Whose strength?

November 17, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

When we have the Lord on our side, or should I say when we are on His side, it feels like we can do anything. We feel creation in a way that we could never feel it without God’s presence.

Without God, we cannot accomplish anything of significance. With God, He can accomplish anything at all through us. That is the difference. Without God, we make feeble attempts that rely solely on our limited capabilities. With God, He pours out His Spirit upon us and through us to accomplish things that are impossible for us to accomplish. You have probably heard it said that God does not call and use the able, but, rather, he calls those who are not able so that it is obvious that they are not the ones who are doing the act. With this in mind, God is our strength for we cannot do anything without Him.

Take a look at some of the people in the Bible. Take a look at David, for example. He fell into temptation and sinned. He took another man’s wife and then had that man killed. David fell short of what God had called him to because of sin. Even through this sin, though, David turned back to God and repented. He acknowledged his sin and placed his full trust in God. Of course David had to face the consequences of his actions, but, he still was considered a man after God’s own heart. David placed his limited strength in the unlimited strength of the Lord. Because of this, David was promised many things, even though in his own strength he could not keep from sinning.

Do you place your limited strength in the unlimited strength of the Lord? Do you allow God to take you to the heights so that He may be glorified, or do you simply look at what God is calling you to and back away from it because you cannot do it?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Power and authority

September 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
(Revelation 2:26 (NIV))

We should not seek power for the sake of power, however, Jesus has promised us that we would have authority.

Power that comes from the world is self-serving and is self-centered. It feeds a person’s ego and allows Satan to enter with lies about “no one will know, and you deserve it.”

The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true. No single person in all of history has been able to resist the temptation that comes with absolute authority. Notice that I said no single “person.” Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus resisted the temptation, and as a result, if we can follow Him and allow Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior, then we, too, can resist temptation. By resisting this temptation in our lives and focusing on Jesus, we are placing all authority for our lives in His hands. By surrendering our authority, we will be given authority through Jesus Christ.

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)

Most people don’t think of authority as one of the things that they will do. However, it is. Jesus was given the authority. His authority He gives to those who allow Him into their lives.

It is promised. If we do the Will of God through the authority given to Jesus, then we will be given authority in a similar manner. This authority is not to be looked upon as the world looks upon authority, for even God given authority still requires a willing submission to the Father who has granted the authority.

Do not boast about authority, but pray for guidance in your authority that God has given you.

The passage speaks about the Millennial Kingdom, but the same principles apply today. Focus on Godly authority to enforce whatever authority you may have, and you will be blessed as well as be a blessing.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your perspective?

August 5, 2011

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))

Do you know who the sons of Ishmael are?

Do you know who his brothers are?

Knowing the answers to these two questions puts a whole new light on the events of the world, for the sons of Ishmael are the Arab nations. His brother was Isaac. Isaac’s descendants are the children of Israel.

What does that do to your understanding of the way things have been unfolding in the Middle East? God foretold of the continuing and ever increasing troubles that the “brothers” have been having. Did God have this planned from the beginning of time? Perhaps He just took advantage of the mess that He knew humanity would make of things. Whatever happened in His planning, God knew exactly how things would unfold.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
(Isaiah 46:10 (NIV))

God does have it all planned out. Perhaps it is because He is not bound by time and space. He can move about freely in His creation. He sees all things at once no matter where they happen, and even no matter when they happen.

Knowing God’s Word puts a whole new and fresh perspective on the events of this world. Without God’s Word, everything looks random and chaotic. With God’s Word, everything has a purpose.

What is your perspective on worldly events?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Discernment

August 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
(1 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV))

What do you consider as foolishness?

Do you watch the news about removing the Ten Commandments from public buildings and think that this is wisdom or do you see the folly of our society and call it foolishness?

We, as a society, have turned our backs on the things of God. They are considered foolishness. What does that say about our society? What does that say about our so called leaders? More importantly, what does that say about us as believers? Are we too ashamed to call the folly of this world what it truly is?

We, as individual members of the Body of Christ must always strive to discern God’s Will for all things and not simply accept the will of the fallen world in which we live. We must not accept the lies of the prince of this world.

He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
(Daniel 8:24-26 (NIV))

Too many people will not discern the things from the Spirit of God, for they only want to see the lies of this world. We must pray for discernment for all.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly obedience and trust

May 19, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(John 21:4-6 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself an expert in what you do?

Think about that question for a moment.

How willing are you to take the advice of someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do? How willing are you to even consider doing something differently than what you are accustomed to?

