How is your faith through the wilderness?

May 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
(Mark 1:12-13 (NLT))

Do you ever stop to think about what Jesus actually experienced when He went into the wilderness for these forty days?

What temptations do you experience when you face each day of your life?

Do you face greed and lust? What about anger and frustration? Do you have to deal with ego and pride? I think I can safely say that all of us have also had to deal with resentment and bitterness. Now, consider how you have reacted when faced with these temptations. How did you react? Even on our best day, we fail miserably in most if not all of these temptations.

How do you think that Jesus reacted to each of these temptations?

We know that He faced every temptation known to humanity and did not give in to any of them, but I often wonder how he reacted. Did He simply turn away from them or did He reflect upon our weaknesses as He defeated each and every temptation that He was given? Did He think of what He was doing with respect to what it would mean for us? How did He reject the temptation? Did He look at it with disgust and think “How can someone give in to this?” Did He keep His eyes focused on what was at the end of the forty days on the other side of the wilderness?

Each of us face our own wilderness situations and temptations. We must look to Jesus and His experience so that we may keep our faith through our wildernesses. Because Jesus went through His wilderness experience, He now walks with us through ours. He will give us strength. He will give us comfort. He will give us peace.

The world today seems to be sending all of us into the wilderness. How we respond will determine many things. Will we have the faith to see ourselves through the wilderness or will we falter and give in to the temptations we face?

How is your faith through the wilderness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to be a watchman?

February 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, `You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
(Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NIV))

When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to warn Israel of their wrongdoing, God made it clear that if He sends someone to deliver His Word, that person carries the weight of those people as his responsibility. That is also true for today.

When God sent Ezekiel, Ezekiel did not have the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to deliver. He had the teachings of the Law to deliver. God sent Ezekiel to deliver prophetic words that would greatly impact their lives.

Today, we have words that will impact lives even more than in Ezekiel’s time. We can speak in general terms, not as prophets, but as people empowered by the Holy Spirit to warn people of their impending danger if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Where we differ from Ezekiel is that we have a direct route to God that we can offer to anyone who is willing to receive it.

If God places us in situations that He desires for us to warn and to witness, we need to respond. If we do, then the decision and the consequences are the responsibility of the person we witnessed to. If we do not tell them, then the responsibility is ours to bear.

If we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we need to heed what God asks of us to do. It has a far greater impact than we realize.

Are you willing to be a watchman?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 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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Are your steps firm?

May 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
(Psalms 37:23-24 (NIV))

I have two questions for you.

Do you delight in the Lord and lift up His name in joy and thanksgiving?

Have you ever faced a situation where you did not see any logical way for you to come through it unscathed? You just knew that the outcome was not going to be pretty!

I just love how if your answer to the first question is yes, it will lead to a successful outcome for the situations described in the second question.

When you delight in the Lord, He delights in you! Think about this from the viewpoint of an earthly father with multiple children. He loves all of his children, but the ones who seek to bring joy to their father are the ones who make the father the happiest. He loves them all, but if any are aloof, they don’t have the intimacy with the father and the father is saddened by this. How can he guide them if they will not come to him? Does this sound familiar? Does this help to paint a picture of how the Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him? Could it be due to the desire to be close to the Lord? When you draw close, you begin to know the very heart of the Lord, and when you know the very heart of the Lord, you begin to walk where He leads.

When you were young, did you ever walk with your father and hold his hand? You relied on the guidance, the strength and the stability to help you make it to your destination. You followed where he led. You might have stumbled, but you never fell. You were firmly holding onto your father’s hand! Because you relied on the guidance, the strength and the stability of your father, you were confident in your steps. There was a firm and bold faith in your steps. Walking with the Lord should be just the same. Step out boldly and firmly in faith as you hold your Father’s hand!

Are your steps firm?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you run out of hope?

September 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
(Romans 4:18 (NIV))

Against all hope!

I want to ask a very deep question. This is a question that I have asked myself before and I am sure that many of you have asked it in your lifetime.

What do you hold on to when you have no hope left?

Think about that for a moment.

How do you count hope? Is it as the world defines it based on so called logic and the evidence of things that you can see? If that is how you define hope, then Abraham was a foolish old man. He and his wife were without children and they were already close to beginning three digits in their age. According to the world, there was no hope that they would ever have a child, let alone be placed into a situation where Abraham would be called the father of many nations.

Against all hope Abraham still hoped! Actually, he did one better than hope. He believed! He believed that God would fulfill His promises. He believed that Sarah would bear him a son. He believed that God would provide. Even when, according to worldly standards, none of this could have happened, Abraham believed!

Abraham had faith! In fact, his faith is the perfect example of the definition of faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Abraham was sure even when the world said that he had no hope.

Is it possible for someone who earnestly seeks to follow the Lord to never have any hope left?

Take a look at your life. Take a look at the situations that you have begun to believe are hopeless. Now, I want you to rethink your answer to my previous question. I want you to answer that question with a bold statement.

I will still hold on to Jesus when all worldly hope is gone!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you walking hand in hand with Jesus through your trials?

October 1, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

Over the last few years, I have faced situations that at every turn were becoming more and more frustrating. No matter what I did, the situation never would resolve itself in a way that was needed. I found myself in a daze and was not able to function. I found myself simply resigning to what appeared to be the overwhelming obstacles that I faced. I had no idea how to persevere. I had no idea why the situation was presenting itself in the manner that it was. I simply felt like giving up.

Does this sound familiar?

I am sure that all of us have faced similar situations in the past. I am also sure that we will all face similar situations again in the future. These types of situations are the very trials that are written of in James. Satan will find anything and everything that can be used against us in an effort to defeat us.

It is so easy to simply give in, to simply say that we cannot handle the trials. It is at these very moments when we must remember that we are not expected to endure them on our own. We simply need to remember that God is with us. We must remember that we have a brother sitting at the right hand of God who will intervene on our behalf. Jesus will walk with us. In fact, if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then He always walks with us. It is a matter of our perception that makes us think that He is not with us. It is at these times that we look at our trials through human eyes and not through the promises that we have been given.

These situations can be depressing and overwhelming, but we must remember that we do not have to face them on our own. Jesus is walking with us. Simply stop and take His hand. He will guide you. He will give you peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Who or what guards you heart in times of trial?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who are we to judge?

February 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6:37 (NIV))

It is so hard not to judge. When you get the urge to judge, step back and take a look at the situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself the following questions.

Do you know the details about the person’s life?

Do you know the state of the relationships that person is involved in?

Do you know the medical issues that the person is dealing with?

Do you know whether that person is facing a life changing situation?

These are just some of the things that can make an individual do things that will make someone want to judge them. Any of these issues as well as countless others could easily sway your appearance to others. Would you want them to judge you because you are angry that someone you love has hurt you deeply? Would you want someone to judge you because you don’t act the way they do simply because you have a medical condition that has involuntary movements, sounds or the inability to focus or multitask?

Each of us faces situations in our lives that are known only to us and to God. If we are forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus, how can others judge us? In turn, how can we judge others for their sins, especially when the sins that we claim forgiveness of are no better than their sins in the eyes of God.

If you start to feel self-righteous, remember the prostitute that Jesus met.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:3-11 (NIV))

Jesus spoke words to live by: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Are any of us in a position to judge? Are we without sin? Why do each of us want to pick up our stones so quickly?

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