For such a time

February 6, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
(Matthew 4:23 (NIV))

What would be your reaction to someone doing these things in your community?

Think about it carefully. Not only would this person be teaching and preaching in your church, they would also be healing anybody and everybody of anything that was wrong. Cancer. Diabetes. Paralysis. Blindness. Neurological problems. All would be miraculously healed by a person. Would you follow that person or would you be part of the gossip mill that would follow that person?

I am confident that the very emotions that you would feel are the very same emotions that people felt when Jesus walked the earth and did these wonderful things in Galilee. Human nature wants to embrace the miraculous and embrace the messenger of the miraculous. At the same time, the miraculous is different and human nature is afraid of what we do not know. I do know that I hope I would have accepted Jesus when He walked this earth. I also know that I am human and my faults are the same that kept many from embracing HIm. How about you? Can you say with complete certainty that you would have been one to embrace Jesus for who He is when He first walked this earth?

Sometimes I think that I would like to have lived during Jesus’ time on this earth. I would love to witness the Sermon on the Mount. I would love to walk with Jesus and listen to His teachings. I would hate to see the crucifixion and I would rejoice at the resurrection. I would love to be among the crowd at Pentecost. However, because of my human nature, I am also afraid that if I did not have the perspective of history as reported in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I would not recognize who was right before me. With that said, it is probably best that I, like Esther, am alive for such a time as this.

God placed each of us in just the right point in history to bless us. Perhaps even more importantly, He placed each one of us in just the right point in history to bless those around us. Pray to be that blessing to others. Pray that you may have the faith to fulfill Jesus’ words.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Talk to Him

January 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 (NIV))

All too often we say that we do not have the time to pray. Our lives have become so hectic that the most important aspect is often overlooked.

Jesus knew what it was like to be “wanted” by so many different people and things in His earthly life. People were always asking Him to heal them or to help them in some other way. It would have been very easy for someone to “forget” to pray, yet, He knew that it was the source of His authority.

Nothing is given to anyone, even Jesus, without it being allowed by God. Jesus set a perfect example for us in what we should do in our daily lives. Even though Jesus is part of God and is God, He did not forget that He needed to “talk” to God the Father. He needed to spend quiet time to maintain the relationship that had been since the beginning of time.

We must take this example and live it out in our daily lives so that we do not forget that we are not the masters of our own lives. We have a loving Creator who wishes to be in fellowship with us. He is our master. He is our Father.

Talk to Him.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


At once they left their nets

January 23, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-20 (NIV))

“At once they left their nets”

This not only happened once, but it appears that it happened twice in the very same day. Two groups of two brothers who simply put down what they were doing and decided to follow Jesus.

In my opinion, there are several astonishing things to consider.

The first, and probably the most difficult for us, is the fact that they followed “at once.” They made an instant decision upon meeting Jesus and left everything else behind. In our society today, we have to study and review and investigate the facts before we do anything. How many people do you know who accepted Jesus the very first time that they were introduced to Him? How long did it take you to accept Jesus?

Something else that caught my attention with this passage is the fact that two sets of brothers decided “at once,” and left everything to follow Jesus.

Think about that.

How many of you have siblings? Have you ever agreed on anything instantly? Would both of you be willing to make a life changing commitment in the same manner as Simon and Andrew or James and John?

We read this passage and we tend to take for granted just what amazing faith transpired in the telling of these few short lines. What about your faith is amazing? Accepting Jesus, whether instantly or years later, is still an amazing thing, but to step out in faith when no one could truly proclaim the miracles that were to happen is beyond comprehension.

We take our faith for granted because we have the written Word to tell us the truth. Still, many of us seem to take forever to make that commitment, to take that leap.

It is my prayer that we can all become ones who will respond “at once” to the call that Jesus places upon our lives.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord

January 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So honor the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshipped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:14-15 (NLT))

In today’s society, we have many choices as to what or whom we will serve. It ranges from self to family to work to a social or political cause. Many people throw themselves one hundred and ten percent behind the choice that they make. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for commitment is good. What is bad is if the choice of what or whom to serve is against the principles of a righteous God. What is even worse is if the chosen thing to serve takes the place of God, or is done without the guidance of God.

God has a calling upon each of our lives. He has a unique purpose for each of us. HE has a place where we are to serve. However, we must be careful in our service, for if we lose sight of the fact that it is God who calls us to that service and through that service we are serving Him, then we do not honor God. We may even begin to take on the characteristics spoke of in Matthew.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Serving God will reap untold rewards in heaven “where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19b (NIV))

If we choose to serve anything but God, we are cheating ourselves, and, of course, we are cheating God. God gave us grace and mercy. Out of an attitude of thankfulness, the least that we should do is make the commitment to serve God.

Whom or what do you serve?

As for me, I stand firmly on the same words written in Joshua – “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Overcoming Troubles!

January 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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))

Is there anything in the world today that does not reek of trouble? Perhaps another way to look at that word is to interpret trouble as pressure. With that in mind, take a serious look at your life and the world in general. It is almost impossible to find areas of your life that do not have pressure or trouble. Terrorism and wars plague nations. Financial problems are now terrorizing nations and individuals in ways that terrorists could only hope to be able to do. People are losing their homes because they have lost their jobs. Many families are beyond a two income household. It is not uncommon for those who can to have two or three incomes. Health problems abound and seem to be on the increase.

Do you clearly get the picture? In this world, we face many hardships and troubles. In our human nature, we can do nothing about them. We can be battered by the troubles and allow them to take their toll or we can firmly ground ourselves in something that is above the troubles.

That something is Jesus !

