Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

June 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

How have you been the last few years?

Do you find yourself growing weak, weary and faint because of all of the things going on in the world?

To be honest with you, I personally do not understand how someone who doesn’t have a faith in Jesus can keep their sanity in all that has happened and continues to happen in this world. Perhaps that is why we see an increase in suicides and an increase in other choices that go against anything Godly and righteous. When things go badly in this world, too many people look for comfort in all of the wrong places. They should turn to Jesus!

I remember immediately after 9/11 and the massive influx of people into churches. They were looking for sense to be made out of the events that had transpired. I don’t know the percentage of people who quickly fell away, but they did turn to God for a while. Today, if people aren’t already in a church, if anything happens, they seem to ignore God completely, or even blame Him for the events. It is sad to see just how the attitudes towards God have changed in just a little over twenty years.

Hold fast to your faith!

Stand firm in the promises of God!

We must recognize that our hope is built on the rock, on the firm foundation that is our Lord Jesus. When we have accepted Jesus and fully rely on the hope that we have placed in Him, He will renew our strength. No matter what we may face in this world, we will not grow weary. We will not faint in the face of the enemy as he tries everything in his feeble power to turn the world away from God. I don’t often quote hymns, but this should be our anthem in times of worldly trouble, for we have a risen Savior who has overcome the world.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

I bet that you started singing this as you read it. It should be so ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who profess a faith in Jesus that we sing it loudly and proudly as He renews our strength; as He lifts us up to soar on wings like eagles; as He gives us strength to run and not grow weary; and as He gives us strength to walk and not be faint.

Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

April 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage of scripture to follow up with after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!

The resurrection sets the stage for this passage, for without the resurrection, the claims made are nothing more than wishful thinking. But, because Jesus is alive, we can make this profession of faith knowing that it is absolutely true. We can say that “Jesus is Lord” without any doubt in our minds. We can believe, actually, we can know with absolute certainty that God raised Jesus from the dead. We can have the faith to not only say that “Jesus is Lord,” we can also have the faith to know that our salvation is assured because of His death, burial and triumphant resurrection.

What is faith?

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

Even though we live some two thousand years after the resurrection, are you truly confident that Jesus arose from the dead? Are you truly confident that Jesus is God’s perfect sacrificial lamb to atone for your sins? Are you truly confident in your eternal future because of this proclamation?

If Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior, then each of us are called to do one thing as we walk out our life of faith. Just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, He is telling us the very same thing.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

If you profess that Jesus is Lord, then by definition a lord is one who has power and authority over you. If you profess that Jesus is Lord and He has told you to leave your life of sin, are you being obedient? I realize that we are only human and that we will fail, but we must possess a desire to strive for this sinless life. When we fail, we must repent. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus for salvation is found in no other name?

Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hope in the Lord?

March 11, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

It is so easy to focus on the physical when everything that we see and experience is the physical world. Lately, everything around us seems to be wars and rumors of wars. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Shortages and inflation are beginning to be the new normal. And, many experts, both Biblical and worldly, are saying that it is just going to get worse. I recently read and wrote briefly on the rising death rate among the group that we call the millenials. They see no hope in sight and choose to end their lives. I realize that no one has probably looked at the following passage from this perspective, but we are seeing this very thing happen.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
      and young men stumble and fall;
(Isaiah 40:30 (NIV))

It is amazing what a change of perspective can do. Their only hope was in the world because that is all that they knew. They had not placed their hope in the Lord. When you place your hope in the Lord, you see things from His perspective. You see things in a whole new light and the darkness of the world is only a passing thing. Placing your hope in the Lord allows you to not be overwhelmed by the problems in this world. We still see them, but we know that with the Lord’s help, we will soar on wings like eagles. We will be kept away from the eternal harm this is running rampant in the world. We will realize that the world is fleeting and that only eternity matters. Jesus gives us that hope of eternity with Him.

He will renew our strength!

He will give us power to do things in His name!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I recently heard someone talk about a concept that sounds interesting and may need to be investigated further. She stated that since the church age started with miracles and power at Pentecost, it would not surprise her to see the church age end in the same manner. If you stop to think about that concept, isn’t that what the Rapture would be?

I know one thing for certain.

No Jesus. No hope.
Know Jesus. Know hope!

Do you hope in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

October 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

In this world in which we live, this is a joyous message. The God of all creation has plans for each and every one of us. God wants to give us good things. He wants to prosper us. He wants to protect us from harm. He wants to give us hope.

Carefully consider what God has promised to each of us in this passage. The basic desires of humanity are met in these words. We all desire to be prosperous at what we do. We all desire to be kept from harm. We all desire to have hope for a better tomorrow for ourselves and our families. The words that God gave to us through Jeremiah touch each one of us at our innermost longings, desires and hopes.

God has given us an insight into ourselves and into His own heart through these words. He also gave us a glimpse into the ultimate hope through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. If we place our faith and hope in Jesus, God will prosper us. He will protect us. He will give us a hope and a future. It is true that God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we could have salvation from our sins, but Jesus also came for other reasons.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:7(NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. God’s sole purpose is not to be our personal wish fulfillment factory. He is not there to turn to when we want something. He is there to be our Father at all times. If we turn to Him as a loving Father and earnestly seek His face in all things, then He will prosper us just as He promised in Jeremiah.

Are you looking for God to prosper you or are you looking to God in all that you do? It is a matter of your heart.

What are your motives?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at waiting?

October 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

Let me rephrase that last statement.

Have you grown tired of waiting for the Lord?

That sounds awfully harsh, but if you stop to think about it, we are all guilty of that very thing. We have grown to expect instantaneous rewards and solutions to our problems. We have become expectant of the fast food type of response from anyone and everyone in our lives.

