How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the LORD
      will renew their strength.
   They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“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))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

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.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are called to return His love!

January 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

There are truly no better instructions on how we are to love the Lord, but have you ever stopped to truly think about how He loves us? I have often wondered if we are given this passage because that is how He loves us. In our limited understanding, are we being told to mirror the Lord’s love for us back to Him?

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))

How great is His love for us that He would give His one and only Son in order to save us? He did not hesitate to create a plan of redemption knowing what price had to be paid. He willingly paid the price. It sounds like the Lord loves us with all His heart!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
     for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV))

How great is His love for us that He desired to give us peace, that He desires to restore our souls?

So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (ESV))

If you think about that with an understanding of Genesis, we are created in His image. God loves us because we are His creation. We are His children. Each of us are unique and each of us are important in His eyes. It is not a difficult leap of faith to conclude that the Lord loves us with all His soul, or should I say with all His Holy Spirit?

Have you ever tried to truly comprehend the sacrifices, the torture and the pain of the crucifixion? The physical implications are staggering. The spiritual implications are not as visible to us, but they are overwhelming. Jesus took on the sin of all humanity. He paid the price for that sin. The Father had to turn His back on the Son so that this could transpire. God loves us so much that He bore the weight of all sin for all of humanity. I can’t assume to know if this was all of the strength that He possessed. I just know that it was far greater than anything that had ever been seen before. To summarize this, I think that it is clearly obvious that the Lord loves us with all His strength, even to the point of death, descending into hell, and then arising again!

Do you think that this is how God loves us?

We are called to return His love!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get the roles reversed!

November 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

I do not wish to come across as someone who only sees the bad in this world, but at this moment in time, evil seems to be increasing. As followers of Jesus, we must be prepared to stand firm in our faith. We must be ready to share our faith even when it is not physically safe to do so. We must do what we, as the Body of Christ, have been called to do.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We have been called to go!

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

But, we are not called to go on our own strength. The words of Jesus as recorded by John share with us some very enlightening concepts. If you look at these words from the perspective of an agricultural society, they become clearer as to their meaning. The vine is the source of nutrients and strength for the branches. The vine provides all that the branches need to grow, mature, and, yes, to bear fruit. There is strength in the vine. There is sustenance in the vine. You cannot remove the branches from the vine and expect the branches to survive. You cannot expect the branches to grow, mature and bear fruit if the branches are cut off from the vine.

Sadly, we have a tendency to believe that we only need to connect with the vine for a few minutes on Sunday!

Too many of us even go so far as to believe that our connection is so that we can simply “check in” with the Lord and recharge, and then go about our own business. Dare I say that we may even feel that we are the vine. That is not how this relationship with the Lord is supposed to work. He is our source of strength. He is our source of truth. He is our source of light, and we must stay connected to Him so that His strength, His truth and His light flow into us continually. They do not flow in the other direction!

It is always important to remember that He is the Creator and we are the creation, and with the way that things are happening in this world, we need to draw closer to Him. We must remember that He is the vine and we are the branches. He is the potter and we are the clay!

Don’t get the roles reversed!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

September 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

Have you ever actually seen an eagle soar?

It is graceful and effortless in flight. It is beauty in motion. The eagle soars over all of the trouble below. It observes but does not involve itself in the mess that is below. It is master of its domain.

How can we, as believers, mount up with wings like eagles?

If we wait upon the Lord, we will seek after His heart. We will know His heart. We will be guided through the ordeals of this life. We will soar through above the troubles.

Think about that. How we experience life is a matter of perspective. If we find ourselves living among those who do not follow God, we will have troubles. We may even find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have the assurance that he will carry us through all tribulations and trials that this world sends our way. When we walk with Jesus, we walk above the trials and tribulations.

Take a look at Peter.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV))

When Peter waited on the Lord, he was able to do something amazing. When he started to look at what he was doing through his eyes, he started to fail.

Our assurance comes from Jesus!

Our effortless movements come from Jesus. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to labor. It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus that we begin to grow weary. It is at that time that we faint.

Our actions are labored. God’s actions through us are effortless. We do not grow weary. Through God, we will mount up with wings like eagles. God will direct our efforts and He will keep us above the sins of the world.

Are you ready to soar and not grow weary?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you answered the call?

August 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

This verse came to mind earlier today because of something that my family has experienced, but God had a different direction for me to write about.

With everything that is going on in the world, many people are probably asking how can God work this for good for those who love Him? I completely understand the concern. Nothing in this world makes sense anymore. Good is being called evil and evil is being called good. We have all seen what happens to people who speak out against the insanity that just seems to be the new normal. In fact, I just read a brief news clip saying that a member of Congress has been banned from a particular social media platform simply because he was saying something contrary to the accepted insanity. This is just the latest example. There are countless preachers, teachers and evangelists who have been banned on various platforms simply for sharing God’s Word as it relates to current events.

The sad thing is that I don’t think that this is going to get any better!

