One simple blessing that means so much!

August 2, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV))

Paul knew how to use words.

In the second letter to the church at Corinth, he closed with what, in my opinion, is the ultimate prayer for those who strive to walk in their faith. Think about the words written above. This one simple sentence magnifies the Triune God in each one of His personas. It glorifies the attribute that we associate with each persona, and it asks that these attributes reside with us as we strive to walk in our faith.

One simple sentence.

One profoundly accurate picture of the God that we love. Perhaps it is more important to realize that this is one profoundly accurate picture of the God that loves us! Each of those characteristics are traits that God has that He has applied toward us. He has given us grace through Jesus. He has given us love through His gift of Jesus on the cross. He has given us fellowship with Himself and other believers through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

God is love.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Paul’s words to the church at Corinth is my prayer for each of us. May we be filled to overflowing with grace, love and fellowship in the name of our God, His only Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

One simple blessing that means so much!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk in the light?

January 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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 1:7 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this passage, but have you ever truly stopped to think about what it really means to be in the light?

Unlike popular belief, each person is not their own light. There are not multiple ways to walk in the light. We can not be enlightened, and we cannot achieve anything on our own. Jesus is the light of the world!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

Being in the light of Jesus means that you have recognized your sinful nature and that you need a Savior. Being in the light of Jesus means that you recognize your need to surrender your life to His guidance. You willingly accept Jesus as not only your Savior, but also your Lord.

Just what does having Jesus as your Lord mean. The word “Lord” means one who is in power or authority, of a high position, and one to whom service and obedience are due. In the physical world, a lord requires submission and allegiance. Those under the lord do not really have a choice. That is not the case when we give lordship over our lives to Jesus. We voluntarily surrender. We recognize the authority and willingly come in under that authority. In Jesus, the authority is not one of fear, but one of love, guidance and grace. We realize that we, in all of our human frailties, need Jesus. We need God!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

When we walk in the light, we walk under the authority of Jesus! We walk under the power of Jesus! We walk under the grace of Jesus! We walk under the love of Jesus!

Do you walk in the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you find yourself going?

August 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Perhaps a better way to look at this is to replace the word aliens with the word tourists.

Let me explain.

The last time that you went on a vacation, did you seek out the sinful areas of the places that you visited or did you seek the places of beauty? A tourist does not go somewhere seeking to find the sin. They go seeking to see something of beauty that is different from what they are used to. Some love to go to the mountains. Some love to go to the beach. Others love to go on cruises, but no one goes looking to find the depravity of the areas that they visit.

We, as members of the Body of Christ, are aliens, we are tourists, in this world. We should not be focused on the sin that has overtaken the world or we may find ourselves falling into that very sin.

We are to remain blameless!

I know that this is impossible in our humanity, for we are all fallen. However, we have one who intercedes for us so that we can rely on His strength instead of ours. When we are facing temptations within this world, rely on Jesus to see you through them. Don’t allow the enemy to trick you into going somewhere that you don’t want to go.

Accountability, fellowship and community are important.

Think back on the tourist concept. When you are a tourist, do you go alone or do you go with other people? Being alone is dangerous. The enemy will recognize that you are alone and vulnerable. That is when sin has the opportunity to arise.

Where do you find yourself going?

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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Encourage each other in the faith!

August 12, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV))

Encouragement is something that we all need. Faith without fellowship is a faith that will soon wither. We need each other to see us through the difficult times. We need each other to rejoice during the good times. We need each other to pray at all times. We are to encourage each other as we seek our daily paths with God.

Jesus didn’t even set out on His mission and ministry alone. He surrounded Himself with people whom He could teach and with whom He could fellowship. Jesus knew that the path would be rough at times. It is rough even when we walk with Jesus. I hate to think what it would be like without Him. Fortunately, we have His promise that He will be with us always. Even though He is still with us, we need each other. We need each other’s fellowship and encouragement daily, just as we need to spend time with God on a daily basis.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
(Hebrews 3:13 (NIV))

Isolation leads to temptation. Temptation leads to sin. We are to hold each other accountable. Fellowship and encouragement bridge the gap that isolation starts to build. With this in mind, my prayer for each of us is just what was written to the church at Thessalonica.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

Encourage each other in the faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The lost

July 18, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:8-10 (NIV))

Is there someone in your life that you would rather forget about?

Someone who just seems to be a thorn in your side no matter what you may do or say. Is there someone who just irritates you?

Do you find yourself thinking that it wouldn’t matter to anyone if they just disappeared?

Isn’t life ironic at times? You do your best to do what you know to be the right thing. You devote yourself to being the person that Jesus is calling you to be, yet, still you have issues with other people who just seem to rub you the wrong way.

Personally, I honestly believe that these people are no accident. They are placed in your life for a reason. I find it best to take on the attitude of prayer, not only for these type of people, but more often for myself. I have to remind myself that heaven rejoices just as much for this person as it does for me. I am no better than the person in question and I need to repent of my thoughts.

With this in mind, have you ever pictured what heaven would be like? Do you envision vast numbers of people exactly like you? How will you handle seeing people from different cultures and different nationalities who will not be like you? How will you handle being among people with whom the only thing that you may have in common is the fact that you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? What will you do when you see the person or persons from your life that were those people who were the thorns in your side? Will you rejoice with all of heaven or will you ask why they are there?

I have often heard this question asked, “How would you react when you got to heaven and discovered that Adolf Hitler had repented and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior?”

If heaven can rejoice when a sinner repents, then we should rejoice as well. In fact, we must pray for those who are lost.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blood Brother

April 4, 2011

And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”
(Mark 14:24 (NKJV))

How many people do you know who would willingly shed their own blood in order to save someone else?

Chances are that it is not that many, and then it would probably only apply to immediate family and very close friends.

Think back upon when you were a kid. Did you ever know of anyone who became “blood brothers?” Perhaps you even did it yourself. Even in this situation, shedding of your own blood required a very strong friendship. It required a bond that you never wanted to be broken.

Shedding of blood requires pain! It is not something that we take lightly, for it always involves some pain. Think about what Jesus did. He poured out not only a few drops of His blood, but all of it. Think of the pain that He endured because of His love for each and every one of us. He did it because He is the friend that we all long for. The bond that we have with Him is eternal. All we have to do is claim it.

Jesus did His part to become our “blood brother.” He suffered all of the pain and sacrificed everything so that we could escape the pain and inherit eternal life. Our part is simply to accept the grace and mercy given through this offer.

Have you done your part in meeting Jesus where He wants to meet you?


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