I pray that this is what we truly want!

February 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 (NIV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus knows these words as part of what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Do we truly desire what we lift up with these words? Do we long for the Lord’s kingdom to come into the world, to enter into our lives, or do we want our will, our personal kingdom, to manifest itself in our lives?

Human nature, no matter how hard we try, always tries to put personal interest above all else. We all must face the truth. Each of us have had moments when we are reciting these words only to have our minds diverted by our own desires. Does this mean that we really don’t long for God’s kingdom or does it just show that even in our best moments, we are all creatures caught in the sinful natures that we long to leave behind?

When you experience one of these moments, and we all have them, do you regret the diversion from God’s Will to your will? Do you feel like Paul?

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:14-15 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but I do this far more than I care to admit. In the time span of the last fifteen minutes, I have been distracted from my task far too many times. My thoughts wander. My attention shifts and my writing gets delayed. Even the disciples, who were asked to wait while Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane, could not avoid the pitfalls of the frailty that is humanity.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38 (NIV))

Just because our human nature and our human frailties divert us should not be our main concern. What we should be concerned about is if we choose to never refocus on Jesus. We can repent and return to seeking God’s Will and His kingdom or we can choose to stay chasing the diversion. When we repent, we show what we truly want.

I pray that this is what we truly want!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

February 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

We like to take Matthew 19:26 out of context and apply it to whatever we may be facing that appears to be a no win situation. To be honest with you, nothing is impossible with God, so it is a good application. Still, we tend to overlook the original message.

This particular passage was directed at His disciples and it comes at the end of a discourse with a rich young man.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

In case you didn’t catch the implication, Jesus was saying that salvation was only possible through God. Think about that for a moment. Each of us have something that we cherish. Each of us have something that we long to hold on to, that we don’t want to surrender. For some, it is money. For others, it may be power. For others, it may be any number of things. For this particular young man, it was his wealth. Jesus told him that it was necessary to surrender what he held dear to himself and choose to follow Jesus. I think that the disciples caught on to what Jesus was saying because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” The disciples knew human nature. They knew how difficult it is to surrender what is closest to your heart. They knew that it was and is a matter of priorities. They had made the choice to trade everything for the ultimate treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Jesus let them know that a person cannot change their heart, but God can. God can take a cold and hardened heart and bring it back to life. God can take the “wealth” that a person holds dear and make it all look worthless in comparison to what He has to offer. If you think about this, Jesus also let us know that people are not in the business of saving each other. We don’t have the power or authority, but God does! How do you look at things, from your perspective or from God’s?

When you look at things, are they possible or impossible?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be able to enter?

November 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
(Hebrews 3:19 (NIV))

This passage is the culmination of an example of those who have fallen short in the belief category. The writer was referring to the exodus from Egypt and how they quickly fell into disbelief. Even after seeing the miracles that God performed to free them from bondage in Egypt, they quickly fell into a mindset where they did not believe that God could see them through to the promised land. Because of their lack of belief, they were not able to enter into God’s promises.

I love the parallels that God uses!

Ever since Jesus came into the world, we have been promised salvation. We have been promised eternal life with the Lord. There is only one thing that we have to do to have this wonderful gift of grace. We must believe!

We must believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior and all that God promises is ours. With this belief comes the ability to enter.

Will you be able to enter?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you will receive?

November 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV))

When I read this passage, the word “faith” and how the book of Hebrews defines it come to mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If you stop to think about it, loving someone whom you have never seen and having the faith to believe with confidence that this person can bring salvation are probably the two most difficult things to do. Both require a wisdom and a faith beyond what is humanly possible, especially if you look at these aspects from a so-called mature perspective.

Take a look back at your life.

Was there ever a time when you could display such characteristics in your life? Was there ever a time when you could be so innocent that it was actually possible for you to love without seeing and believe without seeing? I think I now have a better understanding of why Jesus told his disciples the following.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
(Matthew 18:2-5 (NIV))

The world and all of the sinful natures that we experience take a toll on our innocence. It takes a toll on our ability to love and believe. It takes a toll on our ability to recognize grace and to receive salvation. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to love. Don’t allow the world to take away your ability to believe. Don’t allow the world to take away the joy of your salvation.

What is it that you will receive?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the gates be open for you?

July 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 (NIV))

When this was written, grace was only an unfulfilled promise. Even though it was an unfulfilled promise, the psalmist knew that the promise would be fulfilled. He knew beyond doubt that if God had promised that He would provide a way for us to enter into righteousness that it would truly come to pass. He longed for that day.

The writer of this passage never lived to physically see the promise fulfilled, but he held fast to that promise. We have the benefit of being on the other side of that promise. We know that God sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. We have the full account of how He came to earth born of a virgin. We know of the people that he gathered together to teach. We know of the miracles that He performed. We know of the crucifixion and the resurrection. We know of the ascension, and we know of the power behind the spreading of the Gospel.

With all that we know, do we have the faith that the psalmist had? All that he had was a promise and he believed. We have all the accounts of those who knew Jesus and witnessed the events of His life, and some of us still have problems with faith.

Is your faith based on a promise or is your faith based on written accounts? Which takes more faith, to believe a promise or to believe after the fact? Am I the only one who looks at their faith and wonders if my faith would have been strong enough to believe a promise? I like to think that it would have been. Would I have been able to turn my eyes to the Lord and lift up my voice to heaven and proclaim that even though I have not seen, I will believe?

To be honest with you, I am simply thankful for the promises, for I know that they will always be “Yes” through Jesus! Because of Jesus offering us grace and mercy, those who accept that grace and mercy can enter the gates with thanksgiving and praising the Lord!

Will the gates be open for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you narrowed in on salvation?

August 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Which is easier, entering through a narrow entrance that you have to squeeze through or a wide entrance with plenty of room?

Think back on all the things that you have or have done that are the most important to you. Did they come easy or did they take work and perseverance? I would venture to say that nothing in this life worth having actually came easy. Even your own salvation carried a heavy price. You did not pay that price. Jesus paid it for you. It was difficult to bear. We could not have bore that price. If you stop to think about it, it is probably safe to say that for each of us to accept that salvation also bore quite a heavy burden. It was difficult to face the realization and to admit that “I am a sinner and I need a savior.”

Do you remember when you came to that realization? It was probably the hardest thing to admit, yet, once it was done, the weight of the world was lifted off of your shoulders. You had made a conscious decision that you were no longer going to enter the rest of your life through the wide gate. You were going to enter through the narrow gate that God had set before you.

Has that decision led to a life that has been easy? Has society embraced your decision to abandon the wide gate that everybody uses? If you accept the principle that the physical world has corresponding counterparts in the spiritual world, then we must realize that nothing worth having spiritually will be easy. Satan does not want you to have the grace and the mercy that is offered through that narrow gate. He will fight to keep you from it. You must fight to stay within it.

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