Are you praying for a clean heart?

March 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Do you find yourself praying this more often in the last few years?

I realize that this could sound like a trick question, but I promise that it is not.

As believers, we should continually pray this. I find myself needing to pray it as I watch the current state of this world. It is human nature to want to go on the offensive when we see things that aren’t right. Our own nation was founded by men and women who did just that. They felt emboldened to the point where they drafted a document that said enough was enough. They went to war and they laid down their lives to do what was right. Today, I find myself in a predicament. Our founding fathers were fighting against tyranny. We are facing a different adversary and many times it is family members, friends and people we work with. The struggle is spiritual and the struggle is real. We must remember that those who are currently against us are also part of God’s creation and that He loves them.

We must never look at these individuals as an enemy not worth saving!

Have you ever been guilty of this? Are you guilty of this at this very moment? What would have happened if the person who lead you to Jesus had the very same type of thoughts about you?

Think about that!

This is why we must pray for God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right spirit within us. We can’t demonstrate the love and redemption that God has freely given if we cannot, if we will not, show that love to those who need it most. With that in mind, I have a homework assignment for you. The next time that you encounter someone who is against you, pause and pray for God to give you a clean heart so that you will see that person through His eyes. Pray that God will renew a right spirit within you so that you will love that person simply because He loves them.

You will find that your outlook on the world will change. You will also grow closer to the Lord because you will understand just how great His love truly is.

Are you praying for a clean heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

March 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 14:27 (NIV))

Are you at peace with what is happening in the world?

Perhaps I should ask if you are at peace in spite of what is happening in the world. I honestly believe that every believer is watching and wondering what is going to happen next. We know that the world is a sinful, fallen place and that the things of this world will just continue to get worse. With that in mind, even those who profess a faith in Jesus are probably experiencing some concerns as things unfold. Thankfully, our concerns are not the end of our story, for our story is eternally tied to the story that God is unfolding through Jesus. Our concerns should be for the lost who are caught in the middle of the present circumstances for they see no hope in sight. Our worries should be for those individuals who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, you have a peace that passes all understanding. You have a peace that is evident in spite of what is going on in the world.

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

We must pray for a harvest! We must pray for an increase. We must pray for the atoning Blood of Jesus to cleanse, to purify, to make spotless, and to refine those who will answer His call. We must pray for an outpouring so that people will understand that they need to repent and turn to Jesus.

It breaks my heart to see people who have apparently lost all semblance of common sense. They just don’t seem to understand the basic principles of life. They just don’t seem to understand that there is an absolute truth and an absolute righteousness. They have abandoned the truth and believed the lie. The peace that I have in spite of the world is what I long to be able to share with these people, but they simply do not understand. I hate to draw this conclusion, for they are someone’s brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, but based on what Daniel has written, what does that make them in the eyes of God?

I am not at peace when I see what is happening in this world simply because I know far too many people who need Jesus, and they need Him now!

If it is possible to grasp, at the very same time, I am at peace in spite of the circumstances in the world. This comes only through knowing that I have personally placed my hope and trust in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That does not mean that my heart doesn’t break when I see the things that break the very heart of God. I just realized that my peace comes from Jesus changing me to the point where I now know what breaks the very heart of God. If you then expand that knowledge to a desire to not break His heart, but to fill your heart with Him, then you truly possess a peace that passes all understanding.

Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“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))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your answer has eternal consequences!

March 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

‘What about you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
(Matthew 16:15 (NIV))

How important is this question in your life?

Perhaps I should ask in this manner. How important is your answer to this question that Jesus asked Simon Peter? How important is your answer to the question that He is asking each and every one of us since that day? There are many different answers that people will give in response to this question.

Do you deny that Jesus ever walked this earth and believe that all of the accounts of His life are simply made up stories? If this is you, I earnestly hope and pray that there are people in your life who are praying for your eyes to be open and your heart to be receptive to the amazing grace offered through Jesus.

Are you one who simply admits that Jesus was a good teacher and nothing more? Is it possible for someone who is only a good teacher to be raised from the dead? Is it possible for someone who is only a good teacher to offer grace and salvation through His death, burial and resurrection? Are you denying the power simply because you find it difficult to believe that someone who was dead is now truly alive? Are you denying the power because you don’t see it being manifested in the world today? His miraculous power is all around us. It simply requires a willingness to see what is right before your eyes.

