Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

March 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(John 17:1-5 (NIV))

We are rapidly coming up on Easter, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

I am thankful for the resurrection! I am thankful for the defeat of death that the resurrection brought, yet, we, as the Body of Christ, have glossed over the pain and suffering that Jesus endured before and during the crucifixion.

Jesus knew exactly what was coming!

We see images from reenactments of the passion, yet, we still don’t truly understand what He went through in order to redeem us, to bring us salvation from sin and death.

Have you ever caught your arm in the thorns of a rose or bush? Did it draw blood? It probably hurt. Now, think of the flesh being ripped from your back with each lashing of the scourge. Think of the crown of thorns being driven into your head. In comparison to what you have experienced, can you even comprehend the pain that Jesus endured so that you could claim salvation?

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? It hurts. In comparison, can you imagine the pain that Jesus endured when they drove the nails into and through his hands and feet?

Jesus knew that all of this, and much more, was waiting for Him. He willingly went through all of this just so that each of us could be offered grace and mercy through His shed blood. The price that Jesus paid was far greater than many of us can even imagine, yet, He paid it willingly. I want you to stop and think about the passion. I want you to stop and think about the pain. I want you to stop and think about the love that drove Him to the cross.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Passover Lamb and Good Friday!

April 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(Matthew 26:39-42 (NIV))

Many people think that Jesus did not know anguish and pain. These words show that on the day that we know as Good Friday, Jesus feared what was to come, yet, still was obedient to the Father’s Will for Him and for us. Think about the events that we remember this weekend and welcome them into your lives as the key events that they actually are.

Put yourself in the events. What did Jesus feel? What made the crowds turn upon Him? Would you have been like Peter? Would you be at the foot of the cross? With the knowledge that we have about what happened, are you at the foot of the cross now?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

March 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I lift up my eyes to the hills–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

Where do you turn to when you are in need of help?

Perhaps I should simply ask, “Where do you turn?”

People are strange when it comes to where they place there trust, where they turn in times of trouble and where they turn in times of joy.

For many people, they have different answers to each option. Some will turn to a best friend, some will turn to alcohol or drugs, and some will simply turn inward. Some people will turn to the same thing no matter what the circumstances. It is the very heart of these people that causes them to seek comfort in a single solution. They will turn to it when they are seeking trust. They will turn to it when they are in trouble, and they will turn to it in times of joy. Alcohol is a good example of this kind of comfort and help.

Have you stopped to think that there is another single source that is there no matter what you may face. This source of comfort will never let you down. It will never turn on you. It will never leave you lonely.

It is a strong person of faith who turns to the Lord in all instances. Many people will turn to the Lord only in times of trouble trying to make a deal. They are the very same people who ignore the Lord when things are good. God is not a magic genii who is there only for your troubles and hard times. He is there for all times – good, bad and in-between.

Think about that for a moment while I ask another question or two.

I want you to think of your best friend. Have they ever abandoned you in times of trouble? Have they been there to help you rejoice when things are good?

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 (NIV))

There is someone who will always be there. He will always help. He will always rejoice. He will always guide, and He will always love.

Isn’t it time to seek the Lord and His help?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

January 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

I know that I do. It is human nature to hate to suffer. We all suffer in various different ways in our earthly, physical lives. All too often we are so caught up in our own sufferings that we miss the true sufferings of others.

No matter how we suffer, we must remember that it is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered in order to save us from our sins. It is through His suffering that we have been made whole.

Too many believers have the wrong impression that because we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should not suffer any more.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

“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))

Are you surprised at your suffering or do you rejoice in the grace that you have been given?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to survive your wilderness?

December 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
Selah
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
(Psalms 55:7-8 (NIV))

What is your place of shelter?

Do you think of the desert as this place?

Most of us do not think of the desert as a place of refuge, after all, a desert is a harsh place that brings about pain and death.

Perhaps it is our perspective on our situation and our location that gives us this attitude. All throughout the Bible, people who had to experience the desert often came out stronger on the other side. Perhaps this is due to the fact that human nature expects to find God in the lush and plentiful. Let’s face facts. God often appears to us when we do not expect it and in situations that we do not expect. That is exactly why God uses the desert to draw us closer to Him.

The desert lacks the distractions of this world. We can either choose to focus on the fact that we must rely upon God, or we can focus on our situation. If we focus on our situation, if we come out of the desert, we will be weakened and lack focus. Satan will have won.

If we focus on God and what He can provide, then we will come out of the desert stronger in our faith and ready to be the servant that God is calling us to be. In the Bible, “desert” and “wilderness” are often used to indicate a place of testing. A desert is used to indicate a crossing or a right of passage where refuge may be found, while a wilderness indicates an untamed place. Many times throughout each of our lives, we will find ourselves in such a place. How we look upon it will determine our outcome. If we have the faith to look upon our situation as a place of shelter because we have found God to be there, then we will not only survive, God will make us thrive in our work for Him.

Do you have the faith to be in the desert or the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

July 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek your prayers for this ministry that God has given to me. I pray that if Daily Living Ministries has touched your life, to please share that with those around you. I seek your prayers to help under gird me and to keep me focused on what God has called me to do. The world offers many distractions. I desire to avoid the distractions. I desire to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me. I do not do it for any personal gain or for any notoriety. That is not the reward that I seek.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is no other way

August 11, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD.
(Haggai 2:16-17 (NIV))

I received an email today that referenced an earlier part of Haggai 2.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: `In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. `The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty.
(Haggai 2:6-8 (NIV))

Is it just me, or we facing the events in this world because we have turned away from God?

Governments being overthrown. Economic uncertainty in the whole world and economic collapse in some countries. Public riots because of racial and religious tension. Looting and burning because they want to show the authorities that they can do what they want.

Society treats the resources of this world as theirs. It is there only for them and not for anyone else, now or in the future. Society lives “high on the hog,” yet forgets that the future relies on wisely managing so that the hog will be able to reproduce.

Stewardship is long forgotten.

“I want it now!”

“I deserve it!”

“I have a right to do it!”

Selfishness has become the rule.

It is a scary world that has been so rapidly transforming right before our eyes.

Can we solve the problems that the world is facing if we turn to God?

There is no other way!

Everything is His. He is the Creator. He longs to bless us, but . . .

He will not bless us if we are foolish.

He will not bless us if we ignore Him.

He will not bless us if we spit in His face.

Think of a father who has lovingly purchased several toys for his children. He sits back and joyfully watches as his children play with the toys as they were designed. Slowly, the children begin to take these precious toys and do things that they shouldn’t. He gently reminds them that if they take care of the toys, they will last a long time. They will give joy for many years. Some time later, the children forget these words and start to do things that will break the toys. As a father, he reminds them again and tells them that if they do not stop, he will have to take the toys from them.

The father still loves the children, yet, he must do what is needed to reprimand and to teach. Only when the children return with a repentant heart does the father allow them to once again have the toys.

We, as a society, as a world, have mistreated what God has given to us. We have turned our back on Him. We have even gone so far as to expel Him from public life.

It sounds to me that we need to turn to God.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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