What do you do when the unexpected happens?

October 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:9 (NIV))

I can picture the moment. Everybody is gathered around Jesus and everyone there is asking Him questions. They are filled with excitement. They have spent three years with Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles. They saw Him beaten and crucified. They saw Him die. And, they saw Him in His resurrection. Now, after the resurrection, they are eagerly looking for Jesus to bring God’s kingdom to this world.

And then . . .

The unexpected happens.

At least in their eyes, it does.

They were expecting Jesus to take His authority then and there, but He disappears!

Can you imagine how these people felt? Everything that they had seen. Everything that they had been a part of. Everything that they now expected was completely changed. I can imagine that their first reaction was that they were being abandoned. How would you feel?

God knew their hearts. He knew that they were expecting something that was not in His plan. God had compassion on these people. He sent messengers to tell them that their timing was not His timing.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

Instead of despair, these people had a reason to believe. They had a reason to hope. They had a reason to pray. And pray they did.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
(Acts 11:12-14 (NIV))

How do you react when things don’t go as you expect them to?

We should take a lesson from these first believers. When things don’t go as we expect them to go, we should pray for God’s guidance and His wisdom.

What do you do when the unexpected happens?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself asking this question?

March 28, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
(Psalms 94:3 (NIV))

How do you react when you see the news of the events of this world?

Sadly, I could spend a lot of time just listing everything that makes me shake my head in disbelief. You could probably spend the same amount of time building your own personal list, but neither your list nor my list is going to approach the list that the Lord has made. He sees things that we can only imagine. If the things of this world break our hearts, can you begin to fathom the sadness that the Lord feels for this world and for those who are lost in sin and wickedness? Can you imagine how He feels when He sees the hearts of those who blatantly desire to not only stay in their sin, but to sink to new lows of wickedness and sinfulness?

I long to see God’s righteousness poured out upon the world, yet, at the same time, I pray that the Lord holds off so that those who are immersed in sin and wickedness have an opportunity to repent!

We don’t know God’s exact timing, but we can know the season. One day, though, God’s timing will be perfect! The day that we, as the Body of Christ, long for, will be a day that the wicked will wish they could escape. We all have people that we know who fall into this category. Do you wish to see them miss out on eternity in heaven because they waited too long? Perhaps this gives us an insight into the heart of God.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Still, human nature will continue to ask the question, “How long?” Based on the events of this world, I honestly believe that the Lord is giving us an answer!

Do you find yourself asking this question?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your relationship to evil?

November 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:21 (NIV))

As I sit here contemplating this passage, I can’t help but think about the things that are going on in the world at this time. How do we, as the Body of Christ, react to a world that is becoming vehemently anti-Christian? How do we react to a world that says it’s ok for people to do whatever they feel is right, yet that very same world condemns those who profess a faith in Jesus?

I have often wondered if the following passage, just as most passages of scripture, have both a near-term and a far-term meaning.

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))

These words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples as He finished telling them that they would scatter because of what was coming. He also told them that they would not see Him for awhile, but He would return. The time that Jesus spoke of to His disciples had them uncertain about their lives. This was the period of time between the crucifixion and the resurrection. They probably felt that the whole world was against them. If you remember, they even stayed indoors and locked the doors because they were afraid of what they thought might happen.

Was Jesus also speaking to us today?

We have been told that in the last days we would face trouble. We are seeing it beginning to unfold. We wonder what the world is going to send our way. We even wonder if we just simply need to stay to ourselves and avoid the world. I realize that none of us were alive when Jesus spoke these words, but they seem to apply to us more and more each day. So, just how do we face this world as it turns further and further away from Jesus? How do we face the world when the very thing that gives us, and the world, hope is the very thing that they hate? We have been told things like turn the other cheek. We have been told to go the extra mile. We have been told to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps we simply need to realize that if we had not come to the realization that we are sinners in need of a savior, we might still be part of the world. We might still be part of the problem instead of the messengers proclaiming the solution!

We must not allow evil to overcome our faith. We must not allow evil to silence the message that we are called to share. We must not withhold the Gospel because we are afraid! We must stand firm and be bold, especially in the face of evil.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(1 John 4:4 (NIV))

We must remember that Jesus is greater than, and has already overcome, any evil that may come our way. If we have called upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, that relationship is greater than anything the enemy will send our way!

What is your relationship to evil?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get caught up in the moment!

