Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Trust in the Lord to care for you!

May 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

To me, this verse goes hand in hand with the following passage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

The basic concept in both passages indicate that we, as the Body of Christ, should not have anything to be worried or anxious about. There is one stipulation that most people have a tendency to miss when they think of not be anxious or worried and that is the simple fact that we are to turn our worries over to God. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxiety on him. When you cast, such as casting fishing nets or casting a fishing rod, it is an action where you physically throw things away from you in hopes of bringing back something better. Philippians 4:6 talks about bringing your worries to God through prayer and praise. This, too, requires an action on our part. In either case, we should not be timid when approaching our Father.

Consider the following scenario. You are walking and you lose your balance and fall. As a result of the fall, you are behind some bushes and in need of assistance to get back on your feet. Do you simply lie there and hope that someone will come along, see you and offer assistance or do you shout for help? It takes action to bring your needs before someone who can be of assistance. It takes a boldness to make the request and a confidence that your request will be answered. This is no different than being bold enough to approach God and “cast” your worries, anxieties and needs upon His strong shoulders.

Are you on speaking terms with God?

Do you trust God to fulfill His promises?

Are you willing to take the action that is needed to “cast” your troubles on God?

Are you to embarrassed to talk to God about your anxieties? Don’t you think that He already knows what they are? He has the answer. He is just waiting for you to leave whatever is troubling you at the foot of the cross!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The greatest reason to rejoice!

November 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

I know that it is sometimes hard to rejoice because of the worldly events that effect our lives. We see terror and hatred in our daily lives and this makes it hard to rejoice from a worldly perspective. We must remember that, according to 1 Peter 2: 11, we are as aliens and strangers in this world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)

We are faced with the world every single day of our lives, yet we must not lose focus on the fact that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are destined for an existance far greater than this world. This is only temporary. This, too, will pass.

It is our task to make sure that we always reflect the love of Jesus Christ to those whom we meet. We are to do this in the hopes of planting a seed within them that will grow and bloom as it has in our lives. For this reason, even in the face of adversity, we must rejoice, for God has given us, through Jesus Christ, the greatest reason to rejoice.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do we grow away from God?

August 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

It is so difficult to not be anxious about the situations in the world today. People are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. Prices are increasing. Natural disasters abound. Terrorism and wars are all the news. People no longer respect other people.

I find it difficult some days to remember that God is in control. It is human nature to want to be in control. When we are not in control, we grow anxious. We grow irritated. We grow away from God.

How do we grow away from God?

That is a simple matter of whom we place at the center of our lives and whom we place in control. When we grow anxious, we are saying to ourselves and to the world that we are the ones responsible for our happiness and our status. We ignore God and focus entirely on us. The more that we grow anxious, the further away that we get from God. It is a viscous cycle. The further we get from God, the more anxious we become and then the more we focus on us and our pitiful situations. I would venture to say that our problems as a society all stem from the single fact that as a society, we strive to do it on our own. We have removed God from far too many aspects of our lives. The more we remove God from our society, the more anxious we become about our own fate. We have become too focused on the wrong individual. Instead of focusing on God, we focus on ourselves. We no longer know peace. We no longer know God.

I do not pretend to know what tomorrow will bring. I do know that I can face anything that the world may throw at me as long as I keep God at the center of my life. I also know that I cannot face a single day without talking to my Lord and Savior. Sometimes it is only an internal groan from deep within my soul. Sometimes it is much more. No matter how the conversation goes, I find myself resting in God’s grace and reflecting on what He has done for us – for me. I find the anxiety melts away. I find peace overtaking me.

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

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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