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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Hold fast to the faith

July 7, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV))

Hold fast to what is of God and do not let the world distract you. The rewards of God are far better than anything the world has to offer. If you hold fast to God’s Word, then you will have the world trying to distract you. If they cannot distract you, then they will try to torment and persecute you. Unfortunately, persecution is a sign of righteousness and unswerving faith in God. Satan is trying with all of his arsenal to make you forsake God and accept the world view of things. Do not be dismayed! Hold fast to the faith and remember that the persecution that you are facing is not from God, but from Satan. If Satan is persecuting you, then he is afraid of what God will do through you and he is trying to stop it. Always remember that

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)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you rejoice when you think of God?

June 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
(Psalms 95:1-2 (NIV))

Do you rejoice when you think of God?

I believe that our human traditions have made it almost impossible to truly rejoice before God. Our worship services follow a set sequence and many of our churches sit quietly during the whole service. Don’t take this wrong. I am not against reverence. What I am suggesting is that we have lost our ability to shout, after all there is a time for both reverence and rejoicing.

I honestly believe that we can show reverence and rejoice at the same time. Unfortunately, the same person who shouts for their favorite college team on Saturday will not even clap on Sunday. Have we, as the Body of Christ, lost the ability to rejoice over what Jesus has done for us? Can we act in reverence and joy just as the early church did at Pentecost?

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. ”
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
” `In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
(Acts 2:13-17 (NIV))

They were not ashamed. They did not squelch their joy. God sent His Holy Spirit and they embraced the Holy Spirit with reverence, joy and awe. Being Godly does not mean that you sit there with your nose up in the air. It means that you welcome and fully embrace God in His Triune Glory and allow Him to move in you and through you.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you allowed God to give you grace?

February 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:8-11 (NIV))

If God loved us enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ to die for us so that we may be reconciled to Him when we were in sin, how much more will His grace and mercy be poured out upon us after we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior?

Isn’t it amazing that the One who created us saved us from ourselves. We allowed sin into this world, yet, through God’s grace and mercy, He has allowed us to be redeemed from that sin and reconciled to Him.

Have you allowed God the opportunity to allow you to have grace and mercy?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

December 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

If you had to proclaim the birth of a baby in your family, you would be joyful. You would exude enthusiasm. You would rejoice in the fact that God has blessed you with a new life to share. It would be an extremely happy occasion. Unfortunately, though, that baby would be born with the very same curse that we all face. That baby would be bound by the law of sin and death.

Now, consider that a baby was born into the family two thousand years ago. This baby was no ordinary baby. I am sure that He brought joy to the lives of those whom He called His family, but He was so much more. He came into this world to be a part of the family of each and every single person who has ever lived. This baby came into the world to bring great joy. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. Unlike everybody who was born under the law of sin and death, Jesus came into the world sin free. He grew up sin free and He remained sin free even to obedience that called Him to die on the cross. Through Jesus, we truly have grace and mercy. Through the baby Jesus, we truly have something to rejoice about. The infant that came into this world symbolizes a rebirth of our human natures.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

Share Jesus with all that you meet in the upcoming year!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus during these troubling times

September 10, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

An oracle concerning Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
(Isaiah 17:1 (NIV))

Does this verse come to mind when you see what is unfolding in Syria?

Do you know about the prophesies about Damascus and the other nations in that part of the world?

Do you even care?

Do we simply set back and look at what is going on in that part of the world? Do we think to ourselves, “What does this have to do with me?”

Things are unfolding rapidly. Many people who follow Biblical prophesy are watching things with great anticipation.

Could the world’s military attention on Syria lead to the destruction of Damascus? Could it lead to the coalition of Arab nations and the land of Gog and Magog (Russia) that will attack Israel?

Do you know God’s timeline as outlined in the Bible? Do you know what was said to the seven churches? Do you know God’s plan for your salvation?

