Have you accepted His peace?

May 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 (NIV))

There is so much packed into these three short sentences!

Jesus starts off by telling us that He gives us peace, but we know that the peace that He gives is so much more than the fleeting glimpses that the world shows us.

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

What has the world given you?

You may start to say life and love, but where did those truly come from?

The things that this sinful, fallen world gives us are not what God gives us. Pain and heartache come to mind as just two examples of the not so wonderful gifts the world gives us. Sickness and death come to mind, as well as bitterness and anxiety. In essence, the things that the world bestows upon us are not the gifts that we want.

With that in mind, what has the world actually given to you?

Is it anything that you desire to keep?

What has Jesus given to you? What has God given to each of us in our sinful, fallen nature?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ (‭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))

Lastly, Jesus tells us to not be fearful and troubled.

“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 can stand firmly on the promises of these three sentences, but it comes with a price. We must profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! We must repent and follow Jesus! Only then will we have the peace that only He can give.

Have you accepted His peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you treasure?

May 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

This world is fleeting and the things in it do not last. The treasures that man stores for himself will eventually be worthless.

Nothing lasts forever in this world. But we have a promise of something much greater that is not of this world. Since it is not of this world, then it will last forever, for the promise is that nothing can destroy it or no one can steal it.

Just what is this treasure that is so priceless, yet cannot be stolen? It is the treasure of heaven as God has promised and as Jesus Christ has made it available to us through His selfless sacrifice on the cross.

It is said that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If that is true, then we must carefully select what we treasure. If our treasure is something worldly that can be stolen or destroyed, then our heart can be stolen or destroyed as well. Many people have had this happen to them. Their treasure was gold, and their heart became so consumed with protecting that gold that nothing else mattered. What do you suppose would happen to these people if they lost all of their gold?

When the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression, many people lost their fortunes, and many of those took their own lives. They could not comprehend life without what they had worked so hard to gain. What would have happened to these people had they placed their heart with Jesus?

What do you treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you hope to draw closer to the Lord?

May 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25 (NIV))

Have you ever read something that made you do a double-take?

This passage did just that for me. Paul made some very profound and bold statements in these few short words.

Reread this passage and be honest with yourself when you answer the following questions.

Do you honestly live by the Spirit?

I know that I long to live by the Spirit, but human nature prevents me from fulfilling this with any consistency. Paul expressed in his writing that his readers were living by the Spirit. What did they know and do that we do not?

Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

If you are like me, you long to keep in step, but all too often you find yourself several paces behind, or at best, you find that you have been distracted and are not even in the same zip code.

I often wonder how Paul was able to live by the Spirit, and to keep in step with the Spirit , but then I remember that Paul had an encounter that left a permanent impression upon his life. He encountered Jesus in a way that would leave even the biggest skeptic in a state of complete obedience.

Is that what it takes for us? Do we need such an amazing encounter that we can’t help but obey? I hope that is not the case, for we have to remember that Paul was persecuting the church. Jesus had to do something to change the course of Paul’s life. Hopefully, we are not persecuting His church. At best, we may be slightly engrossed in our lives and not give all that we can, but I honestly do not think that we can be accused of persecuting the church.

Drastic times call for drastic measures!

That is what Jesus did in the life of Paul. He drastically changed Paul. He changed him to the point of being able to live by the Spirit. Paul tried to weigh everything and do everything according to what the Spirit told him to do. Can you imagine how things would be different if Paul lived his life as we have a tendency to live ours? Imagine the way things would have unfolded IF Paul had gone back to Jerusalem to seek medical help for his sudden blindness. He would have not followed the leading of the Spirit to go to Damascus. Ananias would not have been needed because Paul was not there. Paul would not have been healed. He would not have started his mission to the gentiles. You would probably not be reading this right now.

I often wonder if I am living by the Spirit and if I am in step with the Spirit. This is something that I pray. I long to become able to better discern the gentle voice of the Spirit. This may be food for those who claim that Christians are weak minded, but I like to think that I would want to become like an obedient dog following his master. I long for this type of a relationship not because I am weak minded, but because I know the bond of love that is present in this type of relationship. Wherever the master goes, you guessed it, the dog follows. The dog is so in tune to his master that he instinctively knows where the master is leading.

