Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

April 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
(Psalms 119:95 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the enemy is out to get you?

If you are like most people, including myself, it often seems that the world is out to steal our joy. With that said, Jesus told us that this would happen. He let it be known that life would not be easy. He told us that we would have trouble.

“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))

Sometimes it feels like the wicked are waiting to destroy.

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!0 (NIV))

Just as Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this world, He also told us that by placing our faith in Him, He will be with us. He will overcome the evils of this world. Placing our faith in Jesus and calling upon Him as our Lord and Savior does not mean that we will have an easy life, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way.

There is an old saying that there are only two things for certain in this life – death and taxes. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is his. That is a worldly debt. Jesus has overcome death. He has overcome the wages of sin. Before Jesus, life meant sin and sin meant death, both physically and spiritually. He has overcome the spiritual debt that we could never pay on our own. Since our debt of spiritual death has been paid, what do we have to fear? Because we do not have to fear spiritual death, we should lift praise unto God even when the enemy is trying to destroy us. We should praise God in the good, for He has blessed us, and in the bad, for He will provide.

Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

February 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
(Revelation 4:8 (NIV))

Have you ever read this passage and thought that it was easy for these creatures to praise God because that is what they were created to do?

Have you ever come to the realization that we, as humanity, were created to lift up praise to God? We were created to walk with God and to be in fellowship with Him, but that all came to a drastic change when Adam and Eve fell from grace in the Garden of Eden. Because we had sinned, God in all of His holiness, His righteousness, could no longer walk with us and be in fellowship with us. Perfection cannot be in the presence of sin!

I can only imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt after having that intimate relationship with God only to lose it because of a lie.

Thankfully, God had a plan of restoration, of redemption, that would allow us to trade our sinful nature for His righteousness.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:14-17 (NIV))

In other words, God reached down from heaven with a way to redeem us and bring us back to a loving relationship with Himself. All that we have to do is choose to accept that redemption. We have a choice because God made a choice to send His Son to redeem us to Himself! If that is not worthy of our praise, then I don’t know what is!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” should be forever upon our hearts and our lips.

We should never stop praising our God who loves us!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you struggle with humility?

April 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

This is so hard to do in today’s world, especially when everybody seems to seek their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. If you don’t seek recognition, society tends to look down upon you, to think that you don’t matter. I hate to say this, but this type of thinking has even infiltrated our churches. We are guilty of judging our brothers and sisters in Christ through the eyes of the world. We get to the point where we look upon someone for what they can do for the particular congregation or even for ourselves. We even start to look for opportunities to elevate ourselves within our congregations so that we become the center of attention.

It is so difficult to be humble!

Humility is the act of being humble, of being not proud or arrogant. It is also categorized as having a spirit of deference or submission.

Submission ! There is that word that everybody seems to hate. It carries so much negative context that people feel that it is a derogatory and shameful state of being. I venture to say that we have misunderstood how we are to be humble before the Lord because of the negative context that society has placed upon the concept of humility and submission.

Do you believe that God has created you for a specific purpose and calling? Do you fully understand what that purpose and calling is? Just as a young child must earn the trust of his parents, we must earn the trust of God. A child does not receive the full inheritance from their parents immediately. God is the same way. He will not give us more than we can handle. He will not simply dump the full weight of our calling upon us before we are ready to receive it. Humility before God is simply recognizing His authority and waiting for His will to unfold. It places you firmly at the feet of God in a position open and receptive to whatever He may ask or give. This is not a sign of weakness as the world sees it. It is a sign of strength. It is a sign that the person who strives to be humble is not concerned with what the world may think. It is a sign that you have the strength to defy what the world claims we should be.

No one 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.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Humbleness before the Lord is a sign to the world whom you choose to serve. What does your sign say?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What glory do you seek?

February 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
(John 5:44 (NIV))

This same question could be asked today!

I will admit that it would be better understood if it was phrased a little differently.

“You say that you believe, then why do you act like you want approval from your friends who don’t believe?”

Does that about sum up how you read and understand this passage?

We all seek glory. It is human nature to seek out those who will lift us up. Do you seek it from the world or do you seek it from the true source, for only God can truly provide approval and glory that has any meaning? If you seek things from men, the things you seek, just like the men who give them, will fade away far too soon. If you see things from God, He is eternal and the things that He gives are also eternal.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t like the odds that man gives. No matter what you may win, you eventually will lose it all and then even more. If you place your faith and seek what only God can provide, then you will gain mercy and grace as well as the glory of being in God’s presence for all eternity.

What glory do you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly able to be humble?

October 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

Humility is a trait that is difficult for most people. To be honest with you, it is humility, or the lack of it, that caused Satan to rebel against God. It has been the proverbial thorn in the side of humanity ever since. To humble oneself requires a complete submission of yourself to the point where you are not proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive. In other words, to be humble means that you do not elevate yourself in words or deeds, but you simply live your life knowing that you are no better than other people.

Think about that concept in the light of the truth it contains.

God created all of us through the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden. When Adam and Eve fell from grace, not a single one of us, their descendants, was spared from the consequences of that fall. We are all sinners. In the eyes of God, because of our sin, we are all the same. We are all equal. God loves each of us the same, yet, it is human nature to think that God loves us more than the next guy.

Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say that you think you are better than anyone else, or do you feel that nagging twinge of guilt when you honestly look deep inside?

I have asked this question before, and I will ask it again. What would your reaction be if, when you get to heaven, you find that Adolf Hitler had accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior? Would you rejoice, or would you refuse to enter because you know that you were better than him? Would your reaction be evidence of humility?

I want you to take a look at this passage from the point of view of the person who most scholars believe wrote it: James, the brother of Jesus. How would you react to the crowds gathering around your brother and ignoring you? How would you react to the miracles that Jesus performed when you can’t even begin to do anything like them? How would you react to the crucifixion? How would you react to the resurrection? Would there be feelings of hatred? Would there be a crushed ego? Would there be guilt and shame, and would there be rejoicing? I find it interesting that the passage that instructs us to humble ourselves was written by someone who, from a worldly point of view, would have had to struggle to actually do that.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you place your hope and your faith in Jesus!

September 13, 2016

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))

Is it possible for hope to be a driving force in someone’s life? Can hope become more than hope? Can it become belief and faith? Can hope become joy?

As humans, we all have things that we hope for. We all have things that make us smile and bring us joy. We all have things that we feel can make us rise above the burdens of the world and give us a new lease on life. What are those things in your life?

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalm 20:7 (NIV))

Hopefully, you don’t actually trust in horses and chariots. This example is probably the ultimate example of what can give someone a feeling of power, a feeling that they can rise above anything. Sadly, those who place their hope and trust in these types of things soon learn that someone will come along with faster horses and better chariots.

Don’t place your hope in the things of this world. Don’t even place your hope in the people in your life. There is only one place where your hope needs to be placed.

Place your hope in Jesus!

No matter what the world may send your way, He will not forsake you. He will lift you up. He will give you peace. He will deliver you. Can you honestly say that of anything in this world? There is only one who can save. There is only one who can give you strength. There is only one who will lift you up. There is only one who can make you soar!

Place your hope and your faith in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is it your goal to be accepted by men or accepted by God?

March 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
(Luke 6:22 (NIV))

Do you want to be blessed by man or by God?

If you are blessed by man, they will love you. They will embrace you and what you do because you lift them up, The things that you do bring glory to man. The things that you do are the things that they seek to be able to do. They idolize you.

God will still love you, but it is hard to be righteous when you are exalted and God is not. Just try to exalt God in the proper way and watch what the world does to you. Unfortunately, the world rejects God and elevates many members of society to a godlike status.

Think about that last statement.

Think about what the world did to Jesus!

Jesus was part of the Holy Trinity. He was God made flesh. All of the power and authority and the people rejected Him because He would not submit to the ways of the world. The world turned on Him. The world hated Him. The world crucified Him!

How can we expect the world of men to love us if we love Jesus after what they did to Jesus?

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
(John 15:20-21 (NIV))

Is it your goal to be accepted by men or accepted by God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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