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 your shield and your very great reward?

March 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
(Genesis 15:1 (NIV))

Can you even begin to imagine what was going through the mind of Abram when he heard these words?

Abram was an old man and he and his wife did not have any children. In the society of that day, children were a blessing and Abram and Sarai did not have any. It is recorded in Genesis that Abram questioned the Lord because of this.

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
(Genesis 15:2-3 (NIV))

Abram did not see the very great reward because of his then current situation. But, God did!

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars-if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Genesis 15:4-5 (NIV))

Abram was in a very strange predicament in his mind and in the eyes of those around him. Abram saw through his circumstances and looked at things through the promises of God. In spite of how things looked according to the world, Abram believe the Lord and it was counted as righteousness. To summarize a glorious story, the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means the father of many nations. Because of Abram’s belief, the Lord did do as He had promised. He was his strong shield and his very great reward.

Do you have the faith of Abraham to believe the Lord’s promises?

Is the Lord your shield and your very great reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you place your hope and your faith in Jesus!

September 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Is it possible for hope to be a driving force in someone’s life? Can hope become more than hope? Can it become belief and faith? Can hope become joy?

As humans, we all have things that we hope for. We all have things that make us smile and bring us joy. We all have things that we feel can make us rise above the burdens of the world and give us a new lease on life. What are those things in your life?

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalm 20:7 (NIV))

Hopefully, you don’t actually trust in horses and chariots. This example is probably the ultimate example of what can give someone a feeling of power, a feeling that they can rise above anything. Sadly, those who place their hope and trust in these types of things soon learn that someone will come along with faster horses and better chariots.

Don’t place your hope in the things of this world. Don’t even place your hope in the people in your life. There is only one place where your hope needs to be placed.

Place your hope in Jesus!

No matter what the world may send your way, He will not forsake you. He will lift you up. He will give you peace. He will deliver you. Can you honestly say that of anything in this world? There is only one who can save. There is only one who can give you strength. There is only one who will lift you up. There is only one who can make you soar!

Place your hope and your faith in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God has not turned His back on you!

August 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.
(1 Samuel 12:22 (NAS))

Too many people feel that God has turned His back on them. They think that He has abandoned them in the middle of their troubles and simply left them there to flounder in their situation. What they don’t realize is that it is not God who has abandoned them, but they who have abandoned God.

God has made a covenant with His creation through the atoning blood of Jesus, His Son. This covenant means that He will always be there for those who call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We have access to God the Father through Jesus, the Son. God’s covenant was made so that those who call upon the name of Jesus would have eternal life with God the Father. If God has given us a means to spend eternity with Him, why would He abandon anyone? Even those who have not called upon Jesus to be their Lord and Savior are under the covenant, they simply have not claimed it for themselves, yet.

It is us who has broken the covenant relationship with God. Even those who have claimed salvation through Jesus may loose sight of God occasionally. When this happens, God is not the one who has abandoned us. We have abandoned Him for earthly objectives and distractions. He is still there, we simply choose to not acknowledge His presence in our lives. He can never break His promise made through Jesus to be with us to the end of the age. God cannot lie.

The next time that you feel God has abandoned you, simply look around you. God is still there. He is still in covenant with you through the atoning blood of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still living in sin?

June 17, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 18:10-13 (NIV))

Today’s society draws a fine line when it comes to these practices. Some people say “as long as it is intended for good, it is okay.” God did not say do them only for Him or only for good! He said that they are detestable in His sight. This means no matter what the intentions are. The old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is true. Everyone thinks that they can do things their way or better than what God had planned. God has given us explicit instructions that these things are not from Him and are detestable to Him. Nowhere does it say that these practices are good.

When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
(2 Kings 9:22(NIV))

He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
(2 Chronicles 33:6(NIV))

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for whatever may come?

April 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
(Revelation 10:1-4 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage?

Explicit instructions were given to John to not write down what he heard. Up until this point, he was told to record everything to give to the churches.

In all of my study, this is the only time that we are left without any clue whatsoever as to what will happen. In all honesty, if it were a trivial matter, John would not have even mentioned the angel and the seven thunders.

Just what does this foreshadow?

I know the old saying that curiosity killed the cat. I completely place my faith in trust in the Lord, but this has me curious.

I have come to read this passage with trust and faith. I know that I am in the hands of the Lord and if there is something that I need to know, I will be told. There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. I also know human nature. If John had recorded what the seven thunders had said, I believe that people would spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out when the events would happen, and possibly try to avoid them happening.

Perhaps these events are not relevant to our faith. We all take advantage of modern transportation. We get in a car and we travel to our destinations. We know the basics of how a car works. We know how to follow road signs or the GPS. What we don’t need to know in order to get to our destination is how the cylinders and the fuel create the explosions that rotate the shaft that propels the car. We know what we need to know in order to reach our destination. In this particular instance, our destination is following Jesus. We know that there will be bumps along the way. We don’t need to know in detail the size and severity of these bumps or when they will happen.

Faith is built through studying God’s Word. Faith is also built by understanding that we don’t know all that God knows. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to. I can’t comprehend the vastness of His wisdom.

We are told to have the faith of a little child. Does a child know where his or her parents are leading them? Do they care? They know that they are loved and will be protected.

Like I said, I often wonder what John was told to not write down. However, this does not hamper my faith. it does not have me fixated on what may be coming. I simply place my faith and trust in the Lord and I know that He will see me through whatever may come.

Are you ready for whatever may come?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I love to be in the presence of the Lord!

April 8, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I love the house where you live, O LORD,
the place where your glory dwells.
(Psalms 26:8 (NIV))

I know that I have read this passage before. I know what it says and the meaning behind the words.

Tonight, I read these words and froze!

Chills ran through my body. Tears came to my eyes! This should be the proclamation of every single member of the Body of Christ. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior should loudly and proudly proclaim that they love being in the presence of the Lord!

I realize that this was written about the Temple in Jerusalem many, many years ago, but it should still hold true today. Unlike the Temple, we have direct access to the throne of God because of our redeemer sits at the right hand of God the Father. We no longer need to go to the Temple to have a priest intercede for us. Jesus intercedes for us no matter where we are.

Today, we have numerous buildings that society labels as churches. What society and the Body of Christ seem to forget is that the church is not a building, it is the Body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV))

I know that this passage is the tail end of a passage that tells us to stay away from sexual immorality, but in all honesty, we should stay away from all immorality. In other words, we should keep our bodies pure, for it where God’s Holy Spirit dwells if we allow Him. I am not saying that we should love our bodies. What I am saying is that if we allow it, God’s glory dwells anywhere. We no longer have to have a Temple. We can be in the presence of God no matter where we are. We can be in the presence of God any time that we want.

I love to be in the presence of the Lord!

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