Each day brings something new. Each day makes me have greatly mixed emotions. I am saddened that the state of the world has become what it has become. I am saddened for all those who choose to ignore the Gospel. I am saddened for all those who have lost their lives and all those who will lose their lives. Yet, I rejoice for I know that God is in control. I rejoice because I can see things unfolding and I can see how they might be a part of God’s plan. I rejoice because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I rejoice because we have been told that those who truly call upon the name of Jesus will be saved.

No matter what the world may go through, keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Do not allow the world to distract you. Do not allow the world to keep you from finishing the race and receiving the prize.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in the precious gift that is today!

July 31, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalms 118:24 (NIV))

Every day is a gift from God. We do not know when the day that we see will be our last. Our society has become so engrossed in planning for tomorrow, that we often overlook today. Today is a certainty. Tomorrow is only a possibility. It is wise to plan for tomorrow, but do not be so wrapped up in tomorrow that you neglect today.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:34)

When Jesus came to earth, He did not spend His whole time with us worrying about the cross that was to come “tomorrow.” He knew that it would come, yet He did not worry about it. He embraced each day on this earth and did the Will of God the Father for the moment that he was in. Should we do any different than Jesus did? Another “tomorrow” that Jesus faced was the Right Hand of God the Father after His resurrection, yet Jesus did not skip today to get to tomorrow. He rejoiced in what was the moment and kept everything in it’s proper place and time.

Each day is a precious gift from God. Do not waste this gift worrying about the possibility of another gift!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you praise God?

July 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

How do you praise God? Do you sit quietly in the “traditional” view of church or do you rejoice in all that God has done? Personally, I believe that there is a time and a place for both approaches as long as they are done with the correct attitude.

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

God calls us to be still in His presence. This is so that we may listen. This is so that we may speak. This is so that we may get to know God. This is not to be a time of self-righteous indignation if someone does not do exactly as you are doing. This is personal time with God the Father, and not a time to judge others.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:6-7 (NIV))

I want you to think about someone who is very close to you. Perhaps your mother or father. It may even be your spouse or a child. In your relationship with that person, you have moments of quiet personal time. You also have moments of fun where you are simply happy that they are who they are. This is the same way that we should be with God. When we are joyous for whom He is, then we should sing praises to Him, for He is worthy of all praise.

Clapping your hands and shouting to God in joy does not contradict the quiet times that He longs to have with us. God created us to be in balance. Without the quiet times, we cannot embrace the praise. Without the praise, we cannot comprehend whose presence we enter into when we have the quiet times.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in your weakness, for God will give you strength!

February 4, 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))

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

We definitely have something to rejoice about. We have a God who loves us and gives us His peace, a peace that passes all understanding. He will protect us, and He will answer our prayers. His peace comes from His grace. This is a grace that is capable of handling any obstacle that it encounters.

God did not promise that He would protect us from temptation and hardship. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, even when tormented by a messenger of Satan, God simply responded that His grace was all that is required. He did promise us that He would deliver us through weakness. This recures throughout His Word. “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Psalms 37:11)

When the world says that you must be strong in order to survive, we, as believers, know that our strength does not lie within us. It comes to us and through us from God. It is through our weaknesses that God can show His strength in a way that those who witness the results will know that it did not happen of our doing.

Rejoice in your weakness, for God will give you strength!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In this world you will have trouble

January 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

It is evident that this is something that our society has forgotten. We have become a people who look upon suffering in a much different way than Paul did when he wrote these words to the believers in Rome. Too many of our society, including many people who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, expect this life to be free from suffering. They expect things to be perfect, without any obstacles, happily ever after!

It has been said that our character is slowly chiseled by the trials that we face and how we face them. Paul knew this very well. He suffered greatly for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During his sufferings, he was imprisoned, beaten, and rejected by those from whom he came. He developed strength of character through his sufferings that allowed him to be the instrument that God used to build His church for the Gentiles. We owe our heritage and our salvation to the fact that Paul was willing to suffer so that others would know of the grace and mercy given to us through Jesus.

Character is something that cannot be developed in good times. It is developed in times of suffering. If you follow Jesus, then you must be prepared to face the suffering.

“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))

Paul also knew this and wrote to share this with us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-6(NIV))

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