Are you following God’s will?

July 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray that it is your heart’s desire to be in God’s Will for your life. If you are like me, you desire to be in God’s Will in all aspects of your life, but it isn’t always easy. We are still humans and are bound by much more than we care to admit. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus, we still cling to our sinful nature even when we want to leave it all behind. The Lord knows that we have trouble with ten things that we are asked to obey. Perhaps this is why we are given three simple things to do.

Rejoice always!

We are to be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to us. We must remember that no matter what our circumstances, God’s grace is still there for us. We must rejoice when things are going well and we must rejoice when things are not going so well, for our circumstances are temporary. Grace is eternal. For this reason, we must rejoice in all things!

Pray continually!

Prayer in communication with God. We must learn to seek Him and hear Him in all things. When we are sad. When we are mad. When we are happy. When we feel all alone and scared. God is there to guide us and to comfort us. This only happens when we are truly in a relationship with the Lord and not just an “I need something, God” type of attitude.

Give thanks in all circumstances!

Are you able to be thankful for hardship? Most people only give thanks when something truly good happens in their lives. I want to propose that there is a reason that this is the last of the three things that we are called to do. If we learn how to rejoice always and then learn how to pray continually, giving thanks will come easier. We will have already cultivated the proper attitude. We will have already learned to rejoice in all things. We will have learned to pray in all things. The next logical step is to give thanks in all things. It makes sense to me that this is the last thing that truly proves that you love the Lord.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

Are you following God’s will?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you do these things?

May 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice always,
(1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV))

I am the first to admit that this is not always the easiest thing to do. God didn’t stop there!

pray continually,
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV))

Am I the only one who has trouble doing this even though I long to be able to say that I do pray continually?

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV))

Third strike!

If this were a baseball game, I am sure that my batting average is far less than perfect.

Have you ever wondered why the easiest sounding instructions that God has given us are always the most difficult to carry through with? Sadly, because of our fallen, sinful human nature, it usually just gets worse from here. Thankfully, even when we are at our worst, God’s love for us is at His best.

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))

Do you believe?

I realize that this is another seemingly easy thing to answer, but God realized that He needed to make things simple for us. We will still mess up on the easy things, but we have a simple way to be restored and be embraced by God’s love. We must believe. We may not always be able to say that we are able to rejoice. We may not be able to pray continually, and we definitely will have problems giving thanks in all circumstances, but we can rest assured that our belief in Jesus as God’s one and only Son will redeem us.

Can you do these things?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you focused on the task that all of us have been given?

February 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

Do you think that Paul’s task was any different from the one that each of us have?

If you say “Yes,” what is the task that God has given to you? Why do you feel that you are exempt from what He told His disciples to do and what we have inherited by becoming His disciples?

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV))

If you say “No,” are you fulfilling that task? Are you telling others about Jesus? Are you living a life that reflects Jesus in all that you do? Are you boldly proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and mercy as it was made manifest through Jesus’ birth, His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension? Are you boldly sharing that He will come again?

Paul’s only desire was to be faithful to the one task that the Lord had given him. Paul wanted to be found faithful in sharing the Gospel with the world. That is also our task. Just like Paul, we are not called to simply tell one person. We are called to tell everyone we meet. There are numerous ways that we can fulfill our task, but no matter how we do it, we are all called to share the good news of Jesus. Think of this as your full time employment. What we do for a living in this world is not our true calling. It is a means to an end. Paul used his skills as a tent maker to finance his evangelism. What skills do you have that can be the basis of your evangelism?

Paul was focused. He had one goal in mind.

Are you focused on the task that all of us have been given?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

August 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

What brings joy and great delight in your life?

There are many things in this life that we can and should be thankful for, such as family, friends, laughter and love, but what is it that brings you joy? What brings you happiness beyond measure? If you have truly professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I can’t think of anything more appropriate that can bring joy and happiness beyond measure.

