How do you talk to God?

November 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
(John 11:41-42 (NIV))

Jesus knew, and still knows, human nature extremely well. When He resurrected Lazarus, He petitioned God verbally with prayer so that those around would hear Him and believe. He did not need to do this. God would have heard Him even if He had not spoken a single word. He would have heard His heart, His Spirit, and His anguish. Yet, Jesus spoke out loud so that those around Him would hear and believe. Everyone knows the outcome of this event.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:43-44)

When we pray, is it necessary for us to speak out loud? Jesus taught the following:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6)

Prayer is an important part of life. It is a conversation with your Creator, your Father. When you talk to your earthly father, do you do it loudly in a public place, or do you find a private place where you can speak quietly and freely with each other?

How do you think that God wishes for you to talk with Him? How do you talk to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you known?

November 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

After reading this passage, I have a very difficult question for you to consider!

Is there someone in the church that you do not love?

I started to ask this question using the following words. Is there someone in your church that you do not love? I quickly realized one thing that was drastically wrong with that wording, for it is not your church. It is not my church. It is THE church. It is the Body of Christ! It is not your body. It is not my body! We cannot claim ownership.

What we can claim, by the grace and mercy shown on the cross, is membership in the body!

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Romans 12″3-8 (NIV))

Do you hate your physical body?

We may have parts of our physical bodies that grow weak with age, but do we hate these parts? If we have a knee that can no longer support the weight that it once could, we do not inflict damage and hurt upon that knee. Do we hate the knee and reject it because it is not capable of doing what it once could? On the contrary, we bandage the knee. We treat the knee with care and sympathy. We do not inflict more pain and anguish upon it.

Why do we even think about doing this with other members of the Body of Christ? We should love each other just as Jesus has loved us! Do you wish to be known as the member of the Body who hates the knee?

How are you known?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What signs do we see today?

April 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
(Matthew 27:51-53 (NIV))

Do you gloss over these words when you read about the crucifixion? Do you stop reading when it says that Jesus yielded up His spirit? That was not the end of the miracles!

The veil of the temple was so tall that no one could reach the top, yet it tore from the top down. The earth groaned and quaked at the death of God’s only Son. The rocks, and I would probably bet that they were huge stones, broke from the anguish of God the Father. What I find so amazing is that the graves gave up the bodies of the people who had longed for the Messiah to come.

Can you imagine what Jerusalem was like when this happened? The sun had already darkened, and then all of these things occurred after Jesus died. How would you have reacted?

What I find interesting is that all of these things happened at His death, yet, the account of the resurrection does not tell of anything like this happening. It is as if the world had been in grief and then all is peaceful and right. However, that concept makes me think about the correlation between the crucifixion and the second coming. If the world groaned when Jesus died, even though it knew that Jesus would arise, what will the world do when it knows that Jesus is returning? Can we expect more of what was seen at the crucifixion? Can we draw any correlation between the resurrection and the second coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that you need to be ready?

October 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:13 (NIV))

I have been reading testimonies and watching videos about visions that people have been having, and I honestly have to ask a very important question.

Are you ready?

Think about that for a moment in context with the fact that you can’t know the day or the hour. That means that you must be ready at any moment. Jesus could come next year, next week, tomorrow or at this very moment!

If Jesus called His church to Him at this very moment, would you be ready? Would you be gone in the twinkling of an eye, or would you be left behind?

Each day I see things happening that make me wonder what is going on and exactly where we are in God’s perfect timeline. Many people believe that things are lining up in such a way that could mean that the times foretold of in Daniel and in Revelation are about to happen. They also believe that the events that many people refer to as the Rapture are also able to occur soon because of the way things are lining up. Many of the experts are saying that for these events to line up again like they are lining up now is so unlikely that it is impossible to say if they ever would align like this again.

Israel is back in their land.

There are wars and rumors of wars. Terrorism is higher than ever.

The Temple is ready to be rebuilt.

All of the nations are turning against Israel.

Good is called evil and evil is called good.

There are more earthquakes than ever.

Faith in Jesus is ridiculed publicly.

These are but a few of the overviews of things that I see. I want to stress that I do not profess to know, but I can see the signs.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
(Luke 21:25-28 (NIV))

What do you see?

Are you ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you experiencing the groaning?

July 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
(Romans 8:22 (NIV))

Am I the only one who groans in anguish over the things I see in the world?

I know that I can turn off the sarcasm of a rhetorical question. I know many people are feeling the very same things that I am feeling. It is so hard to not have your spirit groan in compassion for the groanings of what God has created. Even though I know how things turn out as God will unfold His plan, I still can’t help but groan out of sadness for those who are so blinded by the lies of the enemy that they refuse to see what is happening.

The whole world is upside down.

Good is called evil and evil is called good. I honestly can’t remember a day where something evil and demented has not happened somewhere in the world.

Jesus, we need you. The world is falling apart and You are the only way to stop the insanity. My heart is heavy for I know that things will get much worse before you do return. I take no pleasure in knowing that there will be those who reject you. I take no pleasure in knowing that many will vehemently deny you. It is my prayer that somehow their hearts will be softened and they will turn to you. I am at a loss for what to pray for. I long to see you return, yet I don’t want to see any perish. Is this how You feel when you see Your creation?

Lord, give me a heart that loves like Yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in need of healing?

April 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
(Psalms 147:3 (NIV))

Have you ever realized that this passage does not speak of physical wounds that are bound up? The wounds are those of the brokenhearted! In other words, Jesus comforts the brokenhearted.

I am sure that everyone has experienced the pain of a broken heart. It is a heaviness and an anguish that just doesn’t seem to ever go away. There is no peace. There is no delight. There is only despair. This type of wound is much worse than a physical wound. A physical wound can be cared for. Medicine can be prescribed that will aid in healing. What can you do when your very soul is in anguish? There is no medicine that is available from man that will ease the pain. There is no peace that can come because someone said a word of encouragement.

There is only one way to ease the anguish and the pain.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Have you been wounded by life?

Have you felt the pain of despair and anguish that nothing can ease?

Life is difficult. Sin is rampant. Pain is inevitable.

“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))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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