Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook

Advertisements

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

March 14, 2018

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not know just how to say what you want to say? Perhaps you didn’t even know what to say, you just knew that you had a very strong opinion on the subject.

What do you find yourself doing in situations like this?

Do you through up your hands in frustration and let out an audible sigh? Do the people around you understand what you are attempting to express?

That is definitely a weakness of the human condition. We are often found without adequate words to express exactly what we want to express. When we simply can’t say what we want to say, we groan or sigh out of frustration. It’s too bad that we can’t be understood when we simply cannot verbalize what we feel.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone who could understand the groanings that we make when we can’t find the words to express ourselves?

I want you to consider something with respect to your relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalms 139:13 (NIV))

You are known intimately by the Lord. He understands you like no other. He understands the groanings of our spirit. He understands these groanings to be exactly what they are, for they are our desire to communicate concepts, emotions and desires that no earthly language is capable of communicating. We fail to be able to express our inner desires because we are a weak, sinful creation, but we still have the inherited memory of and a desire for a deeper communication with the Lord. Out of this weakness, our prayers are lifted up as groanings of the spirit.

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Weakness or strength?

February 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV))

Do you ever feel weak?

Do you like that feeling? Do you want to feel that way? Do you like to be thought of as being weak?

If you are like me, and probably all of the rest of humanity, you like to feel like you have everything under control. You like to feel like you are in charge and capable of handling whatever is thrown your way.

Do you realize that it is this very nature that has convicted us of sin. It is pride! It is the very same thing that brought Satan down. It is the attitude that we can take care of ourselves and that we don’t need anyone to help us that too many people never get over. It is this very thing that causes too many people to never seek salvation, grace and mercy.

I admit that I am weak.

I admit that I can’t do it on my own, even though there are times that I may come across as strong. Perhaps I should change that from strength to arrogance.

What is human strength in the grand scheme of things? Can it bring salvation? can it bring peace? Can it bring joy? Our understanding of strength will not bring any of these things. Our understanding of strength is a false facade that we hide behind in hopes that no one will see our true selves.

Only through surrendering to Jesus allows us to be strong, for we acknowledge our weakness and embrace His strength.

What do you embrace?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship

September 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:14-18 (NIV))

Following the words of Jesus is often a contradiction of what the world would have you believe. These two examples are excellent proof of that.

Forgiveness is not something that human nature automatically and freely gives. In the eyes of society, and especially with men, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. Weakness is not a trait that is welcome in this world. Strength and power are the goals in the worldly life.

Prayer is another area that the world sees as a weakness. It is either considered a weakness if you pray, or, in certain aspects of society, it is considered a weakness if you do not pray loudly and in public.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God does not call you to yell to Him in front of many people. That is not a relationship. It is more like cheerleading. God calls us to be in a relationship with Him. Relationships require one-on-one time and close, intimate conversation. How many times has a man won a bride by yelling at her in public? Not too often, if any! It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship.

Do you go against the world view?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Where is the philosopher of this age?

April 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV))

I find it sadly interesting that we are seeing this passage come to reflect our world more and more. The wise man, the scholar and the philosopher all look upon the things of God as foolishness. In all reality, humanity has come to the point where we feel that we can do it all. We can solve all of the world’s problems if we just get the smartest people to work on them.

Think about that for a moment.

I have heard it said that our university system allows a person to learn more and more about less and less. In other words, someone can focus so much on the smallest details and know everything about these small details, that they don’t see the big picture. We may be gaining knowledge, but we are not gaining wisdom. I am sure that we can all think of someone who is a specialist in a certain field and can tell you minute details about things, but can they carry on an intelligent conversation about anything else?

We think that understanding the smallest details will make us wise. We can look at the stars and understand that they are thousands of light years away, but do we stop and recognize the majesty and the awe that has been spread out before us?

God has given us a tremendous gift with the physical world. He has also given us a priceless gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. Knowledge is looking at these gifts and trying to dissect them. Wisdom is knowing that dissecting them will make you miss the gifts themselves.

We need to understand. We need to seek wisdom. We need to seek knowledge. There used to be a time when an education was intended to make you well-rounded in many areas. Now, people tend to look upon it as a way to become a know-it-all about something very small.

How does God fit into this picture?

In today’s society, we are so focused on other things that we miss the gifts that He has given to us. It has come to the point that we are being taught “knowledge” that has nothing to do with wisdom.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


How is your wall of self control?

August 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
(Proverbs 25:28 (NIV))

In ancient cities, the purpose of the walls was protection. They were built high and thick in order to keep out those who would attack and leave the city in ruins. If the walls were broken down, the city was vulnerable. Those who lived within the city took their chances that they would not be attacked and lose their lives. The walls of a city were the defenses that kept those inside safe from the evil that could attack from the outside. The city was only as safe as the weakest part of its walls.

How good is your self control? Are your vulnerable to the attacks of those things that find the weak places within your self control? Perhaps your weakness is greed. Perhaps it is pride. Perhaps it is lust. Carefully consider how your area of weakness could be the very place by which sin enters into your life and takes control.

For the wages of sin is death
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

Just as it is dangerous for the inhabitants of a city whose walls are broken down, it is also just as dangerous for a person to lack self control. Perhaps it is even more dangerous, for the death that comes from sin is an eternal separation from God. Self control is difficult, but we have an ally in our battle. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells the complete story.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

If we place our faith in Jesus and rely on Him to be our Savior and our Lord, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and guide us. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit within our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

Self control will be part of our defenses against sin.

How is your wall of self control?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Give praises to the Lord

June 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV))

Have you ever heard of anyone boasting about being weak?

This is not typical human behavior!

People boast about being the best, or being the strongest, but never do you hear of anyone boasting about being weak. Let’s face it, human nature makes us want to look good in the eyes of those around us. We want to show off, and what self-respecting showoff would claim to be weak? It just isn’t heard of.

When we have competitions, we crown the best as the winners. We have games where grown men and women compete to see who is the best. We even give awards to those who win. In all of this, do you ever hear someone say that they are too weak to compete?

I will be honest. There are those who profess that they owe their abilities to God, yet, for the most part, in these competitions, they are the exception.

Why did Paul boast that he is weak?

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NIV)

Paul, even though he was chosen by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, had a physical affliction. Some have even suggested that he suffered from seizures. Paul, regardless of the physical issues, was used powerfully by God. He did not allow his physical limitations to keep him from fulfilling the call that God placed upon his life. He recognized the limitations and, more importantly, he recognized that God was using him in spite of the limitations.

Paul answered God’s call even in the midst of his own problems!

Would we do that?

How many times have we neglected God’s call upon our lives because we felt limited and incapable? How many times have we failed to realize that we would not be the ones doing that task? How many times have we failed to answer even when we had Paul as our example?

I know that I am guilty of this more times than I care to admit, still it is my desire to answer that call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Are we willing to respond in this manner? Are we willing to overlook our weaknesses when God calls? Are we willing to step out in faith and acknowledge that it is God’s strength and not our weakness that is in charge?

I have a challenge for you.

God has a calling upon each of us. Step out to meet that calling. When wondrous things happen, boast that it is not you.

Give praises to the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: