Will you take up your cross if it means your life?

May 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Do you think of yourself as a disciple of Jesus?

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus likes to think that they are a disciple, but are we, are you, ready to truly take up our cross?

Each one of us will face a different path as we walk out our lives in faith. It is possible that no two individuals will carry the exact same burden when they carry their cross, but we do know that all of us carry something through life. We either choose to carry our cross or we carry the weight of the sin that we refuse to let go of. It is a choice that each of us must make.

Do you want to be a disciple of Jesus?

If the answer is yes, then that requires repenting of your sins and picking up the weight of your cross as you follow Jesus. Following Jesus is not an easy thing to do. You have changed, but the world around you has not. You have changed, but your friends will still try to get you to fall back into the very same sins that you want to leave behind. Following Jesus may mean that you lose friends. It may mean that you become alienated from family. It may mean a job loss, but it will mean so much more!

Believing in and following Jesus is the only way to the Father and all of the blessings that are promised.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Each of us have a decision to make. What are we willing to lose when we take up our cross and follow Jesus?

Will you take up your cross if it means your life?

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

March 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
(James 4:8a (NIV))

I am sure that you have heard that God is everywhere and that He will never leave you, so how do you understand and comprehend this passage? If He is everywhere, isn’t He already near us?

God is everywhere, but sadly, too few people realize that He will not force Himself on anyone. We have to turn to Him out of a choice that we make, especially since we, as humanity, chose to turn away from Him as a result of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We thought that we had been given knowledge, but instead, we lost all hope. Until God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to pay the penalty for sin and death, we only knew the wages of our sin even if we chose good. Thankfully, God had a plan that would bring an end to this.

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))

Each of us must make a decision to come near to God. This is only accomplished by believing in Jesus as God’s one and only Son. Through the gift of grace freely given on the cross, the veil that separated God from humanity has been torn in two. God had set in motion a plan to bring us back to Him and the veil symbolized that completion of that plan. Jesus declared this culmination of God’s redemptive plan with His final words.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

God used these events to unfold His perfect plan to draw each of us near to Him. God may use circumstances to get our attention, but He cannot make the decision for us. Our families and friends cannot make the decision for us. We have to be willing to put aside our pride and move closer to God. When we make that move, we will find that He is already closer than we could ever imagine.

Have you made your move?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in His promises!

December 27, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Do you believe that you can do what Jesus did?

I know that I have a difficult time believing that a sinner like me could do the same things that the Son of God was capable of doing when He walked upon this earth.

Even though I find it difficult to believe, I must accept it as the truth, for I believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. God, by His very nature cannot sin by stating something that is not true.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

If Jesus cannot tell a lie, then by the very words that He spoke, we must believe that they are true. Each of us has the capability of doing what Jesus did if we simply have faith in Him.

Faith.

That is the key.

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. “
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

If we have faith, we will do what Jesus did. It only takes a little faith, because faith, like the little mustard seed, will grow into something majestic in stature if we only allow it to take root.

Picture yourself doing the things that Jesus did.

Do you have the faith to stand firm in that promise?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you being guided to the things of God?

October 1, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalms 23:2-3 (NIV))

Some people say that they do not believe that God is a loving Father. These words written by David paint a picture of someone who wants only the best for His children. If a parent were to wish something for their children, would it be what David wrote, or would it be like this? He makes me work in the sulfur mines, he leads me to the maddening crowds, he torments my soul. He leads me into sin in order to kill and destroy.

The opposite of what David wrote paints a very clear picture of Satan. Satan rebelled against God and, as a result, can’t stand to be anything anything like the Lord our God. His pride will not allow him.

Psalm 23 is proof that God is a loving Father. It is the lies of the enemy that trick us into believing otherwise. It is the children who do not listen that think He is full of vengeance and wrath.

Jesus spoke in parables regarding the love of God. He spoke and said that a father would not give a snake when asked for bread. This example shows that we, as sinful humanity, can give good things out of our sin. Since God is not capable of associating with sin, then He can only give good things. That is why He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ.

God gave us the very best gift that He could when He sent Jesus to us. He gave His sinful children grace and mercy. He has provided that way for us to lie down in His green pastures, to be lead beside His quiet waters, to have our soul restored, and to be guided in the paths of righteousness. If this does not sound like a loving Father, then you do not know what love is!

Are you being guided to the things of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe it could happen at any moment?

May 31, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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 15:52 (NIV))

Do you believe in the Rapture in which the true believers are suddenly caught up and taken away from this world and are instantly with the Lord?

I honestly don’t want to get into a debate about whether this concept is true or not. I simply want to pose a few questions to you.

Do you find this world to be a place of ever increasing evil where sin is considered good and anything godly and righteous is considered evil?

Do you long for the Lord to return and initiate a complete reset?

Do you long to be with the Lord?

Would you be upset if you were removed from this sinful, evil world and caught up to be with the Lord in heaven?

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV))

Think about your answers and then think about this statement. The Lord is only going to come for those who long, who believe that they will see Him. I saw something from Maurice Sklar that really drives this point home. In it, he said of the Lord, “Those that do believe I am coming for them and those who do not are both correct.”

