Are you in need of healing?

April 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
(Psalms 147:3 (NIV))

Have you ever realized that this passage does not speak of physical wounds that are bound up? The wounds are those of the brokenhearted! In other words, Jesus comforts the brokenhearted.

I am sure that everyone has experienced the pain of a broken heart. It is a heaviness and an anguish that just doesn’t seem to ever go away. There is no peace. There is no delight. There is only despair. This type of wound is much worse than a physical wound. A physical wound can be cared for. Medicine can be prescribed that will aid in healing. What can you do when your very soul is in anguish? There is no medicine that is available from man that will ease the pain. There is no peace that can come because someone said a word of encouragement.

There is only one way to ease the anguish and the pain.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Have you been wounded by life?

Have you felt the pain of despair and anguish that nothing can ease?

Life is difficult. Sin is rampant. Pain is inevitable.

“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))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you wise and prudent or foolish and deceptive?

April 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
(Proverbs 14:8 (NIV))

Do you think about your actions? Do you think about what type of an impact that they will have on you? Perhaps you plan your actions so that you benefit from them. If that is the case, do you stop to reflect upon the impact that they will have on other people? This impact can be either positive or negative. The sad question that I must ask after making that last statement is if you honestly care if your actions have a negative impact on others.

Please be honest with yourself!

I realize that human nature has us looking out for ourselves all of the time, but as the Body of Christ, shouldn’t our focus not be on ourselves? Shouldn’t we temper our thoughts and our actions so that we do not lead someone to falter in their faith, or to be hurt by our unconcerned actions.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6 (NIV))

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 18:3-4 (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was actually talking about little children, but if we are believers, it requires the faith of a little child. If that is the case, it is not too difficult to realize that Jesus could very easily be talking about making any believer falter in their faith.

That is not something that I want to stand before God and be found guilty of!

If we truly long to be wise in the eyes of God, we need to be prudent about the things that we think, say and do. If we are not prudent, the logical conclusion is that we are fools and guilty of deception.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk the right path?

April 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
(Psalms 23:3b (NLT))

Is this your proclamation?

Do you allow God to guide you and to set your feet upon the path that He desires for you to walk?

If you are like everyone else, human nature takes over. Pride gets in the way and, just like in the Garden of Eden, we fall prey to a nature that we were not created to possess. We fall into sin!

Will you keep to the old path
that evil men have trod?
(Job 22:15 (NIV))

We are not called to walk the path of sin. We are called to salvation and grace througb the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. He has given us a path that we may walk. He has given us a path that we don’t walk in our own strength. Jesus sets us upon that path. God sends His Holy Spirit to walk it with us, guiding us every step of the way if we will only listen.

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalms 16:11 (NIV))

God loves us and desires to save us and to guide us. He has set the path before us. Satan sets diversions along the path. In order to follow God’s path, we must know God’s heart. We must know God’s Word. God’s Word provides the instructions for staying on the right path. When we know the instructions by heart, we can also proclaim what is proclaimed by the Psalmist.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
(Psalms 119:32 (NIV))

Is your heart free?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God just an item on your to-do list?

April 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be still, and know that I am God:
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I try to not fill up my time with so many things to do, but it is human nature to do things that we don’t mean to do. Soon, in order to prioritize what we feel that we must do, we create to-do lists and then we prioritize the things that we put on the list. Soon, we find ourselves spending too much time maintaining the list and we soon lose track of the things that we should truly be focusing on.

Let’s face the truth!

How many of us actually create to-do lists? What is currently on your list? Do you put everything on your list, or is it used only for a reminder of the things that you don’t really want to do?

After those reflective questions, I have another question for you that may not sit too well with you depending on your answers.

Is God on your to-do list? Is He your top priority? Have you relegated your relationship with the Lord to a list item that you check off when you feel that you have it completed? Is God above or below the items like painting the house or cutting the grass?

It is sad that too many people actually treat God in this manner. We may not physically put Him as an item on our to-do lists, but we tend to overlook Him and focus on what we do place on our list. We then get so busy completing the tasks that we have assigned ourselves that we forget to do what God has told us to do. We forget to sit in the presence of God. We fail to sit at the feet of Jesus, and like one translation states, we never cease striving. Personally, I strive to spend time in God’s presence, but that is not what that means. We need to cease our busyness. We need to cease our frantic existence and be still in the presence of God.

We must make God the foundation of everything that we do, including the items that we place on our to-do lists. It is so easy to relegate God to an individual checklist item.

Is God just an item on your to-do list?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to limit God?

April 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

In our limited understanding and ability, this seems impossible that anyone could do immeasurably more than we could imagine. We tend to place human limitations on God. We tend to put Him within a box that is all neet and tidy and has defined boundaries that we can understand in our limited wisdom. After all, we have a limited understanding of God’s ways.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9)

What is it about God’s ways that we find so difficult to understand? Is it the fact that He never waivers or falters from His true nature and that this nature never changes? Is it the fact that He is Creator and we are the creation that limits our understanding? Perhaps, it is the fact that humanity fell from grace into sin. We are tainted by the world view of everything which has a tendency to place “me first.” Since we do not have the capabilities of immeasurably more, we, in our self-centeredness, assume that we are the most powerful beings around and that no one can do more than us.

Does this sound familiar? It is exactly the attitude that lead to Satan’s fall. He wanted to place himself above God. In our attempt at limiting God, we are also placing ourselves above God, or, at least, as equals to God! Even God’s own Son, Jesus, when He walked this earth, did not consider himself as equal with God. Jesus also did not limit what God could do. If our Savior and Lord took this attitude, what attitude should we have?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Good things come to those who wait!

