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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Honor!

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your diet consist of?

July 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

We think that we know this passage. We hear it quoted so often, though, that I think we may miss the deeper meaning to these words.

We read them and understand them for the surface meaning where we need more than food to survive. We need the Word of God, and we need God.

I would venture to say that there is also an extended meaning to these words. A meaning that takes what we understand and takes it that one step further.

Is bread physical? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Can you taste it?

Is God physical?

He is exactly opposite. He cannot be seen. He cannot be touched. He cannot be experienced in any of the ways that our physical senses are used to experiencing things. God is spirit. We must encounter Him as He is. This does not mean that God cannot manifest Himself in physical ways, but it does mean that He is primarily in a realm of existence that we do not experience in our physical existence.

We must seek Him beyond the physical realm that we know. We must seek Him in His realm.

Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.
(Psalm 144:4 (NIV))

In our physical existence, we are here only for a short time. Even in our short, physical existence, God loves us. He wants us to be with Him. He has overcome our physical existence by sending Jesus to the physical world.

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))

We can, and must, reach out to Him in the spiritual realm. We experience God by allowing ourselves to reach beyond the physical and take small glimpses of the spiritual.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:!2 (NIV))

When we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we begin to see the reflection clearer.

What do you live on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Press on!

June 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

Has God called you heavenward in Christ Jesus?

Have you answered or are you answering that call?

Human nature makes it difficult to stay on track. I started to say that we like to be sidetracked, but I think it is not so much as we like to be sidetracked, but it is more like we don’t know how to avoid being sidetracked. Anything that we do, we lose focus. How do we stay focused? How do we keep from going down the proverbial rabbit hole chasing after each and every distraction that comes our way?

Paul knew human nature. He also knew that he had to deal with the same problems that we all have to face if he was going to be able to share the Gospel with the Gentiles. He recognized the fact that he stilled sinned even when he didn’t want to. He recognized the fact that to answer God’s call and to follow Jesus required a commitment that did not end the first time that he failed to do what he should. Paul used athletes as an example to teach others how to persevere. He pointed out how athletes train to win the prize and they don’t give up simply because they encounter an obstacle or they don’t do as well as they would like to. They are committed to achieve their goals. They are committed to winning the prize.

As followers of Jesus, the prize that we desire to win is of far greater value than anything given as a prize in an athletic competition, yet, we have a tendency to not be willing to go after what we want. We don’t press on. We don’t press through the difficult times. If you are a runner, there is a saying that you have hit the wall when you have reached a point where you feel as though you can’t go on. An avid runner will not stop when this happens. An avid runner will press on toward the goal that they have set. They press on and press through!

Just because you may falter in your daily walk, press on!

Just because you may not see yourself the way that God sees you, press on!

Just because the world does not see you as God sees you, press on!

God is calling each of us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Are you pressing on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

June 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Do you believe that you have been called by God to follow Jesus?

Think about your answer before you just randomly say something.

There are those who believe that God had preselected those whom He wanted to save. To be honest with you, according to 2 Peter 3:9, there is some truth to that. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved, so, with this in mind, we are all preselected to be saved.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

If we are all preselected, how then can we be called a chosen people and a royal priesthood?

Belief in Jesus, like anything else, has a demographic. You have those who will respond and then you have those who are slow to respond. The sad thing is that there are also those who will never respond. Those who have responded are called to witness to those who have not responded. God has always equipped those whom He calls to spread the Gospel.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

This calling sets us apart from the rest of the world. Just as the Holy Spirit came to the early church to equip them for the task at hand, the Holy Spirit will also equip you and I for the task at hand. Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus seem to have lost touch with the power that was given to the Body of Christ. We have been called to be the salt and the light, but have we become just like the world that we are supposed to be telling about Jesus?

Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek His righteousness?

May 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What do you seek first in life?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 (NIV))

Based on just these two passages, we have it all backwards! Our society tells us to seek after everything that we want as our primary objective and goal in life. How is that going for our society? How is that going for each of us that have to live in our society?

Do we live in a state of being in which we act in accordance with God’s divine or moral laws? If we do, then we are truly seeking His righteousness and we are answering God’s call to live according to His purpose.

There are numerous passages that talk about righteousness and what it means to be righteous in the eyes of God. All of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior long to be righteous in the eyes of God for we are called to be righteous. We are told to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Jesus showed us what it takes to be righteous. He also showed us a way to be righteous even in our humanity. We can accept the grace and mercy that was freely given on the cross. We can be made righteous by a simple proclamation of faith in Jesus!

When we seek His righteousness, we repent of our sinful ways and walk with Jesus. We will falter along the way, but, if our heart is true, then Jesus will pick us up, dust us off and continue on the journey with us.

Perhaps that is the best way to think of yourself when you seek His righteousness. It is not something that will happen over night. It is a journey. It is a life long commitment to walking with Jesus in all things.

We are called to walk in righteousness!

Does your life show that you have answered the call?

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