Are you faithful with your praise?

September 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
(Psalms 52:9 (NIV))

God is faithful and worthy to be praised!

Every promise that He has ever made has come true or is in the process of coming true. I don’t recall the number of prophesies that have come true. I realize that there are still some that have not come true, but we have to consider that God’s timeline is not complete. If we saw that every one of God’s promises had come true, we would not be sitting in the current state of this world. We would see all prophesies from the other end of time. We would be looking back on the events of Daniel and Revelation and praising God for always keeping His promises. Until that day, we must simply rely on faith to know that what has yet to happen will happen exactly as God has foretold that it would.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must be faithful in our belief.

We must be faithful in our understanding.

We must be faithful in our study.

We must be faithful in our praise!

If God is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, we should be faithful to praise Him no matter what we may see. We are limited in our understanding, yet, we proclaim that we believe. If we believe, then we should praise!

What do you do when your favorite football team wins all the time?

It is human nature to praise, but what happens when you start to see things go a little differently than you expected? Do you still praise or do you complain? Are we guilty of doing the very same thing to God when things don’t go as we expect them to go? Since when are we privileged to know God’s complete will and His complete plan?

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))

If we trust God to fulfill His promises, why don’t we trust Him enough to praise Him at all times?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you place your trust?

July 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Events over the next few weeks are focusing on the political aspects of our nation’s life. I have come to hate the way that this process seems to have degenerated into something far less than civil. We used to be able to agree to disagree when we have differences of opinions, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

What would Jesus think of our political process? What would He have to say about both parties and what they stand for? What do you believe that Jesus is thinking when He looks at us as we place our hope and trust in a political party and an individual to lead us?

I glanced at the television for a few brief times today and I found myself thinking about Psalms 20:7. We must remember that no matter what the outcome, God is in control. There is a bigger picture that we do not see. With that in mind, we, as the Body of Christ, must be sure that we place our trust in the name of the Lord our God. We must also pray for discernment and wisdom so that we may respond as God wishes for us to respond. I know that we all pray for God to have mercy on us as a nation. Have you ever stopped to think that His mercy may come in the form of someone whom He has called to fulfill His purpose?

I have hope for this country and the world, but I have a confident faith in Jesus! Things of this world will fail us, but Jesus will never fail us.

Where do you place your trust?

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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Are you focused on the future or His presence?

April 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

Far too many of us say that we trust the Lord, but we still want signs. We still want to know what is going to happen in this world as God unfolds His plans.

We look at the news and see things unfolding that bear a striking resemblance to things written about the end times. We see things that go against God’s Word as they are accepted as truth by the world and we wonder how long this will go on before we see things unfold as prophesied. We look at the state of the world and we long to see righteousness. We long to see the truth proclaimed and every knee to bow and every tongue confess. Sometimes we get carried away with our desires to see Jesus that we focus more on the events that are transpiring than we do on spending time in God’s presence.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to become like Martha in our preparations for the coming of Jesus and miss the fact that we can sit at the feet of Jesus at this very moment. I, like many people, like to study prophesy because it is the hope to which we hold. It is the truth that hasn’t come to be. It is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Even though this is all true, we need to be careful that we don’t focus so much on what is to come that we miss out on what God is doing in this moment. Perhaps it is best stated by what a friend said has become her daily prayer.

Lord, I just want to know what you want me to know when you want me to know it!

I would just like to add the following.

Lord, it is not my world. It is yours. I love you and I trust you. You are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my fortress in this world that has turned away from you. I praise you for your goodness and mercy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who or what is the recipient of your trust?

March 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Have you ever truly stopped to take a serious look at what you trust?

Many people are putting their trust in a different President who can change the course of this nation. Others are putting their trust in the stock market, and some are putting their trust in areas that only they understand.

Think about a few things with respect to trust.

A government official will let you down.

The stock market may crash.

Banks will collapse.

Governments will collapse.

Human relationships may end.

Strength will eventually fail, and power will corrupt.

Does it sound like you want to place your trust in any of these things? Do you really want to place your trust in anything that is of this world? I know that I don’t.

I only trust the one constant that was, is and will be. I trust in God! He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my refuge in times of trouble. Sometimes things will get shaky. Things will get bad.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
(Psalms 91:7 (NIV))

I place my complete trust in the name of the Lord my God!

Who or what is the recipient of your trust?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

for we walk by faith, not by sight
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NAS))

When things in this world look like they can’t get any worse, do you give up or do you walk confident in the promises that God has given?

When it seems that the whole world has gone crazy, do you hold fast to the truth or do you through your hands up in frustration?

When you are ridiculed for your faith in Jesus, do you make excuses or do you cling tightly to Jesus?

It is a matter of priorities!

It is a matter of trust!

It is a matter of faith!

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the things that are going on in the world. I see people every day who are literally on the edge of giving up or who have given up. All of this is due to the fact that they are looking at the world through physical eyes. That is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to focus on what we can see. He knows that if we focus on what we can see, then we will soon forget the promises that God has made and we will give up on God.

Remember these words when you are walking through difficult times.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are we to go into the world?

June 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
(Luke 22:35-38 (NIV))

What do you see in these passages above?

There is so much involved in these few words that I wonder if most people understand what is going on and what Jesus is telling His disciples.

Jesus had sent His disciples out without any money, possessions or anything to use for self defense. I believe that He had them go this way to help build their faith. It was a lesson in trusting God and in building their trust in Him.

The next part makes me wonder.

Jesus, immediately after asking about that first time, instructs the very same disciples to go prepared into the world. He even instructs them to take weapons for self defense. Is Jesus telling the disciples that He is not able to protect them at all times? I honestly believe that what Jesus was doing was trying to teach the disciples to use common sense. It is a fallen world, and you don’t venture out into the world without knowing what you may face and without at least preparing for some possibilities of what you may encounter. Jesus never told the disciples that they would have it easy. In fact, they had seen the instances where the crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus did not tell the disciples to go unprepared!

I realize that there is much more that Jesus was saying in these passages, but for the sake of length, I will stop at this point.

We, as the Body of Christ, must realize that the world is fallen. We must realize that even Jesus told His disciples to be prepared.

I can hear you thinking!

Many are thinking that Jesus preached peace. Why did Jesus heal the man’s ear when it was cut off with the sword? Why did Jesus not resist when He was put on trial and placed on the cross?

Jesus was called as the Lamb of God. He was to go quietly to the slaughter. It was all part of God’s plan. This is the Jesus that most people know. What they fail to realize is that He will return as a mighty warrior, a mighty king, who will deal with sinful humanity. In the interim, we are to go into the world. We are to walk where sinners walk. We are to use common sense. We are to use Godly wisdom. We are to use the power of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I look forward to what God desires to give!

May 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
(Luke 11:11-13 (NIV))

Would you intentionally give your children something harmful? It is human nature to want to give those we love the best that we can give. Even so, our best is still as filthy rags in the eyes of God for we give from a sinful nature and sin is not capable of producing anything that is truly good.

If God is our Father and He is perfect, how can the things that He gives to us be anything but perfection? God is not capable of anything less than righteousness and perfection. The things that He gives to us out of this perfection are far above the things that we can give in our sinful imperfection.

We must learn to trust God the same way that most of us have learned to trust our earthly parents. We know that they desire good things for us and we accept them without question. Why do we question and sometimes even reject what God desires to give us?

I look forward to what God desires to give. What is your attitude towards His gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a person after God’s own heart?

May 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
(Psalms 25:1-3 (NIV))

David was very prolific. We have numerous writings by David and through his writings we can learn something about the man whom possessed a heart after God’s own. He was not ashamed to praise God. He was not ashamed to cry out to God. He was not ashamed to ask God for His protection and His mercy. He was not ashamed to admit when he had sinned.

I wonder what happened to the leaders like this?

The world is in great need of men and women who seek God in all that they do. The world needs people like this in positions of leadership and authority. Sadly, these positions seem to be relegated to those who despise God and all that is righteous. I realize that this last statement was a broad and sweeping generalization, and that there are people like this, but why are their voices silenced? Why does the world ignore them? Why do we not hear of world leaders falling on their knees and asking for God’s guidance, wisdom, strength and mercy?

Sadly, this type of behavior is now looked upon as a sign of weakness and a lack of intelligence. Where are the David’s? Where are the Solomon’s? Where are the people who call upon the name of the Lord?

We can start by having righteous men and women call upon the Lord wherever they are. We can unite in our desires to see God glorified.

I have a question that I want you to think about.

If someone had the ability to look back at your life through your writings, through the words of others and through the impact that you have had on others, would they come to the conclusion that you have a heart after God’s own?

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