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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God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

February 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(Philippians 1:18 (NIV))

What does this passage mean to you?

I was given a very interesting point of view of this passage earlier today, and to be completely honest with you, it makes perfect sense!

When this passage was written, Paul was in prison and other people started to preach the Gospel. Some had pure motives while others had selfish motives. Paul recognized the value of both, since spreading the Gospel was his biggest concern. I know that I do this all the time, but let me ask a few questions of you.

Do you think that the people who heard the Gospel from those with false motives knew of those motives, especially if what they preached was true to the Gospel? Let me ask this a slightly different way. If you are channel surfing and come across a television preacher who is preaching the truth, will everyone ignore this preacher simply because they may seek money? Perhaps your church has a guest speaker and they are very eloquent at conveying the truth of the Gospel. Do you stop listening to them because they set up a table to sell the books that they have written?

Let’s be honest with ourselves!

We are all human and we all have motives for doing things that are less than perfect. Does that stop us from doing them? Does that stop us from listening to those who have less than perfect motives? Think about that in relationship to your job. What if you are having a bad day, but you need your paycheck? Do you put on a fake smile and go about your day, or do you storm off? Most people will put on a fake smile. They may have less than a proper motive, but they come across with something that will impact those around them in a positive way.

Think about that in terms of the Gospel!

As long as the truth is being preached, God can and does use that truth to help spread the Gospel. I don’t condone this, but have you ever seen two churches become rivals? They try to do anything and everything to be “better” than their rival. One may take out billboard ads with scripture passages while the other will place ads in local newspapers. One may apply for and receive a license for a radio station, while one may use the internet to broadcast their services. In all of this rivalry, who really wins?

If you say that God wins because the Gospel is being spread, then you are correct.

We are only human and our human motives are less than perfect, but God is perfect. In fact, He is perfection. To use an old saying, “God can take our mess and make a message!” If God can do that, then God can take our impure motives and turn them to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you hold firmly to?

January 3, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
(Hebrews 4:14 (NIV))

Do you hold firmly to your faith?

I want you to give me, actually, I want you to give yourself, an honest answer to the following questions.

What do you do when money is tight and your car breaks down?

What do you do when you get fired from your job?

What do you do when you are faced with a life changing illness?

I could ask countless questions like these, but I hope that these are sufficient to get the idea across. The idea is that how we react to these types of situations is a direct reflection of our faith. We can either panic in our human nature or we can turn to Jesus in our need. We can choose to forget what Jesus has promised or we can fully embrace what Jesus has promised. We can abandon what faith we profess to possess or we can fully embrace the faith that Jesus calls us to possess.

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))

Do you have faith that Jesus has overcome the world?

Do you live your life reflecting what you profess to believe or do you reflect the world and it’s troubles? We have a choice. We can hold firmly to the world or we can hold firmly to faith in Jesus!

What do you hold firmly to?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God just an item on your to-do list?

April 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be still, and know that I am God:
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I try to not fill up my time with so many things to do, but it is human nature to do things that we don’t mean to do. Soon, in order to prioritize what we feel that we must do, we create to-do lists and then we prioritize the things that we put on the list. Soon, we find ourselves spending too much time maintaining the list and we soon lose track of the things that we should truly be focusing on.

Let’s face the truth!

How many of us actually create to-do lists? What is currently on your list? Do you put everything on your list, or is it used only for a reminder of the things that you don’t really want to do?

After those reflective questions, I have another question for you that may not sit too well with you depending on your answers.

Is God on your to-do list? Is He your top priority? Have you relegated your relationship with the Lord to a list item that you check off when you feel that you have it completed? Is God above or below the items like painting the house or cutting the grass?

It is sad that too many people actually treat God in this manner. We may not physically put Him as an item on our to-do lists, but we tend to overlook Him and focus on what we do place on our list. We then get so busy completing the tasks that we have assigned ourselves that we forget to do what God has told us to do. We forget to sit in the presence of God. We fail to sit at the feet of Jesus, and like one translation states, we never cease striving. Personally, I strive to spend time in God’s presence, but that is not what that means. We need to cease our busyness. We need to cease our frantic existence and be still in the presence of God.

We must make God the foundation of everything that we do, including the items that we place on our to-do lists. It is so easy to relegate God to an individual checklist item.

Is God just an item on your to-do list?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been given to Jesus?

February 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
(John 17:24-26 (NIV))

To be with Jesus where He is!

We have been given to Jesus. We have been called to know Him and to love Him when all around us deny Him. We have also been called to make Jesus known so that He can continue to make the Father known.

Are you able to say that you can be found in Jesus? Are you able to say that you belong to Jesus? Are you able to claim the redemptive love as your own?

I realize that I am asking a whole lot of questions, but these are questions that must be asked. Far too many people skirt around the question and never address it head on. They never truly proclaim that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. It is a simple profession of faith, but it must be made by each one of us. No one can make that profession for us, just as we cannot make it for someone else. Just as the gift of salvation is a personal offer, accepting that gift is a personal response. Each of us must accept for ourselves and respond for ourselves.

Have you been accepting? Have you been responsive?

Can you be numbered among those who have been given to Jesus as His bride?

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