Think about that in relationship to the concept of grace and salvation!

Does spending eternity in the presence of the Lord make you joyful? There is really only one other option and it is not one that I want to even think about. Imagine an eternity of joy and praise when the other option is an eternity of separation from the Lord. The separation also brings eternal suffering and torment. I rejoice in the gift of salvation. There are days that things don’t go as I would have them to go, but we have been told we would have such days. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus.

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))

Even with the not so good days on this earth, we know that something better is coming. We should never think of throwing our eternal future of grace away for something of this world that results in torment. I love the way that the psalmist expressed it.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(Psalms 84:10 (NIV))

If being in the Lord’s presence for only one day is better than a thousand elsewhere, just imagine the joy that an eternity will bring. Does this make your heart jump for joy? Does this give you a fresh understanding of the last stanza of Amazing Grace by John Newton?

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Are you fully prepared to never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you praying for God’s Will?

July 22, 2019

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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))

We are facing terrible times and they seem to be increasing. The attitudes of society seem to be getting more rebellious. Our whole society seems to be self centered, money grabbing and arrogant. The generations that are alive today have seen the removal of God from our school systems and our public affairs because of one group’s misinterpretation of the phrase “separation of church and state.”

How could we have let this happen?

Have we, as believers, become complacent in our attitudes towards others, or have the people around us been infected with the lies from the powers that control this world? Whatever the reason, people are not what they should be in the eyes of God.

It is God’s Will that the events spoken of in Daniel and in Revelations come to pass. I do not know if we are seeing these things about to start, but one thing I do know is that we should be praying.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:18 (NIV))

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV))

Prayer is the most effective weapon that we have. If the timing is right for God’s plan, then our prayers will help to prepare us and hopefully have an impact on someone for Jesus. If the timing is not right for God’s plan, and our society is just rebellious, then our prayers will help to turn the nation back to God. No matter what the timing, pray!

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

Are you praying for God’s Will?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is not your definition of holiness that counts!

July 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
(Hebrews 12:14 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself thinking that if other people would simply see things your way, then everything would be better? Sadly, it is human nature to feel that we are always right, even when we have no idea what we are talking about. There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. That is absolutely true, especially if the knowledge is misguided. Consider the results of misguided knowledge and the consequences that all of humanity has been dealing with since the Garden of Eden. Without trusting God and relying on a twisted lie presented as truth, all of humanity has been dealing with a partial knowledge, a twisted truth and a false sense of righteousness ever since that event. With our limited knowledge, we tried to live our own version of holiness. We were tricked into believing that we could be just like God and ever since then, it has been human nature for each of us to believe that we are the best judges of what should be with respect to our lives.

We have tried in vain to replace God with our own image of God. We have tried to replace God’s righteousness with our version of righteousness. We have tried to keep God in a box of our own size and specifications. We have tried to replace God’s holiness and righteousness with ours!

As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
(Romans 3:10 (NIV))

The next time that we start to feel that the world revolves around us, and we all get that way at times, it is important to remember one simple truth.

It is not your definition of holiness that counts!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in a singing mood?

March 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
(Psalms 59:16-17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of someone singing?

If you are like most people, you will probably think that the person who is singing is joyful and happy. Occasionally, you will find someone singing when they are depressed and sad, but you will not find them singing joyful songs. David sang praises no matter how he felt, for he knew that God was the same regardless of what may be happening in his life. God still provided a fortress and a place of refuge in both the good times and in the times of trouble.

I find it difficult to be like David and sing praises in the times of trouble. It is human nature to focus on the situation at hand and complain because we feel abandoned. If we would only stop to realize that God is still there, we could easily turn our attitudes around.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
(Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV))

No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we must always sing praises to God. When we sing praises to God, it does not allow the enemy to gain an entrance into our lives. It does not allow the enemy to use our self-pity to turn us against God. When times are troubled, we must turn to God and rely fully on His grace and mercy. I don’t know about you, but thinking about God’s grace and mercy is always enough to get me singing – well, at least on the inside.

