Never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

August 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

What brings joy and great delight in your life?

There are many things in this life that we can and should be thankful for, such as family, friends, laughter and love, but what is it that brings you joy? What brings you happiness beyond measure? If you have truly professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I can’t think of anything more appropriate that can bring joy and happiness beyond measure.

Think about that in relationship to the concept of grace and salvation!

Does spending eternity in the presence of the Lord make you joyful? There is really only one other option and it is not one that I want to even think about. Imagine an eternity of joy and praise when the other option is an eternity of separation from the Lord. The separation also brings eternal suffering and torment. I rejoice in the gift of salvation. There are days that things don’t go as I would have them to go, but we have been told we would have such days. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Even with the not so good days on this earth, we know that something better is coming. We should never think of throwing our eternal future of grace away for something of this world that results in torment. I love the way that the psalmist expressed it.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(Psalms 84:10 (NIV))

If being in the Lord’s presence for only one day is better than a thousand elsewhere, just imagine the joy that an eternity will bring. Does this make your heart jump for joy? Does this give you a fresh understanding of the last stanza of Amazing Grace by John Newton?

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Are you fully prepared to never stop rejoicing in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be ashamed to praise His name!

February 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
(Psalms 108:3 (NIV))

Do you and I have the faith to praise the Lord among the nations?

Think about that for a moment. Are we willing to step outside of our comfort zones and risk the ridicule of people that we don’t know if we take a stand for God? Are we willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world and speak out in praise of the God of creation? Are we willing to tell the world, or even only the people that we know, the great things that the Lord has done?

Think about those questions and then answer a few simple questions about whether you praise the Lord when gathered with other believers.

Do you lift you hands in praise or do you sit there with arms folded? Do you lift your eyes to the Lord or do you look around the room trying to see who is doing what? Do you lift you voice in song or do you refuse to utter a single sound? Do you feel the power of the Holy Spirit or do you feel the call of you watch?

We were created to praise God. We were created to acknowledge the Lord before others.

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32 (NIV))

Have you ever heard the saying “dumb as a box of rocks?”

If we don’t have the common sense and intelligence to give praise where praise is due, then we are told exactly what will happen.

I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.
(Luke 19:40 (NIV))

In other words, if we are ashamed to acknowledge the Lord and praise Him, then God will make the rocks cry out in His praise. Can you imagine how you will be received in heaven if God has to make the rocks cry out because you failed to lift Him up in praise among the people? I honestly don’t think that you will hear the following words.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

There is one thing that we must faithfully remember.

Don’t be ashamed to praise His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How rich is your life?

June 17, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

How happy are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!
(Psalms 128:1-2 (NLT))

Where does your happiness come from?

I can honestly say that I never thought about my happiness coming from fear. I bet you probably didn’t either. If you stop to think about this, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s look at it from a few different perspectives, shall we?

Think about your one worldly fear that bothers you the most. For some, it may be heights. For others, it may be water. You do whatever you have to in order to avoid the thing that you are fearful of. You are happy as long as you avoid what you fear. You respect the thing that brings fear to you and you desire to avoid what brings you fear. You have established ways to avoid this and these ways make you happy.

Now, think about your relationship to your earthly father. I know that not all earthly fathers are good examples of what a father should be. I hope that yours was. You love your father and you know that your father loves you. You still know that if you do something terrible, your father would punish you. Hopefully, you realized this as a fear and lived within godly ways with you family. Your fear of punishment hopefully kept you in a place where you were happy. Hopefully, you were not one who rebelled and lived in anger and rage.

In both of these examples, boundaries were set. If you stayed within the boundaries, you enjoyed the fruit of your labor. You enjoyed the happiness within the safety of those boundaries. You felt the happiness and the richness that life can bring.

Think about your relationship with the Lord. Hopefully you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you. Hopefully, you can say with no hesitation that you love God. His ways are true. His ways are good. His ways are righteous. When you follow His ways, you are inside boundaries that God has defined. These boundaries keep you safe. True happiness and peace can be found inside these boundaries. These boundaries, like the other boundaries that I referred to, are not there to keep you from having fun. They are there to keep you safe. They are there to define the safe areas where you can go. Anything outside of those safe areas can result in consequences that would be extremely bad. Just like a father who would punish you for taking the car when you didn’t have permission to, God will allow the physical consequences of your actions to apply to your lives.

How rich is your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you toot your own horn?

