What is the source of your sustenance?

January 8, 2020


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

We spend so much time thinking about what we eat. We spend so much time worried about eating the rights things in the right amount so that we don’t put on weight, or so that we will lose weight. It seems like every day we hear about new diets or nutrition supplements that are designed to make us the best possible physical specimen that we can be. The things that we put into our bodies are important, but why do we spend so much time and effort with this aspect of our lives while we neglect a very important aspect of our growth and maturity? Why do we ignore the spiritual aspects and focus on the physical when the physical is here today and gone tomorrow?

We need to focus on feeding our spiritual side. We need to feed on the very Word of God.

Jesus IS the Word made flesh.

Jesus IS the bread of life.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means house of bread.

I find it interesting that in order to receive salvation, each of us must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We must embrace Jesus as the bread of life. But, we are not to stop there. We are to immerse ourselves in God’s Word in order to become like David, a man after God’s own heart. We can’t know the Father without spending time in His Word. We can’t truly know the Son, without spending time with the Word. We can’t mature in our faith without knowing the very heart of God! They go hand in hand.

We eat physical food to strengthen our bodies. We must also strengthen our spiritual nature. We need more than milk. We need to mature in our faith!

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
(Hebrews 5:12-13 (NIV))

Are you acquainted with God’s Word?

What is the source of your sustenance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Are you thankful?

May 24, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV))

Would Paul be able to write these words about you and I today? Would he thank God that we received the word of God as the truth that it is? Would Paul find that the word of God is at work in us?

In other words, would Paul thank God that you and I believe?

I often wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to have been one of the early believers in Jesus. Even more so, I wonder what courage and faith it must have taken to preach the word of God as an early believer. Are we as faithful now as the early church was then? They faced persecution, condemnation and even death, yet they were faithful. Because of their faith, we can proclaim our faith.

But, will we be able to stand firm when we face the troubles that are coming?

We see hints of it every day. We see the persecution and the condemnation toward people who profess a faith in Jesus. Will we be able to make someone thankful that we held on to what we have received? Think about that for a moment. The people that Paul was thankful for were the people whom he had led to faith in Jesus. He saw them as his spiritual children. Who led you to faith in Jesus? Would they be thankful for what you have become? Will they be thankful for your faith when we face tribulations?

Let’s take this one step further.

Who are you thankful for?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with great boldness?

April 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
(Acts 4:29 (NIV))

How strong is your faith?

Are you willing to stand against those who ridicule you because of your faith? Are you willing to speak the truth even when the truth is not popular? Are you willing to risk everything you have in order to speak the Word of God into a dark and dying world?

Or, are you like most people and too timid to speak up for what you profess to believe?

I know that I may make some people mad with that last question, but we all need to stop and ask ourselves this on a regular basis. If we are not willing to speak the truth of God’s Word, then are we fulfilling the task that we have been given?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Do you see anything in this passage that looks as if the Body of Christ is timid?

Why should we be?

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

If we are timid in our faith, is it really faith?

Are you sure of the things that Jesus has done? Are you certain of the salvation that you have been given? If you had been given a mansion, you would tell everyone that you encounter about the great gift that someone gave you. What God has given each of us through the shed blood of Jesus is far greater than any earthly mansion, yet we fail to tell anyone about it. Why are we willing to be bold in certain things while we become timid when we are talking about our faith?

I know that there are those who will profess a faith in Jesus because it makes them feel good, but this is not what Jesus promised.

“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 promised peace through the troubles that He knew we would face. It takes a boldness to face the world and proclaim the truth!

Are you filled with great boldness?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Where do you stand?

October 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all
(Isaiah 7:9b (NIV))

There is an old saying that if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. In this case, you must stand for God, and stand firm. Do not waiver from the Word of God, or the world will take a small stronghold that will eventually grow.

There is another old saying that you are what you eat. If you daily eat from the Word of God, then you will fill yourself with righteousness and faith. Faith is something that needs constant feeding and care.

Think of faith as a seed. If you do not water and feed a seed, it will die. It may sprout and start to grow, but without the proper care, it will wither and fade from existence. Faith is a seed that God has planted in our hearts. He does not tend the garden of our faith. It is our responsibility. We must daily feed our faith and tend it properly so that it grows as God has planned.

Faith is from God, but it is our responsibility to nurture it. If we do not nurture it, something else will take its place and grow. This will leave us with a void in our lives that will be filled by the world. Then our faith will fade and we will no longer stand with God.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Faith in the midst of rejection

January 15, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
” `I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
(Acts 13:46-48 (NIV))

Have you ever been the “runner up?” Have you ever been given the consolation prize? Maybe you have even been given the prize because the person who had originally won it was not available to claim it. If you stop to think about it, that is exactly why most of the Body of Christ can claim salvation. Each of us are the recipients because the nation of Israel had rejected the very One that they have so long been looking for. They rejected their Messiah because they did not recognize how He was to come into this world.

Because of this rejection, we, the Gentiles, have been given grace and salvation. I often wonder how God’s plan would have unfolded if the Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, especially since Jesus came for all.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

We can speculate, but all I know is that we have been given grace and mercy through the actions of many Jews to which we, the Gentile believers, must be thankful for. Jesus was a Jewish man. His disciples were all Jewish men. Paul, who preached to the Gentiles, was a Jewish man. The society that rejected Jesus and His teachings was a Jewish society. The handful of Jewish men whom Jesus selected had directions to spread the Gospel. They did this faithfully.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
(Acts 1:8 (NIV))

Through the faith of a few Jewish men, we, the Gentile members of the Body of Christ, have been brought into the kingdom. We must never forget that these men were Jewish, We must never forget that these men, like Jesus, were often rejected by their own. Would we have the faith and the strength to spread a message when our own people rejected it?

We owe much to the faith of these faithful servants.

We owe even more to Jesus for His sacrifice for us.

Pray for the nation of Israel. Pray that they may recognize their Messiah.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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