Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

July 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek your prayers for this ministry that God has given to me. I pray that if Daily Living Ministries has touched your life, to please share that with those around you. I seek your prayers to help under gird me and to keep me focused on what God has called me to do. The world offers many distractions. I desire to avoid the distractions. I desire to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me. I do not do it for any personal gain or for any notoriety. That is not the reward that I seek.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to glorify God?

May 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

These are probably the most comforting words that a believer can read or hear, for they affirm that God is with us and desires good things for us.

Just why does He desire to be our shepherd? Why does He desire to give us “green pastures” and “quiet waters?” Why does He desire to restore our souls?

God is the Creator of all things. To be even more specific, He is our Creator and the Creator loves the creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV))

God made us in His image. He created us to be with Him. Through our actions in the Garden of Eden, we lost that righteousness that allows us to be with Him. God desires for each of us to be restored to that righteousness so that we may glorify His name.

How are we to glorify God?

We were created in His image. We lost that image. God desires to restore each of us to that image. We glorify God by following where He leads so that we may become closer to what He created us to be.

Think about an antique car that is in a junkyard. The man who owned that car when it was new finds it and buys it again. He lovingly restores it. He takes it to places where it will be renewed in its original image. He becomes happy because what he loved has been restored to what it should be. The restoration glorifies the owner of the car.

You are that car. God is the owner. Let Him lead you to where you can be restored to the image that you were created to be.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Money, fame, prestige and power

August 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

Take a long hard look at what it is that you have allowed to take the place of God.

Did money create the heavens and the earth? Was fame there in the beginning? Did prestige and power subjugate the emptiness and cause it to form the universe?

Only God was able to do all of these things!

God existed long before the heavens and the earth and long before money, fame, or prestige and power. All of these things are man-made creations that have come about out of the depravity that arose because of the fall from grace. None of these things are worthy of our worship. None of these things should become our god. None, of these things are righteous in the eyes of God.

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

Too many of us replace the one true God with our own personal gods. These gods can be anything that takes priority in our lives. When we find that this is happening, we must remember that none of these things were around in the beginning. None of them were around when God created the heavens and the earth. It was only God in His Triune glory, and He …

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

If He created “in the beginning,” then we must reevaluate our gods and repent. We must turn to the God of creation.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:13 (NIV))

Can your “gods” of money, fame, or prestige and power make such a profession?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you glorify?

July 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.
(Genesis 41:14-16 (NIV))

I have a very serious question to ask and I want you to reflect and answer truthfully.

How would you respond if you find yourself in a situation similar to what Joseph found himself?

Would you have boasted and loudly proclaimed that you indeed did have the ability to do as he had heard? Would you proclaim that you could do as he asked? Would you come across as arrogant and egotistical when presented with a situation that could potentially glorify you?

Or would you do as Joseph did and acknowledge that all things come from God and only by His grace can you do as you are asked?

Human nature is a fickle thing. We tend to think that we would give the glory where the glory is due, yet, all too often we fall short. We allow the glory to be directed toward our own abilities even though we are not worthy of glory.

We must train our hearts and minds to desire to reflect the glory of God, for we are not worthy of glory.

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))

Even in our filthy state, we are to glorify God in all of His righteousness. We must never glorify ourselves.

Who do you glorify?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Glorify the LORD

July 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
(Psalms 34:3 (NIV))

Tonight, as I sat down to read and write, I said a quick little prayer asking God to show me what He wanted me to share. I opened up my database of verses and randomly scrolled through and stopped.

It was only then that I looked at the verse that was before me.

Glorify the LORD !!!

We have gotten out of the practice of giving God the glory. We, as a society and as a world, would rather give ourselves the glory.

Did we create the world? Did we speak the sun and moon into existance? Did we create a world that is uniquely perfect to sustain life? Did we imagine the vast numbers of creatures and then they appeared? Did we give ourselves life? Did we give ourselves salvation and grace?

All that we have ever done is to be the recipient of God’s love and mercy. We have done nothing that merits any glory being given to us.

In today’s world, it is no longer politically correct to praise God as we have in the past. It is no longer even safe in some parts of the world to profess a faith in Jesus as God’s only Son. Unfortunately, it is becoming that way in this country, a country that was founded by people who were looking to worship God as they thought they should.

It is time to take a stand and to glorify God for all that He has done and for all that He is doing.

I have seen bumper stickers that say “America bless God,” instead of “God Bless America.”

Think about that. If we will bless or praise God for all that He has done, if we will learn once again to be thankful to God, then He will once again bless us. He will bless us not because we ask, but because we seek His face and give thanks.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It is my prayer that all will join in and fulfill these words.

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
Psalms 34:3 (NIV)

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you yeast?

April 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
(Matthew 13:33 (NIV))

The effects that can be experienced from allowing God into a little part of your life are exponential in nature. Just like a little yeast in dough, God starts to work within you the minute you allow Him into any part of your life.

When you add yeast to dough, it changes the results from a flat, two dimensional, tasteless creation into a vibrant, life giving object that expands to fill the surroundings that it has been given. It expands its circle of influence.

Allowing God into your life is exactly the same. Without God, we are all flat, two dimensional, tasteless and lifeless. With God, through Jesus, we become full of life. We expand, through the grace and mercy showed to us through Jesus, and soon we fill the surroundings that we have been given. We, just as Jabez, expand our circle of influence for God.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

Is it any wonder that the kingdom of heaven is referred to in this way? It only takes a small amount of yeast to change flat, lifeless bread into warm, outgoing, life sustaining bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus was filled with God. If He was the bread of life and we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, then we are to spread yeast into the lives of others.

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 spreading God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you pray?

March 14, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 (NIV))

Jesus knew, and still knows, human nature extremely well. When He resurrected Lazarus, He petitioned God verbally with prayer so that those around would hear Him and believe. He did not need to do this. God would have heard Him even if He had not spoken a single word. He would have heard His heart, His Spirit, and His anguish. Yet, Jesus spoke out loud so that those around Him would hear and believe. Everyone knows the outcome of this event.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:43-44)

When we pray, is it necessary for us to speak out loud? Jesus taught the following:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6)

Prayer is an important part of life. It is a conversation with your Creator, your Father. When you talk to your earthly father, do you do it loudly in a public place, or do you find a private place where you can speak quietly and freely with each other?

How do you think that God wishes for you to talk with Him?

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