Are you thankful for what has been given for you?

May 30, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

It is that time of year when we remember those men and women who have given their lives for our country. I can’t attest to the relationships that each of these people had with Jesus, but I know one thing is certain. They valued the principles that placed the lives and well being of others above their own needs. Thankfully, I still see this in many people today.

There is a quote that I feel summarizes this willing sacrifice quite well.

“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
Author: Unknown

Today, like every other day of the year, I am truly thankful for each type of sacrifice that has been made. I am prayerfully thankful for the grace and mercy that was freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus on the cross. For this I am eternally grateful. I am also thankfully for the men and women who have answered the call to defend the freedoms that we, as American citizens, have. It is through their sacrifice that we have the great opportunity to choose to worship Jesus as well as when, where and how. Sadly, there are people who reject both sacrifices. It is with humble heart that I present this request to the Body of Christ. The times are urgent. The need is great. We must be bold and do what we are called to do to spread the Gospel. We must be willing to lay down our lives so that others may know the freedoms that we know.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Holy Spirit still active in the church?

May 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

Do you believe that this actually happened?

We, as the Body of Christ, for the most part believe what is written about past events, yet, how many of us believe that this could happen today? We rationalize and say that what was done was to get the attention of the people so that God’s Word could be spread. Do you believe that God’s Word has been spread to the point where He no longer needs to get the attention of people?

Think about that. Is the generation alive today the generation that was alive at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that particular Pentecost? God needs to get the attention of a completely new generation, so why do many believers feel that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is no longer needed? Why would God not show His power to every generation? Why would God grow silent and expect us to do what He is doing?

To me, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit serves multiple purposes, but two stand out to me at this moment in time. The first purpose is to show His power to a fallen world. I honestly do not think that the people who witnessed the first outpouring left Jerusalem and never spoke of what they saw to their friends. They talked to anyone and to everyone telling them what had happened! The second purpose that I see in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment of the church. We need to be bold in sharing what we know to be truth. We are to be bold so that we can answer the questions of those who see and do not understand. We are to be bold when we approach the throne of God! God doesn’t want us to be timid in our faith. He doesn’t want us to be lukewarm in our faith. He wants us to be bold and to share His Word.

Do you feel that God is still working in the world? If you do not, why would God turn His back on the generations since the first outpouring? Why would God abandon the very people whom Jesus came to save? Why would God not equip His church to do His Will?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit as a helper. Personally, I think we still need all the help we can get!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you bold with the power and authority?

January 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
(Luke 9:1-6 (NIV))

He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases!

He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick!

Do you see anything in these words that says the disciples of Jesus are to be timid and roll over and play dead?

Too many people believe that professing a faith in Jesus means that we are to be quiet and love everyone as if in a 60s peace movement. This is not what Jesus told us to do!

We are to be bold!

We are to be witnesses for Jesus. We are to do the things that Jesus told us to do. He did not tell us to accept whatever sin someone is committing as something that is ok. He did not tell us to give in to the ways of the world. He did not tell us to tell people about Him only if it does not offend them.

We are to be bold!

Can you be bold enough to walk in the power and authority that Jesus says that we have?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you ever betrayed someone?

July 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”
(Matthew 26:20-22 (NIV))

Have you ever betrayed someone? What did it feel like?

As I read these words, I wonder what these men felt when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. I honestly believe that each and every single person in that room questioned themselves at this time. They were only human, and who among us has never had a negative thought about something that you profess an allegiance to. I can picture these men and what they were thinking. Each was probably saying to themselves, “Please, don’t let it be me. I don’t think I could do that, but I have never been put to the test before. Could I pass that test or will I fail and betray His love? Please, don’t let it be me!”

That is so very hard to know.

Now, think about how each of them felt when they knew that it was not them. They breathed a big sigh of relief. Even in this hour when all of God’s plans to save humanity hung in the balance, they still could only think about themselves.

Something changed in these men. Something changed these men. They went from being afraid of what would happen to them to bold proclaimers of the truth. They experienced the next three days. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Jesus buried. They saw the greatest miracle of all time. They saw Jesus resurrected from the grave.

“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
(John R. W. Stott)

These men were transformed from insecure, self-centered people to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God.

God took simple men who all felt the pains of potential betrayal and gave them a hope and a faith that made them turn the world upside down.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What has happened to our priorities?

January 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
(Acts 4:29-30 (NIV))

Do we speak God’s Word with great boldness, or have we become complacent in our faith?

The book of Acts tells us of the great things that the early church did. They did them because they had the faith to be bold. They knew with certainty that what they believed was true. They were not ashamed to boldly profess their faith. They were not too timid to stand firm on the promises that they had been given. They were not too engrossed in the trivial issues that surround us in our daily lives.

Sure, they worked to provide for themselves, but they did not become workaholics and so focused on achievement that they ignored what they knew to be true.

Why do we, in our so-called advanced society, lose focus of the very things that the early church boldly embraced? We no longer are bold in our faith. We are bolder about our support for our favorite sports team than we are about the grace and mercy that is freely given through the Blood of Christ. We can spend hours talking to each other about the game we saw yesterday, but we are not willing to even talk about Jesus at all.

What has happened to our priorities?

Are we the church? Are we the Body of Christ? A body is in motion and doing all that it can to make sure that it not only survives, but thrives. Is the Body of Christ in motion? Is the Body of Christ just surviving or is it thriving?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you free indeed?

July 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, too many people turn to worldly things to try to find freedom.

