Is there ever a time?

February 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:13-16 (NIV))

Did you catch the same thing that I caught from reading this passage?

Did you even catch what I am referring to?

The one thing that stands out in this passage is that we are given instructions to turn to God in trouble, in praise, in sickness, in happiness, in faith and in our sin. In other words, we should turn to God in all that we do and in all situations that we face.

Do we do that?

Come on, be honest.

If you are like me, I would like to think that I do, but I find myself falling short of my self image far too often.

We all get wrapped up in our own little worlds that we create for ourselves and we forget that our little worlds are still a part of God’s creation. We focus so much on us and ours, that we forget about Him and His – His world, His Son, His plan of salvation, and His desire to be in a relationship with us.

Relationship!

If you stop to think about the times that we are to turn to God, they are the basic principles that apply to our relationships with our spouse, our family and our friends. We turn to them in these times. Why do we find it so difficult to turn to the One who created us?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective? Did you stop to realize that this statement comes after the instructions on when we are to turn to God? If we turn to God based on those instructions, we will walk so closely with Him that our hearts will want His will. Our prayers will be powerful and effective.

When should we turn to God?

Perhaps the better question to ask is this. Is there ever a time that we should not turn to God?

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

February 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
(Psalms 6:8 (NIV))

David was in anguish when he wrote this psalm. Anguish so deep that he wept uncontrollably. Still, he found comfort in the Lord. He found solace in knowing that the Lord was with him when he faced the evils that the world sent his way.

What evils do you face today? Do you turn toward God in those times?

What if the evils that we face grow tremendously? Will you and I still turn toward God in those times?

Think about those questions and reflect on these paraphrased stories from the non-mainstream news media.

A man was beaten because his party costume offended a Muslim man. The victim was lectured and the man who beat him was released without punishment by the judge. The victim was told that in certain countries, his act would have rightfully resulted in his death.

A government plan that mandates churches go against their beliefs and follow what the government dictates.

I am certain that you recognize the second summarized story, but sadly enough, the first one is also from this country.

Do these stories cause anguish within your heart? Do they cause you to weep because of the evil that they foreshadow? Are we ready to turn to God the way that David did in his times of anguish?

I have another piece of information for you to ponder. I have been reading some information from some historians and the consensus is that no country that has reached the point that we have as a nation has ever regained their former status.

Does that cause weeping and anguish? I know that it causes me some very serious distress. I know that I stand firmly in wanting to regain our faith, our values and our moral determination.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 7:13-14 (NIV))

Turn to God in prayer. Follow David’s example and let the Lord know of your anguish and your weeping. Pray for His will to be done.

God will hear!

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

February 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39 (NIV))

Paul exuded a confidence that was able to build a church!

He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was who He claimed that He was. He stood firmly on the promises that God had given throughout history and he knew that all of them were answered through Jesus.

Nothing can take that from us if we truly believe that!

The problem is that we start to doubt and soon relegate our faith to liturgy and tradition instead of a firm conviction and a confidence in what God has done for us through Jesus. There is nothing wrong with tradition, but when the tradition becomes more important than the reason for the tradition, we have lost our faith and our confidence in the power of the atoning blood of Jesus.

What have we to fear in this world if we truly rely on God and place our faith and trust in Him? I think that Paul says it best when he says “nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you exude confidence?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been lifted up?

February 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
(Psalms 40:1-2 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are in the slimy pit? More importantly, do you feel that you have no way out?

Worldly worries and the attacks of the enemy often leave us feeling that we are in a bottomless pit with no chance of escape. All too often our human nature looks at the visible and ignores the promises of God and we panic because we feel that we literally have no way out of the situation in which we find ourselves.

We must not lose sight of the promises that God has given each of us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:19 (NIV))

Look at what David went through. He had the promise that God would make him king over all of Israel, yet, for years, he had to live in the desert and run for his life. Only after David was patient and obedient, did he see what God truly had in store for him. He had to go through the slimy pit in order for God to lift him onto the firm rock.

We all go through periods when we are in the slimy pit. It is our attitude when we are in that pit that God will reward. If we keep focused on Him, then He will lift us up and place us on that firm place.

Are you in the slimy pit, or have you been lifted up and placed on the firm foundation that only a solid faith in Jesus can provide?

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

February 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
(Psalms 118:8 (NIV))

I find things so interesting these days, as I am sure that many of you do as well.

Far too many of us look to a particular person to have all of the answers. Too many of us look to a political party to have all of the answers. Society longs to look anywhere and everywhere for the answers except where the truth is. We seem to elect leaders who shun the idea that they are wrong if they do not place their priorities on the back shelf and make the Lord’s priorities theirs.

Has there ever been a single person that you know who has never broken your trust?

It happens to everyone. It happens because we all have our own interests at heart. The old saying “What’s in it for me” is true. I am sure that you have also heard the old saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Even the best of intentions fall short of complete trust. The best of intentions are easily swayed when you think that you are the absolute authority.

Even the most honest and trustworthy person will fail and fall short of the expectations – theirs and others.

Take a look at David. Even though he was a man after God’s own heart, he sinned. He did things that his power and position gave him the opportunity to do. His personal desires lead him down a path that lead to adultery and murder. When he was confronted and realized his sin, he repented, but how many people paid the price for his personal agenda?

Our nation and our world have turned so drastically from refuge and guidance from the Lord and we have turned to trust in man. It was man’s plans that led to World War I, World War II, and every single war throughout history. It was man’s plans that have led to the economic collapse of Greece. It is man’s plans that will lead us to many more problems if we do not repent and take refuge in the Lord.

Today, “man” tells us that we need to keep God out of everyday life and keep Him confined to our churches. No wonder we have so much trouble. God did not create only our Sunday mornings. He created everything. Why do we try to confine the Creator of all things to only a small portion of His creation?

That sounds like too many people have placed their trust in man.

Where do you place your trust?

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

February 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
(Matthew 16:25 (NIV))

This is difficult for many people to grasp the meaning of. It probably ranks right up there with the old saying, “If you love something, set it free.” Perhaps it is even the same principle that applies to both.

Think about this. If we love something to the point that we cling to it, then do we truly love it? When we cling to something, it is because we are afraid of losing it. Are you afraid of losing your life? Were you ever afraid of losing a special girlfriend or boyfriend? This isn’t love. It is a desire to be in control. We long to keep something around us because we are afraid of what our circumstances would be like without it.

The biggest evidence of this is how we treat our lives. We say that we love Jesus and that we trust Him as our Lord and Savior, but how many of us would cower in fear if we thought that we could lose our lives? Which do we love more, Jesus and the uncertainty that faith requires us to overcome, or our lives which are tangible in our eyes?

We must learn to look at everything from God’s perspective and not from our fear. Fear can cause tremendous loss. It can keep us from giving our lives to Jesus. It can keep us from letting God take control because we want to be in control.

It is a simple matter of fear or faith. Which do you want to live by?

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

February 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

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