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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

November 11, 2020

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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))

I’ve read this particular passage many times and I thought that I understood it, but recently I had an epiphany. I had a new understanding of this passage and I don’t understand why the obvious had not made itself known to me before. It all starts with a fresh understanding of faith.

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

Have you ever seen God? Are you confident that He exists? If you firmly believe that He exists, that is faith. In this physical world, it takes faith to even acknowledge that God exists. If you do not possess faith the size of a mustard seed, then it is impossible for your mind to even conceive of the idea of God. Faith is the key! Without faith, God doesn’t exist in your heart or in your mind. You have made a decision to shun the Creator of all things! That breaks the very heart of God, for He longs to draw each of us closer to Himself. It only takes a little faith to grow the idea that God is real. Once you have the faith to make this proclamation, you have taken the first step in your journey with the Lord. Each step of that journey draws you closer to the Lord and builds a stronger faith. It pleases the Lord when you draw closer to Him. It pleases the Lord as your faith matures.

How do you grow faith?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

We must spend time daily in His Word, for His Word is His heart! When we know His Word, we know Him intimately.

Do you possess a faith that seeks intimacy with the Lord?

It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found rest?

November 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:7-9 (NIV))

The Lord gives us rest. In a world where uncertainty is the way, one thing is certain. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we rest in His presence, then we can truly be at rest.

God is in control!

With everything that is going on in this world this year, this is very comforting. It is very reassuring to know that the Creator of all things is still in complete control. Even when it seems like the world is in total chaos, He is in complete control. It is all part of His plan. It is unfolding just as He told us that it would so that we would be aware of what is going on.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

Do you believe?

With everything that is happening in the world, do you believe?

With good being called evil and evil being called good, do you believe?

Belief and faith go hand in hand. By placing our faith in Him, all the worldly matters no longer are important. We rest in the knowledge that God will guide us in His will and if we keep focused on Him, He will guide our paths so that no matter what the world sends our way, we can have peace and rest in Him.

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!

September 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
    “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
    ” `If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
    Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:21-24 (NIV))

“Help me overcome my unbelief!”

We are promised eternal life, yet we do not believe.

We read about the miracles that He performed when He walked this earth, yet we do not believe.

We face situations in our lives where we don’t know where we got the strength to make it through, yet we do not believe.

What is it that makes us cross that line from lip service to true belief?

This man found it when he had lost all hope for saving his son from the demon possession. He had no place to turn but to Jesus. He turned to Jesus out of despair, but found a desire to overcome his unbelief.

Each of us come to Jesus in a slightly different manner, yet we all must come to this point in our relationship with Him. It is at this point where we look inward and realize that what we are is not what we want to be. We look at Jesus and realize that true belief in Him is our only way to salvation.

Jesus took this father’s request to help him overcome his unbelief and then granted him the single thing that brought him to Jesus. He cast out the demon from his son. Jesus made whole what the enemy had tried to steal. He took the faith that the father found and did just as is promised Matthew 17:20 – “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Nothing will be impossible with faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Faith requires belief.

Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is there such a place?

September 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
(Psalms 139:7 (NIV))

Based on this passage, how do you react to people who tell believers to take our God and leave? How do you react to people who say that He only belongs in church?

Sadly, they have no understanding of just who God is and exactly how everything came into being. They fail to acknowledge Him and they also fail to understand that they cannot go anywhere in all of creation where His Spirit will not be. They fail to realize that He knows every single time that they reject Him!

This simple truth, as painful as it may be for those who choose to reject the Lord, is also a welcome truth for the time when they do have a change of heart. Because He is everywhere, all that anyone needs to do is simply say, “Lord, I am a sinner in need of a Savior!” Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we no longer have to go to a temple, the Temple, to sacrifice for forgiveness of our sins. We can repent and turn to the Lord anywhere we may find ourselves. It is a process as simple as A, B, C.

A. Admit that you are a sinner.
B. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and that God raised Him from the dead.
C. Call upon the name of the Lord by confessing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

If what David wrote were not true, how could any of us be saved? How could we be heard? How could the stirrings in our hearts and the thoughts of our minds be known? How could we be saved by simply following these steps to salvation if the Spirit of God was not everywhere?

Too many people try to place God in a box based on their own understanding. They try to limit where God can go!

Is there such a place?

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