Think back on the stories from the Bible. Did any of them have an instantaneous answer from God? Did Abraham become the father of many nations overnight? Did David become the king of Israel when God selected him from among his brothers? Did Noah go out and buy a boat the day that he heard God tell him it was going to rain? Did Moses lead the Israelites our of Egypt the day he returned from the desert? We all know these answers, yet we have grown to expect much more than these fathers of our faith ever would have imagined. We must take a lesson from these very people and take these words to heart.

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

To know God is to trust in Him. To know God is to place all of your hope in Him. We must be willing to go the distance with God and not grow tired of waiting for Him. I know that we are only human and at times, we will grow weary in our patience. The key is to realize that He is maturing us and those around us so that we may know His fullness. We must realize that we are not waiting for Him. On the contrary, He is waiting for us!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I am so very thankful that God has waited for me!

How are you at waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Never leave your first love!

July 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
(Revelation 2:4 (NKJV))

The church at Ephesus did many things right, but it all came collapsing down with this single statement!

Have you ever wondered what they had left? Have you ever thought that they simply got in a routine of doing things that were righteous, but forgot the reasons behind why they did them? They did good works. They labored for the sake of the Gospel. They had learned patience and they hated evil. They could even spot false apostles, but what good did it do them if they had left their first love? They had forgotten the love of Jesus and without that love, everything is meaningless. They had faith. They had hope, but they no longer had love!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Without love, you soon find yourself focusing on the letter of the law and not the intent. The Pharisees focused on the letter of the law. Jesus came to show that God’s intent was love. In essence, when you lose love, you become a Pharisee, and you insist on telling others what to do while not doing it yourself. You create a double standard in which you judge others but seek grace for yourself. This is completely contrary to what Jesus taught.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

We are to love each other as we love ourselves!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

It was out of love that Jesus came into the world. It was out of love that He taught. It was out of love that He went to the cross. His love covers all of our sins. What we are called to do is love others in such a way that they are covered in Christ! If you have forgotten how to love, then it is time to follow through on what Jesus told the church at Ephesus.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
(Revelation 2:5 (NKJV))

Never leave your first love!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

July 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, we need hope. We need joy, and we need peace!

Can you imagine how people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are coping with what we have been facing? Even members of the Body of Christ can sometimes begin to feel the weight of the world crashing down on us, and we have the hope we have been given through Jesus to cling to! Can you imagine the weight that others are feeling when they have no hope to cling to?

We are all familiar with the often used saying that when things are looking down, look up. To be honest with you, I see more and more people boldly proclaiming their faith through social media than I have ever seen. It may just be the algorithms that are used, but it appears that over fifty percent of what I see is people sharing faith based content. I take this as an indication that people are spending more time in God’s Word and are clinging to the truth that it contains. People are looking up! Or, should I say that they are looking down into the pages of their Bibles? Can we take this as a sign that people are lifting their hearts and their hands to heaven? Can we take this as a sign the people are lifting up prayers to the Lord?

For those of us who cling to the promises that are “yes” in Jesus, we have hope. We have joy, and we have peace. We also have an assignment!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

And, the harvest fields are ripe to hear the Gospel!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

There has never been a better time to share the Gospel of Jesus. The time may be short and for those who don’t trust in the Lord, we may be the only people who will share. We must tell them the truth!

Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is our one true hope!

July 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
      Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 (NIV))

It seems that people turn to God in times of trouble, only to turn away when things begin to get better. Think back a few years ago to the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Churches were filled with people praying. Where did they all go? Why are they still not there? It seems that when tragedy hits, people realize that they are not in control, but arrogance soon takes over once things begin to return to normal. People tend to forget God in the good times.

I find it interesting that the psalmist wrote about what seems to be the opposite scenario. He praised God during the good times, thanking Him for all that He has done. When things begin to go less than desirably, he wanted to grovel. He was depressed. He was sad. It sounds like he almost turned away from God. He wanted to forget God in the bad times.

Both scenarios are common place. We are an arrogant, yet fickle creation. We have been blessed with individuality, but sometimes that can be our biggest problem. Don’t get me wrong. God created us to be individuals. He created each of us to be unique in all of creation. He cherishes our individuality. It is through this individuality that we each must learn to earnestly seek God, even when we feel like turning from Him. We need to make it an every day occurrence and not just at the times in our lives that are contrary to our natures. For some, this is when we lose control. For others, it is when things are going good. Perhaps it is simply a matter of our personality, but regardless of how God created us, we are to praise Him in all things.

Carefully consider how long a marriage would last if one person only turned to the other for just a few days a month. Now, consider your relationship with God through Jesus. Do you turn to God in much the same manner?

Do you praise God at all times for being your Savior and your God?

He is our one true hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not lose hope in the Lord!

June 24, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 40:31 (NIV))

How has your strength been recently?

I could probably stop with just those words and you can fill in your own issues that you see in the world and in your life. Let’s face it. Every single person alive is caught up in the middle of the events that have affected the whole world.

Financial crises.
Political upheaval.
Race riots.
Wars and rumors of wars.
The global pandemic.
Good being called evil and evil being called good.

Do I need to list anything else?

I honestly do not understand how anyone who doesn’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior makes it through each day when more and more is added to the already huge list of troubles. Those who do call upon the name of the Lord have a promise that we can rely upon to give us strength even in the midst of troubles.

“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))

We are told that troubles will increase as the time gets closer for the events spoken of in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. As we see things unfolding, we must remember to never lose sight of the Lord. We must remember to never lose hope in the Lord, for all of His promises are “Yes!” When the world sees trouble, we must see hope. We must renew our strength as we find shelter in His presence and in His strength. When we rely on His strength, we can face anything. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not be faint, and best of all, we can soar above the troubles of the world.

We must not lose hope in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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