Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

July 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

Some translations say a pure heart instead of a clean heart. In your mind, what is the difference between cleanliness and purity? Have you ever given any thought to this? Whatever translation and whatever word that you use, David is asking the Lord to take control of his heart and to remove all instances of sin. It is the heart that directs a person. It is the heart that hides what you truly desire. It is the heart that guides our actions and our words.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Where does your heart guide you? What does your heart make you say and do?

I have been writing and sending these out for almost twenty-five years. Honestly, there have been times when my heart is not where it should be. My spirit is not where it should be. I am only human, and we all go through highs and lows, even when we profess a faith in Jesus. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a routine, and miss the big picture because we are focusing on the small stuff. This happens to everyone, and when it happens, we must recognize our condition and bring it to the Lord. I have found that the greater the frequency of turning to God, the better the outcome, for He always brings cleanliness, purity, and renewal when you ask.

How often do you ask?

If you find yourself thinking that you are good and don’t have to ask that often, then I think a very thorough self-reflection is called for. All of us are human and as sinful, fallen humanity, we can’t go very long without sinning. We may make it a day. We may make it a few hours, or we may only make it a few minutes. No matter how long we may make it without sinning, it is not long enough.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

Personally, there are several things that I try to discipline myself to do. Some of them include:
1. Being still in His presence
2. Reading and studying His Word
3. Praying for cleansing and righteousness
4. Praying in general

I could add more, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I love to be still in His presence, yet, I am fearful for I know that I am a sinner. I long to be cleansed and renewed so that I may mature into the image of Christ.

Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

June 24, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

How have you been the last few years?

Do you find yourself growing weak, weary and faint because of all of the things going on in the world?

To be honest with you, I personally do not understand how someone who doesn’t have a faith in Jesus can keep their sanity in all that has happened and continues to happen in this world. Perhaps that is why we see an increase in suicides and an increase in other choices that go against anything Godly and righteous. When things go badly in this world, too many people look for comfort in all of the wrong places. They should turn to Jesus!

I remember immediately after 9/11 and the massive influx of people into churches. They were looking for sense to be made out of the events that had transpired. I don’t know the percentage of people who quickly fell away, but they did turn to God for a while. Today, if people aren’t already in a church, if anything happens, they seem to ignore God completely, or even blame Him for the events. It is sad to see just how the attitudes towards God have changed in just a little over twenty years.

Hold fast to your faith!

Stand firm in the promises of God!

We must recognize that our hope is built on the rock, on the firm foundation that is our Lord Jesus. When we have accepted Jesus and fully rely on the hope that we have placed in Him, He will renew our strength. No matter what we may face in this world, we will not grow weary. We will not faint in the face of the enemy as he tries everything in his feeble power to turn the world away from God. I don’t often quote hymns, but this should be our anthem in times of worldly trouble, for we have a risen Savior who has overcome the world.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

I bet that you started singing this as you read it. It should be so ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who profess a faith in Jesus that we sing it loudly and proudly as He renews our strength; as He lifts us up to soar on wings like eagles; as He gives us strength to run and not grow weary; and as He gives us strength to walk and not be faint.

Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the LORD
      will renew their strength.
   They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you praying for a clean heart?

March 31, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you find yourself praying this more often in the last few years?

I realize that this could sound like a trick question, but I promise that it is not.

As believers, we should continually pray this. I find myself needing to pray it as I watch the current state of this world. It is human nature to want to go on the offensive when we see things that aren’t right. Our own nation was founded by men and women who did just that. They felt emboldened to the point where they drafted a document that said enough was enough. They went to war and they laid down their lives to do what was right. Today, I find myself in a predicament. Our founding fathers were fighting against tyranny. We are facing a different adversary and many times it is family members, friends and people we work with. The struggle is spiritual and the struggle is real. We must remember that those who are currently against us are also part of God’s creation and that He loves them.

We must never look at these individuals as an enemy not worth saving!

Have you ever been guilty of this? Are you guilty of this at this very moment? What would have happened if the person who lead you to Jesus had the very same type of thoughts about you?

Think about that!

This is why we must pray for God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right spirit within us. We can’t demonstrate the love and redemption that God has freely given if we cannot, if we will not, show that love to those who need it most. With that in mind, I have a homework assignment for you. The next time that you encounter someone who is against you, pause and pray for God to give you a clean heart so that you will see that person through His eyes. Pray that God will renew a right spirit within you so that you will love that person simply because He loves them.

You will find that your outlook on the world will change. You will also grow closer to the Lord because you will understand just how great His love truly is.

Are you praying for a clean heart?

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

March 11, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

It is so easy to focus on the physical when everything that we see and experience is the physical world. Lately, everything around us seems to be wars and rumors of wars. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Shortages and inflation are beginning to be the new normal. And, many experts, both Biblical and worldly, are saying that it is just going to get worse. I recently read and wrote briefly on the rising death rate among the group that we call the millenials. They see no hope in sight and choose to end their lives. I realize that no one has probably looked at the following passage from this perspective, but we are seeing this very thing happen.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
      and young men stumble and fall;
(Isaiah 40:30 (NIV))

It is amazing what a change of perspective can do. Their only hope was in the world because that is all that they knew. They had not placed their hope in the Lord. When you place your hope in the Lord, you see things from His perspective. You see things in a whole new light and the darkness of the world is only a passing thing. Placing your hope in the Lord allows you to not be overwhelmed by the problems in this world. We still see them, but we know that with the Lord’s help, we will soar on wings like eagles. We will be kept away from the eternal harm this is running rampant in the world. We will realize that the world is fleeting and that only eternity matters. Jesus gives us that hope of eternity with Him.

