What comforts you through the darkness?

June 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (NKJV))

Everyone faces darkness and tough times in their lives. What do you do when this happens? Do you cower in fear? Do you give in to the attacks of the enemy? Do you throw yourself a pity party and lock yourself away from the world in hopes that your tough times will go away? Do you lash out at the world trying to put up a front? Do you attack head-on in such a way that you think that you are able to overcome these times on your own?

To be honest with you, we have all probably used each one of these approaches in our lives when dealing with darkness and tough times. Have any of them truly worked? Did the tough times go away? Did your stress levels return to a peaceful state?

I have been on my journey with Jesus for a long time, and each time that I have faced a tough time in my life over the years, it has actually gotten easier to deal with. With each event, I have learned more about the promises of God. I have learned that I can trust Him to see me through, even when the world seems to be crashing in all around me. It hasn’t come easily, and my journey is still a work in progress, but I know that my faith is firmly placed in the One who created all things. I know that He will see me through all things, even the darkness. With the track record that the Lord has allowed me to experience, I can look back in all honesty and see how He was leading me. With this assurance, I can look ahead in all faith and know that He will lead me according to His will with my maturity in Jesus as the goal.

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in this truth even when I do not see any worldly way out of the darkness. I find great comfort in knowing that He is always with me!

What comforts you through the darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the wisdom to rest in the presence of God?

November 20, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
(1 Kings 19:3-5 (NIV))

Have you ever been put to the test and simply wanted to give up and die?

It is not uncommon for people to feel that way. Elijah, who had just called down the fire of God upon a wet alter and proved that God was the true God and not he false prophet’s gods, felt this very thing when he was confronted with an attack from the enemy. Queen Jezebel had just threatened his life as a result of what had happened and Elijah ran for his life. Think about this. Elijah had just called upon God in a mighty way and He showed up, yet, at the threats of a single woman he forgot who was fighting on his side and ran. He literally wanted to die!

We all face situations in which we want to throw in the towel and give up, but we must remember who is on our side. We must also remember that God is not in the mighty deeds at all times. Just as with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, He was in the whisper. He was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire.

What is it in your life that is currently testing you? Have you spent quiet time alone with God to hear His Will, or have you buried yourself with activity? Have you simply stopped everything because of the stress of the situation? Remember that Elijah rested and then traveled farther away from what was troubling him before he was able to discern God’s voice.

Perhaps we must simply place our trust and faith in God to deliver us. When we simply do this, He will answer in that whisper that only we can hear. We cannot hear it when we are in the heat of the battle.

What do you hear when you are faced with a test? Do you have the wisdom to rest in the presence of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is the Lord to you?

February 2, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly stopped to think about these words?

How many of us can truly say that we live a life that is not filled with stress? How many of us do not fear? How many of us do not have people who are enemies? Do any of us not need calm surroundings and rest?

What about restoration?

What about comfort?

Are you in need of goodness and love?

The words that David recorded speak to the inner desires of every human being to ever live. Even if you think that you are a tough cookie, deep inside of you, you desire the very things that David wrote about.

Can we find these things in worldly possessions? Can we find them in other people? Can we find them in our own strengths?

There is only one source for the peace that David wrote about. It can be found in no other place, no other person, than in the Lord our God. We cannot run from Him. We cannot hide from Him,. We can run to Him. We can hide within His love. He can find rest within His mercy. We can find salvation within His grace.

God is good! He is our rest. He is our restoration. He is our righteousness. He is our protection. He is our comfort. He is our protector. He is our Father!

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

March 2, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
(Psalms 130:1 (NIV))

“Depths” conjure up many vivid and horrible scenarios for the human imagination.

Think about what you consider the “depths.”

Some of the more common meanings of the word include imagery that suggests an abyss, a profound or intense state, a reprehensibly low condition, and even a high degree of intensity. Nothing about this word evokes a peaceful, calm place. We hear people refer to the depths of depression, the depths of insanity, the depths of loneliness, and the depths of despair. None of these are places that any of us long to be visiting, let alone living in.

I find it very interesting, and not at all surprising, that the psalmist used this word, this imagery, to be the base from which he cries out to God.

