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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Can a blind man lead a blind man?

June 13, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
(Luke 6:39-40 (NIV))

How many people today are blind leading the blind or are blind following the blind? People are searching for answers, and are looking in all the wrong places. This is Satan’s great desception. He is keeping people from seeing the truth by placing lies and stumbling blocks in their way.

God placed in us the desire to belong to Him. When people do not know Jesus, they try to satisfy that desire with whatever they can find, or whoever they can find that will verify their sense of being, even if it is a false verification.

Each person has a piece missing from them that only God can fill perfectly. Nothing or no one can fill it like Jesus. We must open the eyes of the blind and lead them to the light and the piece (and peace) that can satisfy that void.

Jesus said that we, as students or desciples, can not be greater than He. We must strive to be fully in God’s will and let the Holy Spirit fill us and train us so that we may be like Jesus. When this happens, we will truly be able to lead the “blind” to Jesus as Jesus, Himself, lead the “blind”. Perhaps, we, too, can open the eyes of the “blind” in a similar fashion to the way Jesus opened blind eyes, both physically and spiritually.

Are you leading, following or are you studying under the Master, or are you blind to what God has called you to?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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According to your faith will it be done to you

December 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;
(Matthew 9:29 (NIV))

Think about that passage. The words that Jesus spoke cut right to the heart!

“According to your faith will it be done to you”

What type of faith do you have? Is it a faith that will leave you desolate and barren or is it a faith that will leave you rejoicing and thankful? It is up to you. Your faith is your decision. You can decide to have little faith or a great faith. You will also reap the rewards for your type of faith.

In our world today, it is very easy to allow the world and its problems into our lives. When this happens, it is very easy for faith to falter. Sometimes it will even fail. Even when this happens, faith is resilient. It can grow back from almost nothing into something mighty.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

Faith truly is like the mustard seed. It can start out small, but with time and attention, it will grow. Each time you see faith at work, it will feed upon itself. Faith grows faith. Soon it will be like the mustard seed.

Be careful, because just like any physical thing that grows, faith can also be killed. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus in all things. If bad things happen, don’t let that kill your faith. Focus on Jesus and use your faith and His strength to see you through it. Perhaps faith is a matter of perspective. If you choose to see it and use it, it will grow. If you choose not to see it, then it will die.

If you ask something of Jesus, what will you receive when He says, “According to your faith will it be done to you”?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In the scope of eternity

October 2, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV))

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
(John 6:27a)

The Lord Jesus Christ blesses us with what He wishes for us to have in this life. As Paul wrote in Philipians, we all go through times of need and plenty. These times are to strengthen us in our relationship with Jesus. Similarly, if we devote our time to working for things that are worldly, we will be disappointed. All things of this world are destined to whither and decay.

If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, all the worldly things will seem irrelavent in the long run. Only our faith in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God and as our only Way to Salvation is what matters in the scope of eternity.

Live for Eternity!

In the scope of eternity, a month or even a year is like a second to us in this world. Who among us has not had needs that have gone unmet for a second or even a minute or an hour. If you are thirsty, do you drink immediately, or do you have to wait several seconds or minutes? In the scope of your day, this time seems insignificant. How, then, will a month or a year seem in eternity?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you like on the inside?

July 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV))

How many people do you know that put up appearances? The way they look from the outside is all righteous, but when no one is around, or they are in different company, they are completely different. Jesus spoke of people like this. There were people like that then and there are still people like it now.

What are you like on the inside? Do you change or do you stay consistent in your words and actions? Be sure that your motives are of God on the inside, and then what the world sees will also be of God.

I find it interesting that far too many people only look at the outside. They look at what the world sees. Have you come to the realization that worldly attitudes call for false facades? We try to be perfect on the outside because we, as a society, have been shown a picture of perfection all of our lives. This is a perfection that calls for the perfect body, perfect hair, the perfect job, the perfect house and the perfect attitude all the while we ignore what really matters.

In other words, we are all show and no substance.

What happens when age takes the body and the mortgage on the perfect house ties you to a job that has lost its perfection. Life is not about appearances. Life is not about looking good to the world.

When all of the outside trappings have lost their luster, what do you have?

You have what is on the inside. If you have spent your whole life focusing on the outside, then your world is easily turned upside down. Jesus called the Pharisees out for their teachings, but I think that we can also look at what society teaches us in the same manner.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” comes to mind. If we fill ourselves with greed and self-indulgence, then we are nothing on the inside but greed and self-indulgence. If we fill ourselves with Jesus, then what are we on the inside?

I honestly believe that when we fill ourselves with Jesus, we bear fruit!

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 (NIV))

Once again, I think that I need to ask, what are you like on the inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

April 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 (NIV))

The world will not recognize us, for it did not recognize Jesus when He came.

In much the same way a mother recognizes her young, the world recognizes those who belong to it. Does a mother cow accept a puppy? Does a kitten find a home with a dog? The same is true of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They will not be accepted by the world! They may face rejection and tribulation for they have, in essence, turned their backs on the ways of the world and have focused on the ways of God.

