For days

July 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:4 (NLT))

Nehemiah did something that we seem to ignore today!

It is the first two words of this passage – for days.

We have become such an instant gratification society that if something does not happen immediately, too many of us simply give up.

We mourn. We fast. We pray to God, but when God doesn’t answer on our time table, we assume that the answer is no. Nehemiah knew differently. He knew that God is like the judge in the following parable.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8 (NIV))

We must be persistent in our prayers. God answers every prayer, but He takes great joy in granting justice for those who call upon His name.

Do you call out for days or do you utter a few words and give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Are you ashamed?

July 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Paul was not ashamed. Are you?

Think about everything that has ever meant anything to you. Chances are that you did not try to hide it from anyone. Honestly, every time that I have had something mean anything to me, I was very proud of it. I wanted people to know what I had done or what I had been selected to do. We are human, and ego does take over even when we don’t really want it to.

Have you ever reacted in this manner? Have you ever been proud of what you had done and you wanted everyone to know what you had done?

Is your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior one of these moments?

It should be !

If it is not one of these moments that you want everyone to know about, then closely examine yourself. Have you truly accepted God’s grace and mercy along with the willingness to reject the world?

Do you temper your references to God when you are at work or with your friends? Do you avoid situations where you will be called upon to exhibit your faith in public? Are you content to simply sit in church and then rejoin the world the rest of the time? Are you ashamed of Jesus? Consider the consequences.

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
(Luke 12:8-9 (NIV))

Are you ashamed?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


But who are you?

July 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
(Acts 19:15 (NIV))

Think about that question for a moment.

“But who are you?”

Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
(Acts 19:16 (NIV))

Simply invoking the name of Jesus does not work!

Let’s back up just a bit and look at the beginning of this passage.

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
(Acts 19:13-14 (NIV))

These men did not know Jesus. They did not know His power and authority. They had heard about it through what they had heard about Paul. They thought that they could simply mention the name of Jesus and the evil spirits would leave.

Think about that for a moment. This sounds like people who claim that they can get a “celebrity” because a friend of a friend’s aunt went to school with the celebrity’s mother. In other words, they know nothing of the person. There is no relationship there. They are basically name dropping.

These men who were invoking the name of Jesus to drive out evil spirits were name dropping. There was no relationship with Jesus that they could call upon and the evil spirits new this. Keep in mind that the evil spirits used to be angels and they knew Jesus. They cowered at His name, yet, when confronted with someone that they knew did not know Jesus, they took full advantage of it.

Jesus is not a magical name that you can simply pronounce and all evil will flee. Jesus is not a genii who will do your every bidding.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Evil spirits tremble at His power and name. If you invoke the name of Jesus, make sure that you have a personal relationship with Him. Accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Spend time in God’s Word. Become intimate with what Jesus said and did. Learn how to mature into the image of Jesus. Know His heart and seek to walk in His Light. If your heart longs for the things that are of God, then the evil spirits will know your name. They will see the evidence of His presence in your life. They will see the touch of the Holy Spirit upon you and will know that you are not just dropping names.

The evil spirits will not respond with “but who are you?”

They will know that you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

But who are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery



Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

July 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
(Psalms 122:6-7 (NIV))

It seems that every time that you turn on the television or the radio, or read the news on the Internet or in a newspaper, there is something going on in Israel. Recent events are no exception.

Have you ever wondered why such a little nation is the focus of so much attention?

First of all, it is mentioned 760 times in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles 12:13, it is referred to as “Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.”

It is clear that Jerusalem has held a special place in the eyes of God. Perhaps more important is the role that it is to play in the fulfillment of God’s plan.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
(Revelations 21:2 (NIV))

Jerusalem is the only city that is mentioned as being in existence after Jesus’ return. Perhaps even more important is the fact that is is called “the Holy City” and is remade in the way that God desires for it to be.

In the eyes of the world, Jerusalem is not that important. However, we must learn to look beyond the eyes of the world and see things through the eyes of God. To God, there is no city that is more important. According to His plan, all of history hinges on Jerusalem: history that has happened and history that has yet to happen. We must be prepared for what is to happen. We must read God’s Word and study what is said about this city. We must look at it through the eyes of an eternal God, for it is the home city of our faith.

Think about that last statement. Jerusalem is our spiritual home town. It is the root and we have been grafted into it as the branches.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you have a child-like faith?

July 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
`Where is their God?’ ”
(Joel 2:17 (NIV))

I know that this was written about the nation of Israel, but it so applies to the world today. Those who do not believe, those who mock, seem to be taunting the Body of Christ with “Where is their God?”

Sadly enough, not only do those who profess a faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior face this question, but we often face ridicule for what the mockers see as a childish belief. I firmly believe that they can call it a childish belief, for, to me, that is a compliment.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:1-4 (NIV))

The ways of the world often seem to be ridiculing to those who believe. No matter what we may face, we must hold on to the simple truth.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

God is in control. People may mock and scorn, but do not swerve from your faith. When people ask “Where is your God,” be prepared to tell them. If they do not like your answer, and most will not, and ridicule you as uneducated and childish, tell them “Thank you. That is a compliment.” Hold fast to your faith, for it is a faith of hope. It is a faith of salvation. It is a hope that outshines all of the despair that the world can throw at us. It is a child-like faith!

Do you have a child-like faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What do you do?

July 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35 (NIV))

I find it interesting how God will reveal things to you through a passage that you have read many times before. This happened today with this passage.

I have heard and read this passage many times and each time my main focus was on the part of the passage where God does not show favoritism. I hold firmly to that truth. I also hold firmly to the truth that God accepts men from every nation into His Kingdom. This is a common sense extension of the Great Commandment.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

I wish that the world would understand the last part of this passage.

“. . . who fear him and do what is right.”

To be honest with you, I believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus need to understand this passage.

I am not able to judge, so I will not even begin to point fingers. I am not qualified. All that I know is what we are told about fearing the Lord.

And he said to man,
`The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
(Job 28:28 (NIV))

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

We cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. I honestly believe that this definition of the word “fear” could be rendered as the word “respect.” Think about that from this perspective. Growing up, I loved my parents, and I still do. However, I also feared them. I did not fear them because of anything that they had done. I feared them because I feared what would happen if I did something wrong. In other words, I feared the just consequences of my own actions as laid out by my parents. I realize that fearing God goes deeper than this example, yet, I feel that the fear of God is based on His righteous actions to discipline my sins.

Sadly enough, our society no longer seems to fear the consequences of any actions.

As a result, the world also seems to ignore the “and do what is right” part of this passage.

Just what is right in the eyes of God?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

I could quote many other passages. I know that part of doing what is right also hinges on our faith in Jesus. It also hinges on these words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus does not mean that you may continue to sin. We are to do what is right.

What do you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery