What will you be crowned with?

August 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
     he crowns the humble with victory.
(Psalms 149:4 (NIV))

The most obvious questions after reading this passage leads us to the polar opposites that we read about in this passage.

What does the Lord do with the arrogant and prideful? How does the Lord feel about those who reject Him?

I know that we can find many passages that give us very detailed answers to those two questions. Suffice it to say that the answers are not something that anyone in their right mind would willingly call upon themselves. If that is the case, then why do people do the things that they do? Why do people desire to rebel against the Lord? Why do people think that they can do a better job of directing their lives when every single attempt has ended badly?

It takes strength to admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It takes admitting that you are weak and that you cannot do it on your own. It takes strength to admit that you are weak! The strength that I speak of is the strength to step away from our sinful, fallen nature. It is the strength to face the Lord, the world, and yourself and admit that you are not capable of making it without Him. The world sees humility as a lowly self-attitude, but in all honesty, it is probably the bravest attribute that a person can have. It allows a person to take a stand against the ways of the world and publicly proclaim that they have made a conscience decision to go against the ways of the world. Humility allows a person to stop seeing themselves as the king of their world and it allows a person to see themselves as servants, as friends, as equals to other members of God’s creation. It allows a person to see themselves for what they are – a sinner in need of a savior!

If you stop to reflect on the characteristics of humility, it becomes clear how the Lord sees those who aren’t humble. It becomes clear how He will deal with those who aren’t humble.

How does the Lord see you?

What will you be crowned with?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I can’t wait!

August 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
(Revelation 21:4 (NIV))

How does this sound?

If you are tired of the evil in this world, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of the pain and suffering in this world, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of loved ones dying, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of mourning, I want you to let that sink in!

If you are tired of righteousness being ridiculed, I want you to let that sink in!

I don’t know about you, but I long for this day. I long to be in His presences. I long to find eternal comfort in the presence of my Lord!

These words in Revelation are so simple, yet so powerful. I have no further words to express what this will mean to me, except for the following three.

I can’t wait!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

August 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
(Numbers 14:30 (NIV))

I was given a history lesson that I feel that I need to share with you from a perspective that most of us are not aware of.

We all know the story of how Moses sent people into the land that God had promised to give them so that they could spy out the land. When they returned, all but Caleb and Joshua report that the land is unconquerable. As a result, the people rebelled and cried out to be taken back to Egypt. What we read in Numbers 14:30 is part of God’s response to this rebellion, to this very public display of their distrust of God. What we don’t know as part of the Gentile world is the historical date that this happened on. Here is where I started to learn something of extreme interest. This event occurred on the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar.

We all know about Solomon’s Temple which is also known as the First Temple. It was destroyed in 423 BC by an invading army. Israel had rejected God and would not repent. They had fallen into sin. If you made the assumption that Solomon’s Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av, you would be correct.

The Second Temple, the one present at the time of Jesus, was destroyed by the Romans in 69 AD after Israel had rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus called them hypocrites for doing all of the right things for the wrong reasons. Once again, this happened on the 9th of Av.

There are numerous other events that have all happened on the 9th of Av.
– The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 AD.
– The Jews were banished from Spain in 1492 AD.
– World War I began in 1914 AD. Some historians believe that WWII and the holocaust were actually a continuation of WWI.

It is said that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit. Please don’t twist this. I am trying to convey a point without going into all of the details. In essence, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
(John 14:15-21 (NIV))

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:25-27 (NIV))

Based on the history of the importance of this date and the proposed explanations of the Temples:
– Solomon’s Temple was destroyed because of the Jews rejecting or turning away from God the Father,
– The Second Temple was destroyed because the Jews rejecting Jesus as the Son,
– It has been speculated that the temple to the Holy Spirit, the true church, will be removed, Harpazoed, Raptured, on the 9th of Av because those who don’t profess a faith in Jesus have not only rejected Jesus, they have rejected the Holy Spirit!

Just for reference, a day in the Jewish tradition is marked from sundown of one day to sundown, or nightfall, of the next day. I find it interesting that many people believe the phrase “in the twinkling of an eye” is accurately used to indicate nightfall. This is when the sun vanishes and a last twinkle of light is seen! Think of that in terms of when Jesus said that we are the light of the world!

I am not setting dates, only presenting what I have recently seen. It is a very intriguing series of events that God has unfolded all on the same day in the Hebrew calendar. No matter what the date may be, we must be ready. If you are not ready, it is as simple as ABC.

Admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Are you ready? Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

Click here if you are curious as to when the 9th of Av falls in our calendar for the next few years.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

August 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

How many times have you made a false judgment about someone simply based on their outward appearance?

If you are like me, you probably needed a little bit of time to be honest with yourself, especially when you come to the realization that we are all sinful, fallen creatures who are more concerned with the pretentiousness of the physical than any other aspects of our lives.

