Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate your sinful nature?

November 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Sadly, I know all too well what Paul meant when he wrote these words. I bet we all do!

What is it about human nature that makes us do the things that we do, especially when we know that we shouldn’t do them? Why do we react the way that we do knowing that we will regret it as soon as we do it? Unfortunately, we all probably have our “favorite” things that we hate to do. These are the things that we despise, yet we can’t stop doing them. For some people, it may be anger. For others, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed. What is it about your actions that you hate? What is it about your life that you wish you could change?

I realize that this is of little solace, but we must come to terms with the fact that even Paul faced the undesirable actions in his life. If Paul, who had a life changing, face to face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still had things in his life that he hated, we must realize that we will face things in our lives that we hate.

If you stop to think about this from a different perspective, it may shed a new light on this. Before you met Jesus, would you have even stopped to think about the things that you now hate? Would you have even given them a second thought? Would you even have the hatred towards these things in your life? When you consider the things that you now hate, I want you to consider the simple fact that this hatred indicates a new desire to change. It indicates a desire to repent. It indicates a desire to be something different than you were. It indicates a desire to be something different than you are. It indicates a desire to be like Jesus, and out of that desire, you see things in your life that make you realize that Jesus would not do what you do!

With this in mind, I realize that it is okay to hate the things that I do, for I know that I am not perfect and that I will never be able to walk in Godly perfection as long as I am a sinful creation. I can strive to follow Jesus, but I must realize that there will be times that I will fail. When I fail, I pray that I will, like Paul, be able to recognize what made me fail and hate what made me fail.

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you hate your sinful nature?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face trials with joy?

November 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

From a human perspective, why would we consider facing trials something to be joyful about?

Trials make us uncomfortable!

Trials make us shed the comfort and safety of the known. They push the envelope and make us extend our boundaries. Trails make us get off of the couch and take action. Trials make us go beyond the known and step gingerly into the unknown.

In all honesty, trials actually make us grow and mature!

I realize that this may sound unconventional, but it is true. The trials that we face can have a very big impact on our lives if we allow them to mature us and to mature our faith. If you don’t face trials, your life will be one in which you feel that you are entitled to everything. If you don’t face trials, you will never know the pleasure of relying on something called faith. If you don’t face trials, how can we draw closer to God, after all, human nature seeks a place to turn to when things don’t go as we want them to go? If you think about this, facing trials with joy goes very well with the following passage.

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 don’t know about you, but I find great joy in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. Armed with this little tidbit of wisdom, I try to make myself be joyful no matter what may come my way. I don’t always succeed right away, but eventually I come to my senses and begin to see and understand the joy through the trials and the troubles. After all, the cause of all of my trials and troubles has been overcome by Jesus!

Do you face trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you serving with Jesus or are you waiting to be served?

March 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45 (NIV))

What a powerful message! Too bad that too many believers seem to have forgotten this.

How can we serve if our only reason for believing is prosperity? How can we serve if we continually seek what is best only for us? How can we serve if we will not step outside of our comfort zone? How can we serve if we are afraid to trust in the God whom we proclaim as Father?

There are so many things that can distract us from our true calling in faith that it is not funny. The sad thing about this is that I believe a majority of them contradict the words that Jesus spoke as reported in Mark. All of the things that distract us are the very things that we desire when we seek to be served. We seek prosperity. We seek what is best for us. We seek to stay within our comfort zone. Sadly enough, we seek to place our trust in things that make us desire to be served.

Do any of these things sound familiar? It is an easy step into this type of thinking. This is exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to turn from desiring to serve because Jesus came to serve, to desiring to be served. Serving is selfless. Being served is selfish.

Jesus came to serve. He came to be selfless. We are called to do what He did.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you serving with Jesus or are you waiting to be served?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you friends with the world or with God?

April 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
(James 4:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about what this passage means?

I know that the world has its moments of beauty. A sunrise on the ocean. A sunset out west. The leaves in the fall. The view from the mountain top. All of these things are beautiful. These are glimpses of what God had intended for us to experience in this world, but then sin was allowed into the world!

The very nature of sin is death.

It is not the world as created that brings hatred toward God. It is the sinful nature that was allowed into the world. It is what humanity has become in the world. It is an attitude. It is the sinful nature that we must not be friends with, for it is the nature of sin to lead us into places where we do not want, where we do not need to go.

Are you a friend of sin?

I honestly don’t think that I can get any more direct, any more blunt than that question.

Think about your friends. Do you turn your eyes away from the things that they do that they shouldn’t do? Do you accept the sins as just a part of them as they are? Now, consider the general world of sin that James 4:4 refers to. Do you accept the sins of the world simply because they are part of what makes the world as you know it? I am sure that people make excuses such as that is just how things are. Living in the world does not mean that you have to be accepting of the world. It does not mean that you have to become friends with the very sin that has cast all of humanity away from God.

Think about that last statement.

God cannot associate with sin. If we accept the sin of the world, then God cannot associate with us. We have become an enemy of God. Salvation requires repentance. We must turn away from sin in order to turn to God.

Which way will you turn?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God instructs us through the Holy Spirit!

September 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:11-14 (NIV))

Walking with God is more than just having the Creator as our champion. We also have a teacher.

God instructs us, through the Holy Spirit, on how we should act in all situations. We, as students, need to pay more attention to the “teacher” and do as instructed. Even when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit is still a ‘gentleman”. He will not force us to do anything.

We must submit our wills to God’s Will. If we willingly do this, then we will be matured in our faith and prepared for Jesus’ return to gather the church together in the clouds. That is something that I do not want to miss.

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

March 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
(Titus 1:16 (NIV))

Do you know anybody like this? I bet that all of us could name a few names of people that we think fit this description. People who think that they have to run everything. People who blatantly ignore God’s Word. People who never find time to help out when it is needed.

Now, for the blind sided hit. Are you like this? Think about it. We all are like this at one time or another. We all have our pet idiosyncrasies that we tend to overlook but may get on the nerves of everyone else. Could we all be guilty of claiming to know God, but denying Him by our actions? Even Peter denied Jesus.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
(Matthew 26:34 (NIV))

What is the difference between people whom Titus 1:16 speaks of and people like Peter? It is a matter of their actions. People who truly know God will reflect this in their actions and in a heart of repentance. People who do not truly know God think that they can do anything they want and by saying a few words, they will be forgiven. Forgiveness is conditional. It is based on the single condition that the person asking truly desires it with all of their heart. If this is true, then you are not like those people written of in Titus 1:16. You are like Paul.

Who do you want to be like?

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