Is the Lord delighted in you?

February 19, 2018


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
(Psalms 147:11 (NIV))

How do you think the Lord feels about society in today’s world?

Is He pleased? Is He delighted, or is He saddened by what He sees?

In all reality, our world is in a pretty disheartening state. Society states that anything goes, and it often does. It saddens me to say that some groups who claim to follow Jesus have allowed sin to infiltrate what they teach and preach. How do you think the Lord feels about this?

I want to ask those of you who are parents a few questions.

Do you love you children unconditionally? Would you say that your love for your children is unfailing? How do you feel about your children if they do something that is against all that you have taught them? Would it break your heart? Would you still love them if they rebelled against you? Do you think that your children fear you? Let me rephrase that last question if your children are adults. I realize that fear is a harsh word, but do you think that your children feared you when they were growing up? Is it possible for a child to love their parents yet still fear them? Is it possible to love someone and realize that the one who is the center of that love is also rightfully the one who is in authority over you?

Going back to the concept of parents with children, if you have a child who rebels, do you delight in them? You still love them, but they cause heartache and not delight.

Is the Lord delighted in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at keeping the law?

January 26, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:14 (NIV))

How many people do you know who say that they love God, but their words and deeds give away that they do not love people? They do not love those they encounter. They may even go out of their way to avoid certain individuals or certain groups of people. I am sure that we are all familiar with the following story that Jesus told to a so called expert in the law.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29-37 (NIV))

Have we heeded the lesson and truly learned to love our neighbor?

Has society told us to distrust and hate those who are different from us?

Does this sound like an attack from the enemy? Satan knows that if he can get us to hate each other, then we will have lost sight of what God truly desires for those who call Him Lord. We will fail at keeping the most important command in His law.

How are you at keeping the law?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we love God’s gifts more than we love God?

January 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

I know that I have spent a lot of time on this particular passage. I also know that it is something that we need to pay attention to, especially since many people believe that we are in the modern day version of this particular church.

I know that I have stressed that this church was known for bowing to the will of the people. I saw something today that puts an interesting, and very pertinent twist to this thought. I was reminded that the people of Laodicea were very wealthy. The city was at a very important spot for the trade routes and even the Christians were very affluent. They lacked for nothing except, possibly, fresh water.

Think about the concept of lacking nothing. Perhaps it should better be explained as not having a need for anything because they could do it themselves. Are we truly any different today in our thinking and in our capabilities? Have we gotten to the point where we love the blessings more than we love God? Could it be that we feel that we are self reliant, and as a result, we don’t need God?

Think about these questions and then think about the time directly after 9/11. People felt helpless, so they turned to God. It is human nature for us to feel complacent when everything is okay, and it is human nature for us to feel over confident when we think that we are in control. When this illusion is broken, we see a greater reliance upon God. Is our society today reliant upon God or are we cocky and arrogant. Do we think that we can take care of it ourselves?

Laodicea did many things wrong. It is my prayer that we, in our so-called modern lifestyle, do not repeat history and fall into the same traps as this church did. Repent and follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you love as Jesus loved?

August 3, 2015

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))

It is God’s desire that we love one another as Jesus has loved the church. We claim to love God, whom we can not see, yet, many people who claim this do not love the people that they can see. God wants us to love one another.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35)

We need to work on our ability to love one another the way that Jesus loves us.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you put forth the effort?

November 18, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

What are the things in life that you feel that you know so well that you can correct someone if they say something wrong? What did it take for you to come to this knowledge of this subject? Did it just come to you naturally? Were you born with the understanding that you possess? Did you wake up one morning to find that you had become the recognized expert in that topic?

If you are like me, none of these things have happened to you. You may possess a God given talent or understanding , but you still do not possess a complete knowledge of the subject. Where God has planted the seed of talent or understanding, you must work to expand that knowledge. If you love mathematics, you cannot become a college calculus teacher without expending the effort to further your knowledge and understanding. If you love football and can quote stats of each team and player, what drove that knowledge? Even if you have a so-called photographic memory, it requires an effort to place things in your memory. It requires an effort – a decision to pursue the very thing that you love.

Do you love God? Do you put forth the effort to get to know Him and come to a fuller understanding of Him?

Think about those questions in relation to the concepts previously introduced.

Have you put forth the effort, have you made a conscious decision to pursue God and to know Him and His Word? The sad thing about this is that you do not need to pursue Him, for He is pursuing you. He is always there waiting for you to turn to Him. He is waiting for you to ask if you can sit at His feet and get to know Him.

I still love the New American Standard Bible translation of this passage:

Cease striving, and know that I am God:
(Psalms 46:10a (NASB))

All of our lives we strive to possess something. We even feel that we need to strive to possess God. To some extent, we do, but not in the same way that we strive for other things in our lives. When we seek God, He gives us rest. When we strive for things of this world, we have no rest. When we cease striving, we find God in all of His glory because we find the time to simply sit in His presence. The work that we are called to do in order to know God is to stop and listen. The definition of work is an activity in which one exerts strength or faculties. Too many of us make knowing God a major work task. It is much easier than we make it. All we need to do is to “Be still” or “Cease striving” and allow God to open our hearts and our minds.

Do you need to cease striving in the worldly sense so that you may know that He is God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why does God freely give His love?

September 2, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
(Psalms 66:20 (NIV))

Is there a special requirement for God to bestow His love on someone?

Does He only give His love to those who are perfect? No one is perfect. Does He give His love only to those who love Him?

We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19 (NIV))

Surprisingly, God does not withhold His love from anyone. He loves each of us the same. It is we who do not love Him. We do not seek Him. We do not listen for Him. We do not talk to Him. He waits for us to come to Him, even if we originally turn to Him out of selfish reasons. God can use however we turn to Him to draw us closer to Him.

Why don’t people turn to Him? I suppose that the biggest reason is fear. We fear what God will do to us if we acknowledge His authority. Fear can cause us to over look His grace and His love.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

When we talk to God, He listens. He waits for the prime opportunity to plant a seed that will grow and mature us into what He calls us to be. It is said that God answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is “No.” Think back on your childhood. Did everything that you asked of your parents result in a “Yes?” Do you fear your parents? Did you stop talking to them simply because they told you “No?”

Keep praying. Keep talking to God. Start listening to that still small voice and learn what He has in store for you. I am positive that it will be far greater than what you are afraid to ask of Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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