Help us, for Your names sake

September 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Help us, O God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
(Psalms 79:9 (NIV))

It is time for the church to arise to the occasion and earnestly seek after God. We must be ready to act as a willing and able instrument for God’s plans.

I am more appalled every day at what our society allows. I am more appalled every day at what governments are allowing to be removed. I am more appalled every day at what is called evil and what is called good.

If I, a mere speck in the greatness of God’s creation can find things so detestable, how do you think God feels about what this world has become.

I know that each generation has their moral and spiritual battles to fight, but gone are the days when the moral compass pointed to Jesus. That makes me groan deep within my spirit. The anguish that I feel is terrifying, yet I know that God is in control.

His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
(Luke 3:17 (NIV))

I recently heard of plans to do in this country what has happened in Egypt recently with their government, and not because of tyranny or oppression. What I have heard of is based on the idea that these people are demanding more handouts from the government, as if the government had an endless supply of money, food and luxuries to distribute to those who simply want them. We have gone from a country that was built on the principle of hard work, dedication and faith to one of entitlement and laziness.

I am sure that God is in control and that all of this is a part of His plan to bring about the return of Jesus. However, we as the church cannot simply sit by and allow sin to overcome us while we are waiting.

God is a God pf power and strength. When Jesus walked this earth, He did not turn a blind eye to sin. He also told us to do as He did.

We have His power and strength when we pray, when we speak, and when we act. It is time that the church do just that.

Lord, forgive us our sins for your name’s sake.

We do not want the world to think that we serve a weak God. He is the God of creation. Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. We need to start acting like it.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you the wayward child?

July 27, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’
(Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV))

Why will you die?

How much more to the point can God be?

I can imagine the anguish in God’s voice. I can imagine the frustration that He must feel with those who have chosen to turn from Him. The frustration is not one of arrogance because they refuse to listen, but one of hurt and compassion because He loves all of His creation and does not wish for any to perish.

It is identical to what a parent feels for a wayward child.

Perhaps you know of someone who has a child that has gone astray. Perhaps you are that parent. You know the anguish that you feel when you see them doing the things that they do. You know the extreme hurt and the extreme love that is caused by that child.

God is no different. He is our Father. He feels the anguish of each of our sins. He feels the hurt when we turn away from Him. He feels the love even when we turn.

Now, multiply that feeling that you are capable of comprehending by a factor too great to imagine, for God loves and hurts for every single person who has ever lived or ever will live. Could your heart hold all of that?

Now, you can understand why God sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sins.

In our hearts and in our minds, we know that we would do anything that we could to turn the wayward child back to what is good. We lose sleep. We pray. We try to get them to see the error of their ways. I am sure that some people have even gone so far as to say, “Why do you chose to die?”

Many people read this passage from Ezekiel with a stern voice and domineering persona. On the contrary, I firmly believe that this passage shows us more of God’s heart than just about any other passage from the Bible. It shows His heart. It shows His compassion. It shows His desires, and it shows His loving role as Father.

God is desiring for all of us to turn to Him and turn away from our sins.

Are you the wayward child who is breaking His heart?

He came so that all of His wayward children could be brought to peace and live.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anguish. Pain. Distress. Anxiety. Freedom!

May 4, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(Matthew 26:39-42 (NIV))

Anguish.

Extreme pain.

Distress.

Anxiety.

There have been times in each of our lives when we felt that things just couldn’t get any worse. We were at our limits as far as anguish, pain, distress and anxiety. We have prayed that God would remove the pain from our lives. We have felt something similar to what Jesus felt that night so long ago.

If this type of feeling only came once in your lifetime, we could probably face the single event knowing that if we make it through that one episode, then we will never have to face this severe anguish ever again. The sad thing is that we know that we may face these type of feelings many times during our lives.

Still, we survive. We continue to live out our lives.

Why?

We have been given a hope. We have a faith that is built upon the events that took place that night that lead to the crucifixion. We have a faith based on the resurrection three days later. That is why we can face the trials and tribulations that this world sends our way. Jesus bore the burden for us. He carried the weight of all of our sin, anguish, pain, distress and anxiety.

Think about that.

I can recall times when I literally felt that my heart would burst just from the burden that I bore. I am certain that each of you has felt the same. Now, multiply that feeling by the countless number of times in your life where you are distressed. The burden gets heavier.

Now, multiply that amount of anguish by the billions of people that have ever lived and will ever live and the anguish grows to be so large that it is difficult to comprehend. Yet, comprehend it is exactly what Jesus did. He not only understood the amount of sin, anguish and pain, He willingly bore that burden for us so that we would not have to bear it any more.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

Jesus bore the sins of the whole world so that we can know peace. All that we have to do is accept that peace and turn our burdens over to Him. If He can carry the weight of the sin and anguish for all eternity, then He is more than capable of carrying you through whatever you may be facing.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your grief will turn to joy!

March 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
(John 16:20-22 (NIV))

How true this is!

The Body of Christ weeps at the events of this world. We see all types of evil that the world embraces as good and the good that God proclaims, they say is evil.

Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.
(Romans 14:16 (NIV))

We are to turn away from evil and embrace what is good. We are to long for the good that God desires for His creation. We are to abhor the evil that has been unleashed. Do not embrace what you know to be evil.

It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:17 (NIV))

Wait faithfully for what you know will come to pass, for God keeps all of His promises. We must watch and wait in anticipation just as a mother waits in anticipation of the joy of a new life.

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 13:5-8 (NIV))

Are you ready to rejoice after the birth pains have produced their joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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