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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Have you been made a part of the family?

April 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 2:11 (NIV))

Did you fully grasp the meaning behind these words in this passage?

It is commonly stated that those who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are part of the family of God, but has this concept truly taken hold of your life? It is human nature to say things so much that we soon begin to miss the true meaning of the words and the concepts because we begin to take things for granted. Sadly, it is human nature to become so familiar with something, that the excitement starts to fade!

For those of you who are married, I wish to present an example of what I am talking about. When you first said the words “I love you” to your spouse, there was a very strong emotion that was tied to those words. As the years progressed, you may say the same words, but there is a familiarity that is there. The meaning behind the words has slightly shifted in the relationship. The relationship is strong, but the words no longer convey the same strong emotion. Does your heart still race at the sound of their voice? Do you long for the times that you will be together? Or, do you simply sit on the couch and quietly enjoy each other’s company? Are you comfortable in your relationship? Are you confident of your standing in that relationship?

When you fist accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, how was your excitement level? How is it now? Are you still overwhelmed to be called a child of God, or have you grown so accustom to that concept that you don’t get excited about it anymore? Do you fidget and stammer for words when you pray or is there a comfort zone that has developed, just like there is a comfort zone in a healthy earthly family? Do you feel that you can know the Lord so well that He does truly feel like a brother?

Have you been made a part of the family?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t hide from the light!

February 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
(John 1:9 (NIV))

Do you fear change?

Some people are so terrified by change that they do everything within their power to avoid change. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that makes people fear change. It is said that we are much more comfortable living in the sin that we know than in taking the step of faith and repenting of our sin and living under grace.

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us would rather cower and hide in the darkness of our sins than to step into the light and embrace grace through the atoning blood of Jesus! If you are human, and the last I checked if you are capable of reading this then you qualify, you need to come into the light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Have you stepped into the light?

Have you embraced the grace and mercy freely given?

Have you asked for forgiveness?

Have you repented?

Do you have the light of life?

I know that this is an extremely huge change. Don’t fear the change that brings mercy and grace.

Don’t hide from the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is with us even among the wolves!

August 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
(Luke 10:3 (NIV))

Do you feel comfortable in your faith? Do you feel that you are safe in the society in which we live?

With the events of the last few years and the escalated anti-Christian rhetoric that we see all over the place, we need to remember that Jesus warned His disciples using the words recorded above. What was true then is rapidly becoming true once again. Professing a faith in Jesus is becoming a social stigma. I honestly believe that the Body of Christ has become complacent and that we have forgotten that the world hates us because of our love for Jesus.

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:22 (NIV))

Are you strong enough in your faith to still follow the instructions that Jesus left us and simply go into the society and into the world that grows to hates us more and more each day?

Think about that question in relationship to a lamb that is surrounded by wolves.

The lamb, in its innocence, goes forth into the world. The wolves see the lamb and realize that they are looking at their next victim, their next meal. We may not be a literal next meal, but we are all familiar with sayings such as, “They are going to eat his lunch.” We know that the outcome as expected from the physical perspective does not look good.

I don’t know when we may face things. I don’t know if we may face things, but I do know that there is a possibility of being surrounded by the wolves of this world. Are we, as the Body of Christ, prepared to face whatever we may face because of our faith in Jesus?

Jesus is with us even among the wolves!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which spirit have you received?

June 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
(1 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV))

Sadly, too many people who claim to be a member of the Body of Christ still cling tightfisted to the spirit of the world. We have become afraid to let go of the sin that we have embraced in our lives. Is this due to familiarity with the world or is it due to the simple fact that we are comfortable in our sin?

Are you conformable in your sin?

Are you afraid to let it go because you don’t know if you can face your life without it? Are you afraid to see what God has in store for you if you do leave your sin? I once heard a story of a little monkey who reached into a jar to get what was in it. Unfortunately, when he tried to pull his hand out of the jar, his closed fist was too big to fit through the opening. Instead of letting the object go, he clung to his prize and remained stuck in the jar. Are we like that monkey? Do we cling to things even though they entrap us?

Take a long, hard look at your life. Is there anything that you refuse to let go of even though it has you trapped in sin? Sin is of the enemy. Sin is of the spirit of the world. In order to truly follow Jesus, we must be willing to let go of anything and everything that will keep us from Him? We cannot be a vessel for both the spirit of the world and the Holy Spirit!

Which spirit have you received?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Turn from arrogance and turn to God!

December 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 (NIV))

People surround themselves with things that they are comfortable with. Take a look at somebody’s home and you will see how that this is true. If you could take a look at somebody’s heart, you would also see that this is true in spiritual matters. People surround themselves with what they know.

Closely examine what you have surrounded yourself with. Is it Godly or is it worldly? The two are opposite extremes. You cannot be surrounded with worldly matters and still be able to focus on God. You cannot walk the middle ground between the two. It is time to break out of the comfort zone and focus exclusively on one.

By focusing on God, you will resist Satan, and, as the verse claims, he will flee. A relationship with God is like a relationship with anyone. If you are willing to become friends with someone, they are more receptive. The more that you learn about the other person, the more that they will learn about you. Do not present the world with an arrogant attitude, for that attitude is from the devil.

Turn from arrogance and turn to God.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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