Are you instinctively in tune to where the Spirit is leading? Are you even in the same zip code?

Do you hope to draw closer to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Hold on!

May 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
(Revelation 3:11 (NIV))

What do you think of this passage?

If you are like most people, even members of the church, you see this as still a far off fulfillment. It is easy to see why this may be the mindset since these words were recorded almost two thousand years ago to the church in Philadelphia. These words were written as a promise to one of the two churches that Jesus did not rebuke. Both churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, were told that they had been faithful to what Jesus had commanded and to stay faithful as things progressed. The church at Philadelphia was given still another promise.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
(Revelation 3:10 (NIV))

It was after this promise was recorded that John recorded the promise that Jesus was coming soon. Jesus is going to keep those who are faithful in keeping His command from seeing the hour of trial that is coming. There has been conjecture that the aspect of Jesus coming soon has been interrupted by the church age, and that once the church age ends, He will come for those who are His true church.

It will be quick.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV))

What if the definition that Jesus used for the word “soon” means this very minute?

Are you looking for His return or are you telling yourself that He isn’t coming back because He hasn’t come back yet?

Stand firm in your faith. Hold on to the promises that He has given us.

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

Are you confident that He is coming soon?

Hold on!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must persevere as the race unfolds!

May 10, 2021

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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 has the last year or so been for you?

I could probably stop there and say something about keeping your eyes focused on Jesus, but I feel that there is so much more to say about being able to persevere. With all of the things that have happened in the last year, and all of the things that continue to happen, we must not lose sight of where our hope comes from. With prices soaring for basic materials and supplies can’t keep up with the demands, we appear to be facing the beginning of shortages. Now we are facing cyber attacks that threaten to bring us to a halt because oil and gas cannot flow. I honestly believe that things are going to get much worse than most people expect.

How does society handle this?

How do we, as the Body of Christ, handle this?

If ever there was a time to throw off everything that hinders, I believe that time is now. If ever there was a time to repent of the sin that entangles us, that time is now. We need to make sure that our lives are singularly focused on Jesus and not the world. If we look to the world, we will faint out of fear. If we look to Jesus, we can rest assured that He is our hope, that He is our strength, and that He is our strong tower!

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

We can’t claim righteousness if we cling to things that hinder and to the sin that entangles us. We can only claim righteousness if we accept the gift of grace that was freely given at the cross. We must repent! We must persevere in our faith. We must hold fast to the promises that we have been given through Jesus.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can have a good understanding of what is to come by staying in God’s Word. We must be as diligent as watchmen. We must be constantly on guard for what the enemy is doing. We must not fall for the lies and the traps of the enemy. We must be alert and prepared. We must come together as the Body of Christ and hold fast to Jesus like never before!

We must persevere as the race unfolds!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you confessed?

May 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 (NIV))

Forgiveness requires confession. Confession comes when we desire to change from our sinful nature. That desire to change can only happen when you come to the realization that, contrary to what you have thought in the past, you are a sinner.

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

I love the way the sequence of events are presented. It follows the sequence of events of accepting salvation. Before we can confess our sins, we have to come to the realization that we are sinners. We are told of the deception that keeps us from that realization. We are told that thinking we are sinless is a lie.

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

There is an old saying that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. In this case, admitting that you are a sinner is the first step to salvation! It doesn’t stop there. You must come to the realization that you can do nothing to help yourself and that you need a savior. You must believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead. And, you must call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and accept the gift of grace that was freely given through the cross. If we truly desire to receive this amazing gift of grace by our confession of our sins, our confession that Jesus paid the price for our sins, and our confession that Jesus is Lord, He will be faithful to forgive us our sins and bestow upon us His righteousness.

What have you confessed?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you claim about yourself?

May 6, 2021

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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))

Do you think that you are a good person?

Have you bought into the lie of the enemy that we are basically good?

Even Jesus did not consider Himself to be good when He walked this earth.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

To be honest with you, this one has me a little perplexed.

Even if you look upon Jesus as God with us, He was fully human. Did He say this because of this human side that theoretically could sin, or did He say this because He had not completed what He came to do and had not been glorified yet? Perhaps it was for the same reason that He often told people whom He healed to not tell anyone. Perhaps it was because it was not part of the plan for Jesus to be glorified as a man before the appointed time.

