Are you truly able to say this?

January 4, 2019

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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))

There are many things that I hate about our sinful human nature. Perhaps the one that I hate the most is our ability to say one thing while what is in our heart says something completely different. When I read this passage, my first reaction was to pray that these words would always ring true in my heart and in my life.

Think about that!

Human nature simply gives lip service. We read this passage, as well as many others, and we fail to make it our own. We fail to take it to heart. We fail to realize the depth and breadth of God’s love. There is a belief that we can pray the Bible. I honestly believe this, especially when I read this passage and think of all of the great things that the Lord has done for me.

As I read, my heart and mind are filled with joy. I see the words, but my spirit embellishes them. They take on so much more than what is written.

Lord, help me to always say great things about you, for no one else deserves all honor and praise. You alone are worthy, Lord. May I always look to you and turn to you as my solid rock, as my fortress, for you alone are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my shelter. You are my strength. You are my stronghold. Lord, you are my God. You are the only one in whom I can trust. When everything comes crashing down around me, you are there. When the enemy attacks, you are my strength and my shield. There is no one else whose greatness surpasses yours and there is no one else who is unwavering in his love for me. I long to seek shelter in the comfort of your loving arms!

I realize that many people are afraid to alter anything within God’s Word, and rightly so. We don’t want to change the meaning, or the power that is God’s Word. We must always return to it for our strength and for our guidance. I honestly believe that the Lord finds glory when we use His Word and personalize our worship of Him. Think about that for a moment in the context of this passage. Think about the author of this passage. It was his heartfelt, personal praise of the Lord. It touched the very heart of the Lord. Can you praise the Lord in a similar manner? Can you express your inner thoughts and praise in a way that is truthful and pleasing to the Lord?

Are you truly able to say this?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in the virgin birth?

December 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14 (NIV))

Do you believe in the virgin birth?

There are so many things that depend upon your answer to this not so simple question. Among those are key principles that influence your current life and your eternity. Was Jesus the fulfillment of this prophecy from Isaiah? Is Jesus the Son of God born of a woman? Does God have the ability to intervene in and through the created natural order of things? Did God have the birth of Jesus planned? Did God know exactly what would happen and does He know exactly what will happen in the future?

I suppose that it all comes down to one simple question.

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Everything in all of eternity comes down to your specific answers to this question, and to the previous ones.

There is one time of year when we focus on the birth of Jesus, but recently, society seems to have done their best to trivialize the most important birth that has ever occurred. It has become commercialized. It has become about giving gifts. Certain aspects of our society has even tried to completely remove the true reason for the season. At this Christmas, I have to ask one question once again. Your answer determines what you celebrate and why you celebrate. Your answer determines your eternal existence.

Do you believe in the virgin birth?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you conquered because of his love?

December 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(Romans 8:37 (NIV))

There is an old saying that love conquers all.

To be honest with you, love does work wonderful things in the lives of those who show love and those who receive love, but there is one love that is far above any other love that has ever been professed. That is the love that the Lord God, our Father has for His creation. All that it takes to prove this is a simple reading of the following passage.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

What other love is powerful enough to alter your eternal existence? What other love is willing to sacrifice itself in order to offer something so great? What other love gives the recipient the ability to conquer the power of sin, death and the grave? What other love is willing to take on all of the sin and all of the pain in order to offer the recipient the ability to escape an eternal separation from itself?

For those who have accepted this great offer of love, you know exactly what I mean. Sadly, there are many who have not accepted this offer. It is for those who have not accepted this love that we must pray. They may feel that there is not a love so great. They may feel that they are not worthy of such a love. They may even feel that they have done such bad things that the offer could not ever be available to them. Perhaps these are the biggest things that any of us have to conquer, after all it is often our self image that keeps us from being who we are called to be.

Have you ever thought about what you had to overcome in order to even accept God’s love? Did He give up on you or did He keep pressing on until you came to the realization that His love is for you? Was it ego that kept you from God’s love. Perhaps it was envy or pride. It could have even been greed or lust that kept you away from the love of the Lord. This was the first thing that His love conquered. It will not be the last!

What have you conquered because of his love?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

September 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Our ability to understand things changes as we mature and grow.

Looking back at your childhood, did you fully understand how things were in the world? Did you know about such things as death and taxes? Did you fully understand the grace and mercy that God showed the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, or did you spend your days thinking about playing and what happens to tadpoles to make them change into frogs?

Just as that tadpole changed, God has planned for us to change and to grow, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Are you the same as you were when you were six years old? Do you expect to be the same when you are sixty? Do you expect to be the same when you are with Jesus?

Our ability to understand changes just as our bodies change. Perhaps it is this change that makes us more and more grateful for what God has given to us through Jesus! Hopefully, we no longer look at sin through the understanding of a child. Hopefully, we realize the full ramifications of our sin and the eternal consequences that it brings.

Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

August 21, 2018

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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.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us?

Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we fail to remember what God has done?

March 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.
(Deuteronomy 7:18 (NIV))

In case you haven’t noticed, human nature is a strange thing!

We have a tendency to forget things that have happened and, at the same time, we are likely to remember things that didn’t happen.

If there was ever a group of people that should have no problem remembering things, it was the Israelites that Moses lead out of Egypt. They had witnessed the plagues. They had lived through the Angel of Death at the first Passover. They had watched God part the waters of the Red Sea so that they could walk across dry land. They had been given manna to eat in the desert. They had seen water gush forth after Moses struck a rock at God’s command.

Still they muttered and were afraid of what lie ahead!

They and their descendants had all too quickly forgotten all that the Lord had done for them to get them to that point. They looked at the problems before them and failed to remember the huge problems that God had delivered them from and through in the not so distant past.

What is it about being human that makes us forget and makes us worry? Perhaps it is the very same thing that makes us look at our surroundings when we are driving on a high and curvy mountain road. We know that we should have nothing to worry about, but there is something about the potential danger that makes us forget successful endeavors in the past. We simply overreact in fear when we should fully realize that we have nothing to fear.

We panic!

And in our panic, it’s as if all of our memories and ability to reason go flying out the window!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

Why do we fail to remember what God has done?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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