Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

March 15, 2019

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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 with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

As I read this passage, the events of the day seem to overwhelm me. I am sure that each and every single person who has ever lived has had those types of days. They are the days that leave you drained and depleted. You feel like you have nothing left. You feel completely weak and vulnerable to anything and everything that the world may throw at you.

When that happens, human nature tells us to simply give up. It tells us that we have failed and that there is nothing that can lift us up out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. It is the time when we long to be left alone.

Yet, at the very same moment that we feel that we should simply give up and give in, something stirs within us that brings us back to an amazing reality. That reality is that God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to live within us. He longs to hold us close and tell us of His great love for us. And, we answer. Our words are not enough. Our actions are not enough. Our desires are not enough to thank the Creator of all things. When this happens, the strongest statement of love is our groanings, for they are the groanings of a soul that longs for God’s righteousness and mercy. We cry out even when we don’t know what we long for. We simply know that we long for something to fill the void that we hold in our hearts. This is a void that is primal in nature. It aches and it longs to be filled. In fact, it is at this very moment that we realize that we are indeed in need of salvation.

Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:6 (NIV))

It is at these times that God also teaches us a lesson in humility. Think about that statement. Would a proud person be caught anywhere near dust and ashes? It is when God also begins the process of lifting us out of our weakness by giving us His strength to rely on.

Whose strength helps you in your weakness?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t give in to the fear!

September 21, 2018

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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.”
(1 Kings 19:3-4 (NIV))

Wow!

Think about that for a moment. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever faced a situation that you thought would be the end of you and your life as you know it? Have you ever simply wanted to give up and let the enemy win because the battle was too hard?

Even Elijah had these feelings. He feared for his life. In other words, Elijah saw the world and did not rely on God as he should. He was afraid of what the world would throw at him. He was so afraid that he actually ran away and prayed to die. Elijah was a great prophet of God, yet, he had feelings that were not from God.

How do you feel when you have moments like these? Think about how Elijah must have felt. Still, God did not abandon him. He will not abandon you.

Elijah was a great prophet. He heard God and he obeyed. Yet, in a moment of weakness, even a great prophet of God can lose sight of who is in control. God redeemed Elijah and had him speak His word again. Some would even say that Elijah’s greatest moments with God came after this episode.

Just because you have faltered in your faith, it doesn’t mean that God is not capable of using you for His purposes. I am sure that most of you have heard the old say, “God does not call the equipped. He equips the ones He calls.” He will equip you even when you feel that you are of no use to Him.

Don’t let the world make you lose sight of God’s calling. Focus on God, especially in the moments that you feel are your moments of failure. He will turn them into the seed that produces great things for His Kingdom. In stead of saying that you have had enough, boldly proclaim that the Lord is all you need! Don’t give in to the fear!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 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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Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

August 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV))

I realize that you have heard this concept before, but please take note, for it is true.

When you professed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, people started watching you. Some want to see you fail so that they can reinforce their personal conclusion that Christians are hypocrites. Others are watching you and praying for you. Many are somewhere in the middle. They could care less if you persevere or if you fail, but they will be very vocal if you do fail. It should be the goal of every believer in Jesus to persevere, especially when those around you expect you to fail. This shows the power of the Lord working through you.

I love Paul’s take on this. He wanted people to know that he is weak and that whatever happens is not a result of his strength.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV))

When we can show weakness in our own strength and still persevere through the Lord’s strength, then we are a strong witness to those around us of the power of God! When we persevere, people will sit up and take notice. They will want to know how we were able to persevere. They will want to know our secret. That is the time that we share the power of God with them. That is when we share the grace and mercy of God with them.

That is when the faith that saves us will also save others.

Never forget that your faith impacts more than just you!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the thorn in your flesh to keep you from God!

May 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV))

I can relate to what Paul wrote about. He was afflicted with a “thorn in his flesh” that he prayed for God to remove. It did not happen. Instead, God answered with the passage quoted above.

Sometimes the answer that God gives us when we pray is not what we want to hear. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but many times what we pray for is self centered and we do not see the bigger picture of what God has planned. This hit home all too hard today. I know that God has everything under control. Still, from our limited, human perspective, it is difficult to comprehend the bigger picture when we are so engrossed in the details that are front and center in our every day lives.

This is when faith kicks in. After we go through the denial phase that is so typical of human reaction, we must step back and look at the situation through God’s eyes. Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” we must ask “What do you want me to learn from this?” “How can I be a witness through this?” “How can your Light shine through this situation so that it is obvious that it is you, Lord?”

Even though it is not I who have to face this particular “thorn in the flesh,” I can relate to what Paul wrote. I am also learning to relate to how God’s grace will produce results that we cannot begin to imagine.

We all have our “thorn in the flesh” that keeps us from being what we want to be. The question that we must ask ourselves is have we turned that “thorn in the flesh” over to God for Him to use? Do we rely fully on God’s grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship

September 19, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:14-18 (NIV))

Following the words of Jesus is often a contradiction of what the world would have you believe. These two examples are excellent proof of that.

Forgiveness is not something that human nature automatically and freely gives. In the eyes of society, and especially with men, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. Weakness is not a trait that is welcome in this world. Strength and power are the goals in the worldly life.

Prayer is another area that the world sees as a weakness. It is either considered a weakness if you pray, or, in certain aspects of society, it is considered a weakness if you do not pray loudly and in public.

Prayer is a conversation with God. God does not call you to yell to Him in front of many people. That is not a relationship. It is more like cheerleading. God calls us to be in a relationship with Him. Relationships require one-on-one time and close, intimate conversation. How many times has a man won a bride by yelling at her in public? Not too often, if any! It is the intimate times that lead to a closer relationship.

Do you go against the world view?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in your weakness, for God will give you strength!

February 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7 (NIV))

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

We definitely have something to rejoice about. We have a God who loves us and gives us His peace, a peace that passes all understanding. He will protect us, and He will answer our prayers. His peace comes from His grace. This is a grace that is capable of handling any obstacle that it encounters.

God did not promise that He would protect us from temptation and hardship. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, even when tormented by a messenger of Satan, God simply responded that His grace was all that is required. He did promise us that He would deliver us through weakness. This recures throughout His Word. “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Psalms 37:11)

When the world says that you must be strong in order to survive, we, as believers, know that our strength does not lie within us. It comes to us and through us from God. It is through our weaknesses that God can show His strength in a way that those who witness the results will know that it did not happen of our doing.

Rejoice in your weakness, for God will give you strength!

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