Turn to the Lord!

August 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

How true this is!

We have a refuge from the storms of this life. God is always there to turn to no matter what our life is bringing to us or what the sinful, fallen world is sending our way. Whether we need to turn to God for safety and refuge or whether we turn to God in celebration, He is always there to turn to. He will never abandon those who earnestly seek Him and call upon His Son, Jesus Christ for salvation.

God is good all the time!

Do you earnestly seek Him? Do you truly desire the things that He promises over the things of this world?

If you simply look at the things of this world and have no other point of reference, there are some things that look appealing. I know that you have looked. What person hasn’t looked? What are the things that initially caught your attention in this world? There are things that we all like such as nice homes, nice cars, enough money to do what you want when you want, and the respect of those around you, but are these things the source of your strength or have they caused you more trouble than you care to admit? Even those who have these things still have troubles. In fact, I remember talking to someone about these things when I was in my mid-twenties. His reply to me was that having these things didn’t make your troubles go away. They just got bigger. A nice house and nice cars just lead to the same thing – headache! The only difference is the size of the headache, the size of the trouble.

With that in mind, no matter the size of your trouble, simply remember that God is our refuge. He is our strength. He alone is our help in trouble, and at this moment in time, the whole world is facing trouble. Pandemics, weather issues, extreme temperatures, supply chaine problems, food shortages, wars and rumors of wars are all signs of the troubles that the whole world is facing. We have had times of great wars and times of pandemics. We have had times of localized food shortages and weather, but we have never had things worldwide with the prospect of things of Biblical proportion. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I rest assured that I have placed my faith and trust solely in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, take refuge in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, find strength in the Lord.

When things in life are tough, seek help from the Lord.

It is often said that life is tough, so that only leaves one possible conclusion.

Turn to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found your refuge and shield?

August 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

This passage is sandwiched right in the middle of two very interesting passages.

I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

The Psalmist starts off with what he hates, but quickly counters with what he loves. He lays open his heart to the Lord by describing the things that he wishes were not around him. He then quickly counters this with the very thing that he longs to always be in the midst of.

Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

Again, we see that the Psalmist longs for evil to be completely removed from his presence so that he can focus on God and His Word.

Nestled between these two verses is a passage where the Psalmist opens up his heart completely to the Lord. In the midst of double-minded people, he takes refuge in the Lord. In the midst of evildoers, he keeps the commands of the Lord. He is not swayed by those who are double-minded and those who do evil. He keeps his eyes firmly on the Lord.

With all that is happening in the world today, do you hate those who are double-minded? Do you desire to flee from those who do evil? Do you long to find refuge in what you love? Do you long to walk humbly in obedience to God’s law? Do you turn to the Lord for shelter and protection? Is your only hope found within His word?

Think about what the Psalmist was portraying in these three passages. He is surrounded by evil, yet he finds complete shelter and hope in the midst of these things by focusing only on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what comes before or what comes after. He is safe and secure in the midst of all troubles because he trusts in the Lord. Is that what you desire when you find yourself in the midst of double-mindedness and evil? Is this what you desire when the whole world is falling apart? Is this what you desire even when things are going good? Have you found shelter in what you love?

Have you found your refuge and shield?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

July 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 (NIV))

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Think about that question, for your eternity lies in your answer.

Do the ever-increasing number of events unfolding in this world have you worried, or are you at complete peace that defies all worldly logic? Do you see the extremes that people will go to when things don’t go as they desire, even when their desires are far from godly? Do you find yourself heartbroken because these people have believed the lie from the enemy? Are you saddened when someone curses God? I recently saw a video that had a segment where a man about fifty years old got right in the lens of the camera and in a very demonic voice proudly proclaimed that he liked killing babies!

We are told that the wheat and the tares will grow up evenly. We are told that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We are told that a great delusion will fall over those who do not fear the Lord. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars. We are told that people will be lovers of themselves!

I personally believe that my last sentence is the root cause of everything since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We want to do what we want to do and we want everyone to accept what we want to do. We have come to the point where we love ourselves so much that we fail to even have any glimmer of love for anyone else. I don’t know about you, but this sounds just like the enemy when he was cast out of heaven. Satan wanted to be in control and he wanted to do things his way. Does this sound familiar to you?

There are two very distinct ways that we can be in respect to a relationship with the Lord. We can deny, despise, reject, and curse Him, or we can run to His open arms and find love, redemption, grace, mercy, and refuge. Now is the time to run to His open arms with a repentant heart. Do it before it is too late!

