Do you embrace God’s plan of grace?

April 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
(Mark 14:22-25 (NIV))

Have you really thought about what Jesus was doing in these passages? It is easy to go through the motions without realizing exactly what the whole thing means.

The symbolism is astonishing. The implications are crucial to our beliefs. The continuing practice is an important part of our ability to remember just what was done in our behalf. We must also remember that Jesus did this at the Passover Sader, which was and still is the Jewish holiday in which they remember the gift of salvation and freedom from their Egyptian captors. On the anniversary of the very night that God delivered Israel from a physical bondage, God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, was delivering the world from spiritual bondage.

In Egypt, God accomplished this through the Angel of Death striking the first-born of Egypt. For the salvation of the world, God again struck down the first-born! He allowed His only begotten Son to die in our place!

The Passover meal is a very ritualized meal so that the Jewish people do not forget what God did for them. It is a time of celebration for those who partake of it. Jesus instituted a new “Passover” tradition in which all who believe that He is the Son of God and their Lord and Savior can partake. This meal is different from the original Jewish Passover meal in that it can be taken anytime and anywhere that there are believers.

The next time that you have the opportunity to sit at the Lord’s table, remember the pain, suffering, grace and salvation that this meal represents.

Do you embrace God’s plan of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you glad He went after you?

September 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
(Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV))

Are you lost?

Helpless, hopeless and lost?

Satan longs to have us feel this way.

God longs for us to feel helpful, hopeful and loved.

God also longs for us to mature spiritually and become the person whom He created us to be. Sometimes this requires tough love. Just as a parent must sometimes withhold things from a child, God must withhold things from us. Just as a parent must allow the child to enter into things that will teach them a lesson, so too with God and us.

We are creatures of habit. Each of us exists within certain boundaries that we have established or that have been established for us. These boundaries become our comfort zone. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows that our comfort zones foster stagnation. We soon grow complacent. We soon grow so rigid and confined within our comfort zones that we fail to recognize the need for spiritual growth and maturity. We become creatures of habit, and all too often our habits leave something to be desired. It takes something drastic to get our attention. It takes something that will make us look beyond our circumstances and look at our core beliefs and priorities.

God wants to get our attention. He wants to get us out of our comfort zones and focused on Him. Sometimes, that requires something bigger than we care to have happen. He wants us to take the time to fulfill Psalm 46:10a so that we may know Him and His will for our lives.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 4610a (NIV))

Are you glad He went after you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to stand firm in your faith!

August 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
(Luke 12:8-10 (NIV))

We have come to a point in history where it is not politically correct to acknowledge Jesus as who He really is.

It is deemed socially ok to pray to just about anyone or anything that you may want to pray to, yet, mention the name of Jesus and you soon face multiple possible scenarios depending on where you were when you claimed the name of Jesus. It is all right for school children to study homosexuality in school, but they cannot mention Jesus. They can publicly proclaim that they worship Satan, yet they cannot even mention the name of Jesus. It is considered correct to proclaim that it is ok to do what you want to do, but, if you mention the Ten Commandments you are labeled a bigot and a narrow minded person.

To be honest with you, I hate the term “politically correct.” This implies that people have the power to decide what is right and wrong. What happens when the people in power change? Are we supposed to learn a whole new set of “truths” and learn what names we can publicly proclaim? Human political leaders as well as human standards change. We cannot be part of the crowd that follows human frailty. We must focus our eyes upon Jesus, for only His name can save us. We cannot call upon the name of political correctness to save us from eternal separation from God. Only Jesus can offer us this salvation.

Take a serious look at your actions. Have you ever deliberately changed your “personality” because you were afraid to be the believer you need to be? What do you think that Jesus will do when you stand before Him if you have denied Him before men? It is not a pretty image.

Don’t let men sway you from your true beliefs. There will be ridicule and persecution for these beliefs, but rest assured that the rewards will be far greater than anything this world can offer.

It is time to stand firm in your faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we gathering in Jesus’ name?

May 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47 (NIV))

We must not forsake fellowship with other believers. God intended for this fellowship to strengthen us, encourage us, and enable us to reach others for Jesus. It is tremendous how the early church grew even under the persecution that they faced for their beliefs. This growth was made possible by the fellowship and strengthening that comes from sharing and encouraging others in the faith.

The church was not intended to be buildings as so many today think of it. The church is the Body of Believers, no matter where we may be gathered. The early church gathered in homes and grew strong in the faith. Today’s church meets in buildings once or twice a week and many see it as a duty, not as a time for fellowship with other believers and with Jesus.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

Are we gathering in Jesus’ name or are we just gathering to be seen by man?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have faith in your beliefs?

March 18, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

Do you have enough faith to believe?

Do you have enough belief to have faith?

Belief comes in many levels. You can believe that God exists. Belief can stop there. You can believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Belief can stop there. You can believe that He loves us. Belief can stop there. You can believe that He wants to redeem us. Again, belief can stop there. You can believe that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins.

Belief can stop there!

What else is there?

There is the belief that Jesus arose on the third day. There is the belief that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, the Father.

There is the belief that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior.

There is the faith to proclaim this belief with every once that is you. There is the faith to call upon the name of Jesus in any situation. There is the faith that He will redeem you in spite of your sins.

I don’t know if you saw this, but belief leads to faith. I honestly do not think that it is possible to have faith without believing the truths behind that faith. Belief and faith go hand in hand, but, think about this concept for a moment. Can belief exist without faith? You can believe that God is good, but if you don’t have the faith to live up to that belief, what do you have? Can faith exist without belief? You can have faith that God is good, and then every action that you take will reflect that.