August 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.
(Proverbs 27:2 (NIV))

In today’s society, it is difficult to find someone who is not “Tooting their own horn.” The world is so self-centered that in order for someone to be noticed for their achievements, they must tell of them themselves. Take a look at Jesus when He walked this earth. The Son of God had the most right to shout to the world who He was, yet, He chose to do the Will of God the Father in a way that was quiet and unobtrusive. Many times, He would tell those that He healed to tell no one of the healing. He did not desire the attention of the world. He desired the Will of the Father. Jesus knew that if He proclaimed Himself to the world, then the sinful world would acknowledge His miracles for a time, and then fall away. It was, and still is, the desire of the Father to quietly bring individuals to Him for a one on one relationship, and not the throngs for a mass gathering. The same is true of you and I. Those who have “instant” recognition often only have it for an instant. It is better to have the praise of God the Father than of people. It should be the desire of everyone to hear these words.

…`Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23)

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Look at the gift that Jesus gave us!

December 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Luke 16:13 (NIV))

Who or what do you serve?

It is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, yet, society has turned this celebration into a monetary event. The celebration of the gift of salvation and grace has been over-run by commercialism and the need to spend. Don’t get me wrong. Gift giving is good, for we give gifts to celebrate the greatest gift that we could ever be given. It is when we lose sight of what is truly being celebrated that we start to become enslaved to the monetary side of the celebration.

It is not the monetary cost of the gift that is important. Look at the gift that Jesus gave us. It’s monetary cost was nothing, yet, it was done out of love for God’s creation. Its true cost to Jesus was something that could not be measured in gold. It cost Him His physical life, yet, He gave freely of something that had not monetary value, yet was more costly than anything this world can throw at us. He did not serve money. He served God!

Remember this simple, yet profound truth at this time of the year. Money is not your lord and master. It cannot save you. It cannot bring true happiness. It cannot bring eternal life.

What is your perspective?

What do you value?

Who do you serve?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

September 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Nothing is certain in this life. We will all face ups and downs. Money cannot guarantee a happy and a comfortable life. Power and prestige will not. Fame will only result in being forgotten. Some days will simply seem like they last forever and it will all be due to your circumstances.

Far too many people believe that when you accept Jesus as your Savior, all things will miraculously become perfect. In fact, the biggest obstacle that the body of believers known as the church faces is the fact that we are not perfect . Things don’t always go the way we want them to. In fact, the non-believing world watches and waits for us to have the bad times. They watch to see how we react. When we react the same way that they would, they claim that Jesus could not be who He says He is because He has not made a difference.

Paul knew better. He knew that Jesus makes a difference. In all the troubles that he faced, Paul knew where his strength came from. He knew where his happiness came from. His strength was not in his abilities. His happiness was not in his circumstances. Paul drew his strength and his happiness from Jesus. Paul faced many circumstances in his life that we can only read about, many of which would have caused us to simply give up. No matter what he faced, Paul did not swerve in his faith. He kept his eyes upon Jesus. When you are earnestly seeking a prize, you are willing to go through anything because that prize is of great value. You may go through circumstances that are tough, but you do not stop seeking the prize. You realize that your circumstances are temporary and you keep striving. You keep focusing on that prize. Jesus is the greatest prize. He gives us eternal life. He gives us hope. He gives us peace.

What is it that Paul relied upon to stay content in any and every situation? Have you learned the secret that Paul wrote of?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do we grow away from God?

August 28, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

It is so difficult to not be anxious about the situations in the world today. People are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. Prices are increasing. Natural disasters abound. Terrorism and wars are all the news. People no longer respect other people.

I find it difficult some days to remember that God is in control. It is human nature to want to be in control. When we are not in control, we grow anxious. We grow irritated. We grow away from God.

How do we grow away from God?

That is a simple matter of whom we place at the center of our lives and whom we place in control. When we grow anxious, we are saying to ourselves and to the world that we are the ones responsible for our happiness and our status. We ignore God and focus entirely on us. The more that we grow anxious, the further away that we get from God. It is a viscous cycle. The further we get from God, the more anxious we become and then the more we focus on us and our pitiful situations. I would venture to say that our problems as a society all stem from the single fact that as a society, we strive to do it on our own. We have removed God from far too many aspects of our lives. The more we remove God from our society, the more anxious we become about our own fate. We have become too focused on the wrong individual. Instead of focusing on God, we focus on ourselves. We no longer know peace. We no longer know God.

I do not pretend to know what tomorrow will bring. I do know that I can face anything that the world may throw at me as long as I keep God at the center of my life. I also know that I cannot face a single day without talking to my Lord and Savior. Sometimes it is only an internal groan from deep within my soul. Sometimes it is much more. No matter how the conversation goes, I find myself resting in God’s grace and reflecting on what He has done for us – for me. I find the anxiety melts away. I find peace overtaking me.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10a (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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