Does your step have a Godly bounce?

March 1, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
(Micah 4:5 (NIV))

Does walking with the Lord our God give you joy?

There are so many things in this world that people are joyful for. Some find great joy in their possessions. Others find it in their work. Still, others find it in a new love relationship. I will be honest and say that some of these things that bring joy to people can be very uplifting. Just think about the knowledge of a job well done, and who can overlook the joy of looking into the eyes of a newborn child for the first time.

When someone is joyful, it is said that they have a bounce in their step. Everything about them exudes the joy that they feel on the inside.

Think about that for a moment!

If we can be joyful and have a bounce in our step from things that are fleeting, how much more joyful and how much bigger of a bounce should we have in our step because we walk with God? We should be so filled with joy that we do more than bounce. We should float. We should glow. We should radiate the joy that comes only from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior!

We should be so joyful that nothing of this world can steal our joy or our bounce!

I have only one question to ask of each of us.

Does your step have a Godly bounce?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face your trials with joy?

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get so busy that you miss out on the joy!

December 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
(John 15:9-11 (RSV))

Is your joy full?

With only a few days until Christmas, I would venture to say that many people are stressing because they feel that there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Jesus encountered people like this when He walked the earth.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
(Luke 10:38-40 (NIV))

I think we can all remember how Jesus responded.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42 (NIV))

In other words, Jesus told it as plainly as possible. It is more important to spend the time with Him and to not spend it in the preparations. You can be so overwhelmed with the preparations that you miss the greatest gift of all.

You can find yourself missing Jesus in the midst of His presence!

Being in the presence of Jesus is one thing, but to miss out on the relationship that He desires with each of us because you are simply too busy is not what He has in mind.

Don’t get so busy with doing Christmas that you miss out on the true meaning of Christmas!

Be still!

Cease striving!

Stop and sit at the feet of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you practice your faith?

December 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

Imagine an athlete who did not practice his sport. Imagine a musician who did not practice their instrument. They would not be able to perform what they profess to be able to do.

Now, imagine a Christian who did not practice their faith! Faith requires patience, perseverance, and, yes, trials. It is through these adversities that our faith is strengthened, our righteousness made complete in the eyes of God. We may profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, yet, when trials come, do we abandon the faith or do we hold stronger to it?

Think of the trials as practice in the same way the musician practices to become better. Think of trials in the same way as physical conditioning of the athlete so that they may endure long periods of physical activity. No one who claims to be well versed in any area is that way without a devotion to that activity. The same is true of faith.

It requires a spiritual conditioning in order to be strengthened and utilized the way God intended. Therefore

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
(James 1:2-4(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool!

February 3, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
(Psalms 14:1a (NIV))

Is it just me, or do you see an increase in fools?

I am not trying to be judgmental, just looking at the world from a Biblical perspective.

Why do so many people in our society today believe that there is no God? Why do they look at the very same things that believers see and fail to see the majesty of the creation and the awesomeness of the Creator?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is adamant about the absence of God? They are often bitter, self-centered and focused on what they can get in this life. I often wonder how they perceive the world. I often wonder what their motivations are for the life that they have been given.

To be honest with you, it breaks my heart to encounter people who say that there is no God. Where is their joy? What is their basis, their reason for living? I realize that each and every person is unique and that each person will have a different answer, but what do they do to fill that emptiness? What do they do to fill the proverbial God-shaped hole that is in their hearts?

I am sure that each of you is familiar with the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Have these people truly been blinded to the magnificence of God’s creation? Have they looked so much at the details that they fail to see the bigger picture? Have we become a society of people who focus so much on something so small that too many of us fail to see what is right before our very eyes?

If we focus on details, we see details and we often fail to understand the bigger picture. If we focus on God, we see God and we the details, and we see the bigger picture. We realize that it is us who is of little significance in this world. Thankfully, to God, we are of great significance!

Maybe that is why we are told that a fool says there is no God. They deny the one who created them and they deny the love that God has for them.

Don’t be a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is Jesus your true friend?

December 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:9-17 (NIV))

Jesus gave these words almost 2000 years ago!

Isn’t it amazing that we have inherited this promise without physically seeing Jesus. The words that Jesus spoke are as true today as they were then. Proverbs 18:24 states

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

How fortunate we are to have this friend!

Jesus is our brother, and yet He is much more. He has shown us the Will of the Father. He has given us the promise of eternal life through His Blood. He has been placed at the right hand of God, the Father to intercede for us.

Jesus is the true friend of all who will accept this friendship. He is not a fake friend. He does not place himself above those whom He came to save. Indeed, Jesus was a living example of His own words,

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15:13)

He foretold of the act that would allow for humanity to be given salvation.

Isn’t it wonderful to be counted as a friend of Jesus? Should we do no less than what He commanded? If we are all friends of Jesus, should we not love one another as He loves us?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Against such things there is no law!

October 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Against such things there is no law!

Why are there laws to begin with?

Basically, the laws are there to tell us the things that we should not do. Sometimes, laws are disguised in such a way that it appears that they tell us what we must do, but in essence, even these laws tell us what we cannot do. Consider a speed limit sign. When the speed is posted as 55 MPH, does that mean that you can go 75 MPH? In essence, the law tells us what we can’t do by posting what we are supposed to do.

