Do you humble yourself before the Lord?

January 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

Why do people have such a difficult time being humble?

Why do we insist on trying to elevate ourselves above other people and why do we try to elevate ourselves above God?

I realize that we are all born with a sinful nature, but do we have to act like this all of the time? Why can’t we exhibit other characteristics?

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

If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should walk in humility by the very nature of our profession. Why does the world seem to still impact us when we long to put away the things of this world, the things of this flesh? We know exactly what we are supposed to do.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:24-26 (NIV))

Even though we profess a faith in Jesus, we still have to repent each and every day, each and every moment that sees us being anything less than humble. If we could strive to live each day following Jesus and walking in the fruit of the Spirit, then we are making great strides into being humble. We are only human. We are a sinful, fallen creation incapable of perfection on our own. We require many course corrections to make sure that we are still on His path. It takes great humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and it takes great humility to admit that you still sin and need help.

Humble yourself by seeking His forgiveness each and every day. Perhaps this is the greatest form of humility.

Do you humble yourself before the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you find is on your mind?

January 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

If ever there was a time to take these words to heart, that time is now. With all that is going on in the world, we need to focus, we must focus, on what the Lord calls true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. We must focus on things that are contrary to what the world tells us are important. We are at the time, and I honestly believe that we have been there for a while, when good is called evil and evil is called good. In fact, I just saw a news report that claims a European country has now labeled quoting Bible passages as hate speech.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think that things will get better in this world?

Do you think that you are safe because of where you live?

Take a look around you. What do you see? Is it anything like what you remember when you were much younger? Is it anything like what you remember from just a few short years ago? Do things appear to be rapidly accelerating with the impending end result that professing a faith in Jesus finds you being persecuted and possibly executed? This is happening in many countries. We think that it can’t happen where we live, but did we think that we would be where we are just a few short years ago?

“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))

This world is in a mess. If you study God’s Word, you know how it ends. Personally, I never thought that what I am seeing unfold right before me would have happened in my lifetime. It is time to focus on Jesus. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

We have a promise that no matter what we may face in this world, the peace of God will guard our hearts if we focus on Jesus.

What do you find is on your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We are called to return His love!

January 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

There are truly no better instructions on how we are to love the Lord, but have you ever stopped to truly think about how He loves us? I have often wondered if we are given this passage because that is how He loves us. In our limited understanding, are we being told to mirror the Lord’s love for us back to Him?

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))

How great is His love for us that He would give His one and only Son in order to save us? He did not hesitate to create a plan of redemption knowing what price had to be paid. He willingly paid the price. It sounds like the Lord loves us with all His heart!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
     for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV))

How great is His love for us that He desired to give us peace, that He desires to restore our souls?

So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (ESV))

If you think about that with an understanding of Genesis, we are created in His image. God loves us because we are His creation. We are His children. Each of us are unique and each of us are important in His eyes. It is not a difficult leap of faith to conclude that the Lord loves us with all His soul, or should I say with all His Holy Spirit?

Have you ever tried to truly comprehend the sacrifices, the torture and the pain of the crucifixion? The physical implications are staggering. The spiritual implications are not as visible to us, but they are overwhelming. Jesus took on the sin of all humanity. He paid the price for that sin. The Father had to turn His back on the Son so that this could transpire. God loves us so much that He bore the weight of all sin for all of humanity. I can’t assume to know if this was all of the strength that He possessed. I just know that it was far greater than anything that had ever been seen before. To summarize this, I think that it is clearly obvious that the Lord loves us with all His strength, even to the point of death, descending into hell, and then arising again!

Do you think that this is how God loves us?

We are called to return His love!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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A new name!

January 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
(Revelation 3:12 (ESV))

“and my own new name.”

If you are like me, you have probably read this passage before and did not comprehend the meaning of the word recorded to the Church in Philadelphia.

