Will you find shelter in what you seek?

April 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
(Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV))

Human nature is an interesting thing. We like to think that we are complex in our thoughts and actions, but in reality, we are simple in nature. We all have a need for shelter. We all have a need for food, and we all have a need for acceptance and love. Each of us have things that drive us; things that we seek in order to fill these basic needs. One of those needs is the need for love and acceptance. It is said that we all have a God-shaped hole that we are trying to fill in order to fulfill that need. All of our efforts in life are our attempts to fill that hole with something besides what it was intended to be filled with. Some of the things that we seek to fill that hole will lead to death and destruction. Some will lead to pain and misery. Some will lead to fame and fortune, but the most important thing that we can choose to fill that God-shaped hole with is God!

There is an old saying that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. In other words, whatever you choose to focus on in your life to try to fill that hole is what will eventually cause your downfall.

There is only one thing that you can seek that will overcome the results of filling that hole with the wrong thing!

Perhaps we should put a new twist on the old saying. Perhaps we should say he who lives by God’s Word, dies to the world and lives in righteousness!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

In all honesty, we all seek something. Make sure that what you seek is not a quick fix that will lead to destruction.

Will you find shelter in what you seek?

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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Are you seeking after God’s plans?

March 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV))

What is it that you seek after will all your heart?

Is it wealth? Is it fame? Is it fortune?

Is it God?

Far too many people seek other things before they seek God. They give “lip service” to God and then live as if they did not proclaim Him as Lord. In other words, they do not seek Him with all their heart. They have replaced God with a multitude of personal “gods” that they let control their lives. All of this is done in the name of prosperity, greed, security, and a number of other ideals that they have set for themselves. They look upon God as a benevolent, jolly “old man” who watches as his children do something not quite righteous. They then expect God to tell them that what they are doing is ok because they are loved and can do no wrong.

God is not like that!

He wants each of us to turn from our sinful ways and to turn one hundred percent toward Him. He longs for us to seek after His heart, for He longs to prosper us in ways that we cannot imagine. He longs to give us hope and a future. Unfortunately, too many of us look toward ourselves for the hope of the future and we look to God as our “parachute,” our safety net.

We need to look to God first in all things!

God created each of us for a purpose. That purpose was not to lay devastated within our sin. He created us to be with Him. Do you think that the creator of all the universe lacks for anything? He is ready to prosper each of us according to His riches, but first we must have a change of heart. We must stop seeking after the prosperity and seek after God first.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

Are you seeking after God’s plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you live by?

March 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to share the gospel?

Think long and hard about that question. Which is more likely to happen – you repeat the joke that you heard the other day or you tell the same person about how Jesus has changed your life? What type of a message are you conveying if the joke is off color and something that should not be repeated? Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you don’t do is having more of an impact than what you do?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are the guest of honor and featured speaker at a respected business convention. The place is packed. What will the audience think of you if the first words out of your mouth put down the event and the city because it was out of your way to come to this location? What will be their reaction if you praise the kindness of the host and the beauty of the city?

What if words are not your strong suit?

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Perhaps your actions are what people really pay attention to. Do your actions reflect your faith? Do your actions speak louder than your words? What do your actions say? Do your actions speak a different message than the words that you say?

According to Merriam-Webster, righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin.” Righteousness is basically thinking, speaking, acting and living according to what God desires. We are to live by His Word. We are to reflect His Word in all that we do, even when no one is watching, even when it is not politically correct to profess a faith in Jesus.

Faith is the backbone, it is the foundation of a life lived in Christ. It is not something to be turned on and off when it is convenient. It is what we should live by.

What do you live by?

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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What do you love?

March 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I hate and abhor falsehood
    but I love your law.
(Psalms 119:163 (NIV))

The world in which we live today has me hating what it has become more and more each day. I long for the righteousness of God’s wisdom as it should be applied in our world and not the corruption and evil that has become more and more prevalent. Still, even in the midst of all that has gone wrong in the world’s corruption of God laws, I can still see glimpses of God’s truth in how we conduct ourselves. I still see glimmers of light shining through the lives of the body of believers that we call the church. This is what we can expect. What is interesting is that I see glimmers of hope from people who don’t profess a faith, yet they still seek to do what is considered righteous in God’s eyes. If those who don’t know Jesus can do what God calls each of us to do through His Laws, then there is a spark within them that longs to be kindled into a flame that burns brightly. In order for this to happen, they need to associate the things that they do with God’s truth and why they do them. They need to learn God’s Laws. They need to fully embrace the concepts behind them and embrace the God who loves them.

They need to embrace the fact that Jesus is the embodiment of God’s Word!

How does this relate to hating falsehood and loving God’s laws?

We must be willing to pray. We must be willing to nurture. We must be willing to help others embrace the truth that is God. We must hate falsehood so much that we are willing to step out in faith and in love to show those who are lost in falsehood that there is another way that will not leave them empty and void. We must love God’s laws so much that we do not shirk from our responsibilities as messengers of God’s law and God’s grace. We must be willing to place our comfort as secondary to the needs of others. We must not love ourselves so much that we ignore others. God did not send His Son to only save you and I. He sent His Son, Jesus, to save any and all who would call upon His name. We must love God’s truth enough to share it.

What do you love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where does your help come from?

March 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

During these troubled times that we live in, it is good to realize that we have someone to turn to for help. We have someone who will be with us no matter what we may go through. We have someone who will never abandon us. All we have to do is call upon His name in righteousness.

How can this be when all of our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of God?

We don’t have to despair over this. God sent us help so that we could call upon His name for help! He sent us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as an atoning sacrifice so that we could inherit righteousness in spite of our sin. We are given the righteousness of Jesus if we will only acknowledge and accept that He is Lord and Savior. Once we take that step of faith towards God through Jesus, then God will be our help in times of trouble.

He does not keep us from the trouble, but helps us through it. Perhaps it is this simple fact that keeps more people away from accepting Jesus than anything else, for they want someone to keep them from trouble. It is our troubles that God uses to build our character and to bring us closer to Him. If we were kept from all of our troubles, I seriously doubt that we would fully understand the grace and mercy that is given to us when we are saved through our troubles. If we do not know the trouble, then how can we know the grace?

Where does your help come from?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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