Light

February 28, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:19-21 (NIV))

Light is something that all of us need, both in the physical world and the spiritual world. Just as we need light to survive in the physical world because of its life giving warmth, we need spiritual light to warm our hearts and souls.

In this world where spiritual warmth is often void, we have someone to turn to that can light our hearts and warm our souls. Jesus is the light of the world. As long as He shines in our hearts, we have the warmth of the love, grace and mercy of God.

Do not hide from the light. Death is in the darkness. It is a death that you may not recognize immediately as a danger, but this darkness is far more dangerous than the darkest alley in the most dangerous city. If you reject the “Light” that Jesus came into the world to bring, then you reject God and any hope of salvation.

Come into the “Light”!

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Focus on your destination

February 25, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.
(Isaiah 7:9b (NIV))

This is a strong statement, but a true one. We must know what we believe and stand firm in that belief. If we don’t, the least little trouble will shake our very foundations and cause us to fall. In this world, there are many attacks on our faith: financial, spiritual, physical, emotional. It is easy to be distracted by these attacks.

Think of this life as a trip on an interstate. When you are driving, do you see all of the cracks in the road and the grass that is growing through those cracks, or do you focus on the goal ahead? Our faith should be the same as that trip on the interstate: keep focused on the destination and the “cracks” will seem unimportant. The best that can happen is that you will not even notice them.

Are you paying attention to your destination or to all of the “cracks” as they pass under your wheels?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Time to step out

February 24, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
(2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV))

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he was doing two things.

First, he had just finished reminding Timothy of the deep roots of his faith. He reminded Timothy of the faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul knew that Timothy would understand the value of the firm foundation of faith that was evident through his family.

Faith does not stop and rely only on its foundation!

A firm foundation is intended to support far more than itself. It is the building block upon which greater things are to be built.

Second, with this in mind, Paul was also encouraging Timothy to use his faith and step out to testify about our Lord. There is nothing to be ashamed of when doing God’s will. It is, perhaps, the test of individual faith, for it requires you to believe for yourself. You no longer can rely on the faith of those who have gone before you. It requires a personal commitment.

Paul’s words to Timothy were words of encouragement as Timothy begins to fully embrace the call that God had upon his life. It is difficult to be ashamed of something and still be willing to suffer for it. You cannot be willing to give everything you have if you are ashamed of what you are pursuing. It is human nature to not go after something that you are ashamed of. Paul knew this and was reminding Timothy that he must make that final commitment in order to step forward in faith.

Are you ashamed to testify about our Lord?

Are you ready to step out in your faith as God is calling you?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Spiritual birth

February 23, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. ”
(John 3:3 (NIV))

Perhaps this is the most misunderstood concept for those who have not accepted the grace and mercy that God has freely given to those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Just what does it mean to be born again?

What is your understanding of these two words?

Now, reflect back on what you understood this to mean before you accepted Jesus. Perhaps I should say reflect back on what you misunderstood this to mean, for that is a much better picture of a nonbeliever’s grasp of the concept presented.

The world sees believers use, and often misuse this term to the point where they ridicule the body because we use these words instead of delving into the meaning of them. From a physical, worldly perspective, it is impossible to be born again, for the ravages of time do not allow any of us to turn back the clock. We literally cannot be physically born again! The world sees this as an illogical concept.

That brings us to the vantage point that nonbelievers do not grasp, and that is that there are two separate realms that we are dealing with – the physical and the spiritual. We have all experienced a physical birth and have lived our lives in the physical world. We see. We feel. We exist. We do not truly live life to the fullest because we are missing a major part of our existence – our spiritual side.

By accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we signal to God our Father that we are ready to take the next step and to be birthed into the spiritual world. We only see the physical world. We do not see the spiritual world with our eyes. It requires a faith that the physical world does not require. We must be willing to look beyond our understanding and say to ourselves that there is more to this existence than what meets the eye. Just as a baby exists in its mother’s womb, we exist in the physical world, and just as a baby must take the necessary step to go beyond the world as it knows it, we must be ready to take the step into the spiritual world and what it holds for us. Literally, we must be willing to have our spiritual existence birthed so that we may experience life as God planned it.

We are a multidimensional creature created to have a physical body and a spiritual connection to God. To be born again simply means that we accept that spirituality and the grace and mercy freely given from our spiritual Father.

Are you born again?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted your mission?

February 22, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.
(Ezekiel 2:7-8 (NIV))

We have a mission!

Just like Ezekiel, we are to tell people of God’s Word, whether they listen or not. We must be faithful in fulfilling this mission, for we never know what seed that God may use us to plant in the life of someone. We may never know the outcome, but we must stand firm in the faith that we must plant that seed.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

Someone had to have faith to tell you of the grace and mercy freely given to us through Jesus. Perhaps that faith was only as small as a mustard seed. Did that faith grow and spread into your life enough that you, too, accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you have accepted Jesus a your personal Lord and Savior, then you have had a small seed planted within you that must grow and blossom. If you remember that the spiritual world has a direct correlation to the physical world, then you will recognize that there is a life cycle. A seed germinates and grows into a plant. The plant matures and produces seeds and then the cycle starts over. Someone planted the seed within you. If it has grown, then we have a mission to plant the seeds that God has entrusted to us into the lives of others. It is not our task to nurture those seeds. God will use others to do that. In fact, sometimes we may plant. Other times we may water, and still other times we may see the harvest. It is all part of the same mission.

We must never forget, as members of the Body of Christ, that we have a mission. We must plant the seed of God’s Word into the lives of others.

Have you accepted your mission?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Music

February 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage. I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord, and I obey your law because of this.
(Psalms 119:54-55 (NLT))

How do we use music today?