I believe that this happens as a result of our sinful, fallen nature. Let’s face the truth. We lost so much when humanity believed a lie and fell from grace. We lost the direct connection with God the Father, and as a result, we lost our ability to truly discern things based on God’s standards. Because of this, humanity has repeatedly fallen for the richest, the strongest, the tallest, the best looking, the most charismatic, and the most deceptive simply because we can only see the outer appearances. We can’t see people the way that God sees them. In fact, we don’t even see ourselves as God sees us. We see ourselves as worthless because we compare ourselves to what we can see in others. What we don’t see is the hidden secrets behind the veil of the outward appearance. We make the assumption that what is on the inside is just as good as what we see on the outside.

When you look in a mirror, what do you see?

I would safely assume that you see more in yourself than your outer appearance, yet, still not as much as what God sees in you. If we know that we are more than our outer appearances, why do we make the assumption that others are not like that? We falsely judge the proverbial book by its cover while completely ignoring the chapters contained within. We see a pretty face. God sees a shallow heart. We see a handsome athlete. God sees a self-centered arrogance. We see a rich young man. God sees a lost soul. We see someone who seems to love the spotlight. God sees a lonely heart.

Appearances can be deceptive. Things are not always as they seem. We must learn to look beyond the superficial and learn to see people the way God sees them. If you stop to think about it, when you hear someone say that a certain person has a good heart, that is usually a slight backhanded stab at their outer appearance. The same can be said for when you refer to someone as having a great personality. Have you ever said anything like that about someone? If so, have you repented for this and asked God to let you see them as He sees them?

We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

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

August 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Are you content to hear a twenty minute sermon once a week and then profess to know how God desires for you to live?

If you want to learn how to be a better musician, you practice your instrument often. If you want to be a better tennis player, you practice and play often. If you want to run a marathon, you train and you run often. If you want to be good at your job, you go to school to learn the details about your chosen profession. Why do we think that we can do any different when it comes to living our lives according to God’s Word? Why do we think that we’ve got this “Christianity thing” down pat when we can’t even go one minute without failing miserably at putting our faith into action?

James tells us to do what the Word says, but how many of us actually spend enough time alone in God’s Word to know what it says? How many of us truly understand the concept of taking up our cross daily and following Him daily?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t do what His Word says, if we don’t take up our cross daily, if we don’t follow Him daily, are we doing anything more than giving lip service to something that we truly don’t understand? Are we guilty of simply being a poser?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I long to hear completely different words when I stand before Jesus!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

We know that only by professing a faith in Jesus will we be saved. Works will not do it. Associating with someone who professes a faith will not do it. Only by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will bring you the gift of salvation, but we are called to put our faith into action. We are called to live according to God’s Word. We are called to emulate Jesus in all that we do. We are called to walk with Jesus and imitate what we see in Him. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then our heart should desire to do what He calls us to do, but we must do it only as He directs. It is so easy to see things that we think we should be doing and go off and do them without Jesus in our lives. If you consider Jesus in context to the passage from James, it bring clarity. Jesus was God with us, yet, He didn’t do what He wanted to do. He only did what God’s Word instructed.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

What is it that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found your refuge and shield?

August 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

This passage is sandwiched right in the middle of two very interesting passages.

I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

The Psalmist starts off with what he hates, but quickly counters with what he loves. He lays open his heart to the Lord by describing the things that he wishes were not around him. He then quickly counters this with the very thing that he longs to always be in the midst of.

Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

Again, we see that the Psalmist longs for evil to be completely removed from his presence so that he can focus on God and His Word.

Nestled between these two verses is a passage where the Psalmist opens up his heart completely to the Lord. In the midst of double-minded people, he takes refuge in the Lord. In the midst of evildoers, he keeps the commands of the Lord. He is not swayed by those who are double-minded and those who do evil. He keeps his eyes firmly on the Lord.

With all that is happening in the world today, do you hate those who are double-minded? Do you desire to flee from those who do evil? Do you long to find refuge in what you love? Do you long to walk humbly in obedience to God’s law? Do you turn to the Lord for shelter and protection? Is your only hope found within His word?

Think about what the Psalmist was portraying in these three passages. He is surrounded by evil, yet he finds complete shelter and hope in the midst of these things by focusing only on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what comes before or what comes after. He is safe and secure in the midst of all troubles because he trusts in the Lord. Is that what you desire when you find yourself in the midst of double-mindedness and evil? Is this what you desire when the whole world is falling apart? Is this what you desire even when things are going good? Have you found shelter in what you love?

Have you found your refuge and shield?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

August 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV))

This evening, I came very close to losing heart!

I came into my office and went to turn on the computer that I use to write, store and update the devotionals, the images, my notes, my reference materials, and the main website and the backup blog site, AND . . .

It would not turn on!

NOTHING!

