Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

February 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV))

It is definitely not human nature to rejoice over suffering!

Who will willingly go headlong into a situation where you know that you will suffer? What if you know that there is another way and that you will not suffer at all? Would you still choose the path that results in suffering?

On the surface, these types of questions seem to be sheer stupidity. After all, everyone likes things to be smooth sailing with no resistance, but . . .

There is always a “but”!

What happens when you look at things with an eternal perspective?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Blessed are you when people 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))

There is a time when suffering in this world is a choice that I would gladly make. It is an indication that I have rejected the world and its sinful nature. It is an indication that I have accepted the salvation bought and paid for in full at the cross. It is a sign that I have been rejected by the world just as the world rejected Jesus. It is a sign of faith to choose to face suffering in this world instead of rejecting Jesus and facing suffering for all eternity.

When you look at this passage from this perspective, it brings a whole new understanding to the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

Are you able to rejoice in your suffering?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you welling up inside?

February 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””
(John 4:13-14 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that they are welling up with pride?

The idea is that you are so overwhelmed and overfilled with a certain emotion that it is overflowing from within. With that concept stated, why do we declare that we are welling up with a sinful emotion? Why do we become overjoyed with the idea of being proud? Why can’t we become overjoyed with the gift of eternal life that is ours if we only accept it?

Think about that for a moment!

Are we so lost in our sin that we can’t get overjoyed with a gift of grace so spectacular that it leads to eternal life?

I realize that we are lost in sin ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, but if we are shown a way to redeem ourselves, shouldn’t we be overjoyed? Shouldn’t we be overflowing with emotion far greater than pride? Shouldn’t the water that Jesus gives quench such a great thirst that we can’t hold it in? Shouldn’t we share this water with all that we see? Perhaps I should state that a little differently. Shouldn’t others see the water welling up from inside of us?

Are you welling up inside?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

March 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:5-10 (NIV))

Are you afraid to encounter the risen Jesus?

Aside from the obvious fear that someone had stolen the body, or that they were in the presence of someone or something that they did not understand, these women experienced something that I often wonder if I would react in fear if I experienced it. Even though they knew Jesus as a friend when He walked the earth, they encountered the resurrected Jesus face to face!

I want you to think about that concept and how you would react.

What would you do if you encountered the risen Jesus face to face?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared in your living room?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you in your back yard?

What would you do if He suddenly appeared to you at work?

We like to think that we would be overjoyed with such a visit, but how many of us would actually be afraid? How many of us would fear that we had done something so bad that Jesus came to tell us that we had messed up? Would we be overjoyed with what Jesus did come to tell us?

I long to see Jesus, but I am like everyone else. How would I honestly react? Would I be fearful? Would I truly understand what would be happening? Would I faint from fear? Would I cry from fear? Would I cry for joy?

Would I . . .

To be honest, I like to think how I would react, but in my frail humanity, would I truly be able to react in that manner?

I just know that no matter how I react, it will not be a reaction of denial. I will not deny my Lord and Savior. It may be a reaction of shame, for I know that I fail Him daily. Even in my failures, I have waited too long to see His face!

He is risen!

Are you ready to see a resurrected Jesus face to face?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The greatest event of all eternity

September 10, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
(Revelation 7:9-10 (NIV))

I get chills every time I read this passage.

Close your eyes and let the Holy Spirit guide you. What do you see? Is it possible for human imagination to even come close to the majesty that this passage tries to describe?

Why would anyone deliberately do something to miss out on what will in all honesty be the biggest praise event of all time? All worldly, human efforts are nothing in comparison to what awaits those who are redeemed by the saving blood of Jesus.

Think about this for a moment.

What events do you like to take part in?

Sports? Music? Drama?

Now, I want you to remember the feelings that you had when everything went well. Did you feel elated and overjoyed? Did you feel so excited that you shouted praises? How long did that feeling last?

The ultimate elation and joy that we, as believers, can ever feel is in the presence of God. This is a God who loves us. This is a God who redeemed us. This is a God who claims us as His own. To put it in sports terms, each and every one of us are first round draft picks in the eyes of God. He offered us something that should cause us to be forever grateful and forever in praise of His name.

Think back to the most moving experience that you have ever had. As great as that experience was, just imagine how much greater it will be to be in the presence of God. When I close my eyes and try to envision this scene, I am filled with an overwhelming peace. I am filled with a reverence and an awe. Mostly, I am filled with a tremendous joy. Now I know why we cannot see God face to face in our earthly bodies. The joy would overwhelm us. The majesty would overwhelm us. God’s love would overwhelm us.

Perhaps that is why we need faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

If we saw it in our earthly state, we would not be able to handle it. Faith gives us the eyes to see what our imperfect bodies cannot handle. Faith allows us to see this glorious event from a fantastic perspective.

Are you ready for the greatest event of all eternity?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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