What is it that you pray for?

July 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I know that many people long to know the times and the dates that God is using to unfold His plan. With what happened recently in Charleston and now what has happened in Chattanooga, I know that many people are praying for God’s grace. Many are praying for His mercy.

Are we praying for the right things?

Many of us are praying for peace in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation and in the world, but is peace what we should be praying for?

We are told that certain things must transpire before the return of Jesus. We also know that all of these things are not only not pleasant, but are downright dangerous and evil. Are we seeing these events unfold? Are we praying for peace because we want to get back to the status quo for our lives. Lives that used to be consumed with family, friends, jobs and the future. Should we be praying for peace when we know that God’s plans do not call for peace? Should we possibly be praying for God’s plans to be made manifest among us? Should we be praying that God will use us mightily for His Kingdom?

It is true that we do not know the times or dates, but that does not mean that we simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in hopes that it will go away. If all of the things that we see simply went away, would we truly have peace? Would we turn to God during these times? Would we truly have the faith to stand firm in God’s promises?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus! We must keep looking up to the true source of peace. We must earnestly seek God and be willing to discern His true intentions.

What is it that you pray for?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t hold on to your sin! Repent!

July 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
(Romans 6:4-7 (NIV))

“So that the body of sin might be done away with!”

I find it interesting that far too many people believe that God would not condemn them for their sin because He loves them.

Did God love Jesus before He came to the earth?

Did God love Jesus when He was beaten?

Did God love Jesus when He was crucified?

Why would God put His only begotten Son through all of this if we could be with Him and still hold onto our sin?

Jesus did not go through everything that He suffered so that we can keep sin in our lives. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, but forgiveness requires repentance. To repent means to turn around, to turn away from what you are currently doing.

If you are driving and you see a sign that says that the bridge is out, do you defiantly keep going? Do you tell the people that you are with that you don’t believe the sign? Do you tell them that it no longer applies to the world because with today’s modern construction, why would the bridge be out? Do you keep ignoring the warnings and drive off into the chasm that the bridge was supposed to span?

I find it so ironic and sad that when it comes to salvation, far too many people are doing what I described the driver doing with the bridge.

We all sin. We all need redemption. We all need a way to escape the consequences of our sin. God has given us a way to turn away from the sin that leads to death. Don’t be like the driver who ignores the signs before him.

Don’t hold on to your sin!

Repent!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you think we are?

July 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

Many people believe that God’s time table is rapidly getting to the point where this will be completely true, and I honestly believe that they are correct. I know that we cannot know the hour or the day, but we can know the season. The season is very strange.

In my fifty-five years of life, I would never have expected to see things that are now being accepted by society. I would have never expected to the see the U.S. attacked not once, but three times on the same day. I would not have expected to see when our own history offends people. I would not have expected to see Bible publishers being sued because people don’t like the content. This just confirms something that I read earlier today. People will rejoice when you mention that God is love, but they will vehemently condemn you for saying that God hates sin.

I will be honest as if you probably didn’t already know this, but I monitor many things and I verify them as best as I can. I am amazed at the number of people who are having the same dreams and visions. I am amazed at the way that things have so rapidly changed in my lifetime. I am amazed at the acceptance of sins by so many people who claim to be a part of the Body of Christ. Not only are they accepting the sins, they are condoning and celebrating the sins.

That is not what the Body of Christ is called to do!

We are to be the salt and light. We are to change the world and not allow the world to change us.

We are to be prepared no matter where we are in God’s timeline.

Where do you think we are?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You are what you eat!

July 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV))

The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true also for the spirit. If you feed on things of this world, then you will continue to hunger for things of this world. If you feed on what is righteous in God’s eyes, then you will grow to hunger for His righteousness no matter what the situation you may be in.

A true test of someone’s character is when they are in a different situation all alone. How many times have you been tempted when you are not around your family or church family? It is in these times that the test of your character comes about. If you have fed on what God wants you to feed upon, then you will be that and display all the appropriate character traits of righteousness. If you have not fed on things that are of God, then you will “feed” on the world when you are able.

From where do you feed?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your needs being met?

July 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 (NIV))

God does not wish for us to ever need anything. He will supply everything that we need. It does not say that He will supply everything that we want or desire. A true need is different from a desire or a want. God knows what is best for us.

How many times have you wished that God would give you something that you thought you needed? If you are like everyone else, it probably happens more than we wish to admit. Looking back at one of those times, we can often see that if we had received what we wanted, we would not be where we are today in our walk with God.

God will supply all of our needs. Make sure that what you ask for is truly a need and not a human desire.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is your allegiance?

July 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
(Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV))

I don’t think that there has ever been a story of greater allegiance than this story.

