Will you find shelter in what you seek?

April 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
(Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV))

Human nature is an interesting thing. We like to think that we are complex in our thoughts and actions, but in reality, we are simple in nature. We all have a need for shelter. We all have a need for food, and we all have a need for acceptance and love. Each of us have things that drive us; things that we seek in order to fill these basic needs. One of those needs is the need for love and acceptance. It is said that we all have a God-shaped hole that we are trying to fill in order to fulfill that need. All of our efforts in life are our attempts to fill that hole with something besides what it was intended to be filled with. Some of the things that we seek to fill that hole will lead to death and destruction. Some will lead to pain and misery. Some will lead to fame and fortune, but the most important thing that we can choose to fill that God-shaped hole with is God!

There is an old saying that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. In other words, whatever you choose to focus on in your life to try to fill that hole is what will eventually cause your downfall.

There is only one thing that you can seek that will overcome the results of filling that hole with the wrong thing!

Perhaps we should put a new twist on the old saying. Perhaps we should say he who lives by God’s Word, dies to the world and lives in righteousness!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

In all honesty, we all seek something. Make sure that what you seek is not a quick fix that will lead to destruction.

Will you find shelter in what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you put behind you?

March 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Maturity is something that many of us try to avoid. We have a tendency to fear responsibility and we have a tendency to think of maturity and responsibility as being one and the same. In all honesty, they are closely related, but it is possible to be responsible without actually being mature. In essence, maturity can be considered full development while responsibility often refers to accountability. A good example of this is a child who always cleans their room. They are definitely not mature, but they are responsible in certain aspects of their life.

Human nature tells us that we don’t like to be held accountable. All that you have to do is look at Adam and Eve after being tempted into eating the fruit. When God approached them about what happened, blame was placed elsewhere. They failed to take the responsibility for what happened.

If you look at maturity as the ability to recognize sin and responsibility as the accountability to stay away from sin, then we start to get a clearer picture of this passage.

A child will think, say and do things that are less than desirable. Hopefully, as the child gets older, they recognize the childish nature and desire to take on a more mature nature. They decide to leave the old, childish nature behind them in a similar manner to how a person who repents leaves the old, sinful nature behind them. They step closer to maturity by selecting to put things behind them and move forward without that baggage.

What have you put behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you find yourself asking this question?

March 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
(Psalms 94:3 (NIV))

How do you react when you see the news of the events of this world?

Sadly, I could spend a lot of time just listing everything that makes me shake my head in disbelief. You could probably spend the same amount of time building your own personal list, but neither your list nor my list is going to approach the list that the Lord has made. He sees things that we can only imagine. If the things of this world break our hearts, can you begin to fathom the sadness that the Lord feels for this world and for those who are lost in sin and wickedness? Can you imagine how He feels when He sees the hearts of those who blatantly desire to not only stay in their sin, but to sink to new lows of wickedness and sinfulness?

I long to see God’s righteousness poured out upon the world, yet, at the same time, I pray that the Lord holds off so that those who are immersed in sin and wickedness have an opportunity to repent!

We don’t know God’s exact timing, but we can know the season. One day, though, God’s timing will be perfect! The day that we, as the Body of Christ, long for, will be a day that the wicked will wish they could escape. We all have people that we know who fall into this category. Do you wish to see them miss out on eternity in heaven because they waited too long? Perhaps this gives us an insight into the heart of God.

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

Still, human nature will continue to ask the question, “How long?” Based on the events of this world, I honestly believe that the Lord is giving us an answer!

Do you find yourself asking this question?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do your thoughts and words please the Lord?

March 27, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 (NIV))

Reading this passage reminded me of something that I think most people forget to take into consideration, and that is the simple fact that God knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees straight into our hearts and knows our innermost desires. He sees the things that we try to hide even from ourselves.

Are you willing to ask God to search your heart?

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

Better yet, are you willing to respond to God when He reveals to you things that are not pleasing in His sight? All of us have thoughts and desires that are less than righteous. We all say things that are less than pleasing to God and to ourselves. Are you willing to repent? Are you willing to change? It is human nature to rebel against correction. It is human nature to fall into prideful arrogance because we simply don’t want to change.

In short, we don’t want to please the Lord. We want to please ourselves?

Do your thoughts and words please the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you see others? How do you see yourself?

January 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(Luke 6:41-42 (NIV))

Isn’t it typical human nature to see the minor faults in others while we overlook the major faults within ourselves?

We simply like to point out the faults in others and exaggerate them so that our own faults are not noticed. We make others look worse than they really are so that we can make ourselves look better in the eyes of others.

How did Jesus handle this?

He simply pointed out the fact that we cannot be in any shape spiritually to “assist” others with their faults if we completely ignore all of ours. Jesus came into the world to teach and be an example of what we should be and how we should act. He never ridiculed or accused people of things. He simply taught by example. His example was flawless. He was perfect. He could point out someone else’s flaws and be justified in doing so publicly, yet, He chose to treat others with love, grace and mercy.

How can we, who are sinful, treat others as if we are sinless when He who was truly sinless treated others as if He were one of them?

How do you see others? How do you see yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we capable of hearing what the Lord says?

January 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever has ears, let them hear.
(Matthew 11:15 (NIV))

Everyone likes to think that they are good at paying attention to their physical surroundings. Whether it be by sight, smell or hearing, everyone is usually aware enough of their surroundings to know daylight from night, sunshine from rain, and safety from danger. Still, every single one of us gets into a predicament at times when our physical senses were ignored. All that you have to do to confirm this is look at all of the videos that have been posted where people are looking at their cell phones and walk into a pole. I have even seen situations where people were so engrossed in what they were doing that they didn’t even hear their name being called to warn them against an impending danger.

It is human nature!

We have a tendency to become so wrapped up in certain things that we completely ignore or avoid other things.

No one knows human nature better than our Creator. He knows our innermost desires. He sees the things that make us long for Him and He cringes at the things that draw us into sin. He knows our hearts. He knows our minds. He also knows that we can become very easily distracted, especially when it comes to the things that appeal to our sinful nature. The Lord is constantly calling us to Him so that we can walk with Him and avoid that sinful nature. Sadly, all too often we are so engrossed in the worldly things that we fail to hear the Lord calling us away from them.

I know that the words from this passage are used many times throughout the Bible, but have you ever truly stopped to think about them? Perhaps if I paraphrased this concept it might stick with you a little stronger. In essence, God is say, “I gave you two ears. Use them! Pay attention to what I am telling you.” I realize that the Lord has never been recorded as saying something with this type of an attitude, but He is telling us to pay attention and listen to what He is trying to tell us. It is our sinful human nature that gets in the way.

Are we capable of hearing what the Lord says?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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