How is your faith through the wilderness?

May 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
(Mark 1:12-13 (NLT))

Do you ever stop to think about what Jesus actually experienced when He went into the wilderness for these forty days?

What temptations do you experience when you face each day of your life?

Do you face greed and lust? What about anger and frustration? Do you have to deal with ego and pride? I think I can safely say that all of us have also had to deal with resentment and bitterness. Now, consider how you have reacted when faced with these temptations. How did you react? Even on our best day, we fail miserably in most if not all of these temptations.

How do you think that Jesus reacted to each of these temptations?

We know that He faced every temptation known to humanity and did not give in to any of them, but I often wonder how he reacted. Did He simply turn away from them or did He reflect upon our weaknesses as He defeated each and every temptation that He was given? Did He think of what He was doing with respect to what it would mean for us? How did He reject the temptation? Did He look at it with disgust and think “How can someone give in to this?” Did He keep His eyes focused on what was at the end of the forty days on the other side of the wilderness?

Each of us face our own wilderness situations and temptations. We must look to Jesus and His experience so that we may keep our faith through our wildernesses. Because Jesus went through His wilderness experience, He now walks with us through ours. He will give us strength. He will give us comfort. He will give us peace.

The world today seems to be sending all of us into the wilderness. How we respond will determine many things. Will we have the faith to see ourselves through the wilderness or will we falter and give in to the temptations we face?

How is your faith through the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Call upon the name of the Lord!

August 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far away from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:6-8 (NLT))

Did this passage catch you off guard?

We have a habit of thinking that we, in our current society, are the ones who truly need to get away. We think that our lives are so hectic and full of troubles that no one else could possibly understand what we face. I do admit that things seem to be getting worse as far as the troubles, but in the grand scheme of things, every life in every generation since the fall from grace has had troubles. David was no different than you or I in that respect.

We all want to be able to simply leave the burdens, the troubles of the world behind us and get away to a place where we can just soar above the troubles down below.

It is universally human.

David may not have been able to have wings like a dove and fly away to the quiet of the wilderness, but he did know how to rise above his troubles. He called upon the name of the Lord. He sang praises. He lifted up his voice in song and in prayer. He spent time seeking after God’s own heart. He longed for God and in turn, he knew God and trusted that God would be there.

Can we say the same about our lives?

We all know of the things that David faced in his life, from Goliath to running for his life from Saul, yet in all that he faced, David made time to pray and to praise God. He knew where his hope lie. He knew that he had to constantly seek after that hope by seeking after God. Do you think that Goliath was a mere coincidence? Do you think that David was able to survive Saul’s attempts on his life by luck? David may not have physically flown, but he was guided by the hand of God and was protected by the hand of God because he was faithful.

Take an honest look at your life. Do you see a life of praise, prayer and gratitude or do you see a life that needs to move more in line with how David longed for God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you go outside of your comfort zone for God?

August 29, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.
(Mark 1:35 (NLT))

What do you think of when you think of a wilderness?

Some people think of a wild place such as a jungle. Some think of a barren place such as a desert. Either way, it is often associated as a place that is untouched by human hands. To many, this implies that it is a dangerous place to be, and it can be.

Have you considered that a wilderness can also be a place of peace away from the hectic pace of the world? A wilderness can be a place to encounter God without the distractions of the world weighing you down. I am certain that we all know of someone, if we are not like this, who finds that a walk in the woods or a day in a boat is the most productive prayer time that they can have.

Let’s face it. God doesn’t care where you are when you talk to Him. All that He cares is that you earnestly seek His face. If that means that you need to go out to a place that is not easily accessible to other people, then do it. Look at all of the times that Jesus went into the wilderness. Look at all of the time that David spent in the wilderness tending sheep and then running from Saul. Look at the time spent by John the Baptist in the wilderness. All of these, and may others, spent time alone with God in the wilderness. If you stop to think about it, a wilderness is something outside of your comfort zone. John the Baptist wasn’t raised in the wilderness, yet he was called there. David wasn’t raised in the wilderness, but he spent a period of time in his life getting prepared for what God called him to be. Jesus, as the Son of God, was not used to a wilderness, but He spent countless times in the wilderness so that He could clearly hear God and His call.

They went outside of their comfort zone in order to hear God!

