Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

December 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Does this sound like a new year’s verse?

I honestly don’t know how many times that I have read this passage, but every time I do read it, I can easily identify with being weary and burdened. I think that it is safe to say that this can apply to every person who is alive today for we all feel weary and burdened at some point in our lives.

But, . . .

I want you to step back and read this as a New Year’s resolution that you will keep!

Lord, Jesus, I resolve to turn to you in all of my needs.

Does this sound like a New Year’s resolution that you want to keep? Is it one that you will strive to keep?

It can also be a daily prayer. It can be a reminder of what you need to do when you start to feel the weight of the world come crashing in on you.

Lord, Jesus, it’s me once again. I come to you because you say that your burden is light. My burden is extremely heavy. I cannot carry my burden on my own. I am in need of your peace and rest, so I turn my burden over to You. I don’t want to carry my burdens any longer. Please give me the strength to leave them with you. Give me the strength to trust that you will carry them for me. Amen!

I love God’s Word!

There is so much meaning in the passages. It is time that we, as the Body of Christ, firmly claim the truths that are promised to us. Matthew 11:28 is a short verse, but it contains so much promise. Are you weary and burdened? Do you want to rest in the presence of the Lord? All that we have to do is turn to Jesus!

Have you found the rest that you are looking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is your strength and your shield?

December 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

It is December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. It is the time that we think of Jesus coming to earth. It is a time of great joy, for Christmas symbolizes the birth of our hope and the birth of our faith.

It is also the time that people show just how much that they misunderstand just what Christmas means.

They see the baby Jesus and the gifts. They see the love that God has for His creation as it is wrapped in the joy of a new baby. People marvel at this and become filled with visions of heart warming activities surrounded by family and friends. What these people fail to realize is that this heart warming activity is about so much more than decorations, presents, family and friends.

It is about salvation.

It is about grace.

It is about the birth of a hope that cannot be taken from us.

It is about the strength of the one who shields us from the consequences of the sins of this world.

You can look upon Christmas as something nice and sweet and heart warming, which it is, or you can look upon Christmas with power and might, for it holds the strength of God’s promises to His creation. Christmas is powerful. The birth of Jesus made heaven rejoice and Satan cower. Would the birth of any other person have such an impact?

It is time that we show the world the strength of Christmas and the true joy of which we sing.

I have written about this before, but I think it is appropriate once again. The words “Merry Christmas” can be traced back a long way. They can be traced back to a time when “Merry” did not mean joyous and festive. The word “Merry” originally meant mighty. The festive greeting that we know as “Merry Christmas” originally was a greeting in which people wished for each other to have a “Mighty Christ’s Mass.” They were wishing for each other to have a powerful encounter with Jesus.

Strength and power!

May you have a Merry Christmas in every sense of the meaning.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

November 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

At first read, this passage seems wordy and long, but if you stop and truly consider what is being said, everything comes into focus. In fact, this passage should become the prayer that we all pray for every member of the Body of Christ!

These words bless the person to whom they are directed.

These words identify from whom that blessing flows.

These words give glory to whom the blessings flow from.

These words describe the power and authority of Jesus and God our Father.

These words tell us of the great love that is held for us by Jesus and God the Father.

These words tell of the grace that is ours because of this great love.

These words should encourage us because they clearly show that we are His children.

And, because of this encouragement, these words give us strength to face the world.

It is amazing the power that words hold. God spoke everything into existence. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Our words can be used to approach the throne room of God. Our words of acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior bring grace. Words can bring blessings. Words can bring encouragement and strength!

Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

October 30, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
(2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, it is understood that he wrote them from prison in Rome. Even in the midst of being in prison, he had the strength of faith to reach out to assure Timothy and others that he stood firm in his faith. Paul knew beyond any doubt that his belief in Jesus was true. All you have to do is remember his Damascus Road experience to understand Paul’s strength of faith.

Even though Paul was strong in his faith, there is one statement in this passage that made me stop and reflect on my own attitude. It made me think about human nature and how any of us would react if we were put in prison. Most would feel ridicule, regret and shame. Now, how would you feel if you were thrown in prison for doing what you know is right? Does that sound like it is highly improbable? Take a look at Paul. Take a look at certain countries around the world where professing a faith in Jesus is either a prison sentence or a death sentence. Do you believe that this type of thing could not possibly happen to you?

We don’t know what is in store for us in the future.

We do know who holds our future!

