Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

May 23, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this describes something that I would love to be involved in!

Is this how you want to experience church?

It is amazing just how the early church was able to grow. I think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the early church. They did not simply meet for an hour or so once a week. They were a community. They were invested in the lives of each other. They embraced newcomers. They worshipped together. They ate together. They truly enjoyed being around each other. They recognized the value of being around the body of believers. They were truly filled with the joy that only comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Over the many years that have transpired since the early church, the church has grown. I am truly thankful for that growth, for without that growth, chances are extremely great that the current members of the Body of Christ would not have heard the Gospel. We must not lose sight of the joy that the early church had. They were focused on Jesus.

We must return to that focus. We must return to that joy! We must focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV))

Even though He suffered and died on the cross, He went through it all so that we could experience the joy of salvation. Now, we can experience the joy of His resurrection and redeeming grace. He is the only source of true joy in this world!

Have you fully embraced the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have we been praying?

December 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

There have been many people who have quoted this passage recently in hopes of encouraging the Body of Christ to pray for our country and our world. With this in mind, I have a question.

Have we been praying?

Have we been sincere and earnest in our pleas to God? Do we truly long for righteousness or have we started to accept what the world is selling? Do we treasure God’s Word or do we treasure the world?

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

Where is your heart?

Do you see the things in this world and long for righteousness? Do you ache in your heart when you see what society has become and is becoming, or do you find yourself thinking that what is going on looks like it would be fun to participate in? It’s time to examine our hearts and truly determine what it is that we treasure.

With this in mind, I think that it is time to ask the question one more time.

Have we been praying?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we love and teach like the early church?

June 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

I have often heard that non-believers are not reached through preaching, but through fellowship.

God came to earth as Jesus to fellowship with His creation face to face. Jesus taught, ate and lived with the people that He was trying to reach. He taught His disciples to reach out to people in the same way. They did not meet with people only on Sunday. They did not meet with people who happened to show up for an hour once a week to hear a message. They spent their time with the people, living, eating, teaching and enjoying each other’s company. They brought people to Jesus through a fundamental principle of friendship and love.

People are hungry for the Truth. They are hungry for the Love of the Father. This love can be shown by people. It is when this love is shown by people, when people can see Jesus in someone, that they are honestly and genuinely drawn to God. Once they are drawn, they need feeding and nurturing. It is this feeding and nurturing that continual fellowship in Jesus satisfies.

Jesus did not condemn when He taught. He came to bring life and more abundantly. Life is a gift from God. It is to be enjoyed. People come to know Jesus through true fellowship with believers.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sincerity your goal?

August 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:9-16 (NIV))

Simple rules to live by. A simple philosophy to hold fast to when all around you is falling apart.

If that is the case, then why do many of us cling to what is evil and reject what is good? Perhaps we will never truly know why human nature has sunk to a point where sin and Satan cloud our hearts, minds and spirits. They are clouded so much that we cannot see what is good when it is right before our eyes. Even believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have trouble with these characteristics and discerning which is from God.

I cannot remember who said it, but there is a quote that says something to the effect that Christianity is a good thing, but it is too bad that nobody has ever practiced it. Following Jesus is a good thing, however, in our human nature and in our sinful flesh, we cannot follow Jesus on our own without making mistakes. Perhaps the person who spoke those words did not understand that we are not perfect, and as a result, our worship of Jesus as Lord and Savior, and our attempts to follow Him are far from perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect that they missed is that they are not perfect and are in need of a savior to justify themselves to God.

We must strive to be like Jesus in all that we do, yet, we must not be proud or conceited, for it is not anything that we have done that has allowed us special favor with God. It was a sacrifice planned by God that has allowed us to be forgiven when we are less than perfect. Perhaps the person who spoke about nobody practicing Christianity did not take into consideration the word “practice.” The last time I looked, the word “practice” meant to do something over and over again in hopes of getting better at it.

This is my goal, to get better at following Jesus. I desire to practice Christianity so that the words in Romans are more than mere words. What is your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Just what is real knowledge?

April 9, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

Just what is real knowledge?

If you follow the media and the larger universities, many are claiming that what was once called wisdom is no longer true. They claim that we have become educated and the old wisdom and knowledge is no longer relevant. They claim that we, as humans, can apply our knowledge and solve any problem.

Are you laughing as hard as I am at this thought?

Human knowledge has its limitations. It has its errors in judgment and reasoning. It is flawed and no matter how much humanity claims that it can perfect human knowledge, there will always be circumstances that push human ability to understand, reason and to respond.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:16 (NIV))

With this truth before us, there is only one true knowledge. There is only one real knowledge. God is good and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

When you gain knowledge, it is said that you are enlightened. Jesus is the light. Knowing Jesus and following Jesus will not result in senseless results of rash decisions based on false knowledge. Jesus will walk with you in all that you do. He will be with you. The knowledge of the Holy Trinity will be with you.

Do you know the real knowledge that God desires for you to know?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to love?

February 25, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

What is the one thing that we are told to do until Jesus returns?

Carefully reread Philippiams 1:9-10. We are told to have real knowledge and all discernment, but these are not the one thing that we are told to do. They are the way we are to do the one thing!

We are to love!

Who are we to love?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

We are to love each other so that others will know that we are disciples of Jesus. Who are we to love and how are we to love?

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
(Luke 10:30-36 (NIV))

Based on this passage, who do you think that we should love?

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