What do you do when the unexpected happens?

October 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:9 (NIV))

I can picture the moment. Everybody is gathered around Jesus and everyone there is asking Him questions. They are filled with excitement. They have spent three years with Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles. They saw Him beaten and crucified. They saw Him die. And, they saw Him in His resurrection. Now, after the resurrection, they are eagerly looking for Jesus to bring God’s kingdom to this world.

And then . . .

The unexpected happens.

At least in their eyes, it does.

They were expecting Jesus to take His authority then and there, but He disappears!

Can you imagine how these people felt? Everything that they had seen. Everything that they had been a part of. Everything that they now expected was completely changed. I can imagine that their first reaction was that they were being abandoned. How would you feel?

God knew their hearts. He knew that they were expecting something that was not in His plan. God had compassion on these people. He sent messengers to tell them that their timing was not His timing.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

Instead of despair, these people had a reason to believe. They had a reason to hope. They had a reason to pray. And pray they did.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
(Acts 11:12-14 (NIV))

How do you react when things don’t go as you expect them to?

We should take a lesson from these first believers. When things don’t go as we expect them to go, we should pray for God’s guidance and His wisdom.

What do you do when the unexpected happens?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

June 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV))

Giving is a difficult thing to do sometimes, especially when you are facing hard times.

Has your giving changed recently? Have you cut back on the money that you give to your church and to other organizations? Have you found yourself thinking that “Just this once I’ll not give” only to find yourself with a knot in the pit of your stomach? Have you stopped giving of your time because you are using your time in efforts to bring in more money? Has your attitude changed about what God has given you and will give you?

We are all creatures of habit. No matter what our intentions may be, we often find ourselves responding as the world responds. We look upon the worldly situation as the only situation that will provide for our needs. When things turn bad, we quickly find ourselves forgetting what God has promised. We worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect upon the fact that God uses us to bless others? What you give will bless someone, who in turn will bless someone else. What you give will return to you in ways that only God can imagine. Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do we see?

August 14, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV))

Have you ever had the opportunity to look into an old mirror that has faded and cracked? The image that you see is a very poor reflection of reality. If someone could only see life through this poor reflection, they would have a very distorted view of reality. The same is true for what we see of God’s Kingdom.

We can only see “glimpses” of what is to come, and compare these to the promises that God has made about the coming Kingdom. Consider the old story about the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the men touched a different part of the elephant and all three of them came away with a different view of what an elephant really is. We are like the blind men in that story. Each of us receives different glimpses of God’s Kingdom and we miss the big picture.

There will come a day when those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will enter the Kingdom and will see clearly and understand clearly. That is to be our reward. Jesus gave us a little glimpse of heaven in these words. It is built upon our faith, our hope, and our love. He went one step further and told us that the greatest of the three is love.

God’s Kingdom is built on love!

If God’s Kingdom is built on love, then we should practice this at all times in our daily lives while still on this earth. It is true that our idea of love is only a dim reflection of heavenly love, but it is where we are to start.

What do we see?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we lost our saltiness?

March 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

I know that everyone knows what salt is, but have you truly thought about the functions that it serves, but historically and current day?

Salt is, of course, a seasoning. It is used to add flavor to food. Seasonings bring out the best in taste in whatever they are added to. Seasonings make everyday things better by adding something special into the mix. We, as the Body of Christ, are supposed to add something special into the mix. We are to add Jesus. We are to add love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control into the world. We are to add the invitation to grace and mercy into the mix of sin and death that has taken over this world.

Salt, in larger amounts, is also a preservative. All throughout human history it has been used to preserve food so that it would be stored and used over longer periods of time.

No matter which way you look at the use of salt, it has an amazing effect on what it touches.

Are we the salt of the earth?

Do we have an amazing effect for God’s Kingdom on what we touch, or do we simply leave no indication that we have even been here? Have we lost our saltiness? Have we lost the ability to let people know of the grace and mercy that is theirs through the amazing gift that Jesus so freely gave on the cross?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we gather or do we sleep?

September 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
(Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV))

Whenever God speaks through His Word, it always seems to have both a near and a long term impact. When taken literally, this speaks of actual physical labor here on earth for our sustenance. Nothing could be more true.

Take a look at the same passage through “Kingdom Eyes” and it takes on a whole new meaning. When we consider that all who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are to be saved, that is grace. Just like the son who sleeps during the harvest is fed by his earthly father, God will “feed” His spiritual son. But that son will not receive a reward for his labors. Those “sons” who work the harvest of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded with positions of authority within Heaven.

The summer of gathering is upon us. Will we gather and prove to be a wise son, or will we “sleep” during the harvest of souls and be disgraceful?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call to follow Jesus?

September 10, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
(Matthew 9:9 (NIV))

What made Matthew leave behind his very lucrative job as a tax collector and follow Jesus?

Think about that question. Tax collectors had a certain amount that they had to collect for Rome. Anything that they collected above that, they could keep. It is thought that many people got very wealthy by being a tax collector for Rome. With this in mind, Matthew walked away from certain earthly wealth. He saw something of far greater value in what Jesus had to offer. He saw that he, too, could be a part of God’s plans and a part of God’s kingdom. Jesus, in telling Matthew to follow Him, was telling Matthew that God valued him, even when society looked upon him as an outcast. Tax collectors, even though they got very wealthy, were social outcasts. They were Jews in a country that was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans looked upon the Jews as second class citizens and the Jews looked upon the tax collectors as traitors to the nation of Israel. They couldn’t win.

Then Jesus came!

Matthew saw an opportunity to place his past behind him. He saw a voice calling to him in spite of what he had done. Matthew was being asked to forget his past and become someone new. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus offers each of us today? We are no different than Matthew. We have all done things in our lives that have placed us in situations where we feel like we do not belong. Through Jesus, we are offered redemption. We are offered cleansing. We are offered forgiveness. All that we have to do is what Matthew did. We have to get up and follow Jesus.

Jesus is telling each of us to follow Him. Will you do as Matthew and follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have evidence to support your faith?

February 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

Do you have evidence to support your faith?

Faith is a strange thing. Many people believe in something and they call it faith, yet, at the least little hint of something not going as planned, they abandon everything.

Faith is not faith of it is easily abandoned!

I would actually consider this a wish and not faith.

People wish for something and then become disconcerted when their wish doesn’t come true.

Faith is a conviction! Faith is a choice. Faith requires a commitment above and beyond what makes sense. Faith requires a hope, a very strong hope, that all is not lost.

Do you have faith that when you take a breath, your lungs will be filled with air? We cannot see the air, yet, we rely upon it to survive. Do you have faith that all promises are yes through Christ Jesus? Can you see Jesus? Can you see His promises? It is the same as the air. We cannot see it, yet we know without a doubt that it is there, that it is as real as what we can see. Perhaps it is even more real, for it is not clouded by the fallen nature in which we live.

Faith is an amazing thing. Just a little can grow into something so big that it can provide shelter for those around it just as the mustard seed grows into a large tree that provides shelter.

Can you see faith?

Can you touch faith?

Can you see faith manifested in your life and in the lives of those around you?

Faith is a powerful force. When we have faith, we have an insight into God’s kingdom.

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