For days

July 31, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:4 (NLT))

Nehemiah did something that we seem to ignore today!

It is the first two words of this passage – for days.

We have become such an instant gratification society that if something does not happen immediately, too many of us simply give up.

We mourn. We fast. We pray to God, but when God doesn’t answer on our time table, we assume that the answer is no. Nehemiah knew differently. He knew that God is like the judge in the following parable.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8 (NIV))

We must be persistent in our prayers. God answers every prayer, but He takes great joy in granting justice for those who call upon His name.

Do you call out for days or do you utter a few words and give up?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has God done for you?

July 17, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

When was the last time that you truly read and comprehended these words?

God is so good that His love truly does endure forever. David realized this when he wrote these words. David did not stop with these words only. He wrote and wrote about the good things that God has done and with each one, he emphasized that God’s love never ends.

Perhaps we should take a minute to read and reflect on what David wrote.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights–
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings–
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan–
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever
(Psalms 136: 1-26 (NIV))

We would be hard pressed to list that many things in our lives that we are willing to give God the credit and the glory for. David did it. He gave God the glory for all things. Perhaps this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

There are things in my life that I pray would change, yet perhaps I should be thankful for them and wait on God to lead me through them instead.

What can you list that God has done for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you covering up?

June 1, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
(Proverbs 17:9 (NIV))

Do you tend to forgive and forget or do you continually bring up the wrongs that have been done?

I know that this requires a close inward scrutiny that most of us do not like to endure, but it is something that we must endure. We must examine our actions and our intentions and repent if necessary.

But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:15 (NIV))

Covering up an offense is a necessary step in forgiving others. How do you think God can forgive our sins if He does not cover them up? If He continually repeated them in His mind, He would continually find reasons not to extend grace.

God is gracious!

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5 (NIV))

We are forgiven!

Just as we are forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus, we should forgive others.

What are you covering up?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Such a time as this

May 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
(Esther 3:1-2 (NIV))

Do you bow down and pay honor to anyone that is human? Don’t get me wrong. There is an honor out of respect, but then there is this type of honor. The type of honor that Mordecai refused to give was that of lordship. This type of honor means that you have given over authority and worship the person in question.

Mordecai refused to worship anyone or anything but God.

If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.
(Deuteronomy 8:19 (NIV))

I am sure that we all know the rest of the story about Haman and his plans? We also know that Esther was made queen and placed in her position.

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:12-14 (NIV))

In today’s world, we, as the Body of Christ, see many things that we do not like – things that we know go against the Word of God.

What do we do?

Do we bow down like the nobles or do we take a stand like Mordecai? Do we intervene like Esther? We have a choice. We have the right to do whatever we want, yet, what does our heart tell us? What does the Holy Spirit tell us? What does God’s Word tell us?

Each of us have a set period in space and time. We have a unique influence that no other can have. We are called to bring the light to the world.

We, too, are called for such a time as this.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Nothing could be simpler

May 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
(Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV))

Did you catch what Paul was saying to the church at Philippi?

I find myself at a loss for words, except to say that Paul was asking the church if they felt anything from their relationship with Jesus to take what they have received and share it with others.

It is as simple as that.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

We can preach through the same love, spirit and purpose that Paul spoke of. It is not our assignment to condemn, for we are not qualified to judge. It is our assignment to share what the love of Jesus has done for us.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Do you have a smile on your face and a song of praise in your heart? Share it, for that may be the “preaching” that someone is waiting to hear.

Nothing could be simpler. It is we who have made it difficult.

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

March 8, 2012

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))

Abraham was a great man of God, yet, for all of his faith, he was not always patient to let God do what He had promised.

When Sarah did not bear any children, she gave Hagar to bear children for her. This caused a tremendous envy and jealousy that is still being played out to this day. The son born to Abraham by Hagar and his descendents have lived in hostility to their brothers ever since. The Arab nations and Israel claim the same roots in Abraham, yet, the conflict continues.

Consider that the custom was and is for the first-born to receive the blessing. According to the custom of man, that should have been Ishmael, yet, according to the ways of God, Isaac received the blessing and Ishmael was forced to flee with his mother. Perhaps if Sarah had not been so impatient with God, the events throughout history and especially the recent events in this world would never have happened.

Consider the fact that every time man tries to rush God or to second-guess Him, disaster follows. It happened with Adam and Eve. It happened with Abraham and Sarah. Is it happening in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I have accepted my position

February 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV))

It has been said that the Old Testament and The Law are there to show us what we are supposed to do and how difficult it is to do it. If this is true, then the New Testament is there to show us that we have another way. The Law is there as the letter that we must follow perfectly and never falter or waiver from its course. The Spirit is given to us by the grace and mercy shown at the cross. The Spirit gives us redemption and salvation. It gives us freedom from the Law. This freedom does not mean that we are able to ignore the Law and do whatever we want. It means that we are given grace for we are not capable of being perfect even when we desire it with all of our hearts. It allows us to be human. It allows us to make mistakes and then learn from our mistakes.

The twist to all of this is that through the Spirit, we are all ministers one to another. In the Old Testament and under the Law, ministers had to be set apart from the rest of society. They had to be ceremonially pure. They had to be followers of the letter of the Law. If they did not follow the letter of the Law, they faced the possibility of death in the presence of God.

Today, we have grace and mercy as our mantle. We have salvation through the blood of Jesus. We have the Spirit. Through the Spirit, we are given life in the presence of God, were, before the Spirit, we only faced death. Speaking for myself, I do not long to follow the letter of the Law, for it is inflexible and unforgiving. I want forgiveness and mercy, for I know that I am not perfect and cannot ever achieve perfection on my own.

I need grace!

I need to help others find that grace!

I, in all of my human shortcomings, am a minister of that grace. I have accepted my position.

Have you accepted yours?

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