Do you have what the Father is offering?

June 13, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`My son,’ the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
(Luke 15:31 (NIV))

We know these words from the story of the prodigal son, but do we truly take them to heart?

Do you proclaim a faith in Jesus? Is it your heart’s desire to be with the Father? Can you be described in a manner similar to David in that you seek to know God’s own heart?

Do you have everything that the Father has?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV))

The things of the Father are not of this world. The things of this world will rot and rust. The things that the Father has to give are worth far more than anything in this world.

Can the world offer unconditional love?

Can the world offer true peace and joy?

Can the world offer patience and kindness?

What about goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

The world can never offer anything close to these. Anything that the world has to offer are simply cheap imitations of the real things. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the world’s definition of love, or better yet, Google it. I am afraid to think of what it will return if you turn off your search filters.

Do you have what the Father is offering?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

June 12, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV))

Law is only a reminder of what we should be like. It cannot force us to be that way. It is only a mirror of what we should be, not what we are.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12(NIV))

Perhaps it is this dark, poor reflection that makes us think we need to make sacrifices in order to be good enough, to be righteous before God. After all, it is human nature to try to achieve things on our own. We try in our abilities to bridge the chasm that separates us from God while we ignore the bridge that He has built for us. The law keeps us from crossing that chasm. Perhaps we should consider this “bridge” that God has provided and the roadsigns that God has placed for us as the good things that are coming and our attempts at reaching Him as the sacrifices we feel we must make.

Without Jesus, we are kept in the dark of the shadows. With Jesus, we are free to walk in the light and to bridge the chasm between us and God.

Are you still making sacrifices to try to achieve righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you bound by human nature?

June 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
(John 3:12-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew human nature extremely well. People then, just as now, always want more than they are capable of handling. Perhaps this is even greed taken to the next level.

We have a tendency to want more than what we have. We want to be looked upon as either having more or knowing more than the people around us. I hate to say this, but some people probably even think that they could have done what Jesus did. I would even venture to say that there are some people who think that they could have done it better.

Isn’t human nature a funny thing?

We want the power and the glory, but we are not prepared to handle even a little bit of anything without totally messing it up.

Jesus knew this and He proclaimed human frailty concisely in the words recorded in John.

I am very thankful that Jesus did not follow human traits and boast that only He was allowed into heaven. He simply stated a fact and then proceeded to explain that He came so that those who believe may have eternal life through Him. There was no greed in these words. There was no pride in these words. There was simply love!

Jesus was giving us a glimpse of the depth of His love for each of us. He was not bragging. He was simply telling of God’s plan for salvation. If He can come to this earth to suffer and to die for our sins, then we should be able to humble ourselves and forget about our desires to be better than others and to have more than others, after all, Jesus is God’s only Son. In human thought processes, He has every right to boast and brag. Yet, He humbled himself unto death for us.

Do you understand the things that Jesus taught? Do you live your life as if you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you even care?

June 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
(Luke 21:29-31 (NIV))

What is it that you see going on in the world?

Do you even care?

There is so much happening in the world that makes me wonder what people are thinking anymore! There is so much turmoil. There is so much hatred. There is so much persecution, and there is so much mockery of Jesus and the Body of Christ.

Has the world turned its back on things that are good? Has the world replaced good with evil?

I follow numerous prophecy sites just as a way to get the latest on what is happening. I want to day that I don’t take everything literally as the truth from these sites. I weigh what is presented and compare it to Scripture. I also compare the sites to other sites to see if there is any continuity between the messages that are given. I study and pray for discernment.

It is true that many things contradict each other. I do not argue that fact. What I do see is an increase in the things that are being reported. I see an awareness that is growing. It may be tomorrow or it may be ten years from now or it may be one hundred years. One thing that many of the scholars agree upon is that the conditions have never aligned before as they are aligning now. Will more things come into play? I am sure that they will. Will we see false alarms and people falsely shouting “He is there?” I am sure that we will.

I want you to think about this concept for a moment. I will use a political election as the example.

Under normal circumstances, most of the time you do not hear heavily weighted arguments that are meant to distract from the political truth in a country. Most of the time these start to build as the time draws closer for the election. Like clockwork, things start to happen that let you know it is that time. Each side wants to make their case.

There are things that are happening all around the world that appear to make the case for the time getting closer.

No matter when the true church is removed and when Jesus does return, we must realize that we cannot sit idly by and accept what the world is telling us. If we do, are we truly followers of Jesus? If we do, are we truly part of the Body of Christ?

What is it that you see going on in the world?

Do you even care?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

June 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:34-36 (NIV))

In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

“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))

No matter what we may face in this life, we must never forget where our strength lies. We must never forget that we are not our own source of strength. If we rely upon ourselves, then we will be weighed down by the anxieties of life. Our anxieties are far greater than we are. They are not greater than Jesus. When we focus on Jesus and the promises that He has fulfilled, then our anxieties tend to pale in comparison. We see His eternal strength and the fleeting problems soon are no longer important. They may still be there, but Jesus will give us the strength, His strength, to see them through.

