Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

November 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

At first read, this passage seems wordy and long, but if you stop and truly consider what is being said, everything comes into focus. In fact, this passage should become the prayer that we all pray for every member of the Body of Christ!

These words bless the person to whom they are directed.

These words identify from whom that blessing flows.

These words give glory to whom the blessings flow from.

These words describe the power and authority of Jesus and God our Father.

These words tell us of the great love that is held for us by Jesus and God the Father.

These words tell of the grace that is ours because of this great love.

These words should encourage us because they clearly show that we are His children.

And, because of this encouragement, these words give us strength to face the world.

It is amazing the power that words hold. God spoke everything into existence. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Our words can be used to approach the throne room of God. Our words of acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior bring grace. Words can bring blessings. Words can bring encouragement and strength!

Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

October 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV))

Do you believe that Paul thought that he was the worst sinner of all?

Does this sound like the man that history has shown to be the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles? Does this sound like the man who is responsible for writing numerous books from the New Testament? Does this sound like the man who went to prison for spreading the Gospel?

I realize that all of these things were after his Damascus Road experience. It was this experience that saw a change of heart and a conversion from Saul to Paul. I can understand Paul if he had stated that he had been the worst, especially when you consider all that he had done to persecute the church. Paul did not place his sin in his past. He did not try to say that he no longer sinned. Paul realized that he was human and human nature is sinful, even after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Paul realized that his sinful nature was still very much a part of him!

Paul also realized that grace extended even to him after all that he had done.

He could have given in to the idea that God could not save him after all that he had done. Thankfully, he did not believe this. Paul realized that the gift of grace was freely given for everyone no matter how great the sin. If God can extend grace to someone who persecuted and killed believers, I find it hard to believe anyone when they claim that God can’t forgive them for what they have done.

It is so simple!

Admit that you are a sinner.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins.

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

If salvation was freely given to Paul, who thought of himself as the worst of sinners, it can be freely given to all.

Your sins are not so great that grace cannot be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you truly prepared to follow Jesus?

January 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

” `a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV))

When most people think of Jesus, they think of peace and love. Even the modern church thinks of Jesus in this way, but there is a side to Jesus, or should I say a side to proclaiming a faith in Jesus, that is far from what the world thinks.

Jesus came to this world out of love for God’s creation. He came so that sinners could be set free from the bondage of sin and death. Sadly, though, not everyone will accept that free gift. Not everyone will acknowledge that Jesus has the authority to offer the gift of grace. It is this aspect that brings the sword. In most cases, it is only a figure of speech, but in some cases, it is a literal result of the rejection of Jesus.

We have all seen families where some members of the family are very firmly rooted in their faith in Jesus while other family members vehemently deny Jesus. They are at odds. They are at war with members of their own family. In some cultures, proclaiming that you are a Christian and follow Jesus is a death sentence. Contrary to societal beliefs, following Jesus is not all acceptance, love and Kumbaya.

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
(Matthew 13: 37-39 (NIV))

There is a growing hatred in this world for anything that points to Jesus. The enemy is planting weeds in the hearts of people while Jesus is planting good seed.

There is a battle taking place. That battle may divide families. It may divide friends. Don’t let that battle find you opposing Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you think we are?

July 15, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

`In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
(Acts 2:17-21 (NIV))

Many people believe that God’s time table is rapidly getting to the point where this will be completely true, and I honestly believe that they are correct. I know that we cannot know the hour or the day, but we can know the season. The season is very strange.

In my fifty-five years of life, I would never have expected to see things that are now being accepted by society. I would have never expected to the see the U.S. attacked not once, but three times on the same day. I would not have expected to see when our own history offends people. I would not have expected to see Bible publishers being sued because people don’t like the content. This just confirms something that I read earlier today. People will rejoice when you mention that God is love, but they will vehemently condemn you for saying that God hates sin.

I will be honest as if you probably didn’t already know this, but I monitor many things and I verify them as best as I can. I am amazed at the number of people who are having the same dreams and visions. I am amazed at the way that things have so rapidly changed in my lifetime. I am amazed at the acceptance of sins by so many people who claim to be a part of the Body of Christ. Not only are they accepting the sins, they are condoning and celebrating the sins.

That is not what the Body of Christ is called to do!

We are to be the salt and light. We are to change the world and not allow the world to change us.

We are to be prepared no matter where we are in God’s timeline.

Where do you think we are?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Godly love is tough love calling for repentance!

February 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:11 (NIV))

I honestly believe that our society has twisted what it means to love each other.

Think about that for a moment. We used to correct and discipline each other because we loved each other. We, as a society, did not want to see each other fall into sins that became habits that became lifestyles. We loved each other enough to try and offer guidance and correction so that no one would stumble and fall. We literally took each other on as a responsibility because we understood the concept that it is easier to guide than it is to recover from a fall. We also understood the consequences of sin, both short term and eternal.

Sadly, in today’s society, we are considered hateful if we try to offer guidance. We are only looked upon as loving if we completely accept everything about each other.

If that is how love works, then we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that we hate ourselves. After all, everybody has something in their lives that they hate. By that logic, if we can’t accept everything about ourselves, then we must hate ourselves.

Human nature proves that statement to be incorrect, after all, self-preservation is a very strong human characteristic.

Godly love is not acceptance, but a desire to see what is best for each other.

Is addiction good for anybody?

Is hatred good for anybody?

Is rebellion against God good for anybody?

Is sin ever in anybody’s interests?

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

Is eternal separation from God good for anybody?

It is for this reason that we must tell people about Jesus, and not the watered down Jesus that accepts our sins without asking us to repent. Jesus showed tough love.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you claim perfection in the eyes of God?

November 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
(James 3:2 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong?

For those of you who have been married for a long time, I heard those comments that you just made!

Seriously, though, do you know anyone who thinks that they are capable of doing no wrong? Do you know someone who has an ego so big that they think they are perfect? Do you know someone who fits that description and looks back at you when you look in the mirror?

We are all fallen individuals who have surrendered to sin. Sin controls us. We long for pleasure and we long for things that personally benefit us. It is these desires that cause us to do things that we should not do. We fall short of what we are called to be. We miss the mark. We sin!

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

No one is perfect except Jesus. Contrary to what we may think, we sin more than we care to admit. We fall short in all aspects of our lives.

Fortunately, our salvation is not based on our perfection and on our ability to not sin. Our salvation is solely based on our acceptance of a gift of grace as presented through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Only Jesus had no fault. Only Jesus is a perfect man. It is through His atoning sacrifice that those of us who are not perfect can gain salvation.

Jesus never stumbled! Jesus never failed!

Can you truly make this claim?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you want to be accepted by?

September 29, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:18-19 (NIV))

Everyone longs for acceptance. It is human nature to want, or should I say to need, to fit in and be accepted. It is almost as if our very existence needs verification and that verification only comes from the acceptance of others.

Who do you want to be accepted by?

Do you think that acceptance by others who are also seeking acceptance is a wise choice, after all, their perceptions of what is good and lovable are jaded just as your perceptions are jaded? Their acceptance will only allow you to receive a temporary place of peace. You are looking for a lasting acceptance and a lasting peace from someone who has the authority to grant acceptance and peace. Only God has that authority.

It is okay to let the world hate you if you have the acceptance of God, for, when all is said and done, no other acceptance really matters.

Who do you really want to be accepted by?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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