Do you take the time to be still with God?

November 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

With all that has been happening recently, the Body of Christ needs to remember to take time to be still in God’s presence. We need to earnestly seek His face. We need to remember that in spite of what is going on in the world, we have a place to turn to for refuge.

Are you at peace with what is happening in this nation and in the world?

I don’t want you to answer that based on how the events anger you or sadden you. I want you to answer based on your faith. Are you at peace with what is happening? Do you trust God to fulfill his promises?

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))

There is so much going on in the world right now. Many people are angry. Many are afraid. In other parts of the world, many are losing their lives. No matter what may happen to us as individuals, we must realize that we are not in control. We must draw closer to the one who will one day say that it is time for His plan to come to fruition.

Are you spending enough time in God’s Word, with God through prayer, and with God in praise to truly know His heart? Do you trust in His plans for you, the Body of Christ, and for this world? Do you even know what His plans are?

Seek Him in scripture. Seek Him in prayer and seek Him in praise and you will get to know God. You will get to know His heart!

When was the last time that you were seriously still in God’s presence?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we overcome human nature?

September 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
(Colossians 3:5-8 (NIV))

If you are like every single human that has ever lived, you probably read this and come to the conclusion that it would be easier to go live in a cave. The only problem with that approach is that it doesn’t solve the root problems that have plagued humanity since the fall from grace. We would still have our sinful nature, and our sinful nature would run rampant and unchecked in the solitude that we would run to. The solitude would take away the external stimulation, but the root cause would still be there.

On our own, we fail miserably at controlling our sinful nature. If we don’t live it out, we think about it. No one is capable of walking in righteousness because we are all sinners by nature.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We may be able to escape sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, but we will fail at anger, rage, malice, slander or filthy language. Living in a fallen world with a fallen, sinful nature doesn’t make it easy to walk in the ways that Jesus commands. If you are like me, you can look back on your day and see a multitude of events that you should have taken a different direction. Let’s face it, by the time you wake up, get ready and get out the door, you have probably done things that are better left unsaid. Then, there is the day at work or at school. How many incidents can you count from your last day at work or school? It also needs to be mentioned about family and friends. We seem to lash out at those we love the most. We take out the frustrations of the day on those we see at the end of the day.

I have come to the conclusion that being human is difficult!

We can’t do it on our own. We need help. We need someone to turn to. Someone who has inside track on the who, what, where, when, why and how of being human while still being righteous.

We need Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Repentance is a decision that must be made!

May 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.
(Romans 1:18 (NLT))

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would make God angry? Have you ever wondered if you could make God so angry that He would reject you? I believe that we have an answer in this passage.

God hates sin!

God hates wickedness!

He longs for people to repent and turn to Him. If we love our sin and our wickedness more than we love God and His righteousness, then we are in trouble. We should despise our sinful nature. We should reject the wickedness that is inherent within every person because of the fall from grace.

We live in a fallen world, but we don’t have to accept the state of the world as our own. Think about that for a moment in relationship to something a little easier to understand. I know that everyone has had a job that you just couldn’t stand. You hated the thought of being there. You dreaded getting up in the morning and going to that job. Did you simply accept the dreaded job as a part of your life? I can safely assume that you took action to make a change. You decided that you would leave that life and begin a new life under much different circumstances.

You can decide to leave sin and wickedness in much the same way as you decide to leave other aspects of your life. It is perhaps one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. That gift is free will. God gave us the ability to decide for ourselves to turn from our sinful, wicked ways and to follow Him. He gave us the free will to embrace His truth for ourselves.

With this in mind, do you understand that God loves us. He will get angry with us because of our sinful nature, but, if we choose to embrace His truth and accept His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, and repent of our sins daily, then we can rest assured that God will not reject us. Seek God in all things and seek His truth, for life is found only with the Creator!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God loves you, but is He pleased with you?

February 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NLT))

If you have children, no matter the age, what is it about them that pleases you? Please note that I did not ask what is it about them that you love, for love is a natural thing for a parent to have for their children.

What is it about them that pleases you?

I can safely say that what pleases you as a parent are not the things that stir up anger. The things about your children that please you are the positive things in their lives. Things such as love, joy, peace, patience, and other such traits. You are pleased when you see their words and their actions reflecting things that are righteous in nature.

Do you like it when your children do something wrong?

You still love them, but you are not happy with their actions.

God is the same way with each of us. He loves us no matter what we do, yet, He is only pleased with us when we do things that honor Him. Contrary to what the world says, God is not pleased with us when we go against His design.

Think about that for a moment.

If you like to bake and you make a pie, you are pleased with the pie if it tastes good. What happens when you find that the results of your labor is not what you intended? You try to come up with a way to fix the results, such as adding ice cream, and if that doesn’t work, you throw it out.

God came up with a way to fix our sinful nature so that He could be pleased with us once again. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring that fix, to bring salvation. It is up to us to accept that fix so that we can be pleasing in the eyes of God.

Do I even need to go to the end result if we do not accept the fix that God has sent?

Are your words and your thoughts pleasing to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What would you rather face?

October 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
(2 Samuel 24:14 (NIV))

Isn’t it interesting that most people would rather face the wrath of people than face the mercy of God? We, as a rule, tend to forget that God loves us and wishes to give us grace and mercy even when we do not merit such a favor.

People have a tendency to be judgmental and hold a grudge, even to the point of ridicule and revenge. When given the option, most people would rather exact their pound of flesh instead of forgiving and forgetting. Perhaps this is due to our fall from grace through Adam and Eve. You must remember that this fall opened us up to the power of sin. We are at the mercy of our sinful nature, which now acts opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit, which are, as told in Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If God desires for us to express love, our sinful side will act in hatred. If we are to express gentleness, then we will act in anger. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why David desired to fall into the hands of God instead of the hands of men.

Where will you turn in your times of distress?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What type of fruit do you bear?

August 26, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:43-45 (NIV))

What type of fruit do you bear?

Do you speak of God’s grace and mercy and bestow anger and wrath? Do your actions reflect what you truly desire for others to see? With that question asked, exactly what is it that you want others to see in you?

If a tree bears the type of fruit that it has the genetic code to produce, that means that it is not capable of producing anything else. It is predestined to produce what it produces. We have an advantage over the trees. We can make a conscious decision to change our fruit. We can change the fruit that we bear from bad to good. It must start from within. It is not impossible to change. We must simply be willing to change. We must desire to produce good fruit. We must desire to produce the fruit that represents the righteous characteristics that we wish to possess and store on the inside.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

The fruit of the Spirit is an outward presentation of what is truly stored within your heart.

What do you have stored in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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