They spent countless days, weeks and months in the wilderness in order to hear God. They were willing to take that step of faith to let God know that they were sincere in their desires. I know that times have changed, but maybe the reason we don’t hear from God is the simple fact that we aren’t willing to go beyond our comfort zone. We aren’t willing to go into an unknown, into a wilderness.

How far are you willing to go to be able to hear God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we proclaiming Jesus to a dying world?

September 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV))

This prophesy was originally fulfilled by John the Baptist when he was in the wilderness proclaiming that people should repent because the Lord was coming. Shortly after this proclamation, Jesus did come.

He came and taught. He came and healed the sick. He came and raised the dead. He came so that we could have forgiveness of sin. Through the actions of Jesus, the valleys that we were in because of sin have been raised up. The mighty and powerful have been lowered. When we walk with Jesus, even when we face the rough times in our lives, they are smoother because He is with us.

Now it is our turn to proclaim what Jesus has done for us. John proclaimed what He would do before He came. He stepped out in faith based on what would come. We have history to support our faith, yet, how many of us are willing to step out in our faith the way John the Baptist did?

Jesus will return! We should be proclaiming this to all of the world just as John proclaimed it to his world.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to survive your wilderness?

December 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
Selah
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
(Psalms 55:7-8 (NIV))

What is your place of shelter?

Do you think of the desert as this place?

Most of us do not think of the desert as a place of refuge, after all, a desert is a harsh place that brings about pain and death.

Perhaps it is our perspective on our situation and our location that gives us this attitude. All throughout the Bible, people who had to experience the desert often came out stronger on the other side. Perhaps this is due to the fact that human nature expects to find God in the lush and plentiful. Let’s face facts. God often appears to us when we do not expect it and in situations that we do not expect. That is exactly why God uses the desert to draw us closer to Him.

The desert lacks the distractions of this world. We can either choose to focus on the fact that we must rely upon God, or we can focus on our situation. If we focus on our situation, if we come out of the desert, we will be weakened and lack focus. Satan will have won.

If we focus on God and what He can provide, then we will come out of the desert stronger in our faith and ready to be the servant that God is calling us to be. In the Bible, “desert” and “wilderness” are often used to indicate a place of testing. A desert is used to indicate a crossing or a right of passage where refuge may be found, while a wilderness indicates an untamed place. Many times throughout each of our lives, we will find ourselves in such a place. How we look upon it will determine our outcome. If we have the faith to look upon our situation as a place of shelter because we have found God to be there, then we will not only survive, God will make us thrive in our work for Him.

Do you have the faith to be in the desert or the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a boastful messenger

January 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
“a voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
(Mark 1:2-3 (NIV))

What if we were told that God was sending us a messenger today?

Think about that if you will.

John the Baptist came to point the way to Jesus. Those who came to John were ready for what was to come. They were sincere in their repentance and from what we have been told, they were earnestly seeking God. They recognized something in John, something that did not point to himself, but pointed to someone who is to come.

John was not the message. He was only the messenger.

Jesus was and is the message.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
(John 1:1-9 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, confuse the messenger with the message? How many times have you heard of people going to a church because they love the pastor? This is not wrong, but what happens when the love of pastor is greater than the love of God and Jesus? How many times have you heard of people leaving the church because of something that someone said?

Each of us is a messenger in our own right. We are all supposed to point to Jesus. What you do and say has an impact on those around you. Professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to surrender to Him and to be His hands and feet in this world. We are to prepare the way for the Lord in the lives of those we meet.

Don’t be a boastful messenger.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you faithful during times of temptation?

January 25, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
(Mark 1:9-13 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you have been sent into the desert and nothing is going right?

You are not alone !

Even Jesus faced this during His time on this earth.

What happened when Jesus faced this? Besides being tempted by Satan, angels attended Him. God did not abandon Him in the desert to face Satan all alone. He faced this experience and He still was surrounded by God’s messengers of hope.

If we follow Jesus, we, too, will face our times in the desert or wilderness. We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus promised

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

Jesus does not abandon us when we are in the desert. We simply tend to lose sight of Him. He is always there. It is us who, in our times of temptation, think that we are alone.

We must remember to have faith during these times.

Are you faithful during times of temptation?

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