Are you hungry?

May 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

What is your favorite Scripture passage? What makes it your favorite? Did God use it to reach out to you at a time of terrible trouble? Did He speak to you through that passage when you were alone and lost? Did He use it to call you to Him and confirm your salvation?

God has given us so much of Himself through His Word. Think about your favorite Scripture passage. At best, it is only a few words. A few select words that God has used to touch your life. If God can soften your heart with only a few words, imagine what He can do with every word that is recorded as part of His Word. If we took to heart every morsel that is freely given to us, how would we be different? If we studied and memorized more of Scripture the way that we memorize our favorite passage, imagine how our lives would be changed!

If your favorite passage is looked upon as an appetizer to a grand feast, are we missing all that God has laid out before us? If you are offered an appetizer, do you simply stop with one morsel? An appetizer is simply the thing that awakens your hunger for what is to come. Your favorite passage is that appetizer. It should be looked upon as the morsel that awakens your hunger for all of God’s Word.

Are you hungry?

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

May 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 5:15-16 (NIV))

Jesus was and always will be. Yet, when He was on this earth, He did not gloat or boast or brag. He taught humbly, yet powerfully. Even though all knowledge was with Him, He did not forsake His quiet times that He spent in prayer. We can only imagine what His prayers were, but the important thing is that Jesus DID pray. He prayed constantly. As part of the Trinity, He had been with God the Father from the beginning, yet He still felt the need to pray.

Prayer! What do you think that prayer is?

Is it a one sided request that God do something for you?

Is it a one sided advice giving session?

Or is it a two-sided conversation where you freely talk with the Father? Jesus held conversations with God the Father. We know the contents of one side of one of His conversations. The prayer in the Garden of Gesthemene is probably the most intense prayer ever recorded, yet it was not a request, it was not advice, it was an earnest discussion with God the Father to discern His Will.

If Jesus, who was with God and who is God, felt the need to pray to God the Father, how can we do any less?

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

April 13, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
(Matthew 13:33 (NIV))

The effects that can be experienced from allowing God into a little part of your life are exponential in nature. Just like a little yeast in dough, God starts to work within you the minute you allow Him into any part of your life.

When you add yeast to dough, it changes the results from a flat, two dimensional, tasteless creation into a vibrant, life giving object that expands to fill the surroundings that it has been given. It expands its circle of influence.

Allowing God into your life is exactly the same. Without God, we are all flat, two dimensional, tasteless and lifeless. With God, through Jesus, we become full of life. We expand, through the grace and mercy showed to us through Jesus, and soon we fill the surroundings that we have been given. We, just as Jabez, expand our circle of influence for God.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
(Psalms 34:8 (NIV))

Is it any wonder that the kingdom of heaven is referred to in this way? It only takes a small amount of yeast to change flat, lifeless bread into warm, outgoing, life sustaining bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus was filled with God. If He was the bread of life and we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, then we are to spread yeast into the lives of others.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you spreading God’s kingdom?

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

March 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
(Proverbs 26:17 (NAS))

Do you like asking for trouble?

Why do you think that God tells us that meddling with strife that is not ours will be like taking a dog by the ears?

Grab a dog roughly by the ears and see what happens to you!

Chances are that the dog will growl at you. He will bite at you. He will probably sink his teeth into your arm and not let go! He will inflict pain.

We all have our own strife in this world. Some of this strife is direct while other strife is not direct. Some people, however, do not seem to have enough of their own. They want to meddle in the problems of others. Don’t get me wrong. Some people honestly have a caring heart and desire to do good. This is a gift of the Spirit and discernment comes with that gift. It is for those who do not have the gift of a caring heart that this applies to. They simply like to be in control and try to solve everyone else’s problems. Their intervention is unwanted and ungodly in nature. Perhaps, it is because they try to hide all of their problems from the world. In order to accomplish this, they must draw attention away from themselves by focusing on the problems of others. Whatever the reason, God calls it meddling and He has stated that this results in pain.

We all know someone who we think fits this description. Perhaps we are that person ourselves.

We are not responsible for fixing everyone else. We are responsible for following the Holy Spirit where He leads us in our life. We are to lead others to Jesus, but, we cannot fix them. God will heal the broken hearted. He will mature each of us. It is not our responsibility.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV))

Have you removed your plank?

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

March 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
(Luke 4:18-21 (NIV))

For hundreds of years, the nation of Israel literally waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy foretold in these words. Yet, as it unfolded right before them, most did not recognize what they had been waiting for. They did not recognize it for they had become so wrapped up in their interpretation of how it would happen, that they did not see God’s interpretation as it unfolded.

If we had been alive at this time, would we have recognized the fulfillment of this prophecy or would we have been like the majority of people? Perhaps even more important is our perception and understanding of what is to come in our life time. We have the luxury of being able to look back through history and see the events as they unfolded. We can recognize the events in hind sight, but how will we be in recognizing the events that are unfolding right before our very eyes?

Jesus will return. He will come for His church when the time is right.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:4-8 (NIV))

What scripture is being fulfilled today? What do we look for that is our interpretation of these events? We must focus on God’s Word so that we truly understand God’s interpretation and not our own.

I know that I don’t want to be one who watches things unfold and I miss out on what God is doing because I have my own interpretation. I want to know God’s plans and His heart so that I may see things through His eyes.

God is setting the world’s stage for some amazing events. I don’t want to misunderstand any of them.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your mission?

February 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.
(Ezekiel 2:7-8 (NIV))

We have a mission!

