May our actions be pleasing in your sight!

July 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

As I sit here contemplating the events of the last few days, this July 4th was a good day.

All across the country, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of small towns to see parades that will never match the production value of the parades in New York, but the heart and soul of this country was represented in those parades. Local businesses, high school bands, local volunteer fire departments, local farmers and their horses, and politicians who have a sincere desire to see this country return to the values that made it great all willingly walked a course in the heat to show their love of country.

I was recently reminded of an historical account of the writings of the founding fathers. Some things I remembered, such as the first official act of the first Congress was to order a large amount of Bibles to be printed. Did you know that each of the original 13 states started their documents of statehood giving praise and honor to God? I would love to read the personal thoughts and public documents of the founding fathers, for most of them professed a belief in the sovereign grace of God in guiding this nation. So much for separation of church and state!

I want you to think of the words to “America the Beautiful.”

“God shed His grace on thee.”

Why do you think that God has shed His grace upon this nation? Our history is based upon allowing people to worship Him as they see fit. It is built upon the idea that we have been blessed to be a blessing to others. What other nation has been willing to help rebuild war-torn countries? What other nation has been willing to come to the aid of countries when they could not defend themselves?

Looking back at the events of this day, both now and in the past, I don’t think that the people have lost site of what is important. This can be proven by the heartfelt responses we see to terrorist strikes, hurricanes, and accidents. What I believe has happened is that we, just like Israel had done countless times, have temporarily turned our focus away from the Lord. Over the last several years, humility, repentence and prayer have been front and center in the hearts, minds and prayers of the Body of Christ.

We have a choice to make. We can allow things to run their course in a way that is contrary to God’s Word, or we can pray for His forgiveness, His desires and His direction. In this prayer, there should be neither Democrat nor Republican, but only those who earnestly seeks after the heart of God. We need to stop seeking man’s will and turn to seeking God’s will.

Lord, guide us in your desires for this world, this nation, this state, this community and this household. May our actions always be tempered with your wisdom and grace.

May our actions be pleasing in your sight!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

February 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:7-8 (NIV))

Do you babble?

Do you ramble on and on when you pray?

We are all guilty of opening our mouths way too much when we talk, why would it be any different when we pray? It is human nature to want to be heard and we feel that the more we say the better our chances are of getting our point across. Do you have a memory of a time that you wouldn’t stop trying to get your point across? How did that turn out for you? Did you sway your audience to your side? Did you convince anyone besides yourself that you were right?

Excessive words do not mean sincerity. Excessive words often mean a prideful spirit.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
(Proverbs 11:2 (NIV))

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 (NIV))

I have heard someone define humility as not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it is thinking of yourself less. I like this definition. How do we put this into practice? Can we start with closing our mouths and stop trying to convince everyone, including God, that we know best? Can we let our hearts and our actions speak for us? Is it humanly possible to keep things short and sweat?

When we humble ourselves before God, we turn our hearts to Him. We seek after His heart and not our own. When we truly seek His heart, we don’t need to spend our time babbling. We don’t need to spend our time trying to convince Him of what we want, for He knows what we need. I honestly believe that when we babble, we are actually trying to convince ourselves.

Pray from the heart for God knows what you need!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we been praying?

December 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

There have been many people who have quoted this passage recently in hopes of encouraging the Body of Christ to pray for our country and our world. With this in mind, I have a question.

Have we been praying?

Have we been sincere and earnest in our pleas to God? Do we truly long for righteousness or have we started to accept what the world is selling? Do we treasure God’s Word or do we treasure the world?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Where is your heart?

Do you see the things in this world and long for righteousness? Do you ache in your heart when you see what society has become and is becoming, or do you find yourself thinking that what is going on looks like it would be fun to participate in? It’s time to examine our hearts and truly determine what it is that we treasure.

With this in mind, I think that it is time to ask the question one more time.

Have we been praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

June 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
(1 Peter 5:5 (NIV))

If you look closely, there are some words in this passage that strike a nerve in most people. Can you spot them?

Did you say “submit” and “humble”?

What is it about our human nature that just doesn’t like the concept behind these two words? Why is submission so difficult and why is humility so hard to find anymore? Our society seems to thrive on thwarting these two desirable characteristics at any and every opportunity that presents itself. All that you have to do is pay any attention to the events that are transpiring in the world and you quickly see a total lack of these two characteristics, especially when it comes to a Biblically based perspective. It seems like the only thing that most people are willing to submit to are their own wicked thoughts and desires!

