Is your belief clouded by doubt?

November 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6 (NIV))

Why would anyone bother to ask for something if they didn’t believe that it could be attained?

Why would you ask and then vacillate, or waiver, about what you just asked for?

Think about this concept in the following contexts. From a man’s perspective, how would the following scenarios play out in relationship to the two questions above? Would you ask someone to marry you if you didn’t believe that it could happen? What if you asked someone to marry you and then immediately responded with something like, “Never mind! I didn’t mean it!”? Now, suppose that you then asked again and then changed your mind again.

The first scenario shows your lack of faith while the second scenario shows your lack of decisiveness. Both scenarios reflect negatively on you.

Think about this in terms of asking for something from God.

Why ask God for something if you don’t believe that He can or will do it? We have a tendency to place God in a box of our own design and by so doing, we limit Him to our understanding. If God spoke everything into existence, what makes you think that He is limited in His response to you?

Why ask God for something if you can’t decide what you want to ask Him? We are told that we should approach God with confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 (NIV))

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

With this in mind, let’s take this one step further. When we approach God in confidence, we are told that this is the very definition of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must rest assuredly on the promises that we have been given. We must have faith that when we seek God’s will and when we ask for something in confidence according to His will, that it will be done. We must not be clouded in doubt?

Is your belief clouded by doubt?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be very careful not to lose your focus!

July 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
(1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV))

How secure are you in your faith? How confident are you that you can resist temptation? Are you capable of standing firm in the face of the sin that used to hold you captive?

When answering these questions, it is essential that you don’t forget that you are human and have inherited a sinful, fallen nature. It is a nature that is hard to overcome on your own. Even if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it is still possible to fall back into the very sins that you seek forgiveness for. It takes discipline. It takes focus. It takes the grace and mercy that was freely given through Jesus!

No one is perfect. We may desire to walk in the confidence that we will always do what Jesus calls us to do, but we are only capable of claiming our righteousness because Jesus is righteous. Without Jesus, we are nothing.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Walking with Jesus takes effort. It is not easy.

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))

The wide gate and the broad road are easier to travel than the narrow road and the small gate. Think of the difference between an interstate highway and a narrow and winding country road. Which is easier to travel on? Which gets you there faster? Which has the twists and turns that build your driving skills? Which holds surprise blessings along the way? If you are traveling the narrow road, you must maintain your focus or you can find yourself in danger of running off of the road. An interstate highway leads you rapidly to where you think you want to go, but is it truly the best way to go? It takes you on a journey that bypasses all of the great things that you would encounter if you focused on traveling the narrow road.

I realize that I took a small detour with the driving comparison. This is a prime example of just how easy it is to fall for a diversion. It shows us just how easy it is to lose our focus.

Be very careful not to lose your focus!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm on the Word of God

May 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV))

People not putting up with sound doctrine. People doing things after their own desires. People listening only to what they want to hear. People turning away from truth.

Does this sound anything like what we are seeing in our society today?

As I think about the state of the world, I can’t help but stop and say a prayer for the people who are caught up in the lies of the enemy. They have been blinded to the truth by the enemy to the point where they now hate the truth. They have refused to believe the truth, so it is only logical that they would believe the lie.

and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes some people refuse to accept the truth? There are some people who would argue with you if you tell them that the sky is blue. That is simply a combative spirit, but what about the people who will yell obscenities at you for telling them that God loves them?

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world.

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))

Don’t allow the world to keep you from doing what you know to be right in the eyes of God. Preach the Word. Endure hardship and do the work that God has called you to do! Stand firm!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you responding to the world?

May 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

With what is happening in the world today, it is so difficult to be joyful. I find myself losing my patience with the people who have no idea of the sinful lives that they are leading. Hopefully, I am becoming more faithful in my prayers.

Life today and the world today have become so far removed from what I remember as a child. Everything seems to be in chaos. Gone are the days when you could trust people enough to leave your doors unlocked. Gone are the days when you could trust that if your children went riding their bikes and you had no idea where they were, you could trust that they would come home.

We have lost our innocence! It seems like society is running full-speed ahead into anything and everything that is evil. The world has rapidly declined into an abyss that seems to be getting deeper and darker. With that in mind, what are we, as the Body of Christ, supposed to do? When God’s truth is no longer considered to be truth, what are we supposed to do?