Ruth’s husband had died and the only “family” that she had left was her husband’s mother. She was willing to leave her family and go with her mother-in-law at a time when women were considered to be second class citizens or even property. A woman without any sons to care for her was destined to have a life of poverty and begging. How could someone willingly choose this life for herself over a life where she could return to her birth family and be welcomed back?

Ruth showed a strength of character that many may never show. She was willing to face less than ideal circumstances for herself in order to make sure that someone else would not suffer. She had the opportunity to have a fairly comfortable life, but chose to go with the woman who had accepted her into her own family as a daughter-in-law. Ruth new that Naomi’s life would be difficult without help. Ruth was willing to make the sacrifice to help her.

When was the last time that you were asked to make a sacrifice in order to help someone else? Did you do it, or were you like the majority of humanity and only think about how it would effect you? It is hard to make such a sacrifice, to make such an oath of allegiance.

Each of us, as believers in the saving grace freely given to us through the atoning blood of Jesus, have made such an allegiance to God. I don’t know about you, but I stumble and fall many times during each day, yet, I desire nothing more than to have the faith and allegiance to God that Ruth had. She was a great person of faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you want to be a citizen?

July 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 3:20 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are very upset with what is currently going on in the world. Nothing seems to be going according to what society used to consider good. In fact, it is exactly the opposite and getting worse all the time.

With that in mind, are you truly surprised that all of these things are happening? We have been told that they would. We have been given instructions on what to expect, yet, too many people are too tied to the things in this world.

We are only passing through. Our true home is with Jesus!

What happens in this world is very discouraging and sad when you consider those who are lost. We must pray for the lost and we must not focus on this world.

Think about your last vacation.

Each day you were in unfamiliar surroundings. You recognized the fact that there was both good and bad where you were. You made it a point to avoid the bad and concentrate on the good. After a few days, you probably got homesick. You start looking around and you start to realize that no matter how enticing things look, it is not home. It is not where you really want to be.

Our time in this world should be like that. The more that we look around, the more that we realize that we are not home. We long to be where we will be at peace and truly loved.

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus should long to be with Him. If you long to stay in this world, what does that say about your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

July 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:10-14 (NIV))

This brings up one simple but very painful question to answer.

Do you feel that you are better than others?

Ouch! Yes, I asked it.

As sinful, prideful and arrogant human beings, each of us has felt this at one time or another. It is human nature to self gratify. We like to look at others and compare our sins to theirs so that we feel better about ourselves. Why do we like to put others down in order to make ourselves feel better? Sadly, we never learn. Arrogance and pride are traits that seem to surface all of the time, yet, humility is one that we have to work to even see the light of day.

One thing that we need to learn from this passage is that God does not compare us with anyone else. He created each of us to be unique. The only thing that He looks at is whether we are being the unique person that Hen created us to be. Are we living our lives in sin or are we seeking after Him in all that we do?

I am far from perfect. I find myself comparing to others, but I always find the realization that my sins are enough to condemn me. It is at this point that I realize that I am not any better than anyone else. I am simply forgiven because I have called upon the name of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.

It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of sincerity. It is a matter of willfully choosing to follow Jesus. We all make mistakes. It takes a humble person to admit the mistakes and repent. That is what the tax collector did.

God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you see when you look up?

July 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
(Matthew 17:1-8 (NIV))

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus!

Think about that statement.

Peter, James and John were Jewish. The core of the Jewish faith hinges upon what God did through Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John were probably awe struck. The men whom God used to lay the foundations of what they had been taught all of their lives were standing supernaturally right in front of them. They wanted to commemorate this moment. They wanted to be able to have a place where they could relive this very moment.

Isn’t it interesting how these three men had spent several years with Jesus and this is the moment that probably made them truly aware of who He was and who He is. I love the symbolism of their faith traditions being overshadowed by Jesus. When they looked up, all that they saw was Jesus. Moses and Elijah were no where to be seen. Traditions can not save you.

Moses can’t offer salvation. Elijah can’t offer salvation. They brought God’s Law and His prophetic Word, but they can not bring salvation. That is available through only one source.

Jesus!

Moses and Elijah were only human. Jesus has a much higher authority as the Son of God. Only Jesus can save.

When you seek grace, mercy and salvation, whom do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you do all things?

July 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

Have you ever felt that God wanted you to do something that was beyond your capabilities? Did you obey what God wanted you to do or did you listen to what you thought was possible?

How did you feel after this?

Did you ever wonder what would have happened if you had obeyed God?

Keep in mind that God does not call people who are capable in the eyes of the world to do His Will. He calls people who are not equipped and then gives them the strength through Him to do what He has called them to. It is through people that are not capable on their own that God works. When they succeed, it is obvious that they did not do it, but God did it through them. With this in mind, reflect on the scripture verse.

Do you rely on God for your strength or do you look at your own capabilities?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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