With all of the storms that have been moving through my area, apparently they took out the computer since Friday evening. My first reaction was exactly what you would expect from a typical human reaction when anyone encounters this type of situation. It made it through my surge protection and my battery backups. After taking a step back and asking the Lord the typical why me question, He reminded me that no one is exempt from the attacks of the enemy and that the attacks increase if you are trying to do what you are called to do for the kingdom. I then remembered my small external hard drive that I use for file access when I use a less powerful laptop with far less storage. I found myself praying that this portable hard drive wasn’t hit. Thankfully, it was spared and I am able to get this devotional written and sent today even though my database of devotionals and images are not up to date. God made me realize that I was relying on my skills with computers and not relying on Him. At present, I do not have access to the almost 2 TB of notes, images, and reference materials that God has shown to me over the years. I have an automatic backup in place, but I do not currently have a computer with enough capacity to get to these backup files, and that is IF the backup system was not taken out as well!

I pray that it wasn’t, BUT . . .

Even if it was, it is not the end of the world, or the end of this ministry. I do not rely on things made of man. I use them to do what I am called to do. The technology is the means of distribution. It is not the means of inspiration. Tonight I had a personal reminder of exactly what Jesus spoke of.

“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))

Since I started this path almost twenty-five years ago, many things have changed. What I was once able to do for free, the ministry now has to pay monthly fees, and these fees are not cheap. I want to take this opportunity to stop and thank those who have contributed over the years and to say that it is with your help that this ministry has been able to reach 128 countries on six continents. Today, I had someone ask me why I missed a day last week. I had to explain that I had power problems that only effected my office and my internet. I had to stop this evening and think back on that question with the realization that the power event had also been an attack of the enemy.

I realize that things happen in this world. I also realize that when these things do happen, we do not need to lose heart.

Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your prayer life?

July 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

pray without ceasing,
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV))

I love this translation of this passage. Most translations say to pray continually, but there is something in this translation that expresses the importance and the urgency of praying.

Think about this in the context of running a race. If you are running this race and you are told to keep running, what does that imply to you? In my mind, this comes across as a suggestion. It doesn’t give any hint as to the reason and the urgency. Now, imagine the same scenario, only this time you are told don’t stop! To me, this implies an urgency and importance to the fact that you must keep moving no matter what happens. Don’t give up. Don’t throw in the proverbial towel. Push through and finish!

The same is true in my mind of the urgency and importance of praying without ceasing. In other words, no matter what happens, keep praying!

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying about the other translations.

pray continually,
‭‭(1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17 (NIV))

This translation has a very valid meaning, but perhaps what the author was trying to convey is a combination of both translations.

Pray continually and don’t stop!

In other words, always be in prayer and always push through and finish! Don’t give up! Don’t throw in the proverbial towel. Don’t surrender to the enemy. Keep in constant communication with God the Father through Jesus. This is especially true if you realize that prayer is simply talking to God AS WELL AS listening to God. If this is your definition of prayer, then you fully understand the importance of praying without ceasing!

How is your prayer life?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does God see your faith?

July 27, 2022

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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))

What are you the most confident of in this world?

What is it that makes you feel this confidence?

There are many things that are in this world that I am confident of, but everything that I am confident of are things that I can see, hear, feel and touch. Still, even these things can and do fail me. If you look at things in this manner, you could almost say that you are confident to a point, but what happens when that point is reached or you go beyond that point? For example, you are confident that the brakes on your car will help you stop, but what happens when someone pulls out in front of you and you physically can’t come to a stop?

In essence, everything in this world that we place our confidence in will at some point fail us!

Our health will deteriorate. Our strength and youth will leave us. Our homes will need repairs. Our cars will break down. Our relationships will be stressed and sometimes they will break. Even the things that we love the most in this world will eventually lose their luster.

But, . . .

If we place our faith in Jesus, we truly have the confidence in what we hope for. We have the assurance that even though we don’t see Him, He will return for us. We have the witnesses who recorded His life when He walked this earth. We have God’s promises that we can hold fast to.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Yes and Amen!

Positive affirmation and a resounding proclamation of “So let it be!” Human language can’t express the fullness, the completeness of our confidence in what we hope for in Jesus. We have assigned a very simple word to try to convey what we feel. That word is faith. I love how faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11:1, but do you have a personal definition of faith that you cling to in times of trouble? Perhaps it is beyond words.

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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

There is something wonderful and powerful when you have the confidence and the assurance that the God of all creation can and does intercede for us through our wordless groans. Even when you can’t define it, God sees our faith!

How does God see your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you participate in true and proper worship?

July 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NIV))

I want you to read that passage again and let it sink in.

If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are called to leave behind the things of this world. We are called to leave behind the sin that had us enslaved. We are called to repent and follow Jesus in all that we do!

Have you ever truly considered what that looks like in relation to this passage?

When the sacrificial system was in place at the temple in Jerusalem, the animals that were to be sacrificed were to be spotless. They were to be perfect with no blemishes or defects. How do we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice if we are to offer our best to God?

Do we let our bodies get obese if we can control it?

Do we fill our bodies with alcohol and drugs?

Do we abuse our bodies in ways that cause harm?

Take a look at your life and how you treat your body. Is it pleasing to God?

Do you participate in true and proper worship?

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