Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

April 4, 2023

Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(Mark 8:34 (NIV))

How are you at the task that Jesus set out before all who would follow Him?

How are you at denying yourself?

How are you at taking up your cross?

Easter is rapidly approaching. The day that we observe the yearly celebration of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus. It is something to celebrate. It is the culmination of all of God’s promises, for without the resurrection, the cross means nothing. Without the empty tomb, we are all guilty sinners without any hope.

Have you ever thought about why Jesus said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him?

The world thinks that following Jesus is a joke. They look upon those who proclaim a faith in Jesus as less than intellectual, as someone stuck in childlike fantasy. Following Jesus is not always the easy thing to do. We have influences from all realms of society that mock us and try to get us to do things that we know are not right. We are called to stick to the path laid out before us as believers. We are to not only accept the grace and mercy but show this same grace and mercy to others.

Think about Jesus on the cross. Was it socially acceptable to do what He did? Was it politically correct to preach and teach as He did? Was it in His best interests as a human to be seen with tax collectors, adulterers and sinners of all types?

Jesus denied Himself in ways that we can only imagine. He said and did things that He knew would anger the Sanhedrin. He kept the company of those who were social outcasts. He did all of this without any regard for His well-being. He even went to the cross without any resistance. This was the ultimate act of denying yourself.

He placed others first!

We are to do the same. We are to seek the lost and offer them a path to grace. We are to see the hungry and feed them. We are to feel the pain of a lost world and pray. We are called to do things beyond ourselves.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
(John 13:35 (NIV))

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

Think of the love that Jesus showed for all of creation.

Have you taken up your cross and followed His example?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus paid the price for our disobedience!

April 3, 2023

Jesus paid the price for our disobedience!

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:19 (NIV))

I realize that this is a repeat, but it is worthy of repeating!

Easter is just about upon us. It is the day that we celebrate how the obedience of one perfect man made many righteous.

Have you ever played team sports? Each team sport allows for substitutions. Take a look at baseball. You can have someone take your place and run the bases for you. Basketball allows substitutions for various reasons, including the simple reason of giving someone a much needed rest. We see substitutions in football all of the time!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. God perfected the substitution idea and allowed His only begotten Son, Jesus, to take our place so that we would not have to face the ultimate penalty. Jesus took it all upon Himself. He went into the game so that we could face life without the penalty of sin and death.

Friday will soon be upon us. It is the anniversary of when Jesus bore the cross and died as a substitute for us.

Rejoice!

That is not the end of the story. On the third day, Jesus arose and forever changed the rules. Grace abounds because God sent Jesus to substitute Himself and bear the burdens of our sins.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4 (NIV))

One man made many righteous. Rejoice in that amazing gift this coming Resurrection Sunday. Don’t stop there. Rejoice in that gift every single day!

Jesus paid the price for our disobedience!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are to share the greatest gift of all!

December 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV))

Nobody wants to suffer wrath, but it is a guaranteed result if we do not accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is such a simple thing to avoid.

During this season, when society has taken the true meaning out of Christmas, we must not allow society to creep into our lives in this manner. We must remember why we celebrate and then reach others so that they, too, will know the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate Jesus’ birth with the knowledge that the birth of Jesus was the beginning of what God had planned for all of humanity – salvation to all who would simply seek and accept it.

Christmas is a time for celebration, for as the verse says, “whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” We must remember to tell others about this fantastic gift that was so freely given and help them to receive it.

We are to share the greatest gift of all!

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

I know that this ministry is built on God’s Word, but sometimes pictures tell the story of what He is doing much better than I can.

God is using this ministry to reach the world!
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If you have been touched by Daily Living Ministries, please reply and let me know.

I also prayerfully ask that if you can contribute to assist with the continual expenses, please help to keep Daily Living Ministries going into all the world!

Click on the green buttons to view the online giving options.

Thank you for your support in preparing for the future!

Mail contributions to:
DAILY LIVING Ministries, Inc.
1201 Diamond Way
Bogart, GA 30662

Contributions are tax deductible.

In Jesus’ name,
Dennis Smock

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been redeemed?

December 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV))

In just a few days, we will experience what believers in Jesus have set aside as the day to celebrate the fullness of time! We will celebrate the promise fulfilled of God sending us His Son to redeem us from the bondage of sin and death. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been helpless, hopeless and lost. We were condemned to eternal separation from the One who created us to be in relationship with Him.

But, God . . .

I love the “But, God” moments!

He sent Jesus to redeem us. He sent Jesus to free us. He sent Jesus to show us His love.

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))

This is why we celebrate Christmas. This is why we have faith. This is why we are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. Because God saw that the fullness of time had come, all who call upon the name of Jesus are now joyful, hopeful and found in the loving arms of the Father. This gift is for all who will believe. It is as simple as 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.