What about God’s laws? What about the Ten Commandments? These laws are there to tell us to stay away from sin and things that are contrary to God’s Will. We are told directly not to do certain things. We are told not to steal. We are told not to lie. We are told not to covet. All of these are characteristics and actions that lead us away from God and into a sinful nature.

Re-read Galatians 5:22-23. Have you ever heard of anyone being told not to have love? What about joy and peace? Have you ever been told not to be patient and kind? I seriously doubt that you have ever been told not to be good. I could take each one of these fruits of the Spirit and address each one, but I believe that you understand where I am going with this. We do not have to be told not to possess these traits because they are what God created us to possess. He did not create us to steal. He did not create us to lie. He did not create us to covet. He created us to love, have joy, be kind and gentle and to have faith in Him.

Against such things there is no law!

Are your actions governed by law or by love?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Know Jesus and know peace!

September 18, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Does this sound like it is easy to do?

Think about this and be honest with yourself.

It is not human nature to be in a state of hope and to be joyful. Most people associate hope with despair. You are in a bad situation and you hope things get better. It is almost a sure thing to say that this is more of a state of melancholy than joy.

It is also not human nature to be patient in affliction. We want an immediate improvement in our affliction. We don’t want to wait, and if we do have to wait, we are anything but patient.

Perhaps the one that we come closest to fulfilling is being faithful in prayer. I know that it is difficult to express sarcasm with the written word, but that is what I was attempting to do. If you stop to think about the previous two situations that I described, we might be faithful in prayer when we are in those situations. At least, we might be for a while. Then, one of two things happens.

1. Our prayers are not answered and we give up.

2. Our prayers are answered and we forget to keep praying to the One who answered our prayers.

Sadly, I just reinforced my previous conclusion that it is difficult to be perfect in these three simple tasks. If we, as humans, cannot get three simple things right in the eyes of God, how can we ever expect to live blameless and sinless lives in the eyes of God?

Let’s face the truth. We cannot be what we are told to be without Jesus. We cannot be joyful where there is no hope. We cannot be patient when we are afflicted. We cannot be faithful in prayer when we have no one who is interceding for us.

I don’t know about you, but I am so very thankful for the promises that are Yes in Jesus!

With Jesus, we have hope and we have joy. With Jesus, because we have hope, even when we are afflicted, we can be patient. With Jesus, when we pray, we know that He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. With Jesus, we can be faithful in our prayers and we can rest assured that they are being heard.

I find it interesting how language works. Things that sound alike can have completely different meanings. I think the following example works well to define how we are able to possess the characteristics as described in Romans 12:12.

No Jesus. No peace.

Know Jesus. Know peace.

Only through knowing Jesus do we have the ability to possess these characteristics. Do you know Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If we do not repent, what could await us?

August 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(Revelation 2:2-6 (NIV))

Far too many people claim salvation and then, eventually, they let the world back into their lives. They live as if they never accepted the grace and mercy freely given to them at Calvary. They seldom think of the great gift that they have been given. They seldom think of anybody but themselves. They have forgotten their first love!

When these people proclaimed their faith, they were enthusiastic and very much in love with their personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Soon, just like any relationship, they let it slip and stopped spending time with Jesus. They soon lost what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. They started following the ways of the world once again.

Jesus warned us about becoming someone like this. He told us to repent and to return to following Him.

If we do not repent, what could await us?

If we continue on our path to the point where we not only ignore Jesus, but completely turn away from Him, we are given clear results. We will have our “lampstand” removed. In the tabernacle, the lampstand is the light in the Holy Place. We will have our light removed! We will be removed from God!

We, as believers, must stay focused on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must not allow the world to come back into our lives and make us lose sight of our first love.

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))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Our home is with Jesus!

June 30, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

I have seen the last few months almost take away my joy.

I have often looked at the state of the world and wondered why things are happening as they are. I know that God is unfolding time according to His purpose, but I can’t help but look at the things that are unfolding and feel saddened by these events.

I don’t feel sad for myself or for anybody who calls upon the name of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Rather, I feel sad for all of the people who have bought the lie of the enemy. I am saddened by the fact that what they have signed on for will lead them to eternal separation from God. Let’s be honest. It will lead them to hell!

God’s laws do not change because society says that they do!

I have had to remind myself that this is a fallen world and that I should not expect it to follow God’s laws or God’s Word. If it did follow them, I honestly believe that the fall from grace would never have occurred. Even in the best of times, the Body of Christ has lived in a fallen world. It is how we respond to that fallen world that makes a difference.

Do we simply accept the state of the world and adapt or do we continue to live according to the teachings of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

We are called to be salt .

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

Is the Body of Christ being trampled? Is the Body of Christ still able to be salt to the world?

Do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High? Do we know His will well enough to realize that this world is not our home and that it will not behave like we expect it to?

In the days that are ahead, I honestly believe that the Body of Christ will be in for more things that will try to take our joy. No matter what the world may send our way, we must never lose site that this world is not our home. Our home is with Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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