What burdens do you carry?

April 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NLT))

What burdens do you carry?

Everybody has burdens that they must carry, for life is not burden free. Each of us face our own combination of things that Satan uses to weight us down and to keep us from God. These may be financial issues, health issues, personal issues, family issues, or a myriad number of other things. Regardless of what they may be, we all face times when we must carry a burden or two. Unfortunately, it is human nature to think that we are alone in what we face. Because of this, our burdens soon become more than we can bear.

Do your burdens leave you weary? Are your burdens too much for you to bear?

We, as believers, know that there is a hope for us. We do not have to carry our burdens alone. We have the hope that is Jesus. Jesus came to give us grace. He came to give us mercy. He came to give us hope. We do not have to face the burdens of this world alone. We have someone who is closer than a brother to help us through our times of trouble and burden. We have Jesus. All we have to do is allow Him to be our personal Lord and Savior. In exchange, He will give us rest from our burdens?

Do you allow Jesus to give you rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Christmas every day!

December 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31 (NIV))

With Christmas only a few short weeks away, this passage caught my attention in a different way than it normally does.

Oh, come on. I can hear you thinking that this has nothing to do with Christmas, but let me explain what it is that made me think this.

We are to love God with all of our heart. We are to rejoice at His love for us and we are to love Him in return. Now, think about this in terms of what God did for us that began one cold night in a manger.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

For His great love for us, we celebrate the fulfillment of the promise of the gift of salvation, a gift that took human form and lived among us so that we could learn. A gift that came to be given to all so that all may live. A gift that was freely given to you and I and to our neighbors, no matter where they may live.

If God loves us enough to send His Son for our salvation, we love God in turn. If God sent His Son for the salvation of everyone who will believe, then we must love as God loves. we must love our neighbor.

In my eyes, Christmas is a joyous time for the whole world. Too many people think that Christmas is about family. They are partially correct. I believe that they need to expand their definition of family. Family is not only immediate family, but the whole family of man. This is a family where every single member is in need of a Savior. They are in need of the love that God has shown through the birth of Jesus. They are in need of the love and salvation that we celebrate. We must love our neighbor and tell them of this wonderful gift that has been freely given to all.

Do you love God with all your heart, all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength?

Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

God loves your neighbor as much as He loves you.

If we could simply live out these two commands, then we could celebrate Christmas every day.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He who trusts in himself is a fool

September 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
(Proverbs 28:26 (NIV))

In today’s world, there are far too many “fools” who have placed their trust in themselves and in others who have also placed their own trust in themselves. In other words, too many of our society think that they are in control and can solve every problem. They feel that they can make society better if only they can enforce their ways upon others.

They have lost sight of wisdom. They have lost sight of the fact that the very nature of fallen, sinful humanity takes its very essence from the one who fell from grace. Satan thought that he could do a better job, so he became obsessed with taking God’s place. Arrogance, ego and pride can lead even the angels of heaven to do things that are foolish. We all have the capabilities of doing the very same thing if we forget where our strength and our wisdom comes from.

As created beings, it is not from within us that we find something that we can trust. We can only place our trust in the wisdom that comes from God and His Son, Jesus Christ. If something points to anything else but God, then we should not place any amount of trust in it at all.

Is there anything within this world that we can place our trust in?

Can we trust in the governments of the world?

Can we trust in corporations?

Can we trust in our jobs?

Can we trust in our friends?

Can we trust in our families?

I think that we have already established that we should not place trust in ourselves.

Everything that is in this world has been tainted by sin, and in spite of the best of intentions, nothing is perfect. If you doubt that, consider yourself.

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))

We cannot trust in our own wisdom, for our own wisdom is tainted. It is like filthy rags. We have only one place in which to put our trust, and that is in the wisdom of God.

Do you trust in God, or are you a fool?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Which type are you?

September 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
(Job 23:11-12 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the trials and tribulations that Job faced.

Think about that for a moment and then consider whether you would have been able to proclaim what Job proclaimed.

How would you react to losing all of your wealth? How would you react to losing all of your property? How would you react to losing your social status? How would you react to losing all of your family? Personally, I believe that I could face anything in this world, except the thought of losing my family. I pray that I would have the strength, but I pray more that I am never faced with knowing what Job faced.

We, as created beings, are weak in our faith. We proclaim that we believe, yet many of us have never truly been tested. Job was a remarkable man. He faced every trial imaginable short of facing his own death, yet, he had the courage to stand firm in his faith. Human nature, when faced with circumstances similar to what Job faced, has a tendency to seek to blame someone for their misfortune. All too often, that someone is God. We seek to blame Him for the bad things that come upon us. In our hour of need, we turn upon the one who offers us grace and mercy.

I know that I am oversimplifying this, but there are four basic types of people when it comes to faith.

The first type, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t believe at all.

The second type professes a faith until something happens and then they blame God.

The third type don’t even think about God until something bad happens and then they try to make up for lost time.

The fourth type are those who are steadfast in their faith no matter what may come their way, for they know one thing that they can hold firmly to no matter what they may face.

Job was an excellent example of the fourth type. He never wavered in his faith. Even when all around him was bad, he never blamed God. He did question God, but he never blamed Him. Even when pressured by friends, he never gave up his faith.

It is my prayer that I will always be the fourth type. I also pray that I may never have to face such trials and tribulations, but if I do, I pray that I will be able to hold fast to my faith no matter what.

Which type are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you flatter God?

September 7, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there an adult that you wanted to be just like? Perhaps it was a parent, or perhaps a grandparent, or even an aunt or uncle. No matter who it may have been, chances are very good that you did have someone in your life that you tried to model everything after.

I can safely say that you probably imitated what they did down to the smallest of details.

What, in your mind, made that person such an object of your devotion?

There are probably two main reasons. They loved you and they did not hesitate to let you know.

Think about God in that perspective.

He created you. He sent His only begotten Son to die for you. Again, love and a strong way of letting you know.

Do we imitate God in the same way that we imitated that special adult when we were younger? Do we strive to be just like Him? Do we impatiently wait to be in His presence? Do we find joy in His presence? Do we eagerly go with Him wherever He may lead?

Simple questions, yet the answers are not so simple.

What is the difference?

As we became adults, have we “outgrown” the ability to imitate? Have we spent so much time trying to establish our own identity that imitation is the farthest thing from our minds?

We do not lose ourselves in imitation. It is how we learn. We imitate our teachers as they tell us about what we must learn. We imitate our peers in social environments so that we can learn what is appropriate. We imitate our bosses so that we can work more efficiently and get that much wanted raise and promotion.

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and a faith in God, then we should strive to learn all that we can. The best way is by imitating what Jesus said and did.

There is an old saying that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Do you flatter God?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your perspective?

August 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
(Genesis 16:11-12 (NIV))

Do you know who the sons of Ishmael are?

Do you know who his brothers are?

Knowing the answers to these two questions puts a whole new light on the events of the world, for the sons of Ishmael are the Arab nations. His brother was Isaac. Isaac’s descendants are the children of Israel.

What does that do to your understanding of the way things have been unfolding in the Middle East? God foretold of the continuing and ever increasing troubles that the “brothers” have been having. Did God have this planned from the beginning of time? Perhaps He just took advantage of the mess that He knew humanity would make of things. Whatever happened in His planning, God knew exactly how things would unfold.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
(Isaiah 46:10 (NIV))

God does have it all planned out. Perhaps it is because He is not bound by time and space. He can move about freely in His creation. He sees all things at once no matter where they happen, and even no matter when they happen.

Knowing God’s Word puts a whole new and fresh perspective on the events of this world. Without God’s Word, everything looks random and chaotic. With God’s Word, everything has a purpose.

What is your perspective on worldly events?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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