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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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whose son or daughter are you?

May 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
(Galatians 4:28-31 (NIV))

Unlike our biological families, we have a choice to make!

We can choose to be a child of slavery to sin or we can choose to be a child born of the Spirit. It has been, and will forever be, our choice. But, it was a choice that we could not fulfill on our own merit if we chose to be a child born of the Spirit.

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))

Did you pick up on the very simple adoption policy that God put in place so that we could abandon our sinful childhood and be welcomed into a childhood of freedom? All that we have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son and accept the grace that is freely given through the ransom, through the adoption fee that Jesus paid to make each of us a part of the free woman’s family. We are no longer a part of the slave woman’s family.

I must do the responsible thing and remind everyone that becoming a child of grace does not mean that you will never face persecution from the enemy and those bound by slavery to sin. We have elected to leave our natural, sinful nature and those who are still bound to sin do not like that we have become children of God. They will do anything and everything to trip us up, to deceive us into turning away from God.

Once again, when this happens, we have a choice!

Each and every day we must consciously make that choice.

Whose son or daughter are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will we be willing to face for the Gospel?

November 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
(Philippians 1:29 (NIV))

Wait a second!

Did you just read what I just read?

Did Paul actually write this?

Today’s church needs to learn that proclaiming Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not mean that everything will be all rosy and without problems. The early church knew this. Those who left Europe to settle in the new world knew it. Both groups were persecuted because of their faith in Jesus and their desire to worship Him in truth. When you go against the accepted routine of the world and seek to believe in Jesus instead of the world, then you will face hardships. You will suffer at the hands of those who follow the ways of the world.

One way to look at this passage may help clarify things.

What is the one thing in your life that you were willing to make sacrifices for in order to obtain it? For some, that may have been physical training as an athlete. For others, it may have been education in a very specialized field. No matter what it was that you wanted, you were willing to make sacrifices to obtain it. You were willing to suffer in the present in order to gain something in the future.

You were willing to suffer in the present to gain something in the future!

I believe that this is what Paul was implying when he recorded these words. It is not enough to be willing to believe. Even though believing is crucial to salvation, it is only the beginning of our faith journey. Are you willing to suffer for your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to sacrifice in order to believe? Are you willing to suffer or give up something that is important to you in order to gain something that is of far more importance?

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us are willing to keep the sinful things that we know because we are afraid of the blessings that we don’t know. When we accept belief in Jesus then we must be prepared to accept that we may suffer temporarily for our belief.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you here for such a time as this?

October 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:12-14 (NIV))

Do you ever feel that you are out of place? Do you ever feel that the events that are unfolding around you will leave you alone? Do you feel that if you just ignore the trouble in the world that it will simply go away? We live in what many consider to be interesting times. Still others believe that we are in the last days.

I wonder what Esther thought when everything was going on around her.

She saw God’s people persecuted. She saw a sinister plan start to unfold that would have made it legal in that society to kill all Jewish people and take their possessions. She saw what was beginning to happen and new what could have happened. She would have been safe, for the time being, but she realized that God had her exactly where she needed to be to right the wrong that was about to be done. She was there for “such a time as this.”

Do you identify with Esther in any way?

Maybe you feel that the trouble will miss you. Maybe you feel that it couldn’t truly happen the way that it appears. Maybe you realize that God has created you and placed you exactly where He wants you to fulfill His will in a way that it will impact the lives of those around you.

I have a very serious question to ask. This is a question that you need to pray about and listen for God’s answer. His answer may impact more people than just you.

Are you alive and in your current situation for such a time as this?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“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))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

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.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your desire?

June 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NIV))

Many people believe that Jesus promised a life of ease if you accept Him as your Lord and Savior. It is true in heaven, but it is not true in this world.

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, stated clearly that those who seek after God will be persecuted. Today, many preach that God wants to prosper believers, but they do not preach the fact that Satan wishes to crush believers.

All will be persecuted at some time in their lives. What we, as believers, must remember is that we are to be an example of God’s grace and mercy even during times of persecution. The sign of a true believer will be the way that we handle the persecution that is to come.

Stay in God’s Word so that you may be strong in the faith for when those times come. Paul is an excellent example of strong faith and great persecution. He was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked and left for dead on many occasions.

I do not know what persecutions that each of us may face, but I do know that Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles. Jesus always spoke the truth, no matter how harsh it may sound. Paul spoke what he had learned from studying and his desire to know Jesus more.

What is your desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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