Have you found rest?

May 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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 11:28-30 (NIV))

The world has ways of making you weary. None of us are exempt from this. If you live in the world, you WILL become weary and burdened. Right now, I am exhausted. Without going into detail, if you have aging parents, you understand my current burden. There have been days in the last three weeks that seemed like they took forever. Other days seemed to fly by. All of it is a blur, and . . .

I am tired!

I rest assured in the promises contained within this passage. I still make myself turn to His Word for there is no other place to turn. I know and hold firm to what Simon Peter professed.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
(John 6:68 (NIV))

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think you know?

May 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As you do not know the path of the wind,
     or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
     the Maker of all things.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV))

Humanity has come a long way since this was written. We think that we may know how to track the path of the wind and we think we know how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, but have we mistaken human knowledge for Godly wisdom? We know enough about these two subjects to be dangerous. The sad and dangerous part of this is that we have taken human knowledge, which is very limited, and used that to say that we no longer need God.

Can we trace the complete path of the winds since the beginning of creation? God can!

Can we bring together two unique strands of DNA and form still another unique individual and nurture and protect that individual as he or she grows? Can we create DNA? God can!

Even with the family genealogy softwares that are available, can we trace the lineage of each unique person who has ever lived? God can!

Human nature is so narcissistic that we think we have all the answers. We can’t even answer the biggest question of all: Why do we still sin?

Regardless of what you may think you know, your knowledge is just a grain of sand in comparison to the eternal wisdom that is our God.

What do you think you know?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to have this done in you?

May 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:2 (ESV))

Let’s face facts. We don’t like change, especially if it takes us outside of our comfort zones. Even when dealing with things in our lives that we know need to be addressed, we would rather simply ignore them instead of dealing with them. It is just human nature.

That is not how God works.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We like to hold onto our sins. God calls us to let them go.

We like to hide our sins. God calls us to confess them.

We like to embrace our sins. God calls us to embrace Him.

In essence, God calls us to accept the gift of salvation freely offered through the cross. Through this gift, He is calling us to allow our sins to be removed from our lives and replaced with His righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I like His ways far more than I like my ways. I long to freely surrender what needs to be taken away and to allow other areas to be pruned. I long to bear so much more fruit according to His will.

Are you willing to have this done in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your greatest treasure?

May 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal
(Matthew 6:19 (ESV))

What type of person do you think of when you think of someone who lays up treasure for themselves?

Most people think of someone who is greedy, miserly and selfish. Does that fit your mental image of someone who lays up treasure for themselves? Do you know anyone like this? Is it a joy to be around them?

Is it possible for someone to do this and still profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

Everything that we think of when we think of someone who seeks treasure goes against what we know to be our calling as followers of Jesus. This type of treasure is worldly. This type of treasure is fleeting. This type of treasure leads to conceit and envy. I think that I can safely say that it does not lead to love and kindness.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

As I see more and more things unfolding in this world, we must not focus on the world! We must not focus on the treasure that is fleeting. We must focus on the one true treasure that is eternal. We must focus on the greatest treasure that has ever existed or will ever exist. We must focus on Jesus, for He is our greatest treasure. Ironically, what we treasure is not to be hoarded. It is to be shared.

Do you like to share your greatest treasure?

Do you lay up treasures for yourself on earth?

What is your greatest treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you trying to fool God with your external regulations?

May 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order
(Hebrews 9:9-10 (NIV))

External regulations applying until the time of the new order!

Carefully consider the implications of that statement.

It sounds too much like we, as humanity, prefer to put on a false front in order to appear to be doing what we should do. This false front is not what we truly are, but, rather it is a simple covering that hides the true person within. Consider a house that is is need of repair. A fresh coat of paint will hide many imperfections and make the house look like something that it is not. It will appear to be spotless and without flaw, but just beneath the surface lies the imperfections that will soon show through the fresh coat of paint. You simply cannot make a rotting shell structurally sound by painting over it.

The same is true of our inner most desires.

If we long to sin, putting on a suit and going to church will not change our heart no more than sitting in the garage will make us a car.

God gave us instructions on how we are to live and how we are to treat Him, each other, and ourselves. If you stop to think about the Ten Commandments, they are all based on relationship and maintaining relationship, first with God and His commands, then with family (father and mother), and then with others. Exodus 20:1-17 tells us exactly how we are to be in relationship with God and with each other. These words can be taken to heart and lived out as part of our true being, or they can simply be a false front that we use to hide our true self.

God sees the difference.

He knows what is in our hearts. External facades will not hide the truth from God. Only a true acceptance of His grace and mercy will do that. We must have an understanding of professing Jesus as your Lord as well as your Savior. This will open up your heart to allow what is under that fresh coat of paint to be remade. We cannot become good enough from the outside in. We must allow God’s grace and mercy to work on us from the inside out.

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ “
(Mark 7:20-23 (NIV))

If what comes out of us is what makes us unclean, we must stop trying to deal with the external and allow God to deal with the internal in our lives.

