Praise the LORD, O my soul!

October 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
(Psalms 103:1-2 (NIV))

It seems that every day something terrible happens in this world. Terrorism, assassinations, plagues, wars, rumors or wars, droughts, floods, and much, much more. Are things truly getting worse or have we just become so obsessed with these things that when something happens, it takes center stage in our lives? Personally, I think that it is both.

We have ways of knowing what is going on around the world almost at the very moment that it happens. We sit on the edge of our seats as we wait to hear the latest updates on the most recent tragedy. In all of this, how many of the inhabitants of this earth actually take time to stop and pray for God’s Will to be done? Do we pray for an end to these events that have us so captivated or do we forget God and wonder how humanity will solve the problems?

We are told to praise God. It does not say to only praise Him when things go good. We are to praise Him in all things. We are told to not forget His benefits. What could possibly be the benefits of praising God? I can think of many.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

Only God knows what each day will bring. We can face it with fear and trepidation or we can praise God and face it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, grant me the ability to welcome each day earnestly praising you !

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you focused on?

February 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
(Galatians 5:16-18 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are in conflict with yourself? Do you find yourself doing things that you don’t want to do? Do you regret doing things that you do?

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have strong desires to do what is righteous in the eyes of God, yet we do exactly opposite of what we want to do. There is an amusing story about this. I have even seen this presented as a prayer.

Lord, so far so good. I have not lied. I have not stolen anything. I have not gotten mad at anybody. I have not taken your name in vain. I am about to get out of bed, and I know that this is going to go downhill from here.

Do you ever feel like this? Do you feel that life causes you to do things that are not righteous in the eyes of God?

What do you look at? What do you focus on that causes you to falter in your daily walk? What is it that feeds your sinful nature and keeps you from living by the Spirit? Satan knows how to trigger our sinful nature. He knows how to distract us.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus! Keep your thoughts focused on God’s Word. The old saying, “You are what you eat” is true. What you put into your life is what you become. When you succumb to the sinful nature, repent and redouble your focus. We are only human and will need to make numerous corrections each day. When we see something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus! When we hear something that we know will lead us astray, focus on Jesus!

What are you focused on?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have an obligation

September 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
(Romans 8:12-17 (NIV))

Paul could have made his living today as a trial attorney. His arguments that he presents are so powerful. Yet, given this gift of persuasion, Paul did not use this to his own ends. He presented the legal issues as they pertained to God and Jesus Christ.

Can we read these words and truly say that Jesus should not be the central aspect of our lives, for it is through Jesus that our sinful nature has been given an opportunity to be redeemed from the death that comes with sin. Accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is a vital step to our salvation. It is the most important step, but our actions afterwards still play a big part in our spiritual walk.

We can not simply claim Jesus with our lips and continue to claim the world with our actions. We must die to the world and fully embrace the Holy Spirit that has been sent to live within us. Our hearts must reflect the change that we say we have made within our lives. We must be able to know that the Spirit has “marked” us as children of God because of our desire to turn from the world.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Body of Christ should know better!

August 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:11-12 (NIV))

I sadly know why the world looks at the church and calls us hypocrites. I have seen grudges and anger within the confines of the walls of many church buildings that could easily rival the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I have to have it my way or it’s no way!

I refuse to speak to that person!

Who do they think they are? My family started this church.

I’ve been here all my life. I’m not going to let someone come in and change what we have.

I’ll just be mean to them until they leave.

They don’t look and act like us. Maybe they will leave.

Have you ever thought or said anything like this about your local congregation?

What if Jesus had said that about us? What if He had said things like this about you?

Does God live in people who think or act like this? Think about that question and your thoughts and actions. Are you convicted of being arrogant and prideful, angry and obnoxious, hateful and back stabbing? None of these traits sound anything like love.

What would Jesus think?

What would Jesus do?

I honestly do not believe that He would condone this type of behavior. If we are His Body, why would we condone it? Why we would do it? This is the type of behavior that drives people away. It is not rooted in love. It is not rooted in the Fruits of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Personally, I do not see back stabbing, hate, meanness, anger and pride as one of the characteristics listed. Why do so many members of the Body of Christ think that they are?

We should know better!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

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

November 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
(Ephesians 4:31 (NIV))

These traits are not from God. In fact, they go against everything that we are told is a fruit of the Spirit if we are truly a follower of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25)

We are to follow this example if we truly belong to Jesus. How can anyone who claims to have allowed Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior exhibit the traits that are spoken of in Ephesians? If we truly allow Jesus into our hearts, then the Holy Spirit will enter our lives and begin to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.

Did you ever see Jesus exhibit bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, or any other negative trait that was directed at a person? Jesus was angered by the money-changers’ actions, but He would not have kept them from asking for forgiveness if they had approached Him with that in mind.

We must not allow any of these traits to enter into our lives or they will destroy us by separating us from the saving grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ.

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