Deliverance requires faith in the shepherd!

February 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
    He guides me in paths of righteousness
        for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
        through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
        for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
        they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
        in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil;
        my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
        all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
        forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

David hit the nail on the head when he wrote this!

It is the prayer of every believer. It is the hope of every believer. God will provide for us in ways that we can only imagine. If we fully rely on Him, then He will deliver us, He will guide us, He will prepare a place for us.

When faced with what the world sends our way, we have a shelter to run to. Peace is what God offers. Chaos is what the world offers. The natural order of things since Adam and Eve fell is degeneration. Through God, we can be made new again. It only takes a simple act of faith.

The faith that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and our only Lord and Savior.

Do you possess this faith?

Deliverance requires faith in the shepherd!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you love like this?

February 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (NIV))

Each of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior cling to the truth in the following passage.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We long to do what Jesus did, but are we focusing on the correct things that He did? Do we long to speak in tongues? Do we long to understand all things? Do we long to prophecy? Do we long to give of ourselves like Jesus did? It is true that He did all of these things and much more, but we forget why He did them. Everything that the Lord did was out of love. All other things pale in comparison to the greatness of His love for us.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

It was love that drove Him to do everything that He did!

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to love just like He loved and still loves. We must rejoice over what makes Him rejoice. We must correct in love those who break His heart. The type of love that was shown by the Lord was not one where He accepts anything that you do, but rather it was a love willing to sacrifice itself to offer salvation and repentance for those who would answer the call. It was a love designed to turn people away from the path of sin and death and turn people to an eternity in His presence! We must present this love in such a way that draws people to Him, discipline and correction included.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
     but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
(Proverbs 15:5 (NIV))

Some would say that it is a tough love. It is a love designed to show the sinner that they have a better option. It is a love designed to show the sinner that they do not have to face the eternal consequences of their sin.

Can you love like this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guarded and delivered?

February 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
(Psalms 97:10 (NIV))

Do you truly love the Lord?

Based on this passage, perhaps I need to ask this another way. Do you truly hate evil?

I think that it is safe to say that we have all known someone who claims to love the Lord, but they don’t act like it? They give lip service, but their actions say otherwise. They seem to embrace their own personal sins and only occasionally stop to think about the Lord. Do they ever stop to think about their actions and how their actions break the very heart of God? Perhaps this rebellious trait goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. Perhaps it even goes back to the rebellion of Satan and the fact that he wanted to be God. He simply took Adam and Eve, and consequently all of humanity, down with him.

In essence, evil is anything that goes against the very nature, the very essence, the very fruit of God.

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.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

If we are told that these are characteristics that we are to possess, then anything that goes against these traits is what God calls evil.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

If we profess to love the Lord, then we are to love the things that He loves. We are to walk in the ways that reflect what He loves. We are to guard our hearts and minds so that the things that the Lord calls evil do not have any way to infiltrate our lives. If we choose to walk in His light, we are to hate the darkness of evil.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:5-7 (NIV))

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Are you guarded and delivered?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Would you be counted as alive in Christ?

February 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:11-14 (NIV))

I am sure that we have all seen people who attend church regularly every Sunday, but once they leave the church building, they act as if they do not know Jesus. They do whatever they want to do and are able to justify it in their mind that since they attend church they are forgiven for whatever they do. The Bible says that these people will have a surprise awaiting them.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:15-23 (NIV))

If you are truly a disciple of Jesus, then you will desire not to sin. You will want to bear good fruit. Those who attend church but still bear bad fruit are not part of the branch that Jesus has allowed to be grafted into Israel.

Look at it from a worldly perspective. If you were an employer who had someone who constantly created trouble and did bad things against you, what would you do? Think of God doing a performance evaluation on you in which the only questions consisted of whether you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and whether you are bearing fruit accordingly. Would you be promoted or fired?

Would you be counted as alive in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm just a little longer!

February 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

We have heard this passage many times during our lives. I would even venture to say that each of us have been personally thankful that the Lord was willing to wait for us to come to repentance.

At what point does He say enough is enough?

Let me explain that question. The Lord longs for everyone to come to repentance and He gives us the time that is needed to come to that realization. He gives us opportunities to repent and to turn to Him, but there will come a day when His patience will be gone and His righteousness will demand justice. Is there a line that we collectively, as sinful humanity, must cross? How close are we to this point in history? Is there the same type of line for us as individuals? Have some people already crossed that line?

We seem to be seeing a wide chasm with respect to this. We are told about this in the following parable.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV))

I find it interesting that the Lord said to let both the wheat and the weeds grow until the harvest. The concept is for each kind to mature so that it is fully recognizable. In other words, God is waiting for the true nature to be fully revealed. Think about that in terms of what we see going on in the world. We pray for God’s will to be done. We think that we see and understand what is wheat and what is weed, but is God telling us to be patient and let the weeds irreversibly tell on themselves as they mature in their nature?

We must learn to wait for the Lord’s timing. We must learn to be patient as we wait for His righteousness. We must allow the weeds to reveal their complete true nature!