July 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Have you ever faced ridicule or suffering because you proclaim a faith in Jesus?

How did you react?

Did you hold your head up high and proud because the enemy has identified you as a follower of Jesus or did you turn tail and try to hide? Did you stay true to your beliefs or did you change course with the slightest sign of trouble? Do you hate the idea of any type of discomfort in this life and simply hope that an hour on an occasional Sunday will not come up on the enemy’s radar?

If these questions didn’t make you stop and think about the sincerity of your faith, then perhaps these will!

Do you possess a bold faith in Jesus? Are you willing to stand your ground on the behalf of Jesus when confronted by the enemy? Think about that for a moment. Jesus was more than willing to stand His ground on your behalf when confronted by the enemy. He was willing to step out of heaven and face a few years of suffering so that each of us could have an opportunity to experience salvation. Shouldn’t we be willing to face ridicule and suffering from the enemy because we have accepted this? If you truly stop to think about this, the attacks make sense. Before Jesus came into the world to bring grace and mercy, legally all of us belonged to the enemy due to sin. We have been redeemed! In essence, the legal claim that the enemy had over us has been made null and void. He is angry. He will do anything and everything to make us reject God’s grace and mercy! He will attack anyone who professes a faith in Jesus in an effort to make us change our mind.

In the grand scheme of God’s plan, these attacks are only momentary in comparison to all of eternity that we will gain. Don’t be so focused on the things of this world that you trade eternity in heaven for comfort in this world!

In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment!

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

May 11, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
(Luke 24:51 (NIV))

Is there a single event in all of history that you would love to have been able to see?

I have often wondered what it would have been like to witness Adam and Eve walk with God in the Garden of Eden. It would be amazing to be able to say that I witnessed Noah loading the animals into the ark. Can you imagine seeing the power of God as He parted the Red Sea? What about seeing the walls of Jericho crumble to the ground? I have often wondered just how mismatched David and Goliath really were. Can you imagine being one of the shepherds when the heavenly hosts announced the birth of Jesus? I’m torn about the crucifixion. I can’t imagine watching what Jesus went through, yet, I fully understand why He did it. What if you had seen the stone rolled away? What if you had walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus?

What if?

Imagine yourself with many others as Jesus blesses everyone. How would you react when you see Him ascend into heaven? Even by today’s standards of special effects and theatrical tricks, this would be an awesome thing to see, for it is the last confirmation that Jesus is who He says that He is. You have seen Him crucified. You have seen Him resurrected. You have seen the wounds that He willingly took so that we can have salvation and grace. Now, you see Him return to the Father.

God has done so many wonderful things for humanity. Which ones do you relate to the most? Which ones have special meaning to you? With all that the Lord has done for us, all that I can do is be eternally thankful and say, “WOW!!!”

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hate your sinful nature?

November 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

Sadly, I know all too well what Paul meant when he wrote these words. I bet we all do!

What is it about human nature that makes us do the things that we do, especially when we know that we shouldn’t do them? Why do we react the way that we do knowing that we will regret it as soon as we do it? Unfortunately, we all probably have our “favorite” things that we hate to do. These are the things that we despise, yet we can’t stop doing them. For some people, it may be anger. For others, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed. What is it about your actions that you hate? What is it about your life that you wish you could change?

I realize that this is of little solace, but we must come to terms with the fact that even Paul faced the undesirable actions in his life. If Paul, who had a life changing, face to face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, still had things in his life that he hated, we must realize that we will face things in our lives that we hate.

If you stop to think about this from a different perspective, it may shed a new light on this. Before you met Jesus, would you have even stopped to think about the things that you now hate? Would you have even given them a second thought? Would you even have the hatred towards these things in your life? When you consider the things that you now hate, I want you to consider the simple fact that this hatred indicates a new desire to change. It indicates a desire to repent. It indicates a desire to be something different than you were. It indicates a desire to be something different than you are. It indicates a desire to be like Jesus, and out of that desire, you see things in your life that make you realize that Jesus would not do what you do!

With this in mind, I realize that it is okay to hate the things that I do, for I know that I am not perfect and that I will never be able to walk in Godly perfection as long as I am a sinful creation. I can strive to follow Jesus, but I must realize that there will be times that I will fail. When I fail, I pray that I will, like Paul, be able to recognize what made me fail and hate what made me fail.

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you hate your sinful nature?

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