Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you delusional?

September 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

What do you think of when you hear that someone is delusional?

If you are like most people, you think of the proverbial old lady who thinks that you are her child. You think of the type of characters who are, for lack of a better description, space cadets. You think of some of the people who believe that they are someone besides who they truly are.

The one common trait that all of these possess is a strong adherence to something that is totally false. Something inside of them has convinced them that a lie is the truth and they cling to it completely.

Think about being delusional, or possessing a false belief, about your sinful nature. Sadly, too many people believe that they are good. Sadly, too many people possess a false belief about Jesus. These false beliefs are numerous in nature, but some of the most common are that Jesus did not exist, or that He was only a man, or that He was not resurrected. History records that there were numerous witnesses to all of these aspects of Jesus, yet people have a false belief contrary to historical evidence. They are delusional.

I honestly do not know if we are at the point in God’s plan where the powerful delusion has been sent, but I do know that there are numerous people who deny the truth and delight in wickedness. According to God, they are delusional.

Are you delusional?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you serving with Jesus or are you waiting to be served?

March 14, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45 (NIV))

What a powerful message! Too bad that too many believers seem to have forgotten this.

How can we serve if our only reason for believing is prosperity? How can we serve if we continually seek what is best only for us? How can we serve if we will not step outside of our comfort zone? How can we serve if we are afraid to trust in the God whom we proclaim as Father?

There are so many things that can distract us from our true calling in faith that it is not funny. The sad thing about this is that I believe a majority of them contradict the words that Jesus spoke as reported in Mark. All of the things that distract us are the very things that we desire when we seek to be served. We seek prosperity. We seek what is best for us. We seek to stay within our comfort zone. Sadly enough, we seek to place our trust in things that make us desire to be served.

Do any of these things sound familiar? It is an easy step into this type of thinking. This is exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to turn from desiring to serve because Jesus came to serve, to desiring to be served. Serving is selfless. Being served is selfish.

Jesus came to serve. He came to be selfless. We are called to do what He did.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are you serving with Jesus or are you waiting to be served?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you have to say?

February 23, 2017

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))

Words play a very powerful role in this world.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
(Genesis 1:3 (NIV))

In other words, God spoke everything into existence. He did not get out any tools. He did not hire a construction crew. God literally spoke everything into existence.

It was with false words that Adam and Eve were tricked in the Garden of Eden. We all know how that ended. As a result, all of humanity has been lost to sin until God spoke of a new plan.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

I could go into many, many more examples, but suffice it to say that God takes the power of words very seriously.

We are told that God’s word is alive. We are told that it is powerful. We are told that it penetrates and judges.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

If we are created in God’s image, what does all of this say about our words? Our words to each other have consequences. Our words to God have consequences. What you speak becomes reality.

What do you have to say? Is God your refuge and your fortress?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What can and will your God do?

November 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV))

He is mighty to save!

Think about that simple, yet powerful statement.

Would your faith be any different if this were not true? Would you even possess a faith if this were not true? We proclaim that our God is mighty to save, yet, all too often we don’t live like we believe it. It is the very foundation of our faith, for without believing that God can save us, we would not even be able to rest assured in the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross. Without believing that God is mighty to save, Jesus’ death on the cross would be meaningless. If you don’t believe that our God is mighty to save, then you probably doubt that the resurrection ever took place even though thousands of people witnessed Jesus back among the living.

Why do we put limits on God? Why do we try to put Him in a box that is bounded by our limited understanding?

Stop for a moment and closely examine your understanding and comprehension of God’s abilities. Are you guilty of limiting Him because you can’t see beyond your own limitations?

Is your God might to save?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lift up your praise to the Lord!

August 18, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 (NIV))

If you stop to think about this passage, there are a couple of ways that it can be understood, and perhaps both of them are correct. One implies the awesomeness of God while the other speaks to the fact that we as humanity have limited wisdom and understanding. I just love how God’s Word is capable of conveying so much with just a few words!

Who among God’s creation fully knows every mighty act that God has ever done? How can we even begin to comprehend the very creation of everything when all that God had to do was simply speak it into existence? We are told that words are powerful, that they can build up or that they can destroy. Our understanding of the power of God’s Word is so small in comparison to what it can accomplish! Can you speak anything into existence? All that we can do is make comments about what God has created. We cannot create!

The flip-side to this is that we, as humanity, as the creation, are limited in wisdom. We look at a beautiful day and we see the blue sky. We see the clouds. We see the trees and we see the majesty of what God has created. Even after all of the time that humanity has been on this planet since the Garden of Eden, we are only beginning to understand how God made everything to function. Each individual person is only capable of possessing just a minuscule amount of knowledge and wisdom when compared to all of the knowledge that can be attained?

When I look around, I see countless reasons to praise God for what He has done. They are everywhere, but there is one reason that far outweighs all other reasons.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

This is one mighty act of the Lord for which I can forever bring praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess a confident faith?

July 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

Just what is the difference between hope and faith?

According to some definitions of the words, hope can be summarized as a feeling. Faith can be summarized as confidence. I know that this greatly oversimplifies things, but for the sake of argument, let’s go with these simplified definitions.

In other words, confidence is rooted in the feeling that we have. Let’s face facts. We have all had times in our lives when we just knew something would work out. We couldn’t give a reason for knowing, we just knew that it would. We had a feeling that we could not explain. That feeling gave us confidence. it gave us faith. Some things just feel natural. They feel perfect.

Trusting in Jesus is one of those things that feels perfect. It feels natural to place our trust in Him. We are confident of that feeling of trust. Our relationship with Jesus has gone beyond one of a feeling of hope to a confident faith. We don’t have to see Him. We are confident in His presence. We can feel His presence. Just as we feel the wind, we can feel His presence bathing us in His love.

Do you rely on what you can see before you believe? You can’t see the air, yet if fills your lungs and gives you life. You can’t see the wind, yet it can be powerful enough to move even the largest of objects. Faith and hope are just like the air. They fill you up and give you life. Faith and hope are just like the wind. They are powerful enough to move the most stubborn of objects.

Without hope and faith, without feeling and confidence, we are lost. Jesus is the only one who can give us what we long to possess. Jesus is the only one who can redeem us from our sin and the death that results from that sin.

I have a confident feeling that comes from knowing Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.

Do you have that confident feeling?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find strength in God?

June 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

This passage is powerful!

If you think about it, this passage can be summarized by another passage.

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

These two passage should give us strength. They should give us courage. They should give us hope! They should give us faith!

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

I find it comforting that we are told repeatedly that we can put our trust in God. Even when the world mocks us and threatens us, we can stand firmly on the promises that we have been given. We can stand firmly in the knowledge that we are important to God. We are so important that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world so that we could have the ultimate experience of grace and mercy.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find strength in these words. God has repeatedly told us to be strong and to not be discouraged. He even sent Jesus to live as an example.

Do you find strength in God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you try to limit God?

April 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

In our limited understanding and ability, this seems impossible that anyone could do immeasurably more than we could imagine. We tend to place human limitations on God. We tend to put Him within a box that is all neet and tidy and has defined boundaries that we can understand in our limited wisdom. After all, we have a limited understanding of God’s ways.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9)

What is it about God’s ways that we find so difficult to understand? Is it the fact that He never waivers or falters from His true nature and that this nature never changes? Is it the fact that He is Creator and we are the creation that limits our understanding? Perhaps, it is the fact that humanity fell from grace into sin. We are tainted by the world view of everything which has a tendency to place “me first.” Since we do not have the capabilities of immeasurably more, we, in our self-centeredness, assume that we are the most powerful beings around and that no one can do more than us.

Does this sound familiar? It is exactly the attitude that lead to Satan’s fall. He wanted to place himself above God. In our attempt at limiting God, we are also placing ourselves above God, or, at least, as equals to God! Even God’s own Son, Jesus, when He walked this earth, did not consider himself as equal with God. Jesus also did not limit what God could do. If our Savior and Lord took this attitude, what attitude should we have?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Terror is a tool of the enemy. Ours is prayer!

August 7, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
(Leviticus 26:14-17 (NIV))

Terror!

Have we, as the world, gotten to the point where we do not listen to God and do not carry out His commands? We, as a society, definitely seem to abhor God’s laws, especially when we allow same sex marriages and abortion. Is it any wonder that we are facing what we are facing?

How can we turn this nation and this world around?

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14(NIV))

When we turn to God, we are protected. When we turn from God, all things may be turned loose upon us.

We must pray!

Pray for Godly wisdom. Pray for God’s Will to be done. Pray for our nation’s leaders. Pray for our local leaders.

Prayer is a powerful tool. If enough people will pray, God will pour out His power upon our land. This type of prayer calls for more than a simple statement where you ask God to do something and it only takes a few seconds. This type of prayer is a prayer from the heart. It is a prayer from your very soul. Sometimes these types of prayers cannot be put into words. Simply cry out to God in your distress and anguish and He will know your heart.

When your prayers really matter, how will God respond? Will He respond in a manner similar to your few seconds of prayer, or will He respond to the Godly anguish that you feel? After all, God longs for people to be like David who was a man after God’s own heart.

What are you after?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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