I honestly think that you can believe without having faith. Just take a look at all of the people who say that they believe in God, yet, never act it out. They don’t have the faith to take a stand for what the profess to believe in.

Do you believe?

Do you have faith in your beliefs?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How difficult do you make this?

November 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:16 (NIV))

This passage is taken out of a section that many translations refer to as “Love in Action.”

Think about that concept for a moment. Are you able to put these words into action?

Do you strive to live in harmony with others, both believers and nonbelievers? I realize that it is easier to do this when you are dealing with someone who shares your beliefs, but we are called to show love to everyone. How do you live in harmony with someone who takes great pleasure in taunting and tormenting you because of your faith?

Then there is pride! It is a nasty human trait. We can’t even get a job without having to convince someone that we are better than anyone and everyone else. What happens if you start to act like you truly believe this about yourself? Do you begin to develop tendencies to elevate yourself at the expense of others? Is this how we are called to show love?

As a member of the Body of Christ, we must remember that we were shown love when we didn’t deserve it. We must remember that we were shown grace and mercy when we didn’t deserve it. All too often, we do not show love as were are called to show love. Sadly, many times we show the exact opposite and we make it difficult for others to see Jesus in us or through us.

How difficult do you make this?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t get caught up in the moment!

July 9, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

Have you ever faced ridicule or suffering because you proclaim a faith in Jesus?

How did you react?

Did you hold your head up high and proud because the enemy has identified you as a follower of Jesus or did you turn tail and try to hide? Did you stay true to your beliefs or did you change course with the slightest sign of trouble? Do you hate the idea of any type of discomfort in this life and simply hope that an hour on an occasional Sunday will not come up on the enemy’s radar?

If these questions didn’t make you stop and think about the sincerity of your faith, then perhaps these will!

Do you possess a bold faith in Jesus? Are you willing to stand your ground on the behalf of Jesus when confronted by the enemy? Think about that for a moment. Jesus was more than willing to stand His ground on your behalf when confronted by the enemy. He was willing to step out of heaven and face a few years of suffering so that each of us could have an opportunity to experience salvation. Shouldn’t we be willing to face ridicule and suffering from the enemy because we have accepted this? If you truly stop to think about this, the attacks make sense. Before Jesus came into the world to bring grace and mercy, legally all of us belonged to the enemy due to sin. We have been redeemed! In essence, the legal claim that the enemy had over us has been made null and void. He is angry. He will do anything and everything to make us reject God’s grace and mercy! He will attack anyone who professes a faith in Jesus in an effort to make us change our mind.

In the grand scheme of God’s plan, these attacks are only momentary in comparison to all of eternity that we will gain. Don’t be so focused on the things of this world that you trade eternity in heaven for comfort in this world!

In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty of bending God’s truth?

April 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:3-4 (NAS))

What is truth?

Is it what you say it is? Is it what someone else says it is? Is truth relative or is a fixed target that is defined by someone with a higher authority than you or I?

Sadly, far too many people believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth. I was recently made aware of the irony of that statement. People who utter the words that there is no absolute truth expect you to believe what they say in that statement. What makes that statement true? If someone emphatically states that there is no absolute truth, they are breaking their own beliefs by claiming that statement as an absolute.

Don’t you just love the irony that the human mind can conjure up something that makes no sense and then convince themselves of its validity?

What do you believe to be true?

Who is the creator, who is the holder of absolute truth? Why does humanity choose to deny that there is such a thing as absolute truth?

Ego and pride come to mind as two of the most guilty reasons. We, as human beings, all are very prone to possess these traits in a negative manner. We all like to think that we are right and that no one else knows better than us. My wife claims that I have a hard time admitting when I am wrong. Have you ever been accused of having that trait?

We have a tendency to twist the truth when it makes us look good. We also have a tendency to believe a lie when it makes us look good. I know that it is difficult, but we must focus on Jesus and keep His commands to truly possess the truth. Anything less than that is a lie. A lie is anything that is not true. It can even be a simple bending of the truth, or a little white lie.

Are you guilty of bending God’s truth?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that Jesus said this?

December 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
(Luke 22:35-36 (NIV))

How many of us choose to ignore these words spoken by Jesus?

Think about them in context.

We know that Jesus sent the disciples out with instructions to not take anything with them. They had obeyed and all returned. From the words that were written, they were successful in their endeavors.

This was before!

This was before the arrest. This was before the crucifixion. This was before the resurrection, and this was before the persecution that the disciples and the early believers were going to face.

What changed?

I honestly believe that the first time that Jesus sent out the disciples, it was a trial run. It was used to build their faith and trust that Jesus would provide. I believe that He sent them out as innocents to get their feet wet.

These words were spoken to the disciples right after Jesus told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. In other words, Jesus was telling them that it was time to face the truth of the world. It was time to realize that the world, in its fallen state, is not a safe place and that they must take precautions to protect themselves. He did not tell them that He wouldn’t be with them, but He did tell them to be wise to the ways of the world and to arm themselves for their own protection.

I realize that many people will not like what I am saying, but we have to realize that Jesus gave us these instructions. Don’t get me wrong and start saying that I believe we need to be violent and warlike. That is far from the truth. What I am saying is that Jesus told His disciples to arm themselves for protection from the world. In other words, He was telling them to be alert and to be wise to the ways of the world. Not everyone shares the same values and beliefs as those who profess a faith in Jesus.

No matter how we are to be prepared in the physical world in which we live, we are also to be prepared in the spiritual world as well.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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