It entertains us. It fills our minds and our hearts with visions of something different than what we know. It is an expression of the longings of our soul. It comforts us when we are sad. It encourages us when we are in need.

Think about the role that music plays in your life.

Now, think about how David spent the early years of his life. He grew up as a shepherd, which meant long lonely days and nights with no one around him. When he became older, he had to run for his life from King Saul. He spent many years in camps and in caves. He was away from the things that would have been popular in his life. He had to fill his mind and heart with something. He chose God’s Word and communion with God to fill the longings of his soul. David chose God’s Word to comfort him when he was sad. He chose God’s Word to encourage him when he was in need.

We have so many things in our lives, yet, I often feel that we are spiritually bankrupt because we use these things as distractions. We use them to fill the void that God desires for us to fill with Him.

David chose to fill his heart and mind with the Word of God, instead of the music of the world. Today, we read of the songs that David wrote as a result of his reflection. Would we read of David’s exploits and his devotion to God if he had chosen something else to be his “music ?”

What is your music that you reflect upon?

Like the music of David, will others know of it as well?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Bound and loosed

February 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
(Matthew 18:18 (NIV))

Think about that concept.

Think about all of the times that you have said something contrary to God’s Will and then you find yourself in the middle of a situation that is also contrary to God’s Will. These are prime examples of loosing something on earth that should not have been loosed.

There is an old saying that you reap what you sow.

There is a lot of Biblical truth to this statement. If you go around unleashing anger and hatred, then you will be overwhelmed with anger and hatred. If you bind Satan in the physical realm and focus on keeping him away from your life, then he will be bound in the spiritual realm as well.

What do you want to be prevalent in your life? What do you want to be bound and cast away from you? Whatever you desire will be what is loosed upon your life. Look closely at your desires. Are they the desires that God has for you? Is that why your life is the way it is?

What do you want to be loosed in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Signs and wonders

February 17, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
(John 4:48 (NIV))

Are we any different from the people that Jesus was speaking to?

I would like to think that we are, but, sadly enough, we may not be!

It is true that we do not have the benefit of having walked with Jesus, so we do have to rely on faith. However, I would venture to say that if we did not have these writings in the New Testament and the writings of historians to validate certain events, we would be asking for signs and wonders, also.

Too many people ask God to perform a miracle in their lives by rescuing them from a situation that they have gotten themselves in to. When this doesn’t happen, all too often they turn away. They will only believe if they have a miraculous sign in their life.

Perhaps the single greatest testimony to faith is the person who never sees a sign or wonder and still believes. Let’s face it, all of us have a reason or series of reasons that we came to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I would venture to say that many of those reasons are the miracles, both small and large, that God was working in the lives of people around you. Perhaps you actually took notice of the miracles that happen around you every day such as a sunrise, the wind through the trees, or a bird singing. Such things, contrary to those who believe in evolution, are miraculous signs and wonders that we often fail to recognize. They are all evidence of a loving and sovereign God.

Accept the signs and wonders that God has placed in your life.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Matthew 4:7 (NIV))

What type of signs and wonders do you require from God?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you proclaim the name?

February 16, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
(Luke 4:33-34 (NIV))

I find it interesting that an evil spirit knows who Jesus is and proclaims it loudly, yet, we, as His church, are often afraid to proclaim what we know. What have we not been able to grasp and then communicate to others since Jesus walked this earth?

Perhaps we should think of this in terms of warfare. If an enemy army takes over a country, they will be the first ones to recognize someone who has come to overthrow them. They will taunt and brandish anything and everything that they can pull together to show that they are in charge. Satan and his evil spirits are that army. They have taken over the earth. Jesus is the conquering army. The enemy recognizes who they need to battle.

Put yourself into this picture, but not as Jesus or as an evil spirit. Picture yourself as a citizen of the country. You hope and pray for salvation from the enemy, but you are not trained sufficiently to recognize the liberating army when you initially see it. You would not proclaim that liberation simply because you do not comprehend that it is at hand.

We are all still subject to that enemy that Jesus has come to destroy. Each of us prays for the salvation that we earnestly desire. We recognize the spiritual salvation. We embrace the fact that proclaiming a faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior will provide us with grace and mercy. What we do not recognize is that it also provides us with the weapons to defeat the enemy. Far too many of those who profess a faith in Jesus never embrace the power that we inherit. This power allows us to overcome the enemy. We cower at the mention of his name. To make things worse, we cower at the thought of his attack. We are still so afraid of the enemy that we fail to realize that Jesus has defeated him and that we do not need to fear him.

Imagine yourself as a citizen of the previously mentioned country. It has been liberated. Only a few of the enemy are still around, and they are in hiding. Would you fear the enemy or would you proclaim the name of the liberating army?

Jesus is that liberator. He is our savior.

Do you proclaim the name and authority of Jesus?

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

February 15, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV))

This is so hard to remember when we are faced with trials and tribulations from all sides. Sometimes it even feels that all that we do is thwarted by an unseen enemy who hates what we love.

Wait a minute!

That sounds just like Satan and he does hate what we love.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
(Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV))

Because of his rebellion against God, he and his fallen angels have been cast out of heaven. They hate God and desire nothing more than to usurp God’s authority. That is what happened when Adam and Eve allowed Satan to become the prince of this world. Our ancestors legally gave the authority that God gave them to Satan. Satan and his followers work in the shadows to deceive and destroy all that is God’s creation and all who call upon the name of the Lord. Just like we cannot see God, we cannot see Satan, but we feel the effects of his wrath against those who love God.

There is constant warfare in the spiritual realm because of these events. What happens in the physical world is only a shadow of what happens in the spiritual realm.

We are at war!

Our enemy cannot be seen, but we can arm ourselves with God’s armor and we can overcome the enemy.

Are you prepared for the struggle? Are you focusing your battle tactics where they belong?

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