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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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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Listen to Godly advice

September 21, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:20-21 (NIV))

Satan tries to deceive us. He feeds us lies often enough until we start to believe them. One of these lies is that we are all capable of being in charge of our own destinies. He knows that God has a unique plan for each one of us. He thinks that if he can get us to believe that we can follow our own sinful plans, we will be happier.

Think about that concept for a moment.

How often have you seen a group of people all follow their own plans? Does anything ever get done? Do God’s plans come to fruition? Chaos results. That is exactly what the father of all lies wants to have happen. When he can create chaos in the church, he keeps the church from fulfilling the great commission.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

In Satan’s mind, he has stolen that many more souls from God’s salvation. The bad thing about this is that we unwittingly may have helped him because we were not unified as a body.

When we are not unified as the Body of Christ, then we slowly find ourselves sinking into chaos. We may not realize it at first. We may not even realize it until something bad has happened. Still, we end up in chaos. We lose sight of our Father and we lose sight of His Son, Jesus. And, we find it more and more difficult to acknowledge the Holy Spirit, let alone hear Him. Sadly, we still think that we are doing God’s will, but we are straying from His will in an attempt to follow ours.

Think back upon your life. Have you ever been truly happy chasing after your plans and schemes? Personally, the happiest that I have ever been was when I fully trusted in God and fully relied upon His plans and purposes.

I know that the world thinks that this takes away personal choice and freedom, and in their perspective, I can see how the world can say that. However, and it is a big “however,” we are the Body of Christ. We are not here to follow our plans. We should know that we are here to bring others into God’s Kingdom. That is God’s purpose. That is God’s plan. I believe that the parable of the talents is appropriate at this point.

“His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“The man with the two talents also came. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
“His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
“Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,’ he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
“His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
” `Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
(Matthew 25:21-30 (NIV))

We are all given talents that we rare to use to fulfill what God has called us to do. God gave us those talents for a reason. If we hide our talents, or even worse, if we try to usurp the talents of others, we are not being good and faithful servants. We will find that our talents will be taken away from us because we have misused them.

We, as humans, have a tendency to lash out when we lose something. It is a cover-up for our own inadequacies. We blame others. When we start to do this, it is an attack from Satan. He uses this to further strain the bonds of unity that we, as the church, should have.

Listen to advice. Listen to Godly advice. Wisdom is not in worldly knowledge. Wisdom comes from knowing God and following His commands.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just who are His sheep?

September 17, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Then he will say to those on his left, `Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, `Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

(Matthew 25:41-45 (NIV))

Do you love Jesus?

Think about His conversation with Peter after His resurrection.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
(John 21:15-17 (NIV))

Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep.

Just who are His sheep?

The whole world is His and the people in it are His creation. Everyone is part of the flock that Jesus refers to. Even the ones who do not call upon His name as Lord and Savior are part of the flock. They are simply the lost sheep.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:4-7 (NIV))

If Simon Peter was the rock upon which Jesus built His church, we should do as Peter was instructed. We should feed His sheep. We are to see others through the eyes of Jesus and care for them as He would care for them. We are to feed the hungry. We are to give water to those who thirst. We are to give shelter to those in need. We are to care for the sick. We are to visit those in prison.

Are you caring for the sheep that God has placed in your life?

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

September 8, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
(Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV))

Are you lost?

Helpless, hopeless and lost?

Satan longs to have us feel this way.

God longs for us to feel helpful, hopeful and loved.

God also longs for us to mature spiritually and become the person whom He created us to be. Sometimes this requires tough love. Just as a parent must sometimes withhold things from a child, God must withhold things from us. Just as a parent must allow the child to enter into things that will teach them a lesson, so too with God and us.

We are creatures of habit. Each of us exists within certain boundaries that we have established or that have been established for us. These boundaries become our comfort zone. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows that our comfort zones foster stagnation. We soon grow complacent. We soon grow so rigid and confined within our comfort zones that we fail to recognize the need for spiritual growth and maturity. We become creatures of habit, and all too often our habits leave something to be desired. It takes something drastic to get our attention. It takes something that will make us look beyond our circumstances and look at our core beliefs and priorities.

God wants to get our attention. He wants to get us out of our comfort zones and focused on Him. Sometimes, that requires something bigger than we care to have happen. He wants us to take the time to fulfill Psalm 46:10a so that we may know Him and His will for our lives.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 4610a (NIV))

Just how does God get your attention so that He can bring you back into the flock?

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