Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

November 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV))

Most of us just finished a meal, a feast, in which we gathered together with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings that we have. It is good to be thankful, especially when you consider that whatever you are thankful for can be gone in an instant. Loved ones can be taken from us. Health can be good one minute and forever a problem the very next. The homes that we have can go up in smoke and the finances that we store away for our future can be worthless the very next day.

No matter the state of the things of this world, there is one thing that we should be eternally thankful for. There is a treasure that lasts forever! That treasure is Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

We celebrate an earthly thanksgiving with a meal. We also celebrate an eternal thanksgiving by partaking of a holy meal, a holy communion. This participation in the cup and in the bread is a special symbol of our thanksgiving for what we have been given, but we should not limit our thankfulness to the Lord to just this particular moment. Every meal should be a reflection, a moment of thankfulness to God, for what we have been given. Not only every meal, but everything that is good should cause us to give thanks to the true source of all that is good.

Do you give thanks where thanks are due?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

November 23, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

When you go to God in prayer, do you petition Him out of despair or out of joy?

Think about that for a moment. The attitude that you have when you approach God is important. Imagine if you approached a friend for a favor with the following type of attitude. This attitude is self-defeating and humiliating. This attitude is not sure and confident of what you are asking. This attitude is one where you come across as not caring if what you ask gets done. This attitude is one in which what you ask does not come across as a priority. How do you think your friend will respond?

Your friend will pick up on the not so subtle hints that you are dropping. It will come across as if what you ask is of no consequence one way or the other, so if it is of no consequence one way or the other, your friend will take the easy way out. This means that your friend will not respond the way that you want.

I can almost hear your thoughts.

Why would anyone ask for a favor in such a way as to guarantee that it will not be answered?

It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how we approach God!

We cautiously and anxiously approach God and when we finally do pray and petition Him for something that He would probably gladly provide, we ask in such a way that it appears that we really don’t want what we ask for. Does it surprise you when God’s answer doesn’t match the request? Does it surprise you to find that you may really not want to be in His presence? If we are truly joyous about our relationship and our salvation, we should be filled with thanksgiving at all times, especially when we approach the Lord and seek to be in His presence. Being in His presence, going to the Lord in prayer, should be the ultimate experience in our relationship with Him. Too many of us treat this as the ultimate punishment.

Are you thankful when you go to the Lord in prayer?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

November 22, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we, as a nation, have set aside a day to give thanks. When I read the passage above, I realized a few things that jump right out at me. The first thing that I notice is that we, as the Body of Christ, should have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for it is tied directly to our desire to be in His presence. It should not be limited to a single day and a single meal.

Thanksgiving should be a believer’s way of life!

We should give thanks for our lives. We should give thanks for the air that we breathe. We should give thanks for our family and friends. We should give thanks for the roof over our heads. We should give thanks for the food that gives us energy. Most importantly, we should give thanks for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

The second thing that I noticed is that when we are thankful, we should praise the Lord.

We should give praise to God for our lives. We should lift up praise to God for the air that we breathe. We should praise God for the blessings of family and friends. We should praise God for the shelter that we have been given. Our praises should be lifted to the Lord for the food that we have been given. Most importantly, we should praise and glorify the Lord for the gift of grace and mercy that was freely given to us at the cross.

Taking a long and serious look at all that we should be thankful for, one day is not enough. One life is not enough!

Is eternity long enough to give our thanks and praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the gates be open for you?

July 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 (NIV))

When this was written, grace was only an unfulfilled promise. Even though it was an unfulfilled promise, the psalmist knew that the promise would be fulfilled. He knew beyond doubt that if God had promised that He would provide a way for us to enter into righteousness that it would truly come to pass. He longed for that day.

The writer of this passage never lived to physically see the promise fulfilled, but he held fast to that promise. We have the benefit of being on the other side of that promise. We know that God sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. We have the full account of how He came to earth born of a virgin. We know of the people that he gathered together to teach. We know of the miracles that He performed. We know of the crucifixion and the resurrection. We know of the ascension, and we know of the power behind the spreading of the Gospel.

With all that we know, do we have the faith that the psalmist had? All that he had was a promise and he believed. We have all the accounts of those who knew Jesus and witnessed the events of His life, and some of us still have problems with faith.

Is your faith based on a promise or is your faith based on written accounts? Which takes more faith, to believe a promise or to believe after the fact? Am I the only one who looks at their faith and wonders if my faith would have been strong enough to believe a promise? I like to think that it would have been. Would I have been able to turn my eyes to the Lord and lift up my voice to heaven and proclaim that even though I have not seen, I will believe?

To be honest with you, I am simply thankful for the promises, for I know that they will always be “Yes” through Jesus! Because of Jesus offering us grace and mercy, those who accept that grace and mercy can enter the gates with thanksgiving and praising the Lord!

Will the gates be open for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Trust in the Lord to care for you!

May 31, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

To me, this verse goes hand in hand with the following passage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

The basic concept in both passages indicate that we, as the Body of Christ, should not have anything to be worried or anxious about. There is one stipulation that most people have a tendency to miss when they think of not be anxious or worried and that is the simple fact that we are to turn our worries over to God. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxiety on him. When you cast, such as casting fishing nets or casting a fishing rod, it is an action where you physically throw things away from you in hopes of bringing back something better. Philippians 4:6 talks about bringing your worries to God through prayer and praise. This, too, requires an action on our part. In either case, we should not be timid when approaching our Father.

Consider the following scenario. You are walking and you lose your balance and fall. As a result of the fall, you are behind some bushes and in need of assistance to get back on your feet. Do you simply lie there and hope that someone will come along, see you and offer assistance or do you shout for help? It takes action to bring your needs before someone who can be of assistance. It takes a boldness to make the request and a confidence that your request will be answered. This is no different than being bold enough to approach God and “cast” your worries, anxieties and needs upon His strong shoulders.

Are you on speaking terms with God?

Do you trust God to fulfill His promises?

Are you willing to take the action that is needed to “cast” your troubles on God?

Are you to embarrassed to talk to God about your anxieties? Don’t you think that He already knows what they are? He has the answer. He is just waiting for you to leave whatever is troubling you at the foot of the cross!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 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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Are you confident and assured?

April 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

With all of the things that are going on in the world, how is your faith holding up? Are you confident and assured even after seeing the events in the news every day?

Do you find yourself getting fearful? Do you find yourself getting anxious?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-8 (NIV))

When I see the events of the world, I find myself running the full gamut of emotions, but not in the ways that you might think. I find myself getting fearful, but not for events, but for the people who have been blinded by the world. I find myself getting anxious for these same people in realization that time to accept Jesus is running short. I find myself feeling sorry for the very people who call the followers of Jesus close-minded and bigoted.

About a year ago, I ended up in an emergency room trauma unit. Thankfully I have recovered, but looking back, I had a peace. I had a confidence. I was assured that no matter what happened, I was in God’s hands. How many people can say that when times are good? How many people can say that when times are bad? How many people will be able to say this as the events of this world unfold before us?

Are you confident that Jesus is the Son of God?

Are you confident that your faith has been placed in the only one who can save us?

Are you confident of your salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus?

Are you confident that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

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