Have you been strengthened?

March 27, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 (NIV))

The circumstances may have changed from when this was originally recorded but the message is still the same.

Has there ever been a generation of humanity that did not need the assurance that is spoken in these words? Israel had Babylon. Skipping ahead to more recent times, the whole world had World War I and World War II. We have had terrorists and now we have a worldwide pandemic brought about by an enemy so small that it can’t be seen. We are told to not even get close to each other out of fear of spreading this contagion. It’s as if the enemy is trying harder and harder to make all of creation fear the glory of God’s creation. Now, just as it was all throughout history, humanity has faced things in this world that bring fear, but just as we were told in Isaiah, we have nothing to fear!

God had chosen the nation of Israel to bring forth His greatest promise. The enemy did all that he could to prevent that. Israel faced slavery in Egypt. Israel faced captivity by Babylon. They faced occupation by Roman armies. Even through all of this, and much more, God’s greatest promise, a savior, was fulfilled in Jesus. All along the way, God raised up individuals whom He used to remind the people to keep their eyes on Him, not to be afraid and to be confident of His strength. We are no different today. God is still raising up individuals to remind us of His promises and to not be afraid no matter what the enemy may send our way.

Right now, the enemy is working overtime. He knows that his time is short. He is doing all that he can to set the stage for his unholy trinity of the false prophet, the antichrist and himself. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have nothing to fear from what the world or the enemy may send your way. Through Jesus, we have been promised salvation from an eternity in hell and promised an eternal home in heaven with God the Father.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

If we can count on all of God’s promises being fulfilled, why should we fear anything that the world or the enemy may send our way? When we begin to grow fearful, we must remember that the Lord of all creation has told us do not fear! This single fact should be enough to give us strength!

Have you been strengthened?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your strength?

July 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 (NIV))

As believers, that should be our first priority!

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. We allow the world to grab a little corner of our lives and before we know it, we have lost sight of our first love. We allow these things to become our “gods” and they slowly take their unmerited place as our personal priority.

What have you allowed to become your first “love” and priority? Is it work? Is it prestige? Is it money. or fame? Perhaps it is even something that you don’t even wish to admit.

Whatever it has become, now is the time to recommit to the faith and trust that you have placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the things that have become your priority and turn toward Jesus. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Relationships require time and attention. Take the time.

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

Spend time daily within God’s Word. Spend time daily in prayer. Spend time daily with God and His Son and you, too, will be able to proclaim that you love the Lord and that He is your strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray that we know what to watch for

August 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

Every night that I sit down to write, I pray for guidance as to what God wants me to convey. I have a database of scripture verses that I have selected and tonight, I closed my eyes and “randomly” stopped on this verse. I do not think that this is an accident or a coincidence, for right before this happened, I was reading about the two conventions coming up for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. These two parties will officially select the individuals who will be in contention for the White House.

God is up to something in this world. He is up to something big!

Israel is surrounded by people who want to destroy her. Iran is threatening just that. Israel is preparing it’s citizens for 30 days of shortages and is giving out gas masks. They are also preparing their citizens for massive amounts of missile strikes in retaliation IF they decide to be preemptive with Iran. Russia is standing firm in their lack of support for Israel and support for Iran.

Does this sound familiar?

There are countless things that I see that trouble me with respect to how our world is heading. At the same time, these things intrigue me for they offer glimpses into the things that the prophets have written about. Could these things that are unfolding be the very things that we have read about?

We, as the Body of Christ, must stand firm in our faith. We must pray for God’s guidance and seek to follow His will for our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our country and the world.

You are probably asking how this ties in with Psalm 127:1 and the current state of things.

We have been given God’s plans for His creation. It will be His plans that prevail. We may not like the state of things or the things that must happen, but they all part of God’s plans.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
(Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus rebuked Peter for wanting his agenda and not God’s. We see things from a different perspective and even though we see things that go against what we have been taught to believe in, God has an eternal plan.

Think about that for a moment from Peter’s persepctive.

If you had been in Peter’s shoes, how would you react if Jesus told you the details about the painful death that He would face? Would you have stood as Peter did and try to physically protect Jesus? I honestly think that we would not, nor do we, understand exactly what God is unfolding. We see glimpses and we wonder if this is what we have been told to watch for.

Pray for God’s guidance and follow Him.

Pray for God’s Will and wait for miraculous things to happen.

Pray for wisdom to discern the worldly from the Godly.

Pray that the Lord watches over us as we stand in watch.

Pray that we know what to watch for.

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

November 17, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

When we have the Lord on our side, or should I say when we are on His side, it feels like we can do anything. We feel creation in a way that we could never feel it without God’s presence.

Without God, we cannot accomplish anything of significance. With God, He can accomplish anything at all through us. That is the difference. Without God, we make feeble attempts that rely solely on our limited capabilities. With God, He pours out His Spirit upon us and through us to accomplish things that are impossible for us to accomplish. You have probably heard it said that God does not call and use the able, but, rather, he calls those who are not able so that it is obvious that they are not the ones who are doing the act. With this in mind, God is our strength for we cannot do anything without Him.

Take a look at some of the people in the Bible. Take a look at David, for example. He fell into temptation and sinned. He took another man’s wife and then had that man killed. David fell short of what God had called him to because of sin. Even through this sin, though, David turned back to God and repented. He acknowledged his sin and placed his full trust in God. Of course David had to face the consequences of his actions, but, he still was considered a man after God’s own heart. David placed his limited strength in the unlimited strength of the Lord. Because of this, David was promised many things, even though in his own strength he could not keep from sinning.