We must stay alert and watch so that we will be able to discern the anxieties that come our way. Our vision will see them approaching and in our frail humanity, we may panic. We must learn to see them through the eyes of Jesus. Through His eyes, all obstacles are made easier. He teaches us how to rely on Him while we encounter them.

Are you ever watchful?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and ready?

June 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36 (NIV))

These words cause many to dismiss the promise that Jesus will return. If they don’t completely dismiss the promise, then they have an attitude that it is slow in coming.

The reason people have this attitude is the fact that believers have been looking for Jesus’ return for two thousand years and have not seen any indication that it will happen soon.

These words should be used as encouragement, for even when the world thinks that nothing is happening, we have been instructed to be on the alert and pray at all times.

There is one thing that Jesus tried to teach us when He walked the earth, and that is that we are to constantly pray to God the Father. We grow closer to God through this prayer, and through this closeness to God, we will better understand the timing that God is using.

I do not profess to know when Jesus will return, for it is said that no one knows the hour or the day. I do know that God will let the faithful know through their prayers and through signs that He will send. Even with these signs, if we do not pray and stay on the alert, it will be easy to miss the signs, or to not understand them.

Jesus could return tomorrow or one thousand years from now. The one thing that we, as faithful believers, must do is to be alert and continually pray for God’s Will to be done.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He knows my name!

June 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of a shepherd?

Do you have visions of a poorly educated person who is rough and not pleasant to be around? Do you think of someone who cares little about their life and is relegated to tending to the smelly sheep?

Sadly, our mental image of a shepherd is something that is not one hundred percent accurate. In this profession, just like in every profession, there are those who are excellent and then there are those who are not so great. When you think of a good shepherd, that narrows the range. A good shepherd cares about the flock. He knows each one individually and He knows how each one will act. He is capable of calling each one by name.

Jesus is that good shepherd!

He knows my name!

What I find even more astounding is that He knows the name of every single person throughout history who has called upon Him as their personal Lord and Savior.

I don’t know about you, but I have problems calling my children by the right name sometimes.

Jesus will never call us by the wrong name. He knows us intimately and He loves each of us intimately.

Does Jesus know your name?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you tell someone? Will you tell someone?

June 4, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
(1 Peter 3:15 (NIV))

Have you ever seen people who always seem to be cheerful? I know that you have probably seen people who always seems to be depressed and gloom and doom sayers. What do you suppose makes the difference in the outlook of these two types of people?

If you asked these people why they are the way they are, what do you think would be the answer of the gloomy people? Could it be that they have no hope in this life or for anything beyond this life? The words of 1 Peter 3:15 start to take on an interesting new meaning when read with this knowledge. Once again, God has pointed out to us that those people who actively seek after Him and accept His Son, Jesus, as their personal Lord and Savior, they are the ones who are truly at peace.

Are you truly at peace? Are you prepared to tell anyone and everyone whom you meet why you have such an unusual peace and hope? Could you tell someone about Jesus in such a way that they would not only understand what makes you the way you are, but they would also want it for themselves? The words do not have to be elaborate. They do not have to be lofty and full of Biblical references. They must simply tell what Jesus has done in your life and why it has made such a difference. Why do you have a hope that cannot be shaken? Why do you have a peace that passes all understanding?

Can you tell someone? Will you tell someone?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to imitate Jesus?

June 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV))

Are you willing to imitate the Lord even if it means that you will suffer?

Think about your work environment.

Think about your friends.

Think about your family.

Are you willing to imitate Jesus in all of these scenarios?

I know that we all have times when it is easier to follow Jesus because we are with people of like mind. Place us in a situation where Jesus is ridiculed and how do you respond? Are we willing to follow Jesus if we will be ridiculed? Are we willing to follow Jesus if we will be tormented for our faith? Are we willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our faith? Are we willing to be imitators of Jesus even if it means that we will face death?

Jesus was willing to go to the cross so that we could have salvation.

What are willing to do for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your motives for giving?

June 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable–
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
(Proverbs 21:27 (NIV))

Some give so that others will know that they gave. Others will give so that they can position themselves to receive something in return. Others give so that they will appear to look better than those around them. Others give simply because they desire to give.

I suppose that giving could almost run parallel with prayer, for each can have motives much deeper than appearances.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Matthew 6:5(NIV))

When you give, do so freely. Do not expect anything in return. Do not think that you can “buy” favors from God. Do not give so that you appear to be righteous in the eyes of others. Give freely and completely of yourself no matter who knows or who does not know that you give.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6(NIV))

What are your motives for giving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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