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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What do you truly want?

September 30, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
(Psalms 23:1 (NASB))

Have you ever given any serious thought to the meaning of this passage?

Most people read this and take it to mean that anything that we could possibly want in this physical world is ours. Let’s take a step back and take a look at the word “want.” Our society has shifted the meaning of this word to mean something that we desire. We say things like, “I want a new car” or “I want a bigger house,” but is this the type of want that the Lord provides for? With this type of attitude, too many people fail to get what they want and, as a result, they fall away from faith. They misunderstand this passage and think that is means that the Lord our God is nothing more that a genie who is there to grant our every wish, our every desire. When this doesn’t happen, they falsely assume that since this isn’t true, nothing is true.

If this is your vision of God, then it makes sense why our society has become so self-centered and self-entitled.

If we look at this passage from the perspective and understanding of when it was written, we get a much clearer picture. A shepherd has multiple sheep under his care. He provides for the needs of the whole flock. He will lead them to green pastures for food. He will care for the sick. He will search for the lost. The shepherd makes sure that all under his care are protected from attack. The sheep know his voice and they follow him. They know and they trust him to provide for their needs both collectively and individually.

Did you pick up on that?

The shepherd provides for the needs of his flock. He does not provide for the selfish desires. The shepherd knows what is best for each sheep. He makes sure that each need is provided for. With this in mind, is wanting a bigger house a need or a selfish desire? For some people, it truly may be a need, while for others, it is a selfish desire. The Lord sees each of our needs and knows how best to provide for us. When David wrote these words, he understood this concept. He understood that the Lord, as his shepherd, was guiding his steps and that all of his needs would be provided for. David realized that everything was on the Lord’s timeframe and not his.

Sadly, our society has lost this understanding. We seek instant gratification in all aspects of our lives. We falsely believe that we can guide our own lives. We desire anything and everything under the sun, and sin runs rampant because we are so focused on the proverbial me, myself and I. Slow down and spend time in the Lord’s presence and you will begin to grasp the understanding that David had. The focus is not about us and our selfish desires. It is about the Lord’s plans and what is best for us.

I believe that it is time for us to reexamine what we truly want! What do you truly want?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You just need to be willing to see!

June 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
(John 1:46 (NIV))

Humanity is so strange!

We are willing to travel half way around the world to see something in a major city because we think that is where the good things are. At the same time, we think that anything from a small, out of the way place can’t be any good. Why do we always think that bigger is better? Why does human nature have to elevate what is big and put down anything that is small in our perception?

If you stop to think about God’s plan, it makes perfect sense for Jesus to have come to humble beginnings and live in a small town. It was exactly opposite of what the world expected. It was a deliberate decision to not be who the world expected Him to be. God wanted to not appeal to the masses with glitz and glamour. He did not want the gift of salvation to be just another fad that was here today and gone tomorrow. He wanted people to seek and find something precious and not be bombarded with another societal hype.

He wanted to draw those who were willing to see the unexpected.

Have you seen the unexpected in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for the children of sin and slavery!

December 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

We are the children of promise. All who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior hold fast to the promises that He made and fulfilled. Jesus came so that all who believe could be granted salvation. That is a promise for all who are not ashamed to call upon His name.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Jesus came as a Jew to the Jews. We who believe in Jesus as Messiah are able to do so because of the Jews. They were chosen as the descendants of Abraham even when Abraham and Sarah tried to make God’s plan come true on their own. As a result, Ishmael was born of the slave girl. According to the customs of man, Ishmael was the first born and everything was rightfully his. God had other plans. Ishmael was not supposed to have happened. Ishmael’s little brother was who God had planned. In the eyes of that society, Ishmael was ridiculed. Satan has used this as a weapon against God’s intended heir ever since. It was used as a weapon when this passage was written. It is being used as a weapon now. Satan is ramping up the attacks.

It is nothing but a family fight manifesting itself in various ways! It is a struggle between the children of the law who are bound to man’s ways and to Satan versus the children of the promise of God. We no longer have to be children bound to the laws of sin. We have been allowed to break the bonds of slavery and claim our place as children of the promise. We, as believers in Jesus, are reborn as children of the free woman. Our sins have been forgiven.

We must pray for the children of sin and slavery. Pray that they will be able to break the bonds that keep them in their slavery. Pray that they will know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for Jesus to come?

December 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. ”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be their peace.
(Micah 5:2-5 (NIV))

This prophecy speaks clearly of the coming of Jesus. During this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we must also keep in mind that He is first a light to the Jews and then to the nations.

The covenant that God made with Israel was for this nation to be a light unto the world. Yet, they took the meaning of “God’s Chosen People” to mean that they had special privileges that set them above every other nation.

There are many words within this passage that can be interpreted to reflect what has happened in the history of Israel. When it speaks of Israel being abandoned … and the rest returning to Israel, this could be taken to mean the upper tribes being taken into captivity from which they never really returned. Now, the nation of Israel is once again a nation, and people from all over the world are returning to their “home land.” Perhaps, many of these people are descendants of those who were taken into captivity from the Northern Kingdom.

God has always used “near-term” and “long-term” prophecy within the same words. This passage obviously points to the first coming of Jesus. It also gives hints and glimpses of what will be in the second coming.

After two thousand years since Jesus’ birth, it is right that we celebrate this coming and the gift that was given through this coming. We must also not forget that He will return. Every Christmas that we celebrate brings us closer to the time of this much anticipated, often ridiculed, and greatly controversial event.

We need to be ready for the second coming.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t waste the talents that God has given you!

October 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
(Matthew 25:15-18 (NIV))

I find it interesting that the word for an amount of money was a talent. Have you ever stopped to think of this with the meaning that we associate with the word talent?

Both forms are valuable. Both forms are meant to be put to use.

What talents have you been given?

Are you using them?

If God gives you talents, He intends for you to use them to His glory. God has given each of us unique talents to fulfill His plan for our lives. If you do not use them, they will be taken away and your life will be unfulfilled.

Have you ever felt that God is asking you to use your talents beyond what you are currently doing? Have you ever had someone ask you to use your talents?

Think about that last question for a moment.

Does God work through people? If He is calling you to use your talents, do you think that He will place people in your life who will confirm that request? Do you think that the request can come through people? Do you ignore when people ask you to use your talents?

You may be missing out on the very thing that God has planned for you. Are you thinking that because the request came through a person it couldn’t be from God?

God uses people to accomplish His will. If we are not responsive, He will use someone who is responsive to His call.

Don’t waste the talents that God has given you!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is what you fear bigger than God?

September 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

Are you fearful of what is to come?

Do you look at the things that are happening in this world and tremble? Do the things of this world cause you to worry or do you have the peace that passes understanding?

It is so easy to look at the world and to fall into the trap that says the world is a fearful place. If all that you do is look at it from a physical, worldly perspective, it is a fearful place.

Take a look at it through Kingdom eyes. Take a look at it through the timeline that God has laid out. We can see His hand at work as His plan unfolds before our eyes. We may not know exactly when things will happen, but we can rest assured that they are happening according to God’s plan.

If they are unfolding according to God’s plan, then if we are in God’s Will, then we have nothing to fear!

Have you accepted His Son, Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior?

Have you repented of your sins?

Have you earnestly studied God’s Word so that you can understand God’s plan?

I want to ask you a simple question.

What are you fearful about?

Think about that question and try to be as honest with yourself as you can.

Now, I want you to think about your faith and the One that you place your faith in.

Is what you fear bigger than God?

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