The world may throw things at us that are unexpected. The enemy definitely will attack us with things that are unexpected. Professing a faith in Jesus is not a guaranteed life without hardships.

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))

Paul may not have recorded the words that Jesus spoke, but he definitely believed them and lived by them. Relying on your faith in Jesus is not something that we should ever be ashamed of. A true faith means that we are convinced that Jesus is with us even in the midst of suffering. A true faith recognizes this and is willing to deny the world even when it means suffering.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not implying that we must suffer to prove our faith. What I am saying is that there may come a day when we are called to reject Jesus or suffer. If this day ever comes, I pray that all who currently call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will stand firm in their faith.

Are you willing to suffer for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith built on substance and confidence?

October 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

Have you ever truly stopped to reflect on faith and what it means? Many people confuse faith with hope. If you imagine yourself going on a journey with faith as your destination, you would travel through hope long before you ever get to faith. Hope basically can be summarized as an optimistic attitude. Faith can be described as a confidence or a trust that something will happen. The two are related, but they are not the same. When you consider that the Bible uses the word “hope” to define faith, it quickly becomes obvious which is greater.

Faith is so much more than hope. Faith is substantial. Faith is what gives us strength to stand firm and strong when the storms of this world dash our hopes against the rocks. Faith is what gives us strength to guide us when the world throws us into a dry and barren place. Faith is what gives us strength to keep us focused on the prize when the enemy sends anything and everything at us to try and distract us. Faith is the peace that passes all understanding if we only allow it to firmly take root in our lives!

Faith is substance!

I love the way that the New International Version (NIV) translates Hebrews 11:1.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Faith is confidence!

With that in mind, let’s look at hope and faith with two simple questions.

Do you have hope that you are saved?

Do you have faith that you are saved?

Do your answers show that you are hopeful in your salvation or do your answers show that you are confident in your salvation?

Is your faith built on substance and confidence?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you conscious of?

October 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
(Romans 3:20 (NIV))

Do you try to obey God’s laws?

How is that going for you?

If you are like me, the moment I wake up I start having trouble doing everything that I should be doing. Let’s face the truth. None of us can even obey the speed limit one hundred percent of the time! We think that we are doing good if we are driving 60 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. In essence, we are breaking the law.

Think about God’s laws. Let’s look at one that we all think that we are capable of keeping.

You shall not murder.
(Exodus 20:13 (NIV))

It is probably safe to say that most people have not committed murder, not would they even consider it. But, what about the times when you are so angry at someone and you utter words that don’t even sound that bad in the grand scheme of things. Have you ever called someone a fool? Think about that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic!

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:22 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at another one of God’s laws.

You shall not commit adultery.
(Exodus 20:14 (NIV))

Pretty straight forward. No sex outside of marriage. There are those who think that they can get away with it, but most people will agree with the basic concept.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:28 (NIV))

Most of God’s laws sound simple, yet they are so very hard to obey. The one thing that God’s laws do a good job of is reminding people of the daily struggle required to even attempt to be righteous in God’s eyes. God’s laws bring our shortcomings front and center. They make us conscious of the fact that we can’t do it in our own strength. We need a Savior. We need Jesus!

What are you conscious of?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

October 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There was a very popular song released in the early 1980s that said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There have been many instances throughout popular culture that use something similar. If I remember correctly, there was a ketchup commercial that used a similar idea to describe the anticipation of the ketchup coming out of the bottle. Whether you are waiting or anticipating, human nature does not like to wait. There is something within our nature that simply does not like the idea of waiting. We get antsy. We get impatient. We get restless. We get irritated and then angry.

If we act like this when waiting for things that we can see in this physical world, how much less patience do we have for things that we cannot see?

There is an old saying that patience is a virtue.

I definitely agree with this idea. I also firmly believe that it is a character strength. I know that it is something that we must cultivate and allow to mature.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

It is common to refer to things as getting stronger as they mature. If that is the case, then patience grows stronger as it matures as well. Waiting requires patience. It requires the strength of character to be willing to be still and wait. For those who love to fish, do you grow impatient after your fist cast? You know that getting what you came for requires time and effort.

Time and effort!

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the Lord is testing us to see if we are willing to commit the time and effort to get to know Him and to wait for His truth? Think about that for a moment. He created us. He knows that we are impatient since the fall from grace. He knows that it will require a commitment, it will require a strength on our part, to wait for Him.

Do you have the strength to wait for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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