Wash and be cleansed

February 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
(2 Kings 5:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have we been like Naaman? We want to do God’s Will. We want to live like God would have us to live. We want to be touched by God and anointed by God. Yet, in our desire to have God touch us, we overlook the simple and Godly touch because in our minds it is not grand enough to be from God. We miss the blessing because we are looking for signs, wonders and miracles.

It took Naaman’ servants to point out that if he was willing to do something grand if God asked him to, why would he not be willing to do something simple? I think that human nature gets in the way of far too many encounters with God because of this very attitude. We either see ourselves as much greater than the simple tasks or we see ourselves in so much sin that we think a tremendously large task will be needed to save us.

If you stop to think about it, Naaman is foreshadowing what we must do to accept grace and mercy through Jesus. We think that simply calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is far too easy to gain us redemption. We expect to have to perform some huge undertaking to prove our worth. God sees it differently for He knows that we cannot perform any great undertakings because of our sin. He had Jesus perform the greatest task when He died on the cross for us. He had Jesus perform a salvation earning task when He was raised from the dead. To each of us, God is calling. He is saying that it is easy. Follow a simple plan by accepting Jesus and then we, too, can do what Naaman did – “Wash and be cleansed!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray for our leaders, but more importantly, pray for God’s Will to be done

January 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
(1 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV))

I watched countless critiques both for and against the administration today as they took office for the next four years. I even saw one comment from someone that made me pause in disbelief. To be honest with you, I saw several like this, but one really caught my attention.

It is sad that we allow politics to divide us. I also find it sad that it divides the church, and at the same time we hear people saying that faith has no place in our government.

What do we, as the Body of Christ, do? Are we supposed to sit back and not enter in to public life? Are we to read the Bible and apply it only to our lives behind closed doors? Are we to ignore the Bible because it is not politically correct with today’s world view? Do we pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore because of societal pressures?

If we do any of these things, are we truly the Body of Christ?

We are to hold steadfast to what we have been taught. We do not waiver in our faith or in the application of that faith. We do not waiver in standing firm on God’s Word no matter what society may say about our stand.

And . . .

In the midst of all that we face during our faith, we must pray for those around us. We must pray for those in authority over us. We must pray for peace.

Think about that for a moment.

Have you ever prayed for someone and your prayers were answered? Imagine prayers for our leaders to follow Godly counsel and make decisions based on biblical truths. Do you want those prayers to be answered?

If we pray for God’s Will, we cannot go wrong. God has set things in motion that we cannot understand. All that we can do is pray for those who are in authority that they will make decisions that will glorify God. Please keep in mind that we do not always see the big picture and many times the things that we see happening are not what we would want, but they are what God will use to bring about His Will.

Think about this.

What if you are praying for a great revival to change our world while God is planning something different that will usher in the return of Jesus. The prayer is a personal desire based on circumstances. God’s plan is a plan that will bring about His glory. Pray for our leaders, but more importantly, pray for God’s Will to be done. Pray that you are able to discern His Will.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The gift of a Savior

December 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christn was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

” `But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
(Matthew 1:18 – 2:18 (NIV))

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. With all that we do as a society at Christmas, we must not forget that the reason we celebrate is the gift of a Savior. We see that gift being honored by the gifts of the Magi. We honor that gift by giving gifts ourselves. We must never lose site of the truth about Christmas. It is not a time of family. It is not a time of good will towards man. If we focus on Jesus, then these things will happen, but if we focus on them and ignore Jesus, the greatest gift of all is rejected.

Was God’s gift to you received with open arms and open heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God does not do things as we expect

December 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV))

Could you imagine the confusion that Joseph must have felt? He wanted to do what was right according to Jewish society, and at the same time, he wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God. At the beginning, he must have thought that the two desires where one and the same. He thought that he knew what was right in the eyes of God, after all, Israel was God’s chosen people.