One thing to look at during His time on earth is the simple statement of His mission.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

We are all lost because of sin. Not a single one of us is without sin. Not a single one of us is righteous on our own.

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))

Take a serious look at your life. Do you now or have you ever thought that you were a good person? Do you make claims that Jesus refused to make?

What do you claim about yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

May 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Are any of us truly able to do these three things?

Some of us may be good at one of these three, but it is a rare individual who can honestly do all three on a regular basis.

We have all known the individual who was always joyful, hopeful and optimistic. We have all known people who, no matter what hardships come their way, they patiently move in the same direction without complaining. We also have all known people who are powerful prayer warriors and will willingly petition the Lord on any occasion.

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.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Am I the only one who sees all of these characteristics in Paul?

Take a look at his life after his Damascus Road experience. From the writings that we have, we see that he was always joyful and hopeful, even in the midst of troubles. We see that he was patient in his afflictions. His writings tell us that he was willing to face affliction if it meant that the Gospel would be spread as a result. We also see from his writing that he was always praying for those whom he had discipled and he was always praying for the Gospel to be made known among the nonbelievers.

What made Paul this unique individual that seems to have possessed all three characteristics and lived them out to the glory of the Lord?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

In other words, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus! He knew where his strength came from. He knew that as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be guided to live out these characteristics and so much more.

When do you lose joy?

When do you lose hope?

When do you lose patience?

When do you fail to be faithful in prayer?

If you are like me, the answer to all of these questions is the same. All of these happen when we fail to keep our eyes on Jesus. We fail to look to Him. We fail to rely on His strength. We fail to surrender authority to the name that we profess as having all power and authority. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our patience and He is our faithfulness.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you doing with the strength you have been given?

May 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

What can you do on your own?

If you are like me, you probably rattled off the basics such as work, play, breathe, love and a few others. How many people would venture to claim much more than that? How many people would claim that they could build a city? How many would claim that they could compose a major piece of music? Still, how many would claim that they can take a person’s dying heart and replace it?

I want you to step back for a moment and consider the basics. These are all things that we each take for granted, yet, I want you to look at the basics from a different perspective.

Who gave you life?

Who gave you breath?

Who gave you your passions?

Who gave you grace?

I seriously doubt that any of us could have done any of these on our own, yet we take them for granted. Without God, we would not be able to do any of these. Without God, we would not exist. It is only through His strength that we are able to live, breathe and love. It is only through Him that we have been given grace. It is only through Him that we are blessed to even know what stirs passion deep within us.

Let’s face the truth, everything that we do is because of the strength that we have been given. How we use that strength is up to us. We can choose to live a peaceful, quiet life. We can choose to dream of great accomplishments. We can choose to glorify God or we can choose to glorify ourselves.

It is a matter of priorities and perspective.

We can acknowledge where the strength comes from and give all of the glory to God, or we can ignore God and claim it is all our own doing. For those who feel that they can claim it is their own doing, I would simply like to once again ask a few questions.

Did you give yourself life?

Did you give yourself breath?

Did you give yourself grace?

God created each of us to be unique. He created us. Everything that we do is a direct result of the simple fact that He gave us life. I have always read this passage and understood it to mean that nothing is impossible with God, and that is true. However, I want you to come away with a meaning that may not have crossed your mind before.

Everything that I am capable of doing is because God created me and gave me the strength to do it.

Since God created each of us and gave us the strength to do what He has called us to do, it is my prayer that each of us find that calling and live it out with all that strength that God will provide.

What are you doing with the strength you have been given?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you become?

April 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

We all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. If I took a survey, I would probably get such answers as professional athlete, musician or actor, but how many people make it a priority to become the righteousness of God? How many people have the spiritual maturity to say that they want to become like Jesus in all aspects of their lives?

Even though none of us probably thought of becoming the righteousness of God, Jesus always planned on taking on our sin!

Think about that!

All of the sin of every single person who ever lived and ever will live willingly accepted so that we can be righteous!

Can you imagine the weight and burden of all of that sin and the pain and anguish that Jesus endured in order to trade our sin for His righteousness? He willingly made the trade so that we could become redeemed children of God. All that we have to do to become righteous and redeemed children of God is to accept that gift. It’s 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.

What have you become?

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