Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t let the things of this world distract you from Jesus!

October 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that things will get much worse than they are, but I honestly have to stop and make myself realize that what we are seeing could be just the beginning of the birth pains. We see the wars going on in Syria and in the lands surrounding Israel. We see other things, such as the terrorism, going on all around the world. I have seen reports that the main stream media has not and probably will not cover. I have seen reports that the Russian government is telling its citizens to prepare for nuclear war with the US.

I want to remind you that when this was written, a nation was considered a people group. Think about the stressed relations between different people groups in this country. I have also heard reports that this is happening in other parts of the world and it is not simply an isolated occurrence here.

There is something that I want you to consider with respect to kingdom against kingdom. For the longest time, this has been thought to mean actual governmental structures such as the United States and Russia. What if this actually means something more? I can think of two very distinct kingdoms right now that are definitely at odds with each other. One is the Kingdom of God or as some may refer to it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Then we have the kingdom of the prince of the air and this world. These two kingdoms have always been at war with each other since Satan rebelled against God. The attacks from the kingdom of the prince of this world are rapidly escalating to the point where God will soon say enough is enough.

The things that are going on in this world are enough to make anyone cringe out of fear. Sadly for the lost world, things will be getting worse. No matter what may happen, don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. We have a tendency to think that this presidential election can change things. I honestly pray that it does, but more importantly, I pray for God’s Will to unfold and not mine.

If the current state of the world makes you fearful, remember that we are not to place our hope in the things of this world. We are to place our faith and our hope solely on Jesus!

Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our hope is from above! Look up!

September 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

I know that this was the verse from yesterday, but something stood out about this passage and how Stephen responded that warranted further consideration. I want you to pay special attention to how Stephen reacted when he was confronted by the Sanhedrin.

Most people, when confronted, will look down. This is often taken as a sign of surrender. Stephen did not surrender.

Some will look their accusers in the eyes. This can be taken as a sign of confidence in their stance based on their own merits. From what has been written, Stephen did not look his accusers in the eyes to stare them down.

Stephen also did not turn away out of shame, or as a veiled attempt to escape.

He looked up!

Stephen, even in his circumstances that lead to his death by stoning, refused to focus on anything else but his God and Savior. As a result, God appeared to him to give him confidence, to give him assurance, and to give him hope. Stephen was not disappointed by his focus!

I have been reading and watching many testimonies lately about dreams and visions that members of the Body of Christ are having. There is a common theme to these dreams and visions. We must keep our focus on Jesus no matter what the world may send our way. We must remember that our hope is not of this world. We have a God who loves us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son to live as one of us and to die bearing our sins. We have a risen Savior who was willing to suffer death on the cross and was resurrected so that He could now sit at the right hand of God, the Father. If we have them with us, as the Body of Christ, where else do we ever need to look?

We must never lose focus, because our hope is from above! Look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you see when you look up?

July 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
(Matthew 17:1-8 (NIV))

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus!

Think about that statement.

Peter, James and John were Jewish. The core of the Jewish faith hinges upon what God did through Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John were probably awe struck. The men whom God used to lay the foundations of what they had been taught all of their lives were standing supernaturally right in front of them. They wanted to commemorate this moment. They wanted to be able to have a place where they could relive this very moment.

Isn’t it interesting how these three men had spent several years with Jesus and this is the moment that probably made them truly aware of who He was and who He is. I love the symbolism of their faith traditions being overshadowed by Jesus. When they looked up, all that they saw was Jesus. Moses and Elijah were no where to be seen. Traditions can not save you.

Moses can’t offer salvation. Elijah can’t offer salvation. They brought God’s Law and His prophetic Word, but they can not bring salvation. That is available through only one source.

Jesus!

Moses and Elijah were only human. Jesus has a much higher authority as the Son of God. Only Jesus can save.

When you seek grace, mercy and salvation, whom do you see?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been paying attention?

January 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(Psalms 19:1 (NIV))

Have you been paying attention?

God, in all of His majesty, has created a spectacular universe in which we live. He has set things in motion from the beginning of time. When we are young, we look up at the night sky and are amazed at the stars. We are amazed with the moon. As we grow older, we soon stop looking up and spend all of our time looking down. We look down to avoid the pitfalls of this world. We look down to hide our eyes from the gaze of others. We look down to shield our eyes from the truth.

Look up!

The stars are still spectacular. The moon is still amazing. The timing of alignments and events is something that we should pay attention to. If the heavens declare God’s glory and the skies proclaim the work of His hands, shouldn’t we look to them as a means of understanding God and His plans?

I am sure that you have at least read about the four blood moons and how they all coincide with Jewish holy days and festivals. I find it amazing that four blood moons is a very rare occurrence with the next four occurring about 500 years from now. In all of time, what are the odds that four such events will line up perfectly with the Jewish calendar and fall on the same days in consecutive years?

I know that sometimes things do happen, but with the timings of these events and the other things that are going on in the world, I honestly believe that these are not accidental alignments.

God is doing something!

To make things even more interesting, according to some of my research sources, today is the midpoint of the four blood moons. I am not professing any knowledge of something happening, but I do know that God is up to something and that He uses the heavens to provide insight. And, no, this is not some astrological mumbo-jumbo.

Is God the Creator?

Is God in control?

If you answered “Yes” to both of these questions, then what is stopping God from using His creation to declare what He is about to do?

I think that it is time that we pay attention to God’s word and His creation!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to see the glory of God?

September 24, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40 (NIV))

With recent events, it is often hard to imagine how God can be glorified in the midst of all of the issues that we now face.

Take heart. God is working in and through everything.

When we feel that things are going wrong, look up. God can and will turn them around. When we feel that all hope is lost, look up. God has given us a hope that cannot be taken away. When we feel that the enemy is winning, look up. Satan thought he was winning once before when Jesus hung on the cross, but it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would. With that in mind, why do you think that Satan will get the upper hand in any other attacks that he tries?

We know how it ends. We know who wins. If things seem a little bad now and then, we must simply remember who holds the future and thank God for that all important fact and pray. We must pray for peace. We must pray for understanding. We must pray for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Then, when we believe, we will see the glory of God as He works miracles.

Are you ready to see the glory of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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