Some turn to the government. Some turn to money. Some turn to fame. Still, others turn to themselves.

No matter where you turn, true freedom can only be found in one source – Jesus Christ!

Even the very best version of freedom that the world has to offer will eventually result in the ultimate imprisonment – death! All that the world has to offer cannot provide a freedom from death. The world can provide a sense of freedom during your lifetime, but it cannot provide an escape from death.

What do you think of when you think of the definition of the word freedom?

For most people, the definition can be stated simply as the ability to make your own choices and determine your own direction.

Do we have this in this world? Do we truly have the option to determine our own direction?

Most people apply this concept to such things as jobs, an unobstructed mobility within the world, and even to the lifestyle that they choose to live. In a sense, that is a form of freedom, but this freedom without the freedom offered through Jesus is nothing more than a false hope. Physical freedoms without the spiritual freedom that can only come through accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a false hope. Adam and Eve, through the fall from grace, had the freedom to choose. The freedom that they chose has actually enslaved humanity to sin since the fall.

Is that the freedom that you want?

True freedom can only come through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Accept the gift of grace that was freely given so that you could be free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

Are you free indeed?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Pray like you have never prayed before!

September 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

On this anniversary of the atrocious acts of September 11, 2001, I have mixed emotions. We are seeing things rapidly change and most changes are not for the better.

We have allowed ourselves to become a society, or at least a government, of appeasers. Many today are afraid to call evil what it truly is. Many are afraid to speak out for their convictions. Even if people do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we can trace our society’s foundations to the Judeo-Christian ethic. We can trace our founding father’s intentions and spiritual guidance if we will only look at what is right before us.

The very principles upon which this nation were founded are being ignored. They are being expunged from history.

Now is the time to pray. Pray like you have never prayed before!

I know that many, including myself, are tracking the events of the world in relationship to Biblical prophesy. Things are escalating rapidly.

I have a question for each of us to consider with respect to the much hoped for Rapture and Second Coming.

Did Jesus tell us that when we see the signs that we are to give up and wait?

He told us to persevere. He told us to hold fast!

The Body of Christ must unite in our prayers. We must pray. We must be bold.

One thing that I have been watching is the 2 million motorcycle ride to Washington D.C. I am sure that some are part of the Body of Christ and some are not, but what I am overjoyed about is that they are being bold for what they believe in. They don’t like the direction that our country is going. They want it to change back to the principles that made this nation what it is. If they are willing and bold enough to take a stand, why can’t the Body of Christ take a stand and humble ourselves and pray?

God blesses nations and individual people. It is time for the individuals to unite and bless God through our prayers.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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True Freedom!

July 4, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

On this 4th of July, the day that we as a nation celebrate our freedom, we must remember who really gives us our freedom. No matter what the political climate in the country where we may live, true freedom comes only from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Look at the nation of Israel. They are the nation that God used to give us Jesus. Yet, despite this favorite nation status, to use a term from our society, most of the people living at the time did not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They were looking for a different type of freedom and this blinded them to the real freedom that was readily available to all who would accept it.

What is your view of true freedom?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How bold are you?

March 22, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is

” `the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. ‘

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:8-12 (NIV))

This is the very same Peter who denied Jesus three times in just a few short hours. What made the bold change in his outlook? Only a few days earlier, he was afraid for his life and denied Jesus because he did not want to be put to death. Now he is boldly proclaiming the divinity of Jesus before the very same people that he was afraid of before.

Peter had experienced a life changing event. He had seen Jesus crucufied and buried. He had seen Him resurrected and fully alive. He had seen Him ascend into heaven. I don’t know about you, but seeing these events unfold before my eyes would have made me bold as well.

Perhaps that is the problem. We did not see the actual events happen and because of this, we are not filled with the boldness that Peter relied on when he spoke these words.

Why is it that we are not filled with that same boldness, after all, we have historical evidence that these things happened? Have we become too timid because we are too comfortable? Peter had to face the ultimate denial before he could face the ultimate faith. Perhaps this is true. Have you ever known someone who had sunk to the lowest point that a oerson could sink and then come to salvation through Jesus? They are bold!!!

Perhaps boldness comes from a realization of just how much we have been saved from!

How bold are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, lift our veils!

September 12, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV))

Have you ever actually stopped to think what Moses must have looked like when the radiance of God was upon him?

Think about that. The radiance was so strong that Moses had to wear a veil.

Have you ever encountered someone who just seemed to radiate with the Holy Spirit? There is something about their whole presence and attitude. They have truly been able to completely lift the veil from their heart. Still, even the people who radiate the power of the Holy Spirit do not wear veils to shield others.

There is a difference, yet both are wonderful.

God sent Jesus and then the Holy Spirit to be with us. In essence, they were limiting their power due to our human frailties. We cannot handle the truth in its full glory. God is truth. Even Moses was shielded from God’s full glory.

And he still radiated God’s glory so much that he had to wear a veil.

One of these days, everyone will be in the presence of God. Some will experience great joy while some will experience God’s judgment. It is those who will experience God’s judgment who have a veil over their hearts.

It is interesting that a veil can signify two completely opposite encounters with God. At one end you have those who have encountered God and must shield those around them. At the other end are those who have allowed a veil to be placed over their hearts so that God cannot get in. I pray that we are not part of the second group, but I sadly believe that most of us are stuck in the middle of God’s bell curve.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being in the middle. I desire to be close to God and to know His heart.

Lord, I pray that our veils will be lifted so that we can know you more.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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