Now, is there something in your life that you are struggling with because you know that God is leading you in a certain direction, but you feel that you are constantly encountering roadblocks and obstacles? Have you stopped to consider that you are trying to fulfill your calling using your own strengths and plans? Perhaps you simply need to step back and accept the advice from someone else.

That is exactly what the disciples did, not only in this story, but in other stories as well.

Every time that they attempted to do something without Jesus, it did not go as planned. When they allowed Jesus to guide, things vastly improved. Fortunately for those who can claim spiritual descendancy to the disciples, they allowed someone else to lead them. They soon realized that they could not do it on their own. They needed Jesus.

What in your life is in need of the guidance that Jesus can give? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your calling? Is it a ministry that He is longing to use to spread the Gospel? Listen to that still, small voice. I think that you know the one. It is the one that says “Throw your net on the right side of the boat. . . “ It is the one that sounds foolish, but you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. It is the one that is calling you to trust in something besides your own so-called expertise.

I once heard a story about how a revival got started. To summarize, many people got together to pray that a revival would start in their town. They met regularly, but with no results. Finally, someone asked after a rather lengthy prayer meeting if anyone felt anything. No one answered. This went on for several more prayer meetings, and still no one answered. Finally, at still another prayer meeting, someone reluctantly said that they felt that they were supposed to hit the table. They said that they had felt this way almost since the beginning of their prayer group, but they felt that it was foolish and didn’t mention it. Finally, they broke down and did what they felt they were being told to do. They hit the table.

Can you guess what happened?

Are you ignoring something because you feel that it is foolish? God is not calling the equipped. He is equipping the called. It is up to each of us to answer that call. He will call you in ways that you may think are foolish.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Are you trying to do things your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate evil?

May 12, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
(Psalms 97:10 (NIV))

Do you hate evil?

I don’t mean do you not allow it into your life, but do you go out of your way to remove evil from all around you?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines hate as intense hostility and aversion or extreme dislike or antipathy. If we are true to the meaning of the word, then if we love the Lord, we must so dislike evil that we will do all within our power to remove it from our lives.

Today’s society has started falsely saying that anything is ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. This type of false truth has allowed evil to run rampart within our society while too many people turn their backs because it does not hurt them. We cannot allow evil and sin to exist and take the attitude that it is ok as long as we do not take part in it. We must do all that we can to remove evil and the temptations that it presents.

There is only one way to overcome evil and reach out to those who are caught up in it.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:23-24 (NIV))

We must share Jesus with those who are trapped within the evils of this world. We must not only show them with words, we must show them with actions. We must do what Jesus would do. He did not condemn. He did not preach with a self-righteous attitude. He simply told people the truth of God’s Word and let them follow for themselves. We cannot bring everyone to the saving knowledge of salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus, but we can place ourselves as haters of sin who long to see everyone saved. We must long wholeheartedly to know that those who are caught up in evil can and will be able to claim salvation.

“Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
(Romans 4:7-8 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You will never find greater riches than these.

March 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
(Ephesians 1:7 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of riches?

Is it the typical human nature responses such as money, big house, fancy cars and expensive toys?

Let me ask this another way.

What is it that you value the most?

Did you answer family and friends? Perhaps you thought of the gift of life itself. These are valuable to most people, yet, there is something that has far greater worth. It is of far greater worth than all of the riches of the world.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

Everything in this life is here today and gone tomorrow. With that said, how can we place value on something that does not last? How can we spend our lives striving for something that can be taken from us in the blink of an eye?

We are trapped in a world of sin and death. A world that we allowed to fall away from God. It is a world badly in need of something that is eternal, something that will not rust or decay with time. That something is God’s grace.

I know of nothing in this world that can bring eternal life, even though man has searched for just such a thing for a long time. I know of nothing in this world that can bring peace, even though we all long for it. I know of nothing in this world that can bring everlasting joy, even though there are things that bring us fleeting glimpses of joy. Nothing in this world can redeem us. Nothing in this world can provide forgiveness, and nothing in this world can give us grace.

With that said, the greatest riches of all is the very thing that can bring all of this. It is not of this world, for this world is fallen. It is from the very One who created this world. It is designed to bring each and every one of us back into the pre-sin relationship that we were supposed to have with God.

Let me ask a few more questions.

Does money make you happy? Do big houses make you happy? Do expensive toys make you happy? All of these things soon become the reason for living and then you discover that they leave you cold and empty. Only one thing can leave you joyfully filled and warm with the love of God.

Have you accepted the riches that God offers through His glorious gift of grace? Have you accepted the gift of salvation that was purchased at the cross by Jesus?

You will never find greater riches than these.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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