April 8, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
(James 5:7-8 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

It is human nature to want things to happen quickly, but would it really change how we see things, how we respond to things, if we did not have to learn to wait? Would we be any different than a two year old who throws a tempter tantrum to get what they want? We may not throw a literal temper tantrum, but we think that everything that we want should come to us immediately.

Patience is an important spiritual trait to have.

Look back on your life and think about something that you just couldn’t wait to get or to have happen. If and when it did come to fruition, you probably were more receptive to it and more appreciative of it because you had to wait.

Think about when you were a child. The excitement of Christmas morning. Can you honestly say that you remember everything that you ever received as a gift? I bet, though, that you can name at least one thing that you wanted for a long time and when you finally received it, you were beyond happy.

We, as the Body of Christ, all long to see Jesus come for His bride, His church. When He does come, we will have learned the value of the gift that He brings with Him. We will appreciate His return so much more because we had to keep our eyes focused on Him. We had to endure things as part of waiting, things that those who don’t love Jesus did not have to endure.

There is an old saying that good thing are worth waiting for. What better than to see Jesus return to gather us to Him? For that, I will be patient. I will endure the sin of the world and the ridicule of the world, for I know that what awaits me is far better than anything that awaits me here.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you dressed and ready to serve God?

April 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
(Luke 12:35-40 (NIV))

We can not always be physically dressed and waiting for Jesus to return. We can be spiritually dressed, though. We can put on the full armor of God and be prepared to face whatever the enemy may send our way. We will also be prepared to receive Jesus when He returns, for we will know of His impending return and will wait to greet Him just as in the parables retold by Luke.

Jesus often spoke in symbolism. Being dressed and ready for service is a symbol of being spiritually prepared for service in the army of God. Are you spiritually dressed and ready to do what God would have you do?

Every day I see things that cause my heart to hurt and my spirit to moan. I know that I have to pray about what I see, and I do, but it is so overwhelming at times. I know that we are told to put on the full armor of God so that we will be ready?

I have seen many things recently that have me trying to do my best to be ready. One such thing is hard to believe that it is actually going to happen in just a few days. Baal was a false god that deceived the Israelites into practicing all kinds of sexual immorality and child sacrifice. As of April 19 of this year, a replica of the temple to Baal will be put up in Times Square in New York and Trafalgar Square in London.

Christians are sued and jailed over their beliefs while our society erects a temple to a pagan god!

No matter what we may face, we need to be ready for service. We must keep our lamps burning. Are we ready to serve the one true God? Are we still on fire for sharing the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with great boldness?

April 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
(Acts 4:29 (NIV))

How strong is your faith?

Are you willing to stand against those who ridicule you because of your faith? Are you willing to speak the truth even when the truth is not popular? Are you willing to risk everything you have in order to speak the Word of God into a dark and dying world?

Or, are you like most people and too timid to speak up for what you profess to believe?

I know that I may make some people mad with that last question, but we all need to stop and ask ourselves this on a regular basis. If we are not willing to speak the truth of God’s Word, then are we fulfilling the task that we have been given?

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. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Do you see anything in this passage that looks as if the Body of Christ is timid?

Why should we be?

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

If we are timid in our faith, is it really faith?

Are you sure of the things that Jesus has done? Are you certain of the salvation that you have been given? If you had been given a mansion, you would tell everyone that you encounter about the great gift that someone gave you. What God has given each of us through the shed blood of Jesus is far greater than any earthly mansion, yet we fail to tell anyone about it. Why are we willing to be bold in certain things while we become timid when we are talking about our faith?

I know that there are those who will profess a faith in Jesus because it makes them feel good, but this is not what Jesus promised.

“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))

Jesus promised peace through the troubles that He knew we would face. It takes a boldness to face the world and proclaim the truth!

Are you filled with great boldness?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be someone who will always worship?

April 5, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

” `After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’
that have been known for ages.
(Acts 15:12-18 (NIV))

The first time that I read this passage, I missed the implications of this one sentence.

That the remnant of men may seek the Lord!

Perhaps I should use a paraphrased translation.

All the men that are left will seek the Lord!

In other words, those who have rebelled against God will be gone. Only those who are left will be there to worship.

Think about that for a moment. After all that these people will have gone through, they are the ones who will worship, who desire to worship. If they can desire worship after going through all that they must face, how can we desire any less than to worship? It is human nature to do things differently when things are easy and when things are hard. It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ in this day and age, do not get complacent and lose our desire to worship.

No matter what we may face, I pray that we will have the strength to be the remnant that will always worship the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty of bending God’s truth?

April 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

What is truth?

Is it what you say it is? Is it what someone else says it is? Is truth relative or is a fixed target that is defined by someone with a higher authority than you or I?

Sadly, far too many people believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth. I was recently made aware of the irony of that statement. People who utter the words that there is no absolute truth expect you to believe what they say in that statement. What makes that statement true? If someone emphatically states that there is no absolute truth, they are breaking their own beliefs by claiming that statement as an absolute.

Don’t you just love the irony that the human mind can conjure up something that makes no sense and then convince themselves of its validity?

What do you believe to be true?

Who is the creator, who is the holder of absolute truth? Why does humanity choose to deny that there is such a thing as absolute truth?

Ego and pride come to mind as two of the most guilty reasons. We, as human beings, all are very prone to possess these traits in a negative manner. We all like to think that we are right and that no one else knows better than us. My wife claims that I have a hard time admitting when I am wrong. Have you ever been accused of having that trait?

We have a tendency to twist the truth when it makes us look good. We also have a tendency to believe a lie when it makes us look good. I know that it is difficult, but we must focus on Jesus and keep His commands to truly possess the truth. Anything less than that is a lie. A lie is anything that is not true. It can even be a simple bending of the truth, or a little white lie.

Are you guilty of bending God’s truth?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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