Do you praise God with every breath you take?

May 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I bless GOD every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
(Psalms 34:1 (MSG))

I don’t often reference the Message translation, but I love the implications of this passage and the way it gives a very unique and powerful example of our need to praise God.

Typically, we see this passage conveyed similar to the following, with each translation using slightly different words to convey what David actually wrote in his native language.

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
(Psalms 34:1 (NIV))

Honestly, who uses words like “extol?” I realize that it is a word that many people know, but most people will use the words “bless” or “praise.” Those words are straight to the point. Do you bless God every chance that you get? Perhaps what I love the most about the way that the Message translates this passage, though, is the last half of the passage. Everyone who is alive must breathe. This requires your lungs to expand and collapse as you inhale and exhale. This process is essential for life. Think about the meaning and the implications of that concept. We should consider praising God as essential to life as breathing! Without God, we would not have life.

We should give thanks with every breath that we take for the breath that we take. We should praise God for the life that He has given. We should praise God for the grace and the mercy that He has offered. We should praise God for His unfailing love.

Do you praise God with every breath you take?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there freedom in your life?

April 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of God? Are you prone to apply human understanding and limit God as a result? Do you have a mental image of how you think God looks? Does your mental image apply human characteristics to God?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

No one knows what the Father looks like. His glory cannot be comprehended by human minds. All throughout human history, people have made a vain attempt at creating a likeness of God or what people have called gods. We are told not to worship idols. Nothing that we can imagine comes close to the majesty that is our Lord! He has no physical limitations. He has no spiritual limitations except that He cannot associate with sin.

We think that we have a good idea of what Jesus looked like. Even so, nobody is completely certain. God sent Jesus into this world at a time when people and events were not recorded for all to see. I would probably venture to say that it was never God’s intention to have a perfect likeness of Jesus be a part of His legacy. I can already imagine the human ego being exactly what it is if we knew that Jesus had a certain look or a certain ethnicity. We do know that He was Jewish, but we don’t know how dark His skin was. We don’t know what color eyes He had. All that we do know and all that we need to know is recorded in the Gospels. God wanted us to believe in Jesus on faith and not because we saw a video of Him performing any of His miracles.

Did God exist before creation?

Did Jesus exist before He came to earth?

Does God exist now?

Does Jesus exist now?

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the answer is simple. God is Spirit – always has been and always will be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

He stepped out of eternity and took on human form in order to bring us freedom! This does not mean that we are to worship the form. We are to worship the Lord in all of His majesty and not in the limitations of the form that He took. When you see the cross, what do you see? Do you see a man who was nailed to it or do you see the Spirit of God come to earth to set us free?

Is there freedom in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The prophets foretold of His coming!

December 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
(Isaiah 42:6-7 (NIV))

The words written in Isaiah hundreds of years before His birth pretty much summarize God’s plans for Jesus. These and many other words written by the prophets all tell of the coming of Jesus and every prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled at His coming.

I have read various different counts about prophecies that pointed to Jesus, and no matter what count is presented, every single one of them came true during the birth, life, crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus. I realize that there are always skeptics and doubters who will say that the prophecies are vague and can be interpreted in different ways. When I think of this, I remember the fact that you will find what you are looking for. In other words, if your heart is hardened to Jesus, then nothing will sway you. You will find room for argument in any proof that is presented to you. If that is you, it is my prayer that your heart be softened before it is too late!

This time of year is a wondrous time for it is when the Body of Christ celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is the time when we choose to remember God’s plan unfolding through the birth of a little baby. It was not the beginning of the plan. God had it planned long ago. In fact, He even told us how it would happen. He declares His intentions long before they begin to unfold.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
(Isaiah 45:21 (NIV))

God always tells us what He is going to do before He does it. For over two thousand years people have been rejoicing because He sent His Son to this world to fulfill the promises given.

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))

How do we know that Jesus is His one and only Son?

The prophets foretold of His coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is in your heart?

October 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
(Deuteronomy 6:6 (NIV))

Human nature is a strange thing. We are uniquely created, yet we all suffer from the same maladies. Basically, we suffer from a desire to be the center of our own little worlds. We suffer from a desire to be obsessed with certain aspects that are out of our control. We suffer from a desire to possess things to the point that our desires possess us. All of these things are stumbling blocks to what God has called us to be simply because they become the central focus of our existence. When something takes on this role in our lives, it has our heart, it has our mind and it has our complete existence.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that God told us to place His commandments in our hearts. They are to be the central focus of our lives. When God’s commandments are the central focus of our lives, our lives are complete. They are built upon the solid foundation of God’s truth. Everything that we do will be based on achieving what is in our heart!

Have you ever known someone who coveted money? It was all that they thought about and every action that they ever took was directed at getting more money.

Now, take that example and replace the money with a desire to know God and His commandments and His truth. Everything that is done is done to further that desire.

Each of us have the ability to place a number of things in our hearts. There is always a priority. There is always an ultimate treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

What is in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God at work in you?

October 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
(Philippians 2:13 (NIV))

Have you changed since you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you truly thought about and attributed this change to anything?

Do you like the changes that you see in yourself?

Do others like the changes that they see in you?

Everyone changes as they get older. Some people attribute this to maturity. Some will attribute this change to anything and everything that they can think of, but are not willing to give credit where credit is due. They will not acknowledge that God is working in them and through them to bring maturity, increase faith, and be a witness to those whom they encounter.

It is a matter of priorities!

Do we want God to work in us?

Do we allow God to work in us?

If we do not want or allow God to have work within us, then we will never mature. We will never change into the person that He desires for us to be. We will never fulfill His good purpose.

Is God at work in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is amazing power in God’s Word!

May 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Do you truly realize just what this passage is saying?

We all know that Jesus is the Word made flesh. From this passage we also know that Jesus existed from the beginning. We know that Jesus was with God from the beginning. We also know, based on logical deduction, that Jesus was and is God!

Still, there is one very important realization that each of us, as the Body of Christ, must fully embrace, and that is that for us to know God we must get to know Jesus. In addition, we come to the realization that in order to know Jesus, we must know the Word! This passage clearly tells us that what we call the Bible is how we get to know God, for it is a direct reflection of God’s character.

Now that we have established some fundamental principles, I want to ask a few questions.

Do you believe that God is all powerful?

Is He able to do things beyond your imagination, or have you put God into a box and limited Him to what you can understand?

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

Did you have to think about your answers or were you able to quickly affirm that God is all powerful and that the Bible if the Word of God? If you were able to do this, I want you to logically think about what this implies based on what John 1:1 says about the Word was God. This implies that the Bible is all powerful since it is the Word of God and that the Word is God!

Do you realize the amazing power that is God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful?

May 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV))

Would Paul be able to write these words about you and I today? Would he thank God that we received the word of God as the truth that it is? Would Paul find that the word of God is at work in us?

In other words, would Paul thank God that you and I believe?

I often wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to have been one of the early believers in Jesus. Even more so, I wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to preach the word of God as an early believer. Are we as faithful now as the early church was then? They faced persecution, condemnation and even death, yet they were faithful. Because of their faith, we can proclaim our faith.

But, will we be able to stand firm when we face the troubles that are coming?

We see hints of it every day. We see the persecution and the condemnation toward people who profess a faith in Jesus. Will we be able to make someone thankful that we held on to what we have received? Think about that for a moment. The people that Paul was thankful for were the people whom he had led to faith in Jesus. He saw them as his spiritual children. Who led you to faith in Jesus? Would they be thankful for what you have become? Will they be thankful for your faith when we face tribulations?

Let’s take this one step further.

Who are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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