What voice do you hear?

June 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 (NIV))

This is not as easy as it sounds. Too many people do not know enough about what Jesus taught to fully know the difference between the Truth and the world. Too many times what appears to be something good is actually evil in another form.

The Bible actually tells us that Satan can appear as an angel of light. If we judge solely on appearance, then we would be deceived by this trick.

Calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior also implies that you must follow Him. Jesus, himself, said that His sheep know His voice. We may not hear the physical voice like those who knew Him when He walked the earth, yet, we have His other “voice” as written in the Gospels and what is written upon our hearts. We also have the Holy Spirit to teach us, lead us and be with us. Each of these are ways that Jesus left us to be able to hear His “voice.”

What voice do you hear?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek your refuge?

June 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
(Psalms 118:8-9 (NIV))

It seems like the world is looking for someone to save us from all of the issues that we now face, and we do face countless issues that seem to be ever increasing.

The world is facing economic uncertainty. Many regions are facing political uncertainty. The whole world is facing escalated violence due to race, religion, crime, and sheer evil. In this country, we are facing issues that seem to be polarizing us as a nation. We are choosing sides due to various different reasons and nobody is willing to meet in the middle and discuss the differences. We are placing our trust in men instead of relying on God for guidance. And, in the process, we are destroying ourselves.

We need to turn to God. We need to place our trust in Him.

Man will fail.

Take a look at the history of humanity.

We failed miserably in the Garden of Eden. We turned to murder within one generation. We were so sinful, that God chose to start over through one man, Noah, and his family. We tried to elevate ourselves to God at the tower of Babel. We kill each other over money and power. We will kill each other over religion. We will kill each other over race. It was God’s plan, carried out by human hands, to have His Son, Jesus, die for our sins.

No human is perfect. No prince of this world can save us. In fact, the Bible refers to Satan as the prince of the air. We turned over authority to him in the Garden of Eden. Satan cannot save us. Man cannot save us, no matter how the media may spin it.

Don’t trust the spin. Don’t trust the princes. Don’t trust the men who claim to know how to save us.

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

Where do you place your trust?

Where do you seek your refuge?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm and shine our light

May 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

Having a form of godliness but denying its power!

What do you think could be traits that do this? Could it be acknowledging that God exists but not allowing Him into you life? Perhaps it is making money so that you can stockpile it in the bank. Perhaps it is even something else. Whatever it is, we all potentially have at least one of these traits. It could only take a very subtle nudge in that direction to make us fall into the category of people that deny God’s power.

Perhaps it is our busy schedules that keep us on this very edge. We think that everything that we have is by our own hand and that if we do not keep moving, we will lose everything that “WE” have spent our efforts building. Even our very existence seem to deny God’s power in today’s world. Too few of us stop to praise God and to thank Him for our blessings. We have become a society very much like what is written. Perhaps we are too like what is written.

We allow certain aspects of our society to remove God from anything and everything, then we complain about the shape that our society is in.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

No matter what the times may hold, we are to remain constant in our faith. We must share our faith with a dark world. We must be willing to shine our light as a beacon for those who may still be searching. If the last days begin soon, we must be willing to stand firm and shine our light – the light of Jesus that shines within each of us.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

April 26, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 (NIV))

The world will not recognize us, for it did not recognize Jesus when He came.

In much the same way a mother recognizes her young, the world recognizes those who belong to it. Does a mother cow accept a puppy? Does a kitten find a home with a dog? The same is true of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They will not be accepted by the world! They may face rejection and tribulation for they have, in essence, turned their backs on the ways of the world and have focused on the ways of God.

Take a serious look at where you would be accepted. Do you find yourself still partaking of the world in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to know that you are a child of God? The old saying “You are what you eat” is true in the spiritual world as well. If you “eat” of the world, then the world is a part of you and you cannot leave it behind. If you “eat” of the things of God, then righteousness is a part of you, and the world is only something that you are passing through.

It has been said that it takes a thief to know a thief. If that implies that only those with similar thoughts can be recognized and accepted, then where would you be recognized and accepted? Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can choose who we deny

April 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34b (NIV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted? It is a common passage to be used when we think of the sufferings that we are told we will encounter in this world if we choose to follow Jesus.

