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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Have you made heaven rejoice?

August 7, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV))

God does not wish for any to perish. He rejoices when one who is lost is found!

If you have something of value, and you know where it is, you have no reason to rejoice. If that prized possession is lost, you earnestly and fervently seek to find it so that you can return it to its rightful place. You become extremely happy when it is found. You rejoice over the fact that the thing of great worth has been restored!

God is the same when it comes to sinners who repent and turn to Him!

To God, each and every one of us is that prized possession. Each of us are a thing of great worth to Him for He created each of us in His image, yet each of us are unique. In all of creation and in all of history, there is no one like you! Each of us are special in God’s eyes. Each of us is that thing of great worth to God. Because we are of great importance to God, then we are of great importance to all of heaven.

Sadly, we are all lost!

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

Because of our sin, we are lost to God. Even through all of this, He had a plan to redeem us, to restore us to Himself. When we accept His plan, when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer lost. We have repented and have been found. This makes all of heaven rejoice!

Have you made heaven rejoice?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know where your heart is?

July 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

When I was growing up, television stations didn’t stay on the air 24 hours a day. In fact, they would shut down right after the late news. They used to run a public service announcement a few hours before they shut off for the night. Typically, this announcement went something like, “It’s 9 PM. Do you know where your children are?” It was a simple reminder to keep what is important to you close so that no harm would befall them. If you truly stop to think about this, it is not a far stretch to adapt this question to apply to our lives in Christ.

Can you imagine if someone were to ask you, “It’s 10:00 AM on Sunday. Do you know where your heart is?” Perhaps it is asked like this. “You are an adult now. Do you know where your heart is?” The implications are the same. Quite often, we fail to recognize exactly what we place as a priority until we are asked pointblank where we are with respect to certain things. Consider the following questions as examples of this human trait.

Where is your marriage?

Where is your relationship with your children?

Where is your relationship with Jesus?

We can be asked questions like these and we typically brush them off because we don’t really want to acknowledge that we may be far less than what we desire in these areas. We may not want to answer them because something else has our attention and our heart.

I honestly believe that it is a good thing to evaluate ourselves to determine exactly what we treasure and then turn to God, repent and ask for the strength to return to what we truly should treasure. With this in mind, I want to ask one simple question and hopefully you have a simple and righteous answer.

Do you know where your heart is?

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

May 24, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
(Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV))

Human nature is a very strange thing. We have a tendency, more often than not, to choose the things that are not good for us. I know that this ties back to the fall from grace, but it looks like that we would eventually learn at the personal level. Unfortunately, this happens far less than we care to admit. We go so far as to think that we can fool ourselves. We make the wrong choices and we try to justify the choices that we make. In essence, we choose to sow to please the flesh and try to convince ourselves that we are sowing to please the Spirit. If you don’t believe this, consider the foods that you choose to eat. If you choose to eat things that are high in sugar and fat, then your body will suffer. As a result, you will crave these foods more and your spirit will suffer the consequences. In essence, when you sow to please the flesh, you create addictions. Addictions are contrary to the Spirit. Addictions are exactly what the enemy looks for to distract you.

What do you reap when you have an addiction?

We may try to deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive God. We may think that we can choose to change and that once or twice will not hurt us. In our fallen state, we believe the lie. We choose to believe the sin over believing the God of creation.

Take a good, long look at your life? What have you chosen to sow? It’s not too late to repent. It’s not too late to reap eternal life!

What will you reap?

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