Contrary to what is the absolute truth, society has been convinced that the only truth is what is true for you. The concept that we all answer to an absolute truth does not exist in the minds of many people. They have been taught that if they think that it is true, then it is. If you have a vast number of individuals thinking that whatever they think or say is true, then they rapidly become arrogant. They no longer feel that they must be considerate and humble, after all, they are always right. They are perfect!

I think I can safely say that when you read that last paragraph, the description made you think of some of the recent events and groups that are in the news. In your reflections on these groups, does anything that they do even have any semblance of submission or humility? Does anything about these events and groups have a basis in what we would consider Biblical morals and values?

Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You just need to be willing to see!

June 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
(John 1:46 (NIV))

Humanity is so strange!

We are willing to travel half way around the world to see something in a major city because we think that is where the good things are. At the same time, we think that anything from a small, out of the way place can’t be any good. Why do we always think that bigger is better? Why does human nature have to elevate what is big and put down anything that is small in our perception?

If you stop to think about God’s plan, it makes perfect sense for Jesus to have come to humble beginnings and live in a small town. It was exactly opposite of what the world expected. It was a deliberate decision to not be who the world expected Him to be. God wanted to not appeal to the masses with glitz and glamour. He did not want the gift of salvation to be just another fad that was here today and gone tomorrow. He wanted people to seek and find something precious and not be bombarded with another societal hype.

He wanted to draw those who were willing to see the unexpected.

Have you seen the unexpected in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there really anyone else that we can trust?

April 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
(Psalms 25:2 (NIV))

Trust is something that is not freely given. It is also something that is not freely earned! It only takes one misspoken word to completely shatter what it took years to build.

With that in mind, can you honestly say that you trust your friends or your family to never let you down? Can you honestly say that you will never let your friends or your family down? If you stop to think about it, we also let ourselves down on a daily basis. Do you realize that when we sin, when we miss the mark that God has set for us to hit, we let Him down!

Even though we may let Him down repeatedly, God will never let us down. David knew this and wrote about it. David knew where to place his trust.

Have you ever stopped to think about how you feel about someone after they have given you cause to not trust them? In your mind, they have become unreliable. I know that it is human nature to be unreliable at times, but do you realize that you have someone who is always reliable?

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

No matter what we have done. No matter how many times we have done it, and no matter how many times we come crawling back seeking forgiveness, the Lord is reliable. He is the only one whom we can trust at all times.

Is there really anyone else that we can trust?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you struggle with humility?

April 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

This is so hard to do in today’s world, especially when everybody seems to seek their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you don’t seek recognition, society tends to look down upon you, to think that you don’t matter. I hate to say this, but this type of thinking has even infiltrated our churches. We are guilty of judging our brothers and sisters in Christ through the eyes of the world. We get to the point where we look upon someone for what they can do for the particular congregation or even for ourselves. We even start to look for opportunities to elevate ourselves within our congregations so that we become the center of attention.

It is so difficult to be humble!

Humility is the act of being humble, of being not proud or arrogant. It is also categorized as having a spirit of deference or submission.

Submission ! There is that word that everybody seems to hate. It carries so much negative context that people feel that it is a derogatory and shameful state of being. I venture to say that we have misunderstood how we are to be humble before the Lord because of the negative context that society has placed upon the concept of humility and submission.

Do you believe that God has created you for a specific purpose and calling? Do you fully understand what that purpose and calling is? Just as a young child must earn the trust of his parents, we must earn the trust of God. A child does not receive the full inheritance from their parents immediately. God is the same way. He will not give us more than we can handle. He will not simply dump the full weight of our calling upon us before we are ready to receive it. Humility before God is simply recognizing His authority and waiting for His will to unfold. It places you firmly at the feet of God in a position open and receptive to whatever He may ask or give. This is not a sign of weakness as the world sees it. It is a sign of strength. It is a sign that the person who strives to be humble is not concerned with what the world may think. It is a sign that you have the strength to defy what the world claims we should be.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Humbleness before the Lord is a sign to the world whom you choose to serve. What does your sign say?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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