Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

May 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV))

Oh, that you would bless me!

This is something that we all think, and probably most of us actually pray it as well. Many sermons have been taught on the principle that God wants to bless us. The good thing is that He does want to bless us!

He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others. He does not want to bless those who will hoard his blessings and keep them for themselves. He wishes to bless those who will, in turn, bless others through what He has blessed them with. A pastor once put it in a way that tells it well. He said that he did not want to be a jar for God to pour His blessings into. He wanted to be a teapot or a pitcher that was designed to pour out for others. He wished to received the blessings so that he could pour out the blessings to others.

Perhaps this is why God granted the prayers of Jabez, for he did not simply ask to be blessed. He asked to have his territory enlarged. Jabez honored God by asking for God to be with him. If God is with you, He will use you to spread the news of what He has done. If you are used by God to spread His Gospel, then you will be blessed. Your circle of influence will increase so that God can be glorified.

Look at the men and women of today who glorify God in all that they do. God has increased their circle of influence so that more people can be blessed through them.

Be careful in your heart when asking God to bless you. Do not let human nature take control and simply ask to be a blessing to others so that you will be blessed, after all, God knows what is in your heart.

It is my prayer for all who fervently seek the Lord to have their territory enlarged so that they may be His witness in all that they do. I also seek to enlarge my territory. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I desire to enlarge the territory that God has granted me so that I can tell more people about the Lord.

Lord, enlarge my territory so that you may be glorified!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you choose true freedom?

April 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

Freedom! Such a gift. We are set free from the bondage of sin and death. This is not a freedom to do whatever we choose. We are free of the consequences of sin. It does not mean that we are free to sin. By accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we are forgiven and are granted freedom from our sin. It does not mean that we are free to go and sin again. As Jesus told the woman and the Pharisees:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11)

She was granted freedom, but this freedom did not give here permission to continue in her life of sin.

Do you look at your freedom as permission to continue or do you look at it as a warning to change your life? Do you choose true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly free from sin and death?

July 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
(Romans 6:4-7 (NIV))

What a glorious statement! We, as believers, are free from sin!

This does not mean that we do not sin. We are still human. What this means is that we are free from the punishment of sin. We have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. He has paid the price for our sin. It has been washed away from us by His crucifixion. Through His resurrection, we have been granted the right to be born again, to be looked upon by God as righteous and spotless in His sight.

We will still sin. We are in the world. The world is controlled by Satan, the father of all lies and sin. But, we will not be condemned to suffer the consequences of sin, for we have a risen Savior in Jesus Christ! This does not mean that we can choose to sin all that we want. It means that when we do slip up, we can ask for forgiveness.

We can ask for and be shown grace and mercy in spite of our sins. This is the ultimate freedom!

Are you truly free from sin and death?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the truth shining in you?

April 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

Many people falsely believe that once they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are forgiven for anything that they may have done or will do.

This is partially true. Accepting and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is only the beginning. Grace and mercy are yours for the asking, but, once that is granted, a true desire to keep His commandments should fill you to the point that trying to do anything less is not even an option that you could consider.

Going around with the false belief that you can do anything and that God will forgive you is dangerous to yourself and to those whom you encounter. God has given us a great gift through His Son, Jesus Christ. This gift is not to be taken lightly. Acceptance of this gift exacts a responsibility and a toll on those who accept it. The responsibility is to change from your previous ways and to fully embrace everything that Jesus taught us to be. We are to be a light to the world. What kind of light would we be if we “shined” dimly or not at all?

Our actions will shine for Jesus if we keep His commandments, otherwise we do not shine at all.

Is the truth shining in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will we be willing to face for the Gospel?

November 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
(Philippians 1:29 (NIV))

Wait a second!

Did you just read what I just read?

Did Paul actually write this?

Today’s church needs to learn that proclaiming Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that everything will be all rosy and without problems. The early church knew this. Those who left Europe to settle in the new world knew it. Both groups were persecuted because of their faith in Jesus and their desire to worship Him in truth. When you go against the accepted routine of the world and seek to believe in Jesus instead of the world, then you will face hardships. You will suffer at the hands of those who follow the ways of the world.

One way to look at this passage may help clarify things.

What is the one thing in your life that you were willing to make sacrifices for in order to obtain it? For some, that may have been physical training as an athlete. For others, it may have been education in a very specialized field. No matter what it was that you wanted, you were willing to make sacrifices to obtain it. You were willing to suffer in the present in order to gain something in the future.

You were willing to suffer in the present to gain something in the future!

I believe that this is what Paul was implying when he recorded these words. It is not enough to be willing to believe. Even though believing is crucial to salvation, it is only the beginning of our faith journey. Are you willing to suffer for your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to sacrifice in order to believe? Are you willing to suffer or give up something that is important to you in order to gain something that is of far more importance?

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us are willing to keep the sinful things that we know because we are afraid of the blessings that we don’t know. When we accept belief in Jesus then we must be prepared to accept that we may suffer temporarily for our belief.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your faith made you well?

January 22, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
(Luke 17:19 (NIV))

Are we capable of claiming such a statement as our own?

Can we believe with all of our being that our faith can make a difference in our health, in our lives, and in the lives of those around us?

It is a hard task to live up to. It is even harder than we care to admit. Faith is an unusual thing. It is the foundation for our society, yet our society is turning it’s back on it. It is the basis for our morals and ethics, yet they seem to be fading fast. Many people have something that they call faith, yet it is a faith in money, or government, or themselves. It is not the faith that can save. Only a faith in Jesus Christ can save.

We cannot mandate faith as a societal objective. However, we can develop our faith and share it with others in hopes that they will develop their own Biblically based faith.

Let’s take another look at the words of Luke 17:19 – “your faith had made you well.”

Faith in Jesus saves us from eternal separation from God, from a death far worse than a physical death. Through this faith, we escape the grave. We are made well. Through our faith, we have the ability to claim many healings. Eternal life with God is the greatest healing. Physical healings can also manifest themselves through your faith. Even if this type of healing never occurs, rejoice, for you have already been granted the ultimate healing – eternal life!

Has your faith made you well?

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