Is the Lord truly your strength?

July 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 (NIV))

As believers, that should be our first priority!

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. We allow the world to grab a little corner of our lives and before we know it, we have lost sight of our first love. We allow these things to become our “gods” and they slowly take their unmerited place as our personal priority.

What have you allowed to become your first “love” and priority? Is it work? Is it prestige? Is it money. or fame? Perhaps it is even something that you don’t even wish to admit.

Whatever it has become, now is the time to recommit to the faith and trust that you have placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the things that have become your priority and turn toward Jesus. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Relationships require time and attention. Take the time.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a)

Spend time daily within God’s Word. Spend time daily in prayer. Spend time daily with God and His Son and you, too, will be able to proclaim that you love the Lord and that He is your strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you where God wants you to be?

March 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

Does anyone really understand the world and how it works? We see things from a small perspective. Can you tell the size of the forest while you are surrounded by trees? You must have a different point of view. Do not rely on what you can see. It may not be as it appears. Rely on God. He has a unique perspective since He is the Creator of all things.

Imagine that you are conducting an experiment with an animal in a maze. You can clearly see which way to go, yet the animal cannot, and go about in error. We are not very much different than that animal. God sees what we should do, yet, we do not see the complete picture and go around bumping into walls and making all sorts of mistakes. If we would only look to God, He can guide us through this worldly maze.

Are you lost, or do you know exactly what God wants for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your shield and your very great reward?

March 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
(Genesis 15:1 (NIV))

Can you even begin to imagine what was going through the mind of Abram when he heard these words?

Abram was an old man and he and his wife did not have any children. In the society of that day, children were a blessing and Abram and Sarai did not have any. It is recorded in Genesis that Abram questioned the Lord because of this.

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
(Genesis 15:2-3 (NIV))

Abram did not see the very great reward because of his then current situation. But, God did!

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars-if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Genesis 15:4-5 (NIV))

Abram was in a very strange predicament in his mind and in the eyes of those around him. Abram saw through his circumstances and looked at things through the promises of God. In spite of how things looked according to the world, Abram believe the Lord and it was counted as righteousness. To summarize a glorious story, the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means the father of many nations. Because of Abram’s belief, the Lord did do as He had promised. He was his strong shield and his very great reward.

Do you have the faith of Abraham to believe the Lord’s promises?

Is the Lord your shield and your very great reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk in the light?

January 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this passage, but have you ever truly stopped to think about what it really means to be in the light?

Unlike popular belief, each person is not their own light. There are not multiple ways to walk in the light. We can not be enlightened, and we cannot achieve anything on our own. Jesus is the light of the world!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

Being in the light of Jesus means that you have recognized your sinful nature and that you need a Savior. Being in the light of Jesus means that you recognize your need to surrender your life to His guidance. You willingly accept Jesus as not only your Savior, but also your Lord.

Just what does having Jesus as your Lord mean. The word “Lord” means one who is in power or authority, of a high position, and one to whom service and obedience are due. In the physical world, a lord requires submission and allegiance. Those under the lord do not really have a choice. That is not the case when we give lordship over our lives to Jesus. We voluntarily surrender. We recognize the authority and willingly come in under that authority. In Jesus, the authority is not one of fear, but one of love, guidance and grace. We realize that we, in all of our human frailties, need Jesus. We need God!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

When we walk in the light, we walk under the authority of Jesus! We walk under the power of Jesus! We walk under the grace of Jesus! We walk under the love of Jesus!

Do you walk in the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a walking contradiction?

August 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
(Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV))

If these do not offer great insight into how we should live, then I don’t know what does. These verses tell us exactly how we should live each and every day. In other words, we should treat each other as we would want to be treated. We should love each other as we would want to be loved. We should turn our eyes toward the things that are of God and turn away from things of this world. We should read and study God’s Word so that we may be well prepared to react in a righteous manner.

And …

We should pray. We should pray for guidance. We should pray for discernment. We should pray for understanding. We should pray for wisdom. We should simply pray that we may lead our lives so that they are an example of God’s grace and mercy in all that we do. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Our lives are very visible signs of what we truly believe in. If we profess a faith yet do things that are opposite of those spoken of in the passage from Psalms, we preach something different with our actions than we do with our mouths. We send out contradictory messages. How can the world believe what we say when we do otherwise?

Are you a walking contradiction in the eyes of the world and of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for what God will give in its proper time?

August 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV))

Given in its proper time!

Have you ever stopped to think about God’s timing? He is never late. He is never early. Everything happens according to His timetable. Satan has tried to stop Him. Humanity often works against Him, yet, everything unfolds just as God has ordained.

Do you believe that God sent His son, Jesus into the world at just the right point of time? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected according to God’s timeline? Do you believe that Jesus will return at just the precise moment that God has ordained?

I find it sad that far too many people mock and ridicule God’s timing. They ask such things as where is He and why hasn’t He come back yet?

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Think of the two passages together. Does a mediator rush things and force his hand to make those he has come to help simply give up? A good mediator takes his or her time to make sure that the proper solution is achieved. It is a solution that benefits everyone. Jesus came to offer grace and mercy to everyone. Why would He rush to draw things to a close when too many have not accepted the offer that He came to bring?

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV))

God’s timing is perfect!

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