Seek Him before it is too late!

October 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
(Judges 21:25 (NIV))

It is amazing what people will do when they think that no one is watching, or when they think that nothing they do will get them in trouble. In other words, if there are no consequences, people will do just about anything that they see fit to do!

This passage from Judges tells us that this was the case in Israel, and the events in the world during the last several years tell us that this is the case today. People simply don’t believe in any worldly authority. They definitely don’t believe in any heavenly authority. If you bring up the subject of God, they simply scoff, or they have their own ideas of what their god is like. Plus, when the laws aren’t upheld and people can get away with whatever they choose, people have no consequences for their actions. They follow the old saying that if it feels good, do it. They only care about themselves!

When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
(Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NIV))

I honestly feel that the situation in the world today is due to the live and let live concept, that there are no absolute right and wrong ways to live. When we praise the person who makes a fortune because they did it their way, we have lost any semblance of moral balance. When we praise the person who stepped all over others to achieve what they wanted, we praise them. Does this sound familiar?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
(2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but these characteristics are all a result of the lack of consequences for wrong actions. During my lifetime, we have increasingly seen the consequences of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. These people have grown up to possess far too many of the characteristics written about by Paul in his letter to Timothy. They do not fear any repercussions, any consequences for anything that they do.

Do you fear the Lord? Do you understand that your sinful nature has consequences? On a side note, when people simply cannot understand consequences, I shake my head in disbelief. I have heard of too many people complaining about suffering from something like lung cancer even though they profess a faith in Jesus. We are forgiven the spiritual consequences of our sins, but we still live in a sinful, fallen world and the physical consequences still apply. No one makes it out of this world alive physically! As believers, we have eternal life, but that is not in these physical bodies that have been destroyed by sin. It is the sin that destroys. It is the lack of consequences that destroys.

If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you understand consequences. You understand that this life is fleeting and your only hope is in Jesus.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Seek Him before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

June 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

Do you treat Jesus as if He has all authority in heaven and on earth, or do you treat Him as your personal servant – a servant who bows to your authority?

Sadly enough, too many people treat Jesus as their personal servant. They treat Him as if His only reason for existence was to take care of their every whim and desire. They have no understanding of who Jesus truly is and, therefore, they have no desire to do what He asks of us. They simply expect Him to do what they ask of Him. They will not relinquish the authority.

Who has authority in your life?

Do you follow Jesus or do you expect Him to follow you?

Do you tell others about Jesus and what He has done in your life, or do you tell others about “your” accomplishments and never mention Jesus?

Do others see Jesus in you, or do they express astonishment when someone tells them that you are a Christian?

Do you make disciples for Jesus or do you have to be reminded that you are a disciple?

Do you follow His teachings, or do you only acknowledge them for an hour on Sunday?

I know that these are tough questions, but they are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves. It is so easy to begin to believe that we are the ones in charge of our lives.

We have no authority.

Can we, by our own doing, extend the number of our days? Can we create life out of nothing? Can we stop the sun from rising or the winds from blowing?

If we are to truly fulfill the task that Jesus gave us in this passage, we must recognize that He is in authority and not us. He is not ours. We are His. I know that I have failed many times, but it is my desire to place Jesus in authority. I do not want to stand before Him and hear Him say that he does not know me.

Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must learn to be a willing servant!

April 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:41-45 (NIV))

This is a lesson that we still have trouble with today. Every church has a few select people who feel that they have to run the whole church. They feel that unless they are involved, it isn’t done correctly. Perhaps it is simply a matter of ego or power. I hate to say this, but perhaps we are all guilty of just such behavior from time to time. No matter what the cause, it is not Biblical. Jesus spoke against this. He taught that we are not to desire authority, but to give of ourselves freely.

Where do you fall in the spectrum of authority? Do you long for people to cater to your every whim? Do you long to be pampered? Do you want people to jump to attention when you enter a room? What does this say about this type of person? Which of the following traits does this type of behavior exemplify?

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))

Jesus turned the world upside down. The Son of God, who has all authority, came to serve. How can we, who have no authority, desire it for ourselves? Do we think of ourselves as better than Jesus? In other words, we have elevated ourselves to a position of worship.

There is only one who is worthy of all worship. There is only one who is worthy of all praise. We must present ourselves humbly at His throne.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
(1 Peter 5:6 (NIV))

In all things that you do, do them as if you were doing them for God.

We must learn to be a willing servant!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There truly is great power in His name!

February 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
(Mark 13:26 (NIV))

I just watched a live sermon from a tent meeting. The focus of the sermon was on the power and authority that Jesus possessed and that He still possesses. Sadly, today’s church focuses on Jesus as love and they ignore the power. How do you think that Jesus was able to cast out demons? How do you think that Jesus was able to heal the sick? How do you think that Jesus was able to raise the dead?

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
(Luke 8:1-2 (NIV))

Mary Magdalene followed Jesus because He had saved her from seven demons. She followed Him because she was grateful. She followed Him because she had been forgiven much through His actions!

Jesus exhibited great power and authority with His miracles, but I think it is safe to say that when you think of any of the healing miracles, you fail to recognize the fact that demons, in many cases, were cast out first and then the healings took place. Why do we only focus on the fact that Jesus has power and authority over the physical world and completely ignore the fact that He also has power and authority over the spiritual world? Why do we ignore the fact that the two worlds are closely linked and that He is Lord over all?

