Don’t focus on the things of this world!

June 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
(2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are more and more people believing the lies of the enemy?

Have you ever stopped to consider why God would send a powerful delusion? I recently heard an explanation for this, and it is not because God has forsaken these people. It is because these individuals have made up their minds and they have forsaken God and His truths. They have completely rejected God and His offer of salvation. They love their sin more than they love themselves, and more importantly, they hate God.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10b (NIV))

In my lifetime, I have seen lifestyle choices go from an attitude of shock to one of encouragement. I have seen a faith in Jesus go from a public embrace to a public ridicule. I have seen far more than these things and all of them are so much on the increase that it makes my head spin. It is for these reasons that I asked if more and more people are believing the lies of the enemy. Are we seeing the parable of the wheat and the tares unfolding right before our eyes?

My heart is heavy for those who have rejected God. We are now seeing that those who reject God are not even willing to have a conversation. They are so completely overrun with hatred of anything that speaks of God’s righteousness. Sadly, it appears that they have made their decision. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples, but we are also told that we are to draw the proverbial line in the sand.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

Don’t focus on the things of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

April 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage of scripture to follow up with after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!

The resurrection sets the stage for this passage, for without the resurrection, the claims made are nothing more than wishful thinking. But, because Jesus is alive, we can make this profession of faith knowing that it is absolutely true. We can say that “Jesus is Lord” without any doubt in our minds. We can believe, actually, we can know with absolute certainty that God raised Jesus from the dead. We can have the faith to not only say that “Jesus is Lord,” we can also have the faith to know that our salvation is assured because of His death, burial and triumphant resurrection.

What is faith?

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

Even though we live some two thousand years after the resurrection, are you truly confident that Jesus arose from the dead? Are you truly confident that Jesus is God’s perfect sacrificial lamb to atone for your sins? Are you truly confident in your eternal future because of this proclamation?

If Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior, then each of us are called to do one thing as we walk out our life of faith. Just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, He is telling us the very same thing.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

If you profess that Jesus is Lord, then by definition a lord is one who has power and authority over you. If you profess that Jesus is Lord and He has told you to leave your life of sin, are you being obedient? I realize that we are only human and that we will fail, but we must possess a desire to strive for this sinless life. When we fail, we must repent. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus for salvation is found in no other name?

Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Come Lord Jesus! Come!

October 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With God we will gain the victory,
     and he will trample down our enemies.
(Psalms 60:12 (NIV))

Do you believe this?

I know that with all that is going on in the world, sometimes it may be difficult to believe this. What is fundamentally wrong with this thought process is the simple fact that we don’t rely on what is going on in the world. We, as the Body of Christ, should only rely on God’s promises and not on the fallen nature of the world around us.

I know that this is a hard thing to do especially since humanity has fallen and is sinful by nature. In our sinful nature we rely on what we can see instead of relying on the promises that God has given to us.

Lord, I pray that You will open our spiritual eyes so that we can see Your grace, Your mercy and Your power as it readies to defeat the enemy once and for all. Jesus came to conquer sin and death. When He returns, He will come as a mighty warrior who will defeat the enemy and his followers.

Come Lord Jesus!

Come!

Your bride is growing tired of the conditions that have been unleashed in Your world. We long for Your return and the righteousness that You will bring!

The victory is Yours!

Come Lord Jesus! Come!

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

September 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
(1 John 4:1-3 (NIV))

In today’s world, deceit is everywhere. The prince of this world tries to deceive the faithful by wrapping his deception in a cloak that imitates the Truth.

Be careful in what you allow into your heart. Test everything. Satan can also appear as an angel of Light. If something does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, run from it.

All of God’s Truth throughout the history of the Bible has pointed to one man through many prophecies. If something professes to be from God, yet does not acknowledge that Jesus is the only begotten Son, it is not from God.

Jesus foretold of this and left us a warning.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:22-23 (NIV))

Do not be deceived, but keep your eyes focused on God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What do you believe?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you confessed? Do you believe?

July 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
(Romans 10:9-10 (NIV))

Two things – confess with your mouth and believe in your heart. Nothing could be simpler, yet, we, as His church, have made it difficult. We have placed all types of rules and regulations on what Jesus intended to be easy.

Some people believe that only their denomination is going to be saved. Some people claim that only those whom God has predestined will be saved. Some people believe that only those that have been water baptized will be saved. Still, others believe that only those who keep the Jewish Sabbath, which is Saturday, will be saved.

I do not see any of these stipulations in this passage. No matter how many times I read it, I still only see two things – confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17 (NIV))

The word “fulfill” means to make full, to put into effect, to measure up, and to convert into reality. The reality of the Law before Jesus was that no one measured up. No one could fulfill the requirements of the Law. So, Jesus came as a man and fulfilled the requirements. He provided a way for us to fulfill the Law in our lives. It is grace that allows that.

It is not a denomination. It is not predestination. It is not baptism. It is not observing man made traditions.

Everybody is familiar with the crucifixion story. Consider these events from Luke.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:39-43 (NIV))

Did Jesus make the thief belong to a certain group? Did Jesus tell him that he had been predestined to be saved? Did Jesus have an opportunity to baptize this man?

