At once!

January 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At once they left their nets and followed him.
(Matthew 4:20 (NIV))

When was the last time that you reacted immediately to a situation?

If you are like me, this probably doesn’t happen very often if at all. To be honest with you, most days I have trouble deciding what I want for dinner.

Each one of us who profess a faith in Jesus did not come to this decision as quickly as Peter and Andrew did. We had heard of Jesus most of our lives before we came to the decision to give our hearts to Jesus. Could we have and would we have been so quick to follow Jesus if He had appeared to us at our work and told us to follow Him? Would we have believed Him? Would we have left the comfort of what we knew and in an instant make a decision to leave it all behind and follow who in essence was a complete stranger? From a logical perspective, this sounds like lunacy. From a worldly perspective, it sounds like lunacy, but from a Godly perspective, it sounds like redemption, grace and salvation!

I have often wondered how I would have reacted if I were Peter or Andrew. Would I have been able to take that leap of faith? Would I have recognized that moment in time that would change my eternity? Would I have been able to place my trust in Jesus so quickly?

Think about that with respect to your life and how you came to faith in Jesus. Was it a well thought out decision or was it a quick and bold move? No matter how quickly the decision was made, the important truth is that you did make that decision. Even so, I want to give you something to think about. Peter gave his commitment “at once.” We do know that Peter was sometimes quick to do things, such as stepping out of the boat to walk on water. We also know that Peter vowed to never abandon Jesus, yet he denied Him three times. We also know that Jesus restored and forgave him. Perhaps Jesus saw something in Peter that is something that we should be willing to take hold of. Peter was willing to place his faith in Jesus even if he didn’t understand. He made the commitment and then relied on Jesus to see him through. We rely on our intellect to come to the decision and then we rely on our intellect to determine how we react. Is this really faith?

Are we able to decide at once to follow Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Celebrate Jesus!

December 23, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. We celebrate the First Coming. Some tomorrow we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fully charged?

September 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
(Luke 9:1 (NIV))

It is human nature to seek power. It seems that everyone wants to be in charge. If you don’t believe this simple truth, just look at a family with more than one child. There will always be bickering between the children as to which child has the final say. If you had brothers or sisters, you know how true this can be. If you have more than one child, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you will!

Even the disciples who walked with Jesus tried to play the power game with each other. If you simply look at the details of the Passover meal in the upper room, you see that there was a power play to see who would sit at the highest place. Sadly, they got it all wrong. Fortunately, they soon realized that the power they truly were seeking was equally theirs through the power and authority that was given to them by the Holy Spirit. They grew up Jewish and could recite the Torah. They knew God’s Word. They recognized the power of God’s Word. They walked with Jesus. They had seen firsthand the miracles that the power of God was able to do. All that they needed was the power of the Holy Spirit to fill them and enable them.

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))

Jesus knew from the very first time that He called each of the disciples that He would need to equip them for the time when He returned to the Father. He opened up their eyes and their hearts to the Father. He gave them true insight into the Word. He taught them how to utilize the power of God. He prepared them for the Holy Spirit. Once the power of the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they were fully equipped, they were fully charged in the power of God. They changed the world!

We may not be able to physically walk with Jesus, but we still have God’s Word. We still have the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus and we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit if we will only embrace it. It takes all three to truly embrace the Lord, for God is three in One – God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, you could even look at them as God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the empowerer. You are alive because of God the Father. You are redeemed because of Jesus. Have you fully embraced the power that is yours through the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to change your part of the world?

Are you fully charged?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

August 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21 (NIV))

How many times have you been given advice to follow your heart? How many times have you given this advice? Is this really sound advice when you stop to consider how many times the Bible refers to the human heart as wicked and deceitful? Ever since the fall from grace, our hearts have been filled with selfish and sinful desires.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
(Genesis 6:5 (NIV))

The heart is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If you don’t think this is true, simply look at your own life. Are there things that you have done, or you think about doing, that would shock your family and your friends if they only knew what was in your heart? Do you look around at those whom you know and find yourself thinking that if they only knew the true you they wouldn’t want to be near you?

Human nature is so full of secrets and shortcomings that it is a wonder how any of us truly have any family or friends! We are so self-centered that even on our best days we still fail miserably at doing anything close to what the Lord calls us to do. We fail because we listen to our selfish and sinful hearts when we should be listening to the Lord.

Is your heart pure? What plans do you hide in your heart? What sinful desires do you hide in your heart? Life is a series of choices that we all must make. Every single day we are faced with a choice of who to follow. Do we follow our own sinful hearts or do we strive to follow Jesus?

It is easy to say this, but very difficult to walk it through. We must make an effort to follow Jesus and repent when we stray so that the Lord’s purpose prevails.

In other words, don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you acknowledge the One to whom scripture points?

July 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
(John 5:39-40 (NIV))

Have you ever known people like those whom Jesus spoke of?

You know the type. They can quote scripture. They know God’s Word thoroughly. They can argue any passage for they know the letter of the Law. They take pride in their knowledge, yet they fail to see that the letter of the Law is condemning and restricts life. These people enjoy learning about God, yet they miss the point that perfection is not attainable. They miss the simple fact that grace is attainable. It is a free gift.

Prayerfully, none of us are that type.

It is true that God’s Word holds the truth. It is true that God’s Word leads to salvation, for it points to the Word made flesh.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
(John 1:14-18 (NIV))

We must study the Scriptures, but we must realize that eternal life is not found in knowledge of facts, it is found in the truth that the Scriptures point to. The truth is Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer that no one would study God’s Word without the willingness to follow where that study leads. Countless prophecies foretold of the coming of Jesus. Countless more told of His crucifixion and resurrection. Many more tell of His return. Allow God’s Word to lead you to this conclusion.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Are you full of Biblical facts or do you fill yourself with the truth of Jesus? Do you acknowledge the One to whom scripture points?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the call to obedience?

May 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
(Romans 1:5 (NIV))

A heavy price has been paid for you to receive the call!

Ever since the call first went out, the world and all the powers that control it have tirelessly fought anyone who chooses to bring the call, to accept the call, or to forward it on. The enemy declared that it had won when it was able to place Jesus in the grave, but they did not count on the third day! The world did all that it could to persecute those who accepted the call, but then Jesus called Saul to reach the Gentiles and Saul, through a rebirth, became Paul. The world did all that it could to condemn Paul and throw him in prison in order to stop the call. The prison guards received salvation! The world did all that it could to eradicate the call by sending Christians into the colosseum. The church flourished and more people answered the call!

All around the world today, people who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are facing persecution and death because they have answered the call. They have declared that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They have declared that Jesus is part of the Trinity. They have declared that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. To put it simply, they have replied “I believe” to the one question that can change your eternity. They have declared that they believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and just like the price that has been paid throughout the church age, many are paying the ultimate, heavy price today.

Do you feel comfortable in your faith in Jesus?

Do you avoid letting people know that you are a Christian?

Do you fear reprisals for your confession of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

I was recently reminded that the Body of Christ, the church, is a family that we choose to belong to. If you have made that choice and answered the call, are you one hundred percent certain that you will be obedient in your faith no matter what the world may try to do? Keep in mind that the world’s outlook on Jesus is rapidly changing and your obedience may have drastic worldly consequences. I pray that I am able to be obedient, for I would rather be judged by a sinful world and found guilty of being righteous in the eyes of God, then be judged by a righteous God and found guilty of being sinful.

Are you prepared?

Have you accepted the call to obedience?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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