Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

July 14, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Some translations say a pure heart instead of a clean heart. In your mind, what is the difference between cleanliness and purity? Have you ever given any thought to this? Whatever translation and whatever word that you use, David is asking the Lord to take control of his heart and to remove all instances of sin. It is the heart that directs a person. It is the heart that hides what you truly desire. It is the heart that guides our actions and our words.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Where does your heart guide you? What does your heart make you say and do?

I have been writing and sending these out for almost twenty-five years. Honestly, there have been times when my heart is not where it should be. My spirit is not where it should be. I am only human, and we all go through highs and lows, even when we profess a faith in Jesus. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a routine, and miss the big picture because we are focusing on the small stuff. This happens to everyone, and when it happens, we must recognize our condition and bring it to the Lord. I have found that the greater the frequency of turning to God, the better the outcome, for He always brings cleanliness, purity, and renewal when you ask.

How often do you ask?

If you find yourself thinking that you are good and don’t have to ask that often, then I think a very thorough self-reflection is called for. All of us are human and as sinful, fallen humanity, we can’t go very long without sinning. We may make it a day. We may make it a few hours, or we may only make it a few minutes. No matter how long we may make it without sinning, it is not long enough.

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

Personally, there are several things that I try to discipline myself to do. Some of them include:
1. Being still in His presence
2. Reading and studying His Word
3. Praying for cleansing and righteousness
4. Praying in general

I could add more, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I love to be still in His presence, yet, I am fearful for I know that I am a sinner. I long to be cleansed and renewed so that I may mature into the image of Christ.

Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What sustains you in your hunger?

July 13, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

People are hungry!

People are starving for the grace and truth that can only be found in God, and the sad part is that they don’t realize it. They try to satisfy their hunger with anything and everything that catches their attention, while ignoring the only thing that can truly satisfy their longings. It is said that we have a God-shaped hole within us and I honestly believe that to be true. We try to fill this hole, this void, with anything and with everything that we can possibly imagine. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to drugs. Others turn to money, and still others will turn to the lusts of the flesh. Nothing that this world can offer can fill this void. Nothing that this world can offer can satisfy this hunger.

Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins. He came into this world to satisfy our hunger.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus satisfies our hunger. Jesus satisfies our soul. Jesus fills the God-shaped hole within each of us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
(John 1:14a (NIV))

I love how God does things. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means house of bread. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in the house of bread. This sheds light on the Passover Seder when Jesus broke the bread and told His disciples to take and eat, for it is His body. It can’t get any clearer than that. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and by doing this, He satisfies the hunger within us.

What sustains you in your hunger?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you long for His light?

July 12, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

The world is a dark place. Sin and evil are the new normal, but only for a little while. We know the end of the story. We are just living in the times before the end comes. These are the times when evil increases just as we are told in the parable of the wheat and the tares. While we wait, we have a light that we can shine in our small corners of the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have a light that will penetrate the darkness. Even the smallest flame from a candle chases the darkness away.

How is your flame?

I know that it is nothing in comparison to what the Lord will bring when He returns, but we are called to share His light for others to see. We are to use the light that is inside of us to allow others to see their way to Him. The more that we share that light, the more people we will have searching the skies for His return.

Do you search the skies for His return?

We have been given a promise just as the disciples were given a promise. He will return!

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Do you long for His return?

Do you long to see His light?

Do you long to live in His light for all eternity?

His light will defeat the darkness. His light has already overcome sin and death. His light will return to finish everything just as was promised. When He returns, there will be no darkness.

Do you long for His light?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Especially in the midst of chaos, we must BE STILL!

