Has the Lord’s purpose prevailed in you?

September 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21 (NIV))

Everyone has plans for things that they would like to do. Some are for career paths. Others are for personal goals, while others are simply whimsical notions that we think would be fun to see fulfilled.

What plans have you had for your life?

How successful were you in fulfilling these plans?

Are there any plans that did not get fulfilled and now that time has passed, you are happy that they did not come to be?

It is human nature to plan out our lives. We choose what classes to take, what college to go to, what people to date, and what jobs we would like to have. Sadly, in this process of self-indulgence, we fail to seek guidance from the One who created us. We fail to recognize that we were created for a purpose and until we find and follow that purpose, we are fighting against the Lord!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Have you spent time listening to the Lord as He unfolds His purpose for you, or have you spent your time trying to tell the Lord what you want you purpose to be? One will lead to fulfillment while the other will lead to frustration. When you seek the Lord, His purpose will prevail in your life.

Has the Lord’s purpose prevailed in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

March 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not know just how to say what you want to say? Perhaps you didn’t even know what to say, you just knew that you had a very strong opinion on the subject.

What do you find yourself doing in situations like this?

Do you through up your hands in frustration and let out an audible sigh? Do the people around you understand what you are attempting to express?

That is definitely a weakness of the human condition. We are often found without adequate words to express exactly what we want to express. When we simply can’t say what we want to say, we groan or sigh out of frustration. It’s too bad that we can’t be understood when we simply cannot verbalize what we feel.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone who could understand the groanings that we make when we can’t find the words to express ourselves?

I want you to consider something with respect to your relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalms 139:13 (NIV))

You are known intimately by the Lord. He understands you like no other. He understands the groanings of our spirit. He understands these groanings to be exactly what they are, for they are our desire to communicate concepts, emotions and desires that no earthly language is capable of communicating. We fail to be able to express our inner desires because we are a weak, sinful creation, but we still have the inherited memory of and a desire for a deeper communication with the Lord. Out of this weakness, our prayers are lifted up as groanings of the spirit.

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

for we walk by faith, not by sight
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NAS))

When things in this world look like they can’t get any worse, do you give up or do you walk confident in the promises that God has given?

When it seems that the whole world has gone crazy, do you hold fast to the truth or do you through your hands up in frustration?

When you are ridiculed for your faith in Jesus, do you make excuses or do you cling tightly to Jesus?

It is a matter of priorities!

It is a matter of trust!

It is a matter of faith!

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the things that are going on in the world. I see people every day who are literally on the edge of giving up or who have given up. All of this is due to the fact that they are looking at the world through physical eyes. That is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to focus on what we can see. He knows that if we focus on what we can see, then we will soon forget the promises that God has made and we will give up on God.

Remember these words when you are walking through difficult times.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God have to do to get your attention?

January 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
(Numbers 22:21-31 (NIV))

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed to go completely different than expected, even when you have done it many times before? Were you able to come up with a logical explanation for the change in the results?

Perhaps the change in the results were similar to those that Balaam had. He was so blinded to the fact that his donkey had never done anything like this before, yet he still blamed the donkey. He did not stop to even contemplate the reason for the change. He did not stop to think that perhaps there was a reason that his trusted donkey had done what she had done. He did not even consider that there is more to this life than meets the eye.

He did not consider that God was intervening in his life!

Are we blinded to this just as Balaam was?

Think about that for a moment.

Does God still speak to His people? Does God still seek out relationships with those who seek Him? Does God work in our lives to guide us, to lead us and to mature us into what He created us to be?

Why should we be any different from Balaam? Why should we limit God’s intervention to the pages of the Bible? The Bible is the story of what He has done. We are the story of what He is doing.

The next time that something seems too odd and out of the normal realm of things, stop and reflect upon what is going on. God may be using the unexpected to reach out to you. He may be calling you to something and that moment in time is the decisive point where you must listen and respond or miss out on His blessings.

Everyone marvels at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, but how many people overlook the reason that the donkey spoke? It took something completely out of the ordinary to get Balaam’s attention.

What does God have to do to get your attention?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spiritual blindness

April 1, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.
(Mark 10:32-34 (NIV))

I often wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus told them this.

Think about what your reaction would be if you had been privileged to have been told of God’s plans just a few days before they actually happened.

Would you have believed what you had been told? Would you think that the man you had faithfully followed had lost his mind? Would you even consider the fact that everything He had ever done or had ever said He would do had come true?

If you stop to think about it, we have been told exactly what God is doing. We have the prophets who reported in detail the very events that were about to unfold. We have the same prophets and Revelation to show us what will happen at some point in the future. Do we believe these words?

It is human nature to say that we believe, yet, when it comes down to the actual events unfolding before us, we tend to not be able to recognize them as they happen. Perhaps that is why the old newspaper reporter’s adage is appropriate. When writing a story, tell the people what you are going to tell them, tell them what you have to tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

How many times had Jesus told them of the events that would transpire, yet, they still did not believe it? Fortunately, even though we are blind to what is happening right before us, Jesus still loves us. He leads us through our blindness.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Strife

March 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
(Proverbs 26:17 (NAS))

Do you like asking for trouble?

Why do you think that God tells us that meddling with strife that is not ours will be like taking a dog by the ears?

Grab a dog roughly by the ears and see what happens to you!

Chances are that the dog will growl at you. He will bite at you. He will probably sink his teeth into your arm and not let go! He will inflict pain.

We all have our own strife in this world. Some of this strife is direct while other strife is not direct. Some people, however, do not seem to have enough of their own. They want to meddle in the problems of others. Don’t get me wrong. Some people honestly have a caring heart and desire to do good. This is a gift of the Spirit and discernment comes with that gift. It is for those who do not have the gift of a caring heart that this applies to. They simply like to be in control and try to solve everyone else’s problems. Their intervention is unwanted and ungodly in nature. Perhaps, it is because they try to hide all of their problems from the world. In order to accomplish this, they must draw attention away from themselves by focusing on the problems of others. Whatever the reason, God calls it meddling and He has stated that this results in pain.

We all know someone who we think fits this description. Perhaps we are that person ourselves.

We are not responsible for fixing everyone else. We are responsible for following the Holy Spirit where He leads us in our life. We are to lead others to Jesus, but, we cannot fix them. God will heal the broken hearted. He will mature each of us. It is not our responsibility.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV))

Have you removed your plank?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief

March 9, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
” `If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:21-24 (NIV))

“Help me overcome my unbelief!”

We are promised eternal life, yet we do not believe.

We read about the miracles that He performed when He walked this earth, yet we do not believe.

We face situations in our lives where we don’t know where we got the strength to make it through, yet we do not believe.

What is it that makes us cross that line from lip service to true belief?

This man found it when he had lost all hope for saving his son from the demon possession. He had no place to turn but to Jesus. He turned to Jesus out of despair, but found a desire to overcome his unbelief.

Each of us come to Jesus in a slightly different manner, yet we all must come to this point in our relationship with Him. It is at this point where we look inward and realize that what we are is not what we want to be. We look at Jesus and realize that true belief in Him is our only way to salvation.

Jesus took this father’s request to help him overcome his unbelief and then granted him the single thing that brought him to Jesus. He cast out the demon from his son. Jesus made whole what the enemy had tried to steal. He took the faith that the father found and did just as is promised Matthew 17:20 – “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Nothing will be impossible with faith.

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

Faith requires belief.

Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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