Have we been singing well enough?

September 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.
(1 Chronicles 16:23 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you need to praise the Lord more than you do?

Sadly, if you are like me, the weight of the world closes in on us far too often and we quickly lose site of what is truly important in this world. We feel the pressures of our jobs and many other aspects of our daily lives. As a result, we soon forget to lift up praise to the Lord for all that He has done for us. It almost sounds like I am saying to give thanks for the pressures that we face. On the contrary! The pressures do not come from the Lord. They come from the enemy and he does all that he can to heap more and more on us in order to distract us from praising the Lord. When that happens, take heart and slow down. It is said that if you focus on your problems, you fail to recognize the blessings in your life. God designed His creation to remind us of Him. God’s creation praises His majesty through the beauty of what He has created. When we are too weak to praise the Lord, we just need to focus on the backing vocals that we have at our disposal. Shift your attention from your problems and allow God’s creation to remind you of just how great that He is!

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:37-40 (NIV))

The enemy knows that the Lord is to be praised. He also knows that we are created to lift up the name of the Lord, so he does all that he can to prevent this. Thankfully, God’s creation will sing His praises when we don’t. We just need to make sure that we remember to pick back up in the next stanza of our lives and sing to the Lord for He is worthy of our praise!

Have we been singing well enough?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and paying attention?

June 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
(1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NIV))

Do you pay attention to what is going on in the world? Are you alert and watching and waiting or are you asleep? Are you ignorant of the things that God is unfolding right in front of us? Are you oblivious to the attacks of the enemy in the world in which we live?

Do you recognize God’s timeline unfolding or do you simply think that everything is as it has always been?

You can call me an escapist. You can call me someone lost in fantasy. You can call me a conspiracy nut. You can call me a Jesus freak, but nothing is going to change my mind. Nothing is going to change this inner feeling that there is something unfolding as we have been told in God’s Word. I refuse to lay down and sleep!

Let me ask you one simple question. Are you aware of the things that happen around you when you are asleep? Unless something startles you out of a sound sleep, you are oblivious to many things such as a gentle change in the weather, a power outage, a child coming into your room and standing next to your bed, and many, many more such things. It is the subtle changes that allow you to stay in a state of slumber. It is only the drastic changes that wake you to the events as they unfold. The enemy works in the same way. He has been and continues to slowly and subtly change things in a manner that will not shock you out of your slumber. Those who are not paying attention to the subtlety miss it. One day there will be a drastic change and they be awakened and it will be too late!

The Body of Christ is called to be alert and self-controlled. We are to be a witness for Christ. We are to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness of this world. How can we shine into and through this darkness if we fail to see and recognize the darkness?

Are you alert and paying attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see yourself in this list?

April 24, 2018

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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 such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us want to make lists? What is it about human nature that makes us want to place ourselves right at the top of the lists that we make?

We like to classify and identify almost every aspect of our lives as well as the lives of others. Have you noticed that if someone likes to make lists of the faults of others, they are usually trying to hide their own faults? We like to think that by pointing out the problems in the lives of others, we draw attention away from our faults and make ourselves look much better than we truly are. In essence, we like to toot our own horn! We like to be the center of attention.

Does this sound anything like the characteristics listed in the passage above?

We are told the characteristics that people will possess in the last days. In today’s world, are people lovers of themselves and lovers of money? Are people boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful and unholy? Are people loveless, unforgiving, slanderous, lacking self-control and brutal? Do people love good or are they treacherous, rash, conceited and lovers of pleasure? If you answered yes to these questions, then by logical reasoning, what can you claim is true of the times in which we live?

As previously stated, people like to make lists. God also makes lists. He has defined the characteristics that He despises in humanity and how they will be very evident in the last days. These are characteristics that we do not wish to possess. This is a list that we do not wish to be on.

Do you see yourself in this list?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you pursue?

April 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV))

There are so many things in this world that vie for our attention and our time. Too many of us pursue things that we shouldn’t, and it shows.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

We chase after things of this world. We chase after riches. We chase after power and we chase after whatever feels good. Most people don’t care about the consequences of any of their actions. All that they are concerned about is themselves!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV))

Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing things of this world, for this world is in a sinful, fallen state. Anything that you pursue, by its very nature, will also be in a sinful, fallen state. It will not last. Thieves can steal and moth and rust will destroy it. It will lead to destruction. When you die, these things that you felt that you have to pursue now will soon belong to someone else. Your wealth that you seek, that you pursue in this world will not save you from the consequences of your sins in this world.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV))

What do you pursue?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your reaction times like?

April 20, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
(James 1:19 (NIV))

It seems that we are always being judged on our reaction times. What I find interesting is the things that we are being measured for. Some of them are important, such as how quickly you can apply the brakes in a car if an emergency arises. Some of them are just ridiculous such as how fast someone can eat a hot dog. Other reaction times can determine your life’s direction and your career choices, such as how fast you can run 40 yards. In the grand scheme of things, we face many things in our lives that are used to measure us for some aspect or another.

For what things do you wish your reactions times to be measured?

Are they the things of this world or are they something different?

If someone were to give us an evaluation based on the things in James 1:19, how would we be rated? Would we be considered quick to listen? Do we honestly hear what is being said? Do we understand and give our undivided attention? Do we hold our tongues? Do we quickly become angry? These are all things where we should strive to improve our reaction times, for when we do, it reflects not only on us, but on the one that we claim to follow.

What are your reaction times like?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What’s in your heart?

April 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

Everybody has something that they hide away. Some people will keep just about anything hidden in their hearts only to be let out when they think that no one is paying attention or when no one that they know will see. It is sad to see what some people will hide away. Greed, envy, lust and pride are just a few of the things that people will hide in order to avoid people seeing their sinful nature.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I find it disheartening that what people hide in their hearts is actually what they treasure. How can anybody treasure greed, envy, lust or pride? In essence, I suppose that all of these actually reflect three people – me, myself and I! If you get right to the point, most things that people hide in their hearts are all centered around what they treasure most – themselves. Everything else is simply how to make themselves feel more important or superior to others. They simply try to fill the selfish void with worldly things.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human history is full of stories of how people have filled their hearts with the wrong things. We see how they sought to secure the worldly things to make the outward appearances match the inner desires. Some people have taken this to extremes with wars to expand kingdoms. Others are less domineering, yet, they still focus on the worldly that thief, moth and rust can take.

There is something so much better to hide in your heart!

Do you seek after God’s Word? Do you desire to fill your life with obedience to the Lord? Do you treasure every word that has been recorded in God’s Word? Do you love the truth? Do you hide God’s word in your heart? Think about that in relationship to the following passage.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh!

Do you hide Jesus in your heart?

What’s in your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to be holy?

January 11, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV))

When you were growing up, was there someone whom you wanted to be just like?

We all have people that are role models for us at various times in our lives. As we grow and mature, some of these people lose that place while others step in to fill the void. Even so, there is something about each of these individuals that fill a need, that fill a hole in our lives at a certain time. Some of us looked up to one or both of our parents. Some looked to a certain grandparent as the role model. As we matured and our interests took on their own personality, we soon began to look upon individuals who had made a name for themselves in the areas that held our interest. All along the way, we saw something in each of these individuals that we recognized as unique and worthy of emulating.

What characteristics caught your attention?

For some, it is such traits as love and kindness. For others, it is a steadfast focus on the goal. For some, it is the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed in the area of expertise.

When I read today’s passage, something made me realize that we have been seeking to emulate the wrong role models most of the time. Think back on those whom you desired to be like. Did they focus on Jesus? Did they strive to be holy and to bear fruit that reflects that holiness?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

I know that we have a tendency to reference these traits quite often, but do we truly stop to reflect on the source? If you notice that Spirit is capitalize. This references the Holy Spirit aspect of God. These are traits that we should recognize as holy. These are traits that we should desire to emulate. We have been given instructions on how to be holy!

Do you desire to be holy?

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