Are you unfortunately like many people and have put off your answer because you don’t feel that it is important in your life at this moment in time? Don’t fall victim to the lie that you have all the time in the world. You are not guaranteed your next breath!

Are you counted in the numbers of those who have answered as Simon Peter answered?

Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
(Matthew 16:16 (NIV))

If you have made this profession, was it because you read all of the accounts and found the evidence to be overwhelmingly in support of this decision? Was it due to a spiritual intervention from the Holy Spirit? Was it the result of a moment of desperation when you truly realized that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Was it the result of the realization of the following truth?

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

With all of the uncertainty in this world, now is the time to truly seek out the truth and answer this question for yourself. If you are ready to tell Jesus that you truly believe that He is the Christ and that He is the Son of the living God, do it without delay!

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Your answer has eternal consequences!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Oh, what a day that will be!

March 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
(Zechariah 14:9 (NIV))

What are your thoughts on this passage?

In all honesty, how you view the day that this speaks of depends completely on how you view Jesus. Zechariah speaks of those who will fight against the Lord at His return. It also speaks of those who will flee from the Lord at His return. If you have truly accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then this day will be one of great rejoicing, for the Lord will establish His authority, His kingship, over all of the earth.

Do you long for this day or do you fear this day? Do you eagerly watch and wait for His return or do you go about your life as if His return to deliver justice is only a fairy tale? Do you believe in heaven or do you simply hope that there is no hell? Do you believe that accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is the only way to salvation, or do you think that all of this is simply the ravings of people who are uneducated?

There are many things that are unfolding in this world that bear a striking similarity to events foretold in God’s Word. If you met someone who had a perfect track record when it came to telling events years before they happened, you would probably believe their every word. Why do so many fail to believe when that timeframe is extended to hundreds of years. Think about all of the prophecies in God’s Word that have come true. All of them, so far, have been one hundred percent accurate. The chances of all of these occurring by coincidence are staggeringly astronomical, yet they all happened just as foretold. The only ones in question are those that have not been fulfilled as of yet.

Are you looking for the fulfillment of the ones that have not been fulfilled yet?

We should be, for they are the ones that appear to be the beginnings of the birth pains that we have been told of. Are you ready for the birth pains? Are you ready to be on the right side when the Lord returns? It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior!

Are you truly ready to make this proclamation? “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

Oh, what a day that will be!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you persevering under trial?

March 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

I was looking through passages for today’s devotional and this is the first thing that came up as if I was being led to it. I read the passage and I knew that this passage had been the basis of a devotional before. I did a search for it and what I found made me pause. Not only had this passage come to the forefront for today’s devotional, I also found that it had been the subject exactly one year ago today! Then, I was led to ask if you were ready to persevere.

As a believer, I firmly stand on the precept that there are no such things as coincidences. God unfolds, God presents, what He wants us to know when He wants us to know it. With that said, is God telling us to keep persevering through what is currently unfolding and what will be unfolding in this world? I firmly believe that is the case as we see things move from a global pandemic to the threat of nuclear war. We must realize that through all of this, God is still in control. Nothing that is happening is a surprise to our God. He is not panicking, so why should we?

We have been told of wars and rumors of wars. We have been told of nations rising against nations. We have been told of a global “pharmakeia” deception. We have been told all of this and so much more and we are seeing it unfold!

With all that is going on in the world, are you at peace?

“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))

I don’t know about you, but I plan to keep my eyes focused on the one who told us these things would happen. I plan to keep my eyes focused on Jesus! It is my prayer that I am able to persevere in my faith no matter what trial, no matter what test that I may face. Is this your prayer?

Are you persevering under trial?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you strong in the Lord?

March 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be strong?

I realize that is a very vague question, especially when you consider that you can be physically strong, emotionally strong, spiritually strong, and financially strong, just to name a few. With that in mind, perhaps the better question is where do your strengths lie? Did you find yourself thinking that you are pretty good at this or that, only to be reminded that what you were thinking of is not something that you can do at full perfection, at full strength, every single moment of your life? Did this lead to a life altering conclusion in which you admitted to yourself that you are not as strong as you thought you were?

Keep in mind that it takes a strong person to admit that they are weak!

Have you truly considered that in order to be strong in the Lord, you have to admit that you are weak and in need of His strength? I honestly believe that this works the exact same way as when we admitted that we were a sinner in need of a Savior. We can’t do it on our own. Our strength is not sufficient! We must come to the conclusion that we must rely on a power that is far greater than we could ever be.

