Are God’s decrees an integral part of your life?

May 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
(Psalms 119:33 (NIV))

We keep the things that we are taught. If we are taught to swim, we never forget how. If we are taught to ride a bicycle, we may get a little out of practice, but we never forget how to propel ourselves along on two tires. Perhaps this is why we are told to study God’s Word and His ways so that we may learn them. We may forget a few small things, but eventually, we will remember and repent. We will return to God.

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NIV))

We are all children of God. We are in constant training so that we may follow God’s ways. If we truly desire to learn them, then we will not forsake them. It is hard to go against something that you have learned that you know is right. We may be able to lie to ourselves, but eventually we will return.

Consider a medical student who is intent on becoming a doctor. They will learn things that will become an integral part of their being, yet, they cannot walk away from this knowledge even though they may walk away from the medical profession. It has become a part of them.

When you are taught and freely learn, what you learn becomes an integral part of your very being.

Are God’s decrees an integral part of your life?

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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Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

November 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:11 (NIV))

I realize that it may seem like the whole world is out to get you at times, but there is one key thing that we need to remember as members of the Body of Christ.

“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))

With hope and assurance like this, how can we ever be downcast, even in the face of trouble? We need to remember Paul’s words. We need to do more than remember them. We need to make them our own. We need to fully embrace the very realistic truth that Paul shared in Romans.

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

God is so “for us” that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world as an atoning sacrifice so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God is now on your side. Perhaps I should phrase that differently. For those who earnestly repent and call upon the name of Jesus, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. You have turned from your way to following God’s way. When you chose to follow Jesus, you became a member of the Body of Christ. Your past sins are no longer held against you. If you have been able to be called out of the tough times when you were lost in sin, what makes you think that the Lord of all creation will not be with you and see you through the tough times that you face after you chose to follow Jesus?

If you look at life from this perspective, we have been called to be God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

If we are exactly as described, then why would God abandon us during the tough times. He will not leave us nor forsake us!

It is a matter of our attitude!

Are you able to praise God through the tough times?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still hunger and thirst?

September 27, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus liked to put spiritual things in a physical context so that people could understand them. In order to understand them, it is essential that you think outside the proverbial box of this physical world and come to the realization that Jesus is drawing a parallel to something that we can associate with. Many things, such as this passage, are not to be taken literal from the physical perspective, but that are absolute truths when you look at them from the spiritual perspective.

In the physical world, we know that when we eat or drink something, we will find ourselves hungry or thirsty in a short period of time. It is simply the way the physical world is.

But . . .

If you partake of Jesus, He offers eternal life. When you turn to Him as your personal Lord and Savior, your hunger for grace and mercy is forever satisfied. Your thirst for abundant and eternal life is forever quenched. It only takes one honest and sincere repentance and acceptance of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior to find that you are forever satisfied. You may be asking about times that you do things that you shouldn’t and you need to repent. Everyone has those moments. Everyone must turn to Jesus and repent for things that we all do, but this does not mean that you have to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior all over again. That has already been done!

Think of your relationship with Jesus in terms that may be easier to understand.

Everyone has people that you love. Have you ever done something that hurt that person? If you are wise and you value that relationship, you ask for forgiveness for that particular instance. You don’t have to start the whole relationship over. You have a small setback and then you get back on track. When you choose to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, the sinful things that you do after that moment are not a reason to start all over. They are a reason to repent, to make a mid-course correction, and to get back on track with Jesus.

Everyone who has ever lived knows what it is like to hunger and thirst physically. Have you ever ached so much spiritually that it felt just like a severe physical hunger or thirst? Turn to Jesus. He will satisfy your spiritual hunger and He will quench your spiritual thirst.

Do you still hunger and thirst?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you been set free for?

September 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

How many people do you know that have claimed to have surrendered their lives to Jesus only to return to the sin that they wanted to break free from?

Is it just me, or did everyone take a big pause and let out a big sigh as you took a quick, but serious look at your life?

Since we are human, it wouldn’t surprise me if everyone who claims Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has moments in their lives where we find ourselves picking up things that we wish we could learn to leave alone.

We have the freedom to do anything that we desire.

We have the freedom to rebel. We have the freedom to be greedy. We have the freedom to lust. We have the freedom to covet, and we also have the freedom to repent of all of these sins and anything else that comes between us and our freedom in Christ! Freedom does not simply mean that we can do whatever we choose. Merriam-Webster has one definition that I love. Freedom means the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. In other words, we, as the Body of Christ, are not bound by our sinful nature. We do not have to sin. We do not have to live a life engulfed in sin. We do not have to face an eternity that is the dire consequences of sin.

Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death!

With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we have a Savior who has paid the ultimate price for our redemption. With our freedom, we can face each day knowing that we can never repay that debt. With our freedom, we can also face each day with a desire to share this great freedom, this great gift of grace, with all that we see. We can use our freedom to lead others to the same freedom that we profess.

What have you been set free for?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you bring to God?

September 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
(Exodus 34:1 (NIV))

Do you recall how Moses was given the first two tablets?

When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
(Exodus 31:18 (NIV))

God gave Moses the tablets!

All that Moses had to do was receive what God had prepared for him and the Israelites. God came to Moses with the gift of the law.

When Moses descended from the mountain, the Israelites had sinned against God. The tablets were broken. Consequences of the sin had to be paid. People perished because of the sin.

God’s grace prevailed. He allowed Moses to intervene on behalf of the people once again. But, this time God required Moses to do the work of providing the tablets. Moses, as the liaison between God and humanity, had to take a step on behalf of humanity. He had to show a desire and a willingness to approach God.

We are forgiven by grace. We still sin. When we sin, we must be willing to repent and meet God in a humble attitude.

Our sins have left us in need of providing the tablets. We must be willing to bring something to God. What will you bring to God?

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