We have no reason to be timid!

March 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt timid and intimidated?

Do you remember details about that situation and why you felt like that?

According to Merriam-Webster, we feel this way because we lack courage or self-confidence. We lack boldness or determination. In other words, we feel inferior and because of this we want to retreat and hide.

Does this sound like an attitude that anyone should have who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?

We have a hope and a faith that should spur us on because our hope and faith are placed in the only One who has the power and authority to back up the claims.

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
(2 Corinthians 3:12 (NIV))

It all comes down to a simple question that Jesus asked long ago and is still asking each of us to this day.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
(Matthew 16:15 (NIV))

Your answer will determine so much. The wrong answer will leave you doubting. The right answer will give you assurance and boldness. It will give you confidence. It will give you a peace that passes understanding. It will give you the power and the authority to call upon Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. It will prove beyond any doubt that you are loved by God. It will prove that you are a redeemed child of God!

We have no reason to be timid!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you content in the Lord?

February 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV))

Paul faced many adversities in his life after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Yet, throughout everything that he faced, he was not angry or resentful, for he knew true peace and contentment.

Contentment does not come from the situation that you are in, nor does it come from finances or the correct political climate. True peace and contentment comes from knowing that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and that all things promised from God are “Yes” in Jesus.

The human condition is an interesting condition. Where there is pain and adversity, there is almost always despair. People have done serious things because of despair. Add the element of hope, and the consequences are greatly reduced. Add the element of certain favorable outcome, and the human spirit goes from one of total despair to total joy.

What Paul knew was the most certain thing that he had ever faced. Through his encounter with Jesus, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is there hope, but there is a glorious certainty for those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Because of this certainty, he was able to face anything that the world could send his way. He had a goal, and he kept his eyes on that goal. Everything he encountered along the way was nothing more than a pothole on the road to that goal.

Have you set your eyes on that goal in the same way that Paul did, or do you let the circumstances of life change you objective?

Are you content in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you preaching?

February 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
(Mark 13:10 (NIV))

As believers, we long for this to happen, but are we truly ready for the rest of the things that will come with this?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Mark 13:7-13 (NIV))

Did you notice that the part that most people cling to as a condition for the return of Jesus actually falls in the middle of these events. Let me paraphrase it based on what I am understanding. There will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be earthquakes. You will be persecuted and thrown in jail, but you still must preach the gospel to all nations while all of this is happening. You may be betrayed in this world, but don’t give up. Stand firm in your faith.

I know that this sounds a lot more hardcore than simply being told to share the Gospel, but is it?

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))

We know that not everyone will accept the truth of the Gospel. In fact, we know that there will come a time when sharing the Gospel will be hazardous to your physical life, but that shouldn’t stop us from sharing the truth with those who need to hear it. Many people are seeing this rapidly developing in our society today. What is good is now called evil and what is evil is now called good.

We must be willing to stand firm in our faith and share the Gospel no matter what the enemy may send our way.

Are you preaching?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You don’t want to postpone getting ready!

February 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am coming soon.
(Revelation 3:11a (NIV))

What is your definition of soon?

Merriam-Webster defines it as without undo time lapse or in a prompt manner. In other words, quickly or speedily. You could even say in an urgent manner.

Nothing in this life is a sure thing. We never know what tomorrow will bring. What if tomorrow finds you on the wrong side of eternity without Jesus?

There is no better time than now to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

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))

It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Do you believe?

Are you ready for His return?

You don’t want to postpone getting ready!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you going to say something?

February 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
(Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NIV))

Everybody reads this passage and looks at it from the perspective of what will happen to them if they don’t sound the warning. In all honesty, I am not going to dispute this. I do want to pose something for your consideration that I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, the concept for this thought came from a recent video posted by a pastor that I follow. It caught me off guard. It put a different perspective on this passage to the point that I no longer only see this as a selfish motive for sounding the warning. I was shown the perspective on this passage from the wicked person’s point of view.

Imagine the one who needs to hear the Gospel is someone whom you love. For the sake of setting the stage for this example, when they die and are facing an eternal separation from God, what will they think of you? What will be going through their mind when they realize that you had the way to salvation and did not share it with them?

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“Didn’t you love me enough to let me know what was coming?”

“Why did you give up on me?”

I want you to close your eyes and imagine your son, your daughter, your spouse, your parents, or your friends saying these things to you. It’s not a very pleasant thought. How would you feel if this were to happen? How would you feel knowing that someone you love is facing an eternity of torment simply because you weren’t sharing the Gospel with them?

If someone matters to you, you don’t simply give up!

With that said, imagine how much more the Lord loves those who are perishing. We, as sinful humanity, love only those around us. We love only those whom we know. Jesus knows each of us and loves each of us. If we are to be His hands and feet in this world, we are to love as He loves. We are to warn them of what is coming. We are to share the good news that allows them to receive salvation!

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Are you going to say something?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you still exalt yourself?

February 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:8-11 (NIV))

What is honor?

Honor can be a selfish, vain ego trip that greatly elevates you to a position from which humility is forced upon you, or it can be a humble, selfless act that will exalt you to a position of greatness. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Neither does honor.

The world thinks of honor as something that is bestowed because of someone’s greatness. All too often, this “greatness” has a tendency to go to your head and cause a greatly inflated ego. It is this ego that causes us to have a highly inflated self-worth. This self-worth makes us assume things and do things that are sinful in nature.

Do you remember what caused Satan to fall? It was ego. He wanted to be greater than he was. He wanted to be God. He tried to elevate himself and met with the consequences of his desires. From the Bible, we know that Jesus was with God from the beginning, yet, we do not hear about him until God chose to elevate Him. Now He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. Satan, on the other hand, has been cast down after his attempt to exalt himself.

