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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For such a time

February 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
(Matthew 4:23 (NIV))

What would be your reaction to someone doing these things in your community?

Think about it carefully. Not only would this person be teaching and preaching in your church, they would also be healing anybody and everybody of anything that was wrong. Cancer. Diabetes. Paralysis. Blindness. Neurological problems. All would be miraculously healed by a person. Would you follow that person or would you be part of the gossip mill that would follow that person?

I am confident that the very emotions that you would feel are the very same emotions that people felt when Jesus walked the earth and did these wonderful things in Galilee. Human nature wants to embrace the miraculous and embrace the messenger of the miraculous. At the same time, the miraculous is different and human nature is afraid of what we do not know. I do know that I hope I would have accepted Jesus when He walked this earth. I also know that I am human and my faults are the same that kept many from embracing HIm. How about you? Can you say with complete certainty that you would have been one to embrace Jesus for who He is when He first walked this earth?

Sometimes I think that I would like to have lived during Jesus’ time on this earth. I would love to witness the Sermon on the Mount. I would love to walk with Jesus and listen to His teachings. I would hate to see the crucifixion and I would rejoice at the resurrection. I would love to be among the crowd at Pentecost. However, because of my human nature, I am also afraid that if I did not have the perspective of history as reported in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I would not recognize who was right before me. With that said, it is probably best that I, like Esther, am alive for such a time as this.

God placed each of us in just the right point in history to bless us. Perhaps even more importantly, He placed each one of us in just the right point in history to bless those around us. Pray to be that blessing to others. Pray that you may have the faith to fulfill Jesus’ words.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God have to do to get your attention?

January 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
(Numbers 22:21-31 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed to go completely different than expected, even when you have done it many times before? Were you able to come up with a logical explanation for the change in the results?

Perhaps the change in the results were similar to those that Balaam had. He was so blinded to the fact that his donkey had never done anything like this before, yet he still blamed the donkey. He did not stop to even contemplate the reason for the change. He did not stop to think that perhaps there was a reason that his trusted donkey had done what she had done. He did not even consider that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

He did not consider that God was intervening in his life!

Are we blinded to this just as Balaam was?

Think about that for a moment.

Does God still speak to His people? Does God still seek out relationships with those who seek Him? Does God work in our lives to guide us, to lead us and to mature us into what He created us to be?

Why should we be any different from Balaam? Why should we limit God’s intervention to the pages of the Bible? The Bible is the story of what He has done. We are the story of what He is doing.

The next time that something seems too odd and out of the normal realm of things, stop and reflect upon what is going on. God may be using the unexpected to reach out to you. He may be calling you to something and that moment in time is the decisive point where you must listen and respond or miss out on His blessings.

Everyone marvels at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, but how many people overlook the reason that the donkey spoke? It took something completely out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spiritual consistency

June 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Joyful, patient and faithful.

Paul had a consistency in his message that we need to be reminded of as often as we call upon the name of Jesus. Paul did not simply preach a message that proclaiming Jesus as your Lord and Savior meant that you did not have to undergo spiritual growth. He knew that accepting Jesus into your life as your personal Lord and Savior would mean a desire to become more like Jesus. The characteristics that he spoke of in Romans 12:12 are also repeated quite eloquently in Galatians.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

There is a consistency!

Just as God never changes, the Word that He gives those whom He calls as apostles, prophets and teachers should never change. Test everything. Do not take something as the truth unless you have verified it against God’s Word. He will not change. Jesus will not change. He told us that He only does what He sees the Father do. He is consistent.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus was joyful during His ministry. He came to give us this joy.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Once again, consistency!

Are you consistent in your faith?

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

June 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life–
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.
I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.
(Psalms 101:1-3 (NIV))

Can you honestly say these words? Think about their meaning. This should be the desire of every single person who claims that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. These words renounce the sin of the world while focusing on the righteous things that God desires for us. We must praise God. We must lead a blameless life. We must have a pure heart, and we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We must not allow sin to catch our gaze. Can you do this? Can any of us do this perfectly?

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Through grace, we are forgiven. We are not perfect, but we can grow into maturity in our faith and in our actions. It is a matter of inner desire. If we desire to follow Jesus, then each day will bring opportunities to press on.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
(Philippians 3:12 (NIV))

Press on in praise. Press on for a blameless life. Press on for a pure heart, and press on in following Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek the Lord?

June 10, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
(Psalms 9:9-11 (NIV))

Do you seek the Lord?

Do you seek Him at all times or only when things are not going the way that you want them to go?

He is a refuge for the oppressed and a stronghold in times of trouble, but, if those are the only times that you seek the Lord, then are you truly seeking Him?

It is human nature to turn to someone when you feel that you cannot handle things on your own, but when things seem to be going our way, it is human nature to take the credit. We seem to want God in our lives only when we fail on our own.

Is that how you see God? Is that the only time that you honestly seek the Lord?

Let me pose a question.

For those of you who are married, do you honestly think that the relationship is strong and that you honestly know you spouse if the only time that you turn to them is when you want something from them? Can you honestly say that you know the very heart and desires of your spouse if you never spend time with them?

God is the same way. If we only turn to Him in times of trouble, how do you think the relationship is going? Can you honestly say that you have spent time at the feet of the Lord? Can you honestly say that you know the heart of God and what makes Him rejoice and what makes Him sad?

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, but He is so much more than that if you will simply spend time in His presence. In order to know someone, you must spend time with them. you must learn what makes them happy and what makes them sad. you must learn what they love. You cannot learn this when you are seeking refuge. You learn it when the focus is off of you.

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

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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True branches and good fruit

May 31, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
(John 15:5-8 (NIV))

All good comes from God. We cannot do truly good things without God in our lives. When we become believers, we are grafted into the vine. We are not natural branches of “good” and “love”. Rather, we are allowed to graft onto the perfect vine and share in the fruits of that vine. We have the life of the vine flowing through us if the “graft” is true. If the “life” flows through us, then the fruit produced will also show the “life” of the vine. If the “graft” is not true, then the branch withers and dies and must be discarded.

Which branch are you? Do you bear the fruit of the vine, or do you wither and produce no fruit?

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