What have you been asking for?

January 18, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Did you notice the stipulation in this passage?

All too often, people ask God for things that are from their will and not His. We are so self-centered that even when we are told to bring our concerns to the Lord, we ask as if we were the center of all creation. We ask as if God is our own personal servant whose only purpose is to fulfill our every desire. If this is how you have been approaching God, how has this been going for you?

Do you even spend time in God’s Word in search of His heart?

Do you even spend time in prayer talking to God and actually listening for His still, small voice?

How can you ask God for things that are according to His Will if you don’t even know what His Will is?

We know that God loves us. This is evident through the gift of salvation freely given through the cross. But, do we love Him in return? Do we simply give lip service to this gift and then continue to live as if we are still a part of this sinful, fallen world? Or, do we actually have a change of heart and see the world for what it is? Do we realize that the things that we had desired are now simply last grasps at the world that we say we want to leave behind?

God is not going to hear us if we ask for things of this world. God is not going to answer us if we are only being selfish in our desires.

Think about a young child in a toy store. Every other word out of their mouth is asking for the latest thing that has caught their eye. The parents know what is good and what is proper, yet the child still goes on and on about the things that they want. We are those children. The world is the toy store. God is ushering us through this world while trying to mature us enough so that what we ask for is not what is seen at every selfish turn of our heads. God is not going to give us the toy store of the world. He is going to give us things that are from Him according to His Will. He is going to give us things that will draw us closer to Him while they mature us in our faith.

God does want to bless us, but what we think of as a blessing is not how God thinks of blessings.

If you have been approaching God and you feel that He has not heard you, then you need to ask yourself one very important question.

What have you been asking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

December 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

When you think of scripture passages that tell of Christmas, do you think of this passage?

To be honest with you, I hadn’t thought of this passage in that context, but then I realized that in order for us to go through Jesus to the Father, He first had to come to us from the Father.

EVERYTHING is contingent upon the birth of Jesus!

Contrary to what society says, without the birth of Jesus we would not know the possibility of salvation. We would not know life to the fullest. We would not know miracles, and we definitely would not know of God’s great love for us.

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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

If you put things in perspective, everything written in God’s Word before the birth of Jesus is written to point to His birth. Everything written after His birth would not have happened or will happen if His birth had never taken place. If you look at God’s Word from this perspective, everything in God’s Word is a Christmas story! We celebrate the birth of Jesus by continuing a tradition started by the wise men who came bearing gifts. We can’t give them directly to Jesus, but we give them to celebrate what He gave us – salvation, grace and mercy!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

No other name!

Jesus alone is the way and the truth and the life!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

November 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Some of you will realize that I have referenced this passage each of the last two days. I was given something this morning about this passage that I feel I need to share.

Have you ever heard the old story of a group of blind men trying to experience an elephant?

They all gather around an elephant and feel what they are in front of. One feels a tusk and replies that the elephant is like a spear. One feels a leg and proclaims that an elephant is a mighty tree. One feels the tail and proclaims that an elephant is like a strong rope. One feels the trunk and comes to the conclusion that it is like a huge snake. Another feels an ear and believes that the elephant is like a giant fan. Still one more feels it’s side and proclaims that an elephant is like a giant wall.

In their limited understanding, they are not wrong. They just don’t see the whole picture! In fact, they argue amongst themselves because they all believe that they are right.

Does this sound familiar?

Are we the proverbial blind men trying to understand God and His plans?

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

In this case, I love the way that the King James Version translates this passage.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, you see and understand more than someone who doesn’t. This insight still doesn’t give us a complete picture of what God is up to. All that we can know is the part that we have been given. If we are given one part, we should not argue with someone who claims to have been given another part, for what they have been given may be intended to round out what you have been given. None of us has a complete understanding of God and His plans. In fact, I truly believe that we, as sinful fallen humanity, are not capable of comprehending the vastness of all that He is. With that in mind, it only makes sense that God would only give each of us glimpses into His thoughts and His ways because He knows that we cannot comprehend the fullness that is our God.

Until we can fully understand, I wholeheartedly cling to the words that a friend once told me. She prayed to be able to know what God wants her to know when He wants her to know it, and to trust in Him even when He doesn’t tell her anything. Is this your prayer?

Lord, give me wisdom to know what You want me to know!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you want your name found in the book of life?