There are three distinct names that will be written on those who hold on to what they have, who hold on to their faith in Jesus and the truth that comes from that faith.
1. The name of my God
2. The name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem
3. Jesus’ new name

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I am only speculating, but does this mean that once everything has unfolded and we are in heaven with Jesus, He will have a new name because there will be no one left for Him to save? Yeshua, His Hebrew name, means a savior or a deliverer. It stands to reason, and inferred from this passage in Revelation, that this means that once this part of His persona is complete, He will take upon Himself a new name to reflect His new status in much the same manner that those who are victorious will be given a new name.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
(Revelation 2:17 (NIV))

There are so many things contained within God’s Word that we read and will only completely understand once they have unfolded according to His plan. They are the things that will probably happen just when we think that nothing could get any better. I don’t profess to know what His new name will be, but I do know that it will be magnificent. I also know that I long to be in His presence when this day occurs for I love the current name, the name by which we are saved.

A new name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your faith?

January 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Has your faith been tested over the last few years?

With all that is going on in the world, most of which is not even on our radar, many people are struggling. I recently read a report that death rates for young men in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties is up by an astronomical percentage. I don’t recall the percentage of suicides within this group, but it is one of the biggest causes of death. This is sad in and of itself, but what I find the saddest about this statistic is that this generation is the first to be completely raised in a school system after prayer was removed from schools. This was the generation that had no moral foundation instilled in them. Many of their parents were in the generation that received some moral foundation, yet, they did not receive enough to realize the importance of what they were missing. Their children did not receive even the little amount that their parents received.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV))

The events of the last few years have not been easy for anyone, especially those who do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. All that they see is the world and, as a result, they are left feeling helpless, hopeless and lost.

Has your faith grown? Has your faith matured over the last few years? Have you dug deeper into prayer and God’s Word during these troubling times? Have you found yourself relying on God’s promises even when you see no possible promising outcome from a worldly perspective? Let’s face facts. The last few years have been very troubling, but we have been given a promise that we must cling to.

“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))

We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt that even though we are sinners, we have a risen Savior and His name is Jesus. We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt that all of His promises are “Yes.” We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and that through Him, we will persevere.

How is your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no one like our God!

January 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
(Isaiah 46:5 (NIV))

Have you ever tried to fit God into your own image of Him, your own understanding of Him?

I know that we have all done something like this at one point in our lives, but if you truly think about this, then it sounds completely absurd. In essence, the creation attempted to re-create the Creator because the creation possessed a limited understanding of everything. As such, we want to make God into something that we can understand. If we fully understood, then He wouldn’t be God. What we would have is an idol of our own creation. Sadly, that is what many people try to do.

Do we know how to hang the moon and stars? Do we know how to turn day into night? Do we know how to control the passage of time? Do we know how to bring the rains? Do we know how to part the seas? Do we know how to raise the dead? Do we know how to redeem a sinful, fallen humanity?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

I am truly thankful that His thoughts and His ways are not like our thoughts and our ways. If we tried to make God to be like us, He wouldn’t be God! We also would not have a Savior, for the god that we create to be like us would not have the power over sin and death.

Each one of us have a mental image of how we see God. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our understanding is still very limited. We can pray. We can read God’s word and study it our whole life, but when we see Him face to face, He will be so much more than we could ever imagine. Let go of the small gods that you have created. Stop trying to put God into your image of Him and fully embrace our Lord God for the majesty and glory that is His alone. Be prepared to be amazed for He alone is good. He alone is God.

There is no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What does your spiritual diet consist of?

January 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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!
(Hebrews 5:12 (NIV))

How long have you professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Do you measure that amount of time in days, weeks, months, years, or decades? Based on these two questions, are you on solid spiritual food yet? If not, at what point will you be able to sink your spiritual teeth into the solid food of faith? Are you mature enough in your faith to be able to teach others what you know about Jesus, or do you still rely on a one hour session once a week for all that you do know? Do you dive deeper into God’s Word on a daily basis, or do you simply listen to what someone else tells you once a week?