Just like Ezekiel, we are to tell people of God’s Word, whether they listen or not. We must be faithful in fulfilling this mission, for we never know what seed that God may use us to plant in the life of someone. We may never know the outcome, but we must stand firm in the faith that we must plant that seed.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

Someone had to have faith to tell you of the grace and mercy freely given to us through Jesus. Perhaps that faith was only as small as a mustard seed. Did that faith grow and spread into your life enough that you, too, accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you have accepted Jesus a your personal Lord and Savior, then you have had a small seed planted within you that must grow and blossom. If you remember that the spiritual world has a direct correlation to the physical world, then you will recognize that there is a life cycle. A seed germinates and grows into a plant. The plant matures and produces seeds and then the cycle starts over. Someone planted the seed within you. If it has grown, then we have a mission to plant the seeds that God has entrusted to us into the lives of others. It is not our task to nurture those seeds. God will use others to do that. In fact, sometimes we may plant. Other times we may water, and still other times we may see the harvest. It is all part of the same mission.

We must never forget, as members of the Body of Christ, that we have a mission. We must plant the seed of God’s Word into the lives of others.

Have you accepted your mission?

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

January 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
they are burned up where they lie.
(2 Samuel 23:6-7 (NIV))

Cast aside like thorns !

Burned up where they lie !

When you are doing yard work, do you willingly touch the thorns? Even the most beautiful rose has its thorns, and those thorns can easily bring on pain. It is human nature to turn away from pain. We quickly learn what will inflict pain and what will cause strife.

Do you willingly pick up thorns? Do you willingly do things that will bring you pain?

If you are like most people, thorns are greatly avoided.

I honestly think that this passage gives us an insight into the very heart of God, and it does not surprise me that God, too, does not like pain. He does not wish to touch things that will cause Him pain.

Just what causes God to feel pain?

We are given insight into this all throughout the Old Testament and the New. I believe that anything that breaks God’s laws as set forth in the Ten Commandments is critical to this. This is sin. Reciprocally, God takes great pleasure when we obey His commands and display other characteristics.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

There is not a single mention of anything evil within the fruits of the Spirit. There is not a single mention of anything or anybody being cast aside and burned up where they lie.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:24-25 (NIV))

Those who belong to Jesus have made a decision to leave sin behind. Those who belong to Jesus are not thorns. A skilled gardener will take great care in touching the things that bring him delight, the things that do not possess thorns.

God desires to draw us unto Him. He will not draw thorns close, for they cause pain.

Are you afraid that you are thorns? Turn to God through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

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

December 16, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
(Hebrews 5:8-9 (NAS))

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.
(Colossians 2:6(NIV))

The two verses go hand in hand. Jesus learned obedience even though He is the Son of God. He humbled Himself to the point of death for our sake. Because of this, He can offer eternal salvation.

Once we accept this salvation, we must not think that it is a one time relationship with Jesus. We must continually abide in Him and Him in us. We must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and humbly listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.

Jesus is the salvation. The perfect gift from God the Father. Once we accept that gift, we must open ourselves to what that gift truly means: an ever increasing walk of faith that will “perfect” us, or mature us in our faith walk. In order for this to happen, Jesus must continue to live in us as we continue to live in Him. We must remember that He will not force us to do anything. He will not stay where he is not wanted. He will only live in us if we allow it.

Does Jesus live in you or is He just an occasional guest?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you afraid to ask?

November 19, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
(James 4:2 (NLT))

Jesus came into this world in order to allow us direct access to God, yet, how many of us never approach Him?

Don’t think that I am only talking about those who are not believers. How many of the body of believers go to God in prayer on a regular basis? I hate to say it, but the number of us who approach God on a daily basis is probably a lot smaller than God desires for it to be.

People have a tendency to think that what they desire is insignificant and far less important to God than everyone else’s problems. We are too timid to approach God and reveal our hearts to Him. What we fail to remember is that He knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to approach God because we will actually discover the true person that God created us to be. He gave each of us a unique life, a life that He created. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God, yet we treat ourselves as trash. We have become more comfortable believing the lies of the enemy and living within these lies than we are with opening up to God, the Father, the Creator of each of us. We believe a liar and a thief. We do not believe our Lord.

The body of believers needs to firmly and boldly take possession of what God has for us, for if we don’t take possession of it, the enemy will rob us of it. All we have to do is ask God to give us what He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

I don’t proclaim that God wishes to financially bless us, for each person is unique and each person will be blessed by God according to God’s desires. What I do profess is that each of us is living well below what God has created for us. We do not have all that He desires for us because we have accepted the lies of the enemy. We have not asked God for His full truth. In other words, we get what we ask for! Perhaps we aren’t even asking the right person.

Whom have you been asking?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What’s in it for me?

November 12, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
(1 Corinthians 14:13-19 (NIV))

What is it that we should desire from our relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it a closer and stronger spiritual life? Is it gifts of the spirit such as speaking in tongues? What is it that you desire from your relationship with Jesus?

Are you desires all self centered in nature? Do we look to Jesus to give us blessings upon blessings while we ignore the needs of those around us? Do we have a tendency to think of our attendance at church from a perspective of “What can I get out of it?”

Have we become the exact opposite of what we profess to believe? Do we focus on how God can bless us more than what God has done for us and can do for others? Have we taken the ultimate selfless sacrifice of love, grace and mercy and turned it into a self-centered, me first philosophy?

Paul may have been able to boast that he was able to speak in tongues more than anyone else, but he also immediately countered that by saying that it was more important to speak so that others will understand and come to a knowledge of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This is not a self-centered, “what’s in it for me” mentality. It is the reason that we should be willing to serve as disciples of Jesus. We MUST share the good news with anyone and everyone in a manner that can be understood. We MUST NOT focus on us. We MUST keep our eyes on Jesus.

Have you accidentally become a “what’s in it for me” Christian?

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