Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your strength?

July 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 (NIV))

As believers, that should be our first priority!

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. We allow the world to grab a little corner of our lives and before we know it, we have lost sight of our first love. We allow these things to become our “gods” and they slowly take their unmerited place as our personal priority.

What have you allowed to become your first “love” and priority? Is it work? Is it prestige? Is it money. or fame? Perhaps it is even something that you don’t even wish to admit.

Whatever it has become, now is the time to recommit to the faith and trust that you have placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn from the things that have become your priority and turn toward Jesus. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Relationships require time and attention. Take the time.

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

Spend time daily within God’s Word. Spend time daily in prayer. Spend time daily with God and His Son and you, too, will be able to proclaim that you love the Lord and that He is your strength.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you weary in your walk with Christ?

January 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:9 (NIV))

Do you get tired of seeing the terrible, ungodly things that happen in the world? Do you ever think that you are only one person and are not capable of changing anything on your own? Do you grow tired of doing what is right in the eyes of God and not seeing anything happen?

It is so easy to get discouraged by the events in this sinful, fallen world, especially when your only desire is to see God glorified through His Son, Jesus. Sadly, too many people rely on their strength to do what God has called them to do. Are you strong enough to carry the weight of sin on your shoulders? Are you strong enough to provide a way for people to escape their sin? Are you strong enough to bridge the gap between humanity and God?

None of us are strong enough!

Thankfully, we are not called to be strong enough. We are called to allow God to work through us. We are not the ones called to carry the burdens. We are called to be obedient and answer God’s call. If we become weary, there is a good chance that we are trying to rely on our strengths and not on God’s strengths. I can think of so many mental pictures for this concept, but the one that seems to represent this concept the best is the story about the footprints in the sand. In this story, we learn of Jesus walking side by side with an individual. Then, all of a sudden we see only one set of footprints. Jesus is asked why He abandoned them and He replies that He did not abandon them, but He was carrying them!

Do the things of this world make you weary? Keep in mind that Jesus bore all of this for us. It is not our calling to reinvent grace. It is not our calling to save people. Only Jesus can save. It is our calling to be willing to answer His call. He will equip the called. He will give you His strength and His peace to do what He has called you to do.

Don’t try to do it on your own!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

January 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
(1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

How do you react when you are asked to do something?

Typically, human nature can be boiled down to just a few basic types of responses. You get angry and proclaim that you already have too much to do. You run from the question. You say yes with the intent of not fulfilling your word. You say no and feel bad about your answer and do it anyway. You say yes and willingly step up to the task.

How do you typically respond to someone asking you to do something?

How do you respond when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you have a feeling that God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is calling you to service?

Saul, in his Damascus Road experience and his ultimate conversion to Paul, could possibly have responded with all typical human responses. Fortunately for us, the Gentile believers, Paul ultimately accepted that calling and responded. If Jesus can take someone who was persecuting the Body of Christ and turn him into the person who would be responsible for spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, then why do we limit what Jesus can do in our lives?

We should proclaim our trust in Jesus. We should acknowledge that Jesus has given us strength to do the things that He has called us to do. We should be faithful in our calling as we serve Him!

Do you thank Jesus for the strength and the faith to be of service to Him?

Do you pray that you will be found faithful?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to face adversity?

September 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
(Romans 1:1-6 (NIV))

With these words, Paul was able to tell the Gentiles in Rome of the lineage of Jesus, His deity, and His plan for their salvation.

They had probably heard of the Jews being the “chosen” people by their God. They were used to worshipping multiple gods through their Roman society. Paul came to let them know that God’s promise was not only for the Jews, but for them also. The Jews were, and still are, the chosen people. But, they were chosen not to be above everyone else, but to deliver God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, a Jew of the lineage of the House of David.

Today, we, as believers, are to do what Paul did and tell the “Gentiles” of God’s love for us and His plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ. In Paul’s day, doing such a thing often lead to the eventual death of the messenger since the message went against everything that the world believed at the time. Today, we do not face death for delivering this message in our country. Yet, as individuals, we do not do as much as Paul did. In some parts of the world, people still face imprisonment and death for delivering the Gospel to others. They do it regardless of the consequences.

Does God give us strength in the face of adversity? I believe so. I pray that if we ever face the adversity to the point of death, that God will give us the strength to face it, for we will not face it alone. He will be with us.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to wait on the Lord?

June 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Do you wait on the Lord?

We have been given many promises by the Lord. Many have already come to pass, but there are still those that the Lord is waiting to fulfill. Do you believe that He will fulfill every promise that He has ever made? Do you believe that because of these promises, you have nothing to fear in this world?

If you are like me, there were times in your life that you wondered how you could ever make it through what you were facing. Some of us may be facing those times at this very moment. Has God ever let you down? Can you walk stronger in your faith because of those times?

What do you do when you face those times in your life?

It is human nature to draw closer to something. Many people will turn to alcohol or drugs. Some will turn to rage. Others will turn to depression.

Where do you turn?

God should be our first, last and only place of refuge. He longs for us to turn to Him in everything and not just the bad times.

If we truly know God and we truly know His heart, then we can rejoice in the strength that comes from His love for us. We can rejoice in the strength and the hope that comes from placing our trust in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus waited in the tomb for three days. He was dead. According to many Biblical scholars, He was collecting those who believed in Him before He came. On the third day, His strength was renewed. He was resurrected from the dead. According to scholars, those whom He collected are now in heaven. If God can renew Jesus from death after three days, what do we have to fear? If He can collect those who longed for His coming, what do we have to fear?

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. For those who place their faith in Jesus, we don’t have to worry about tomorrow for our Lord holds the very future in His hands.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Each of us can impact the world for Jesus!

December 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV))

I know that this was written long ago and that it was written by Paul. We all consider Paul to be the one who is most responsible for preaching to the Gentiles. With this in mind, I want to ask you a question.

What is stopping you from claiming this passage as your own?

Has Jesus given you strength? Does He consider you faithful? Are you ready, willing and eager to serve Him?

In comparison to what your life has become since asking Jesus into your heart, were you a blasphemer? Did you persecute those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Have you been shown mercy? Have you been shown grace? Have you been blessed abundantly with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus?

If you truly follow Jesus, you should be able to recognize that these questions all answered as Yes. The only difference between you and Paul with respect to this passage is your circle of influence.

What can we do to impact the world for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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