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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Is Jesus the treasure that you store away in your heart?

May 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Does a maiden forget her jewelry,
a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.
(Jeremiah 2:32 (NIV))

These things bring excitement to the owners. They are looked upon as favorite memories and possessions. They hold a central place in the lives of those who possess them.

Think about that for a moment.

If I were to ask you to think of the one thing that made you the happiest in your life, how many of you would think of your spouse? How many would think of your favorite car? How many would think of a job that you have had? Do you place more value on the things from your life or do you place more value on your relationship with Jesus? The people and the things that are in our lives can be a blessing, but are they more important to you than your relationship with Jesus?

If we can remember the people and the things in our lives with such fond memories and emotions, why do we fail to do the same for the one who was willing to die on the cross to save us?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Luke 12:34 (NIV))

Do we really treasure our relationship with Jesus? Is He your treasure? Is He the priority in your heart? Does the mere thought of what He has done for you bring you to your knees in thanks and praise?

We all will have to answer these questions at some point in our lives. With what is going on in the world, that time may be closer than you think. Personally, the last thing that I want to discover is that I have answered incorrectly.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Is Jesus the treasure that you store away in your heart?

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

August 30, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
(Ezra 8:23 (NIV))

What is different about this and how we ask God for something today?

Toady, it seems that we simply pray one or two times for something and when it doesn’t come about when we want it to, we simply give up!

Ezra wrote about fasting and petitioning. Exactly what is the difference from then and now? Fasting requires a commitment. It requires a willing act to deliberately give up something in the hopes of attaining something else. Fasting requires you to give up physical food in order to obtain spiritual blessings. Don’t take this wrong, but, when was the last time that you saw your church have a Sunday afternoon Fast? We have a tendency to get together and eat, and, yes, sometimes we overindulge. We do not get together as a body of believers and fast. We do not give up something in the hope of obtaining something greater. To quote an old saying, we want our cake and we want to eat it, too.

When was the last time that you saw someone with a petition? They feel strongly enough about something to take it upon themselves to get other people to feel the same way. Have you ever petitioned God for something? Petitioning calls for a fervor. It calls for a relentless desire to obtain what you seek.

Do you see a trend in what Ezra wrote about? He wrote about people who were passionate about what God could do for them. They did not relent. They stayed the course of prayer, fasting and petitioning until God answered them.

Are you willing to stay the course?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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