Overcoming Troubles!

January 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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))

Is there anything in the world today that does not reek of trouble? Perhaps another way to look at that word is to interpret trouble as pressure. With that in mind, take a serious look at your life and the world in general. It is almost impossible to find areas of your life that do not have pressure or trouble. Terrorism and wars plague nations. Financial problems are now terrorizing nations and individuals in ways that terrorists could only hope to be able to do. People are losing their homes because they have lost their jobs. Many families are beyond a two income household. It is not uncommon for those who can to have two or three incomes. Health problems abound and seem to be on the increase.

Do you clearly get the picture? In this world, we face many hardships and troubles. In our human nature, we can do nothing about them. We can be battered by the troubles and allow them to take their toll or we can firmly ground ourselves in something that is above the troubles.

That something is Jesus !

Unfortunately, too many people believe that relying upon Jesus means that we will have no troubles. When they face troubles, they abandon Jesus. He does not abandon them. They are looking for a magical solution to eliminate all troubles. If they would only realize that Jesus gives us strength through the troubles. He is with us if we will only recognize that He is there.

During these troubling times, we must not abandon Jesus. We must turn to Him and rely upon His strength. When things look bad because you need work, turn to Jesus. When things are good because you have work, turn to Jesus. In all things, turn to Jesus. Seek His guidance in how He will work in your life to overcome your troubles.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Strength when you are weary

December 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

This world has a way of bringing everything that can drain you down upon you in an attempt to make you stumble and fall. If you rely solely on yourself, then you have no external strength to call upon to see you through these times. We are only human, and as sinful humanity, we are not capable of lifting ourselves out of these draining times.

But, by the grace of God, we have a place to turn in times of trouble. We have the strength of the Lord if we only place our hope in Him. We have the promises that God has given us throughout the ages.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Do you receive strength when you are weary? Do you soar on wings like eagles?

Fully accept the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will receive His strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your perspective?

August 5, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
(Genesis 16:11-12 (NIV))

Do you know who the sons of Ishmael are?

Do you know who his brothers are?

Knowing the answers to these two questions puts a whole new light on the events of the world, for the sons of Ishmael are the Arab nations. His brother was Isaac. Isaac’s descendants are the children of Israel.

What does that do to your understanding of the way things have been unfolding in the Middle East? God foretold of the continuing and ever increasing troubles that the “brothers” have been having. Did God have this planned from the beginning of time? Perhaps He just took advantage of the mess that He knew humanity would make of things. Whatever happened in His planning, God knew exactly how things would unfold.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
(Isaiah 46:10 (NIV))

God does have it all planned out. Perhaps it is because He is not bound by time and space. He can move about freely in His creation. He sees all things at once no matter where they happen, and even no matter when they happen.

Knowing God’s Word puts a whole new and fresh perspective on the events of this world. Without God’s Word, everything looks random and chaotic. With God’s Word, everything has a purpose.

What is your perspective on worldly events?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anguish. Pain. Distress. Anxiety. Freedom!

May 4, 2011

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))

Anguish.

Extreme pain.

Distress.

Anxiety.

There have been times in each of our lives when we felt that things just couldn’t get any worse. We were at our limits as far as anguish, pain, distress and anxiety. We have prayed that God would remove the pain from our lives. We have felt something similar to what Jesus felt that night so long ago.

If this type of feeling only came once in your lifetime, we could probably face the single event knowing that if we make it through that one episode, then we will never have to face this severe anguish ever again. The sad thing is that we know that we may face these type of feelings many times during our lives.

Still, we survive. We continue to live out our lives.

Why?

We have been given a hope. We have a faith that is built upon the events that took place that night that lead to the crucifixion. We have a faith based on the resurrection three days later. That is why we can face the trials and tribulations that this world sends our way. Jesus bore the burden for us. He carried the weight of all of our sin, anguish, pain, distress and anxiety.

Think about that.

I can recall times when I literally felt that my heart would burst just from the burden that I bore. I am certain that each of you has felt the same. Now, multiply that feeling by the countless number of times in your life where you are distressed. The burden gets heavier.

