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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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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Broken and loved by God!

December 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

” `The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone’ ?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.
(Luke 20:17-18 (NIV))

Which would you rather be – broken or crushed? Let’s face it, neither one of them sound like it will be good for anyone. Both options have drastic overtones that resound with pain.

Carefully consider the options from a two thousand year old perspective. To fall to the ground, or prostrate yourself, meant to throw yourself at the mercy of the one who was in authority. The authority was thought of as strong and as powerful as stone. Out of humility, people would prostrate themselves on the stone of the authority seeking mercy. In the situation where a faith in Jesus is professed, Jesus is that stone. He is that authority. It is at His feet that we prostrate ourselves seeking mercy. Fortunately, all who seek it will find it. Through our brokenness and humility, we will be strengthened. We will be made whole.

Consider those who did not throw themselves at the mercy of the authority. That stone of authority came down upon them and crushed any chances of mercy that may have existed. The same is true of Jesus. If we are too proud to turn to Him in brownness and humility, eventually, His authority will come down upon us and crush us. We will be broken and cast away without any hope. I know that this sounds harsh, but we must remember that God loves us and does not desire for any of us to face this. He calls us to Him, but our pride causes the separation.

In my opinion, it is much better to be broken than to be crushed. Brokenness implies that we can be restored. We can be made as good as new. To be crushed implies the return to the dust from which we came.

All of us must come to terms with the power and the strength of the stone that is Jesus. We can humbly approach Him in our brokenness and seek mercy, or we can deny Him in our pride and be crushed by His authority. One thing that we must never forget is that with the authority that belongs to Jesus comes the love and mercy of God. It is this love and mercy that kept Jesus on the cross. He faced the brokenness so that we can turn to Him in our brokenness and find love and mercy.

As for me, I would prefer to be broken and loved by God, instead of being proud and crushed by the weight of my sin.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Wash and be cleansed

February 1, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
(2 Kings 5:13-14 (NIV))

How many times have we been like Naaman? We want to do God’s Will. We want to live like God would have us to live. We want to be touched by God and anointed by God. Yet, in our desire to have God touch us, we overlook the simple and Godly touch because in our minds it is not grand enough to be from God. We miss the blessing because we are looking for signs, wonders and miracles.

It took Naaman’ servants to point out that if he was willing to do something grand if God asked him to, why would he not be willing to do something simple? I think that human nature gets in the way of far too many encounters with God because of this very attitude. We either see ourselves as much greater than the simple tasks or we see ourselves in so much sin that we think a tremendously large task will be needed to save us.

If you stop to think about it, Naaman is foreshadowing what we must do to accept grace and mercy through Jesus. We think that simply calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is far too easy to gain us redemption. We expect to have to perform some huge undertaking to prove our worth. God sees it differently for He knows that we cannot perform any great undertakings because of our sin. He had Jesus perform the greatest task when He died on the cross for us. He had Jesus perform a salvation earning task when He was raised from the dead. To each of us, God is calling. He is saying that it is easy. Follow a simple plan by accepting Jesus and then we, too, can do what Naaman did – “Wash and be cleansed!”

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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