It is a matter of attitude!

Do you still exalt yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly have compassion for the lost?

February 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
(Mark 6:34 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered what the Lord thinks of the world in its current state? Does He still have compassion on the people who are like sheep without a shepherd? Does He still love those who have turned away and refuse to listen?

Why then have these people turned away?
        Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;
        they refuse to return.
(Jeremiah 8:5 (NIV))

Unfortunately, this appears to be a human characteristic that will not go away. We are rebellious by nature and we have a tendency to cling to our sinful, deceitful nature. It is a choice that each of us must make.

Does it break His heart when we turn away?

Of course it does!

Does He still love us? Does He call us to repentance?

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

There is a line from a song that I think of quite often. It asks the Lord to break our hearts for what breaks His. I often wonder if my heart breaks when I see the rebellion, or do I simply find myself glad that it is not me? Do I have compassion for the lost or do I walk past them with blinders on?

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we have been given a task.

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))

We are to share the Gospel and warn people of the consequences of a life lived in sin. We are to be as watchmen and alert those who have turned away and cling to deceit.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.
(Ezekiel 33:6 (NIV))

Have you truly realized that the Lord will hold us accountable if we do not share the Gospel? We are watchmen who are called to warn the people. Are we truly taking this task to heart?

Do you truly have compassion for the lost?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

February 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the scroll until the end of time. Many will go back and forth and search anxiously [through the scroll], and knowledge [of the purpose of God as revealed by His prophets] will [greatly] increase.
(Daniel 12:4 (AMP))

Have you ever heard this passage translated in this way?

Perhaps you are more familiar with it from this translation.

But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.
(Daniel 12:4 (NIV))

Most of us think of this passage with respect to the last sentence and take that to mean that people will be able to go everywhere easily and that human knowledge such as technology will increase. To be honest with you, this is a perfect picture of our world today. We have seen more advancements in the last one hundred years with respect to travel and human knowledge than we have over the last several thousand years.

I have a question for you to consider.

What was in the original Hebrew scrolls that made one translation allude to this as traveling here and there to increase knowledge while another translator chose to indicate that people will be going back and forth anxiously searching the scriptures for knowledge of the end of time?

I realize that everyone has their personal favorite translation that they like to use, but unless you are capable of fluently reading the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, we are all at the mercy of the people who translated God’s Word. We must learn to go beyond our favorite translation and cross reference other translations. We are to search the scriptures in such a way that we eagerly seek His insight into His Word, and if that means comparing translations to help us understand the intent of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, then we must do so with prayerful consideration. Even if we only read one translation, we must pray for God to open our eyes, our hearts and our minds so that we truly understand His Word. We must be like the Bereans.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:10-12 (NIV))

We must examine the scriptures!

We must be eager in our examinations!

Do you search anxiously through God’s Word? Do you cross-reference from one passage to another and from one translation to another? Let’s take that back to the context originally spoken of in this passage. Let’s look at the increase in the desire to understand the end of time. Have you seen an increase in the eagerness to understand this knowledge?

Daniel, I now command you to keep the message of this book secret until the end of time, even though many people will go everywhere, searching for the knowledge to be found in it.
(Daniel 12:4 (CEV))

God’s Word is much more than instructions on how to live our lives. It is an insight into the very heart and mind of the Lord. It is an insight into God’s very plan as it unfolds.

Do you anxiously seek Godly knowledge?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the Lord your strong tower?

February 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
        the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NIV))

In this world where sin and death have taken over due to man’s downfall, it is good to know that we have a place of refuge. Those who are of the world do not know of this refuge. They go about their daily lives not knowing of the grace and peace that can be found in this refuge. This wonderful refuge is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even when the Book of Proverbs was written, Solomon knew of the great peace available through the grace of God. He was not able to partake fully of that peace, for Jesus had not come to the earth yet. Still, Solomon had a foreshadowing of that peace.

All throughout history, the righteous have been able to call on God as their sword and shield, even though we are sinful by nature.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
        and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
    we all shrivel up like a leaf,
        and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

God looks at a person’s heart. He is capable of knowing if we seek after Him and if we do, we have a place of refuge.

Who or what do you turn to when you need shelter?

Is the Lord your strong tower?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We were made to praise!

February 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NKJV))

Everyone knows this passage, but have you looked at it in other translations. In this translation it appears to be talking about a period of time from sunrise to sunset, but is it? We know that when this was written, people lived their lives based on the rising and setting of the sun. It was understood that they were to praise the Lord every waking moment of every day. Each translation handles this just a little differently with the possible subtleties of the English language. They all convey the same thing, but some seem to take it to the next level.

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!
(Psalms 113:3 (ESV))

With the translator’s choice of words, the ESV begins to take on more possibilities, but the NIV fully expounds on the possibilities that are conveyed just through the choice of a few different words that still mean the same thing, but now, through the choice of words, we get a richer and fuller understanding.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (NIV))

Not only is this passage speaking of a time period, but, it is also speaking of an unlimited location. We know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but since the earth is in constant motion we know that there is always a sunrise and a sunset at any moment of the day at various places around the world. If we expand the concept of praising the Lord during your waking hours to the understanding that there will always be people who are awake, we understand that there should always be constant praise being lifted up to the Lord!

We know that we were created to be in fellowship with the Lord and to praise Him. The subtleties in translations of this passage prove the infinite wisdom of the Lord. His understanding is far greater than ours. The earth is indeed His and all that is in it should praise His glorious name!

We were made to praise!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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