Are you focused on the future or His presence?

April 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

Far too many of us say that we trust the Lord, but we still want signs. We still want to know what is going to happen in this world as God unfolds His plans.

We look at the news and see things unfolding that bear a striking resemblance to things written about the end times. We see things that go against God’s Word as they are accepted as truth by the world and we wonder how long this will go on before we see things unfold as prophesied. We look at the state of the world and we long to see righteousness. We long to see the truth proclaimed and every knee to bow and every tongue confess. Sometimes we get carried away with our desires to see Jesus that we focus more on the events that are transpiring than we do on spending time in God’s presence.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

It is so easy to become like Martha in our preparations for the coming of Jesus and miss the fact that we can sit at the feet of Jesus at this very moment. I, like many people, like to study prophesy because it is the hope to which we hold. It is the truth that hasn’t come to be. It is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Even though this is all true, we need to be careful that we don’t focus so much on what is to come that we miss out on what God is doing in this moment. Perhaps it is best stated by what a friend said has become her daily prayer.

Lord, I just want to know what you want me to know when you want me to know it!

I would just like to add the following.

Lord, it is not my world. It is yours. I love you and I trust you. You are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my fortress in this world that has turned away from you. I praise you for your goodness and mercy!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

December 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is a repost, but it is worth sharing again. What if you had been the earthly parents of Jesus?

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
(Isaiah 53:6 (NAS))

This time of year is when we think about the birth of Jesus and celebrate what God set in motion in these simple events.

We realize that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Have you ever stopped to consider what that entails or have you thought about it from the view point of Mary, His mother?

Could you honestly feel no emotion if you knew that an infant would suffer and die for something that you had done?

What did Mary feel when she held Jesus for the first time? Did she see what was to come, or did she see only a baby? We may never know the answer to that question in this lifetime. We can know what we would feel if we were placed in that situation where we know that an infant was born to suffer and die for us. Thinking of Jesus as an adult, as the Son of God, makes it easier to comprehend and think about.

Think about Jesus as the infant who was sent by God to suffer and to die for us. Think about being the parents of that infant and having knowledge of the prophecies of what is to come. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. He had earthly parents who loved Him and fully understood what was to happen.

What if you knew?

Could you face that in the life of “your” child?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

June 19, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
” `No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV))

I read something that someone posted today on this passage that made me take a second, long and hard look at what is being said.

What do you think of when you hear the word “virgin?”

Besides the obvious sexual connotations, it means purity. It refers to those who have decided to do what was righteous and have kept themselves pure. They follow the teachings of the master. They strive to do what is right and have made a decision to avoid what is wrong or sinful.

Still, some are called out as foolish!

Why would someone who strives to do what is righteous be called foolish?

They were not prepared for the bridegroom’s return.

Jesus is the bridegroom!

Are we ready for the bridegroom to return? Will He find us not prepared and, as a result, not ready to enter into His grace?

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be prepared for the return of Jesus? According to this passage, we have work to do so that we can be prepared. Perhaps it is similar to the story of Martha and Mary. Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Martha chose to be distracted by the preparations of daily life. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen wisely.

What does that tell us?

Are we distracted by the things of daily life? Are we easily sidetracked from what should be our first love? When the bridegroom comes, will you need to get anything or will you be ready to see Jesus? Will you be ready to leave the worldly things behind?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you notice what comes first?

May 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
(Joshua 3:5 (NIV))

Take a good look at the order of events in the passage above.

Do you notice what comes first?

Too many people expect God to do amazing things in their lives before they do anything to prepare themselves for it. They want the rewards before the commitment and the sacrifices are made.

God has an order in which He works. He seeks people who have humbled themselves and have prepared themselves for His presence. Take a look at Jabez. He prayed to have his area of influence increased so that more people would know about God. Take a look at Moses. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palaces, yet, he ended up tending sheep in the desert. During this time, he learned about God and was obedient to what his new place in life meant. Take a look at Mary. She was of such a nature that she found favor with God. You don’t find favor with God by going against everything that He instructs. You find favor through an earnest desire to know God personally.

Take a look at today’s society. We have become a society of instant food, instant credit, and instant divorce. If we want something today, we order it today and get it today. There is no personal patience. We expect everything now and our way. We have even extended this to our outlook and understanding of God. Even preachers are preaching this with all of the prosperity sermons that you hear. Don’t get me wrong. God wants to bless us, but the blessing only comes AFTER you have prepared yourself for that blessing.

What order do you expect in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 (NIV))

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Would you react with humility or pride?

December 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me–
holy is his name.
(Luke 1:46-49 (NIV))

We have seen that Mary found favor in the eyes of God (Luke 1:30-33), but here we clearly see that her reaction was not typical of what you would expect from most people. Most people would dance around and shout out for all to hear that they had found favor. They would make it known. They would show anything except a humble spirit if they were told that they had found favor in the eyes of God.

How would you react?

Would you be like the world, or would you humble yourself and praise God for creating you?

Mary did everything exactly one hundred and eighty degrees opposite of what the world says that we should do. She realized that she was nothing without God and gave all praise to Him. She humbled herself to the point were she placed her whole life in His hands, after all, in that day and time, an unmarried, pregnant woman was legally subject to be stoned to death. She did not give any thought to her welfare, but praised God for His greatness.

Can you find the ability to praise God even if you are given circumstances that do not fit into what the world, or you, deem as appropriate? Would you accept God’s call? Would you boast about being called, or would you humble yourself and ask God to guide you? Think about what would have happened if Mary had acted differently.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you have the faith that Joseph had?

December 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if you had been Joseph? Would you think about calling off the wedding? Would you feel betrayed? Would you be able to look at Mary without thinking that she had turned you into the laughing stock of all of Nazareth? Would anger and resentment show themselves through your actions?

We may never know exactly what was going through Joseph’s mind, but I think that it is safe to say that he was deep in prayer. If it were I who had to fill his shoes, I would be pacing the floor and expressing myself through thoughts such as, “Why me, Lord?” “What have I done to deserve this ridicule?” I suppose that is the difference between Joseph and myself. It appears that Joseph was more concerned about Mary and how she would be treated. He knew that she would be stoned. He did not want that for her. Even in his uncertainty, Joseph thought of Mary. Would any of us be so noble in our thoughts and actions?

God knew exactly what He was doing when He selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He also knew what He was doing when He selected Joseph. Think about that for a moment. In Hebrew society, an unwed mother would be shunned. It took a man who would listen to God and be willing to obey even when it may mean ridicule for him. Raising the Son of God required a husband and a wife, a mother and a father. Joseph was part of God’s plan just as much as Mary was. Joseph’s story is one of obedience and faith. History has relegated him to a lesser role, but I honestly believe that without Joseph and his strong character, things would have been different.

This visit by an angel of the Lord was not the only time that Joseph heard and obeyed. He was told to take the baby and flee to Egypt. He was told when it was safe to return. This first appearance was only the beginning. It was a step of faith that would lead to many more steps. Isn’t that the way that God works. If you are willing to take the first step, He will lead you to places that you would never have imagined.

Are you willing to do like Joseph?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: