Do you trust in the Lord?

August 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV))

How true this is!

Our understanding of what happens in this physical world is only a small portion of what really happens. Now, consider that all events in the physical world have a corresponding event or series of events in the spiritual realm, and you soon realize that our understanding is practically nothing.

I once heard a commentary in which T.S. Elliot asked God why his wife had been taken from him in death. God told him that he could explain it to him, but he would not understand it. Think about that in the context of education and comprehension. Can you imagine a nuclear physicist telling an infant how things work at the atomic level. He could explain it all he wants, but the capability to understand is not there. The same is true of how things happen in this world. God could explain them, but we are as infants and lack the capability to understand. We are limited by our current state.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV))

Consider how an infant must trust his or her parents for everything that they need. When we realize that we are truly infants in the faith and in our understanding, we soon come to the conclusion that all things work together if we simply trust in the Lord.

We must be as infants and trust in God to lead us and guide us in His truth just as an infant loves and trusts their parents. We learn as we go. We take a step and look back to see if God is still there. We take a few more steps and realize that He is walking at our side. We take a few more steps and realize that He is leading and guiding us.

It all starts with trust!

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does the Lord see when He looks at you?

August 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

Do you ever wish that you could see people the way that God sees them? Do you ever wonder what others would see if they could see what is inside your heart? In both scenarios, what is in our hearts is made manifest in our actions and our words. It may not be completely accurate, but our actions and words give a hint as to what is truly in our hearts. Outward appearances are not who we are. They are simply a facade that the world sees. They are a facade that we use to try to hide our true selves behind. They are a part of us, but they are not us!

God see the real us!

He sees beyond outward appearances and the idiosyncrasies that we develop to keep our true selves hidden from the world. He sees desires. He sees motives. He sees heartbreak, and He sees the little child who longs to crawl up on daddy’s lap. He sees what you hide away in your heart. He knows what you treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

He also calls us to give up the treasures we hide in our hearts and treasure Him. He calls us to maturity, to perfection in His image.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Matthew 19:21 (NIV))

If we treasure the Lord, then our hearts should be a storehouse of His love, His righteousness, and His own heart. We should reflect His heart. We should project what is in our hearts so that it is only seen seen by the Lord, but it should be readily visible to all who see us. Before we can do this, we have to have our hearts right with the Lord.

What does the Lord see when He looks at you?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to be searched?

July 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
(Psalms 139:23 (NIV))

What imagery comes to mind when you think of being searched?

Is it invasive? Is it forceful? Is it a scenario where you feel extremely uncomfortable? Is your imagery of being searched something that you would want to be put through? Is this how you envision God searching you?

We have a choice. We can profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and then open up our heart to the searching and guidance of the Holy Spirit, or we can wait until the appointed time when Jesus returns. We can surrender to the gentle searching that will lead to a maturity in Christ, or we can be defiant now and face something that none of us want to face. Those who don’t profess a faith in Jesus now will acknowledge His Lordship too late!

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Asking God to search your heart means that you surrender to Him and to His plans for you. Asking God to search your heart indicates that you are ready and willing to take a step toward realizing the hope of a future in His presence.

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))

If you ask the Lord to search your heart, you better be prepared for God to remove some things from your life. You better be prepared to experience some spiritual growing pains as the Lord refines you and makes you into someone that He can use.

Remove the dross from the silver,
     and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
(Proverbs 25:4 (NIV))

Asking the Lord to search your heart is the first step.

Are you willing to be searched?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He knows just how to renew your spirit!

July 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

What is the state of your spirit within you?

If you are anything like me, if you suffer as part of humanity, then the things that happen around us and to us have an impact on us whether we want to admit it or not. With what the whole world has experienced over the last year or more, it impacts even those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Sometimes I just look at the things of this world and sigh because I can’t put my thoughts into accurate words. I sigh because of the unrighteous things that I see. I sigh because I long for God’s righteousness and not the world’s evil. If you are like me, you can understand how Elijah felt when he ran from Jezebel.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
(1 Kings 19:4 (NIV))

Elijah had fled Jezebel. He was afraid and he was tired. Human nature took control and he wanted to have God end his life. He was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
(1 Kings 19:5-8 (NIV))

Elijah was a prophet. He heard from God on many different occasions, and yet he still had a crushed spirit due to the events in the world in his life. How can we assume that we will have the strength to achieve on our own what Elijah was unable to achieve on his own?

A day’s journey into the wilderness means that he found a place to escape his troubles and rest. This allowed for the Lord to send comfort and renewal not once, but twice. Because he was able to find rest in the Lord, he was prepared to face the journey ahead. That journey had him face many dark days, but he was able to face them because he found rest in the Lord and the Lord renewed his spirit.

When you sigh and groan under the weight of the world, remember Elijah. Seek the Lord and seek rest in His presence. Our sighs and groans are not incomprehensible to the Lord.

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))

He knows just how to renew your spirit!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you treasure?

May 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

This world is fleeting and the things in it do not last. The treasures that man stores for himself will eventually be worthless.

Nothing lasts forever in this world. But we have a promise of something much greater that is not of this world. Since it is not of this world, then it will last forever, for the promise is that nothing can destroy it or no one can steal it.

Just what is this treasure that is so priceless, yet cannot be stolen? It is the treasure of heaven as God has promised and as Jesus Christ has made it available to us through His selfless sacrifice on the cross.