Once again I need to ask one very important question.

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where you seek shelter will have eternal consequences!

June 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
     will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
     my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:1-2 (NIV))

What comes to mind when you think of shelter?

A shelter can be a simple covering that protects you from the elements. It can be your home. It can be someplace that you evacuate to in times of emergencies. It can be a place of rest, and in some cases it can even be a place that you run to for refuge. If that is the case, then it only stands to reason that you would want your place of refuge to be a fortified location where the enemy cannot enter and do any harm.

If you think of a shelter in this manner, does the Lord fit this description? If a shelter is where you reside, does the Lord fit this description?

Life in this sinful, fallen world has gotten so strange lately that the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. Just when you think that you have seen it all, something else comes along to add to the rapidly unfolding chaos. Where do you find shelter when you hear of wars and rumors of wars? Where do you find shelter when common sense is no longer common? Where do you find shelter when supplies are short and prices are high? Where do you find shelter when the world health organization is being given authority over individual nations and their citizens?

Where do you find shelter when all around you is falling apart?

This world is not our home! It is not our shelter, our refuge, nor our fortress. We are not finding rest! We are not finding peace! We must look to 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))

Have you found this peace? Have you found your refuge and your fortress in the Lord?

We know that the Lord uses the stars and planets as signs to mark sacred times. We also know that the Lord uses the Jewish festivals to give us a foreshadowing of the events that they represent. At this moment in history, even the most conservative Biblical scholars are saying that something is going on. As things unfold, are you seeking shelter in the things of this world or are you seeking shelter in the Lord?

Where you seek shelter will have eternal consequences!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Lord to you?

November 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
(2 Samuel 2:22 (NIV))

We know that David was a very prolific writer when it came to things that lifted praise to the Lord. To put it succinctly, David gave credit where credit was due. He knew that all that he had was from the Lord. He knew exactly what the Lord meant to him and he wasn’t afraid to express it.

     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
     from violent people you save me.
(2 Samuel 22:3 (NIV))

Most of us are not as prolific with words as David was. Most of us have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence that expresses our thanks, our praise, our joy, and our commitment to the One who created us. What words do you use to describe the Lord? Do you find yourself relying on the very words that David wrote? Do you find yourself at a loss for words? Do you find yourself simply groaning in your spirit because words cannot be found?

I want to challenge you to try to put into words, your own words, exactly what the Lord is to you. Is He your rock? Is He your fortress? Is He your deliverer? Is He your stronghold? What has He done for you?

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NIV))

Think about that for a moment. There is probably coming a time in your life where you will be put into a situation where you will have to give a testimony about what the Lord is to you and what He has done for you. Will you be ready to lay it on the line or will you cower in fear because you never truly stopped to think about all that the Lord has done for you? Are you prepared to give an answer?

What is the Lord to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is my prayer that everyone finds true rest in Jesus.

October 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NAS))

At this very moment, I feel extremely heavy-laden. I am weary in body and mind, but my spirit still knows that I have a place of strength to which I can turn and I do turn. The world has a way of beating each of us down, no matter how much we desire to stay focused on Jesus. We must never forget that He is our source of strength when the world oppresses us in any manner.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
     a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalms 9:9 (NIV))

It has taken me a long time to grasp this simple, yet profound truth. I know that I still have a long way to go in fully claiming this truth as my own, for in my humanity, I have times of weariness where it is difficult to stay focused. To be honest with you, I know that everyone does. It is only human nature. Rejoice, for we can overcome our nature if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Even in times of trouble, He is with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

It is comforting to know that we have a place of refuge where we can go; that we have a friend who stays closer than a brother. We can always turn to Jesus, and I pray that we always do. Isn’t it good to know that He is always there when we feel that we are weary. We can rest in His grace and mercy. We can rest in His love. We can rest in the assurance that He has overcome the world.

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))

It is my prayer that everyone finds true rest in Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered the call?

August 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

This verse came to mind earlier today because of something that my family has experienced, but God had a different direction for me to write about.

With everything that is going on in the world, many people are probably asking how can God work this for good for those who love Him? I completely understand the concern. Nothing in this world makes sense anymore. Good is being called evil and evil is being called good. We have all seen what happens to people who speak out against the insanity that just seems to be the new normal. In fact, I just read a brief news clip saying that a member of Congress has been banned from a particular social media platform simply because he was saying something contrary to the accepted insanity. This is just the latest example. There are countless preachers, teachers and evangelists who have been banned on various platforms simply for sharing God’s Word as it relates to current events.

