Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

January 25, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—
(1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV))

All of us, even in our limited resources, like to do nice things for those we love. Have you ever stopped to realize that it is a human trait to love those who love us in return? Do you think that God loves in this manner? Do you think that God only loves those who love Him?

We know for a fact that God did not wait for humanity to turn our love to Him before He showed us how much He loves us.

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))

Every act of love that we have toward God and for God is a result of the love that He showed for us. Without His love, all of humanity would be lost in our sinful nature. God willingly sent Jesus to die so that we might live!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

Think about this from a human perspective. Most of us would willingly give our lives to save someone we love. We would do whatever it takes to make sure that person was safe from harm. We would even do this in situations where the person we want to save may not love us the way that we love them. Isn’t this exactly what God did when He sent Jesus?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

God, through the life that Jesus led, died for us because He calls us friends. He laid down His life because He loves us. He laid down His life before we loved Him!

If God is willing to do such a great thing before we love Him, what will He do once we turn our hearts toward Him?

Can you imagine what God has prepared for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your desires?

July 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:17 (NIV))

Do you ever find yourself in internal conflict? Do you find yourself doing exactly what you know that you shouldn’t do? The Spirit tells us to do what we should, but our flesh tells us something else. Even Paul, whom we credit with taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, faced the very same dilemma.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
(Romans 7:15 (NIV))

It is human nature. We can’t escape the sin nature that we were born into. Even on our best days, our attempts at fulfilling the desires of the Spirit fall way short.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

On our own, we are helpless, hopeless and lost! Thankfully, we are not on our own.

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))

We have been given a way to proclaim to the Lord that we don’t like our sinful desires and that we want to focus on the desires of the Spirit. It is a simple, yet eternity changing, process. It is a process that exchanges all of our sin for all of the righteousness of Jesus. Are you tired of being condemned without any hope? Do you desire to strive for righteousness? Do you desire grace and mercy? Is it your desire to proclaim that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

What are your desires?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your diet consist of?

July 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

We think that we know this passage. We hear it quoted so often, though, that I think we may miss the deeper meaning to these words.

We read them and understand them for the surface meaning where we need more than food to survive. We need the Word of God, and we need God.

I would venture to say that there is also an extended meaning to these words. A meaning that takes what we understand and takes it that one step further.

Is bread physical? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Can you taste it?

Is God physical?

He is exactly opposite. He cannot be seen. He cannot be touched. He cannot be experienced in any of the ways that our physical senses are used to experiencing things. God is spirit. We must encounter Him as He is. This does not mean that God cannot manifest Himself in physical ways, but it does mean that He is primarily in a realm of existence that we do not experience in our physical existence.

We must seek Him beyond the physical realm that we know. We must seek Him in His realm.

Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.
(Psalm 144:4 (NIV))

In our physical existence, we are here only for a short time. Even in our short, physical existence, God loves us. He wants us to be with Him. He has overcome our physical existence by sending Jesus to the physical world.

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 can, and must, reach out to Him in the spiritual realm. We experience God by allowing ourselves to reach beyond the physical and take small glimpses of the spiritual.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:!2 (NIV))

When we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we begin to see the reflection clearer.

What do you live on?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s gift to us is amazing . . . grace!

December 9, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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))

Have you ever thought about this passage as a Christmas passage?

We have been given the ultimate gift through God’s love for us. When a gift is given, someone has to pay the price. It is free to the recipient, but the one who gives the gift takes it upon themselves to pay the full cost no matter what that cost may be.

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

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

When was the last time that you took it upon yourself to give good gifts to several people? I am sure that it cost you a considerable amount, yet, you willingly paid the price so that you could freely give the gifts that you gave. Jesus willingly paid the cost needed to give grace and mercy to every person who has ever lived. That cost was more than we could bear just for our own sins, yet Jesus took all the sin of the world upon Himself for our sakes.

In this time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must never lose sight of the reason that Jesus was born. It is at this time of year that we see the innocence of a baby, but we must not forget about the power and authority of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find strength in God?

June 23, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

This passage is powerful!

If you think about it, this passage can be summarized by another passage.

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

These two passage should give us strength. They should give us courage. They should give us hope! They should give us faith!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

I find it comforting that we are told repeatedly that we can put our trust in God. Even when the world mocks us and threatens us, we can stand firmly on the promises that we have been given. We can stand firmly in the knowledge that we are important to God. We are so important that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world so that we could have the ultimate experience of grace and mercy.

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))

I don’t know about you, but I find strength in these words. God has repeatedly told us to be strong and to not be discouraged. He even sent Jesus to live as an example.

Do you find strength in God?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has happened to the human race?

June 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“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))

What has happened to the human race?

With what is happening all around the world and with what just happened in this country, what is going on that is driving people to act in such a manner? Regardless of what you think of the lifestyle of the victims, they were children of God and He loves them just as much as He loves those of His children who profess a faith in Jesus. In fact, it is for these people, and all sinners in general, that Jesus came into the world.

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

He came to offer a way out of sin. He came to offer mercy and grace.

“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))

You never know when the world will take your life. You never know if the breath that you take will be your last. You never know when the moment will be too late!

Don’t wait until it is too late.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 (NIV))

Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you told God that you are sorry?

June 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
(2 Kings 19:22 (NIV))

When we do what we want to, we are rebelling against God.

You may ask, “What about free will?”

It is true that we have free will, but that free will that people claim as a blessing only has two options. We either accept God or we reject God. If we accept God, then we accept His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior. We accept the salvation that was freely given and we repent of all sin in our lives. When we sin, we miss the mark and that mark was defined by God. Anything less than a perfect life on our own merits is still a life of sin. No matter how hard we try in the natural, we are not capable of a perfect, sinless life. Any sin is ultimately a rebellion, a rejection, an insult and a blasphemy against God.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it on our own. We don’t have to approach God on our own merits.

“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))

Since the fall from grace in the Garden, everything that everyone has ever done has been a sin against God. We are not capable of anything but sin in our fallen state. I am so thankful that God has provided a way for us to repent of our sins against Him.

Have you told God that you are sorry?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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