God’s fullness of time means that we have been given the greatest gift of all. We have been given grace. We have been given mercy. We have been given salvation!

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

Have you received the greatest gift of all time?

Have you been redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you believed in the mighty name of Jesus?

December 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God –
(John 1:12 (NIV))

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, which incarnation do you envision as Jesus? Is it the infant in a manger? Is it the young man in the temple? is it the man who turned water into wine? Is it the man who walked on water? Is it the man who raised Lazarus from the dead? Is it the man who went to the cross? Is it the Lord who rose from the grave on the third day? Is it the King of kings and Lord of lords who sits at the right hand of God the Father? Is it the might warrior who will return to defeat the power of the enemy?

Jesus did many things when He walked this earth. We have promises of what He will do as history unfolds and as He returns. Not a single one of these pictures of Jesus is wrong, but if you only focus on one, then you miss out on the awesome power and majesty of the many facets of the one who is completely human and also completely God!

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and for the message of Christmas, I am forever grateful. Christmas is the celebration of the physical birth into this world of Jesus our Messiah. It is the celebration of the point in history where God stepped into His own creation as one of us. It is the celebration of the physical manifestation of the promise of salvation that humanity has waited for since Adam and Eve and the fall from grace. We celebrate the innocence that a new born baby represents. We celebrate the wonderfully good news that Jesus came into this world to give us His innocence, His righteousness, while taking our sins upon Himself.

Is it difficult for you to picture the innocent baby and the suffering servant as the very same individual?

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, we must not forget that He is no longer that baby boy in the manger. When we celebrate His miraculous entry into His creation, we must not forget His miraculous life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection. We have history to look back on, but I feel that we still have trouble grasping the fact that God stepped into His creation to be with us, to call us to Himself!

Mark Lowry’s words in “Mary, Did You Know?” say it very well from Mary’s perspective, and perhaps ours as well. What Jesus did turned the world, and all of eternity, upside down. The Creator of all things stepped into His creation as a child so that we could become His children. The child that Mary delivered came into this world to deliver her and all of humanity!

All that we have to do is receive the one whom God has sent and believe in His name?

Have you believed in the mighty name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

November 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.
(1 Samuel 4:5 (NIV))

How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

Think about that!

God would lead His people by going ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When He stopped, the ark was brought in and set within the tabernacle. To the nation of Israel, the ark of the covenant was the presence of God. It was the mercy seat where God came to dwell with His people. The whole nation of Israel rejoiced greatly when this happened. They praised God with such a great shout that the ground shook.

How does that compare to what we do in our churches?

The Israelites had the events of the Exodus to be thankful for. God saved them out of physical bondage in Egypt. They had been slaves for four hundred years and God rescued them. He made a choice to show His power to the world through the actions He took bringing them out of Egypt.

They had a reason to rejoice, and their rejoicing shook the ground!

I hate to say this, but in most of our churches today, we barely even make a noise, and we have so much more to be thankful for than the Israelites did!

God saved them from physical bondage, but they were still in bondage to sin and death. We have been given something that they weren’t given. We have grace. We have mercy. We have salvation freely given to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Israelites escaped physical bondage. We can escape eternal bondage to sin and death, and yet we act as if we are dead. We don’t shout out our thanks. We don’t lift up His name in praise. Most believers are more enthusiastic about their favorite sports team than they are about lifting up His name in praise.

The Lord moved mightily in and through the nation of Israel when they had not forgotten the things that He had done for them. Have we forgotten what He has done for us? We can now stand in His presence through the atoning blood of Jesus and we act like we are watching a show on tv. We simply sit back and watch as a spectator.

Faith is not a spectator sport!

How do you celebrate the presence of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fully devoted to Jesus?

May 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42 (NIV))

They had something to be thankful for. They had something to share. They had something to celebrate!

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:17 (NIV))

They had recognized and accepted God’s gift of salvation and they were not lukewarm in their faith. In fact, the early church felt that their faith required their full devotion and not just for a weekly twenty minute sermon. Why do we fail to do the same?

What have we lost?

It is common thinking that today we are far more intellectual, far more studied and educated than at any other time in history. Are we? We turn on a screen to keep us entertained. We click a button to play our favorite music. We scroll through endless amounts of mindless chatter and think that we are smarter and that we are far more educated on subjects than our ancestors. What we fail to realize is that now we are being spoon fed what someone else wants us to know. If something doesn’t fit into our way of thinking, we tend to brush it off and move on. If something does catch our attention, we don’t put an extended effort into anything because we think that it is too difficult. We think that if we need to know it, we can simple ask Google. Is this the more abundant life that Jesus died on the cross to give us?

When was the last time that you spent any time in God’s Word? