What do you do when the unexpected happens?

October 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:9 (NIV))

I can picture the moment. Everybody is gathered around Jesus and everyone there is asking Him questions. They are filled with excitement. They have spent three years with Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles. They saw Him beaten and crucified. They saw Him die. And, they saw Him in His resurrection. Now, after the resurrection, they are eagerly looking for Jesus to bring God’s kingdom to this world.

And then . . .

The unexpected happens.

At least in their eyes, it does.

They were expecting Jesus to take His authority then and there, but He disappears!

Can you imagine how these people felt? Everything that they had seen. Everything that they had been a part of. Everything that they now expected was completely changed. I can imagine that their first reaction was that they were being abandoned. How would you feel?

God knew their hearts. He knew that they were expecting something that was not in His plan. God had compassion on these people. He sent messengers to tell them that their timing was not His timing.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

Instead of despair, these people had a reason to believe. They had a reason to hope. They had a reason to pray. And pray they did.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
(Acts 11:12-14 (NIV))

How do you react when things don’t go as you expect them to?

We should take a lesson from these first believers. When things don’t go as we expect them to go, we should pray for God’s guidance and His wisdom.

What do you do when the unexpected happens?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

June 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV))

Giving is a difficult thing to do sometimes, especially when you are facing hard times.

Has your giving changed recently? Have you cut back on the money that you give to your church and to other organizations? Have you found yourself thinking that “Just this once I’ll not give” only to find yourself with a knot in the pit of your stomach? Have you stopped giving of your time because you are using your time in efforts to bring in more money? Has your attitude changed about what God has given you and will give you?

We are all creatures of habit. No matter what our intentions may be, we often find ourselves responding as the world responds. We look upon the worldly situation as the only situation that will provide for our needs. When things turn bad, we quickly find ourselves forgetting what God has promised. We worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect upon the fact that God uses us to bless others? What you give will bless someone, who in turn will bless someone else. What you give will return to you in ways that only God can imagine. Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do we see?

August 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV))

Have you ever had the opportunity to look into an old mirror that has faded and cracked? The image that you see is a very poor reflection of reality. If someone could only see life through this poor reflection, they would have a very distorted view of reality. The same is true for what we see of God’s Kingdom.

We can only see “glimpses” of what is to come, and compare these to the promises that God has made about the coming Kingdom. Consider the old story about the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the men touched a different part of the elephant and all three of them came away with a different view of what an elephant really is. We are like the blind men in that story. Each of us receives different glimpses of God’s Kingdom and we miss the big picture.

There will come a day when those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will enter the Kingdom and will see clearly and understand clearly. That is to be our reward. Jesus gave us a little glimpse of heaven in these words. It is built upon our faith, our hope, and our love. He went one step further and told us that the greatest of the three is love.

God’s Kingdom is built on love!

If God’s Kingdom is built on love, then we should practice this at all times in our daily lives while still on this earth. It is true that our idea of love is only a dim reflection of heavenly love, but it is where we are to start.

What do we see?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly realize the greatness of God’s gift?

November 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
(Hebrews 12:28 (NIV))

This passage reminded me that we all too often seem to forget the greatness of the gift that we have been given!

We are not worthy of the gift.

We did not earn the right to claim the gift.

We could never attain such a gift on our own merit, yet, it is ours free and clear!

Why, then, with such a great gift freely given to all who would ask, do we act like it is something to take for granted? Why do we act as if it is worth nothing? Why do we not seek to share this great gift with all whom we see?

Human nature is a strange thing. We make such a great big fuss over things that are so trivial and we make them out to be the greatest thing that ever was. The thing that truly is the greatest thing that ever was is the gift the God freely gives to all who will accept it. It is this gift that we make out to be worth little or nothing!

I am so glad that God has not revoked this gift of grace because of the way that we treat it!

I am so glad that we serve a loving God.

Aren’t you glad that God is not bound to human frailties and feelings. I know that most people who give great gifts would be offended if we treated their gift the way that we treat the gift that God has given each of us.

Do you truly realize the greatness of God’s gift?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still living in sin?

June 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 18:10-13 (NIV))

Today’s society draws a fine line when it comes to these practices. Some people say “as long as it is intended for good, it is okay.” God did not say do them only for Him or only for good! He said that they are detestable in His sight. This means no matter what the intentions are. The old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is true. Everyone thinks that they can do things their way or better than what God had planned. God has given us explicit instructions that these things are not from Him and are detestable to Him. Nowhere does it say that these practices are good.

When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
(2 Kings 9:22(NIV))

He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
(2 Chronicles 33:6(NIV))

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your greatest treasure?

April 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV))

What is your greatest treasure?

Are you like some people and have a car that you keep spotless and in perfect condition? Do you have a home that is the epitome of what you have spent your life in pursuit of? Does your position bring you prestige and stroke your ego?

Sadly enough, these treasures are the misguided and fleeting possessions of someone who places their faith and trust in the wrong things. They are the treasures of someone who has their priorities all wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having these type of possessions if God has blessed you with them. What is wrong is an unhealthy obsession with these possessions that results in an exclusion of God’s Kingdom from your life.

Are you willing to give up your earthly treasures for what God has freely given to us through His son, Jesus Christ? Would you willingly give up your car that will eventually rust and stop running for a treasure in heaven that will never fade or diminish in value? Think about that question. What God offers us is far more valuable to possess than any possession that man can make, yet, we are often so reluctant to let go of what will rot and fade for something that will last for ever.

Are you willing to do what the people in this parable were willing to do?

They realized the uncompromised value of what they had found and realized that they needed to sell everything in order to obtain it. They were willing to let the things of man be set aside to allow the things of God to be obtained. It was a matter of priorities.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
(Luke 9:25 (NIV))

Are you willing to let go of your worldly treasures for the treasure that God has waiting for you?

Is that your final answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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