Stand firm just a little longer!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must not delay!

February 5, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
     it speaks of the end
     and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
     it will certainly come
     and will not delay.
(Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV))

It seems as if the whole world is impatient!

Everyone is waiting for something to happen. What they are waiting for is a matter of priorities. Each one of us have priorities, but they are not the same for everyone. To boil it all down, our priorities are are either selfish in nature, worldly in nature, or eternal in nature. No matter what our priorities may be, it is human nature that makes us not want to wait. We seek instant gratification in any way that we can. We seem to have forgotten the old saying that good things come to those who wait.

What are you waiting for?

Are you like Simeon and desire to see God’s salvation?

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
     you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
     and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:25-32 (NIV))

Do you desire to see what God will reveal to the world at His appointed time? Are you willing to stand firm in your faith in the face of the world and declare what Simeon saw with his own eyes? Are you willing to share the Gospel with a sinful and lost world? Are you willing to tell the world that God has a plan?

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

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world says, there are not many ways to heaven!

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))

Have you found this single source of salvation and claimed Him as your personal Lord and Savior? Time is short. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. It is time to proclaim the name of Jesus. No other name but Jesus!

We must not delay!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I have no desire to know anything other than God!

February 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what the powerful delusion might be?

We know that those who will be effected will be so because of their wickedness, but what exactly is the delusion? What makes them believe the lie? Is it possible that we are seeing the results of this delusion in our society and in our world today?

Think about that for a moment.

Far too many people don’t recognize the truth about anything. Men can be women and women can be men simply because they say that they are. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Sin is no longer called sin. It is now called a lifestyle choice. Truth is not recognized as truth. What passes for truth is open for interpretation and can change based on emotions even when the facts say something different. Absolute truth does not exist. Truth is now relative. Anything can be a god, but if you mention Jesus you are a bigot.

Does this sound familiar?

I am beginning to think, and I pray that I am correct, that those who truly call upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will only see the results of the powerful delusion. We may never fully understand exactly what it is, but we will encounter those who do experience it. They will be easy to distinguish since they will reject God’s truth and His righteousness and they will fully embrace the lies of the enemy and all wickedness. What makes someone reject righteousness and truth and embrace sin?

It makes no logical sense!

I have no desire to know anything other than God!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you love the Lord in this manner?

February 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

When was the last time that you gave one hundred percent to something that you cared about?

What is the one thing that you find that you can’t live without?

Are you ashamed to admit what these are?

Every single one of us has something that we make a priority in our lives. Some people live to work. Others are fixated on gadgets and gizmos. Some people collect guitars. Some collect baseball cards. Some people spend every waking moment plotting and scheming on how to get rich. Let’s face the truth of our sinful human nature. What we give ourselves to is often based on selfish motives, but have you ever decided to make the Lord a priority? Have you made Him your top priority?

What if we gave the Lord the same amount of attention and devotion that we give to the things of this world that we love?

Can you imagine the unintended consequences of such love and devotion?

However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
      what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” —
      the things God has prepared for those who love him—
(1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV))

All of this is added to the gift of grace that He freely gave because of His love for us.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

For this alone we should be fully devoted to the Lord for He has saved us from the consequences of our sinful nature.

We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19 (NIV))

Do you love the Lord in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you be able to withstand the deception?

February 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:21-23 (NIV))

How well do you know Jesus? How well do you know God’s Word?

Do you know them well enough to be able to discern the difference between the truth and a lie?

All too often, the enemy will shroud his lies in bits and pieces of the truth. He will use just enough of the truth to make his lies sound plausible. He will count on people not knowing God’s Word well enough to tell the difference between the truth and his lies. He will use just enough to entrap people.

Entrapment!

Do you honestly think that Satan cares how he tricks people into missing out on God’s grace and mercy? He only cares that he does trick people. It does not matter to him that he deceives people. It does not matter to him that he misuses God’s Word to deceive. He has only one goal and that is keeping as many people as possible from the redeeming grace offered through Jesus. Satan thinks that if he can’t be worshipped, then he will take that from God.

In the high-speed, fast-paced world that we now find ourselves in, we must know what we believe in. We must know what we have faith in.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you fully armed with the knowledge and truth that is God’s Word? Will you be able to withstand the deception?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Faith requires a willingness to action!

February 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

No soldier in history has ever won a battle by not being prepared to face the enemy. We are in a battle. We either choose to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior, or we reject Him. By rejecting Him, we have allowed the enemy to have victory.

Even if we accept the gift that God has given us, we must be prepared to face the attacks of the enemy. A good soldier will ready his weapons and his body for combat.

We are in spiritual combat. How do we prepare ourselves for this combat? By embracing the sword that is the Word of God. The more that we read and study, the more that we will be prepared to determine what is from God and what is from the enemy.

Soldiers have instructions on how to maintain and use their physical weapons. We also have instructions on how to use our spiritual weapons. Read the Bible and meditate on the meanings that the words have even today, for God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Are you strong in the Lord? Are you prepared?

Faith requires a willingness to action!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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