Stand firm!

Stand firm in what you know to be true. Stand firm in the joy and hope. Stand firm in patience no matter what may come. Most of all, stand firm in your faithfulness and prayers!

We know that this world is not our home. We know that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We know that we will be mocked and ridiculed for our faith. We also know that Jesus will return. No matter what may come, we must remain joyful in our hope. We must remain patient no matter what the world sends our way. As we are told, we must pray without ceasing. We must never lose our faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in serving the Lord!

November 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

My spirit is sending me mixed signals. I rejoice in the grace and mercy that are mine, yet I am saddened at the current state of our nation and the world. Over the last several years I have watched the world sink deeper into depravity and corruption. I have seen human life become meaningless and of no value. I have seen intolerance to such a degree that those who practice it don’t even recognize that they are guilty of the very same thing that they claim of everyone else. I have seen things transition rapidly to the point where good is called evil and evil is called good.

If you are anything like me, then all of this weighs heavily on your spirit. Sadly, those who don’t understand this will condemn myself and those who feel like this as bigoted and narrow-minded just because we choose to follow Jesus and live according to Biblical principles. We are at a tipping point and no matter which way the election ends, the Body of Christ must be resolute in our faith. We must not allow the world to change what we know as the absolute truth. We must not allow ourselves to lose hope, for when hope is lost, faith soon follows.

God is in control. I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future. We know that we will have troubles. Even if the world completely falls apart tomorrow, I will rejoice in the knowledge that all of God’s promises are yes through Jesus Christ!

“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))

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 (NIV))

Stand firm in serving the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want faith like what Stephen had?

September 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55-56 (NIV))

Do you ever think about Stephen and his faith?

I often wonder if I would have the faith to do what he did. He was brought up on charges before the Sanhedrin. He was charged with blasphemy! Today, we see many such true acts of blasphemy on a daily basis, but at that time, it was an offense punishable by death. At the time, speaking about Jesus as the Messiah was considered blasphemy.

That did not prevent Stephen from allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him and chastise the Sanhedrin for being stiff-necked people who resist the Holy Spirit as well as killing the prophets and Jesus.

I know that this story is well known, but can you picture the zeal and the honesty that flowed from the mouth of Stephen as he let them know what God thought of them? Can you picture the anger growing in the hearts and minds of the recipients of this message?

Now that the stage is set, do you identify more with Stephen or with the Sanhedrin?

Are you open to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and are you willing to act on them no matter the consequences, or are you so set in your ways that you fail to recognize the truth when it is right in front of you?

Do you face the enemy without reservation, or do you deny the truth and embrace the enemy?

Stephen’s story has been repeated many times throughout history. People have been confronted with attacks from the enemy and have stood their ground with respect to their faith in Jesus. Would we be able to be like Stephen if we faced such an accusation?

Lord, give me the strength to be like Stephen!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to say that you know God?

June 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

I read an article today by Don Finto, a man that I have a lot of respect for. He was writing about the word “Selah” and it’s use in Psalms. Something struck me about the words that he wrote about the word that no one can agree on what it actually means. I confirmed that some translations are actually removing this because no one truly knows what it means. This brought this passage to mind.

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
(Matthew 5:18 (NIV))

I realize that the Psalms are not the Law, but it struck me as odd that someone would take it upon themselves to remove something from the Bible just because they don’t know what it means. I know that people may not like the meaning and the message behind many parts of the Bible, but they don’t remove something because of it. I also know that people have a tendency to pick and choose what they believe and what they choose to apply to their lives, but they don’t remove anything. I then realized that there are new translations that have come out that have completely changed any and all references to God and Jesus to a less threatening and more politically correct narrative.

I then realized that people have been removing things from God’s Word for a very long time. It has just become much more prevalent now than ever before.

With the direction of this topic, you may ask why I chose Psalms 46:10 as the verse that it is based on. The reason is simple. Now, more than ever, the Body of Christ must be still and know God. We must seek His truth and not the altered lies that the enemy has created. We must be prepared both in season and out of season to stand firm on God’s truth. In order to do that, we must know what God’s truth is. We must know God’s heart! We must be able to know if something is of God or is from the enemy without any hesitation, for the day is coming when hesitation may mean we fall for the lies of the enemy. We must know God intimately.

Are you able to say that you know God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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