Is your heart troubled?

October 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
(John 14:1 (NIV))

It seems like everything in this world is falling apart.

Wars and rumors of wars.

Catastrophic natural disasters of ever-increasing magnitude.

An ever-increasing hatred of anything righteous.

When will it end?

We sit poised at the precipice. We are at a point where the uncertainty of the world is closing in and bringing many people to despair. It is also bringing many people to completely reject God.

It also can bring isolated pockets of great joy into each life if we will simply open our hearts to what God is doing.

As believers, we have a choice to make. We can choose to let the troubles of this world get to us, or we can turn to Jesus and fully embrace the joy and the salvation that He has freely given to us. Through this salvation, we can also fully embrace the hope that things will be better.

It is my prayer for you and your family and friends that you will fully embrace the grace, mercy and joy that God has given to us through the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. I truly do not understand how those people who have not placed their faith and hope in Jesus can face each day, for they rely on the errant perception that humanity can make things better.

Let’s face it. Most times we can’t even agree on what we will have for dinner. How do you expect humanity to agree on anything that can make things better? It is human nature to insist that our way is right and everybody else is wrong. We firmly stand our ground because we don’t want to admit that we might be wrong. Many people think that they are not capable of making a mistake. To me, that is the biggest mistake that anyone can make.

When was the last time that you saw any person live their complete life without making any mistakes? Mistakes lead to troubles. Each life will eventually lead to trouble. There has only been one life that never made any mistakes, and through His life, we are given an amazing gift of grace, salvation, joy and hope.

I honestly cannot say how humanity’s troubles in the past compare to those of today. I do know that all throughout history, humanity has only recently come to the point where we are capable of destroying lives at an alarming rate. These and other things that I hope never happen can lead someone to be troubled.

Is your heart troubled? Trust in God and trust in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Focus on the True Blessings

March 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you–a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant–then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (NIV))

This warning applies to us today.

It is so easy to turn to God when things are not going so well. It is human nature to cry out in despair when things don’t look so great. When things begin to look better, we get very thankful. It is when things have been going well for a while that we begin to lose site of where the blessings have come from. We start to take them for granted. We forget to pause and give thanks and praise to whom they are due. Soon, we start to think that we are the reason things are good.

What is it about human nature that makes us turn our backs on the very One whom we should be praising? Do we get so awestruck by the good things that we get blessed with that we can’t see beyond our blessings? Don’t get me wrong. Blessings are wonderful. They show that God truly does love us. It is our reaction to the blessings that cause all of our problems. All too often we become so engrossed in the blessings that they become our god.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Exodus 20:3 (NIV))

It is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of priority. God knew that we would be tempted by His blessings. He knew that we would seek after the blessings. He knew that we could be easily distracted, and He warned us. We are to focus on Him. We are to praise Him. When we are in the midst of the blessings, we must not be tempted by the blessings. We must remember that He is the blessing that we desire. Through Him, grace, mercy and salvation are ours. This blessing is of far greater worth than any physical blessings.

We must focus on the true blessings and keep the earthly blessings in perspective.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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