Have we been singing well enough?

September 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.
(1 Chronicles 16:23 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you need to praise the Lord more than you do?

Sadly, if you are like me, the weight of the world closes in on us far too often and we quickly lose site of what is truly important in this world. We feel the pressures of our jobs and many other aspects of our daily lives. As a result, we soon forget to lift up praise to the Lord for all that He has done for us. It almost sounds like I am saying to give thanks for the pressures that we face. On the contrary! The pressures do not come from the Lord. They come from the enemy and he does all that he can to heap more and more on us in order to distract us from praising the Lord. When that happens, take heart and slow down. It is said that if you focus on your problems, you fail to recognize the blessings in your life. God designed His creation to remind us of Him. God’s creation praises His majesty through the beauty of what He has created. When we are too weak to praise the Lord, we just need to focus on the backing vocals that we have at our disposal. Shift your attention from your problems and allow God’s creation to remind you of just how great that He is!

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:37-40 (NIV))

The enemy knows that the Lord is to be praised. He also knows that we are created to lift up the name of the Lord, so he does all that he can to prevent this. Thankfully, God’s creation will sing His praises when we don’t. We just need to make sure that we remember to pick back up in the next stanza of our lives and sing to the Lord for He is worthy of our praise!

Have we been singing well enough?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the light of Jesus!

August 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (KJV))

When this was written, people did not have a grasp of the concept that the sun never sets on God’s creation. They did not know that it is always daylight somewhere in the world. Also, when this was written, people lived their lives around the sun. Unlike today, people basically spent every daylight hour up and about their lives. To them, the sun was the day. In essence, this verse instructed people to praise God every waking hour of the day of their lives!

In our society, the sun no longer determines our daily lives as it did when David wrote this. These words still need to be looked upon as instructions to praise God every waking hour of our lives and not just during the daylight hours, especially if you think about the passages that tell us that most sin occurs in the dark.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
(1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 (NIV))

Do not stray from your path into the darkness. Stay in the light. Remember that there is always light in the darkness. That light is Jesus Christ. Turn towards Him and keep focused on Him in all that you do.

Praise the light of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you ask of God?

June 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
(James 1:5 (NIV))

Too many people take this passage and paraphrase it to read something like, “ask God and it will be given to you.” They literally make it sound like God is in the business of being a genie who simply grants wishes. Upon a closer read of this passage, it becomes clear that God is generous with giving wisdom if you ask for it. We must, however, understand what wisdom is.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
(Psalms 111:10 (NIV))

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, do you truly desire to be given wisdom?

Most people associate the word fear with a strong emotion caused by an awareness of danger. Do you look upon the Lord as a source of danger? There is another definition that should be applied to the word fear when it is used in conjunction with fearing God. This definition means a profound reverence or sense of awe. Some ever say that it can simply mean a healthy and sincere respect.

Think about the definition of fear with respect to God. I already asked if you look upon the Lord as a source of danger. I want you to ask yourself, and give yourself an honest answer. Do you hold God in reverence? Are you in awe of His majesty and power? Do you respect the Lord enough to desire to not betray Him or to sin against Him? If you are able to truthfully answer these questions in a way that places the Lord God above all else, then you are on your way to possessing the greatest wisdom that you can ever possess. The next time that you begin to feel like God is a genie, remember that what He wants to give you is Godly wisdom.

What do you ask of God?

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

May 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die?

Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given?

We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

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))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day is upon us. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call.

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God with every breath you take?

May 8, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I bless GOD every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
(Psalms 34:1 (MSG))

I don’t often reference the Message translation, but I love the implications of this passage and the way it gives a very unique and powerful example of our need to praise God.

Typically, we see this passage conveyed similar to the following, with each translation using slightly different words to convey what David actually wrote in his native language.

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
(Psalms 34:1 (NIV))

Honestly, who uses words like “extol?” I realize that it is a word that many people know, but most people will use the words “bless” or “praise.” Those words are straight to the point. Do you bless God every chance that you get? Perhaps what I love the most about the way that the Message translates this passage, though, is the last half of the passage. Everyone who is alive must breathe. This requires your lungs to expand and collapse as you inhale and exhale. This process is essential for life. Think about the meaning and the implications of that concept. We should consider praising God as essential to life as breathing! Without God, we would not have life.

We should give thanks with every breath that we take for the breath that we take. We should praise God for the life that He has given. We should praise God for the grace and the mercy that He has offered. We should praise God for His unfailing love.

Do you praise God with every breath you take?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

April 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
(Psalms 119:95 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the enemy is out to get you?

If you are like most people, including myself, it often seems that the world is out to steal our joy. With that said, Jesus told us that this would happen. He let it be known that life would not be easy. He told us that we would have trouble.

“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))

Sometimes it feels like the wicked are waiting to destroy.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10!0 (NIV))

Just as Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this world, He also told us that by placing our faith in Him, He will be with us. He will overcome the evils of this world. Placing our faith in Jesus and calling upon Him as our Lord and Savior does not mean that we will have an easy life, but it does mean that He will be with us every step of the way.

There is an old saying that there are only two things for certain in this life – death and taxes. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is his. That is a worldly debt. Jesus has overcome death. He has overcome the wages of sin. Before Jesus, life meant sin and sin meant death, both physically and spiritually. He has overcome the spiritual debt that we could never pay on our own. Since our debt of spiritual death has been paid, what do we have to fear? Because we do not have to fear spiritual death, we should lift praise unto God even when the enemy is trying to destroy us. We should praise God in the good, for He has blessed us, and in the bad, for He will provide.

Do you praise God even in the midst of trouble?

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