He will renew our strength!

He will give us power to do things in His name!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I recently heard someone talk about a concept that sounds interesting and may need to be investigated further. She stated that since the church age started with miracles and power at Pentecost, it would not surprise her to see the church age end in the same manner. If you stop to think about that concept, isn’t that what the Rapture would be?

I know one thing for certain.

No Jesus. No hope.
Know Jesus. Know hope!

Do you hope in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

September 15, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Have you ever actually seen an eagle soar?

It is graceful and effortless in flight. It is beauty in motion. The eagle soars over all of the trouble below. It observes but does not involve itself in the mess that is below. It is master of its domain.

How can we, as believers, mount up with wings like eagles?

If we wait upon the Lord, we will seek after His heart. We will know His heart. We will be guided through the ordeals of this life. We will soar through above the troubles.

Think about that. How we experience life is a matter of perspective. If we find ourselves living among those who do not follow God, we will have troubles. We may even find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have the assurance that he will carry us through all tribulations and trials that this world sends our way. When we walk with Jesus, we walk above the trials and tribulations.

Take a look at Peter.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV))

When Peter waited on the Lord, he was able to do something amazing. When he started to look at what he was doing through his eyes, he started to fail.

Our assurance comes from Jesus!

Our effortless movements come from Jesus. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to labor. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to grow weary. It is at that time that we faint.

Our actions are labored. God’s actions through us are effortless. We do not grow weary. Through God, we will mount up with wings like eagles. God will direct our efforts and He will keep us above the sins of the world.

Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He knows just how to renew your spirit!

July 2, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

What is the state of your spirit within you?

If you are anything like me, if you suffer as part of humanity, then the things that happen around us and to us have an impact on us whether we want to admit it or not. With what the whole world has experienced over the last year or more, it impacts even those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Sometimes I just look at the things of this world and sigh because I can’t put my thoughts into accurate words. I sigh because of the unrighteous things that I see. I sigh because I long for God’s righteousness and not the world’s evil. If you are like me, you can understand how Elijah felt when he ran from Jezebel.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
(1 Kings 19:4 (NIV))

Elijah had fled Jezebel. He was afraid and he was tired. Human nature took control and he wanted to have God end his life. He was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
(1 Kings 19:5-8 (NIV))

Elijah was a prophet. He heard from God on many different occasions, and yet he still had a crushed spirit due to the events in the world in his life. How can we assume that we will have the strength to achieve on our own what Elijah was unable to achieve on his own?

A day’s journey into the wilderness means that he found a place to escape his troubles and rest. This allowed for the Lord to send comfort and renewal not once, but twice. Because he was able to find rest in the Lord, he was prepared to face the journey ahead. That journey had him face many dark days, but he was able to face them because he found rest in the Lord and the Lord renewed his spirit.

When you sigh and groan under the weight of the world, remember Elijah. Seek the Lord and seek rest in His presence. Our sighs and groans are not incomprehensible to the Lord.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

He knows just how to renew your spirit!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not lose hope in the Lord!

June 24, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

How has your strength been recently?

I could probably stop with just those words and you can fill in your own issues that you see in the world and in your life. Let’s face it. Every single person alive is caught up in the middle of the events that have affected the whole world.

Financial crises.
Political upheaval.
Race riots.
Wars and rumors of wars.
The global pandemic.
Good being called evil and evil being called good.

Do I need to list anything else?

I honestly do not understand how anyone who doesn’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior makes it through each day when more and more is added to the already huge list of troubles. Those who do call upon the name of the Lord have a promise that we can rely upon to give us strength even in the midst of troubles.

“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))

We are told that troubles will increase as the time gets closer for the events spoken of in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. As we see things unfolding, we must remember to never lose sight of the Lord. We must remember to never lose hope in the Lord, for all of His promises are “Yes!” When the world sees trouble, we must see hope. We must renew our strength as we find shelter in His presence and in His strength. When we rely on His strength, we can face anything. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not be faint, and best of all, we can soar above the troubles of the world.

We must not lose hope in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your strength been renewed?

May 26, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I cling to these words!

If you focus on the events of the world, it is so easy to lose hope and once you have lost hope, the next step is to simply give up. As believers, we know better than that. We have a Savior who has overcome the world! We can rely on the promise recorded by John in these words.

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))

There is a saying that when things look down, we are to look up. We look up for that is where Jesus is. He is our hope. He is our strength. He is our salvation. We are to turn our eyes to Him and renew our strength. Our hope and our strength are not based on some far off promise by someone who does not have the authority to keep that promise. It is based on the authority of the Creator of all things.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
(John 1:1-3 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, He is all that we need and with Him and through Him we will overcome anything that the world may send our way.

Do you need strength?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need to soar above the troubles?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need rest because you are weary and faint?

Turn to Jesus!

Has your strength been renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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