Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

July 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalms 51:1-2 (NIV))

Everyone desires mercy, but not everyone wants to be cleansed of the reason that they desire mercy!

Think about that in relationship to your own life. We all have something that we know that we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. We ask for forgiveness when someone brings it up, but do we truly desire to have this characteristic removed from our lives? Do we truly desire to be cleansed of what we continually ask for mercy for?

For some people, these traits are simply things that annoy those we love. We do them over and over again until someone says something and then we apologize by uttering a “Forgive me! I’m sorry!” For others, these traits are something much worse. They are so ingrained into our sinful nature that we do things that we know aren’t right by any stretch of the imagination. We know that our sins are forgiven and that we have been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, but we fail to do the one thing that will give us true freedom. We fail to do the one thing that the Lord desires for us to do.

We fail to surrender!

We fail to let go of our sins. We cling tightly to them even though we claim that we have left them at the foot of the cross. It’s just like old things that we have collected. We know that we should get rid of them, so we pack them up and take them away to be discarded. Far too many of us change our minds along the way. Why do we bring them back into our lives once we have gone through the motions? I often think that we are afraid of what our lives would be without these things. The fear of change keeps us from breaking free. Are we afraid of truly leaving our sins at the foot of the cross? Do we truly repent if we pick them back up? Jesus understood that we may desire to do what is right, but we face obstacles within ourselves. Jesus understands the human condition! He has walked where we walk.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

If you read Psalm 51 as a response to the words recorded in Matthew, they can and should be taken as a prayer that every believer presents to God when they are confronted with the sinful nature of the flesh. We should all desire to be cleansed. In order to be cleansed, we have to submit. We have to seek it. We have to allow God to cleanse us.

Have you allowed yourself to be cleansed?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God truly your strength and your portion forever?

May 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:25-26 (NIV))

I have heard it said that when all else fails, turn to God. Just what type of a faith would you possess if this is how you looked upon God, how you treated God? Should you expect God to be your strength if He was the very last one that you turned to?

At what point do you actually turn to God?

Do you try to accomplish things through your own strength, and when that fails, do you turn to God? Is that how you decide to treat the Creator of all things? Perhaps you actually live out what you profess to believe. If that is true, then do you turn to God in all matters, no matter how small or how big? If you stop to think about how and when you turn to God, you might surprise yourself. You might find that you still try to face this world on your own power and authority, and we all know that none of us possess anything that even resembles power and authority. Placing God first in your life is a simple concept, but it is so difficult to actually accomplish. Human nature makes us place just about anything and everything above God, but when we realize that the psalmist was correct, we take a major step in maturing our faith. We come to the rightful conclusion that there is nothing or no one that is bigger than our God!

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

Is God truly your strength and your portion forever?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is nothing that is too big for our God!

March 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

We all face things in our lives that make us stop dead in our tracks because we see no way around them.

For some people, this is a very long stop. They have a tendency to reflect on the circumstances way too much. These individuals may not believe in God and they feel that they are on their own. It is possible that these individuals may have a superficial understanding of God and think that He is not capable of doing anything for them. There are also those individuals who profess a faith in God, but the littlest trouble completely breaks that faith.

For those who earnestly profess a faith in the Lord, they truly understand that God loves us and He will intercede for us. These are the individuals who realize the difference between God and humanity.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We are very limited in our understanding of the Lord. Each of us have a mental image of God, but no one has ever seen God. Our understanding is limited by our humanity. We simply cannot comprehend the majesty of the Lord in our current existence.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

Even in our limited understanding, we are repeatedly told of God’s goodness and His might. All we have to do is choose to focus on God in order to see this come about. When we face troubles, and we will, we must never lose sight of God’s power. Whether we cling to the way it was described in Romans or the way that it was recorded in Isaiah, we must never forget that we serve a mighty God!

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

There is nothing that is too big for our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you opened the door?

September 4, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
(Revelation 3:20 (NIV))

When you hear someone knocking at your door, what is your first response?

Society has mandated that we respond to the knocking and acknowledge that we hear it. We may ask who is there. We may look through a peep hole in the door. We may look out a window. We may be expecting someone and simply open the door. It is considered a common courtesy to respond in some manner and usually this response leads us to actually open the door.

Why are so many of us rude to Jesus when He knocks at the door to our heart?

Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us when we don’t answer. He is patient.

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))

He will continue to knock at the door to our heart until we answer, we die, or He returns. Sadly, too many people die before answering. Sadly, too many will delay answering and He will return for His church and it will be too late.

Don’t be arrogant and rude. Jesus is knocking out of love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus is knocking!

Have you opened the door?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives?

February 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
(James 4:3 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be selfish?

If you are like me, you have probably glossed over this question with a halfhearted response that, if you said it out loud, would sound weak and pathetic. Let’s face the truth. If you are human, then you are selfish. The proper question to ask yourself is to what degree does your selfishness surface in your life? Do you go through life throwing temper tantrums because you didn’t get your way and get all that you wanted, or do you face the reality that you can’t have everything that you want?

What do you pray for?

If you recorded your prayers and had someone else listen to them, would you be embarrassed by what you ask for in your prayers? Would they come across as self-centered?

I believe that every single one of us needs to truly take a long, hard look at our motives. We all have ulterior motives for doing the things that we do. Some of us do better at subjugating our ulterior motives, but we all still have them.

Perhaps we should pray the words of David as part of our daily struggle to have righteous motives.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that my eyes will always be open!

August 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact that prayer has? Have you ever stopped to think that it is your prayers for God’s Will that God may use as the benchmark of whether or not to release the heavenly forces that He has at His command?

God will protect His people. We have seen this in the Scriptures. We have seen it possibly in our own lives.

The passage above makes me realize that God has more waiting for us than we can ever possibly imagine. It only takes faith and prayer to see God’s mighty hand at work.

I often wonder if I were in this situation, how would I have reacted? Would I have had the faith of Elisha or, in all probability, would I have been like his servant?

Can you imagine the fear and panic that the servant felt when he saw that the army had surrounded the city? How would you have reacted? It probably would initially be a very human response, a response that is based on the fight or flight instinct that seems to possess humanity in times of troubles.

Now, put yourself in the servant’s position after his eyes have been opened as an answer to prayer. I honestly believe that shock and awe occurred in this instance long before that phrase became to be known for military strategies in this current age. If you stop to think about this servant, he experienced something that took his faith level off of the charts. I can only imagine the stories he would later tell his friends and family of how God had miraculously saved him.

No matter what the world may send our way, we, as the Body of Christ, must pray that our eyes will be opened to see what the Lord is really doing in each and every situation.

Are your eyes open?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been given to Jesus?

February 11, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
(John 17:24-26 (NIV))

To be with Jesus where He is!

We have been given to Jesus. We have been called to know Him and to love Him when all around us deny Him. We have also been called to make Jesus known so that He can continue to make the Father known.

Are you able to say that you can be found in Jesus? Are you able to say that you belong to Jesus? Are you able to claim the redemptive love as your own?

I realize that I am asking a whole lot of questions, but these are questions that must be asked. Far too many people skirt around the question and never address it head on. They never truly proclaim that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. It is a simple profession of faith, but it must be made by each one of us. No one can make that profession for us, just as we cannot make it for someone else. Just as the gift of salvation is a personal offer, accepting that gift is a personal response. Each of us must accept for ourselves and respond for ourselves.

Have you been accepting? Have you been responsive?

Can you be numbered among those who have been given to Jesus as His bride?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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