We were made to praise!

February 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NKJV))

Everyone knows this passage, but have you looked at it in other translations. In this translation it appears to be talking about a period of time from sunrise to sunset, but is it? We know that when this was written, people lived their lives based on the rising and setting of the sun. It was understood that they were to praise the Lord every waking moment of every day. Each translation handles this just a little differently with the possible subtleties of the English language. They all convey the same thing, but some seem to take it to the next level.

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!
(Psalms 113:3 (ESV))

With the translator’s choice of words, the ESV begins to take on more possibilities, but the NIV fully expounds on the possibilities that are conveyed just through the choice of a few different words that still mean the same thing, but now, through the choice of words, we get a richer and fuller understanding.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NIV))

Not only is this passage speaking of a time period, but, it is also speaking of an unlimited location. We know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but since the earth is in constant motion we know that there is always a sunrise and a sunset at any moment of the day at various places around the world. If we expand the concept of praising the Lord during your waking hours to the understanding that there will always be people who are awake, we understand that there should always be constant praise being lifted up to the Lord!

We know that we were created to be in fellowship with the Lord and to praise Him. The subtleties in translations of this passage prove the infinite wisdom of the Lord. His understanding is far greater than ours. The earth is indeed His and all that is in it should praise His glorious name!

We were made to praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God created us to praise Him!

January 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Sing to him a new song;
     play skillfully, and shout for joy.
(Psalms 33:3 (NIV))

We have been told repeatedly that we are to praise the Lord!

How did the walls of Jericho fall?

What did David do before he killed Goliath?

These are just two quick examples of what happens when we truly stop and lift up honest and sincere praise to the Lord. I am going to ask some questions that will hopefully make people think and may even make some people mad. Please know that this is not my intention. The questions are simple. Do we earnestly and honestly lift up praise to the Lord, or do we simply stand there thinking of other things that come to mind? Do we lift up sincere praise to the Lord or do we simply give lip service? Do we repeat something that has no meaning for us because it is tradition while the songs that glorify what God is doing now are ignored?

God created each of us to be unique. Do we truly understand the praises of David in context to today’s society? We read about what God did for David, but because we did not live in these times, they are only words that praise God for what He did several thousand years ago. Please don’t get me wrong.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

We must not forget what God did and the praise that David gave, but God is still active in this world, so we should be singing new songs of praise to Him for what He has done and is doing in our lives. We must praise Him for the distant past. We must learn to praise Him for the recent past. We must learn to praise Him for the things that He does in our lives today and will do in our lives tomorrow. That is why we are to sing to Him a new song, for the new songs are to be from our hearts and our lips to thank Him for the great things that He is doing now. Maybe that is why many people don’t lift up praise to the Lord. They simply cannot relate. They do not see how an old song that tells of what God did a long time ago is relevant in their lives today. They want to know that God is still on the throne and still doing great things.

I am sure that He expects us to praise Him with and through the unique gifts that we have been given.

God created us to praise Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is worthy of our praise!

December 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
and Josiah the father of Jeconiahn and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
(Matthew 1:1-17 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, we forget that nothing surprises God!

This is evident as you read through the genealogy of Jesus. It is a long history of people who were less than perfect, but God fulfilled His promises anyway. Rahab had been a prostitute in Jericho before she surrendered to God’s plan. Now, she is permanently recorded in the lineage of Jesus. In fact, she is one of only three women mentioned by name. Ruth is the second woman mentioned. She was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. She was also a foreigner like Rahab. I find it interesting that both Rahab and Ruth exhibited great faith in God when their own people did not worship Him.

Of course, the third woman that is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus is Mary. Mary is the mother of Jesus. She, too, exhibited great faith in God. She accepted the call to step forward and do God’s will.

This has been a year like no other. Did the events of this year catch God off guard? Did He see these events from the time of Abraham? Is He raising up someone who will step out in faith and be credited as righteous? I don’t presume to know the mind of God, but one thing that I do know is that He is God and that He is in complete control!

He is worthy of our praise!

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

December 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.
(Job 9:33-34 (NIV))

I think that I can safely say that a passage from Job was probably the last thing that anyone expected to be tied to Christmas, but all that you have to do is read the words recorded to see that Job prayed for Jesus to come!

With all that Job faced, he longed for someone to be able to do exactly what Jesus came into the world to do. Even without Jesus, Job never denied God. He never strayed from his faith no matter the circumstances and no matter what his wife or his friends suggested. Do we possess such faith? In a few days we will be celebrating the birth of the very one that Job prayed for. We can read about the birth of Jesus. We can read about His life, His ministry and the miracles that He performed. We can read about the crucifixion and the resurrection, but with all that we have, do we take it for granted? Do we look at Jesus as just another set of stories about someone who lived a long time ago, or do we embrace the promises fulfilled in and through Jesus?

With what we have faced this year, we think that we have been through a lot, but have we? Have we lost our health? Have we been ostracized by society? Have we lost all of our possessions? Have we lost our livelihood? Have we lost all of our children? All of this happened to Job in a single day, yet he never lost faith. He knew that God is good and he knew that God is worthy of our praise even in the midst of troubles.

Christmas is in just a few days. Can each of us proclaim that no matter what has come our way this year, God is still to be praised? Are we able to be filled with joy knowing that the mediator that Job prayed for has been sent? Are we filled with the joy of the Lord, or are we filled with the terror of the world? Unlike Job, we have been given testimony about the mediator.

We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

December 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
(Job 1:21 (ESV))

Would you be able to praise the Lord even if you were in a situation similar to that of Job?

Could you find the faith to praise God even in the midst of hardship?

These are good questions for each of us to consider when things are normal. With everything that is going on in the world at this point in history, it is rapidly becoming a topic that we, as the Body of Christ, must take very seriously. Things are unfolding at a rate that only a few short years ago would seem almost impossible. It is important that we remember that this world is fleeting. It is also important to remember that the enemy is the prince of the earth. He longs to be worshipped and to destroy all who worship the true Lord.

I want to pose a scenario for your consideration. You are going on a journey and on this journey you must drive through some unpleasant areas in order to get to your promised destination. Arriving at this destination will result in you receiving an inheritance of untold value. Do you take a look at the unpleasant surroundings and give up on the destination because of your current location, or do you remember the promise and keep going? What happens if you have a flat tire along the way? Do you give up or do you hunker down, change the tire and keep moving? What if it cost you everything that you have in order to reach your destination? Would you give up, or would you go?

I love the way that this concept is presented not once, but twice, within Matthew.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV))

Job knew this joy. Job knew this truth! Even when he faced hardship, Job knew where his true treasure was to be found.

We will all face hardships during this physical life. We must remember that this life is only a journey. Through Jesus, we have a promised destination that is amazing! We must not lose site of this promise. We must not take our eyes off of the Lord!

“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))

We must praise Him even when we are facing worldly hardships. We must praise Him for overcoming the world.

Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you send your praise?

November 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
     and his courts with praise;
     give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

All too often we forget this simple statement of faith. We forget to praise God and give Him thanks!

What does that say about our walk with God if we allow ourselves to be diverted from what should be our foremost thoughts? Are we so easily distracted by the temporary things of this world that we ignore the permanent things of God and eternity? Sometimes it seems that we would rather partake of the minute waltz that leaves you exhausted and empty while we ignore the fulfilling rewards of Amazing Grace.

In all things we should give thanks unto God, for it is through Him that we have been given all things good.

When you receive a pay raise at your job, do you thank the envelope that the check came in, or do you thank the boss who gave you the raise? Do you thank God for the blessings or do you thank the blessings, or yourself?

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you acknowledge the source or do you simply acknowledge the blessing? Whom or what you acknowledge and thank is a direct result of your attitude. The right attitude will greatly enhance your praise of the one who is worthy of all praise.

Where do you send your praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you freely speak of God’s faithfulness?

August 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
      I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
   I do not conceal your love and your truth
      from the great assembly.
(Psalms 40:10 (NIV))

David was not ashamed of God. He proclaimed His greatness whenever and wherever he was. David slipped and sinned, but that did not stop him from praising God. David praised God for the salvation that was yet to come.

How can we, who live on the other side of that salvation gift, praise God any less? David had a great faith. It is hard enough to believe in Jesus when there is historical evidence that He lived and that what is written is true. David believed in God and salvation without this evidence. It takes a greater faith to believe when all you have are promises, even if those promises are from God. It is human nature, probably due to our fall from grace, to be skeptical and unbelieving, yet David believed. He had enough faith to be called a man after God’s own heart.

Can we be called that when we have received not only the promise but the actual gift of salvation? Are you willing to share the promise? Do you freely speak of God’s faithfulness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is time to let your light shine!

July 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

Do you believe these words?

With all that is going on in the world, do you believe these words?

With all of the evil that is rampant and when the good is vilified, do you believe these words?

It is so hard to look at the things that are happening in the world, and in our own country. It is as if the whole world has gone mad. It is as if the whole world is upside down. Darkness is spreading and it seems as if it can’t be stopped. To be completely honest with you, it cannot be stopped in the natural. It is a spiritual war and it has spilled over into the physical reality that we call the world. Because it is a spiritual war, we have hope. Because it is a spiritual war, we know the final outcome.

Darkness will not prevail!

Have you ever been in a room so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face? What happens when you are able to light a small candle? The light from the candle prevails over the darkness. No matter how dark something may seem, it only takes a little light to bring hope. It only takes a little light to bring clarity and vision.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Perhaps this is why the powers that be want to remove any and all reference to Jesus. They are trying to remove the light. Perhaps this is why the powers that be want to push other beliefs. These beliefs are contrary to Jesus and are darkness. Contrary to what the enemy may think, darkness cannot drive out light. It can make it grow dim, but it cannot engulf the light. Light will prevail.

There are many books and passages in the Bible that speak of terrible times when the darkness will try to overcome the light, but we, as the Body of Christ, know what happens in the end. We know that the light of Jesus will defeat the darkness. The darkness will not be able to overcome what God has planned.

Do you feel that you are overcome with the darkness that is all around?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

As a member of the Body of Christ, it is time to let your light shine!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What desires rule over you?

July 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Whatever you want!

Do you desire to do whatever you want? Is that your definition of freedom? Based on this passage, does that desire come from the flesh or from the Spirit? Don’t rush to a quick answer, for your quick answer will probably be heavily influenced by your own desires. Think about that for a moment. Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, our flesh is sinful. Everything that we do according to our flesh is sinful and we are fully aware of the wages of sin.

For the wages of sin is death,
(Romans 6:23a (NIV))

We are given a gift that allows us to receive salvation, to receive grace.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23b (NIV))

When we accept that gift, we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we should do. The Holy Spirit will guide us contrary to our sinful nature. It is up to us to accept that guidance. Have you ever done something and instantly knew that it shouldn’t have been done? Have you ever wanted to do something, but a still, small voice wouldn’t let you? We choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. We choose to accept His guidance. Sadly, sometimes the flesh wins out and we do things that we instantly regret. Other times we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey. Have you noticed in your life the types of circumstances that you follow the flesh and the types of circumstances that you follow the Holy Spirit? Give God praise for the faith to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and pray for the ability to stand firm in the face of those circumstances that lead to actions that you regret. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to allow you to overcome the desires of the flesh!

What desires rule over you?

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