Do you feel like a stranger in this world?

December 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

By definition, an alien is someone who is in a land that is not their own home land. They feel out of place and long to return to familiar countryside where sites and sounds will not be an occasion to constantly try and figure out what is going on. Their home land will bring familiarity and peace.

How do you feel in this world? Do you feel at home and part of the crowd, or do you long for a place that you have never been to, but yet, you still know is home?

A person who is not in their home land is under constant scrutiny. Everyone looks at them to see how they will react in any given situation, after all, they may not be familiar with the local customs. It is almost always a guaranteed good show to watch an alien try to maneuver through a setting that they are not familiar with. With this in mind, it is human nature to watch the “new kid” or the “stranger” to see what they will do and how they will make a fool of themselves.

We may be strangers in this land, for our home is not of this world, but, we have a tour guide who will assist us in our daily walk among the strangers. That guide is the Holy Spirit. He will guide us in what to say and do, and maybe even more importantly, He will guide us in what not to say and do. He will instruct us in the ways that are appropriate for any situation. He will lead us in a pure direction if we will only listen to His guidance. To hear His guidance, we must have allowed Him into our lives in the same manner that we allow Jesus into our lives. Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit becomes our instructor in righteousness.

What does the world see when they see you? Are you a stranger or are you embraced by the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to see the glory of God?

September 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40 (NIV))

With recent events, it is often hard to imagine how God can be glorified in the midst of all of the issues that we now face.

Take heart. God is working in and through everything.

When we feel that things are going wrong, look up. God can and will turn them around. When we feel that all hope is lost, look up. God has given us a hope that cannot be taken away. When we feel that the enemy is winning, look up. Satan thought he was winning once before when Jesus hung on the cross, but it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would. With that in mind, why do you think that Satan will get the upper hand in any other attacks that he tries?

We know how it ends. We know who wins. If things seem a little bad now and then, we must simply remember who holds the future and thank God for that all important fact and pray. We must pray for peace. We must pray for understanding. We must pray for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Then, when we believe, we will see the glory of God as He works miracles.

Are you ready to see the glory of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

September 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
(John 1:16-18 (NIV))

How do you make Jesus known?

Is it in a way that glorifies God and His Son?

For those who claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, the way that we behave each and every day is often the only reflection of Jesus that some people will ever see. Do you reflect Jesus in a way that makes Him know for who He truly is and for what He truly offers or do you reflect a Jesus that is limited by human frailties and sin? If we rely on human nature to show Jesus to others, then we do not do a good job of reflecting the light. We cannot make known perfection when we rely on our own imperfection.

How can we truly reflect the light of Jesus without fully embracing that light with a desire to glow brightly?

The next time that you find yourself in a situation where you have two paths to choose from, stop and reflect. Which path would best reflect Jesus to those around you? Which path will make Jesus known?

The nation of Israel has longed for their Messiah for thousands of years. When He came, He did not fit their expectations. He came as innocence. He came as a baby. He came to preach the good news of grace and salvation. Today, many people think of Jesus only from what they have seen portrayed through certain elements of society. They see a Jesus who is hypocritical and is a reflection of the sin that He came to save us from. Their perceptions are all wrong. They have never been shown the true Jesus.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

How can you make the true Jesus known to others?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It was, and still is, a matter of attitude

April 30, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Could we, as a society, be on the way to a time when God will makes us look foolish?

We are at a time in history when knowledge is increasing like never before. Humanity can accomplish some pretty incredible tasks if we put our minds to it. We can send a message around the world in a fraction of a second. We have begun to unlock the secrets that God has placed within our DNA. We are developing technology faster than we literally can produce it. By the time a product gets to market, it is already obsolete. We have become wise in the ways of the world.

We must keep our focus on God, for if we start to proclaim that we have done these things and that we do not need God, then we will be floundering in foolishness created by our worldly wisdom. We will have done the same thing that caused confusion of our languages at Babel.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
(Genesis 11:4 (NIV))

It was, and still is, a matter of attitude. We must keep God as our focus and give Him all the glory for what He has given to us. We must not seek to make a name for ourselves. If we do, then we will be scattered and our wisdom will be made foolish.

Is God first in all that you do? Do you seek to glorify God or do you seek the glory for yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared?

February 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Was Jesus preparing His disciples for the time when He would not physically be with them? Was Jesus trying to teach His disciples a lesson?

His disciples came to Jesus with a problem. From a worldly point of view, they had very limited resources. He gave them instructions on how to carry out the task., even though it appeared to be an impossible task. They obeyed. Everyone was blessed. The abundance of God’s blessings overflowed beyond what was needed. God was glorified.

This episode models how each of us are to approach Jesus when we are led to respond to a need. We are to take it to God in prayer with Jesus at the Father’s right hand. We are to look at our frailty and admit it can’t be done with what we possess. We are to turn it over to God and obey His commands. We are to prepare ourselves to be a blessing and to be blessed, and we need to prepare ourselves for God’s abundance so that we may allow it to overflow to all in need.

If we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must be prepared to respond like His disciples did. We must be willing to set aside our failures and allow God to fill us with His Spirit. We must be prepared to do what God calls us to do. We must be prepared to see God do great things. Some of them may even be performed through us.

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 prepared to allow God to work through you?

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
(Luke 9:13a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for our leaders, but more importantly, pray for God’s Will to be done

January 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
(1 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV))

I watched countless critiques both for and against the administration today as they took office for the next four years. I even saw one comment from someone that made me pause in disbelief. To be honest with you, I saw several like this, but one really caught my attention.

It is sad that we allow politics to divide us. I also find it sad that it divides the church, and at the same time we hear people saying that faith has no place in our government.

What do we, as the Body of Christ, do? Are we supposed to sit back and not enter in to public life? Are we to read the Bible and apply it only to our lives behind closed doors? Are we to ignore the Bible because it is not politically correct with today’s world view? Do we pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore because of societal pressures?

If we do any of these things, are we truly the Body of Christ?

We are to hold steadfast to what we have been taught. We do not waiver in our faith or in the application of that faith. We do not waiver in standing firm on God’s Word no matter what society may say about our stand.

And . . .

In the midst of all that we face during our faith, we must pray for those around us. We must pray for those in authority over us. We must pray for peace.

Think about that for a moment.

Have you ever prayed for someone and your prayers were answered? Imagine prayers for our leaders to follow Godly counsel and make decisions based on biblical truths. Do you want those prayers to be answered?

If we pray for God’s Will, we cannot go wrong. God has set things in motion that we cannot understand. All that we can do is pray for those who are in authority that they will make decisions that will glorify God. Please keep in mind that we do not always see the big picture and many times the things that we see happening are not what we would want, but they are what God will use to bring about His Will.

Think about this.

What if you are praying for a great revival to change our world while God is planning something different that will usher in the return of Jesus. The prayer is a personal desire based on circumstances. God’s plan is a plan that will bring about His glory. Pray for our leaders, but more importantly, pray for God’s Will to be done. Pray that you are able to discern His Will.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

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