July 11, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
     I will be exalted among the nations,
     I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

Most of the time that you see any reference to this passage, it is only the following words – “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Most people read these words and interpret them to mean that we are to slow down and spend time with God. They take these words to mean that by doing so, we will come to a better understanding of who God is, and who we are in His creation. This is true. In fact, most of the time that I reference this passage, it is also the same select words with this very understanding and meaning. I have used these words from this passage as my calling to slow down and spend time with the Lord. As a result of my time being still with God, I have learned much about who He is and I am still learning. In fact, I read this passage again today and a different understanding was given to me that draws heavily on the current situations, the current events transpiring in this world in which we live.

With all the chaos that is going on in this world, He is telling us to be still. We do not need to panic. We do not need to fear. He is God and He is in control. He is allowing the enemy to set the stage in such a way that when God’s timing is perfect, He will be exalted in such a way that all the nations will see Him. He will be exalted in such a way that the whole earth will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV))

I encourage you to expand you understanding of Psalm 46:10 beyond the few words that most of us can recite from memory. We must take comfort not only in the words that tell us to slow down and spend time with the Lord, for we are given a powerful promise in the rest of the passage that tells us that the Lord our God will prevail. He will be exalted!

When the chaos seems to be so overwhelming, we must be still. When the evil attacks from the enemy seem to come at a greater frequency, we must be still. When the world calls evil good and good evil, we must be still. We are to be still and place our faith wholly and firmly on the promises that we have been given through Jesus! When the chaos is overwhelming from a human perspective, we must remember that we have been given instructions on what to do. We have been given a promise of what will soon transpire.

No matter what the world may send our way, we must continue to sit at the feet of Jesus!

Especially in the midst of chaos, we must BE STILL!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

July 8, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 (NIV))

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Think about that question, for your eternity lies in your answer.

Do the ever-increasing number of events unfolding in this world have you worried, or are you at complete peace that defies all worldly logic? Do you see the extremes that people will go to when things don’t go as they desire, even when their desires are far from godly? Do you find yourself heartbroken because these people have believed the lie from the enemy? Are you saddened when someone curses God? I recently saw a video that had a segment where a man about fifty years old got right in the lens of the camera and in a very demonic voice proudly proclaimed that he liked killing babies!

We are told that the wheat and the tares will grow up evenly. We are told that good will be called evil and evil will be called good. We are told that a great delusion will fall over those who do not fear the Lord. We are told that there will be wars and rumors of wars. We are told that people will be lovers of themselves!

I personally believe that my last sentence is the root cause of everything since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We want to do what we want to do and we want everyone to accept what we want to do. We have come to the point where we love ourselves so much that we fail to even have any glimmer of love for anyone else. I don’t know about you, but this sounds just like the enemy when he was cast out of heaven. Satan wanted to be in control and he wanted to do things his way. Does this sound familiar to you?

There are two very distinct ways that we can be in respect to a relationship with the Lord. We can deny, despise, reject, and curse Him, or we can run to His open arms and find love, redemption, grace, mercy, and refuge. Now is the time to run to His open arms with a repentant heart. Do it before it is too late!

Once again I need to ask one very important question.

Have you truly taken refuge in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Only God’s Word is eternal!

July 7, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:35 (NIV))

We have this idea that our surroundings are a permanent fixture that we simply pass through for a few years, but are they truly permanent? From our limited perspective, they may appear that way for they were here when we were born, and unless Jesus returns soon, they will be here when we leave this world.

But, we have a very limited perspective!

Our days may come to seventy years,
     or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
     for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
(Psalm 90:10 (NIV))

God’s creation is much older than our limited life span, yet, His creation was made for us. If the fall from grace had not happened, we can only imagine what our world would be like today. Unfortunately, the fall from grace did happen and we are now living in a sinful, fallen world that we are promised will be made new when the Lord returns and makes His dwelling place among His creation.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
(Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV))

In essence, Matthew hinted at what we were given in detail in Revelation. Our God will make things new again and those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will see His promises fulfilled.

Only God’s Word is eternal!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you relying on the true source of strength?