I am now seeing people who I have never heard say much publicly about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit who are now confessing that they firmly believe that the time is at hand. Don’t get me wrong. These people were and are believers. They were just quiet individuals who simply lived their lives trying to live by God’s Word. Now they are sharing what their spirit is feeling.

What is your spirit feeling? Are you seeing the events transpiring in this world and shedding a tear because they break your heart? Are you at a loss for words and only the groanings of your spirit seem to ease the uncertainty that you see?

God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 (NIV))

We need to remember this passage as the events unfold before us. I love the way that God’s Word leads us and guides us. Shortly after we are told that God is our refuge and strength, we are told to be still in His presence. Is God telling us to take refuge in Him and watch what He does? Is God telling us that after everything unfolds that He will be exalted? I realize that these are rhetorical questions, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of His majesty.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
     I will be exalted among the nations,
     I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

When we read Romans 8:28, we have a tendency to make it personal, especially when we are going through an individual struggle or trial. It truly doesn’t take much thought to know that in all things God does work for the good of all who love Him. That is all part of His plan. That is all part of His purpose that we have been called by. Jesus is that plan. Jesus is that good. Jesus is that purpose. You need to answer the call before it is too late.

Have you answered the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not lose hope in the Lord!

June 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

How has your strength been recently?

I could probably stop with just those words and you can fill in your own issues that you see in the world and in your life. Let’s face it. Every single person alive is caught up in the middle of the events that have affected the whole world.

Financial crises.
Political upheaval.
Race riots.
Wars and rumors of wars.
The global pandemic.
Good being called evil and evil being called good.

Do I need to list anything else?

I honestly do not understand how anyone who doesn’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior makes it through each day when more and more is added to the already huge list of troubles. Those who do call upon the name of the Lord have a promise that we can rely upon to give us strength even in the midst of troubles.

“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))

We are told that troubles will increase as the time gets closer for the events spoken of in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. As we see things unfolding, we must remember to never lose sight of the Lord. We must remember to never lose hope in the Lord, for all of His promises are “Yes!” When the world sees trouble, we must see hope. We must renew our strength as we find shelter in His presence and in His strength. When we rely on His strength, we can face anything. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not be faint, and best of all, we can soar above the troubles of the world.

We must not lose hope in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you say about Jesus?

June 16, 2021

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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))

What do you say about the Lord to other people that you know and to those whom you meet?

I realize that this question makes one assumption about you faith and that is that you share Jesus with the people in your life.

Do you share Jesus?

What do you say about Him?

Perhaps I should ask what you do not say, for it is often the lack of words that says the most? Do you tell people that it is only by His grace that you made it through a specific time in your life? Do you tell people that He has been there with you through every step of your life, both the mountaintops and the valleys? Do you tell people that when you didn’t have the strength to make it through the wildernesses of life that He was with you? Do you tell people that He carried you when you simply could not make it through another day? Do you tell people that He has been there even when everyone else has abandoned you?

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ (NIV))

Most people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will share the concept of needing Jesus with other people if asked, but it is a rare believer who will go out of their way to find these opportunities. No matter when you tell others about Jesus, it is much more effective if you will simply share with people what He has done for you. This opens up the door for others to ask what He can do for them.

What do you say about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly refreshed?

June 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
(Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV))

I realize that these words were given to Jeremiah about Judah and Israel, but if you read them in context, they are a promise to the people who are obedient to the Lord. They are a promise to those who are faithful to the Lord that He will be faithful to them.

In the midst of everything that is going on in the world, have you been faithful?

Have you turned to the Lord for your strength when all around you has been chaos? Have you called upon the name of the Lord and asked for guidance and wisdom no matter what the world has sent your way? Have you persevered in your faith even when the world is calling a faith in Jesus evil and racist? Have you fallen to your knees and asked the Lord to show you His Will so you will know His heart during these trying times? Are you ready to stand firm in your faith in Jesus no matter what the world may say?

There is a saying that is often quoted.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than to stand with the world and be judged by God.

Is this your attitude? Are you willing to make this claim no matter what the world may send your way? Are you willing to stand your ground even when facing physical consequences? Can you assuredly make the same claim as Joshua?

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

If you make this profession and stand firm, the Lord will give you strength. He will walk with you. He will give you the strength to soar above the world.

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

To put it simply. You will be refreshed.

Are you truly refreshed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your strength been renewed?

May 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I cling to these words!

If you focus on the events of the world, it is so easy to lose hope and once you have lost hope, the next step is to simply give up. As believers, we know better than that. We have a Savior who has overcome the world! We can rely on the promise recorded by John in these words.

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))

There is a saying that when things look down, we are to look up. We look up for that is where Jesus is. He is our hope. He is our strength. He is our salvation. We are to turn our eyes to Him and renew our strength. Our hope and our strength are not based on some far off promise by someone who does not have the authority to keep that promise. It is based on the authority of the Creator of all things.

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.
(John 1:1-3 (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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, He is all that we need and with Him and through Him we will overcome anything that the world may send our way.

Do you need strength?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need to soar above the troubles?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need rest because you are weary and faint?

Turn to Jesus!

Has your strength been renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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