Will you bow out of gratitude or defeat?

November 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Everyone has heard this scripture in some context or another. It is a wonderful piece of scripture, for it confirms that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. But, what it means for those who do not belong to Him is a submission out of defeat, not a willing submission to Jesus’ authority in their lives.

All throughout history, when someone has bowed to another out of defeat, it meant that they had lost everything and would probably face severe consequences for their “war” against the winner. The same is true even in the spiritual world. Those who bow to Jesus out of defeat will face eternal separation from God. Those who bow before Jesus out of love will face eternal life with God.

It all boils down to a matter of attitude. Is your attitude one of gratitude and thanksgiving for what Jesus has done in your life, or is it an attitude of rebellion in which you deny Jesus and want nothing to do with Him or God? It is your choice. To use a phrase from a television show, “Is that your final answer?”

Will you bow out of gratitude or defeat?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Call upon the name of the Lord!

August 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far away from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:6-8 (NLT))

Did this passage catch you off guard?

We have a habit of thinking that we, in our current society, are the ones who truly need to get away. We think that our lives are so hectic and full of troubles that no one else could possibly understand what we face. I do admit that things seem to be getting worse as far as the troubles, but in the grand scheme of things, every life in every generation since the fall from grace has had troubles. David was no different than you or I in that respect.

We all want to be able to simply leave the burdens, the troubles of the world behind us and get away to a place where we can just soar above the troubles down below.

It is universally human.

David may not have been able to have wings like a dove and fly away to the quiet of the wilderness, but he did know how to rise above his troubles. He called upon the name of the Lord. He sang praises. He lifted up his voice in song and in prayer. He spent time seeking after God’s own heart. He longed for God and in turn, he knew God and trusted that God would be there.

Can we say the same about our lives?

We all know of the things that David faced in his life, from Goliath to running for his life from Saul, yet in all that he faced, David made time to pray and to praise God. He knew where his hope lie. He knew that he had to constantly seek after that hope by seeking after God. Do you think that Goliath was a mere coincidence? Do you think that David was able to survive Saul’s attempts on his life by luck? David may not have physically flown, but he was guided by the hand of God and was protected by the hand of God because he was faithful.

Take an honest look at your life. Do you see a life of praise, prayer and gratitude or do you see a life that needs to move more in line with how David longed for God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Each of us can impact the world for Jesus!

December 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV))

I know that this was written long ago and that it was written by Paul. We all consider Paul to be the one who is most responsible for preaching to the Gentiles. With this in mind, I want to ask you a question.

What is stopping you from claiming this passage as your own?

Has Jesus given you strength? Does He consider you faithful? Are you ready, willing and eager to serve Him?

In comparison to what your life has become since asking Jesus into your heart, were you a blasphemer? Did you persecute those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Have you been shown mercy? Have you been shown grace? Have you been blessed abundantly with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus?

If you truly follow Jesus, you should be able to recognize that these questions all answered as Yes. The only difference between you and Paul with respect to this passage is your circle of influence.

What can we do to impact the world for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is it in your nature to praise God?

December 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NIV))

Sometimes it is so easy to focus on God. It is in these times that the words flow and the heart meditates upon God. When this happens, it is easy to understand and fulfill the desire of the psalmist.

What we must consider is human nature!

It is easy to praise when things are going as we want them to. We think of God when we are surrounded by those who seek to praise Him. We think of God when a difficult situation is turned around. We think of God when we begin to receive blessings. But …

There is that awful word. “But.”

But, when we are among people who don’t praise God, what do we do? But, when we are in situations that seem to never turn around, what do we do? But, what happens after we have received blessings for so long that we forget where they come from?

Human nature is very short-term focused. We fail to give credit where credit is due if it means ridicule or embarrassment to us. We fail to recognize the one who sustains us through the troubles if we don’t come out of them quickly enough. We soon forget that God is the one who blesses us if the blessings flow for any length of time.

We must focus on training ourselves to speak of God and meditate on God at all times and not just at certain times. We must give thanks and praise in all situations and through all situations, for the very things that we may find ourselves in are only temporary. They will not last. If we fail to recognize God one day, we may fail again and again. Then we will find ourselves in sin and floundering.

Give praise where praise is due!

Give praise when praise is due!

Praise God with all that you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for unmerited divine favor?

November 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

What do you have in your life that you consider to be good?

Where did it come from?

If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that everything that you have that you consider to be good did not come from anything that you may have done. You did not cause your life. You did not create your salvation. You did not earn your family. You did not earn God’s love.

It is so interesting and sad that too many people still feel that they can earn God’s love and salvation. They see God as someone that they have to impress and work to earn whatever He gives to them. They simply do not understand grace.

Grace has been defined as unmerited divine assistance.

Unmerited – unearned. In other words, we can do nothing to earn God’s grace and mercy. All that we have to do is accept it. It is free!

Once we realize that God’s grace is free, we begin to realize that all things that are good come from God. God is the creator of life. Life is good. God is the creator of love. Love is good. You never hear of someone who is dying say that they wish they could have a new car. It is not important. You never hear them say that they wished they could have lived life alone. They long for love. Love is important.

This Thanksgiving, reflect upon your life and count your blessings. Give thanks to the one who gave you those blessings. Let those around you know of your thankfulness.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Give thanks to the LORD

June 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 (NIV))

Give thanks when things are good.

Give thanks when things are not so good.

Give thanks when things are not good at all.

We must give thanks in all things for God is with us. He never leaves us. We may leave Him, but He will never leave us. God does not cause the pain and the suffering, but He is there in the middle of it. He is longing to take us and comfort us. He is waiting for us to turn to Him in these times.

I recently had the honor of meeting an extraordinary group of young men. These young men had all done something bad. They had fallen for the lies of the enemy and had fallen into traps of addiction and even worse things. During my time with them they taught me something. Even though they were seeking and learning, they taught everyone around them something wonderful. It is probably the best lesson that I have learned in a long time. I had professed to know this, but it took seeing these young men in action to realize just how good God is. In the eyes of society, these young men had done great wrongs, but in the eyes of God, we all have done great wrongs. In God’s eyes, I am no different from them. His love for all of us is great.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

God had taken these young men whom society would shun and turned them into models of God’s love for us. Not only where they examples of God’s grace and mercy within their lives, they also reflected God’s grace and mercy to all whom they came in contact with. I expect great things from this group of young men, for God has done great things in their lives. These young men taught me to give thanks in a whole new light, for God truly is good.

God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.

Give thanks !

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do your actions show?

April 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NIV))

We are God’s creation. We have been bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ, therefore, we are not our own. God has paid the price for us twice, yet, we continue to act as if we are solely responsible and accountable only for and to ourselves.

This “ownership” is not one of servitude, but one of faith and salvation. In many societies, if someone saves another person’s life, the person who was saved “belongs” to the person who saved them. This is a “belonging” of gratitude and thankfulness, and not a “belonging” of bondage. If these societies can claim such an act as rightful, how can we, who have been saved far beyond the capabilities of any human savior, do any less for the One who has saved us? This is accomplished through the instructions that Paul wrote to the Romans.

We ARE living sacrifices. People see our daily sacrifices. What do you show to God and to the world on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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