Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

November 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV))

At first read, this passage seems wordy and long, but if you stop and truly consider what is being said, everything comes into focus. In fact, this passage should become the prayer that we all pray for every member of the Body of Christ!

These words bless the person to whom they are directed.

These words identify from whom that blessing flows.

These words give glory to whom the blessings flow from.

These words describe the power and authority of Jesus and God our Father.

These words tell us of the great love that is held for us by Jesus and God the Father.

These words tell of the grace that is ours because of this great love.

These words should encourage us because they clearly show that we are His children.

And, because of this encouragement, these words give us strength to face the world.

It is amazing the power that words hold. God spoke everything into existence. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Our words can be used to approach the throne room of God. Our words of acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior bring grace. Words can bring blessings. Words can bring encouragement and strength!

Have you been encouraged and strengthened?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you able to do this?

June 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28 (NIV))

Why does Jesus ask us to do exactly the opposite of what our human nature wants us to do?

Life would be so much easier if we just gave in to our human nature!

Or would it?

Sometimes we think that life would be so much easier if we didn’t have the internal struggles that we have because we choose to follow Jesus. We wouldn’t have to resist temptation. We wouldn’t have to be nice to our pesky neighbors or that weird uncle that everyone seems to have. We wouldn’t have to worry about who we mistreated to get that promotion. We wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves!

If you are like most people, we seem to degenerate into this type of individual several times a day. Do you honestly like yourself when you sink to this level? Do you like it when other people have their moments and they sink to this level? Life in this fallen world is difficult, but it would be so much more difficult if we did not profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. I am forever thankful that Jesus came into this world to offer us grace and mercy. Jesus modeled life as God intended it to be. Jesus showed us how to live a sinless life. He showed us how to live a life of love expressed to God, to Him, to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

Do you truly want to know what humanity would be like if we do not live our lives as we are told in Luke? Those traits are fruits of a life lived in Christ; a life spent listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we ever want to consider how life would be if we did not live in Christ, then all that we have to do is read about the seven years written about in the book of Revelations.

Jesus did not tell us that following Him would always be easy.

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))

He also did not tell us to give up!

Are you able to follow what Jesus asks of those who follow Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you committed anything to the glory of God?

November 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
(Proverbs 16:3 (NIV))

If you wholeheartedly commit what you do to the glory of God, what are the chances that what you do is not righteous in the eyes of God? Think about it. If you place God where He should be in your life and worship Him by committing everything to Him, would you do something that was a sin or would you do something only half way?

When you commit something to God, you give it your all. You give it the best that you can do. Even your best is as filthy rags in the eyes of God, but, because you are willing to make that commitment, God will bless your endeavor because of what is in your heart. After all, God looks at the heart to see the true person. If you commit something to God, it is from the heart and God sees that.

Have you committed anything to the glory of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

October 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
(1 Corinthians 15:9-19 (NIV))

Why do you profess a faith in Jesus?

Is it for what you will receive in this life? Do you believe that following Jesus will get you ahead in the world?

There was a time when professing a faith in Jesus was socially acceptable and expected. Today, that is no longer the case. In this country, it often brings ridicule and it is rapidly getting to the point where it brings much worse. In many parts of the world, it can mean death.

Are you following Jesus for what you will receive in this world?

Based on what is happening, from a worldly perspective it makes no sense to follow Jesus.

However, we are not following Jesus for what we will receive in this world.

Jesus actually told us that we would face persecution for proclaiming His name. He told us that we would face troubles.

“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))

Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome the power of sin and death! We have the faith to follow Jesus because of what we hope for in the future and not what we will receive today.

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

I know that God wants to bless His people, but we must not lose site of what the real blessing is that awaits us. If we love the world, then we will want to be blessed in this world. If that is all that you desire, then I ask that you take a long hard look at what your relationship with Jesus is all about.

Do you desire peace? Do you desire love? Do you desire hope? Do you desire to know God’s Word? Do you desire to know Jesus? Do you desire to know the very heart of God? These are things that are not of this world. These are things that we seek when we place our hope in Jesus.

Why do you place your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How many nations do you feel are blessed by God?

July 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalms 33:12 (NIV))

Based on this passage, how many nations do you feel are blessed by God?

Are we one of them?

With all that is currently going on in this country and many others, how do you think that God is responding? Is He trying to get our attention? Is He using His creation to send us signs and warnings that we must return to Him?

I honestly don’t feel that with what is currently happening in this nation that we are truly blessed as a nation. We once were and we may be once again if we heed the warnings and repent. I realize that this nation is made up of individuals and that a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, is a personal and individual decision. There will always be those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and there will always be those who deny Jesus. Lately, it seems that not only are people denying Jesus, they are blatantly defying Jesus.

How can God bless any nation if its people deny Him and willingly and blatantly defy Him?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you love, fear and respect God?

January 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
(Psalms 34:4-7 (NLT))

Everybody longs for what this passage describes. We all want God to answer our prayers. We all want God to come to our rescue. We all want God to bless us.

Did you catch the caveat in this passage?

There are four words that most people have a tendency to overlook. They see the words and think that it could not be as written, after all, God is love. They falsely think that God will answers our prayers and come to our rescue no matter what we do. They think of God as a genie who is there to grant our every wish. They fail to recognize the two way relationship that four little words bring to the table.

All who fear Him!

God is not going to answer the prayers of those who mock Him. He is not going to come to the rescue of those who rebel against Him. It is true that God does not wish for any to perish, but it is up to us. He has given us free will. If we choose to turn from Him, then He will not bless us. He will still be there hoping that we will repent and turn to Him, but He cannot do for us if we do not accept His grace and mercy. With that acceptance comes a fear of Him. Perhaps that fear is better understood as a respect.

Think about that concept.

Do you love you earthly father? When you were growing up, how many times did you hear your mother tell you, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Did you fear your father at these times? You knew he loved you, but you also knew that he was capable of dealing with your bad behavior, your sins.

Why do people have such a different view of God, our heavenly Father, than they do of their earthly father? Even for those who profess a faith and actively strive to be righteous in the eyes of God, we have a tendency to look upon God in ways that we shouldn’t.

Do you love, fear and respect God?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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