It is said that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If that is true, then we must carefully select what we treasure. If our treasure is something worldly that can be stolen or destroyed, then our heart can be stolen or destroyed as well. Many people have had this happen to them. Their treasure was gold, and their heart became so consumed with protecting that gold that nothing else mattered. What do you suppose would happen to these people if they lost all of their gold?

When the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression, many people lost their fortunes, and many of those took their own lives. They could not comprehend life without what they had worked so hard to gain. What would have happened to these people had they placed their heart with Jesus?

What do you treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

December 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:1-2 (NIV))

Christmas is rapidly approaching in a year that has been far from ordinary!

With everything that has been happening in the world, have you been able to stay true to the faith that you profess? Have you been able to stand firm in your walk with the Lord? Have you done things this year that you said that you would never do? Have you been embarrassed by your actions?

This is a time to reflect on our sinful, human nature. This is also a time to reflect on what God has done for us by sending His Son to earth to give us grace. It is also a time to reflect on our attitude towards this gift. Do we truly keep His statutes and seek Him with all our heart? This Christmas morning, I pray that you are truly thankful and joyous, celebrating the true meaning of the day. I pray that you are able to lift your eyes to the heavens and truly be thankful even in the midst of the current state of this world, for this world is not our source of joy!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

Do you love the world? Do you find yourself looking to the world for your joy? As we draw near to the end of an unusual and difficult year, it should be obvious that the world is not where we, as believers, should focus. We must remember the true reason for the season and keep that joy. If we hold fast to that joy, we can face anything that the world and the enemy may send our way.

Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your heart in the right place?

December 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I’ve referenced this passage on many occasions, but it has been haunting me the last few days.

I’ve been looking at the current state of the world and my selfish side was longing for the things that I would love to be able to do again, like take my lovely wife on a long vacation. I would love to do this without the ever-present panic mode that has the whole world under various different phases of lock-down. To be honest with you, I have found my mind to be in a fog, in a state of disillusionment, because I was beginning to feel defeated and my hope was fading.

I know that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way because of the very unusual events of this year. I think that I can safely say that a large number of people, even believers, have felt this way at some point during this year.

What do you do when the weight of the world comes crashing in on you? It is human nature to give in to the pressures, to the stress, and slip into a state of mind that does not honor the Lord. What do you do to bring yourself back to Jesus when this happens? Each person is different. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has a unique relationship with the Lord. Each of us have a special something that God uses to get our attention. It is this special something, whether it is a Scripture passage, a song, or a sunset, that God uses to reach out to you to bring you back to Himself.

I want you to be able to focus on this aspect of your relationship with the Lord and make this your treasure. Nobody knows what the future may hold. The enemy is doing everything that he can to crush the faith of believers. No matter what may come, each of us must be able to focus on the personal treasure that is the Lord. We must make sure that our hearts belong to Him, for that is the only place that they belong!

Is your heart in the right place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you chosen the way of truth?

November 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
(Psalms 119:30 (NIV))

How many times have you wished that the people that you encounter had that philosophy? What a difference it would make in the world if more people had the desire to be righteous and obey the laws that God has ordained for our good. How can we, as a society, obey the laws that God has ordained for us if we have blatantly removed those laws from our central core? How can we expect society to follow the laws that God has set forth if we have allowed society to remove those laws from everything?

How can a fish survive if we remove the water? How can a bird fly if we remove the air? How can we, as God’s creation, live as we were created to live if we remove God from the picture?

It is an individual choice that each of us must make. We must choose to follow God by accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. We must then share this truth and light with anyone and everyone whom we encounter. We have an inner joy from knowing Jesus. Joy is addicting. It is also contagious. When was the last time that you saw a grouch who was not overcome by someone who was truly joyful? I am sure that there are times when this happens, but, it only happens when the grouch has hardened his or her heart and will not let anyone or anything bring them joy. Joy is not something to be kept away. It is something that is to be embraced and welcomed. True joy comes from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If you have the joy that they give, then you have the truth and the fundamentals behind all of God’s laws, for a joyful heart will keep the laws out of a love and respect for what God has created.

Have you chosen the way of truth?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

November 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

I’ve read this particular passage many times and I thought that I understood it, but recently I had an epiphany. I had a new understanding of this passage and I don’t understand why the obvious had not made itself known to me before. It all starts with a fresh understanding of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Have you ever seen God? Are you confident that He exists? If you firmly believe that He exists, that is faith. In this physical world, it takes faith to even acknowledge that God exists. If you do not possess faith the size of a mustard seed, then it is impossible for your mind to even conceive of the idea of God. Faith is the key! Without faith, God doesn’t exist in your heart or in your mind. You have made a decision to shun the Creator of all things! That breaks the very heart of God, for He longs to draw each of us closer to Himself. It only takes a little faith to grow the idea that God is real. Once you have the faith to make this proclamation, you have taken the first step in your journey with the Lord. Each step of that journey draws you closer to the Lord and builds a stronger faith. It pleases the Lord when you draw closer to Him. It pleases the Lord as your faith matures.

How do you grow faith?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

We must spend time daily in His Word, for His Word is His heart! When we know His Word, we know Him intimately.

Do you possess a faith that seeks intimacy with the Lord?

It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

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