Are you in a singing mood?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

November 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV))

Controversy surrounds these simple, yet profound statements in today’s society. All of the Judeo-Christian ethic lies on this foundation which states that there is only one God, life is sacred and to respect others. Many people do not wish to acknowledge these truths as truths, or, even worse, that they even exist at all. They have tried to turn them into the 10 suggestions. Let’s take a look at the wording and how it’s meaning would change if they were not stated as they are.

You shall not murder.

Simple enough! But what would be the ramifications if it were worded differently? Try to remove the “negative” aspect of the Commandment. It might read something like this: Respect all human life.

It doesn’t carry the same impact as “You shall not murder.” Try to restate the others in a positive aspect and see what the meanings sound like when you are through. They do not carry the same message. They become what society has tried to turn them into, the 10 suggestions and not the 10 Commandments.

We, as believers, have a responsibility to uphold these basic premises of faith and life. Truth is not relevant. Truth is always the truth, no matter when and where it may apply.

Have you turned God’s Word into something less?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

November 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV))

These words spoken by Jesus hold several truths!

I love the way that we are given near-term and long-term meanings in so many passages of scripture. Isn’t it amazing how words that sound so simple can be so complex in meaning? Imagery is so important in the lessons that Jesus taught. He was able to relay things in ways that those who wanted to know could understand both then and now. Through this imagery, we believe that we understand what Jesus was speaking to us and the meaning that it has for us today.

Now that we are living in the days that Jesus spoke of, many people are becoming very interested in the statement about this generation, for we are seeing things unfold that no other generation has ever seen. Even so, we must rest assured that no matter what happens, God is always there and His truth will always be there. All that we have to do is seek!

God is in control!

He knows what the future holds for He holds the future!

It is our duty, as believers, to be the light to those who do not know Jesus. We must show them the way to their future through Christ. By doing this, no matter what happens, we can help people recognize that the season of His return is upon us.

Do you trust the lessons in His Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you say that God is?

April 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

To paraphrase this passage, God is the beginning and the end. He is all things in between. He has always been. He is now, and He will always be. He is the Creator of all things. He holds all power and authority. His power and authority were in the beginning and they will be in the end. He is unchanging and no one can come close to His power and authority!

Humanity has spent thousands of years trying to define just who they think that God is. Along the way, various different groups of people have created false gods. Most of these are simply attempts at putting a limited understanding of creation onto a persona that they could understand and define. People have even gone so far as to create idols that they assign godlike attributes to.

I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.

Who do you say that God is?

Are you able to comprehend the God of the Bible or do you try to make up your own definition, your own mental image, of what you believe God to be?

We know that God is called “Father.” Is your understanding of a loving father swayed by an earthly father who was less than loving?

We know that God is called “Creator.” Do you struggle with the concept that God has the power and that everything was simply spoken into existence?

We know that God is called “Healer.” Are you so blinded to the fact that humanity allowed sin and death into the world that you can’t understand why God allows things to happen to those you love?

We know that God created us in His image. Do you struggle with the idea that He loves you so much that He took the time to create you? We know that He created us to be in fellowship, in relationship, with Him. Do you understand the concept of sin and the consequences of sin and how that relationship was broken in the Garden of Eden? Do you struggle with the idea that God did not want to spend eternity without us, so He devised a plan to redeem us so that He could call us His own? I could go on and on, but we are simply not capable of fully grasping all that God is.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
(Job 11:7 (NIV))

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV))

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
(Isaiah 40:28 (NIV))

All of His wisdom and righteousness we cannot even begin to understand, but there is one thing that we can understand if we will simply humble ourselves.

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))

I feel that I need to ask this one question once again. It is my prayer that you dwell on this question and pray to come to a true understanding.

Who do you say that God is?

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