What does your face show?

June 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
(Proverbs 15:13 (NIV))

Why do so many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior walk around with such doom and gloom on their faces?

It just doesn’t make sense!

We have been given the greatest gift that could ever be given. We have been given salvation and grace when we deserve death due to our sinful nature. Our death sentence has been commuted. We are free from the bondage of sin and death, yet so many who profess a faith in Jesus don’t seem happy and joyful at all.

Are you happy?

Do you wake up every day and give thanks to the Lord for what He has done for you? Do you give thanks to the Lord because you woke up? Do you find joy in God’s Word and in His promises? Are you thankful for the sun on your face and the wind in your hair? Are you joyful at the site of family and friends, and are you truly joyful to gather with the Body of Christ to worship and praise the Lord? In other words, do you have joy deep within your heart because you are His?

What does your face show?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

September 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Nothing is certain in this life. We will all face ups and downs. Money cannot guarantee a happy and a comfortable life. Power and prestige will not. Fame will only result in being forgotten. Some days will simply seem like they last forever and it will all be due to your circumstances.

Far too many people believe that when you accept Jesus as your Savior, all things will miraculously become perfect. In fact, the biggest obstacle that the body of believers known as the church faces is the fact that we are not perfect . Things don’t always go the way we want them to. In fact, the non-believing world watches and waits for us to have the bad times. They watch to see how we react. When we react the same way that they would, they claim that Jesus could not be who He says He is because He has not made a difference.

Paul knew better. He knew that Jesus makes a difference. In all the troubles that he faced, Paul knew where his strength came from. He knew where his happiness came from. His strength was not in his abilities. His happiness was not in his circumstances. Paul drew his strength and his happiness from Jesus. Paul faced many circumstances in his life that we can only read about, many of which would have caused us to simply give up. No matter what he faced, Paul did not swerve in his faith. He kept his eyes upon Jesus. When you are earnestly seeking a prize, you are willing to go through anything because that prize is of great value. You may go through circumstances that are tough, but you do not stop seeking the prize. You realize that your circumstances are temporary and you keep striving. You keep focusing on that prize. Jesus is the greatest prize. He gives us eternal life. He gives us hope. He gives us peace.

What is it that Paul relied upon to stay content in any and every situation? Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do we grow away from God?

August 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

It is so difficult to not be anxious about the situations in the world today. People are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. Prices are increasing. Natural disasters abound. Terrorism and wars are all the news. People no longer respect other people.

I find it difficult some days to remember that God is in control. It is human nature to want to be in control. When we are not in control, we grow anxious. We grow irritated. We grow away from God.

How do we grow away from God?

That is a simple matter of whom we place at the center of our lives and whom we place in control. When we grow anxious, we are saying to ourselves and to the world that we are the ones responsible for our happiness and our status. We ignore God and focus entirely on us. The more that we grow anxious, the further away that we get from God. It is a viscous cycle. The further we get from God, the more anxious we become and then the more we focus on us and our pitiful situations. I would venture to say that our problems as a society all stem from the single fact that as a society, we strive to do it on our own. We have removed God from far too many aspects of our lives. The more we remove God from our society, the more anxious we become about our own fate. We have become too focused on the wrong individual. Instead of focusing on God, we focus on ourselves. We no longer know peace. We no longer know God.

I do not pretend to know what tomorrow will bring. I do know that I can face anything that the world may throw at me as long as I keep God at the center of my life. I also know that I cannot face a single day without talking to my Lord and Savior. Sometimes it is only an internal groan from deep within my soul. Sometimes it is much more. No matter how the conversation goes, I find myself resting in God’s grace and reflecting on what He has done for us – for me. I find the anxiety melts away. I find peace overtaking me.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What can men offer in comparison?

December 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 6:1 (NIV))

Ouch!

Are we guilty of this?

Do we perform acts of righteousness so that others will see them?

It is human nature to want to draw attention to ourselves. We like to “show off” so that others will see us and praise us. We must remember that the things that we are called to do are not considered righteous if we have the attitude that tells people “Look what I am doing!”

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

The praise of people is fleeting. It can change in an instant. It is worthless, for what good does the praise of people do us? Can it bring true joy? Can it bring peace? Can it bring true happiness?

What happens when we realize that the praise of people has stopped? Do we do things to regain that praise? Should we care about the praises of people?

People are fickle. Human nature seeks the next big thing to capture our attention and then we move on. When we seek the praise of people, we seek the wrong reward even if we seek the praise for doing something that is right in the eyes of God.

Think about that statement.

If we seek the praise of people, where do we stop? Do we start doing things that are sinful and outrageous to get the attention? I know that mental health professionals spend countless hours trying to help people who have done just that. What good does it do to receive temporary praise?

God is the only one that we should focus on pleasing!

God’s rewards are far superior to anything that man can offer. Only God, through His Son, Jesus, can offer grace and mercy that is eternal.

What can men offer in comparison?

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