How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

November 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.
(1 Samuel 4:5 (NIV))

How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

Think about that!

God would lead His people by going ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When He stopped, the ark was brought in and set within the tabernacle. To the nation of Israel, the ark of the covenant was the presence of God. It was the mercy seat where God came to dwell with His people. The whole nation of Israel rejoiced greatly when this happened. They praised God with such a great shout that the ground shook.

How does that compare to what we do in our churches?

The Israelites had the events of the Exodus to be thankful for. God saved them out of physical bondage in Egypt. They had been slaves for four hundred years and God rescued them. He made a choice to show His power to the world through the actions He took bringing them out of Egypt.

They had a reason to rejoice, and their rejoicing shook the ground!

I hate to say this, but in most of our churches today, we barely even make a noise, and we have so much more to be thankful for than the Israelites did!

God saved them from physical bondage, but they were still in bondage to sin and death. We have been given something that they weren’t given. We have grace. We have mercy. We have salvation freely given to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Israelites escaped physical bondage. We can escape eternal bondage to sin and death, and yet we act as if we are dead. We don’t shout out our thanks. We don’t lift up His name in praise. Most believers are more enthusiastic about their favorite sports team than they are about lifting up His name in praise.

The Lord moved mightily in and through the nation of Israel when they had not forgotten the things that He had done for them. Have we forgotten what He has done for us? We can now stand in His presence through the atoning blood of Jesus and we act like we are watching a show on tv. We simply sit back and watch as a spectator.

Faith is not a spectator sport!

How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must learn to be a willing servant!

April 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:41-45 (NIV))

This is a lesson that we still have trouble with today. Every church has a few select people who feel that they have to run the whole church. They feel that unless they are involved, it isn’t done correctly. Perhaps it is simply a matter of ego or power. I hate to say this, but perhaps we are all guilty of just such behavior from time to time. No matter what the cause, it is not Biblical. Jesus spoke against this. He taught that we are not to desire authority, but to give of ourselves freely.

Where do you fall in the spectrum of authority? Do you long for people to cater to your every whim? Do you long to be pampered? Do you want people to jump to attention when you enter a room? What does this say about this type of person? Which of the following traits does this type of behavior exemplify?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Jesus turned the world upside down. The Son of God, who has all authority, came to serve. How can we, who have no authority, desire it for ourselves? Do we think of ourselves as better than Jesus? In other words, we have elevated ourselves to a position of worship.

There is only one who is worthy of all worship. There is only one who is worthy of all praise. We must present ourselves humbly at His throne.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
(1 Peter 5:6 (NIV))

In all things that you do, do them as if you were doing them for God.

We must learn to be a willing servant!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Simply stretch out your arms in opposite directions and point!

August 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
     so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
     so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalms 103:11-12 (NIV))

Just how far is the east from the west?

Think about that for a moment. If you had the possibility of traveling in one direction forever and someone else could travel in the opposite direction forever, then you would begin to comprehend just how far the two can be from each other. In theory, no matter how far you go in one direction, you can still go even further. Now, combine the two directions and that concept and you begin to understand how far God has removed our transgressions away from us. Even if you take into consideration that we live on a globe, we still are faced with the unquestionable truth that you can never stop going east and you can never stop going west. It is a journey without end.

A journey without end!

Think back on your life. What is the one thing above all things that you have done that you wish you could undo, that you could forget ever happened? Now, imagine that God has separated you and that transgression, that sin, so far apart and never again to meet. It all came about through God’s plan for grace and mercy through His Son, Jesus. God, through your simple profession of faith, has completely removed not only that biggest sin, but all of your sins. It is now our prayer, each of us who have called upon the name of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, to never turn back from our journey in the opposite direction from our sin.

The next time that Satan reminds you of your past and the sins that you have committed, remember just how far the east truly is from the west. Don’t let your past keep you from the righteousness that God is calling you toward. Simply stretch out your arms in opposite directions and point.

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is the great I Am!

October 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
(1 Chronicles 16:26 (NIV))

If you remember from just a few days ago, an idol is an impostor, a pretender or a false god. With this clearly defined, it is easy to come to the conclusion that all of the gods of the nations are impostors. They are pretenders. They are false gods! They only exist in the minds of the ones who created them no matter how many nations may worship the same false god. But, there is more to this than organized religions. What have you made into a false god in your life?