I did a search for the word “power” and I was surprised to find that in the NIV, some variation of the word was found 335 times. I realize that not every occurrence refers to the power of the Lord, but most instances do. What saddens me is the fact that we have sugarcoated these instances, or we have completely ignored them.

What do you think of when you think of the power of the Lord?

How do you think that this power will manifest itself when He returns?

How can this power manifest itself now?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Did this passage come to mind? It should! If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we have the power to take on the enemy. We have the power to conduct spiritual warfare. We have the power to call upon the name of Jesus to drive out the enemy!

There truly is great power in His name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you belong to the Lord?

August 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Romans 14:8 (ESV))

What is your outlook on life?

Do you think that the world owes your because you are in it? Do you think that the world belongs to you and everything in it is yours for the taking? Do you live your life for yourself and everybody else is just in the way? If your heart is this hardened, are you even capable of love?

Perhaps you aren’t quite that bad in your eyes.

Do you live your life ignoring God and only commit an hour to the Lord on Sunday? Do you sit in the congregation and think that you are better than everyone else there because your sins aren’t that bad? Do you think that you are a good person because you sit in church? Just as sitting in a garage does not make you a car, sitting in a church pew does not make you a Christian!

When Paul wrote these words in his letter to the Romans, he called for one hundred percent commitment to the Lord! Are you capable of having this type of outlook on life? This outlook calls for repentance. It calls for sharing the Gospel. It calls for trust. It calls for love. It calls for surrender. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior means that you not only look to Jesus for you salvation. It also means that you look to Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

Jesus has full authority!

Does He? Do you truly live for the Lord, or do you only try to surrender part of your life? We are called to surrender everything to His authority?

Do you belong to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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His Word is truth!

June 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 (NIV))

Timing is everything. If Jesus had spoken these words earlier in His time on earth, He would have given those who sought to crucify Him just that much more evidence to support their plans, but Jesus spoke them after His resurrection. He spoke them to His disciples after He had been crucified and they saw Him die. He spoke them to His disciples after they had seen Him buried. He spoke them after His resurrection and after He had appeared to them various times. He spoke them at a point in time when those who witnessed all of these events would fully understand that what He said was true.

Could you imagine witnessing all of these events? Could you imagine hearing these words as Jesus spoke them? Could you imagine being so on fire for the Lord that you are willing to do anything that He asks, even if you knew that there was a chance that it would mean hardship and more?

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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

Many scholars have come to the conclusion that the resurrection was real simply based on the lives of the disciples from that moment on. They realized that no one is willing to die for a lie, but all of them were willing to die for the truth of the Gospel. They had witnessed something so amazing that their very lives were transformed.

Do you hold fast to the truth of the authority that Jesus has been given? Has your life been transformed?

As believers in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we long to hear words spoken by Jesus as well.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

Can you imagine what it will be like to hear Jesus say these words? Timing is everything. Each day brings us closer to that day. Whether it is at the end of our life, or at His return for His church, everyone who professes a faith in Jesus longs to hear these words. Until that day, we must hold fast to the promises that we have been given. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus and remember one simple truth. When things look bad, we must look up!

He is coming again!

His Word is truth!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you think that God is reacting?

January 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
(Exodus 18:21 (NIV))

We think that who we elect to our public offices doesn’t really matter, or, even worse, we don’t think that what we have to contribute will make a difference. God is calling us, just as He called righteous people in the days of Moses, to assume positions of Godly authority or to support people who will support Godly authority.

The people that have authority over us direct the way that our nation turns. They also direct the way that God will deal with us as a nation. If we have Godly authorities who desire to do God’s Will in all things, then God will bless that desire and bless us as a nation.

If we elect people who will appoint judges who say that there is no God and that anything is all right in our society, except the mention of God, then we will suffer and our children will suffer.

Truth is truth and is not dependent upon the circumstances. If we cannot be a nation that does not waiver on our convictions before God, then we will slowly cease to be in God’s favor. Perhaps we have gotten to the point were we are now rapidly descending into a place that is not only no longer in God’s favor, but rapidly turning to where we are considered as an enemy. I pray that we are not descending so rapidly that our descent cannot be reversed!

Pray for God’s guidance in how you vote in each election. Don’t assume that God does not want His people in positions of authority. Our nation was founded by people who held fast to the very Word of God. How would they react to what they would see today?

How do you think that God is reacting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 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 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the world.

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))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

November 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Romans 13:1 (NIV))

As I sit down to write this, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I wonder what the weather will be like. I wonder how my day will go. I wonder what the outcome of the election will be, but I do not wonder who is ultimately in charge!

Can you say the same thing?

No matter who may win the election, it will not come as a surprise to God. He will not look down on this nation and say that He didn’t see it coming. In fact, everything that is happening is happening as a part of His plan. The stage has been set. Whether the same players come back for the next act or new people come into the spotlight, the results that God has planned since the beginning will still unfold according to His purpose. If we truly have placed our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we know who ultimately wins. Based on world events, many people believe that His victory is closer than we know.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Will you be at peace no matter the outcome of this election?

Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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