When do you cry for help?

Is it when things are going well, or is it when things have taken a turn toward the depths? It is human nature to cry out. It is human nature to seek comfort and peace. And, contrary to what many people profess, it is human nature to seek God. For those who proclaim that they do not believe, they have replaced God with something else, something that they seek after.

It is when we are far from God, when we are in the depths that this world has given us, that we feel the innate need for God to fill us, to comfort us, to save us, and to console us. Fortunately, He will do just that. He will fill us with Himself. He will comfort us with His Word. He will save us from our sin, and He will console us. It is our depths that often lead us to God. It is our depths that make us realize that we are not capable of anything on our own. It is often in our depths that we see ourselves clearly and then we can turn toward God and be redeemed.

What depths do you find yourself facing? Do you find yourself drowning in the despair of your situations? Do you see no way out? Are you lost and without hope?

It simply takes an effort on your part. Simply cry out to God and place your faith and trust in Him. Cry out to the Son that was sent. Sincerely cry out from your depths and see what God will do.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you weary?

September 7, 2010

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))

Labor has been defined as the act or process requiring an expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory. Sometimes that labor is physical and sometimes it is spiritual.

All of us face it. All of us grow weary from it. In the physical world, there is no escape from this burden. Even the rich face it in some way. Perhaps the biggest burden that we all face is the spiritual burden that weighs us all down. This burden is a labor of fear and uncertainty, for the commonality that binds us all together is the fear and the uncertainty of what happens to us at the point of death.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

Paul wrote these words to the church at Phillippi and they hold true today. We must rejoice in the promise that Jesus will give rest to all who come to Him. He promises much more.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV))

Some may think that Jesus has not kept His promise, for we still face burdens in this life.

“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))

Jesus did not promise to remove all troubles that make us labor and grow weary. He did promise to take those upon Himself and to help us through them. We can rest in the strength of Jesus to see us through all of our troubles. All that we must do is keep our eyes upon Him.

Are you weary from the labor of carrying your heavy burdens? Surrender your whole life over to Jesus and He will ease your burdens. He will give you the strength to see your way through them.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guarded by the peace of God?

July 14, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

Are your heart and mind guarded?

I know that this may sound like a ridiculous question, but think about that for a moment. Does the peace of God guard your heart and mind?

It is human nature to be anxious. It is human nature to pace the floor over things that are out of your control. It is human nature to worry over things that will take their own natural course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everybody worries now and then. It takes a strong faith to not worry. Perhaps it takes some episodes where you do find yourself worrying to make you realize that worry will not change a thing. I have been in hospital emergency rooms worrying about my family. I have been in situations were I find myself worrying about finances. Looking back, I realize that all of my worrying had no effect on the outcome. I learned an important lesson through my worrying. The world is still here. My family is still here. I am still here. God is still good.

God is still good!

He never changes. He knows what we can handle. He knows what will happen before it happens. He knows one thing that we must not forget.

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))

If we honestly love God, all things will work for the good of those who love Him. If we have the faith to believe His Word, then why should we worry? We are told to put our trust in Him. We are told to not be afraid.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV))

I want you to think back on my first question and rethink your answer.

Are your heart and mind guarded by the peace of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess a healthy fear?

January 18, 2010

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

An oracle is within my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For in his own eyes he flatters himself
too much to detect or hate his sin.
The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful;
he has ceased to be wise and to do good.
Even on his bed he plots evil;
he commits himself to a sinful course
and does not reject what is wrong.
(Psalms 36:1-4 (NIV))

No fear of God!

Is it possible that we, as a society, have reached that very point in our existence? Individually, many of us profess a belief and a faith in God, yet, do we fear God? Do each of us truly fear what God can and will do to us if we have not accepted His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior?

What about collectively? Do we, as a society, still have fear and reverence for the God of all creation, or do our very actions sling our sins directly into the very face of God? Do we acknowledge Him only at the personal level and leave Him out of anything that has to do with society?