Money

Fame

Prestige

Power

Do I need to go on and list more, or do these suffice to tell of the things that can become false gods on an individual basis? Have we, as a nation, succumbed to any of these false gods? Do you see large segments of the population worshipping these pretenders? All of these are fleeting and anyone who strives to attain these things sadly has set them up as their own false gods. What can these do for you? Do they give you life? Do they give you breath? Did they create anything or are they simply creations of our own sinful natures? With that last question in mind, there is one question that should spring from your answer. Can any of these bring grace, mercy and eternal life?

There is only one Creator. There is only one Lord and God of all. He created all and knows all of creation by name. Do any of these pretenders even have the cognition to be considered a living being? Think about that from the standpoint of an idol being an impostor. Who is the father of lies? Who was cast down from heaven? Who made the heavens? Who cast the pretenders out of heaven?

He is the great I Am!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The Good News of Jesus is for all people!

September 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

On all people?

Not just believers?

I just watched a video from a pastor and he made a very interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. I believe that it may also be something that you may not have considered before.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Acts 2:17a (NIV))

Another translation says it like this.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
(Acts 2:17a (NKJV))

Most people read this and we automatically assume that it means “on my people” or “on those who believe,” but it clearly states “on all people” or “on all flesh.” Think about this from God’s perspective. If He is trying to get the attention of the people of the world, why would He limit what He does to only those who call upon His Name? Why would God not try one last time to reach those who have rejected Him?

The pastor in the video made a very interesting comment about the number of nonbelievers who feel that something big is about to happen in the world. They see what is happening and they have a feeling that they can’t explain. As believers, we recognize that feeling as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but for those who do not believe, they do not understand. All that they know is that a still, small voice is telling them that something big is about to unfold.

I don’t profess to know if this is true, after all, we are told that His ways are greater than our ways. All that I know is that we are seeing the whole world professing that something different is happening and the world will never be the same. All that I do know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be witnessing to the world and explaining to them what we profess to believe, after all, the good news of Jesus is for all people!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this continually on your lips?

September 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
(Psalms 40:16 (NIV))

Do you proclaim the greatness of the Lord at all times?

Think about that question with respect to these situations. Are you able to proclaim the greatness of the Lord when you’ve just lost your job? What about when you have no money left and you still need food? What about when someone whom you love passes away? Is it easy to still proclaim the greatness of the Lord in these situations?

I realize that these are extreme examples and that everyone has times that they can think of when it was difficult to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Have there been specific times in your life when you found this difficult to do? Did you ever get to the point where you could proclaim this again? Perhaps you are in a situation at this moment in time that you simply feel that the Lord has forsaken you. You are not alone!

Even David had these times in his life where he felt that the Lord had forgotten him or forsaken him. Let’s put this in perspective. David was the young man who faced and killed Goliath. David was the young man whom God anointed to be king over all of Israel. David was the man who defeated all the enemies of Israel. David purchased the land for the location of the Temple. David was called a man after God’s own heart. Still, in all the ways that the Lord blessed him, there were times when David felt that God had turned His back on him. We can read this in the Psalms that he wrote. He goes from praising God to asking why He has been forsaken. In all instances, David quickly comes full circles and praised God in the midst of the troubles because he has a history with the Lord. He knows that the Lord will do once again what He has done in the past. He knows that the Lord will not leave him in the situations that he found himself in.

In essence, David knew to praise the Lord for what He has done. He also knew to turn to the Lord and seek His blessing when the enemy was closing in, even when it appeared that the enemy was winning. David knew that he needed to lift up praise to the Lord for the greatness of the next thing that the Lord would do. It could easily be said that David’s praise could be broken down into two categories.

David praised the Lord for what He has done.

David praised the Lord for what He would do.

Do we have the faith to praise the Lord in this manner? Are we able to say “Great is the Lord” even when we don’t see what He is doing?

We must rejoice at all times for Great is the Lord!

Is this continually on your lips?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you freely speak of God’s faithfulness?

August 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
      I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
   I do not conceal your love and your truth
      from the great assembly.
(Psalms 40:10 (NIV))

David was not ashamed of God. He proclaimed His greatness whenever and wherever he was. David slipped and sinned, but that did not stop him from praising God. David praised God for the salvation that was yet to come.

