We must pray!

June 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

No matter what side of the political fence you may sit, today was a day that had many feeling the ramifications of something that just doesn’t feel right. Christians being stoned by Muslims – in America. Contempt charges. Supreme Court rulings. Heated and bitter discussions using language that all of us should know better, yet it happened.

This verse came to mind.

Today seemed to have a heaviness that surpasses basic human differences. Today, I saw humanity reduced to name calling and finger pointing, while ignoring the real battle that we are facing. Something is dividing us and it is using anything and everything that it can bring to bear as a tool.

Race. Religion. Social status. Financial status. Government.

You name it, it divides us.

It is said that actions that happen in the physical world are mirrored, or start, in the spiritual world. If that is true, and I believe that it is, then something is brewing that we, as the Body of Christ, need to be prepared for.

How do we prepare?

We must seek God’s Word. We must seek to do His will. We must be willing to take a stand for what God is calling His church to do while we are in this world.

We must be that light upon the hill. We must be the lamp that lights the way.

We must pray!

I realize that this verse has become cliché lately, but I feel that it applies more and more each day.

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 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, must pray without ceasing. We must pray, not for our will as we see things unfolding, but for God’s Will. Our will is clouded by our limited understanding.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Pray for God’s Will in this battle against the spiritual forces.

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

June 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:5-6 (NIV))

Why do you think that Jesus told the disciples this?

In our grocery store society, some of us may have lost touch with what yeast actually does.

Yeast is a small, single-celled fungus that is used to make several different foods. In this context, Jesus was referring to how yeast is used as leaven in bread to make it rise. Yeast completely changes the appearance and use of the flour dough from the inside. A small organism can work from the inside out and completely change how the dough will actually cook.

There are two important things to consider in this context. Something does not have to big big to invoke a major change. The second thing to consider is that a small piece of something can cause a major change from the inside.

The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees were the false teachings and the hypocrisy. Jesus was warning his disciples to watch out for these false teachings. He was warning them that it only takes a little piece of falseness to implant itself inside of you. It will be like the yeast and grow and change you from the inside.

In today’s world, we have our own groups of people who are twisting God’s Word, They are spreading false teachings. Don’t allow these false teachings to come into your lives. Truth is truth. Test everything. If something appears to be biblically correct but has a few things that seem strange, be careful. Those few small things are the yeast that will take hold of you and change you from the inside.

Have you looked at all of the definitions of the word “yeast?” One of them is literally something that causes ferment or agitation. In other words, something small can cause unrest, excitement or commotion. False teachings are yeast, for they fulfill every aspect of the definition.

Is this something that you want inside of you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Give praises to the Lord

June 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV))

Have you ever heard of anyone boasting about being weak?

This is not typical human behavior!

People boast about being the best, or being the strongest, but never do you hear of anyone boasting about being weak. Let’s face it, human nature makes us want to look good in the eyes of those around us. We want to show off, and what self-respecting showoff would claim to be weak? It just isn’t heard of.

When we have competitions, we crown the best as the winners. We have games where grown men and women compete to see who is the best. We even give awards to those who win. In all of this, do you ever hear someone say that they are too weak to compete?

I will be honest. There are those who profess that they owe their abilities to God, yet, for the most part, in these competitions, they are the exception.

Why did Paul boast that he is weak?

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NIV)

Paul, even though he was chosen by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, had a physical affliction. Some have even suggested that he suffered from seizures. Paul, regardless of the physical issues, was used powerfully by God. He did not allow his physical limitations to keep him from fulfilling the call that God placed upon his life. He recognized the limitations and, more importantly, he recognized that God was using him in spite of the limitations.

Paul answered God’s call even in the midst of his own problems!

Would we do that?

How many times have we neglected God’s call upon our lives because we felt limited and incapable? How many times have we failed to realize that we would not be the ones doing that task? How many times have we failed to answer even when we had Paul as our example?

I know that I am guilty of this more times than I care to admit, still it is my desire to answer that call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Are we willing to respond in this manner? Are we willing to overlook our weaknesses when God calls? Are we willing to step out in faith and acknowledge that it is God’s strength and not our weakness that is in charge?

I have a challenge for you.

God has a calling upon each of us. Step out to meet that calling. When wondrous things happen, boast that it is not you.

Give praises to the Lord.

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

June 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
(Psalms 59:16-17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of someone singing?

