The Passover Lamb and Good Friday!

April 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(Matthew 26:39-42 (NIV))

Many people think that Jesus did not know anguish and pain. These words show that on the day that we know as Good Friday, Jesus feared what was to come, yet, still was obedient to the Father’s Will for Him and for us. Think about the events that we remember this weekend and welcome them into your lives as the key events that they actually are.

Put yourself in the events. What did Jesus feel? What made the crowds turn upon Him? Would you have been like Peter? Would you be at the foot of the cross? With the knowledge that we have about what happened, are you at the foot of the cross now?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and fall to your knees in prayer

November 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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))

Lately, I feel anguish. I feel sorrow.

I know that the world will never live in true peace until Jesus returns, but the things of this world are still very disheartening. Looking back at the events of my life, things have changed drastically. I realize that my earliest understandings of worldly issues are clouded by parents who sheltered me from such things, but even with this sheltered view, things today seem so much out of balance with the way they used to be.

I am not condoning any of the previous racial issues, nor do I condone them now, for we are all created the same in the eyes of God.

What I am talking about is the anguish and the sorrow that I feel when I see the hatred that people are expressing for God’s Word. It sorrows me to see the divisiveness that is all too prominent within our country. It saddens me to no end to hear the lies, the negativity and the name calling that has become our political process.

I know that many people are saying that they will be glad when the election is over. I know that I will be. However, the election has only brought to the surface what is in need of deep heeling. We used to be “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I honestly believe that has become something that is in need of repair.

The secular component of our society is removing God from all aspects of society.

We are more divided today than any other time that I can remember.

Our freedoms are being challenged.

Our churches are being punished for following faith principles.

I realize that God is in control. I know that He has a plan set forth that is unfolding. I know that we are told that good and evil will grow in the last days. I know that God tells us that good will be called evil and evil will be called good.

That does not mean that the church simply sits back and watches these things unfold. We are called to be the light into the darkness. If we, as the Body of Christ, do not shine, how can we truly claim to be the Body of Christ?

We have one thing that we can do.

We must pray!

Pray for God’s will.

Pray for those who are lost.

Pray for those who are your enemies.

Pray for those who are in positions of authority.

Pray for guidance.

Pray for our nation.

Pray for our world.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Stand firm in your faith by falling to your knees and pray!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God, help me. I don’t know what to do.

October 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I just don’t feel effective. I simply feel overwhelmed, overpowered and overshadowed by the things in my life. These are the things that have a tendency to make us grown in agony because we simply have no other response that we can bring forth. I simply utter a few simple words and they always help me through whatever I am facing.

“God, help me. I don’t know what to do.”

Have you ever uttered these or similar words? I often wonder just how many people do say things likes this on a daily basis. I believe that everyone utters words like this at some point in their lives, whether they believe in God or not. I firmly believe that those who are strong enough in their faith to admit that we need God each and every day are the ones who will usher up simple prayers like this on a daily basis. We might even find ourselves saying them all throughout the day.

Perhaps this is what makes someone righteous in the eyes of God. We turn to Him daily because we cannot make it without Him. Contrary to what the world may say, I do not see this as a weakness. I see this as a strength that is firmly rooted in a hope and a faith that this world does not understand. When you see acts of terrorism, do you rejoice in what the world is doing or do you offer up a prayer to God? When you see wars and rumors of wars, do you find comfort in the circumstances or do you go to God and ask for peace? When you see injustice, do you think that this is how it should be or do you ask God for the strength to help you change it? When you see the lost, do you turn up your nose and think that they deserve what they get, or do you pray that God will touch them through you?

These types of prayers do not take long, but they show your heart. It shows a desire for the things that God calls righteous. If you seek the things that God calls righteous, then it stands to reason that God will call you righteous. It is when you pray for God’s Will that you find your prayers become powerful and effective, even when you do not feel powerful and effective.

Do you feel effective? Keep praying those short prayers asking for God’s help. He will show you His Will and then you will be effective.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He who has an ear!

August 28, 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.”
For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
(Psalms 122:6-9 (NIV))

I just saw something that made my heart sink.

Actually, I saw two things within just a few minutes that made me start to pray.

The first thing I saw was that a Catholic bishop was denied the ability to hold a prayer gathering while a two hour Muslim prayer gathering was approved for the same event. I don’t want to say what event for I know that I will be accused of being political and/or racist.

The second thing almost brought me to tears. The leaders of a major North American Christian denomination are calling for a boycott of Israel until they stop “occupying” the land that God gave them.

Abraham was given a promise by God.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
(Genesis 12:3 (NIV))

That promise was fulfilled through the nation of Israel. I realize that Ishmael was also a decedent of Abraham, but the promise was through the first born of Sarah. Sarah interfered with the promise and gave her maid servant to bear a child. The promise was not through Ishmael. It was through Israel. Jerusalem is the capital. The lands that were given were part of the promise of God. Israel is not occupying lands.

I find it sad that more and more are turning from Israel and from the God of Jacob. The God of Jacob is the same God that Christians call Father. He promised the land and He promised to send a Savior. I do not see how someone who claims one promise can deny or completely ignore another?

What does that mean with respect to whoever curses you I will curse?

Think about that.

Pray about that.

Hold fast to the truth.

Do not let someone tell you otherwise.

I honestly think that we will see more things like the two episodes that I saw tonight. The battle lines are being drawn. The victory belongs to the Lord. Do not allow the rapidly changing world to change your mind or to change your faith.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(Revelation 2:7 (NIV))

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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Are you the wayward child?

July 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’
(Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV))

Why will you die?

How much more to the point can God be?

I can imagine the anguish in God’s voice. I can imagine the frustration that He must feel with those who have chosen to turn from Him. The frustration is not one of arrogance because they refuse to listen, but one of hurt and compassion because He loves all of His creation and does not wish for any to perish.