It is possible to be a sixty year old milk-fed infant. It is also possible to be a sixteen year old who feasts on the solid substance and depth of your relationship with Jesus.

If someone has professed a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are on a journey that leads them to maturity in their faith in Jesus. Each day should see their spiritual diet mature in substance and understanding. We are called to share this understanding, this good news, with those whom we see. We are called to share the Gospel, but if we are still on spiritual milk, how can we share with confidence and clarity. It takes a maturity to be able to share the Gospel and to teach.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

What are the key words from this passage?

Go. Make. Disciples. Baptizing. Teaching.

How can we go if we are not mature in our faith? How can we make disciples if we are not mature in our faith? How can we baptize if we are not mature in our faith. How can we teach if we still need spiritual milk? We must wean ourselves off of the milk and fully embrace the solid spiritual truths that are fulfilled in and through Jesus.

What does your spiritual diet consist of?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you do when faced with problems?

January 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV))

Jesus told us that we would not have it any easier than those who do not believe. What we do have is a hope that others do not have.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
(2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (NIV))

Life is full of hardships and troubles that bring many people to ruin. We are constantly reminded of this through the suffering and death of Jesus. Yet, the story does not end there. Jesus suffered and died. We suffer in our daily lives and, we, too, will one day die. Jesus arose from the grave and sits at the right hand of God, the Father. If we place our faith in Jesus, then we will also be given this life after our physical death. We have a promise of what is to come that we need to hold on to even in our darkest of situations.

When faced with a problem, do you despair, or do you focus on Jesus and the hope that is ours through Him?

What do you do when faced with problems?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Has the new you arrived?

January 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

What were you like before you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Now that I have asked that question, and hopefully you have given it some thought, I have another question to ask.

Is there any difference in you before you accepted Jesus and after you accepted Jesus?

Let that question sink in. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is supposed to be made at the point where you realize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. It is supposed to be the acknowledgment of the fact that you cannot change yourself. It is the point at which you fully understand the following passages.

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

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 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))

I realize that for many who read this, it is a truth that you have already accepted and embraced as part of your new life in Christ, but there are those who profess a faith in Jesus and still continue to do the very things that they did before that confession. They just can’t seem to let go of the old. Not only do some refuse to let go, they choose to embrace the old even when they profess that they are a new creation in Christ. They fail to realize the one important thing that Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that still applies to us today.

Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

We must repent. We must turn from our sins. We must deliberately choose to leave the old behind so that the new grace and mercy freely given through the cross may manifest itself in our lives.

Has the new you arrived?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Run the race!

January 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
(Hebrews 12:1 (NIV))

How do you see your walk of faith?

Is it a leisurely stroll through life where you can stop and indulge in whatever you may encounter along the way, and then you end up where you end up without any direction? Is it a random chance of circumstances that lead you to your destination? Do you even have a destination in mind? If you have a destination, how do you plan on arriving there? Do you have a course? Do you have a plan that will bring you closer to that destination each day of your life?

If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your destination should be maturity in Him. Each day you must focus on following Jesus in all that He desires for you and of you. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that the rest of your life will be easy. It does mean that He will walk with you and help you to overcome the troubles in this world. Let’s face the facts, you can’t run a race if you are hindered in any way. The same is also true of our walk of faith with Jesus. It is the worldly troubles and the sin that hinders us in our faith journey. Focus on Jesus and these things that once were so prominent in your field of vision, in your life, will grow strangely dim as Jesus becomes clearer and clearer.

I love how Paul used the race analogy to explain our walk of faith. Running a race requires self-discipline. Running a race requires commitment. Running a race requires daily preparation and training. Running a race requires us to be unhindered so that we can run. Running a race requires us to go the distance. Running a race requires us to keep our eyes on the finish. Running a race requires that we do not become distracted. Running a race requires that we follow the course marked out before us. Running a race requires that we want to finish the course well. Jesus is that course!

It is my prayer that we keep our eyes on Jesus and that we finish well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV))

Do you desire to be able to make this claim?

Run the race!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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