Do you want a pure heart and a steadfast spirit!

March 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalms 51:10-13 (NIV))

A pure heart and a steadfast spirit!

What would each of us do if we truly had that precious gift? Would we long to be in God’s presence and to feel His Holy Spirit with us at all times? I surely pray that each of us would have that burning, that longing desire to be in God’s presence at all times.

Even if it is your desire now, human frailty keeps us from being able to live in His presence with a steadfast spirit all of the time. Physical characteristics such as hunger and exhaustion lead us to drop our guard, which, not so much as lets our desires out, but perhaps it lets our sinful desires back in. Each of us are guilty of moments were we do things that are not Godly in nature and we regret after we have done them.

Luckily, God has forgiven us through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus. Through this atoning blood, we will not be cast from His presence. Through this atoning blood, we will have our joy restored. We will be granted a willing spirit through the Holy Spirit. We will be sustained.

What do we do with that sustenance? It is too much for us to keep to ourselves. Do we do what Psalms 51:13 tells us?

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalms 51:13 (NIV))

We have asked for a pure heart and a steadfast spirit so that we may keep on track with our walk with God, but, we must not forget that God has called us to invite others to walk with Him. We must teach others the path of righteousness. We must be willing to lead others where we wish to go. In essence, we must become guides ourselves. Not that we know where to go, but, rather, we know who does.

As someone I know says, we must lead, follow, or get out of the way. Are you willing to lead others to Jesus? Are you willing to follow Jesus all the days of your life? Are you willing to get out of the way and let Jesus do what He has come to do?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you remain at a distance?

February 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
(Exodus 20:18-21 (NIV))

The people remained at a distance!

We like to think that we would have done differently than the people did who were with Moses. We like to think that we would have been right up in the middle of everything seeking to be in the presence of God.

Would we?

Human nature is a strange thing. We say that we long to be in the presence of the Lord, but, when actually given the opportunity, how do we react? The people with Moses trembled in fear. They stayed away from God’s presence. They were afraid to meet with God on their own. They wanted a mediator. They wanted Moses to be that mediator.

Are we any different today?

If God’s presence suddenly filled the room, would you tremble in fear? Would you try to stay at a distance? Would you be afraid to speak with God?

Think about the role that Moses played as mediator. God knew that we would react this way. He knew that we would also seek a mediator who would speak to God on our behalf. God did something amazing with the mediator that He sent to us. He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to act as our mediator. He sent Himself to be our mediator.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-4 (NIV))

God sent Jesus so that we did not have to remain at a distance. Through Jesus, we are offered hope. We are offered grace. We are offered salvation. God does not want us to be distant. All that we have to do is draw close to Jesus.

Do you remain at a distance?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly radiance illuminates us!

November 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
(Isaiah 60:19-20 (NIV))

There will come a day when the “light” as we now know it will no longer shine, for it is imperfect and will be replaced by perfection. One day, the radiance that is God will be the only light that we will need. God has given us a glimpse of this light through Jesus Christ.

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 9:5(NIV))

Jesus came into this world so that we could know God and fellowship with Him without the burdens of our sin and shame to keep us from God. Those who call upon the name of Jesus have the light of the Lord within them and we are called to share this “Light” with the world.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16(NIV))

We do not have the awesome radiance that God’s presence will shine, but we have been given the Light of the Lord, Jesus Christ ,within us. If Jesus is the light of the world and we ask Jesus into our hearts, then our hearts should shine with the love of Jesus and the love of God, after all, Jesus told us that those who love Him would do the things that He did.

Jesus brought the light of God’s love into this world and let it shine for anyone who would see! Are you shining your part of the “Light” until God’s radiance illuminates us all?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, lift our veils!

September 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

Have you ever actually stopped to think what Moses must have looked like when the radiance of God was upon him?

Think about that. The radiance was so strong that Moses had to wear a veil.

Have you ever encountered someone who just seemed to radiate with the Holy Spirit? There is something about their whole presence and attitude. They have truly been able to completely lift the veil from their heart. Still, even the people who radiate the power of the Holy Spirit do not wear veils to shield others.

There is a difference, yet both are wonderful.

God sent Jesus and then the Holy Spirit to be with us. In essence, they were limiting their power due to our human frailties. We cannot handle the truth in its full glory. God is truth. Even Moses was shielded from God’s full glory.

And he still radiated God’s glory so much that he had to wear a veil.

One of these days, everyone will be in the presence of God. Some will experience great joy while some will experience God’s judgment. It is those who will experience God’s judgment who have a veil over their hearts.

It is interesting that a veil can signify two completely opposite encounters with God. At one end you have those who have encountered God and must shield those around them. At the other end are those who have allowed a veil to be placed over their hearts so that God cannot get in. I pray that we are not part of the second group, but I sadly believe that most of us are stuck in the middle of God’s bell curve.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being in the middle. I desire to be close to God and to know His heart.

Lord, I pray that our veils will be lifted so that we can know you more.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 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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What priorities do you embrace?

August 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV))

Can we wholeheartedly accept these words? Can we embrace the fact that we will face suffering in our lifetime in the physical body that we are so proud of?

Humanity is frail. We admire the fragile shells that we call our bodies and pamper them to the point of sinful desires. We splurge and do things because they feel good without giving any thought to the long-term effects of our actions. We spend almost every waking hour doing something to take care of the physical side of our existence, which is mortal, while we come very close to completely ignoring our spiritual side, which has the potential to spend eternity in heaven.

It seems that we have our priorities backwards! We need to spend much more time concerned with our spiritual being. We need to resolve to look beyond the immediate needs of our physical shell and look to the needs of the part of us that truly matters. We must get to the point where we can recognize that our bodies are but dust and our spirits are the true treasure that we possess.

Can we truly allow our physical bodies to suffer so that our spiritual being will benefit?

I would like to think that it is possible, for we have been told that it is the way to do away with sin in our life. However, I do not know if I am capable of such a massive undertaking. Luckily, God knew that we were not capable on our own, even after He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us what to do. We may desire to do away with the physical desires and focus on God, yet, we are spiritual infants who happen to have a very strong urge from the physical side of our existence. For this reason, God allows us to call upon the name of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, for His Blood covers a multitude of sins.

Can you suffer in the physical the way that Jesus did? Can you earnestly call upon the Blood of Jesus to help you when you fall?

What priorities do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t Compromise

June 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
(Exodus 34:12 (NIV))

How true this is!

The land where we are going is the world in which we live. Every day we face things that we either have to turn away from, or we allow them to have an influence in our lives. What are some of the things that you have allowed to have an influence in your life? Were they as harmless as they appeared to be when they first materialized in your line of sight?

The same warning that God gave to the nation of Israel during the exodus from Egypt still holds true today. We may not face the same issues, but the results can be just as catastrophic in our lives if we give in when we know that we shouldn’t. What seems like a harmless compromise often will lead to issues that we will only live to regret at a later date.

What have you compromised on lately?

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