Now, multiply that amount of anguish by the billions of people that have ever lived and will ever live and the anguish grows to be so large that it is difficult to comprehend. Yet, comprehend it is exactly what Jesus did. He not only understood the amount of sin, anguish and pain, He willingly bore that burden for us so that we would not have to bear it any more.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

Jesus bore the sins of the whole world so that we can know peace. All that we have to do is accept that peace and turn our burdens over to Him. If He can carry the weight of the sin and anguish for all eternity, then He is more than capable of carrying you through whatever you may be facing.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blood Brother

April 4, 2011

And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”
(Mark 14:24 (NKJV))

How many people do you know who would willingly shed their own blood in order to save someone else?

Chances are that it is not that many, and then it would probably only apply to immediate family and very close friends.

Think back upon when you were a kid. Did you ever know of anyone who became “blood brothers?” Perhaps you even did it yourself. Even in this situation, shedding of your own blood required a very strong friendship. It required a bond that you never wanted to be broken.

Shedding of blood requires pain! It is not something that we take lightly, for it always involves some pain. Think about what Jesus did. He poured out not only a few drops of His blood, but all of it. Think of the pain that He endured because of His love for each and every one of us. He did it because He is the friend that we all long for. The bond that we have with Him is eternal. All we have to do is claim it.

Jesus did His part to become our “blood brother.” He suffered all of the pain and sacrificed everything so that we could escape the pain and inherit eternal life. Our part is simply to accept the grace and mercy given through this offer.

Have you done your part in meeting Jesus where He wants to meet you?


The depths

March 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
(Psalms 130:1 (NIV))

“Depths” conjure up many vivid and horrible scenarios for the human imagination.

Think about what you consider the “depths.”

Some of the more common meanings of the word include imagery that suggests an abyss, a profound or intense state, a reprehensibly low condition, and even a high degree of intensity. Nothing about this word evokes a peaceful, calm place. We hear people refer to the depths of depression, the depths of insanity, the depths of loneliness, and the depths of despair. None of these are places that any of us long to be visiting, let alone living in.

I find it very interesting, and not at all surprising, that the psalmist used this word, this imagery, to be the base from which he cries out to God.

When do you cry for help?

Is it when things are going well, or is it when things have taken a turn toward the depths? It is human nature to cry out. It is human nature to seek comfort and peace. And, contrary to what many people profess, it is human nature to seek God. For those who proclaim that they do not believe, they have replaced God with something else, something that they seek after.

It is when we are far from God, when we are in the depths that this world has given us, that we feel the innate need for God to fill us, to comfort us, to save us, and to console us. Fortunately, He will do just that. He will fill us with Himself. He will comfort us with His Word. He will save us from our sin, and He will console us. It is our depths that often lead us to God. It is our depths that make us realize that we are not capable of anything on our own. It is often in our depths that we see ourselves clearly and then we can turn toward God and be redeemed.

What depths do you find yourself facing? Do you find yourself drowning in the despair of your situations? Do you see no way out? Are you lost and without hope?

It simply takes an effort on your part. Simply cry out to God and place your faith and trust in Him. Cry out to the Son that was sent. Sincerely cry out from your depths and see what God will do.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you laboring in vain?

November 3, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat–
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
(Psalms 127:1-2 (NIV))

What is it that you labor over? Is it your job? Is it your fortune? Is it your family? We all have certain things that we long to build up in the way that we think is correct. Is it right in God’s eyes to labor over these things in the ways that we do? In other words, have you taken on something that God does not desire for you? Do you labor in vain?

It is human nature to want to build. Everyone wants to build a legacy, something that they will be remembered for. Unfortunately, it is all too fine of a line to cross before we come to the point where we are doing it out of pride and ego instead of out of a desire to serve. All too often we want to say “Look at what I have done.” It is too easy to have our motives shift to selfish reasons. Perhaps, we are also guilty of never having godly reasons to begin with.

What are you motives for building? Do you have a peace about you or do you have an uneasy feeling that you have to ignore? If you struggle with what you build, have you asked God for guidance? Have you asked God for confirmation? God will direct you. He will guide you in what He desires for you to build. It is far better to build what God desires and to complete the task than to build against His desires and face an emptiness in your life because of unfinished work.

What are you trying to build with your life? Are you succeeding? What is God calling you to build? Are they the same thing? What is God’s desired legacy for you? Turn to God and ask for His heart. Ask for His guidance. Ask to know what He desires for you.

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

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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