Have you made your move?

March 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
(James 4:8a (NIV))

I am sure that you have heard that God is everywhere and that He will never leave you, so how do you understand and comprehend this passage? If He is everywhere, isn’t He already near us?

God is everywhere, but sadly, too few people realize that He will not force Himself on anyone. We have to turn to Him out of a choice that we make, especially since we, as humanity, chose to turn away from Him as a result of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We thought that we had been given knowledge, but instead, we lost all hope. Until God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to pay the penalty for sin and death, we only knew the wages of our sin even if we chose good. Thankfully, God had a plan that would bring an end to this.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Each of us must make a decision to come near to God. This is only accomplished by believing in Jesus as God’s one and only Son. Through the gift of grace freely given on the cross, the veil that separated God from humanity has been torn in two. God had set in motion a plan to bring us back to Him and the veil symbolized that completion of that plan. Jesus declared this culmination of God’s redemptive plan with His final words.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

God used these events to unfold His perfect plan to draw each of us near to Him. God may use circumstances to get our attention, but He cannot make the decision for us. Our families and friends cannot make the decision for us. We have to be willing to put aside our pride and move closer to God. When we make that move, we will find that He is already closer than we could ever imagine.

Have you made your move?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to be hated?

February 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:22 (NIV))

Following Jesus apparently has its drawbacks! The world looks at us with disdain. The enemy looks at us and sees our former sinful selves. We will be shunned and ridiculed by the world. We will be hated, despised, rejected and accused of being ignorant fools. We will be laughed at, mocked and possibly so much more, yet, we who have professed a faith in Jesus are ready to stand firm in our faith. We pray that we are prepared to face the battles that will come our way.

We must be prepared!

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.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

I know that this sound like an impossible task, but we must remember who is for us if we profess a faith in Jesus.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

With these scriptural truths, I pray that we are fully prepared for what the world, for what the enemy may send our way. They can hate us all they want as long as we have a God who loves us for proclaiming that Jesus is Lord!

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))

We are given a choice. We can love the world and be despised by God or we can be hated by the world and loved by God?

Are you ready to be hated?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does what you seek glorify God?

October 9, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
(James 1:5 (NIV))

What do you consider as wisdom?

The world has one definition of wisdom and God has another.

What is it that you ask God for?

Do you ask for wisdom to better understand God’s Word, His Laws, and His love or do you ask for wisdom that will grow your wealth and stature in this world?

It is a matter of the heart.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

What is it that you treasure?

What is it that you desire?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

If we truly serve the Lord, then the wisdom that we seek will be to His glory!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love, fear and respect God?

January 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
(Psalms 34:4-7 (NLT))

Everybody longs for what this passage describes. We all want God to answer our prayers. We all want God to come to our rescue. We all want God to bless us.

Did you catch the caveat in this passage?

There are four words that most people have a tendency to overlook. They see the words and think that it could not be as written, after all, God is love. They falsely think that God will answers our prayers and come to our rescue no matter what we do. They think of God as a genie who is there to grant our every wish. They fail to recognize the two way relationship that four little words bring to the table.

All who fear Him!

God is not going to answer the prayers of those who mock Him. He is not going to come to the rescue of those who rebel against Him. It is true that God does not wish for any to perish, but it is up to us. He has given us free will. If we choose to turn from Him, then He will not bless us. He will still be there hoping that we will repent and turn to Him, but He cannot do for us if we do not accept His grace and mercy. With that acceptance comes a fear of Him. Perhaps that fear is better understood as a respect.

Think about that concept.

Do you love you earthly father? When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother tell you, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Did you fear your father at these times? You knew he loved you, but you also knew that he was capable of dealing with your bad behavior, your sins.

Why do people have such a different view of God, our heavenly Father, than they do of their earthly father? Even for those who profess a faith and actively strive to be righteous in the eyes of God, we have a tendency to look upon God in ways that we shouldn’t.

Do you love, fear and respect God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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According to your faith will it be done to you

December 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;
(Matthew 9:29 (NIV))

Think about that passage. The words that Jesus spoke cut right to the heart!

“According to your faith will it be done to you”

What type of faith do you have? Is it a faith that will leave you desolate and barren or is it a faith that will leave you rejoicing and thankful? It is up to you. Your faith is your decision. You can decide to have little faith or a great faith. You will also reap the rewards for your type of faith.

In our world today, it is very easy to allow the world and its problems into our lives. When this happens, it is very easy for faith to falter. Sometimes it will even fail. Even when this happens, faith is resilient. It can grow back from almost nothing into something mighty.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6 (NIV))

Faith truly is like the mustard seed. It can start out small, but with time and attention, it will grow. Each time you see faith at work, it will feed upon itself. Faith grows faith. Soon it will be like the mustard seed.

Be careful, because just like any physical thing that grows, faith can also be killed. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus in all things. If bad things happen, don’t let that kill your faith. Focus on Jesus and use your faith and His strength to see you through it. Perhaps faith is a matter of perspective. If you choose to see it and use it, it will grow. If you choose not to see it, then it will die.

If you ask something of Jesus, what will you receive when He says, “According to your faith will it be done to you”?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We can choose who we deny

April 18, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34b (NIV))

How many times have you heard this passage quoted? It is a common passage to be used when we think of the sufferings that we are told we will encounter in this world if we choose to follow Jesus.

I have a problem with teachings that are financial blessings based. It is true that God desires to bless us, but, we must not forget the opposite side of this, for we are told that we will have to take up our cross and follow Him. Bearing a cross is not a teaching of no problems and of rosy futures. We still have to face the truth that the enemy has dominion over this earth. When we make it known that we have placed our faith in Jesus, we become fair game for the attacks of the enemy.

“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))

Jesus knew that we would face troubles in this life. He did not promise that the troubles would go away. He did promise that He has overcome the world. This passage does not say that He has overcome the troubles and has made them stop. It states that He has overcome the troubles and will provide a way for us to walk through them.

We can either deny ourselves or we can deny Jesus!

If we deny ourselves, it may be possible that we would have an easier time in life. We don’t know what will happen in this life. We do know that if we deny ourselves in this life, eternity will be a blessing.

If we deny Jesus, I know that we will have a much harder eternity.

We can choose who we deny. Who will you deny?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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