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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Have we been praying?

December 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

There have been many people who have quoted this passage recently in hopes of encouraging the Body of Christ to pray for our country and our world. With this in mind, I have a question.

Have we been praying?

Have we been sincere and earnest in our pleas to God? Do we truly long for righteousness or have we started to accept what the world is selling? Do we treasure God’s Word or do we treasure the world?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Where is your heart?

Do you see the things in this world and long for righteousness? Do you ache in your heart when you see what society has become and is becoming, or do you find yourself thinking that what is going on looks like it would be fun to participate in? It’s time to examine our hearts and truly determine what it is that we treasure.

With this in mind, I think that it is time to ask the question one more time.

Have we been praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

August 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV))

I realize that you have heard this concept before, but please take note, for it is true.

When you professed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, people started watching you. Some want to see you fail so that they can reinforce their personal conclusion that Christians are hypocrites. Others are watching you and praying for you. Many are somewhere in the middle. They could care less if you persevere or if you fail, but they will be very vocal if you do fail. It should be the goal of every believer in Jesus to persevere, especially when those around you expect you to fail. This shows the power of the Lord working through you.

I love Paul’s take on this. He wanted people to know that he is weak and that whatever happens is not a result of his strength.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV))

When we can show weakness in our own strength and still persevere through the Lord’s strength, then we are a strong witness to those around us of the power of God! When we persevere, people will sit up and take notice. They will want to know how we were able to persevere. They will want to know our secret. That is the time that we share the power of God with them. That is when we share the grace and mercy of God with them.

That is when the faith that saves us will also save others.

Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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No matter what, the darkness will not win!

July 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

I have a Bible app on my iPad that I use all the time. No matter what book, chapter and verse I may have been reading the last time I had it open, it always opens to the book of John, chapter 1. This has been going on for quite some time and I have been praying for discernment as to what God is trying to get me to know and understand.

Tonight was no different with respect to how the app opened. Once again, I started reading this chapter and asked God for wisdom and discernment. When I got to John 1:5, I froze with the following realization.

Many people believe that the enemy is increasing his boldness and his attacks. Once Jesus ascended, God sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us. Another very important aspect of the power of the Holy Spirit is that He restrains the enemy. He restrains the darkness! The darkness appears to be increasing rapidly. There will come a day when the Holy Spirit will be removed and darkness will rule. I am not saying that the darkness will overcome the light. It is simply a matter of God saying enough is enough and removing the light. God will remove the restrainer! God will allow the world to have exactly what it wants.

That day is rapidly approaching. Darkness will never overcome the light, but the light can and will be removed. Many things point to that happening very soon. When the light is removed, where does that leave the Body of Christ? Where does that leave the church? Where does that leave you?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

If the Body of Christ is the light of the world and light cannot be hidden, how can darkness rule if the light is still here? I have never been someone who tries to find things that aren’t there or to try and fit something into what I see. I try to be a Berean. I study and search the scriptures. I will never set dates for what is written in God’s Word, but I feel something in my spirit. I feel a sense of urgency! Do you feel it?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

November 28, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(Colossians 1:9 (NIV))

Do we, as the modern church, follow this example?

I know that the Body of Christ prays, but what do we honestly pray for?

Have you ever noticed that prayer comes in levels. Someone new in their faith will pray for things that directly effect them. A little maturity shifts the focus and slightly enlarges the circle of inclusion. As maturity increases, prayers are offered up for those who we don’t personally know.

Where are you in the process? How mature is your faith? Do you pray for those whom you do not know? Are you like Paul and willing to pray for those that you hear about even though you may never meet them? Paul was willing to pray for those whom he heard about. He was also willing to go to these very people and give them more than his prayers. He was willing to take his time to go and share the gospel with people whom he had never met.

Are you willing to do what Paul did? Are you willing to go as well as pray?

Is your faith mature enough to place others as a priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we His people?

November 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

I know that I wrote about this passage just a few days ago, but, with the current state of affairs in this nation, I have been given a different understanding of this passage.

We keep saying that we are praying for this nation, but are we praying from our perspective or are we praying from God’s perspective? Are they the same? Should they be the same?

We, as the Body of Christ, in this nation, long to see repentance occur. We long to see hearts turn to Jesus. We long to see a return to Biblical values. Don’t misunderstand me. These things are good and we should pray for them, but are we being selfish in our prayers? There are numerous things that are going on in the world and in our nation that many people believe are the fulfillment of prophesies, with more to soon follow. Do our prayers for our nation line up with what God has planned? Are we praying for things that are contrary to God’s Will, for it is widely accepted that this country does not seem to be mentioned in God’s End Time events. Are we praying for our will or for God’s Will to be made manifest in this nation?

I realize that this is a tough concept to accept and to agree with. I earnestly ask that you pray for God’s Will to unfold and not our own selfish will. We, as humans, would love to see peace and prosperity during all the days of our lives, but we know that this may not happen. We do know that God will win in the end. What we do not know is our individual and collective actions between now and then. We, as the people who are called by God’s name, should make it a point to pray for His will to be done and not ours!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t follow the crowd. Answer for yourself!

August 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
(Luke 9:18-20 (NIV))

Do you tend to follow the crowd?

Sometimes it is easy to simply follow the crowd. You don’t really have to think for yourself. You simply go along with whatever everyone else is doing. In today’s world, following the crowd seems to mean that you deny Jesus. Following the crowd seems to mean that you mock Jesus and anyone who proclaims a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If that is the case, is following the crowd something that you truly want to do.

I have heard it said that a person can be intelligent but people are mindless. There is something about the crowd mentality that makes intelligent individuals cast aside all appearances of intelligence. What is it about human nature that makes us want to belong to a group, even if that group goes against everything that we think is true?

I love the way that Jesus started speaking to His disciples at the crowd level and then focused in on them at the individual level. Was Jesus telling them, and us, to break free of the crowd mentality and to embrace Him on an individual level. Everyone knows that we cannot be saved because our mother was a believer, or because everyone else in our family is a believer. Salvation requires a personal commitment. It requires a personal realization that Jesus is the Messiah and that salvation comes only through proclaiming faith in Him.

Don’t go along with the world. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t go along with your friends. Stop and listen to your heart. Stop and listen to that still small voice that is gently calling you.

Jesus is asking you, “Who do you say I am?”

How will you answer Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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