How is your eternal outlook?

July 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
(2 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV))

Who do you rely on?

Have you ever had a feeling so overpowering and gut wrenching that you had no idea what to do about it? Think about that for a moment and then stop to think about how it must feel to be overwhelmed with the thought of your own impending death and that there is nothing you can do about it. It is final. There is no way out of it on your own. You are utterly afraid of what will come during and after.

That is exactly what each and every one of us faces if we do not accept the free gift of grace that God freely gives us through the cross. That is what happens when we rely on ourselves.

Relying on God and His promises lifts that feeling. It lifts the death sentence.

It takes a change of heart!

Repent! Call upon the name of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Open your heart to what God has in store for you. Accept His grace and His mercy and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you and to guide you.

It is sad that so many people are not willing to make that one commitment that will change their eternal outlook. It is an outlook that will make your heart sing out in praise!

How is your eternal outlook?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to sing God’s praises!

July 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(Psalms 8:9 (NIV))

How many of you sang that passage? Be honest!

How many actually clapped at the end or thought about clapping?

Isn’t it wonderful that we can use scripture to sing of God’s greatness and to sing His praise?

How many other scripture passages come to mind that are able to be sung? If you are like me, there are numerous passages that bring a song to your heart and a smile to your lips.

God’s Word is amazing. Nothing else that I know can bring such great joy. Nothing else can bring such great hope. It is easy to sing when we have such great joy and such great hope.

Take an honest look at your life. Even in the middle of all of the troubles that we all face daily, can you claim that you have such great joy? Can you claim that you have such great hope?

It is time to sing God’s praises!

Amen!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How many nations do you feel are blessed by God?

July 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalms 33:12 (NIV))

Based on this passage, how many nations do you feel are blessed by God?

Are we one of them?

With all that is currently going on in this country and many others, how do you think that God is responding? Is He trying to get our attention? Is He using His creation to send us signs and warnings that we must return to Him?

I honestly don’t feel that with what is currently happening in this nation that we are truly blessed as a nation. We once were and we may be once again if we heed the warnings and repent. I realize that this nation is made up of individuals and that a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, is a personal and individual decision. There will always be those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and there will always be those who deny Jesus. Lately, it seems that not only are people denying Jesus, they are blatantly defying Jesus.

How can God bless any nation if its people deny Him and willingly and blatantly defy Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we have something to learn from the early church?

July 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 (NIV))

This sounds very wonderful!

What do you think was the main reason why people were being saved?

Was it the short and concise worship service with everything spelled out in the bulletin?

Was it the music? Was it the lack of music? Was it the programs? Was it a new church building? Was it the food pantry? Was it the clothes closet?

Or was it simply the power of God as it was shown in true fellowship with the Body of Christ?

What are the basic fundamental aspects of life that we all share as human beings?

As someone pointed out this morning, we are created to be a part of a community. We long to be with others. We either find fellowship with those who are a part of the Body of Christ, or we find fellowship with those who are not. In short, the fellowships that we have will either lift us up and hold us to a higher standard or they will drag us down into the sin that we don’t want.

One of the basic aspects of life is that we all must eat. Eating is very much a social activity, especially when you gather with people who share your common interests. Breaking bread brings a bond. We simply don’t just sit there and stuff our faces in silence. We socialize. We laugh. We cry. We share ideas. We share thoughts, dreams and aspirations. We share parts of ourselves that may never see the light of day in any other way. We build friendships over meals.

It is said that it is easier to get people to come to your house for a meal than it is to get them to go to church. Think about that the next time someone hems and haws about accepting your invitation to go to church.

The early church did not have buildings. They met in people’s homes. They became friends. They built trust. They built relationships and they built the church through these aspects of life. They did not build the church through big buildings or great music.

Do we, the modern church, have something to learn from the early church?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our physician makes heart calls!

July 24, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
(Luke 5:31-32 (NIV))

Are you arrogant enough to believe that you are righteous without Jesus?

Sadly, there are people in this world who believe that they are good enough to go to heaven on their own merits. We know better.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

If all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, then everyone is a sinner in need of repentance. In other words, Jesus came to call everyone to repent, and not just your friends and people like you.

We are all sick and in need of a doctor. This doctor can heal anything. This doctor can even bring eternal life. All that any of us have to do is call upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and turn away from the sin that has claimed you.

You may think that you are healthy, but we all know better than to believe this false claim. All have sinned. All are in need of a Savior.

This doctor makes heart calls. There are no lines, no waiting and no payment is expected. Jesus already paid everything for us.

Don’t wait to get healthy!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which side of God will you see?

July 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
(Revelation 5:13 (NIV))

One day, everything that God has created will bend a knee and confess that Jesus is Lord. We have a choice as to when we do it. If we come to Him freely and willingly, we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. If we ignore Him or deny Him in this world, then when He returns, we will bow not out of love and gratitude for what He has done for us, but out of fear and judgment. We will bow in submission like a convicted felon hangs his head before his jailer.

God has two sides. A loving Father is the side that those who have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, will see. Lift up your voice in praise of what God has done for you and be grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf. Do not wait and take the chance that you will see the other side of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the strength of your pride keeping you from Jesus?

July 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

People have a strange sense of themselves. Young people think that they are immortal, or at least they will be around for a long, long time. As people get older, they still have a tendency to think of themselves as in control. Many people go to their grave thinking that they are their own masters.

Isn’t it a shame that people’s pride is so strong that they do not want to admit that there is a God and that He has always been and will always be?

God created us to have a relationship with Him not as a servant but as a child to a loving father. The church is based on this principle. Jesus is the head of the church, and each of us are members of the body.

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
(John 14:9-10)

This means that God is the head of the church. He has always been and will always be, constant, never changing and always loving.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our sin does not affect God’s nature!

July 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:13 (NIV))

It was prophesied long before this was written that through Jesus, it would be:

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:12)

It is God’s nature that He cannot associate with sin. Sin will perish before God. Because of this and because of the sin allowed into the world through Adam and Eve, we could never approach God. We literally had to stay as far as the east is from the west from God.

Sin is diametrically opposite of the righteousness that is God just as east is diametrically opposite of west. The two could never meet, except through an act of divine intervention. Because of this intervention, we, who accept the grace and mercy offered through it, are allowed into the presence of God. We have an intercessor who sits at the right hand of God the Father on our behalf.

If you can imagine a straight wire that is not bendable. The two ends could never meet. Now, imagine if you will, a “superman” who is capable of bending the two ends until they touch. This ‘superman” was Jesus and the two ends that He was able to make touch are God’s righteousness and our sin.

Our sin does not affect God’s nature, but His righteousness effects ours.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where is your treasure?

July 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Luke 12:33-34 (NIV))

Now is a fantastic time to seriously take a look at what you are thankful for. What is the treasure that you hide in your heart? What single thing in your life would devastate you if it were suddenly taken away from you?

I know that these are hard questions. I look around at what I have and it is not my physical possessions. They will decay with time. It is not my work, for it is only a means by which God has blessed me to support myself and my family.

To me, my earthly treasures are my family – my parents, my wife and my children. I can’t imagine facing a single day without them. Even this treasure will fade. However, there is a treasure far greater than anything that this world has to offer. Through this treasure, my heart rejoices for I know that Jesus is that treasure. He is the hope. He is the salvation. Through Him, nothing the world sends my way will devastate me. I have the hope that only Jesus can bring. I have the hope of seeing my family.

I know that any time is a time of reflection upon the things that you have been blessed with. Don’t forget to take a look at all of your blessings and then thank the one who blessed you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV))

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalm 100:4 (NIV))

Where is your treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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