Take a serious look at where you would be accepted. Do you find yourself still partaking of the world in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to know that you are a child of God? The old saying “You are what you eat” is true in the spiritual world as well. If you “eat” of the world, then the world is a part of you and you cannot leave it behind. If you “eat” of the things of God, then righteousness is a part of you, and the world is only something that you are passing through.

It has been said that it takes a thief to know a thief. If that implies that only those with similar thoughts can be recognized and accepted, then where would you be recognized and accepted? Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on the True Blessings

March 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you–a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant–then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
(Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (NIV))

This warning applies to us today.

It is so easy to turn to God when things are not going so well. It is human nature to cry out in despair when things don’t look so great. When things begin to look better, we get very thankful. It is when things have been going well for a while that we begin to lose site of where the blessings have come from. We start to take them for granted. We forget to pause and give thanks and praise to whom they are due. Soon, we start to think that we are the reason things are good.

What is it about human nature that makes us turn our backs on the very One whom we should be praising? Do we get so awestruck by the good things that we get blessed with that we can’t see beyond our blessings? Don’t get me wrong. Blessings are wonderful. They show that God truly does love us. It is our reaction to the blessings that cause all of our problems. All too often we become so engrossed in the blessings that they become our god.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Exodus 20:3 (NIV))

It is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of priority. God knew that we would be tempted by His blessings. He knew that we would seek after the blessings. He knew that we could be easily distracted, and He warned us. We are to focus on Him. We are to praise Him. When we are in the midst of the blessings, we must not be tempted by the blessings. We must remember that He is the blessing that we desire. Through Him, grace, mercy and salvation are ours. This blessing is of far greater worth than any physical blessings.

We must focus on the true blessings and keep the earthly blessings in perspective.

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

March 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone,”
and,
“A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for
(1 Peter 2:7-8 (NIV))

Just what are the uses for a stone?

Think about that question, for just like anything else, the uses are a matter of attitude.

If you are walking and not paying attention to what you are doing, a stone in your path could be very bad. Now, imagine that you are living your life without any thought to your actions. All of a sudden you encounter a stone. This stone is set firmly and will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

What if you are a passenger on a boat that is drifting aimlessly. The boat has no course or sense of direction, no sense of right or wrong. What happens when the boat hits a stone and goes down? Again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live your life.

Suppose that you desire to build a firm foundation and a firm shelter that will stand up to whatever the world will throw at it. What would you choose as the building material? Once again, the stone will not alter its stance with respect to how you live, but it will offer protection and salvation if you are willing to alter your relationship to it.

You can beat your head against the stone or you can accept the stone and allow it to become your foundation. That foundation is Jesus. That stone is Jesus. You can beat yourself against Him by denying His status as Lord and Savior or you can accept that He is the rock of our salvation and accept God’s offer to stand firmly upon Jesus.

It is a matter of perspective and attitude. You can curse the stone that you stumble upon or you can embrace the stone and cling to it for safety. How do you look upon the stone that is Jesus? You can accept Him or you can curse Him. Either way, He is not changing. It is His desire to change you and your attitude about Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord

February 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV))

What do you find yourself doing when you are happy and full of joy?

I honestly don’t think that it is something depressing.

If you are like me, then you find yourself with a light spring in your step and a song in your heart. Chances are that sometimes you may not even recognize the song. Many times it is simply a song of joy that has no words, but it is overpowering just the same.

Think about that for a moment.

This makes sense if you stop and think about the times where you feel that you need to pray and you simply can’t find the words. Your spirit lifts up the concern and it is heard. What makes a joyful spirit different from one in need of close communication through prayer with the Father? Just as the unspoken prayer is lifted up and heard, the unspoken praise is also lifted up and heard. There are moments, and they should be many, where we simply cannot express our love with words and a song of the heart reaches God when our words cannot convey our praise.

We have been given an amazing gift. We have been given grace when we deserve nothing. We have been given a reason to be joyful. We have been given a reason to have a song in our heart.

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord!

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

February 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25:40 (NIV))

I read this and a question immediately came to mind. It was a question that sent chills down my spine. It was a question that made me realize that I can be considered one of the least of these and that I too am also someone who needs to do for others.

Think about that and then answer the same question that came to mind when I read this passage.

Have you ever felt that you were insignificant?

It is human nature to want to believe that we are of great worth and that we are worth more than our fellow brothers and sisters. This is pride.

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 16:5 (NIV))

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud,
but humility comes before honor.
(Proverbs 18:12 (NIV))

Our significance does not come from our deeds, actions or abilities. It comes from grace. If we could not earn our salvation, then we can make no claim to be proud of.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Are we proud to be a filthy rag? Are we any better than other filthy rags in the pile? We may find that we are not on the bottom of that pile, but that does not make us better than others. Eventually, all rags have one of two things happen to them. They are either washed or they are tossed away and destroyed. The rags do not have a say in what happens. We, as the Body of Christ, have proclaimed a faith in Jesus as the one and only one who can pick us up and wash us clean. We have made a stand and we have had a say in what becomes of us.

If we are as filthy rags, we are included in the least of these whether we admit it or not. Have you ever stopped to think that what you do for others means that you are doing it for Jesus?

And, now, the reality check !

Have you ever stopped to think that what someone does for you, they are doing for Jesus?

This puts things in a whole new perspective.

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