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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Do you love, fear and respect God?

January 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
(Psalms 34:4-7 (NLT))

Everybody longs for what this passage describes. We all want God to answer our prayers. We all want God to come to our rescue. We all want God to bless us.

Did you catch the caveat in this passage?

There are four words that most people have a tendency to overlook. They see the words and think that it could not be as written, after all, God is love. They falsely think that God will answers our prayers and come to our rescue no matter what we do. They think of God as a genie who is there to grant our every wish. They fail to recognize the two way relationship that four little words bring to the table.

All who fear Him!

God is not going to answer the prayers of those who mock Him. He is not going to come to the rescue of those who rebel against Him. It is true that God does not wish for any to perish, but it is up to us. He has given us free will. If we choose to turn from Him, then He will not bless us. He will still be there hoping that we will repent and turn to Him, but He cannot do for us if we do not accept His grace and mercy. With that acceptance comes a fear of Him. Perhaps that fear is better understood as a respect.

Think about that concept.

Do you love you earthly father? When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother tell you, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Did you fear your father at these times? You knew he loved you, but you also knew that he was capable of dealing with your bad behavior, your sins.

Why do people have such a different view of God, our heavenly Father, than they do of their earthly father? Even for those who profess a faith and actively strive to be righteous in the eyes of God, we have a tendency to look upon God in ways that we shouldn’t.

Do you love, fear and respect God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship

September 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:14-18 (NIV))

Following the words of Jesus is often a contradiction of what the world would have you believe. These two examples are excellent proof of that.

Forgiveness is not something that human nature automatically and freely gives. In the eyes of society, and especially with men, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. Weakness is not a trait that is welcome in this world. Strength and power are the goals in the worldly life.

Prayer is another area that the world sees as a weakness. It is either considered a weakness if you pray, or, in certain aspects of society, it is considered a weakness if you do not pray loudly and in public.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God does not call you to yell to Him in front of many people. That is not a relationship. It is more like cheerleading. God calls us to be in a relationship with Him. Relationships require one-on-one time and close, intimate conversation. How many times has a man won a bride by yelling at her in public? Not too often, if any! It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship.

Do you go against the world view?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you hiding unforgiveness in your heart?

June 17, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us? Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness when we cannot give it?

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