What is your song when you walk through darkness?

January 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD will command His loving kindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.
(Psalms 42:8 (NIV))

I do not know of anyone that is afraid of the daylight. It is warm and inviting. It is full of hope and vision. All is clearly visible in the daylight.

Consider the darkness. When you walk in an area that is dark and unknown, you grow fearful. What do you do when you begin to feel fear? Most people sing! Perhaps this is a God given mechanism to fight fear.

Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:2(NIV))

When we sing, we are professing joy. This joy is a joy that comes from God. It is a joy that embraces the light. It calls upon Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior in the midst of all trials and tribulations.

The darkness represents sin. It is an attack of the enemy of God. When we are in darkness, either literally or figuratively, we should sing with joy to the God who gave us a Savior. We should gladly call upon the name of Jesus Christ to see us through the darkness.

What is your song when you walk through darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Cultivate your faith!

January 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

This just about sums up a faith in Jesus. We have not physically seen Him, yet we love Him and trust in Him. We believe in Him even though we have not seen Him. We believe the words that He spoke are the truth. His words fill us with a joy and a peace that passes all understanding. We have developed a faith that Jesus is who He claims to be.

Let’s take a harder look at faith.

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

Are you sure of your hope in Jesus? Is your faith strong enough to withstand a trial by fire? Will you deny Jesus when faced with a situation that you don’t see any other way out of? Will you deny Jesus to save your physical life?

Are you certain that your salvation rests solely in the nail scarred hands that long to welcome you? Will you turn from salvation in your moment of fear?

Faith is like a muscle. It must be exercised in order to be made strong. Even just a little faith can grow. Don’t simply place your faith in Jesus and then never do anything to build that faith. Cultivate your faith through prayer, reading, study, and trusting in God as you put your faith into action so that it may grow.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a boastful messenger

January 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
“a voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Mark 1:2-3 (NIV))

What if we were told that God was sending us a messenger today?

Think about that if you will.

John the Baptist came to point the way to Jesus. Those who came to John were ready for what was to come. They were sincere in their repentance and from what we have been told, they were earnestly seeking God. They recognized something in John, something that did not point to himself, but pointed to someone who is to come.

John was not the message. He was only the messenger.

Jesus was and is the message.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
(John 1:1-9 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, confuse the messenger with the message? How many times have you heard of people going to a church because they love the pastor? This is not wrong, but what happens when the love of pastor is greater than the love of God and Jesus? How many times have you heard of people leaving the church because of something that someone said?

Each of us is a messenger in our own right. We are all supposed to point to Jesus. What you do and say has an impact on those around you. Professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to surrender to Him and to be His hands and feet in this world. We are to prepare the way for the Lord in the lives of those we meet.

Don’t be a boastful messenger.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you an avid fisher of men?

January 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Mark 1:17 (NIV))

We could have never fully understood these simple words that Jesus spoke if God had not sent Jesus to this earth to walk among us as one of us. God knew that humanity needed to be taught face to face and that the only way that this could be accomplished was for Him to send His only Son to be our teacher.

How can anybody be a fisher of men? Fishing requires the use of nets and hooks and results in the death of the fish.

We can not and do not want to utilize these implements to the same end results. We are to be a different type of fisherman. We are to cast the net of the Gospel so that it entices people with the truth and not ensnare them with deception. Look at what you do when you fish. You “bait” the hook with something that is appealing so that the fish will desire to take it. Little known to the fish is the fact that danger lurks just beneath the surface of that appealing bait. When we follow Jesus and become fishers of men, we have nothing to hide. All of the truth is just that – TRUTH. There is no falseness and there is no hidden danger. Perhaps this is why the world is slow to accept Jesus as the only way to eternal salvation. The world still sees the danger associated with the appealing bait and is reluctant to accept Jesus because of what they are afraid is hidden below the surface.

If the world is reluctant to take the “bait” of the Gospel, then we must be the light of Jesus to the world in their reluctancy. We must be ready, willing and able to show that there is no hidden danger and that Jesus truly is the Son of God. We must cast our nets so that people see Jesus in our “casting” and not the danger of the hooks that Satan uses in his deception.

Are you an avid fisher of men?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you faithful during times of temptation?

January 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
(Mark 1:9-13 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you have been sent into the desert and nothing is going right?

You are not alone !

Even Jesus faced this during His time on this earth.

What happened when Jesus faced this? Besides being tempted by Satan, angels attended Him. God did not abandon Him in the desert to face Satan all alone. He faced this experience and He still was surrounded by God’s messengers of hope.

If we follow Jesus, we, too, will face our times in the desert or wilderness. We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus promised

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

Jesus does not abandon us when we are in the desert. We simply tend to lose sight of Him. He is always there. It is us who, in our times of temptation, think that we are alone.

We must remember to have faith during these times.

Are you faithful during times of temptation?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Talk to Him

January 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 (NIV))

All too often we say that we do not have the time to pray. Our lives have become so hectic that the most important aspect is often overlooked.

Jesus knew what it was like to be “wanted” by so many different people and things in His earthly life. People were always asking Him to heal them or to help them in some other way. It would have been very easy for someone to “forget” to pray, yet, He knew that it was the source of His authority.

Nothing is given to anyone, even Jesus, without it being allowed by God. Jesus set a perfect example for us in what we should do in our daily lives. Even though Jesus is part of God and is God, He did not forget that He needed to “talk” to God the Father. He needed to spend quiet time to maintain the relationship that had been since the beginning of time.

We must take this example and live it out in our daily lives so that we do not forget that we are not the masters of our own lives. We have a loving Creator who wishes to be in fellowship with us. He is our master. He is our Father.

Talk to Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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At once they left their nets

January 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-20 (NIV))

“At once they left their nets”

This not only happened once, but it appears that it happened twice in the very same day. Two groups of two brothers who simply put down what they were doing and decided to follow Jesus.

In my opinion, there are several astonishing things to consider.

The first, and probably the most difficult for us, is the fact that they followed “at once.” They made an instant decision upon meeting Jesus and left everything else behind. In our society today, we have to study and review and investigate the facts before we do anything. How many people do you know who accepted Jesus the very first time that they were introduced to Him? How long did it take you to accept Jesus?

Something else that caught my attention with this passage is the fact that two sets of brothers decided “at once,” and left everything to follow Jesus.

Think about that.

How many of you have siblings? Have you ever agreed on anything instantly? Would both of you be willing to make a life changing commitment in the same manner as Simon and Andrew or James and John?

We read this passage and we tend to take for granted just what amazing faith transpired in the telling of these few short lines. What about your faith is amazing? Accepting Jesus, whether instantly or years later, is still an amazing thing, but to step out in faith when no one could truly proclaim the miracles that were to happen is beyond comprehension.

We take our faith for granted because we have the written Word to tell us the truth. Still, many of us seem to take forever to make that commitment, to take that leap.

It is my prayer that we can all become ones who will respond “at once” to the call that Jesus places upon our lives.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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