I have a problem with teachings that are financial blessings based. It is true that God desires to bless us, but, we must not forget the opposite side of this, for we are told that we will have to take up our cross and follow Him. Bearing a cross is not a teaching of no problems and of rosy futures. We still have to face the truth that the enemy has dominion over this earth. When we make it known that we have placed our faith in Jesus, we become fair game for the attacks of the enemy.

“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))

Jesus knew that we would face troubles in this life. He did not promise that the troubles would go away. He did promise that He has overcome the world. This passage does not say that He has overcome the troubles and has made them stop. It states that He has overcome the troubles and will provide a way for us to walk through them.

We can either deny ourselves or we can deny Jesus!

If we deny ourselves, it may be possible that we would have an easier time in life. We don’t know what will happen in this life. We do know that if we deny ourselves in this life, eternity will be a blessing.

If we deny Jesus, I know that we will have a much harder eternity.

We can choose who we deny. Who will you deny?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you spending your morning?

March 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
(Matthew 27:31 (NIV))

The events of the long night and morning were over. Jesus had been arrested, beaten, falsely accused and judged, and then sentenced to die a horrible death. The only thing left of God’s plan was the actual crucifixion. Think on those events as you read this, for many will be reading it at the time of day that things actually unfolded.

How are you spending your morning? Is it filled with reverence and thanks for what Jesus endured? As you pour yourself another cup of coffee, does the impact of Jesus’ suffering bring you to tears or do you even think of it at all? As you head to that meeting, do you reflect upon just how things would be if Jesus had not had His meetings with Pontius Pilate? When you feel the burdens of the day come crashing in around you, do you stop to think of the burden that Jesus bore as He carried His cross?

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial details of our own lives. We think that they are so important. We think that if we don’t close that next big sale, the world will fall apart. We think that if our children don’t get into that private school, their lives are over. All that we bear is the burdens and sins from our own lives. Imagine having the weight of the sins of the world hoisted upon you. Imagine the world being so engrossed in the usual activities that your sacrifice becomes trivialized. Imagine taking on the burden anyway because you love the people of the world.

Stop to think just what Jesus went through so that you can have grace and salvation. Retrace His steps as He carries His cross to Calvary. Put yourself in His place as the nails pierced His hands. Imagine how He felt looking down through history as He looked upon you at this very moment in time. He suffered and died for you and I. He did it willingly so that we may have grace and mercy.

Spend the day embracing His sacrifice, feeling His pain and emotions. Look upon your life as He looked upon it. Jesus felt that His sacrifice was worth everything that He endured. He felt that you and I were worth whatever price He had to pay.

Today, stop and thank God for His Son, Jesus, and His willingness to go to the cross for you and I. That day was a day of agony and fear, but through the fear we have a shining ray of hope – the resurrection on Easter morning!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there ever a time?

February 29, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:13-16 (NIV))

Did you catch the same thing that I caught from reading this passage?

Did you even catch what I am referring to?

The one thing that stands out in this passage is that we are given instructions to turn to God in trouble, in praise, in sickness, in happiness, in faith and in our sin. In other words, we should turn to God in all that we do and in all situations that we face.

Do we do that?

Come on, be honest.

If you are like me, I would like to think that I do, but I find myself falling short of my self image far too often.

We all get wrapped up in our own little worlds that we create for ourselves and we forget that our little worlds are still a part of God’s creation. We focus so much on us and ours, that we forget about Him and His – His world, His Son, His plan of salvation, and His desire to be in a relationship with us.

Relationship!

If you stop to think about the times that we are to turn to God, they are the basic principles that apply to our relationships with our spouse, our family and our friends. We turn to them in these times. Why do we find it so difficult to turn to the One who created us?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective? Did you stop to realize that this statement comes after the instructions on when we are to turn to God? If we turn to God based on those instructions, we will walk so closely with Him that our hearts will want His will. Our prayers will be powerful and effective.

When should we turn to God?

Perhaps the better question to ask is this. Is there ever a time that we should not turn to God?

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