How many pray during the day? Do you pray in the morning? Perhaps it is during the day, or do you pray at bed time? How many of us pray for God’s grace and then willingly do something that is contrary to what He asks of us? Personally, I don’t finish up prayers with any thoughts of breaking God’s heart, yet I am sure that it happens far too many times. I don’t intend to do this, but it happens. I feel remorse upon the realization of my actions.

It is a matter of attitude. We all sin. However, it is those who plot and scheme to do wrong that this passage speaks of. Is it just me, or does it seem that this type of sin is on the increase? This is what was written of in Psalm 36.

We live in interesting times. We must not be deceived by the sinful course that society appears to be taking. We must focus on Jesus. We must seek after God’s own heart in all that we do.

The fear of God is a healthy thing, for it shows that your understand the way in which His world works.

Do you fear God?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Anxiety and peace

December 24, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Be anxious for nothing
(Philippians 4:6a (unknown))

Today would have been bad in the eyes of many people. It actually started to appear that way to me, but God had other plans.

Perhaps I should back up just a bit and let you know that the day actually started out like any other day that God has blessed me with. It took a very drastic turn after the sun went down, however. My wife and I were out doing last minute errands and had gone to the grocery store and were heading home. All of a sudden the car died and came to a stop in the left turn lane of a fairly busy road. My first reaction was a typical human reaction – “Why me? What else could go wrong?”

I started to have countless thoughts go through my mind about getting the car out of the traffic, getting home, getting the car towed and how we would pay for it during these times when things are tight for everyone.

I was quickly put in my place. God used this episode to remind me that He is in control. He placed a man in our midst for the second time in a year. Both times, he was an answer to a specific need and both times God had him there to help with that very need.

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))

It is so easy to allow the world to overwhelm you. Tonight reminded me of this and how God works to overcome what the world will throw at us. It also reminded me that God will not and does not leave us at the mercies of the world. He sent His Son, Jesus to save us from the sins of this world. Do you actually think that God would send His Son to suffer and die, and then not provide for those who call upon His name?

Christmas is almost upon us. It is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is not the time to be anxious and fearful. Come to think of it, there is never a time to be anxious and fearful if we have called upon Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Have a very merry and stress free Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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REST !!!

December 18, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NAS))

At this very moment, I feel extremely heavy-laden. I am weary in body and mind, but my spirit still knows that I have a place of strength to which I can turn and I do turn. The world has a way of beating each of us down, no matter how much we desire to stay focused on Jesus. We must never forget that He is our source of strength when the world oppresses us in any manner.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalms 9:9 (NIV))

It has taken me a long time to grasp this simple, yet profound truth. I know that I still have a long way to go in fully claiming this truth as my own, for in my humanity, I have times of weariness where it is difficult to stay focused. To be honest with you, I know that everyone does. It is only human nature. Rejoice, for we can overcome our nature if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Even in times of trouble, He is with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

It is comforting to know that we have a place of refuge where we can go; that we have a friend who stays closer than a brother. We can always turn to Jesus, and I pray that we always do. Isn’t it good to know that He is always there when we feel that we are weary. We can rest in His grace and mercy. We can rest in His love. We can rest in the assurance that He has overcome the world.

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))

It is my prayer that everyone finds true rest in Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand Firm

August 28, 2009

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
(Luke 12:49-53 (NIV))

Everyone thinks of the birth of Jesus as the beginning of peace on earth and good will towards men. In essence it is, but not until the Millennial kingdom is established upon the earth and Jesus returns to reign. Until then, there will be division even among families.

There will be great division caused by the mere mention of His name. Some people will be vehemently apposed to His lordship while others cling unrelenting to the promises of grace and mercy that He fulfills. It will become a very bitter battle that will literally divide.

Does this sound familiar?

Take a serious look at what is happening in the world today. At every level of society, Jesus is the root of much division simply because some people choose to be openly combative toward the teachings of Jesus and anything closely related to them. They choose to assume that all generations that have gone before them were uneducated and lived their lives blindly following “false” religion.

The division between the worldly and those who call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is widening. The battle lines are drawn. We must be prepared to stand firm in our faith no matter whom we come up against. We must continue to pray for those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, but we must not allow ourselves to slip in our faith in order to avoid division.

Are you prepared to stand firm in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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