Are you truly able to say this?

January 4, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

There are many things that I hate about our sinful human nature. Perhaps the one that I hate the most is our ability to say one thing while what is in our heart says something completely different. When I read this passage, my first reaction was to pray that these words would always ring true in my heart and in my life.

Think about that!

Human nature simply gives lip service. We read this passage, as well as many others, and we fail to make it our own. We fail to take it to heart. We fail to realize the depth and breadth of God’s love. There is a belief that we can pray the Bible. I honestly believe this, especially when I read this passage and think of all of the great things that the Lord has done for me.

As I read, my heart and mind are filled with joy. I see the words, but my spirit embellishes them. They take on so much more than what is written.

Lord, help me to always say great things about you, for no one else deserves all honor and praise. You alone are worthy, Lord. May I always look to you and turn to you as my solid rock, as my fortress, for you alone are my refuge in times of trouble. You are my shelter. You are my strength. You are my stronghold. Lord, you are my God. You are the only one in whom I can trust. When everything comes crashing down around me, you are there. When the enemy attacks, you are my strength and my shield. There is no one else whose greatness surpasses yours and there is no one else who is unwavering in his love for me. I long to seek shelter in the comfort of your loving arms!

I realize that many people are afraid to alter anything within God’s Word, and rightly so. We don’t want to change the meaning, or the power that is God’s Word. We must always return to it for our strength and for our guidance. I honestly believe that the Lord finds glory when we use His Word and personalize our worship of Him. Think about that for a moment in the context of this passage. Think about the author of this passage. It was his heartfelt, personal praise of the Lord. It touched the very heart of the Lord. Can you praise the Lord in a similar manner? Can you express your inner thoughts and praise in a way that is truthful and pleasing to the Lord?

Are you truly able to say this?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is found in your life?

June 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
(Proverbs 13:10 (NIV))

Sometimes, human nature will amaze me, but to be honest with you, most of the time it amuses me!

We all say and do things that get on each other’s nerves. We brag about what we can do, even when there are others around whom we know are much better than we could ever be. We always want to be right. We always want to be number one. We always want others to look to us as an expert in something, if not everything. I often wonder how humanity started to act like a peacock, always ruffling our feathers like we are saying, “Hey! Take a look at me. Don’t you think that I’m something special?”

It all comes down to ego. It all comes down to pride. We would rather create an argument than admit we aren’t right. We would rather live a life that has us and everyone else on edge instead of asking for advice and living in peace. In other words, what amuses me about human nature is that we like to say that we are capable of logical thinking, yet we very seldom ever act like it!

Perhaps this is also related to how humanity sees knowledge and wisdom. We seek after more and more knowledge, which fluffs up our egos, yet, we fail to seek after wisdom. Knowledge is nothing more than a collection of facts and details. Wisdom is an understanding of what is important and why it is important. I have seen people who are filled with knowledge who lack any sense of wisdom and I have seen wise people who could care less about what humanity calls knowledge.

There are all types of things that human nature brings into play in our lives. Some are prideful and self-centered. Some are God centered.

What is found in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

March 14, 2018

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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 through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and not know just how to say what you want to say? Perhaps you didn’t even know what to say, you just knew that you had a very strong opinion on the subject.

What do you find yourself doing in situations like this?

Do you through up your hands in frustration and let out an audible sigh? Do the people around you understand what you are attempting to express?

That is definitely a weakness of the human condition. We are often found without adequate words to express exactly what we want to express. When we simply can’t say what we want to say, we groan or sigh out of frustration. It’s too bad that we can’t be understood when we simply cannot verbalize what we feel.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone who could understand the groanings that we make when we can’t find the words to express ourselves?

I want you to consider something with respect to your relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalms 139:13 (NIV))

You are known intimately by the Lord. He understands you like no other. He understands the groanings of our spirit. He understands these groanings to be exactly what they are, for they are our desire to communicate concepts, emotions and desires that no earthly language is capable of communicating. We fail to be able to express our inner desires because we are a weak, sinful creation, but we still have the inherited memory of and a desire for a deeper communication with the Lord. Out of this weakness, our prayers are lifted up as groanings of the spirit.

