-15 (NIV))

Everyone knows that Abraham was a great man of faith. He believed God in everything that God promised him, even when Abraham did not see any physical way that it would come true.

Is there something in your life that appears as though there is no physical way that it could change? Do you feel that it will always be just as it is – something that you must simply learn to live with? Think of Abraham.

Abraham was an old man when God began to promise that he would be blessed. He was an old man without any children. He was an old man without any hope in what the physical world had to provide. Even so, Abraham believed in what God had promised and he waited patiently for that promise to be fulfilled.

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
(Hebrews 6:15 (NIV))

Perhaps we should all take a lesson from Abraham. From a physical perspective, Abraham did not have much time. He was growing old. He had no children. Perhaps it is due to this very aspect of his life that Abraham waited patiently. He had no other option. It is said that we turn to God when we have no place else to turn. Where would Abraham turn if not to God?

God rewards righteousness and patience.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
(Psalms 40:1 (NIV))

Do you have the patience to wait for God? If God recorded your life as an example, would it be written of as it is written about Abraham?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which type are you?

September 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
(Job 23:11-12 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the trials and tribulations that Job faced.

Think about that for a moment and then consider whether you would have been able to proclaim what Job proclaimed.

How would you react to losing all of your wealth? How would you react to losing all of your property? How would you react to losing your social status? How would you react to losing all of your family? Personally, I believe that I could face anything in this world, except the thought of losing my family. I pray that I would have the strength, but I pray more that I am never faced with knowing what Job faced.

We, as created beings, are weak in our faith. We proclaim that we believe, yet many of us have never truly been tested. Job was a remarkable man. He faced every trial imaginable short of facing his own death, yet, he had the courage to stand firm in his faith. Human nature, when faced with circumstances similar to what Job faced, has a tendency to seek to blame someone for their misfortune. All too often, that someone is God. We seek to blame Him for the bad things that come upon us. In our hour of need, we turn upon the one who offers us grace and mercy.

I know that I am oversimplifying this, but there are four basic types of people when it comes to faith.

The first type, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t believe at all.

The second type professes a faith until something happens and then they blame God.

The third type don’t even think about God until something bad happens and then they try to make up for lost time.

The fourth type are those who are steadfast in their faith no matter what may come their way, for they know one thing that they can hold firmly to no matter what they may face.

Job was an excellent example of the fourth type. He never wavered in his faith. Even when all around him was bad, he never blamed God. He did question God, but he never blamed Him. Even when pressured by friends, he never gave up his faith.

It is my prayer that I will always be the fourth type. I also pray that I may never have to face such trials and tribulations, but if I do, I pray that I will be able to hold fast to my faith no matter what.

Which type are you?

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