Unfortunately, too many people believe that relying upon Jesus means that we will have no troubles. When they face troubles, they abandon Jesus. He does not abandon them. They are looking for a magical solution to eliminate all troubles. If they would only realize that Jesus gives us strength through the troubles. He is with us if we will only recognize that He is there.

During these troubling times, we must not abandon Jesus. We must turn to Him and rely upon His strength. When things look bad because you need work, turn to Jesus. When things are good because you have work, turn to Jesus. In all things, turn to Jesus. Seek His guidance in how He will work in your life to overcome your troubles.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you long for the old days?

January 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, `The old is better.’
(Luke 5:37-38 (NIV))

Do you long for the old days?

Think about that statement!

Have you grown in your faith since the times that you long for? Have you matured in your walk with Christ since that time?

I would venture to say that each of us has come a long way in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus since the days that we tend to long for. Would you trade your maturity for the immature ways of that time? Would you trade your faith for the faithlessness that you probably had at that time? In essence, we would not pour the new wine of our new faith into the lives that we now have. That would ruin us. The wine of our “old” faith is much better than the immature wine of the faith that was then “new” to us.

God is slowly maturing us. He is slowly perfecting us. He has always loved us, but He did not like the sin and the faithlessness that we were in. We are “older” now, but not as “old” and mature in our faith as we will become. Once we are standing in the presence of God, the faith that we have now will be as if it were new for all things will be revealed to us and we will no longer have any longing for the old days.

Paul says it very well.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
(Colossians 1:10 (NIV))

We should all long for the perfection that will be ours through Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Frantic or eager?

December 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.* Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to allow the things of this world to overtake us and distract us just as they did with Martha. It is so easy to focus on the busyness of life and completely miss out on the blessings that are right in front of us.

Do you think that Jesus is concerned about the cleanliness of our home, or with the fact that elaborate meals are not prepared? Do you think that Jesus cares more about our frantic effort to put on a good visible facade or that we simply choose to be in His presence?

It is human nature to try to create appearances that are different from reality. We often find ourselves doing just that when we should simply be basking in the moment.

Think about that.

Mary and Martha were sisters. They were in the same house. Jesus was present within their home. Mary recognized that she had a blessing and an opportunity that may never happen again. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frantically trying to prepare for her guest and did not realize that what she would receive from Him was far greater than what hospitality traditions would provide. Martha followed tradition. Mary followed the Savior. Both loved Jesus. Both knew of His miracles and both probably had an idea of who He truly was, yet Martha chose a path that made her frustrated in the presence of the Lord. She was trying to do things her way, the traditional way.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing, ready and able to step out in faith even when that step goes against all traditions. We will be called to things that may not make sense to us. We will be called to things that are uncertain in our eyes. We will be called to be still in the Lord’s presence and to take a step of faith.

Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

If we are like Martha, we will miss what Jesus is calling us to do. We must be like Mary and eagerly sit at the feet of Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Tell others about the fantastic gift

December 6, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV))

Nobody wants to suffer wrath, but it is a guaranteed result if we do not accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is such a simple thing to avoid.

During this season, when society has taken the true meaning out of Christmas, we must not allow society to creep into our lives in this manner. We must remember why we celebrate and then reach others so that they, too, will know the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate Jesus’ birth with the knowledge that the birth of Jesus was the beginning of what God had planned for all of humanity – salvation to all who would simply seek and accept it.

Christmas is a time for celebration, for as the verse says, “whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” We must remember to tell others about this fantastic gift that was so freely given and help them to receive it.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Fight the good fight

December 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he wrote encouragement to a young friend and brother in Christ. He knew that Timothy would face, and probably already was facing, struggles from those whom he was ministering to.

The worldly system is a big stumbling block for many. Greed, lust, envy, anger, and temptation are difficult to see beyond at certain times. Paul wrote to Timothy, expressing Godly principles on how to stay focused on the paths of righteousness and on Jesus Christ. Through all things, stay focused on Jesus Christ and God the Father, for there is none who is worthy of praise, honor and glory above them. No other can offer salvation, mercy and grace wrapped in the present of eternal life with them. Do not let the world detour your faith.

As Paul so aptly states it, “Fight the good fight of the faith!”

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


A den of robbers?

November 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV))

Are we any less guilty than the money changers and those selling doves within the temple?

You may ask how can I ask this question? No one actually sells anything within my church. We don’t exchange money and charge a fee. We go to worship!

What I am talking about is not within the church walls. Rather, we have allowed something within our society that reminds me of the money changers and those selling doves. It is not directly related to our church buildings, but it is directly related to the very reason that we have our churches.

I think that this can be clarified by one simple question.

How do you think that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit view the commercialization of the day that we set aside to celebrate the physical birth of Jesus as our redeeming Lord and Savior?

Our society has slowly bought into the idea that Christmas is about buying the latest and greatest things, and we have slowly turned away from even mentioning Jesus or saying Merry Christmas. Too many people simply say happy holidays.

I know that I have said this before, but I feel that it bears retelling. Our tradition of wishing someone a Merry Christmas has a history that many do not know. The word “merry” in old English meant something much different than we think of it today. The use of this word in its original greeting actually had a meaning that is closer to the word “mighty.” The word “Christmas” was actually two words – Christ mass – a church celebration of the birth of Jesus. So, in essence, the saying “Merry Christmas” was a wish that the recipient of the saying would have a mighty and powerful celebration of the birth of Jesus, or a “Mighty Christ Mass.”

Sadly, the only mighty experience that many people have is the retail race that has become like a feeding frenzy before Christmas.

Have we allowed the money changers and those selling to rob us of the true celebration? Have we allowed the focus to be placed on retail sales instead of Jesus? What have we allowed to happen to the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: