There is always more to God’s story!

September 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10 (NIV))

Do you think that you know the story of Jonah?

I thought that I did, and much to my surprise, there was more that I didn’t know than I did know.

We all know that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell the people to repent. We know that Jonah ran from what God asked him to do because he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. We know that Jonah boarded a boat and ended up in the belly of a great fish. This is where the passage picks up in the story. What we aren’t told in scripture is that the god and goddess that were worshipped in Ninevah were Dagon and Nanshe.

I hope that you pick up on God’s sense of humor when I tell you that the two gods that were worshipped in Ninevah were fish gods!

Imagine the reaction of the people when they witness something that looks like the gods that they worship vomiting out someone who is preaching for them to repent and to turn to the one true God. It would get my attention! No wonder there was mass repentance in the city of Ninevah!

I find it interesting that God will use the false beliefs of people to get their attention and to get them to repent. I was very intrigued when I discovered the additional details about Ninevah. God’s Word is full of hints at His majesty and how He works. I wonder how much more that we truly do not know. I would love to know the rest of all of God’s stories.

There is always more to God’s story!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you desire to exalt God?

October 19, 2016

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))

Many of you know that the first part of this passage is one that I refer to often, and rightly so. There is so much wisdom contained in the eight words of the first line. It instructs us to be patient, to be still and wait, to cease striving in our own efforts, and realize that He is God and we are not. It prompts us to recognize our rightful place as creation and His rightful place as Creator. It instructs us to put all of our trust and hope in Him, for we are not capable of doing anything on our own. I could go on with several different reflections on these eight words, and every single reflection would come to the same conclusion and that is that no matter how hard we try, we are an imperfect, fallen and sinful creation and God is the perfect Creator.

Have you ever truly thought about the next two lines of this passage?

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10b (NIV))

Has it ever occurred to you that once we truly stop to know God, we will see Him for all of His majesty and splendor and we will desire to exalt Him?

Take another look at this passage from a different perspective. Look at it from an end times point of view. Was the psalmist telling us to know and to trust in God no matter what we may face, for when God’s timeline unfolds, He will be exalted and those who know Him will be by His side?

No matter what perspective you choose to use to understand this passage, there is one very clear message that we must never forget. We are to take the time to get to know God in all of His glory. We are to spend time in prayer. We are to spend time in God’s Word. We are to commit to knowing God the way that we commit to knowing anyone that we love. We should desire to know God’s very heart. We should desire to seek His presence. We should desire to see His will be done.

What do you desire?

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

July 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
(Genesis 9:12-16 (NIV))

God is faithful!

When God first created a rainbow, it was as a promise to those who had followed His commands. It was, and still continues to be, a visible reminder that God is faithful to deliver those who call upon His name; for those who place their faith and trust in Him.

With all that is going on in the world, we all need a gentle reminder that God is faithful and that what He has promised will come to pass. I realize that this sounds like a weak faith, but in reality it is a strengthening of faith, for it is a sign from God that what He has promised will come to fruition.

Have you ever needed a gentle reminder from God?

To be honest with you, I don’t think that there is a single person alive who does not need this reassurance every once in a while. God knows us intimately. He also knows that we face things in this world that can overcome us. He sent Jesus into this world to overcome sin and death. He sent the rainbow to show us that He is faithful to keep His promises. God has an everlasting covenant with His creation. That covenant is our hope and our faith. To those who believe in that covenant, we see signs all around us of the majesty that is our God. Sadly, those who do not believe see the same signs but miss the meaning. They miss the promise.

With all that I have that burdens my heart, today was a day that I was reminded of the faithfulness of God. The day was stressful with the typical news as of late. Other issues clouded my mind. Late in the day I decided to step outside for a breath of fresh air. My mind was racing trying to comprehend all of the events of the day. I turned to look back at my house, and there it was! The biggest rainbow that I have ever seen arching down from on high and disappearing behind the roof.

It is amazing how something that God sends your way can instantly change your day. I went from a heavy heart to a smile and joy in no time at all. I was reminded of God’s love for us and His faithfulness to those who love Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool!

February 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
(Psalms 14:1a (NIV))

Is it just me, or do you see an increase in fools?

I am not trying to be judgmental, just looking at the world from a Biblical perspective.

Why do so many people in our society today believe that there is no God? Why do they look at the very same things that believers see and fail to see the majesty of the creation and the awesomeness of the Creator?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is adamant about the absence of God? They are often bitter, self-centered and focused on what they can get in this life. I often wonder how they perceive the world. I often wonder what their motivations are for the life that they have been given.

To be honest with you, it breaks my heart to encounter people who say that there is no God. Where is their joy? What is their basis, their reason for living? I realize that each and every person is unique and that each person will have a different answer, but what do they do to fill that emptiness? What do they do to fill the proverbial God-shaped hole that is in their hearts?

I am sure that each of you is familiar with the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Have these people truly been blinded to the magnificence of God’s creation? Have they looked so much at the details that they fail to see the bigger picture? Have we become a society of people who focus so much on something so small that too many of us fail to see what is right before our very eyes?

If we focus on details, we see details and we often fail to understand the bigger picture. If we focus on God, we see God and we the details, and we see the bigger picture. We realize that it is us who is of little significance in this world. Thankfully, to God, we are of great significance!

Maybe that is why we are told that a fool says there is no God. They deny the one who created them and they deny the love that God has for them.

Don’t be a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you moving in your faith?

April 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
(Exodus 14:15 (NIV))

God spoke these words to Moses when the Egyptians were pursuing them and had them cornered at the sea. To the Israelites, it looked like they had two choices – die at the hands of Pharaoh’s army or die in the sea.

God had other plans!

The Israelites were looking at their situation through worldly eyes. Many of them even vocalized their lack of faith.

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
(Exodus 14:11 (NIV))

It is human nature to see the worst in a situation. It is hope that allows us to see the best in the very same situations. It is faith that allows us to take action on our hope and have results that astound the world. In this story, the Israelites overcame their worldly viewpoint and literally stepped out in faith and gave us a glimpse into the majesty and power that God has over His creation. Without their faith and this story, we may not realize that God controls His creation.

It took faith! It also took a direct command from God to Moses to get the people moving.

Do you have that type of faith?

Have you heard God’s command to you to get moving?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you generous in your faith?

February 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
(Proverbs 11:25 (NLT))

Have you ever met someone who just seemed to give even when they did not seem able to?

Did you ever see them run out because of their generosity?

God replenishes those who give freely from the abundance that He has given them. This is a lesson that is difficult to learn and one that I am still in the process of learning.

Let’s face the truth. We live in a physical world that appears to be governed by physical laws. It is difficult to ignore those laws when we are faced with them every day. It requires faith. It requires a faith greater than professing Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Don’t get me wrong. Professing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior is a big step of faith, but human nature will not allow us to let go of physical possessions as easily as it allows us to profess a faith in the unseen.

When we give generously, we take that next step of faith. It is a faith that acknowledges that all things are from God and that He will supply all of our needs. It requires us to give up control and that is a difficult thing to do for all of us. We worry about lack. We worry about sufficiency. We worry about everything that we can see.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
(Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV))

Generosity is a sign of surrender to the majesty of God. It is a sign of reliance upon God and not upon yourself.

Are you generous?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

August 8, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God?

Do you think of the pearly gates and the streets paved in gold? I know that we have all read the passages that describe it as such, but have you ever stopped to think about the kingdom of God beyond these stories?

How does faith relate to the kingdom of God?

How does faith work in your life?

It starts small and as you see things that God does, faith grows. Just like the mustard seed, a small amount of faith can blossom into a life of faith that is bigger than we could ever have imagined.

Do you think that God’s kingdom is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Have we put God in a box of our own design and limited understanding of size? There is so much more to God than we can understand in this lifetime.

Picture yourself as the mustard seed. You would feel small and insignificant. You would feel like your were worth nothing. But, . . .

All it takes is for the mustard seed to be planted and nurtured and soon you would feel the majesty of what you have become. You would be able to face anything that your part of the world could send your way. You would no longer be that small, insignificant and weak mustard seed. you would be strong and mature and able to face whatever the world would send your way.

Faith is the same way!

God’s kingdom is the same way!

We think that it is small and insignificant and it grows beyond our feeble attempts at understanding it and is the strongest think in our world. God’s strength is there for us if we simply accept it. God’s grace is there for us if we simply accept it.

God’s kingdom is there whether we accept it or not. We can allow it to be planted into our lives and watch it grow, or we can reject it and it will never take root in our lives.

Do you allow the seed of God’s kingdom to grow, or do you let it die within your life?

It is your choice!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is power and majesty in what we hear

May 16, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
(Psalms 29:4 – 20:4 (NIV))

I needed to read this today.

Do you ever have days when it seems that the world is drowning out God’s voice and you can’t hear Him at all? All you can hear is the noise and distractions of the world and nothing will make it go away.

We all face days like this. We all have times when we wonder if what we are doing even makes a difference to anyone. We all have times when it feels like our walk of faith is going nowhere fast.

It is in these times when we need to listen for that still, small voice. It is in these times that God’s power and majesty will find their way into our lives if we will only surrender.

Surrender!

That is a nasty word to many people, myself included.

In my humanity, I would rather boldly move forward with my own agenda instead of surrendering to the plans of someone else. How many of you can relate to this?

Fortunately, we don’t have to face the world with just our humanity. We can face it with the assurance that God has a purpose for our lives. We can face it knowing that the world will try to keep us from that purpose. We can rejoice in the fact that Jesus will not abandon us even when we are in the midst of the problems the world sends our way.

The voice of the Lord is powerful. It will steer you away from sin. The voice of the Lord is majestic. It will guide you to salvation.

Even when we listen for God’s still, small voice, there is power and majesty in what we hear!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The truth is that God loves us!

December 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

Isn’t it amazing that the Creator of all that we know, and all that is beyond our imagination, cares for us unconditionally?

All of the splendor and majesty that is God’s creation pales in comparison to the love that God has for us, part of His creation. In all of creation, we, as humans, are uniquely loved. We, after all, were created in God’s image.

Those who believe in evolution claim that we are descendants of apes. Isn’t it interesting that there is evidence that Charles Darwin denounced his own theory and professed a faith in Jesus Christ? Isn’t it interesting that many of the same scientists who were claiming that everything can be explained scientifically are now saying that the odds of everything happening are so astronomical that the universe had to have been designed?

Man can try to say that we are gods, or that we are no more than evolved apes, yet, the truth is that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. There are skeptics who do not wish to admit this. They say that Jesus was not a real person. They choose to ignore the fact that there is more evidence that says Jesus lived and did what the Bible says than there is evidence that they exist! When you look at the facts, the facts don’t lie.

The truth is that God loves us and does not wish for any of us to perish.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you limit what God is capable of doing?

April 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
(1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (NIV))

Are you one of those people who put God in a box? Do you limit God within your life?

Since we cannot see Him with physical eyes, it is easy to apply our own limited perception and limitations to One who has no limitations.

In today’s society, specifications, qualifications and quantifications are the measuring stick for everything. How big? How fast? How rich? If it can’t be measured it must not be important!

Don’t fall into society’s trap. Can a rag understand it’s creator? We are as rags, yet, God has given us His Word so that we may know Him. If God can create the heavens and the earth and still take the time to leave us instructions, how can we, as His creation, limit what God is capable of doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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