What do you do in secret?

September 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6 (NIV))

As believers, we are told not to forsake the assembly, but we are also told to do things in secret so that only the Father knows what we do. There are certain things that our Father wants us to do in secret, for if we do them in public, they will draw attention to us. If attention is drawn to us because of what we do, are we doing these things for the right reason? Are we simply doing them because we become the center of attention?

It is human nature to like attention. Personally, I believe that this comes as a result of the fall from grace. We long to be accepted. We long to have the praise of others, but in all honesty, what we truly seek is to fill that God-shaped hole that we all have because of the fall from grace. The proverbial fifteen minutes of fame is something that we all like because it makes us feel accepted. It makes us feel loved. It makes us feel important.

It is for this reason that Jesus tells us to not be like that.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
(Matthew 6:1-5 (NIV))

If you want to have a conversation with someone whom you love, do you loudly and publicly say what you want to say or do you find a quiet, private place to share what is on your heart? Do you share the secrets of your heart so that all will see and hear, or do you share them only with the one for whom they are intended.

Your life is God’s gift to you. Your salvation is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life and how you live your life is your gift to God. He loves you. He longs for a loving two-way relationship with you. For those of you who had siblings, you know that you cherished the alone time with just you and a parent. Did you have little “secret” things that you did, such as fishing, baseball games, or movies? These things are what others would not understand. Family time is great, but there is something special about one on one. With that in mind, we must remember that God is our Father and He wants us to have that secret time with Him.

What do you do in secret?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you relying on the true source of strength?

July 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

As I sit here tonight, this passage caught my attention. I feel weary. I feel like I have been beat up. I feel like I am swimming upstream against a current of unrighteousness and down right evil in this world. Everything that I see appears so far from what God desires that it breaks my heart. I can only imagine what it does to the very heart of God.

Do you find yourself like this? Do you look at the events unfolding in this world and all that you can do is muster a groan from your spirit? You are not alone in this. I often feel the same way. Take heart because this is the Holy Spirit working inside of us.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

We should find strength in our weariness. We should find strength in our trials. We should find strength in our groanings, for they are all indicators that we do not belong to the world. We belong to the Lord! He doesn’t call us to rely on our strength. We are to trust and follow Him.

Does that change your perspective on Philippians 4:13?

Are you relying on the true source of strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The kingdom of God is near!

June 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
(Luke 21:29-31 (NIV))

Are you paying attention?

God is trying to get our attention. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, He is calling us to recognize the signs. For those who shun Him, He is calling them to repentance by shaking up the world in an effort to get their attention. No matter which group you consider yourself to be in, God is calling us to recognize the times and to look to Jesus!

There are so many things unfolding in this world at this specific time in history that if I presented everything that correlates to and supports the widely held belief that the time of the end is here, then I would need to write nonstop relaying everything that is happening all around the world. It is too much for one person to even attempt to undertake, so I prayerfully ask you to seek the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom. The proverbial fig tree is sprouting leaves!

Are you so engrossed in your daily lives that you miss what is unfolding right before your eyes?

Are you so engrossed in the media distractions that you miss the true news and events of significance in this world?

Are you more aware of who was awarded what in the recently televised defamation lawsuits than you are aware of the vast number of food processing plants burning to the ground?

Jesus refers to those who believe in Him as His flock. He seeks and saves the lost sheep of the flock. There appears to be another flock that people can be part of, especially when you consider that sheep are considered to be mindless and will follow anything that distracts them. Don’t be distracted by the world. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

The kingdom of God is near!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared for what is coming?

May 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.
(Ezekiel 39:8 (NIV))

Does it scare you?

I realize that your answer to this question relies on an understanding of what this passage is referring to as “it.”

To put is simply, it is the point in history when the Lord decides that enough is enough. It is the point in history when evil is running so rampant that all nations have turned against Israel. It is the point in history when Gog and Magog have attacked Israel and God supernaturally defeats those who would destroy Israel and Jerusalem. Many people believe that this event will happen first and then the seven years of tribulation spoken of in Revelation will soon follow. This time period is often referred to as the End of the Age and the Day of the Lord.