It is identical to what a parent feels for a wayward child.

Perhaps you know of someone who has a child that has gone astray. Perhaps you are that parent. You know the anguish that you feel when you see them doing the things that they do. You know the extreme hurt and the extreme love that is caused by that child.

God is no different. He is our Father. He feels the anguish of each of our sins. He feels the hurt when we turn away from Him. He feels the love even when we turn.

Now, multiply that feeling that you are capable of comprehending by a factor too great to imagine, for God loves and hurts for every single person who has ever lived or ever will live. Could your heart hold all of that?

Now, you can understand why God sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sins.

In our hearts and in our minds, we know that we would do anything that we could to turn the wayward child back to what is good. We lose sleep. We pray. We try to get them to see the error of their ways. I am sure that some people have even gone so far as to say, “Why do you chose to die?”

Many people read this passage from Ezekiel with a stern voice and domineering persona. On the contrary, I firmly believe that this passage shows us more of God’s heart than just about any other passage from the Bible. It shows His heart. It shows His compassion. It shows His desires, and it shows His loving role as Father.

God is desiring for all of us to turn to Him and turn away from our sins.

Are you the wayward child who is breaking His heart?

He came so that all of His wayward children could be brought to peace and live.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Seasons

May 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

Patience in all things is what God is wanting. God’s timing is perfect. He is never late, and He is never early. Everything has its time in His eternal plan. Do not rush tomorrow. Today is where God wants you now! He has something that He is trying to teach you in the day that He has made for you. Do not overlook the gift of what is for what may never come.

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16)

Tomorrow may not remember you. Today is a precious gift from God. Live in the gift with hope for the promise of tomorrow.

All throughout the Bible, God promises His people protection by saying “I am . . .”. He did not say “I will be”, He said “I am!” Anybody who knows the English language knows that what was translated from the Hebrew text is the “PRESENT” tense. God is saying that He is with us NOW! He wants us to rely on Him for this moment. For once we finish with this moment, it is history, and a new moment is now.

God is always in the “now” or present. Do not try to push God. Be patient and wait in God’s presence.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate evil?

May 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
(Psalms 97:10 (NIV))

Do you hate evil?

I don’t mean do you not allow it into your life, but do you go out of your way to remove evil from all around you?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines hate as intense hostility and aversion or extreme dislike or antipathy. If we are true to the meaning of the word, then if we love the Lord, we must so dislike evil that we will do all within our power to remove it from our lives.

Today’s society has started falsely saying that anything is ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. This type of false truth has allowed evil to run rampart within our society while too many people turn their backs because it does not hurt them. We cannot allow evil and sin to exist and take the attitude that it is ok as long as we do not take part in it. We must do all that we can to remove evil and the temptations that it presents.

There is only one way to overcome evil and reach out to those who are caught up in it.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:23-24 (NIV))

We must share Jesus with those who are trapped within the evils of this world. We must not only show them with words, we must show them with actions. We must do what Jesus would do. He did not condemn. He did not preach with a self-righteous attitude. He simply told people the truth of God’s Word and let them follow for themselves. We cannot bring everyone to the saving knowledge of salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus, but we can place ourselves as haters of sin who long to see everyone saved. We must long wholeheartedly to know that those who are caught up in evil can and will be able to claim salvation.

“Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
(Romans 4:7-8 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anguish. Pain. Distress. Anxiety. Freedom!

May 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(Matthew 26:39-42 (NIV))

Anguish.

Extreme pain.

Distress.

Anxiety.

There have been times in each of our lives when we felt that things just couldn’t get any worse. We were at our limits as far as anguish, pain, distress and anxiety. We have prayed that God would remove the pain from our lives. We have felt something similar to what Jesus felt that night so long ago.

If this type of feeling only came once in your lifetime, we could probably face the single event knowing that if we make it through that one episode, then we will never have to face this severe anguish ever again. The sad thing is that we know that we may face these type of feelings many times during our lives.

Still, we survive. We continue to live out our lives.

Why?

We have been given a hope. We have a faith that is built upon the events that took place that night that lead to the crucifixion. We have a faith based on the resurrection three days later. That is why we can face the trials and tribulations that this world sends our way. Jesus bore the burden for us. He carried the weight of all of our sin, anguish, pain, distress and anxiety.

Think about that.

I can recall times when I literally felt that my heart would burst just from the burden that I bore. I am certain that each of you has felt the same. Now, multiply that feeling by the countless number of times in your life where you are distressed. The burden gets heavier.

Now, multiply that amount of anguish by the billions of people that have ever lived and will ever live and the anguish grows to be so large that it is difficult to comprehend. Yet, comprehend it is exactly what Jesus did. He not only understood the amount of sin, anguish and pain, He willingly bore that burden for us so that we would not have to bear it any more.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

Jesus bore the sins of the whole world so that we can know peace. All that we have to do is accept that peace and turn our burdens over to Him. If He can carry the weight of the sin and anguish for all eternity, then He is more than capable of carrying you through whatever you may be facing.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your grief will turn to joy!

March 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
(John 16:20-22 (NIV))

How true this is!

The Body of Christ weeps at the events of this world. We see all types of evil that the world embraces as good and the good that God proclaims, they say is evil.

Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.
(Romans 14:16 (NIV))

We are to turn away from evil and embrace what is good. We are to long for the good that God desires for His creation. We are to abhor the evil that has been unleashed. Do not embrace what you know to be evil.

It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:17 (NIV))

Wait faithfully for what you know will come to pass, for God keeps all of His promises. We must watch and wait in anticipation just as a mother waits in anticipation of the joy of a new life.

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 13:5-8 (NIV))

Are you ready to rejoice after the birth pains have produced their joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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