I can imagine how Joseph felt when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him to do the opposite of what he thought was correct in the eyes of God and society. Confused and, yet, obedient, he obeyed what God had told him to do instead of what society said to do. Because of this obedience, we have been granted two wonderful gifts: 1) the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and 2) the knowledge that God does not do things as society expects.

The next time you hear someone say, “That’s not the way we used to do it,” stop and think how Joseph felt and remember that God does not do things as we expect.

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

December 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
(Luke 2:1-4 (NIV))

Where did Ceasar Augustus get the idea that this census should be taken?

God uses non-believers to accomplish His will.

This census was probably the most important census in all of human history, for it set into action the fulfillment of the prophesy regarding the place of Jesus’ birth. God, through all of His infinite wisdom, used Ceasar Augustus to fulfill His will.

If God used Ceasar Augustus, who, both believer and non-believer, is God using today to fulfill His will?

We sit and watch the news and hear about war, rumors of war, false peace, and we are watching God’s will unfold before our eyes. We do not know at what stage in God’s plan we are, but we know that God is in control and that He is revealing history as we watch.

Do we, as believers, have the luxury of sitting idly by and watching it unfold, or do we have the responsibility to be an active part of God’s plan?

Jesus told us that we should recognize the season. He also told us to go into all the world and make disciples.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Are we making disciples in this time of harvest?

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Luke 10:2 (NIV))

Are you a willing worker?

Are you praying for a bountiful harvest?

Or are you simply content to watch as things unfold?

It is your choice.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you always joyful?

November 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV))

Think about this passage. Take it to heart and answer honestly and truthfully.

Are you always joyful? Do you pray continually? Do you give thanks in all circumstances?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, then are you truly within God’s will for your life?

Jesus came to offer us grace and mercy. He came so that we could be free from the laws of sin and death. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should be ecstatic and overflowing with joy for we have escaped eternal death. Do we live our lives as if we truly embraced this fabulous gift? Are we truly thankful for what Jesus did for us so that we can share in God’s grace and mercy?

I would like to challenge each and every single one of us, including myself. I would like to see each of us truly reflect upon what we have to be thankful for and live our lives in fulfillment of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. The next time that someone cuts you off while you are driving, be joyful in your actions. Pray for the driver. Give thanks that no one was hurt. You never know what that person is dealing with. They may be rushing to the hospital to see a loved one who was in an accident. The next time you present an idea at work and someone else gets the credit, be joyful that the idea was accepted. Pray for the person who lied about the ownership of the idea. Give thanks that you have been able to contribute.

I could go on an on about situations that we all encounter on a daily basis, but I think that you get the picture. Life is a precious gift. Life is short. In fact, it is too short to allow things to come between you and God. For that matter, it is too short to allow things to come between you and anybody else.

Reflect upon your attitude this Thanksgiving. Come to God’s throne with a humble attitude of joy, prayer and thanks.

May your Thanksgiving truly be one where you give thanks for all of your blessings. May it extend to every day of your life.

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

November 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV))

With Veterans Day prominent in many areas of our lives the last few days. I wanted to take a moment and thank those who have served. It was through your service and dedication that we enjoy our God given rights today.

Now, I want to bring to light another group of veterans that we need to all strive to be a part of. This group of people is not limited by military service. It is not limited by age, race, or sex. It is a group that fervently seeks after God’s own heart through prayer.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Are you a prayer warrior?

Do you seek God in times when most people simply choose to go about their lives? Do you feel God tugging at your heart when things are not right in the eyes of God? Do you utter prayers that are only groans because you cannot find the words to express what you know needs to be lifted up? Are you saddened by the state of the world and pray for revival? Do you feel the anguish that God must feel at the way that people are turning their backs upon God?

If you have prayed for God’s Will to be made manifest in this world and in your life, then you are a willing soldier in the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. You have placed yourself in the line of fire from the enemy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV))

Nobody likes to hear about enduring hardship for your beliefs or actions, but take heart, for we are clothed in Godly armor if we truthfully claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. To quote an old kid’s song – “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary, shoot the artillery. I may never zoom over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” Our primary weapon is prayer.

