Will the gates be open for you?

July 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 (NIV))

When this was written, grace was only an unfulfilled promise. Even though it was an unfulfilled promise, the psalmist knew that the promise would be fulfilled. He knew beyond doubt that if God had promised that He would provide a way for us to enter into righteousness that it would truly come to pass. He longed for that day.

The writer of this passage never lived to physically see the promise fulfilled, but he held fast to that promise. We have the benefit of being on the other side of that promise. We know that God sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. We have the full account of how He came to earth born of a virgin. We know of the people that he gathered together to teach. We know of the miracles that He performed. We know of the crucifixion and the resurrection. We know of the ascension, and we know of the power behind the spreading of the Gospel.

With all that we know, do we have the faith that the psalmist had? All that he had was a promise and he believed. We have all the accounts of those who knew Jesus and witnessed the events of His life, and some of us still have problems with faith.

Is your faith based on a promise or is your faith based on written accounts? Which takes more faith, to believe a promise or to believe after the fact? Am I the only one who looks at their faith and wonders if my faith would have been strong enough to believe a promise? I like to think that it would have been. Would I have been able to turn my eyes to the Lord and lift up my voice to heaven and proclaim that even though I have not seen, I will believe?

To be honest with you, I am simply thankful for the promises, for I know that they will always be “Yes” through Jesus! Because of Jesus offering us grace and mercy, those who accept that grace and mercy can enter the gates with thanksgiving and praising the Lord!

Will the gates be open for you?

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

September 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
(Psalms 52:9 (NIV))

God is faithful and worthy to be praised!

Every promise that He has ever made has come true or is in the process of coming true. I don’t recall the number of prophesies that have come true. I realize that there are still some that have not come true, but we have to consider that God’s timeline is not complete. If we saw that every one of God’s promises had come true, we would not be sitting in the current state of this world. We would see all prophesies from the other end of time. We would be looking back on the events of Daniel and Revelation and praising God for always keeping His promises. Until that day, we must simply rely on faith to know that what has yet to happen will happen exactly as God has foretold that it would.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must be faithful in our belief.

We must be faithful in our understanding.

We must be faithful in our study.

We must be faithful in our praise!

If God is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, we should be faithful to praise Him no matter what we may see. We are limited in our understanding, yet, we proclaim that we believe. If we believe, then we should praise!

What do you do when your favorite football team wins all the time?

It is human nature to praise, but what happens when you start to see things go a little differently than you expected? Do you still praise or do you complain? Are we guilty of doing the very same thing to God when things don’t go as we expect them to go? Since when are we privileged to know God’s complete will and His complete plan?

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

If we trust God to fulfill His promises, why don’t we trust Him enough to praise Him at all times?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you focused on the future or His presence?

April 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

Far too many of us say that we trust the Lord, but we still want signs. We still want to know what is going to happen in this world as God unfolds His plans.

We look at the news and see things unfolding that bear a striking resemblance to things written about the end times. We see things that go against God’s Word as they are accepted as truth by the world and we wonder how long this will go on before we see things unfold as prophesied. We look at the state of the world and we long to see righteousness. We long to see the truth proclaimed and every knee to bow and every tongue confess. Sometimes we get carried away with our desires to see Jesus that we focus more on the events that are transpiring than we do on spending time in God’s presence.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to become like Martha in our preparations for the coming of Jesus and miss the fact that we can sit at the feet of Jesus at this very moment. I, like many people, like to study prophesy because it is the hope to which we hold. It is the truth that hasn’t come to be. It is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Even though this is all true, we need to be careful that we don’t focus so much on what is to come that we miss out on what God is doing in this moment. Perhaps it is best stated by what a friend said has become her daily prayer.

Lord, I just want to know what you want me to know when you want me to know it!

I would just like to add the following.

Lord, it is not my world. It is yours. I love you and I trust you. You are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my fortress in this world that has turned away from you. I praise you for your goodness and mercy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sure of your hope in Jesus?

November 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

What do you have faith in?

Do you have faith that you will live to see tomorrow?

Do you have faith in the money in your bank account?

Do you have faith in your job?

Do you have faith in your family?

Do you have faith in your government?

In other words, are you sure of these things? Are you certain that you will see tomorrow? Are you certain that the money you have will be worth anything? Are you certain that you will have a job tomorrow? Are you certain that your family will not let you down? Are you certain that your government has your best interests at heart?

I don’t know about you, but I am only certain about one thing in this life. I pray that everything else will be okay, but I know with certainty that something will happen and I will be disappointed somewhere along the line.

I will never be disappointed in Jesus!

I am sure of the hope that I have placed in Him. I am certain that all of God’s promises are “Yes” through Jesus! I place my faith one thousand percent with Jesus.

Are you sure of your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is forever faithful!

September 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
(Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV))

Faithfulness is one of the primary attributes that God has and that we must strive to take hold of. God does not forget His promises. Deuteronomy speaks of keeping His promises for a thousand generations. We, as humanity, can’t keep a promise for more than a few days, weeks or years at best. God keeps His promises for a thousand generations. If you consider that a generation is from birth until they have their own children, that would be on average, 20,000 years. That is a long time to keep a promise. But, we must remember

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthains 1:20(NIV))

All of God’s promises are fulfilled through Jesus. Everything that God has promised throughout the Old Testament, through His prophets, either has been fulfilled or will be fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

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

If God is faithful, and all promises are fulfilled through Jesus, and Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever, then we must fully rely on Jesus for all things. Keep focused on Jesus and stay within the promises that God has made, for they will come to pass just as God said that they would.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you pray for?

July 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:7-8 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I know that many people long to know the times and the dates that God is using to unfold His plan. With what happened recently in Charleston and now what has happened in Chattanooga, I know that many people are praying for God’s grace. Many are praying for His mercy.

Are we praying for the right things?

Many of us are praying for peace in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation and in the world, but is peace what we should be praying for?

We are told that certain things must transpire before the return of Jesus. We also know that all of these things are not only not pleasant, but are downright dangerous and evil. Are we seeing these events unfold? Are we praying for peace because we want to get back to the status quo for our lives. Lives that used to be consumed with family, friends, jobs and the future. Should we be praying for peace when we know that God’s plans do not call for peace? Should we possibly be praying for God’s plans to be made manifest among us? Should we be praying that God will use us mightily for His Kingdom?

It is true that we do not know the times or dates, but that does not mean that we simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on in hopes that it will go away. If all of the things that we see simply went away, would we truly have peace? Would we turn to God during these times? Would we truly have the faith to stand firm in God’s promises?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus! We must keep looking up to the true source of peace. We must earnestly seek God and be willing to discern His true intentions.

What is it that you pray for?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forsaken God?

May 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
(Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV))

We may forget God, but He will never forget us.

Isaiah was given the words that bring comfort to all who belong to the Lord. It is not possible for God to forget us or forsake us. When we depart slightly from the ways that God wishes for us, He does not cast us off. He waits patiently for us to return to Him, and when we do, all of heaven rejoices. The promise that He gave to Zion (Israel) also holds true for believers.

Jesus said that He is the vine and that we are the branches. We, as Gentile believers, have been grafted into the vine that is Jesus. We are a part of Him. We have a big brother interceding for us at the right hand of God. How can God forget us or forsake us? We are better off today than when Isaiah was given these words. Jesus had not yet come to earth or ascended back to the Father.

Today, both of these have happened, and Jesus does sit at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding in our behalf. The only thing that could be better is to have direct access ourselves, but that time has not come yet. Jesus must return again for His faithful and establish His kingdom on earth.

Will you be among the faithful?

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