If you are like most people, you will probably think that the person who is singing is joyful and happy. Occasionally, you will find someone singing when they are depressed and sad, but you will not find them singing joyful songs. David sang praises no matter how he felt, for he knew that God was the same regardless of what may be happening in his life. God still provided a fortress and a place of refuge in both the good times and in the times of trouble.

I find it difficult to be like David and sing praises in the times of trouble. It is human nature to focus on the situation at hand and complain because we feel abandoned. If we would only stop to realize that God is still there, we could easily turn our attitudes around.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
(Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV))

No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we must always sing praises to God. When we sing praises to God, it does not allow the enemy to gain an entrance into our lives. It does not allow the enemy to use our self-pity to turn us against God. When times are troubled, we must turn to God and rely fully on His grace and mercy. I don’t know about you, but thinking about God’s grace and mercy is always enough to get me singing – well, at least on the inside.

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

June 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
(Mark 9:42-47 (NIV))

Today’s society seems to have forgotten these simple yet profound statements that Jesus made. In both cases, He was referring to innocence. The innocence of children and the judgment that awaits those who cause children to sin and the innocence of the whole person with respect to a part of them that causes them to sin.

Perhaps Jesus was drawing the distinction between the innocence of children and the innocence that we should have as children of God. In either case, sin should not be allowed in to corrupt what God has created. Sin must be removed so that it cannot cause the person to pay the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Do not allow sin into your life and do not introduce sin into another person’s life.

We should remember that God demands more from those who teach and preach His Word. Perhaps we should also associate the fact that He demands more from those who cause others to sin. I would not want to be one who God demands more because of sin. I would rather be held accountable for preaching and teaching His Word than for causing others to sin.

Remember that people are watching everything that you do. Would your actions and words be held accountable for God or for sin?

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

June 22, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 8:10-14 (NIV))

Has our nation become proud?

Have we as a nation forgotten the Lord our God?

Has the church become proud?

Has the Body of Christ forgotten our first love? Have we forgotten why we are the church? Have we watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or even worse, have we abandoned the truth for something that is politically correct?

Israel was warned that this could happen. There were times where they, as a nation, did forget. There were times, when they, as a nation, became proud. No nation is exempt from the possibilities of turning their back on God.

And, no nation is exempt from the consequences if they do!

Israel had times in their history where they strayed and where they paid the consequences.

I believe that this nation is also being led astray. We have become proud and arrogant. We have forgotten the Lord. We have allowed whatever that enters our heart to become our god.

Where is the church in all of this? We are called to hold fast to our faith. We are called to be the light into the darkness. We are called to be witnesses to the world.

We are called to pray!

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 (NIV))

Are we doing our part? Are we praying for our nation? Are we praying for our world?

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 5:16 (NIV))

We can be effective. We can be powerful, but not in our own strength. We must not forget the Lord. We must not become proud.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

If we, as a nation become proud, we will be humbled. If we, as a church become proud, we will be humbled. If we humble ourselves, then God will hear us. It is when we are humble that we are strong in the Lord.

Where is your strength? Where is the strength of the church? What is the sttrength of our nation?

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

June 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
(Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV))

Blessed?

Have you ever had a time, even though you trust in the Lord, where you feel that you are far from blessed?

Be honest with yourself. If you are human, then you have had many of those times. I know that I have.

It is human nature to feel rejected. It is human nature to dwell on the negative, and the negative times do happen to everyone. Jesus warned us about this.

“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))

I want you to think back on the times when you did not feel blessed. What happened that made you feel that way? In all circumstances, it was probably an attack from someone or something in this fallen, sinful world.

Did you lose your trust in the Lord or did you lose your confidence in Him? After the initial heartbreak, and, yes, that is a normal reaction, chances are that you came to the realization that God is still with you, that Jesus is still with you.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33b (NIV))

These simple words should make us feel blessed even when we don’t feel blessed.

We are blessed because we have placed our faith and trust in the Lord. The enemy attacks us through things of this world. We begin to feel rejected. We begin to feel that we are not blessed. It is at these very moments in life when we must remember that Jesus came into this world, lived, died and was resurrected for moments like this. We can take heart, for He has overcome the world.

When we feel that we are not blessed is the time that we should remember the words from John 16:33. It is at these times that we have the biggest blessing. We have the reassurance that these moments will not defeat us. We have the promise that Jesus is still with us and that He is our salvation even when the world tries its best to destroy us.

Blessed?

You bet!

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