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 divisive or uniting in nature?

April 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23 (NIV))

Jesus, even though He was and is part of the Trinity of God, continually prayed to God the Father for His Will and for those He would leave behind.

The prayer that Jesus prayed here had both short term and long term aspects to it. He knew that those He left behind would need to be strengthened and that the world would need to be convinced that what they spoke of was true. He knew that they would need the strength of the Holy Spirit to present God to the world.

Today, we need the exact same thing. We must be united in Christ in order to let the world see Jesus as the Savior. If we fight amongst ourselves, then we are not doing justice to the world, for they will see this fighting and will want nothing to do with Jesus. We must unite in the Body of Christ, then the world will truly see something that could only have come from God.

Are you divisive or uniting in nature?

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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What are you devoted to?

November 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. If I asked one hundred people what they are devoted to, I would probably get one hundred different answers. I realize that some would be similar, but, just like the people that give them, each would be unique. No two would be exactly the same!

Some people would say that they are devoted to their spouse. Some would proudly claim that they are devoted to their family. Some would say that they are devoted to their church. All of these are great things to be devoted to, but how many would actually claim that they are devoted to prayer?

Perhaps we should step back and consider what devotion means. One dictionary has being religious as its first definition. On the surface, this sounds very good, but we have to stop and consider that religion is often thought of as man’s attempt to reach God. How many so called religious activities are simply man made rituals that truly don’t have anything to do with devotion. With this in mind, is being religious truly how you want to think of being devoted, especially when you consider what John the Baptist said of the religious men of his day?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
(Matthew 3:7 (NIV))

This was also echoed by Jesus.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
(Matthew 12:34 (NIV))

Personally, I like another definition much better. Devotion is defined as being ardently dedicated. In other words, it is a priority and not simply because it has become a routine. Devotion means a dedication because it is integral to who you are.

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you devoted to?

August 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are different from the crowds who are easily swayed? One day they are devoted to a political party. The next day they are devoted to a sports team. The next day they may be devoted to the music artist who is coming in concert. They are like the tall grass in the field, blown this way and that way and never truly making a stand or a permanent commitment to anything.

I pray that you are different!

To be honest with you, I pray that I am different.

To be devoted to something means that you are loyal to it and that you are dedicated to it. With this definition in mind, what are you truly devoted to in your life? Many people will quickly say that they are devoted to family. Many will say that they are devoted to their country. Others will say that they are devoted to their god. There are those who will say that they are devoted to the one and only God. There are those who will say that they are devoted to Jesus.

Are you devoted to prayer?

Most people think of prayer as a request or a petition that is made to God, but in all honesty, prayer is so much more than this one-sided request. Prayer needs to be thought of as a two-sided conversation in which both parties are having a conversation. It is essential to remember the basics of a conversation. Each party talks and each party listens intently. It is not a list of demands by one party, us, and the other, God, nods in subjugated agreement. Conversation is a means of learning and discerning the mind and heart of the other individual.

When was the last time that you simply had a long conversation with God? Don’t you think that you need to talk to God on a daily basis? With the idea that prayer is a conversation with God, don’t you think you need to spend more time in prayer? Don’t you think that you should be devoted to prayer?

What are you devoted to?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you responding to the world?

May 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

With what is happening in the world today, it is so difficult to be joyful. I find myself losing my patience with the people who have no idea of the sinful lives that they are leading. Hopefully, I am becoming more faithful in my prayers.

Life today and the world today have become so far removed from what I remember as a child. Everything seems to be in chaos. Gone are the days when you could trust people enough to leave your doors unlocked. Gone are the days when you could trust that if your children went riding their bikes and you had no idea where they were, you could trust that they would come home.

We have lost our innocence! It seems like society is running full-speed ahead into anything and everything that is evil. The world has rapidly declined into an abyss that seems to be getting deeper and darker. With that in mind, what are we, as the Body of Christ, supposed to do? When God’s truth is no longer considered to be truth, what are we supposed to do?

Stand firm!

Stand firm in what you know to be true. Stand firm in the joy and hope. Stand firm in patience no matter what may come. Most of all, stand firm in your faithfulness and prayers!

We know that this world is not our home. We know that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We know that we will be mocked and ridiculed for our faith. We also know that Jesus will return. No matter what may come, we must remain joyful in our hope. We must remain patient no matter what the world sends our way. As we are told, we must pray without ceasing. We must never lose our faith!

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

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is power in faithful prayer!

February 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:24 (NIV))

I realize that this sounds a lot like the power of positive thinking. The big difference is that without God, all things will eventually fall apart. I do admit, though, that they have learned something very valuable from fervent prayer. If you focus on what is of priority to you, it will stand a better chance of coming true. Humanity tends to follow through on the things that we focus on.

Do you recognize the differences between the worldly concept of the power of positive thinking and the righteousness of Godly prayer?

One turns inward to focus all of your strength to achieve what you want. The other turns toward heaven and focuses all of your strength on praising God, the Creator, and seeking His graces for what you seek.

I don’t know about you, but personally, I choose to turn toward heaven. We have an ally in Jesus. He intercedes for us before the throne of God. If I turn inward, I have no one to turn to when my strength runs out, and it will run out, for I am not strong enough to solve my problems, my needs, the way that God can!

Perhaps it can be said that we either pray to God or we mockingly pray to ourselves or to false gods. Who do you think will be able to answer your prayers?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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