We must humble ourselves and pray!

October 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

I can’t help but wonder if the things that we are facing as a nation are a direct result of what we have allowed our society to become. When we have record breaking hurricanes, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When countless numbers of people are fleeing raging fires, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we remove prayer from the classroom, but allow things that are detestable, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray. When we allow a vocal minority to remove God from our history, we need to humble ourselves, return to God and pray.

Take a good hard look at our society. Things that used to be considered sinful and wicked are now being pushed as the social norm. The things that are good and righteous in the eyes of God are now being ridiculed as evil and narrow-minded. Can we expect to long endure without suffering the consequences of our society’s choices?

We must do what society calls wrong. We must do what God calls righteous. We must return to God and abide by His Word. We must learn to abide in His Word.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV))

We have allowed a great social experiment. That experiment was the removal of God and His Commandments. That experiment has failed. We must humble ourselves, return to God and pray. We, as the Body of Christ, must take the lead. We must humble ourselves. We must be willing to pray. We must be anxious to pray. Our nation depends upon it.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is always more to God’s story!

September 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10 (NIV))

Do you think that you know the story of Jonah?

I thought that I did, and much to my surprise, there was more that I didn’t know than I did know.

We all know that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. We know that Jonah ran from what God asked him to do because he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. We know that Jonah boarded a boat and ended up in the belly of a great fish. This is where the passage picks up in the story. What we aren’t told in scripture is that the god and goddess that were worshipped in Ninevah were Dagon and Nanshe.

I hope that you pick up on God’s sense of humor when I tell you that the two gods that were worshipped in Ninevah were fish gods!

Imagine the reaction of the people when they witness something that looks like the gods that they worship vomiting out someone who is preaching for them to repent and to turn to the one true God. It would get my attention! No wonder there was mass repentance in the city of Ninevah!

I find it interesting that God will use the false beliefs of people to get their attention and to get them to repent. I was very intrigued when I discovered the additional details about Ninevah. God’s Word is full of hints at His majesty and how He works. I wonder how much more that we truly do not know. I would love to know the rest of all of God’s stories.

There is always more to God’s story!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you recognize within you?

August 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
(Psalms 51:3 (NIV))

Do the things that you do make you lie awake at night? Do you regret the things that you do? Do you find yourself doing the things that you don’t want to do and not doing the things that you desire to do?

You are not alone. Sadly, it is part of the human condition. Even Paul, the man who is credited with spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced this in his life.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

The fact that it bothers you is a good sign. The fact that you regret your actions is a good sign. The fact that you are aware of your transgressions is a very telling trait of someone who longs to leave those actions behind and move forward following Jesus. Recognizing that you are a sinner in need of Jesus is critical, however, recognizing that you will still be tempted is also critical to your maturity in faith. We are made righteous in the eyes of God when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but our flesh is still sinful. We must learn to overcome the very nature that we were born under. This is a maturation process that takes time.

David recognized his sinful nature. Paul recognized his sinful nature. What do you recognize within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your inheritance?

August 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

How do you live?

Do any of these acts of the flesh still have a hold on your life? To be honest with you, we are only human and are not capable of perfection on our own. Chances are extremely good that all of us fall prey to some of these on a regular basis. Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy all seem to sneak up on us more often than we care to admit, even if we have the other issues in control. Even when we desire to live a righteous life, our human nature seems to drag us down. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus, we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God, the Father. I can picture Jesus shaking His head whenever we do something less than what He intends. I can almost picture this as a parent would react when trying to teach their young child how to ride a bike. I can hear Jesus saying to get up and try again, and that we will eventually get the hang of living a life according to His calling. I can also picture each of us, when we do fall, turning to Jesus and saying, “Help me! It’s too difficult. I can’t do it on my own!”

Sadly, too many of us seem to want to hold on to our terrible twos and all of the moments when we defiantly claimed, “I’ll do it!” When you were growing up, how many times did you get spanked because of this defiant attitude?

We have two clearly defined options. One is to turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. With this option, we inherit the kingdom of God. The other option is that we defiantly claim “I’ll do it!” and we inherit an eternity being separated from God.

What is your inheritance?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you delight in what brings delight to Jesus?

March 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV))

Is this your definition of love?

Did you notice that this passage doesn’t say that love is accepting of the evil that is sin? Love does not delight in evil, so why do we think that if we love someone, then we accept the sin that they are involved in? Love means that we want the best for the person. Why would we accept evil and claim that evil is what is best for any person?

Jesus loves each of us, yet He didn’t say that it was okay for us to stay in our sin. He didn’t condemn us when He came to this world. He called us to repent. He called us to leave our life of sin.

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11 (NIV))

I often wonder if this is how people have come to believe that Jesus will allow sin? Do people think that because Jesus didn’t blast sin while He was on the earth that we won’t face judgment for our actions? When Jesus came to this world, He didn’t come to judge. He came to offer salvation. He came to offer hope. He came to offer a way to repent before the judgment happens, and it will happen.

Jesus came to bring truth so that the truth would conquer evil. He came in love. He came so that we can overcome the evil of sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you returned? Are you still returning?

March 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

Are you ashamed of where you have been?

Perhaps I should ask if you are ashamed of where you are?

Let’s face the hard, unadulterated truth. We are all human, and human nature means that we are not perfect. We have all done things that are far from what Jesus calls us to do. Most of us like to think that this is all in our past, after all, we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! In reality, we still sin. Our human nature doesn’t go away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, to control the sinful nature that lies within all of us.

We must repent daily!

When we repent, we turn away from our sin and return to God. It is an act of obedience that we must do daily, if not more often, for our sinful, human nature will try to make us return to our sin.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not the end of your walk with Jesus. It is only the beginning! When you go for a walk, do you ever find yourself making mid-walk corrections and adjustments to make sure that you end up at your ultimate destination. Sometimes you must turn left. Other times you must turn right. Along the way you may have to step over or around obstacles. Sometimes you must turn around or return. Walking with Jesus is much the same way. Our sinful nature will start to lead us down a path that is not right. We must be sure to listen for the call to return to the path that Jesus desires for us to walk.

Have you returned to the Lord to be able to begin anew? Are you returning to Him on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are the results of sin and its approval?

February 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
(Romans 1:32 (NIV))

Does this sound like the current world view?

It takes no stretch of the imagination to see people rebelling against God’s righteous decrees. What they are doing is being practiced, tolerated and flaunted by society. Certain groups within our society seem to take great pleasure in thumbing their proverbial noses at those who seek after righteousness as well as God, Himself.

There is even division in the church!

Some people have embraced sin under the false concept that God loves everyone, and that since He created them, He must be okay with the sin. They erroneously think that God loving the individual and God loving the sin is the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Roman s 3:23 (NIV))

In other words, no one is worthy to be in God’s presence because we are all sinners.

Where do we belong as a result of our sinful nature? How do we escape what is our rightful condemnation?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Jesus is the narrow gate!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

With it clearly spelled out for all to see, what I don’t understand is why anyone would choose the sinful nature? Why does anyone approve of the sinful nature?

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