July 6, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

As I sit here tonight, this passage caught my attention. I feel weary. I feel like I have been beat up. I feel like I am swimming upstream against a current of unrighteousness and down right evil in this world. Everything that I see appears so far from what God desires that it breaks my heart. I can only imagine what it does to the very heart of God.

Do you find yourself like this? Do you look at the events unfolding in this world and all that you can do is muster a groan from your spirit? You are not alone in this. I often feel the same way. Take heart because this is the Holy Spirit working inside of us.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

We should find strength in our weariness. We should find strength in our trials. We should find strength in our groanings, for they are all indicators that we do not belong to the world. We belong to the Lord! He doesn’t call us to rely on our strength. We are to trust and follow Him.

Does that change your perspective on Philippians 4:13?

Are you relying on the true source of strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you truly living under freedom?

July 5, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

We have just celebrated another July 4th. It is a day of celebration for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. It is a day that we celebrate the resolve of our founding fathers to break the chains that tied them to a king and country that did not see them as equals.

What was done by our founding fathers was great, but I want you to think about what Jesus did.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

God the Father had the resolve to break our captivity to sin. Jesus the Son had the resolve to do what was needed to break our chains of bondage. He willingly went to the cross so that we could be free; so that we could have salvation. He freed us from a far greater bondage than any physical oppression. He freed us from sin!

“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))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Please think about the fact that nothing in this world lasts. It is possible that something will happen and we will lose some or all of our freedoms that our founding fathers fought for.

The freedoms that are given through the Blood of Jesus can never be taken from us. We, in our human frailty, can turn our backs on the freedom from sin, but Jesus will never take it from us.

Jesus has broken every chain that can bind us to the law of sin and death!

All that you have to do is accept it.

Have you accepted your servanthood and freedom?

Are you truly living under freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you standing firm in the freedom that Christ has given?

July 4, 2022

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

What is freedom to you?

If you are a follower of Jesus, then freedom means something different from how the world defines it. It has such a deeper meaning and carries with it a longer lasting impact than what the world calls freedom. Worldly freedom can be gone in an instant, but the freedom that Jesus came to offer lasts an eternity. Worldly freedom is good, for with it comes the freedom to worship as you please. Worldly freedom also has its drawbacks, for worldly freedom allows us to do things that the world sees as appropriate even if they are not right in the eyes of God. Freedom through the atoning blood of Jesus washes away all the sins of the world. We are made right in the eyes of God. When we are made right in the eyes of God, we should long to strive toward the perfection that we are being called to. We are not to use this freedom as an excuse to return to our sins.

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
(1 Peter 2:16 (NIV))

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
(Galatians 5:13 (NIV))

I love freedom! I also love knowing that there are boundaries to this freedom. Those boundaries protect us. They nurture us and they guide us into righteousness in the eyes of God. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us if we will only listen. Does a person who is freed from prison immediately turn around and asked to be placed back in prison? Why should we, who are freed from the prison, from the bondage of sin and death, immediately return to sin?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV))

We must stand firm. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We must cling to the freedom that was given to us by Jesus.

Are you standing firm in the freedom that Christ has given?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you look forward to this day?

July 1, 2022

Image

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))

Even in the days of Zechariah, God let it be known that one day His plan would come to fruition and He would restore His order to His creation. Everything that has come about in the unveiling of history has proven that God keeps His promises. Every event in the history of the world that has had a significant impact in the events of society had been prophesied hundreds of years before it came to pass.

One of these days, the words spoken of in Zechariah will also come to pass and then we will be able to see God in a creation that He intended before man suffered the fate of the fall from grace. What a glorious day that will be. It will also be a sad day for those who do not know the grace and mercy that God has freely given through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a shame that too many people will see this event as a sad day of punishment instead of a glorious day of salvation. We must tell all that we see of the grace that is freely theirs if they will only receive it. Only by accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will they see these events as a glorious day of salvation.

How do you see the words of Zechariah?

Do you look forward to this day?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: