Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

October 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Are you as patient with God as He is with you? Would you apply the same patience and attitude in waiting for God as He does in waiting for you?

Be thankful that He is a patient and righteous God. We, in our limited understanding, are not patient. We expect everything “NOW” and are not prepared to truly be patient. We have a limited life on earth, limited reasoning and limited understanding. God has eternal life, is all seeing and all knowing. From God’s perspective, He is not slow. He has all of eternity. Our short lives on this planet are just that:

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;”
(Psalm 103:15)

If patience is a virtue, are you a virtuous person?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still hunger and thirst?

September 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus liked to put spiritual things in a physical context so that people could understand them. In order to understand them, it is essential that you think outside the proverbial box of this physical world and come to the realization that Jesus is drawing a parallel to something that we can associate with. Many things, such as this passage, are not to be taken literal from the physical perspective, but that are absolute truths when you look at them from the spiritual perspective.

In the physical world, we know that when we eat or drink something, we will find ourselves hungry or thirsty in a short period of time. It is simply the way the physical world is.

But . . .

If you partake of Jesus, He offers eternal life. When you turn to Him as your personal Lord and Savior, your hunger for grace and mercy is forever satisfied. Your thirst for abundant and eternal life is forever quenched. It only takes one honest and sincere repentance and acceptance of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior to find that you are forever satisfied. You may be asking about times that you do things that you shouldn’t and you need to repent. Everyone has those moments. Everyone must turn to Jesus and repent for things that we all do, but this does not mean that you have to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior all over again. That has already been done!

Think of your relationship with Jesus in terms that may be easier to understand.

Everyone has people that you love. Have you ever done something that hurt that person? If you are wise and you value that relationship, you ask for forgiveness for that particular instance. You don’t have to start the whole relationship over. You have a small setback and then you get back on track. When you choose to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, the sinful things that you do after that moment are not a reason to start all over. They are a reason to repent, to make a mid-course correction, and to get back on track with Jesus.

Everyone who has ever lived knows what it is like to hunger and thirst physically. Have you ever ached so much spiritually that it felt just like a severe physical hunger or thirst? Turn to Jesus. He will satisfy your spiritual hunger and He will quench your spiritual thirst.

Do you still hunger and thirst?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

September 19, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Our ability to understand things changes as we mature and grow.

Looking back at your childhood, did you fully understand how things were in the world? Did you know about such things as death and taxes? Did you fully understand the grace and mercy that God showed the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, or did you spend your days thinking about playing and what happens to tadpoles to make them change into frogs?

Just as that tadpole changed, God has planned for us to change and to grow, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Are you the same as you were when you were six years old? Do you expect to be the same when you are sixty? Do you expect to be the same when you are with Jesus?

Our ability to understand changes just as our bodies change. Perhaps it is this change that makes us more and more grateful for what God has given to us through Jesus! Hopefully, we no longer look at sin through the understanding of a child. Hopefully, we realize the full ramifications of our sin and the eternal consequences that it brings.

Do we still look at things from the same perspective?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

July 25, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
(Matthew 22:37 (NIV))

Are you capable of giving of yourself so thoroughly and so completely as Jesus described in this passage?

Think about that for a moment!

Can you love the Lord with all of your heart? This implies that there is not room for any other love in your heart.

Can you love the Lord with all of your soul? This implies that you are completely devoted to the Lord.

Can you love the Lord with all of your mind? This implies that you think of nothing else.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty tough. It sounds extremely difficult, and it sounds impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at these three aspects of how we are to love the Lord with a fresh persepctive, with God’s persective.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your heart and still have room to love others. When you love the Lord with all of your heart, you begin to see the world through His eyes and with His heart. You then learn to love others with the same love that the Lord loves them.

It is possible to love the Lord with all of your soul with a devotion to the Lord that overflows to those who are around you. They will see the joy and you will see the love and devotion that the Lord has for them.

And, yes, it is possible to love the Lord with all of your mind. Because you focus on loving the Lord and His Word, you begin to live what you love.

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 (NIV))

You walk in His Word. You study. You sit quietly in His presence. As you learn to love the Lord with all of your mind, you learn to love His creation because He loves His creation. You learn to find solice in His word.

In all honesty, loving the Lord is an all consuming endeavor, but as you grow in your love for the Lord, your ability to reflect that love to others grows as well. We are told to love the Lord, but Jesus took this one step further and told us to love each other as we love ourselves.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:39 (NIV))

Are we truly capable of loving God in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you hide?

July 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
(Psalms 32:7 (NIV))

Everyone encounters times in their lives when they need a safe and secure place to take refuge from the onslaught of the world. Sometimes the weight of the world just becomes too much and we need a place to escape to. If I’m not mistaken, each one of us can still remember the last time that you felt this way.

Where did you turn?

Where did you hide?

Hopefully, each of us turns to the same hiding place, the same source of comfort, that David turned to.

Have you ever stopped to think why David was called a man after God’s own heart? Perhaps it had something to do with the simple fact David didn’t only turn to God when he needed a place to hide. He turned to God in all things. David didn’t run from trouble. He had such a good relationship with God that he knew that God would be with him no matter what. Think about that from David’s perspective when he faced Goliath. David wasn’t running from Goliath. He confronted him head on with the security that God would deliver the victory.

Perhaps we should change our definition of the word hide. When we think of hiding, we think of escaping, of cowering in fear, and of avoiding trouble. Maybe we should think of hiding as a place of refuge, preparation and as a source of strength. Thankfully, we have a God who allows both, who provides both. We simply have to turn to Him in all things and not just in times of trouble.

Where do you hide?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you look at acceptance and rejection?

July 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
(Romans 11:15 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of rejection?

Is it a cause for tears and sadness? Is it a cause for depression and anxiety? Or is it a cause for rejoicing?

That last option sounds extremely strange!

Who in their right mind would rejoice over rejection?

When Paul wrote these words to the believers in Rome, he was speaking of the rejection of Jesus by the nation of Israel. Jesus, who was sent first to the Jew and then to the Gentiles.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

Sometimes rejection is not as bad as it may seem on the surface. Often, it is simply a delay of what is to come until you are better prepared to deal with it. Other times, it is a simple redirection into something that is much better. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews is a good example. Through this rejection, which many throughout history have used to condemn the Jews, we, as Gentiles, have been given an opportunity to receive salvation.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
(Romans 11:25 (NIV))

Rejection often brings about unforeseen opportunities. It is a matter of perspective. If you take rejection and let it control you, you will miss out on what God has in store for you. If you stop to think about it, rejection is merely a redirection of acceptance. If you look at your own salvation, this becomes evident, especially if you consider what would have happened if the Jews accepted Jesus two thousand years ago.

How do you look at acceptance and rejection?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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