Are you whimpering in the dark?

December 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV))

We think of John the Baptist as a strange character, after all, he lived in the desert and ate wild locusts and honey. Would any sane person do that?

Perhaps we should consider that John was probably the most sane person, next to Jesus, alive during his time. Sanity means that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and do what is best for yourself and all around you. Even though John’s message went against the thinking and social standards of the day, he did what he knew had to be done. It was a willful decision to obey. God had given him the task of letting people know that the Messiah was coming soon. John fulfilled his task with a dignity and an assurance that he was right.

We have been given a task by Jesus. We are to make disciples for Him. Do we approach our task with the same dignity and assurance that John the Baptist approached his? Are we calling people to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus with as much energy and assuredness as John called them to repentance almost two thousand years ago? Perhaps we need to reevaluate our focus and become more like John.

Are you a voice calling in the wilderness, or are you whimpering in the dark?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready and willing?

April 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you.
(Joshua 23:9 (NIV))

See what God can do!

When we fully rely on God and earnestly seek His will, then we align ourselves with what God desires to do. We become instruments through which God can be glorified. It is not of our own doing that we glorify God, but it is through our willingness to become servants that God can be glorified. Nothing that we can do of our own can ever glorify God. Our desires open up our lives so that God can work through us.

All God needs is a willing heart and an open heart in order for His will to be done. We don’t even really need to be capable of doing anything on our own. In fact, God uses people who the world sees as not capable. Perhaps all we need is an attitude like that conveyed in Isaiah.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

In order for God to work as He did in Joshua, we simply need to be willing to go.

Are you ready and willing to be ready just like we are told in Isaiah?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men

November 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
(Mark 7:6-7 (NIV))

It is my desire to learn the true heart of God and not the “rules” taught by men.

What single thing do you hold on to that is not Biblical, but is actually a man-made rule? Come on and admit that you have them. They are the things that we all hold on to because they are tradition, or because they are part of our comfort zone. Perhaps the biggest one is thinking that other people can’t be true believers because they don’t look and act the same. I hate to say this, but I would bet that every believer struggles with this from time to time. And I think I know where that all started. Could it be that we are so ingrained in our own set of rules made by man, that we forget that they are only rules? We start to judge others by our set of rules that we have applied to ourselves, while we overlook the much bigger and much more important aspect of grace and mercy.

Human nature is a fickle thing. We long to be forgiven, but then we add all types of stipulations that God never would have even begun to think of. It is interesting that God could only come up with Ten Commandments and then salvation through Jesus. We have added so many things to this that we could easily be guilty of worshipping in vain, for we could be following our rules instead of God’s teachings.

We need to focus on what is true and righteous in the eyes of God. We must focus on God. We must focus on His Word and on Jesus, His only begotten Son. We must focus on the Holy Spirit. All other, if it does not point you to God, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a false teaching and must be removed from our lives.

Don’t let man-made rules hinder your relationship with God and your salvation through Jesus, His Son. It’s not worth what you will lose.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to listen to God?

January 24, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
(Isaiah 50:4 (NIV))

What can sustain the weary?

Think about that question.

What makes you weary? Is it the world? Is it your job? Is it relationships that you wish were different? Is it the state of the world with all of the trials and tribulations that we must face? What sustains you in the midst of these trials and tribulations? What sustains you when you feel that you cannot go on?

Isaiah was given words to say to people who were weary. God gave him words of hope to speak to the people of Israel. Many of the prophesies regarding the coming of Jesus were spoken through Isaiah. What made Isaiah different from all of the people around him? Why was he able to hear God when the others did not? Perhaps we are given a clue as to Isaiah’s abilities in the remaining lines of the passage. God awoke Isaiah every morning and taught him. God spoke to Isaiah because Isaiah was willing to listen. What made Isaiah willing to listen?

What makes you willing to listen to someone? I believe that there are two primary reasons someone willingly listens to someone else. They love the person speaking, or they are interested in the topic. In Isaiah, I believe that we have found both. He loved the Lord and, because of this love, he also was very interested in what God had to say. He listened because he longed for God’s truth. This, alone, is enough to sustain the weary. Simply listening to God and taking his Word to heart is sufficient to sustain even the most weary of individuals.

Are you weary? Do you listen to God? Do you embrace every word that He has given us?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Have you found rest?

Are you willing to listen to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not forget why we celebrate

December 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV))

God had it all planned from the beginning of time. Isaiah knew of God’s plan. The plan called for the birth of a child. Not just any child, but a special child to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders. Someone who would establish His reign forever, with righteousness, love, compassion and justice. Someone that any and all could call upon to bear their burdens for them.

At this time of year, we must not forget why we celebrate. We celebrate because that child that Isaiah spoke of has come, and because He has come, we now have hope. Hope of life eternal through the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly thankful?

November 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near
with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me
Consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once
again deal marvelously with
this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
(Isaiah 29:13-14 (unknown))

Are we guilty of “tradition learned by rote?”

Are our church services merely a series of traditions that we do because they are the way that we learned them? Do we understand the true meaning behind the traditions?

God spoke through Isaiah against meaningless traditions. Judgement was poured out on the descendants of Israel for simply doing “what they have always done.” They had forgotten that these traditions were actually acts of worship. Worship is not the act of doing things because that is the way they have always been done. It is a sincere reverence for God. It is a “thanksgiving” for what God has done for us, and not a series of rituals done in a certain sequence. God wants us to follow the intent of the Law, and not the letter of the Law. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for following the letter of the Law without following the intent.

Are you bound by tradition learned by rote?

Are you truly thankful?

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