He simply told him that he would be with Him in paradise.

Traditions are important, but we must be careful to not let them take the place of the true meaning and grace that faith brings.

Faith is simple. Salvation is simple. It requires two things – confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.

Have you confessed? Do you believe?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in Jesus?

June 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me.
(John 14:1 (NIV))

For anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, it should be second nature to do what this passage states. We know and trust these words as well as other words that Jesus has spoken about troubles in this 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))

The big question that should be evident from these passages is a simple question.

Do you believe in Jesus?

It is your answer that makes this difficult. It is the state of your heart that gives you away. Is your heart troubled by all of the events that have been transpiring and increasing in frequency in the world lately? What does that say about your faith if you look to the state of the world to determine your peace? These events should make you turn to the one who has overcome the world. They should make you lift your eyes in hopeful anticipation of seeing Jesus!

Exactly what do you believe about Jesus, for what you truly believe will dictate how your heart reacts? How confident are you of your salvation, for that confidence will determine the relationship that you have with Jesus?

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

How strong is your relationship with Jesus, for this relationship will determine your trust? In other words, do you trust Jesus to be who He is and to fulfill all that He has promised? If you fully trust Jesus to fulfill all of His promises, then why should you let your heart be troubled? Why should you not believe in the Lord?

Do you believe in Jesus?

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

June 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
(Hebrews 9:28 (NIV))

As believers, we are fully aware of the first part of this passage. As part of the Great Commission, we should be able to communicate this truth to anyone. In fact, someone has simplified this to the point where anyone can witness to anybody at any time if you can simply remember 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.

Sadly, what far too many people have trouble with is the fact that Jesus will come again. Some proclaim that it has has been over two thousand years, so they mockingly ask where is He? Others refuse to believe beyond the physical and claim that no one can return from the dead. I have even known some people who profess a faith in Jesus and claim that He is not returning. They claim that this was simply a metaphor for when we die and are taken to heaven. Still others only think of Jesus for an hour on Sunday and never truly give any consideration to what faith truly means. Are you among those who live for this world and forget about Jesus coming again? In other words, do you profess a faith and live your life as if you don’t want Jesus to return?

Think about that last question!

Do you love the world so much that you aren’t looking for Jesus, or are you waiting patently for His second appearance even when the world claims that He isn’t coming soon if He comes at all?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV))

When Jesus does return to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him, will you be on the receiving end or will you be left behind?

Are you waiting for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe this?

May 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

Salvation comes down to four simple words!

“Do you believe this?”

Each of us believes in something. Some of us believe that they will win the lottery. Some of us believe that they will have a perfect life. Some of us believe that they can do no wrong. No matter what you believe, these beliefs will eventually leave you disappointed and heart broken.

There is only one thing that you can believe in that will absolutely never leave you disappointed in the long term. That is a belief that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and that through His redemptive sacrifice on the cross, we have eternal life with God the Father if we only believe and act on our belief.

All of eternity comes down to four simple words. How and where you spend eternity depends on your personal answer to the question that those four words ask.

Have you fully embraced the grace and mercy that is yours if you only profess a belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you prepared to fully embrace the consequences of your beliefs?

Do you believe this?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you made this call?

April 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:13 (NIV))

It is amazing what pride will make us do!

It will make us do things that we shouldn’t even attempt simply because we want to be better than someone else. I am certain that everyone has a story about themselves where this was the driving force behind your motives. In fact, if you are like me, you probably have multiple stories that ended not as you had planned and hoped that they would. Unfortunately, human nature is a sad and funny thing. It is greatly complicated when pride comes into play. In addition to making us do things that we honestly have no right to do, it will also keep us from doing things that we should do simply because pride makes us want to rebel.

If you truly stop to think about rebellion, the whole story of human existence since Adam and Eve has been one long story of rebellion, redemption and then more rebellion. Why would each human life be any different from humanity as a whole? Sadly, the greatest individual rebellion that can ever be made is denying Jesus and the salvation that is freely ours if we only accept. Pride makes us think that either we don’t need saving or that we are too far gone to be saved. Pride keeps us from making a simple, heartfelt plea to the Lord. It keeps us from calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

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 a simple plan that God put in place, yet so many fail to believe. They fail to make that call.

Have you made this call?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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For this, we should be eternally thankful!

November 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
(Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV))

The passages leading up to this reference a shaking of the whole earth and the heavens. These are a warning to the earth and its inhabitants, but this passage is a promise to those who believe!

Do you believe in the promises that are fulfilled in Jesus? Do you believe that you will and are receiving a kingdom, His kingdom, because of the promises that have been made to those who believe?

In essence, those who believe have been made sons and daughters of God. We are called to be heirs. We are called to be separate from the world!

Therefore,
“Come out from them
     and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
     and I will receive you.”
And,
“I will be a Father to you,
     and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
(2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (NIV))

Since we are heirs, we know that an heir receives an inheritance. Our inheritance is His kingdom!

For this, we should be eternally thankful!

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