How can we, who live on the other side of that salvation gift, praise God any less? David had a great faith. It is hard enough to believe in Jesus when there is historical evidence that He lived and that what is written is true. David believed in God and salvation without this evidence. It takes a greater faith to believe when all you have are promises, even if those promises are from God. It is human nature, probably due to our fall from grace, to be skeptical and unbelieving, yet David believed. He had enough faith to be called a man after God’s own heart.

Can we be called that when we have received not only the promise but the actual gift of salvation? Are you willing to share the promise? Do you freely speak of God’s faithfulness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Pray for discernment as we face the future!

July 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

Control . . . and on a global scale.

In order for this to happen, several things must occur.

First and foremost, something must happen that makes people willing to do whatever those in authority say needs to be done. Then, they will need to remove cash and coins and convince everyone that it is for their own safety, security and convenience that everything goes digital. They will need to isolate people and then convince them that in order to resume normal life, they must receive something that indicates that they are safe from whatever excuse they originally used to make them go into isolation. In essence, they remove the ability to buy or sell without being tracked. They implement a way to tell if you are able to be tracked, and then they force you to be tracked if you want to participate in this thing that we call life!

Does any of this sound familiar?

Satan is the father of lies. He is maneuvering to have humanity do exactly what is told of in Revelation.

Watch the things of this world closely, for many lies are being told and many are believing them as truth. History is being rewritten. God’s Word is being ridiculed. Israel is being accused of war crimes for defending themselves. There are people who are trying to make us do things in the guise of making people safer. Will these actually pave the way for great confrontation? Nothing can be taken at face value.

Deception is the key to what is currently unfolding. Stay firmly rooted in God’s Word. Study so that you may know what the events in the world actually mean. Test everything by God’s Word. Do not accept anything espoused by man as the truth. Only God’s Word is true.

Don’t fall into the traps that are being laid. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

Pray for discernment as we face the future!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are the things that you willfully do?

June 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
(Psalms 19:13 (NIV))

Perhaps we should rephrase this first part to something a little more obvious and upfront.

Keep your servant from deliberate and intentional sins!

In other words, David was asking the Lord to keep him from doing the wrong thing when he knew the right thing to do. Perhaps we should pray what David asked so that we are kept from deliberately planning to sin!

I am going to ask a very blunt question, but I think that you can probably anticipate what it is going to be.

Do you deliberately and intentionally sin? Do you find yourself clinging to an old sinful nature that you simply don’t want to let go of? Do you love the sin more than you love Jesus? Are you willing to give up God’s grace for a momentary sinful pleasure? Please don’t misunderstand me. We are all human and we are all sinners. None of us are perfect. What we desire is often opposite of what we actually do. This is not something new to humanity, but it is something that we must overcome. Even Paul faced this in his life.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

I realize that this passage does not directly say that Paul deliberately and intentionally sinned, but we have to consider that Paul wrote that he had the desire to do what is good but could not carry it out. We probably also have the desire to do what is good, but what do we do with that desire? Paul knew what to do.

Human nature is sinful no matter how much we want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Thankfully, we have been given grace and mercy through Jesus. When we find ourselves guilty of sin, willfully or otherwise, there are two things that we can willfully do. We can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we can repent of our sin!

What are the things that you willfully do?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What comforts you through the darkness?

June 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yea, 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.
(Psalms 23:4 (NKJV))

Everyone faces darkness and tough times in their lives. What do you do when this happens? Do you cower in fear? Do you give in to the attacks of the enemy? Do you throw yourself a pity party and lock yourself away from the world in hopes that your tough times will go away? Do you lash out at the world trying to put up a front? Do you attack head-on in such a way that you think that you are able to overcome these times on your own?

To be honest with you, we have all probably used each one of these approaches in our lives when dealing with darkness and tough times. Have any of them truly worked? Did the tough times go away? Did your stress levels return to a peaceful state?

I have been on my journey with Jesus for a long time, and each time that I have faced a tough time in my life over the years, it has actually gotten easier to deal with. With each event, I have learned more about the promises of God. I have learned that I can trust Him to see me through, even when the world seems to be crashing in all around me. It hasn’t come easily, and my journey is still a work in progress, but I know that my faith is firmly placed in the One who created all things. I know that He will see me through all things, even the darkness. With the track record that the Lord has allowed me to experience, I can look back in all honesty and see how He was leading me. With this assurance, I can look ahead in all faith and know that He will lead me according to His will with my maturity in Jesus as the goal.

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in this truth even when I do not see any worldly way out of the darkness. I find great comfort in knowing that He is always with me!

What comforts you through the darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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