I pray that we may all become veteran prayer warriors.

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

November 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
(Exodus 18:21 (NIV))

We think that who we elect to our public offices doesn’t really matter, or, even worse, we don’t think that what we have to contribute will make a difference. God is calling us, just as He called righteous people in the days of Moses, to assume positions of Godly authority or to support people who will support Godly authority.

The people that have authority over us direct the way that our nation turns. They also direct the way that God will deal with us as a nation. If we have Godly authorities who desire to do God’s Will in all things, then God will bless that desire and bless us as a nation.

If we elect people who will appoint judges who say that there is no God and that anything is all right in our society, except the mention of God, then we will suffer and our children will suffer.

Truth is truth and is not dependent upon the circumstances. If we cannot be a nation that does not waiver on our convictions before God, then we will slowly cease to be in God’s favor. Perhaps we have gotten to the point were we are now rapidly descending into a place that is not only no longer in God’s favor, but rapidly turning to where we are considered as an enemy. I pray that we are not descending so rapidly that our descent cannot be reversed!

Pray for God’s guidance in how you vote this election. Don’t assume that God does not want His people in positions of authority. Our nation was founded by people who held fast to the very Word of God. How would they react to what they would see today?

How do you think that God is reacting?

Pray as if your future depends upon who has authority over us, for your future and that of your children’s children will be determined by the laws that they make and interpret.

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

October 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
(Romans 16:17-18 (NIV))

It is easy to become bogged down in the world and what society is saying. Television advertising, television shows, sales people – they all try to flatter and convince you of something. Some is harmless. Some is not so harmless. Even the harmless can lead to harm if it is the beginning of a series. This even happens in the church.

Unfortunately, today, the church is influenced more by society than it influences society. Be careful to keep your eyes focused on Jesus and pray for God’s Will to be done.

Deception is an art form. It is an evil art perfected by the enemy. Satan will use anything that he can to deceive believers – even other believers. Stay grounded in the Truth of the Word so that deception can be avoided.

Are you firmly grounded so that deception will not make you stray?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith armor ready?

September 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

Stand firm!

We cannot apologize for our faith. We cannot apologize for our convictions. We must be alert for the world is becoming more and more a place where the enemy runs rampant. Evil abounds when the Body of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does not stand firm.

What keeps the enemy and his evil in check?

It is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot work if the Body of Christ is not earnestly seeking God’s Will and seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy has worked through world events in the past and he is definitely working in world events today. God has a plan that will counter the enemy, but we must be self-controlled and alert so that we do not fall for the lies and the tricks.

Believers are being persecuted and killed in various parts of the world simply because they will not submit. They are standing firm in their faith. They have the backbone to stand up against the enemy even if it means that they will lose their earthly life. They know that their reward is not of this earth.

What are we willing to stand firm for?

The generation of Americans that lived during World War II are often referred to as The Greatest Generation. They had the conviction to resist evil. They stood firm in that resolve. I feel that we are facing a greater evil. Satan has regrouped and is working through all parts of the world. Will the Body of Christ be prepared for what we may face?

I know that there is heated theological debate about the Rapture and when it will happen. Some people say that God has always delivered His people “through” troubles and not “from” troubles. How did God deliver Noah and his family? Was it through the flood or from the flood? How did God deliver the Israelites from bondage? Was it through the Red Sea or from the Red Sea? I have come to the conclusion that God delivers His people through things so that they can be delivered from something far worse. God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army. God delivered Noah and his family through the ark to deliver them from the flood.

We are facing uncertain times, but take heart. God will not forsake the Body of Christ in these times. We are called to be prepared. We are not called to be gullible and unaware.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you self-controlled and alert? Are you strong in the Lord?

Is your faith armor ready?

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