October 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:15 (NIV))

I truly understand why people have an uncertainty and fear of the book of Revelation, after all, who wants to have this happen to them!

But, . . .

This passage describes what happens to those who have not professed a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It is the last passage of five that describes what has come to be known as the Great White Throne Judgment. It is for those who have not had their sins covered by the blood of the lamb. This judgment is for those who have rejected the grace and mercy that God has freely given to all who would simply believe.

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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Do you believe?

If you answered “Yes” to this question, then you have nothing to fear for you are not condemned. Your sins have been forgiven. You will not stand before God in fear and trembling!

The book of Revelation is a promise of the fulfillment of God’s plan to restore the world to His design. For those who have professed a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, this is a glorious time for we know that we will see our Lord and spend eternity with Him. For those who have not accepted God’s gift of grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, this time is a time of lawlessness, pain and suffering that will eventually end in eternal judgment. How you see this period in God’s plan is up to you. How you experience this part of God’s plan is up to you. You can change your outlook on this judgment and all of eternity by making a simple profession of faith.

It is as easy as ABC!

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

The book of Revelation, just like many passages from Daniel and Ezekiel, is a glimpse into the fulfillment of God’s promises. It should give you hope. It should instill within you a desire to have your name found in the book of life?

Do you want your name found in the book of life?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Seek Him before it is too late!

October 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
(Judges 21:25 (NIV))

It is amazing what people will do when they think that no one is watching, or when they think that nothing they do will get them in trouble. In other words, if there are no consequences, people will do just about anything that they see fit to do!

This passage from Judges tells us that this was the case in Israel, and the events in the world during the last several years tell us that this is the case today. People simply don’t believe in any worldly authority. They definitely don’t believe in any heavenly authority. If you bring up the subject of God, they simply scoff, or they have their own ideas of what their god is like. Plus, when the laws aren’t upheld and people can get away with whatever they choose, people have no consequences for their actions. They follow the old saying that if it feels good, do it. They only care about themselves!

When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NIV))

I honestly feel that the situation in the world today is due to the live and let live concept, that there are no absolute right and wrong ways to live. When we praise the person who makes a fortune because they did it their way, we have lost any semblance of moral balance. When we praise the person who stepped all over others to achieve what they wanted, we praise them. Does this sound familiar?

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
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but these characteristics are all a result of the lack of consequences for wrong actions. During my lifetime, we have increasingly seen the consequences of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. These people have grown up to possess far too many of the characteristics written about by Paul in his letter to Timothy. They do not fear any repercussions, any consequences for anything that they do.

Do you fear the Lord? Do you understand that your sinful nature has consequences? On a side note, when people simply cannot understand consequences, I shake my head in disbelief. I have heard of too many people complaining about suffering from something like lung cancer even though they profess a faith in Jesus. We are forgiven the spiritual consequences of our sins, but we still live in a sinful, fallen world and the physical consequences still apply. No one makes it out of this world alive physically! As believers, we have eternal life, but that is not in these physical bodies that have been destroyed by sin. It is the sin that destroys. It is the lack of consequences that destroys.

If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you understand consequences. You understand that this life is fleeting and your only hope is in Jesus.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Seek Him before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you laboring in vain?

September 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Unless the LORD builds the house,
     its builders labor in vain.
  Unless the LORD watches over the city,
     the watchmen stand guard in vain.
(Psalms 127:1 (NIV))

What is it that you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?

Based on this passage, do you labor in vain? Are you going against what the Lord desires? Are you trying to tell the Lord that you know better than He does?

I have one more question for you, and that is have you ever thought about your life’s ambitions from this perspective?

Human nature is a strange thing. Even though we may think that we know what we should be doing, most of us miss the mark so badly that we never truly build what the Lord intended for us to build. We chase after things that bring us joy when we should be doing things that bring God glory. We chase after things that could bring us wealth when we should be chasing after the greatest riches of all, the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior. We chase after anything and everything that we think will fill the God-shaped hole that we have in our hearts when we should be trying to fill our lives with the Lord.

Take a serious look at your life. Are you laboring in vain? Are you struggling because you are going against what the Lord is trying to build in and through your life?

He says, “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))

We are told to be still in His presence. We are told to be still in order to know God. We are told to be still so that we can learn His heart! We are also told why we should be still. In our stillness, we learn what exalts God. We learn what He longs for us to do so that His name will be exalted. Do your ambitions exalt the Lord or do they exalt you? Are your efforts in vain or are they achieving the results that the Lord has set before you?

Are you laboring in vain?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you take delight in the Lord?

October 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:4 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about this passage?

If you delight in something, it makes you happy. It makes you joyous. It becomes the very thing that you value the most. It becomes your treasure!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

If you treasure the Lord, He is where your heart will be. The Lord will be the desires of your heart! He will give you Himself!

I realize that this may sound overly simple, and in all honesty, it is. When the Lord becomes your treasure, when you take delight in Him, He is the true desire of your heart. He willingly gives you what you seek. He gives you a deeper relationship with Himself. He gives you a deeper longing for His heart and for His righteousness. The best part of this process is that He then gives you more of what you desire. He gives you more of Himself!

Do you take delight in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you want to be credited as righteous?

October 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:6 (NIV))

Based on this passage, would we be considered righteous in God’s eyes?

Think about that for a moment. Abram was promised to be the father of multitudes too numerous to count. He was promised to be taken to a place where his descendants would possess all of the land that he could see. Abram believed that the Lord would keep these and other promises and the Lord credited this to Abram as righteousness.

How do we stack up in comparison to Abram?

We have been promised that the Lord would return for His church. We have been told what to look for as the beginnings of the worldly events that will happen just before He returns. We have seen signs in the heavens. We have seen nation rise against nation. We have seen kingdom rise against kingdom. We have seen wars and rumors of wars. We have seen good being called evil and evil being called good, yet, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are going about their lives hoping that the situation in the world gets better. They are hoping that things will return to normal. They aren’t looking to the promises of the Lord!

Does this sound like we are believing the Lord?

We should respond to these events with the assurance that our Lord and Savior is coming soon. We should respond by looking up. We should respond by telling everyone that now is the time to repent and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We act as if we only believe the Lord when it has anything to do with what we read about in His Word that has already happened. We choose to ignore or not believe the one quarter of the Bible that is prophecy. Abram believed the Lord’s prophecy of his descendants. Why do too many people today have trouble believing the Lord when He says He will do something?

Now is not the time to play church. Now is not the time to ignore what the Lord has foretold. If believing the Lord is credited as righteousness, those who are called righteous will be with Jesus. Do you want to be credited as righteous?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does what you ask glorify the Father?

October 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(James 14:13-14 (NIV))

I don’t know just how many times that I have read or heard this passage, but tonight, I saw something that I understood in a new light. As believers, as Christians, we have taken this passage and condensed it to something that only represents the half truth that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be done for us. Read the passage again and stop to think about the things that you ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back on your faith walk, do your answers make you feel shameful for the things that you have asked for? What are some of the things that you remember asking? Did you receive an answer that matched your prayer request?

Human nature is selfish and as a result, even people who profess a faith in Jesus still possess this characteristic. Most people ask for things that benefit themselves either directly or indirectly. Even praying for healing of a loved one can be considered selfish if the reason that you pray is because you will miss them. It is a matter of motives. Do the things that you ask bring glory to yourself or to the Father? Do they stroke your ego or do they truly glorify God? Do they fuel a lust for fame and fortune or do they seek to follow God’s own heart?

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3 (NIV))

Do your pleasures glorify God? Do your wrong motives guide you to seek after God’s heart? Each of us ask so much of God and from God, but why do we ask? What are our motives?

Does what you ask glorify the Father?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you doing?

October 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I may offend a few people with today’s passage and thoughts. I pray that perhaps I will make you think about this passage and the things that we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing.

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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son? Do you claim the gift of eternal life that this belief entitles you to? Sadly, that is where far too many people stop with their faith. They fail to respond by putting their faith into actions such as sharing the Gospel. We are called to go into all the world and preach the good news, but how many of us actually do anything for the Lord? How many of us read these passages that tell us that we have a responsibility and then simply choose to ignore them. What is recorded in John tells us that Jesus expects those who believe in Him to do what He spent His life doing. What is recorded tells us that He expects even greater things from us.

Are we living up to expectations?

We are not saved by works, but since we have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given, we should desire to share this gift with others. We should desire to do all that we can do to share the good news of Jesus!

What are you doing?

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