Humility is the first step!

January 27, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NKJV))

God knows sinful human nature far too well.

I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to be is humble. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, it is simply just not in our nature. In fact, the fall was because we were not able to be humble when we were told that we could be just like God. Satan dangled the carrot, or should I say the knowledge of good and evil, and we took the bait. If Adam and Eve had simply realized that they were the creation and that they were not, nor could they be God, then things would have happened so much differently than we have been told in God’s Word. Instead of being humble, Adam and Eve let pride take control and that got them cast away from God’s presence.

If that is the case, doesn’t it make perfect sense that if we are able to be humble, then that could be reversed?

It takes humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior! It takes humility to admit that you are not capable of being God, and it takes humility to admit that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. When you are capable of humbling yourself before God, He reverses what sin caused and He lifts you up into a relationship with Him, just like the relationship He had with Adam and Eve before the fall.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

The English Standard Version translates that last part as “he will exalt you.” According to Merriam-Webster, when you are exalted, you are raised in rank, power, or character. You are elevated by praise or in esteem. Humanity was created to walk in fellowship with God. If you reflect on the Garden of Eden, it was not an angel who walked with them. It was God! Even the angels did not get this designation, this familial calling. If you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, you will be exalted, you will be restored to God’s original plan. You will no longer be cast away because of your sin. In much the same way that the father embraced the prodigal son, our Father in heaven longs to embrace each of us when we humble return to Him!

Humility is the first step!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we too busy to be still and listen?

October 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

I realize that I use this passage quite often. In fact, everything that I do has a basis in the first part of this passage, for we must learn to be still in His presence in order to subdue our sinful nature and place ourselves completely at His feet and in His will.

How are you at being still in His presence?

I realize that is what is often referred to as a loaded question, but it is a question that we all must learn to truthfully answer. We must then learn to take steps to humble ourselves and submit to His authority. Better yet, we must learn to submit to His great love!

Have you ever given any thought as to why we are told to be still, to listen for that still, small voice, and to be still and let God fight for us?

We are facing something far greater than what our limited minds can fathom. We are facing something that requires us to place our complete faith and trust in the very one who is planning it. Many people simply believe that the Bible is “basic instructions before leaving earth,” and that it provides us insight into how we are called to live out our walk of faith. That is true, but there is so much more. God’s Word is a love letter from a loving Creator to His creation outlining how He created everything, how Adam and Eve fell from grace, how humanity has tried everything to bridge that grace gap, how God devised a plan to do just that, and how He sent Jesus to seek and to save the lost.

But, if that was all that there was for us in God’s Word, it would have ended with the ascension of Jesus, after all, Jesus taught us all that we needed to know in order to live a Godly life!

We know that God’s plan of salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus is something that is beyond amazing, for we were all sinners in need of a Savior. However, we overlook the parts that are still unfolding. We overlook the parts that have not happened yet. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we miss the big picture. We live in a microcosm of our own creation. Our lives only interact with just a few hundred, perhaps even a few thousand people out of the vast numbers of individuals who are alive now, let alone those who have ever or will ever live. God is doing something far greater than our limited circle of influence. He is doing something far greater than just our nation. He is doing something that reaches out of heaven and addresses sinful humanity and the one who tricked us into falling for the lie.

When you take the time to be still and sit in His presence, what is your spirit telling you? What is the Holy Spirit telling you?

God is definitely up to something that will exalt Him among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth! Only in our humility will we truly understand. Only in our humility will we be able to know the very heart of the Father who is trying to tell us to fix our eyes upon Jesus! With all of the gadgets and distraction that our world sends our way, we must learn to turn them off and tune them out. We must learn to not spend so much time in facebook, but rather we must spend our time seeking His face!

God is trying to tell us something!

Are we too busy to be still and listen?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you be crowned with?

August 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
     he crowns the humble with victory.
(Psalms 149:4 (NIV))

The most obvious questions after reading this passage leads us to the polar opposites that we read about in this passage.

What does the Lord do with the arrogant and prideful? How does the Lord feel about those who reject Him?

I know that we can find many passages that give us very detailed answers to those two questions. Suffice it to say that the answers are not something that anyone in their right mind would willingly call upon themselves. If that is the case, then why do people do the things that they do? Why do people desire to rebel against the Lord? Why do people think that they can do a better job of directing their lives when every single attempt has ended badly?

It takes strength to admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It takes admitting that you are weak and that you cannot do it on your own. It takes strength to admit that you are weak! The strength that I speak of is the strength to step away from our sinful, fallen nature. It is the strength to face the Lord, the world, and yourself and admit that you are not capable of making it without Him. The world sees humility as a lowly self-attitude, but in all honesty, it is probably the bravest attribute that a person can have. It allows a person to take a stand against the ways of the world and publicly proclaim that they have made a conscience decision to go against the ways of the world. Humility allows a person to stop seeing themselves as the king of their world and it allows a person to see themselves as servants, as friends, as equals to other members of God’s creation. It allows a person to see themselves for what they are – a sinner in need of a savior!

If you stop to reflect on the characteristics of humility, it becomes clear how the Lord sees those who aren’t humble. It becomes clear how He will deal with those who aren’t humble.

How does the Lord see you?

What will you be crowned with?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does God see in you?

June 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pride goes before destruction,
     a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

We have seen a lot about pride in recent years, and it seems to be on the increase in just the last few years. Add to this a haughty spirit and we should be expecting something that will bring the unbelieving world to it’s knees.

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word “haughty”? You may be in for an awakening once you realize the depth of the meaning of the word. According to Merriam-Webster, haughty is being blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.

Does this sound anything like our society and our world today? We see the “in your face” attitudes and utter contempt and hatred for anything or anyone related to Jesus.

Basically, if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are looked upon as inferior and you are looked upon with contempt. The prideful spirit of this world looks upon anything that is contrary to what they desire as inferior. What they desire is sin and if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, what you desire is completely contrary to what the world desires.

I find it interesting that we know that the ways of this world are always completely opposite of what God desires. We are told to humble ourselves. The world says to be proud of who you are. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. The world tells us to hate those who are different from us, to hate those who don’t believe as we do. We are told to see others first and ourselves last. The world tells us to go for it because we deserve it.

Sadly, I believe that the non believing, sinful world has become exceedingly prideful and haughty to the point that we are seeing what was written of in 2 Timothy.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

It is God’s desire that we are blatantly humble and righteous in His eyes.

What does God see in you?

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

January 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time being humble?

Why do we insist on trying to elevate ourselves above other people and why do we try to elevate ourselves above God?

I realize that we are all born with a sinful nature, but do we have to act like this all of the time? Why can’t we exhibit other characteristics?

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

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should walk in humility by the very nature of our profession. Why does the world seem to still impact us when we long to put away the things of this world, the things of this flesh? We know exactly what we are supposed to do.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

Even though we profess a faith in Jesus, we still have to repent each and every day, each and every moment that sees us being anything less than humble. If we could strive to live each day following Jesus and walking in the fruit of the Spirit, then we are making great strides into being humble. We are only human. We are a sinful, fallen creation incapable of perfection on our own. We require many course corrections to make sure that we are still on His path. It takes great humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and it takes great humility to admit that you still sin and need help.

Humble yourself by seeking His forgiveness each and every day. Perhaps this is the greatest form of humility.

Do you humble yourself before the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you truly turned to Jesus?

September 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

I don’t know a single person who professes a faith in Jesus that does not know and love this passage. In fact, we rely on the truth of these words when the world gets us down. We love the fact that we can turn to Jesus and He will not forsake us, but most people stop there. They don’t connect the proverbial dots with what is written in the next two sentences.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV))

The rest that we seek is not a transitory rest. It is not a pit stop where we get recharged and then go do our own thing. We are to take His yoke and learn from it. I started to say that we are to take His yoke as a way of life, but in all honesty, we are to take His yoke as the way of life!

I have read in the past that a rabbi’s teachings were called a yoke. The Pharisees and the Sadducees created a heavy burden, a heavy yoke, for their followers to carry. They were burdened with legalism and teachings that were of man’s traditions instead of God’s Word. Jesus never placed this type of burden, this type of yoke, on those who follow Him. He simply calls us to repent and acknowledge Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Instead of a vast number of man’s traditions, He calls us to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. If we are able to do this, everything else falls into place.

In essence, when you look at Matthew 11:28-30 in context, we are invited to come to Jesus and abandon man’s religious traditions, accept the grace and mercy that is freely given at the cross, and follow His teachings that call us to love God and each other. We don’t have to worry about sacrifices, for He has paid the price as the perfect Lamb of God!

I realize that Isaiah lived hundreds of years before Matthew recorded these words, but I see a direct relationship, a direct result of taking the yoke of Jesus as our own.

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

We will find rest. We will have the joy of carrying the burden that Jesus spoke of. We will rejoice in the Lord. We will renew our strength, for our strength will be found in Him. We will learn to soar above the sins of this world because He has overcome this world, and we will walk through this world knowing that our strength comes from Jesus!

Have you truly turned to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly long for the Lord?

November 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
(Habakkuk 1:3 (NIV))

Habakkuk knew what injustice was. He saw it in the society of his day. He saw it in Jerusalem. He had grown tired of the sinful practices that he saw on a daily basis. He pleaded with the Lord to do something that would make the people repent and return to the Lord. The people had rebelled against the Lord to the point that the Lord decided to have the Babylonians invade.

Think about that for a moment!

We pray for God to do something in this nation. We grow tired of the injustices, the evil, the wrongdoing, the destruction and the violence. We can’t seem to go more than an hour without hearing about a new conflict that has people polarized in their responses. We pray that the Lord would heal this land, but what if the first step in the healing process takes us down a road similar to what the Lord told Habakkuk would happen? When the Babylonians came, it was not just the people who were doing evil who where affected? The consequences impacted the whole region.