Do you place your limited strength in the unlimited strength of the Lord? Do you allow God to take you to the heights so that He may be glorified, or do you simply look at what God is calling you to and back away from it because you cannot do it?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your it?

November 8, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Man’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
(Job 14:5 (NIV))

Why do so many of us live as if we have all of the time in the world?

We have a tendancy to think that we will get to “it” tomorrow. But, exactly what is “it?”

For some, it is spending time with family. For others, it is losing weight. Still, for others, it is giving up their own personal favorite sin.

What is your “it?”

I pray that it is not something that will have eternal repurcusions if it is not done now. Those repurcusions could be yours or someone elses. I pray that if you are reading this, then any personal repurcusions that may arise from putting off salvation are dealt with.

What about the eternal repurcusions as they effect others?

Are you putting off inviting your neighbor to church? Are you hesitant to talk to your co-workers about Jesus? Are you afraid to take a public stand for God? Our days are numbered, as well as those around us. What if you are supposed to talk to a loved family member about Jesus and salvation and you can’t bring yourself to do it? What if you are the very person through whom God desires to use to bring that person to savlation and you think that you can do it another day? What happens if there is no other day?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16 (NIV))

Don’t think that you have all the time in the world. What is it that you are supposed to do?

What is your “it?”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t stop running your race of faith.

October 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
(Jeremiah 12:5 (NIV))

I hadn’t really given this passage much thought, but a friend sent me an email with this version in his signature.

Jeremiah 12:5: “If you cannot run with the foot soldiers, what will you do when the horsemen come?”

I am not sure which translation this is, but it started me thinking and researching other translations. On the surface, Jeremiah 12:5 just appears to be about having the stamina to run the race and to keep your faith. I believe that it is much deeper than this. The Message translates this passage as:

So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?
(Jeremiah 12:5 (The Message))

The passage is about keeping your stamina so that you can run the race, but it also warns us about the challenges getting harder. If we falter when things are not so difficult, how can we expect to keep our faith when the going gets tough?

We, as the Body of Christ, do not need, nor can we afford, to be weak in our faith. If we falter when dealing with people in our everyday lives, how can we expect to step it up when we are confronted with troubles that we cannot imagine.

I like the way that The Message puts this in a better perspective.

And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?
(Jeremiah 12:5b (The Message))

How many people do you know who face life as one big drama after another? Hopefully, as the Body of Christ, we do not fall into this, but we never know exactly how we will react when faced with troubles. One thing is certain, though, and that is that we have a hope. This hope is not the worldly hope, but the Biblical hope that means a certainty. We have a faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We may never face the race against the horses, or the troubles that come like a flood, but we must be prepared in our faith to stand firm in what may come. We have a glorious savior and redeemer who will see us through all that we may face.

Don’t stop running your race of faith.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is with you through your troubles

September 20, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV))

Lately, if you are like me, that last statement is definitely true – “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How many of you had a day that you wish you could forget? I want to let you in on a little secret. Tomorrow will have its share of troubles, too. They don’t ever really go away, but with the promises that God has made, we will see them through if we place our faith and trust in those promises.

Think about Jesus when He walked this earth. Many of His days had troubles. The crowds wanted to throw Him off a cliff. The chief priests wanted to keep Him quiet and later they wanted to kill Him. He was beaten, scourged and crucified. He died. In my opinion, these are all major troubles, yet, He overcame His troubles so that He could be there for us so that we can overcome ours. In fact, He overcame the biggest trouble that anybody could ever have. He overcame death by arising on the third day.

If we place our faith in Jesus, then we will overcome all of our troubles as well. Jesus did not promise to remove our troubles.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

He is with us as we go through our troubles. He is guiding us and teaching us. Through our troubles, we are being made more perfect, more mature. If you are like me, sometimes you may wish that we could mature a little slower, but by keeping your faith firmly rooted in Jesus, you will endure.

Keep in mind how God defines Himself.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
(Isaiah 42:8 (NIV))

You have probably heard that God is not called “I was” because He is alive today. He is not called “I will be,” for He is now and forever. He is firmly rooted in your today. He will be there even when you do not feel that He is. He is “I am” and He is with you through your troubles.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Remember His strength

September 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV))

Have you ever felt that no one could possibly understand what you are going through?

Do you ever feel that the weight of this world is just too much for you to bear? Do you feel that you are completely alone and have no where to turn?

I am sure that we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. We just can’t seem to find anything that offers us any hope at all. All too true, if we only look upon our situations with worldly vision. Fortunately, we have another way to look at things. We can look with faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Jesus has been where we are. He understands how you feel. He has faced the very temptations that we face. He has faced the very struggles that we face. We can lean on His strength when we are weak. We can rely on His love when we feel unloved. We can rely on His truth when all around us is a lie. We can rely on His grace and mercy even when we feel that we do not deserve it.

We can approach anything with confidence if we fully rely on Jesus. He may not keep us from the trials and tribulations, but He will see us through them if we only have faith. Too many times, people forget that He never leaves us, and they leave Him when things go bad. They try to face the trials and tribulations relying on their own strength and not the strength of the one who is with them.

The next time that you feel that you are facing life’s trials and tribulations on your own, remember that Jesus has been there. Remember that He is with you. Remember that His strength will carry you through our weaknesses.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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