Do you find yourself groaning in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice what you preach?

March 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
(Matthew 23:1-3 (NIV))

I’m sure that you have heard the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

Have you ever been guilty of saying it?

Did you grimace after reading that question? I know that I did.

It is human nature to tell people that they should do one thing when you are doing the exact opposite of what you say they should do. Jesus knew that people in authority do this. He knew that all people do it. We like to think that what applies to everyone else doesn’t apply to us. If you stop to think about it, we see a lot of this in our political system. Laws are made that apply to everyone except themselves.

We are all called to obey God’s Word. We are all called to repentance. We are all called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. These are all things that each of us are called to practice. We are also called to preach these truths to those who don’t know them. Our actions are supposed to match our words.

Do you practice what you preach?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you have to say?

February 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalms 91:2 (NIV))

Words play a very powerful role in this world.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
(Genesis 1:3 (NIV))

In other words, God spoke everything into existence. He did not get out any tools. He did not hire a construction crew. God literally spoke everything into existence.

It was with false words that Adam and Eve were tricked in the Garden of Eden. We all know how that ended. As a result, all of humanity has been lost to sin until God spoke of a new plan.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

I could go into many, many more examples, but suffice it to say that God takes the power of words very seriously.

We are told that God’s word is alive. We are told that it is powerful. We are told that it penetrates and judges.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

If we are created in God’s image, what does all of this say about our words? Our words to each other have consequences. Our words to God have consequences. What you speak becomes reality.

What do you have to say? Is God your refuge and your fortress?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sarcastically reluctant or are you obedient?

January 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 (NIV))

Because you say so!

Those words go against every natural, worldly human reaction that I have ever seen or heard. Perhaps we should think of them slightly reworded to fully understand the sarcastic emotion that they normally convey.

If you say so!

Think back on the last time that you said these words. I would venture to say that they were uttered as a biting, sarcastic comment to something that someone had just told you. Come on! Admit it. We have all been guilty of saying these very words with this very attitude.

Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question!

Were you ever completely surprised by what happened immediately after you said these words?

Think about Simon. Have you ever stopped to think about his reaction after the events that followed his comment to Jesus? Have you ever heard the saying that he ate crow? Literally, the expert fisherman had to swallow his pride and stand there completely and utterly amazed and confused when a carpenter showed him up. I admire Simon for his attitude. He was willing to humble himself. He was willing to acknowledge that because of his obedience, he was shown something amazing.

He was also willing to take a step of faith and see where that step would take him. He left his boats and nets and followed Jesus.

He became a fisher of men.

That is quite a big change in attitude from what was probably said in sarcastic frustration. I just love the way how Jesus can take our obedience, even our halfhearted obedience, and turn it into something amazing.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you wise and prudent or foolish and deceptive?

April 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
(Proverbs 14:8 (NIV))

Do you think about your actions? Do you think about what type of an impact that they will have on you? Perhaps you plan your actions so that you benefit from them. If that is the case, do you stop to reflect upon the impact that they will have on other people? This impact can be either positive or negative. The sad question that I must ask after making that last statement is if you honestly care if your actions have a negative impact on others.

Please be honest with yourself!

I realize that human nature has us looking out for ourselves all of the time, but as the Body of Christ, shouldn’t our focus not be on ourselves? Shouldn’t we temper our thoughts and our actions so that we do not lead someone to falter in their faith, or to be hurt by our unconcerned actions.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6 (NIV))

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV))

I realize that Jesus was actually talking about little children, but if we are believers, it requires the faith of a little child. If that is the case, it is not too difficult to realize that Jesus could very easily be talking about making any believer falter in their faith.

That is not something that I want to stand before God and be found guilty of!

If we truly long to be wise in the eyes of God, we need to be prudent about the things that we think, say and do. If we are not prudent, the logical conclusion is that we are fools and guilty of deception.

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