Our strength comes when we admit that we must fully rely on the Lord for everything that we do. Our strength comes when we admit that we truly are a sinner in need of a Savior. Our strength comes when we admit that we cannot face this world without Him.

“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))

Do you fully rely on the Lord to overcome this world?

What else do you fully rely on the Lord for?

Do you cling to the words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t ever forget it!

March 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
     whose confidence is in him.
(Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV))

Blessed?

Have you ever had a time, even though you trust in the Lord, where you feel that you are far from blessed?

Be honest with yourself. If you are human, then you have had many of those times. I know that I have.

It is human nature to feel rejected. It is human nature to dwell on the negative, and the negative times do happen to everyone. Jesus warned us about this.

“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))

I want you to think back on the times when you did not feel blessed. What happened that made you feel that way? In all circumstances, it was probably an attack from someone or something in this fallen, sinful world. Did you lose your trust in the Lord or did you lose your confidence in Him? After the initial heartbreak, and, yes, that is a normal reaction, chances are that you came to the realization that God is still with you, that Jesus is still with you.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33b (NIV))

These simple words should make us feel blessed even when we don’t feel blessed.

We are blessed because we have placed our faith and trust in the Lord. The enemy attacks us through things of this world. We begin to feel rejected. We begin to feel that we are not blessed. It is at these very moments in life when we must remember that Jesus came into this world, lived, died and was resurrected for moments like this. We can take heart, for He has overcome the world.

When we feel that we are not blessed is the time that we should remember the words from John 16:33. It is at these times that we have the biggest blessing. We have the reassurance that these moments will not defeat us. We have the promise that Jesus is still with us and that He is our salvation even when the world tries its best to destroy us.

Blessed?

You bet!

Don’t ever forget it!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Gospel has not changed and never will!

March 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Do you grow tired of the world always trying to find a new way to achieve perfection, to achieve a sense that humanity is the master of our own destiny? Just when one thing has been tried and ends up failing to produce the results that people want, someone else comes up with something else to try. We see it in diets. We see it in self-help. We see it in education. We even see it in the progressive churches when they try to reinvent and reinterpret God’s Word and Jesus to fit what they want instead of fitting their lives to His truth.

If you seek to mature in your faith in Jesus, then your understanding of Jesus has changed since you first accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. My question for you is has your understanding of Jesus followed the world’s attempts to reinvent and reinterpret, or has your understanding solidified in accordance to God’s Word?

Jesus came into this world to call sinners to repentance. He did not come into this world to tell us that our sinful natures are acceptable as they are.

Jesus came into this world to arm those who accept Him as their person Lord and Savior with the truth needed to combat the lies of the enemy. He did not come into this world to tell us that we can do whatever we want.

Jesus came into this world to offer God’s grace and salvation to those who would accept. He did not come into this world to be a social justice warrior.

What is your image of Jesus?

What is that image of Jesus based on?

Is your understanding of Jesus the same as that of the authors of the Gospels, and not just a few misquoted passages?

If you truly desire to know the real Jesus, then find a church that preaches the Word. Develop the discipline required to spend time daily in His Word. Mature in your faith and in your commitment. Search the scriptures and test everything that you hear to see if it is true.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

I pray that you mature in your faith to be like the Berean Jews. Eagerly receive and eagerly study. You may surprise yourself when you start to truly understand Jesus and the simple fact that He never changes. What He taught when He walked this earth is the same thing that we are called to do today!

The Gospel has not changed and never will!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord your shepherd?

March 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
      He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
      he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
      for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV))

I don’t know anyone who professes a faith in Jesus who does not cling to this verse. We long for the days when this will be fulfilled in heaven. Until then, we must rely on Him to provide this for us in this sinful, hectic world whenever we can spend time in His presence. Too many believers stop at this point. They don’t like the correlation between these six lines and the following six lines, but we must recognize that the Lord not only provides calming rest for us. He also provides protection in the midst of danger.

Even though I walk
      through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4 (NIV))

Too many believers don’t like the fact that we will face danger, that we will face hardship and troubles. Not only do we have His promises from Psalm 23:4 to give us assurance, we also have His promises from John 16:33 that drives those promises home.

“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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have nothing to fear in this world. Even when the world comes crashing in all around you, look to Jesus. Even when you see no earthly hope for your situation, look to Jesus. Even when you feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost, look to Jesus! He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Is the Lord your shepherd?

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