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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


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
Subscribe to daily email delivery


A man planted a vineyard

February 9, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others.
(Luke 20:9-16 (RSV))

God created a beautiful place when He created the earth. Unfortuantely, the tenants that inhabited the land did not listen to Him and soon had turned over control to someone else.

These tenants would not listen to God. They would not listen to Noah. THey would not listen to Moses. They wanted complete control.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
(Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV))

These tenants would not listen to God’s prophets. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem the world to Him.

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))

The tenants killed God’s Son thinking that they would then inherit the world and all that is in it.

What will God do?

He will come and destroy those tenants, but those who call upon the name of Jesus will not be destroyed. They will be the ones to whom He gives the vineyard.

We must realize that we are the tenants that this parable speaks of and that we must reject the ways of the “vineyard” and turn toward God.

Do we desire to take what is not ours or do we wish to inherit what God desires to give us?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Spiritual acuity

February 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.
(Numbers 9:15-19 (NIV))

Obedience!

I often wonder what I would have done if I had seen these things first hand. Would I have been as obedient or would I have doubted? I like to think that I would have obeyed what God commanded, yet, I find myself doing the opposite in many circumstances. It is not that I mean to disobey. In many occasions, it is a matter of laziness or fear. I have the benefit of being able to look back through history and read about the things that happened. I have the assurance, contrary to what many people today would have you believe, that the Word of God is the Truth. It never fails.

Still, I do.

Perhaps I can pass it off to human nature. Perhaps that is why God chose to manifest His presence over the tabernacle as a cloud by day and a flame by night. God new that we are frail and need constant reminding of His bountiful presence.

Today, we have the Old and the New Testaments. We have the history of the church. We have so much to remind us of God, yet, we often fail to see the wonderful “cloud” or “flame” that God has set before us to guide us. We have become busy with our day to day lives, that we often fail to see the obvious signs from God. We disobey out of spiritual blindness.

What is your spiritual acuity?

Is it good enough that you obey God all of the time?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Don’t be a boastful messenger

January 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
“a voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Mark 1:2-3 (NIV))

What if we were told that God was sending us a messenger today?

Think about that if you will.

John the Baptist came to point the way to Jesus. Those who came to John were ready for what was to come. They were sincere in their repentance and from what we have been told, they were earnestly seeking God. They recognized something in John, something that did not point to himself, but pointed to someone who is to come.

John was not the message. He was only the messenger.

Jesus was and is the message.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
(John 1:1-9 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, confuse the messenger with the message? How many times have you heard of people going to a church because they love the pastor? This is not wrong, but what happens when the love of pastor is greater than the love of God and Jesus? How many times have you heard of people leaving the church because of something that someone said?

Each of us is a messenger in our own right. We are all supposed to point to Jesus. What you do and say has an impact on those around you. Professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to surrender to Him and to be His hands and feet in this world. We are to prepare the way for the Lord in the lives of those we meet.

Don’t be a boastful messenger.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


What should we do?

January 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
(Mark 6:12-13 (NIV))

This sounds pretty amazing especially when you consider that the miracles that were being done were not done by Jesus!

He had given them instructions to go out and take nothing with them. They were to take nothing; no money, no food, no extra clothes. They were simply to put into practice what Jesus had been teaching them.

Can you imagine the anxiety that the disciples must have felt when Jesus told them this? They probably felt panic and fear, as well as an instant knotting of the stomach. What would you have felt if Jesus had told you to do this? What would be your response? What would be the first words out of your mouth back to Jesus? Would you try to get out of doing what He asked? Would you fake the excitement and then go and do nothing? Would you have the faith to embrace the instructions and do what He asked?

Two thousand years ago, people probably had trouble following what Jesus asked, even though He was walking the earth with them. They had not yet seen the most astonishing aspect of the life of Jesus. They had not seen Him in His resurrected glory, yet, they still obeyed and were able to perform great things in the name of Jesus.

We have the privilege of knowing that Jesus did get resurrected and that He now sits at the right hand of God the Father. What do we do with that knowledge? Do we embrace it as the disciples did and drive out demons and anoint the sick and heal them?

God’s Word is powerful. We must learn to trust in it the way the disciples did. We must learn to listen and trust in Jesus.

Do you truly have faith in Jesus? What did His disciples do?

What did Jesus do?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

What should we do?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Out of place!

January 11, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Esther became queen of a foreign land at a time when the Jews were not in their own land. She probably felt out of place in this land and in this role she was given to play.

How many times have you been placed in a situation that you felt was not your place? Take a look at Esther. God had her there for a purpose. She was placed there for “such a time as this”. She had to recognize that fact before she could act and do God’s will.

Mordecai was right, if she had failed to act, deliverance would have come from another hand of God. If that had happened, it is possible that when we read about Esther, we would be reading about her blindness and inability to hear God’s voice, instead of how she became God’s servant in delivering the Jews.

Do you feel out of place and unsure of what you are to do? Listen to God. He places people where He wants them in order to do His will.

Are you listening or are you stumbling through blindly?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Frantic or eager?

December 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.* Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the things of this world to overtake us and distract us just as they did with Martha. It is so easy to focus on the busyness of life and completely miss out on the blessings that are right in front of us.

Do you think that Jesus is concerned about the cleanliness of our home, or with the fact that elaborate meals are not prepared? Do you think that Jesus cares more about our frantic effort to put on a good visible facade or that we simply choose to be in His presence?

It is human nature to try to create appearances that are different from reality. We often find ourselves doing just that when we should simply be basking in the moment.

Think about that.

Mary and Martha were sisters. They were in the same house. Jesus was present within their home. Mary recognized that she had a blessing and an opportunity that may never happen again. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frantically trying to prepare for her guest and did not realize that what she would receive from Him was far greater than what hospitality traditions would provide. Martha followed tradition. Mary followed the Savior. Both loved Jesus. Both knew of His miracles and both probably had an idea of who He truly was, yet Martha chose a path that made her frustrated in the presence of the Lord. She was trying to do things her way, the traditional way.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing, ready and able to step out in faith even when that step goes against all traditions. We will be called to things that may not make sense to us. We will be called to things that are uncertain in our eyes. We will be called to be still in the Lord’s presence and to take a step of faith.

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

If we are like Martha, we will miss what Jesus is calling us to do. We must be like Mary and eagerly sit at the feet of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: