What do you rejoice in?

May 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
  though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
  though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV))

Think about that passage for a moment.

The society was an agricultural society. What this passage describes is the equivalent of someone saying today:

Though the car breaks down
and the refrigerator needs repaired,
though the lawnmower won’t run
and the bill collectors are calling,
though there are no jobs to be found
and the house is being foreclosed,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

No matter what the situation, we must rejoice in the Lord. No matter how desperate things may look, we must rejoice in the Lord. We are not the only people to have ever gone through trials and tribulations. We are, however, the ones who are facing them now.

Each generation goes through trials. We undergo tests of our faith. No matter what we may face, we can rest assured that the world cannot take our faith, unless we willingly give it up.

Faith is a choice. It is not something that we lose when things get bad. It is not something that we can set aside when things are going well. Faith should be an integral part of our daily lives. Faith is what sees us through the tough times. Faith is what we rejoice over during the good times. Faith is what we look back on and realize that it was faith that brought us through tough times.

Tough times fall on everyone. It is faith that makes the difference between despair and hope.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I am certain that things will get better. I am certain that God will see us through this time. I am certain that the fig tree will bud and that there will be grapes on the vines, and that the car will run and the jobs will return. I am certain that no matter to what extent that these things happen, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will strive to maintain my faith.

What do you rejoice in?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What controls your spirit?

March 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV))

How are you holding up in the midst of all that is happening in the world?

Be honest with yourself. Are you falling into the panic and fear that the world insists on spreading? Have you focused only on the world to the point that you have ignored or completely forgotten the promises that we have been given by our Lord? If you are fearful because of the events occurring in the world, it is time to step back and take a serious look at all that has been promised by God.

He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to redeem us and restore us to Himself. This restoration saves us from sin and death. Why would He save us from such a fate and then abandon us? Fear is rooted in uncertainty and a sense of danger. We have already been told our destiny lies with Jesus. That is certain. We have also been told to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Does this sound like something we need to fear? We have nothing to fear because Jesus bore all of our sin. He willingly paid the consequences of our sins and gave us His righteousness and grace. We have been told that Jesus will return for us. If He is returning, what do we have to fear in this world?

When we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, all fear has been defeated. It has been replaced with His power and His love. When we embrace the Holy Spirit, He gives us a sound mind. He gives us His mind to guide us.

No matter what may come our way while we are in this world, we have nothing to fear, for we are His and He is ours!

What controls your spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you trying to do things your way?

March 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
    “No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(John 21:4-6 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself an expert in what you do?

Think about that question for a moment.

How willing are you to take the advice of someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do? How willing are you to even consider doing something differently than what you are accustomed to?

Now, is there something in your life that you are struggling with because you know that God is leading you in a certain direction, but you feel that you are constantly encountering roadblocks and obstacles? Have you stopped to consider that you are trying to fulfill your calling using your own strengths and plans? Perhaps you simply need to step back and accept the advice from someone else.

That is exactly what the disciples did, not only in this story, but in other stories as well.

Every time that they attempted to do something without Jesus, it did not go as planned. When they allowed Jesus to guide, things vastly improved. Fortunately for those who can claim spiritual descendancy to the disciples, they allowed someone else to lead them. They soon realized that they could not do it on their own. They needed Jesus.

What in your life is in need of the guidance that Jesus can give? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your calling? Is it a ministry that He is longing to use to spread the Gospel? Listen to that still, small voice. I think that you know the one. It is the one that says “Throw your net on the right side of the boat. . . ” It is the one that sounds foolish, but you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. It is the one that is calling you to trust in something besides your own so-called expertise.

I once heard a story about how a revival got started. To summarize, many people got together to pray that a revival would start in their town. They met regularly, but with no results. Finally, someone asked after a rather lengthy prayer meeting if anyone felt anything. No one answered. This went on for several more prayer meetings, and still no one answered. Finally, at still another prayer meeting, someone reluctantly said that they felt that they were supposed to hit the table. They said that they had felt this way almost since the beginning of their prayer group, but they felt that it was foolish and didn’t mention it. Finally, they broke down and did what they felt they were being told to do. They hit the table.

Can you guess what happened?

Are you ignoring something because you feel that it is foolish? God is not calling the equipped. He is equipping the called. It is up to each of us to answer that call. He will call you in ways that you may think are foolish.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
       declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Are you trying to do things your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Believing is seeing!

March 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
(John 4:48 (NIV))

Are you a visual person? Do you learn only when you see it before your own eyes?

Where is the faith in this?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

There are just some things that you must accept without seeing. Faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is one of those things. We do not have the good fortune of having been alive when He walked the earth. We will never see the miracles that He performed. Perhaps that is a good thing, for those who actually saw them wanted more before many of them would believe.

Where does that leave us?

We must be certain in our hope that Jesus is who He says He is. We must be certain of what we do not see. We will be blessed if we can go beyond our physical limitations and start to believe even if we do not see. We must remember what Jesus told Thomas.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29 (NIV))

This world teaches us that we must see it in order to believe it. That is true of anything of this world. Faith in Jesus is not of this world. We must be sure of the hope that Jesus brings even though we may not see it.

Are you sure of your faith? Do you need to see to believe?

Believing is seeing!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there freedom in your life?

April 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of God? Are you prone to apply human understanding and limit God as a result? Do you have a mental image of how you think God looks? Does your mental image apply human characteristics to God?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

No one knows what the Father looks like. His glory cannot be comprehended by human minds. All throughout human history, people have made a vain attempt at creating a likeness of God or what people have called gods. We are told not to worship idols. Nothing that we can imagine comes close to the majesty that is our Lord! He has no physical limitations. He has no spiritual limitations except that He cannot associate with sin.

We think that we have a good idea of what Jesus looked like. Even so, nobody is completely certain. God sent Jesus into this world at a time when people and events were not recorded for all to see. I would probably venture to say that it was never God’s intention to have a perfect likeness of Jesus be a part of His legacy. I can already imagine the human ego being exactly what it is if we knew that Jesus had a certain look or a certain ethnicity. We do know that He was Jewish, but we don’t know how dark His skin was. We don’t know what color eyes He had. All that we do know and all that we need to know is recorded in the Gospels. God wanted us to believe in Jesus on faith and not because we saw a video of Him performing any of His miracles.

Did God exist before creation?

Did Jesus exist before He came to earth?

Does God exist now?

Does Jesus exist now?

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the answer is simple. God is Spirit – always has been and always will be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

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))

He stepped out of eternity and took on human form in order to bring us freedom! This does not mean that we are to worship the form. We are to worship the Lord in all of His majesty and not in the limitations of the form that He took. When you see the cross, what do you see? Do you see a man who was nailed to it or do you see the Spirit of God come to earth to set us free?

Is there freedom in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith and fear do not go together!

November 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
(Mark 4:40 (RSV))

What do you face in your life that makes you afraid?

To some people, their fear is of a horrible death. To others, their fear is financial failure. Some people fear being alone, while others fear being with people.

The fears that people have are as unique and varied as the people who have them.

Think about the questions presented in Mark 4:40. Is there really anything that you have to fear if you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? His very words tell us:

“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))

If we place our faith in Jesus, then we truly have nothing to fear, for whatever the world may throw at us, He has overcome. It is true that we may have our faith tested by Satan, for he will attempt to use our old fears to get us to deny Jesus, but do not abandon your faith. Fear only thrives where there is no hope. Hope thrives where Jesus is. Faith thrives were there is hope.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Firmly place your faith in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you run out of hope?

September 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Romans 4:18 (NIV))

Against all hope!

I want to ask a very deep question. This is a question that I have asked myself before and I am sure that many of you have asked it in your lifetime.

What do you hold on to when you have no hope left?

Think about that for a moment.

How do you count hope? Is it as the world defines it based on so called logic and the evidence of things that you can see? If that is how you define hope, then Abraham was a foolish old man. He and his wife were without children and they were already close to beginning three digits in their age. According to the world, there was no hope that they would ever have a child, let alone be placed into a situation where Abraham would be called the father of many nations.

Against all hope Abraham still hoped! Actually, he did one better than hope. He believed! He believed that God would fulfill His promises. He believed that Sarah would bear him a son. He believed that God would provide. Even when, according to worldly standards, none of this could have happened, Abraham believed!

Abraham had faith! In fact, his faith is the perfect example of the definition of faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Abraham was sure even when the world said that he had no hope.

Is it possible for someone who earnestly seeks to follow the Lord to never have any hope left?

Take a look at your life. Take a look at the situations that you have begun to believe are hopeless. Now, I want you to rethink your answer to my previous question. I want you to answer that question with a bold statement.

I will still hold on to Jesus when all worldly hope is gone!

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