If you aren’t waiting, believing and expecting His return, can you honestly say that you truly belong to Jesus? Think about that from an earthly perspective. If you are separated from someone you truly love, what are your days like? Do you long to see them with all of your heart? Do you pray for their soon return? Do you hope and expect to see them at any minute? Are you disappointed when you don’t see them? This is how we should be with our love of the Lord Jesus! We should long to be with Him and, based on His promises, we should expect to see Him in the twinkling of an eye!

If we truly love the Lord, we should be expecting His return. We should be living for this event! Are you someone who believes that He is coming? Are you ready?

Do you believe it could happen at any moment?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this describe you?

May 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

It is so easy to let this world get to you!

How many of us start the day less than enthusiastic and then it goes downhill from there? We face traffic, long days at work and then more traffic to get back home. We turn on the news and see things that bring us to tears. We watch as people profess that what the Bible calls sin is now acceptable and that believing in Jesus is wrong. In our despair, we simply shake our heads and ask why?

Are we missing something?

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

Are we, as the Body of Christ, giving up or are we standing firm in our calling to be joyful and patient prayer warriors? We know that God’s plans are unfolding, but that does not mean that we simply sit back and watch as spectators who don’t have a stake in the outcome. We have professed a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, yet we act like we expect everything to be done for us. Too many of us fail to realize that we are at war and if we don’t wage war against the enemy, the enemy will gain ground in areas of our lives and in the lives of our families, friends and communities. We must remember that we are called!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 (NIV))

Does this describe you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Believing is seeing!

March 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
(John 4:48 (NIV))

Are you a visual person? Do you learn only when you see it before your own eyes?

Where is the faith in this?

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

There are just some things that you must accept without seeing. Faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is one of those things. We do not have the good fortune of having been alive when He walked the earth. We will never see the miracles that He performed. Perhaps that is a good thing, for those who actually saw them wanted more before many of them would believe.

Where does that leave us?

We must be certain in our hope that Jesus is who He says He is. We must be certain of what we do not see. We will be blessed if we can go beyond our physical limitations and start to believe even if we do not see. We must remember what Jesus told Thomas.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29 (NIV))

This world teaches us that we must see it in order to believe it. That is true of anything of this world. Faith in Jesus is not of this world. We must be sure of the hope that Jesus brings even though we may not see it.

Are you sure of your faith? Do you need to see to believe?

Believing is seeing!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will it take for you to believe?

March 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
(John 20:30-31 (NIV))

It has often been speculated that Jesus performed far more miracles than any of the books of the New Testament recorded. These words from John give credence to that idea. Think about it for a moment. Just how many miracles do you need to have documented before you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God? Will it take 10,000 to make you believe? Will you settle for only 1,000 miracles? Will 100 be sufficient to draw you into faith? Perhaps 10 will be enough to make you realize that Jesus is the Son of God?

Could you believe if you were only told of one miracle that Jesus performed?

If so, which one would it be? Turning water into wine? Walking on water? Feeding the 5,000 or would it be raising Lazarus from the dead? Personally, everything that Jesus accomplished when He walked this earth takes a back seat to the ultimate miracle. Everything that He did, even when raising Lazarus from the dead, was a temporary fix to the situation that was presented to Him. The one and only miracle that has an everlasting effect on all of creation was His resurrection from the grave after a brutal death. Through this one miracle, Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God the Father and He has overcome the power of sin and death for all time.

The time for being a skeptic is over. Look at the miracles. Look at the lives impacted. Look at the promises fulfilled. Look at the empty tomb!

What will it take for you to believe?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will be your reward?

November 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

Do you live as if Jesus will return at any moment?

How do you think He would react to the way that you have been living?

Would He commend you or would He condemn you?

We, as the Body of Christ, like to think that we are doing what Jesus has called us to do, but how many times have each of us missed that calling? How many times each day do we fail miserably at living our lives the way that Jesus wants us to live our lives? Even on our best day, we fail!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I know that I am a sinner. I know that God loves me, but I had to be redeemed from my sin. I know that redemption is only available through believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to cleanse me of my sins. I stand firm in the promises that we have been given. I long for the reward that Jesus will give, for I know that it is far more than I deserve. I long to see my Lord and Savior!

Are you ready to receive your reward?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What type of faith do you possess?

March 2, 2016

I realize that this is one pulled from my archives, but this seemed like a natural follow through after the topic yesterday that asked “What is faith?”

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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))

Faith!

It has been defined as “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. ”

It has also been defined as “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing.”

In the case of faith in God, it appears that both definitions can be combined. This combined definition of faith results from the fact that God cannot be seen. Remember Moses when he spoke to God. He was told that he could not look upon the Glory that is God without dying. For that reason, and many others, man cannot see God. In the eyes of the society in which we live, “seeing is believing.” Even one of Jesus’ disciples displayed a lack of faith after Jesus’ resurrection.

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(John 20:24-25)

Seeing something is a good reason to believe. Yet, many things in this life that cannot be seen are much more real and true than what we can see. Thomas was allowed the opportunity to not only see, but to feel the wounds just as he had stated.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)

What type of faith do you possess? Is it one of “seeing is believing,” or do you believe because something inside of you tells you that God is real and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for your sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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