Are you trying to fool God with your external regulations?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been set free from the law of sin and death?

May 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Have you ever truly given thought to the meaning of condemnation?

It means blame!

To put it simply, we are not blamed for our sin if we are in Christ Jesus! We are not found at fault. We are not held responsible. We are not found guilty.

I realize that this sounds like we can get away with anything, but it actually means that we are forgiven for what we have done. It does not mean that we can continue to willfully sin. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross was not a free pass to continue sinning. It was and still is an offer of a way to escape the life of sin and the consequences of sin.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Do you like the idea of no condemnation?

Do you like the idea of a fresh start in the eyes of God? With everything that is going on in the world, time to accept this fresh start may be running out. Don’t wait!

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Have you been set free from the law of sin and death?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you being powerful and effective?

May 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

What do you pray for?

Perhaps I should ask if you even pray. Too many people think that they pray but in all honesty, all that they do is approach God with their wish list of things that will benefit them. Please don’t misunderstand that comment. We have a God who is concerned about our needs, but we are supposed to be concerned about someone besides ourselves. We are supposed to be concerned with being obedient to God’s will.

God desires our righteousness and not our selfishness.

What does God see as righteousness?

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:6 (NIV))

And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.
(Deuteronomy 6:25 (NIV))

I could find many passages that define righteousness; but in essence it is being right with God! It is what God calls good.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good
     And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

Do you act justly in all that you do? Do you treat everyone with love and compassion?

Do you love mercy? Do you show mercy or do you only expect mercy to be shown to you?

Do you walk humbly with God? Do you understand that you are not the center of the universe and that God doesn’t love you more than He loves anyone else? Are you willing to put others first instead of being self-centered?

Based on these criteria, righteousness is not as easy as we would like to think. It results from a desire to be so in tune with God that we see the world and ourselves through His eyes. When this happens, we desire what God desires. Is this what you desire? If this is your desire, then your prayers for what God desires will be powerful and effective!

Are you being powerful and effective?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is groaning a part of your prayer language?

May 6, 2022

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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))

I have been groaning a lot lately! I am also extremely weary. I know what to pray for, but I find that I am incapable of stringing together the words to petition our Lord for the things that weigh heavily on my heart.

So, I find myself fully relying on the wordless groans and the Holy Spirit to intercede, to understand what is weighing heavily on my heart.

I am certain that everyone has experienced times in their lives exactly like this. If you have not, then your heart has been hardened. Thankfully, we have a God who fully understands what it means to be human. He understands our weakness. He understands our fears.

To put it simply, He understands us!

When we groan, He knows why. When we can’t find the words, He knows exactly what is on our hearts and on our minds. This may sound very strange, but I have grown to find comfort in my groans for these very reasons. I have grown to find comfort in my weakness, for I know the One who uses my weakness to His glory!

Is groaning a part of your prayer language?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

April 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

I think that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Perhaps I should rephrase that to say that I know that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Personally, I do not see how anyone who does not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can make it through what we have been through and what I am certain that we will be going through in the not too distant future.

When we face trials of many kinds, we must have joy.

When we face worldly uncertainty, we must have joy.

When we face persecution, we must have joy.

In all circumstances, whether good or bad, as believers in Jesus, we must have joy, for He is our joy.

“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))

If we profess a faith in Jesus and we do not have joy, what does that say about our faith? What does that say about our relationship with Jesus? Jesus told us to rejoice and be glad! Jesus told us that if we follow Him, we would face persecution. Thankfully, we have His promises to stand firm in.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV))

How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do people still try to find another way?

April 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It couldn’t be said any clearer. There is only one way to the Father, only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus!

Muhammad can’t save you. Confucius can’t save you. Buddha can’t save you. Mary can’t save you. Wealth can’t save you. Power can’t save you. Good works can’t save you, and you surely can’t save yourself.

The problem is that people don’t want to believe this or they think it is too simple. They think that something more must be done and they that must do it. In other words, they feel that they must earn salvation. That is where the other ways that people come up with all fail. Everything is based on works and salvation is a gift only given by God through Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

By definition, a gift is something that is voluntarily transferred from one person to another without any payment or compensation. It is a one way transaction where the recipient receives what the gift giver is giving. Nothing is owed in return. Does this sound like we have to work for it? Does this sound like we have to earn what we have been freely given?

This gift is given out of love!

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

I want to present a scenario if I may. Imagine that an invitation was sent out to everyone inviting them to attend a party in a glorious mansion. The invitation was sent out through the son of the owner, and the only stipulation was that the people invited had to accept the invitation from the son. The son would be checking the list at the door to see if he had recorded your name in the registry of attendees as having accepted his invitation. Nothing could be simpler, yet, there will still be those who try to crash the party. There will still be those who try to break in through a back door. Sadly, they will be rejected even though all that they had to do was accept the invitation from the son and they would have been able to gain entry.

Trying to get to the Father in any other way but Jesus is like trying to crash a party. You will not be able to gain entrance.

Why do people still try to find another way?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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