The sad thing is that I don’t think that this is going to get any better!

I am now seeing people who I have never heard say much publicly about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit who are now confessing that they firmly believe that the time is at hand. Don’t get me wrong. These people were and are believers. They were just quiet individuals who simply lived their lives trying to live by God’s Word. Now they are sharing what their spirit is feeling.

What is your spirit feeling? Are you seeing the events transpiring in this world and shedding a tear because they break your heart? Are you at a loss for words and only the groanings of your spirit seem to ease the uncertainty that you see?

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

We need to remember this passage as the events unfold before us. I love the way that God’s Word leads us and guides us. Shortly after we are told that God is our refuge and strength, we are told to be still in His presence. Is God telling us to take refuge in Him and watch what He does? Is God telling us that after everything unfolds that He will be exalted? I realize that these are rhetorical questions, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of His majesty.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
     I will be exalted among the nations,
     I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

When we read Romans 8:28, we have a tendency to make it personal, especially when we are going through an individual struggle or trial. It truly doesn’t take much thought to know that in all things God does work for the good of all who love Him. That is all part of His plan. That is all part of His purpose that we have been called by. Jesus is that plan. Jesus is that good. Jesus is that purpose. You need to answer the call before it is too late.

Have you answered the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you say about Jesus?

June 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

What do you say about the Lord to other people that you know and to those whom you meet?

I realize that this question makes one assumption about you faith and that is that you share Jesus with the people in your life.

Do you share Jesus?

What do you say about Him?

Perhaps I should ask what you do not say, for it is often the lack of words that says the most? Do you tell people that it is only by His grace that you made it through a specific time in your life? Do you tell people that He has been there with you through every step of your life, both the mountaintops and the valleys? Do you tell people that when you didn’t have the strength to make it through the wildernesses of life that He was with you? Do you tell people that He carried you when you simply could not make it through another day? Do you tell people that He has been there even when everyone else has abandoned you?

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ (NIV))

Most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will share the concept of needing Jesus with other people if asked, but it is a rare believer who will go out of their way to find these opportunities. No matter when you tell others about Jesus, it is much more effective if you will simply share with people what He has done for you. This opens up the door for others to ask what He can do for them.

What do you say about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your refuge?

May 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is good,
     a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
(Nahum 1:7 (NIV))

With the escalation of all that has been happening in the world over the last several years, and especially this last year, have you taken refuge in the Lord?

I find great pleasure in the fact that the Lord is our refuge in times of trouble, especially since we seem to be facing troubles like we have never seen before. Based on Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, many people firmly believe that these troubles are just beginning. No matter what we may face in this world, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must remember the things that He has told us. We must cling to the promises that He has given us. We must turn our attention away from the troubles of this world and look to the One who created this world and the One who is unfolding His plan to restore this world.

“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))

How is your relationship with the Lord? Do you completely trust in Him? Do you turn to Him in times of trouble? Perhaps I should ask if that is the only time that you turn to the Lord. Do you go about your life with no thought of God until times get bad? Do you only turn to the Lord when you want something or when you need the Lord to rescue you? If this is your idea of a relationship built on trusting the Lord, you may find yourself in for a surprise.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Do you do the will of the Father? Do you spend enough time with the Father to even know what His will is? Do you spend enough time in His Word to truly know His heart? Do you truly know Jesus as your personal Savior and also as your Lord, for when you call someone Lord, they are in authority over you. When you call someone Lord, you have a responsibility to obey. When you call someone Lord, you can turn to them for refuge and shelter.

Is the Lord truly your refuge?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your strong tower?

February 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
        the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

In this world where sin and death have taken over due to man’s downfall, it is good to know that we have a place of refuge. Those who are of the world do not know of this refuge. They go about their daily lives not knowing of the grace and peace that can be found in this refuge. This wonderful refuge is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even when the Book of Proverbs was written, Solomon knew of the great peace available through the grace of God. He was not able to partake fully of that peace, for Jesus had not come to the earth yet. Still, Solomon had a foreshadowing of that peace.

All throughout history, the righteous have been able to call on God as their sword and shield, even though we are sinful by nature.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
        and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
    we all shrivel up like a leaf,
        and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

God looks at a person’s heart. He is capable of knowing if we seek after Him and if we do, we have a place of refuge.

Who or what do you turn to when you need shelter?

Is the Lord your strong tower?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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