Do you praise God at all times?

February 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21 (NAS))

Even after all that Job had experienced, he still felt the need to praise God. During all of his later trials and misfortunes, he still praised God.

True, there were times when he was angry at God, yet he still knew his respective place in the creation. He knew that God was the One who caused all things to be and that it was through this action that caused him to exist.

He praised his Creator even when he did not fully understand the circumstances that he was in. Only one other person in history has suffered more than Job did, and that was Jesus Christ. In both cases, God was praised for His power and authority in all things.

If these two can praise God even when faced with the things that they faced, then we can praise God in our daily lives when we think that all is wrong.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

January 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself saying, “Why me, God?”

I know that I do. It is human nature to hate to suffer. We all suffer in various different ways in our earthly, physical lives. All too often we are so caught up in our own sufferings that we miss the true sufferings of others.

No matter how we suffer, we must remember that it is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered in order to save us from our sins. It is through His suffering that we have been made whole.

Too many believers have the wrong impression that because we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should not suffer any more.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

“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))

Are you surprised at your suffering or do you rejoice in the grace that you have been given?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you honor the Son?

November 8, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
(John 5:22-23 (NIV))

It is so hard in today’s world to watch the news and see all of the natural disasters that seem to be increasing in frequency and in magnitude. From a worldly point of view, we wonder if it will ever end. From a member of the Body of Christ, I often wonder just how close we are to the beginning of the events foretold of in Revelation.

One thing is certain. Jesus is coming again. We don’t know the hour or the day, but we do know that He is coming, for the signs seem to be upon us.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
(Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV))

What can a person do? What can we hold on to to give us strength in these uncertain times when the signs all seem to be pointing to worldly chaos? How can we, as believers, escape these events?

Many scholars debate over whether there will be a rapture of the church before things get way out of hand, for the rapture is not spoken of directly as an event, but is hinted at in passages such as the following.

if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
(2 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

We MUST place our faith and trust in Jesus, the Son. He is coming again. Whether you believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture, a mid-Tribulation rapture, a post-Tribulation rapture, or no rapture, one thing is certain – Jesus is coming again. He will be the judge. Regardless of when we believe that we will meet HIm, He is coming.

Do you honor the Son?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Veteran Prayer Warriors

November 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV))

With Veterans Day prominent in many areas of our lives the last few days. I wanted to take a moment and thank those who have served. It was through your service and dedication that we enjoy our God given rights today.

Now, I want to bring to light another group of veterans that we need to all strive to be a part of. This group of people is not limited by military service. It is not limited by age, race, or sex. It is a group that fervently seeks after God’s own heart through prayer.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Are you a prayer warrior?

Do you seek God in times when most people simply choose to go about their lives? Do you feel God tugging at your heart when things are not right in the eyes of God? Do you utter prayers that are only groans because you cannot find the words to express what you know needs to be lifted up? Are you saddened by the state of the world and pray for revival? Do you feel the anguish that God must feel at the way that people are turning their backs upon God?

If you have prayed for God’s Will to be made manifest in this world and in your life, then you are a willing soldier in the spiritual warfare that is going on in this world. You have placed yourself in the line of fire from the enemy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
(2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV))

Nobody likes to hear about enduring hardship for your beliefs or actions, but take heart, for we are clothed in Godly armor if we truthfully claim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. To quote an old kid’s song – “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary, shoot the artillery. I may never zoom over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army!” Our primary weapon is prayer.

I pray that we may all become veteran prayer warriors.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Biblical responsibility

October 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die forn his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must pray!

June 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

No matter what side of the political fence you may sit, today was a day that had many feeling the ramifications of something that just doesn’t feel right. Christians being stoned by Muslims – in America. Contempt charges. Supreme Court rulings. Heated and bitter discussions using language that all of us should know better, yet it happened.

This verse came to mind.

Today seemed to have a heaviness that surpasses basic human differences. Today, I saw humanity reduced to name calling and finger pointing, while ignoring the real battle that we are facing. Something is dividing us and it is using anything and everything that it can bring to bear as a tool.

Race. Religion. Social status. Financial status. Government.

You name it, it divides us.

It is said that actions that happen in the physical world are mirrored, or start, in the spiritual world. If that is true, and I believe that it is, then something is brewing that we, as the Body of Christ, need to be prepared for.

How do we prepare?

We must seek God’s Word. We must seek to do His will. We must be willing to take a stand for what God is calling His church to do while we are in this world.

We must be that light upon the hill. We must be the lamp that lights the way.

We must pray!

I realize that this verse has become cliché lately, but I feel that it applies more and more each day.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, must pray without ceasing. We must pray, not for our will as we see things unfolding, but for God’s Will. Our will is clouded by our limited understanding.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Pray for God’s Will in this battle against the spiritual forces.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Deny yourself?

March 16, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))

Have you ever given any thought to what it means to deny yourself?

One of the definitions of denial is to withhold. When you deny yourself, you refrain from satisfying your own desires and needs. In other words, you withhold things from yourself.

I know that this concept goes against human nature, so why are we told to deny ourselves?

Think about this statement from Jesus. He foretold of His actions. He would deny Himself. He would allow things to happen. He would not defend Himself to His accusers. He was about to bear a heavy burden. He was about to carry His own cross and go down a path that is difficult to travel. He was about to go where it is difficult to follow.

What would have happened if Jesus had not denied Himself? What would have happened if He had not carried His cross and traveled the road that He had to travel?

Fortunately, we do not look at this passage with that answer in our set of Biblical knowledge, for Jesus did deny Himself to the point of the cross. He saw that others would benefit from His actions.

For those of you who are Trekkies, you may recall the saying that Spock often used, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

God looked upon humanity and saw a great need. It was a need so great the it was universal. There was not a single person who had ever lived or would ever live who did not have that need.

Jesus denied Himself for us. He did not satisfy his own desires. He satisfied the desires of God the Father.

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))

We must refrain from satisfying our own needs and desires when all around us is a sea of humanity that has a need to know of Jesus. The cross that we bear may not be the same as Jesus, but we will face trials for our self denial. The world is fond of telling people that it is ok to do whatever you want, to place yourself first. There are even those who take self denial to the extreme and commit painful acts upon themselves to show that they are denying themselves. Godly self denial is not about these acts.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV))

Denying yourself without loving God and loving your neighbor is worthless. You must complete the three fold instructions – deny yourself, take up your cross, follow Jesus. It is not possible to do only one.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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