With the events in the world and the alignment of nations, the peace treaties and all other factors, we realize that we will probably soon be facing end time events. We long for the moment when the Lord will come for His church. Until that time, we must be prepared for much worse than we have seen. We should continue to pray for repentance and healing. We must pray for eyes to be opened and hearts to be turned to Jesus.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

If we, who are sinful by nature, grow weary of all of the sin that surrounds us, how much more does this bother the Lord? We know that the Lord will win in His time, for He, too, is growing tired of the things in this world. Until that time, we must stand firm in our faith. We must stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel. We must stand firm in showing the world what God calls righteousness and justice.

Do you truly long for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must humble ourselves to His desires!

November 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The Bible instructs us to pray for those who are in authority over us. The need to pray for the President of the United States and other world leaders has never been more urgent. This country, and the world, are at a strategic point in history. We can turn towards God or turn farther from God.

It is our choice.

Our leaders reflect this choice, and often guide this choice. It is for this reason that we should pray for the President. We must pray for God’s Will in the election. Do we, as a nation, vote for a platform that has removed God or one that has embraced God? All that we have to do is look at Israel. Their ancient history is filled with them not only turning their back on God, but embracing the gods of the world. Every time that they did evil in the eyes of God, they faced wars and captivity. When they embraced the Lord and followed His ways they were blessed. Our choices are not about the individuals who are running. It is about the ideals that they have embraced. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment.

I would rather have a brash person who seeks the will of God over a likable person who flaunts corruption and evil.

As we enter the final day of this election, we must pray for God’s guidance. We must pray for His Will. We must act as the Body of Christ and seek to further His kingdom in this world. We must continue to do so until He returns!

We have a choice! We can turn towards God or away from God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, 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 24:14-15 (NIV))

If we choose to serve the Lord, that means that we must learn to listen. We must learn to discern His Will. We must learn to be obedient to what He calls good and shun what He calls evil. We must stand firmly with Him and not against Him.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

We must humble ourselves to His desires!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is this how you wish to pray?

October 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
(Matthew 6:7 (NIV))

Have you ever been accused of babbling?

Merriam-Webster defines babbling as idle, foolish, or nonsensical talk or chatter. When you hear someone talking in this manner, do you feel the urge to tell them to get to the point? Do you even bother to listen to the words that are being uttered. Do you zone out and nod slightly to make it look like you are listening? At times, it appears that the person who is talking simply likes the sound of their own voice. It can get annoying!

With this defined, let’s go back to my first question. Have you ever been accused of babbling? Better yet, have you ever approached the throne room of God in prayer only to babble on and on simply because you were too afraid to ask the Lord for what you seek in a bold and confident manner? Perhaps you found yourself babbling because you knew deep down that your motives for what you ask were wrong.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:3 (NIV))

Human nature is a funny thing. We think that we can hide what we truly desire and the motives for that desire, but our actions give us away. Simply think about the many times when you were a child where you approached your parents to ask for something. You had probably made up a story that wasn’t quite true and you talked and talked and talked hoping that your words would be convincing. Your parents knew. Now, think about this from God’s perspective. He knows our hearts. He knows the true desires and the true motives that we try to hide from public display when we try using a constant barrage of words.

We put up a facade! We try to convince ourselves and others that our motives are noble when they are simply self-serving.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”
(James 4:6 (NIV))

Humility doesn’t have anything to say. Humility is quiet and unassuming. When we put on humility, we simply surrender to the Lord and fully rely upon His mercy and grace. We surrender our motives and embrace His motives. We put self aside and when we do this, our words don’t matter. What matters is our heart!

Is this how you wish to pray?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you called by His name?

July 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

It’s happened again! Or perhaps I should say that it is still happening. We can’t go a day without seeing something horrendous in the news. We can’t go a day without seeing the work of the enemy as he tries to divide us. We can’t go a day without seeing good being called evil and evil being called good.

I’m at a loss for words. All that I can do is feel the groanings of my spirit as it cries out to God. I honestly don’t know what the prayers from my spirit are saying. I just know that they are asking God to send His Spirit and bring peace to this troubled world. Still, in the midst of all that is happening, I know that everything is unfolding according to God’s perfect plan, even though all we see is chaos. I know that the enemy is not going to go quietly. His time is short and he knows it. We will see more evil arise. It is time that the Body of Christ unite and stand firm in our humility and in our prayers.

We must pray according to God’s Will. We must stand firm in our faith. We must also realize that this world is not our home. This world is sinful and will never be the world that we long for. The events that will lead to the fulfillment of the promises of an eternal home in paradise are unfolding. I realize that no one knows the day nor the hour, but I do believe that it will be sooner than the world thinks. All I know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be praying for God’s perfect will. We should be praying for those who don’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

In essence, if we are called by His name, we should be praying!

Are you called by His name?

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