Does it scare you now?

God’s timeline is unfolding right before our eyes. Every day we see things happening that can be interpreted as signs of the times. We see nation rising against nation. We see wars and rumors of wars. We see every nation turning against Israel. We see the nations aligning themselves in the exact alliances that are prophesied in God’s Word. With all that is happening, most people are oblivious to the events unfolding. They are more concerned with returning to a normal life after COVID-19 while they completely miss what God is placing right in front of them. Nothing in God’s Word promises a life of “normal” in this sinful, fallen world.

Are we paying attention?

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV))

I want to ask some very direct questions and I want you to honestly take a look at your life and give yourself honest answers.

Do you believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

If you believe that the Bible is God’s Word, do you read and study prophecy for the Bible is more than life lessons from the past?

Do you believe that it is a forewarning of what the Lord is doing now?

Do you know God’s Word well enough to know the difference between His truth and the lies of the enemy?

Have you bought into the lie that says that prophecy is for some generation far in the future?

Have you decided that you don’t need to worry about the Day of the Lord?

What if you are wrong? What if you wake up tomorrow and find that it has begun? Now is the time to get ready. Now is the time to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior!

Are you prepared for what is coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The Good News of Jesus is for all people!

September 15, 2020

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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 heavens 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))

On all people?

Not just believers?

I just watched a video from a pastor and he made a very interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. I believe that it may also be something that you may not have considered before.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Acts 2:17a (NIV))

Another translation says it like this.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
(Acts 2:17a (NKJV))

Most people read this and we automatically assume that it means “on my people” or “on those who believe,” but it clearly states “on all people” or “on all flesh.” Think about this from God’s perspective. If He is trying to get the attention of the people of the world, why would He limit what He does to only those who call upon His Name? Why would God not try one last time to reach those who have rejected Him?

The pastor in the video made a very interesting comment about the number of nonbelievers who feel that something big is about to happen in the world. They see what is happening and they have a feeling that they can’t explain. As believers, we recognize that feeling as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but for those who do not believe, they do not understand. All that they know is that a still, small voice is telling them that something big is about to unfold.

I don’t profess to know if this is true, after all, we are told that His ways are greater than our ways. All that I know is that we are seeing the whole world professing that something different is happening and the world will never be the same. All that I do know is that we, as the Body of Christ, should be witnessing to the world and explaining to them what we profess to believe, after all, the good news of Jesus is for all people!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you an active worker in the harvest?

July 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV))

What do you see when you look around?

Do you see what the world has to offer, or do you see a world of lost souls who need Jesus? Do you see an urgency to get the next big raise and promotion, or do you see an urgency to bring as many people as possible into God’s Kingdom?

Each of us will target our efforts based on what we see, which is a direct result of what is in our hearts. Sadly, it is often the world that is truly in our hearts. Even if we profess a faith in Jesus, many of us are still so caught up in the worldly task of living and making that almighty dollar, that we fail to see the world as Jesus sees it. We don’t truly see the lost because we are thinking of ourselves. We don’t see the needy because we are too worried about our own wants. We don’t make an effort to rescue the dying because we are too worried about the splinter in our finger that has demanded all of our attention!

I often wonder if we have come to look at God’s harvest the same way that we look at grocery stores. When we go into a grocery store, we see all of the things that have been harvested and prepared for our consumption, yet we fail to recognize the work that was required to get everything there. We fail to see the time spent in preparing the soil. We fail to recognize the care that was taken to nurture the plants as they grew. We don’t ever think about the long days spent cultivating the crop and we definitely don’t think of the effort that goes into harvesting the crop. We simply look at the options and find ourselves thinking that the price we must pay is too high!

Do we think that the price that we must pay to work the harvest is too high?

Are we willing to prepare the soil of the heart to receive the seed? Are we willing to nurture that seed in the lives of those who have seen it sprout? Are we willing to cultivate that seed in the lives of those who are growing in their faith? Are we willing to step out in faith and join in the harvest? Have you been sent into the harvest field? Have you been obedient and have you gone?

Are you an active worker in the harvest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you focus on?

April 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
(Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV))

Does this sound like anyone that you know? Does it sound like you?

Just as in Jesus’ day, too many people pay more attention to the letter of the law and completely ignore the intent of the law. We need to make sure that we do not become like the Pharisees and perform our “worship” out of ritual and tradition. When this happens, it is easy to forget why the ritual and tradition started.

God gave us the Law as a guidance in how to live so that justice, mercy and faithfulness could thrive. It is human nature to forget the reasons and focus on the details.

Don’t let the reasons be hidden or overshadowed by the details. Focus on justice, mercy and faithfulness.

What do you focus on?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you capable of doing?

January 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that we are invincible, that we are capable of doing anything and everything that we put our minds to. Is that really true?

I have read this passage many times, but today something caught my attention that has not come to my attention before. We read this passage and think that it means that without the Lord we cannot achieve anything. I realize that what I am about to say may have you questioning my thought process, but bear with me for a moment. If you read this passage again, pay very close attention to the part about bearing much fruit. Dare I say that this fruit is actually the fruit of the Spirit?

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))

Without the Lord and the fruit that we bear because of Him, we are left with our sin. We are left as the filthy rags that we are without Jesus!

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I realize that we are to commit everything that we do unto the Lord, but I also think we need to understand what Jesus is speaking of in this passage. The things that we do in this world, unless they bring someone to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, are of no eternal value. Our circle of influence is perhaps two generations if we are so blessed. Even so, that circle is very limited if you look at the world. What is important are things that leave an impact on someone else’s life for all eternity. We can be a bad influence and not share Jesus, or we can live our lives sharing Jesus with all whom we encounter. Leading someone to Jesus requires something of us. We simply cannot lead someone to Jesus if we do not remain in Him and He in us. Our fruit is a direct reflection of our relationship with Jesus. Sharing the Gospel is our single most important responsibility.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Can you see anyone doing this if they do not remain in Jesus and He in them? No one is capable of fulfilling this without Jesus!

What are you capable of doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the truth in you?

November 12, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

There is a line that too many people cross when they consider the human traits of confidence and ego. I definitely see this spectrum playing out in us with respect to this passage. If we are not careful, we can easily go from being confident in our salvation through Jesus to being unwisely egocentric and thinking that we do not sin because of our salvation.

Perhaps I need to rephrase this. Do you believe that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are not capable of committing another sin? Perhaps you believe that because you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior anything that you do is now okay in the eyes of God! This type of attitude is not God centered. In fact, it is very self-centered. We have been told what this type of attitude will bring us.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

This sounds too much like boasting which is truly nothing more than our ego saying look at me! Boasting makes us the center of attention. Is this what the Body of Christ is called to do? Are we to make ourselves what salvation is all about? On the contrary! Everything that we do is to lead people to Jesus. How can we lead people to Jesus when we are telling them to look at us? Paul had the right attitude!

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14 (NIV))

Our boasting should always point to Jesus. Our boasting should lead to the truth of the One who can lead us to the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Is the truth in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you ensnared by?

October 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God.
(Deuteronomy 7:25 (NIV))

There are many things in this world that vie for our attention. If we are not careful, some of them may actually cause us to do something that we know that we shouldn’t do. This passage speaks of images of their gods. If you stop to think about it, and are honest with yourself, anything can become a god to someone. Anything can ensnare us and cause us to falter. In today’s society, we don’t speak of god’s, we speak of obsessions.

Human nature finds it easy to become obsessed with things. Basically, anything that is so important to us that we fixate on it is an obsession. Anything that we make a priority can easily overstep the fine line and become something that we fixate on. When this passage was written, it was easy to fixate on silver and gold. It was the benchmark for wealth. Today, wealth is measured in dollars, but no matter how it is measured, wealth is definitely one type of god that someone can worship. There are many more.

Power!

Fame!

Lust!

Drugs and alcohol!

These things and many more can easily become a means for the enemy to ensnare us. It starts off with a subtle temptation and then it grows into a full blown obsession. Once we become obsessed with anything other than Jesus, we have become ensnared by the enemy.

What are you obsessed with?

What are you ensnared by?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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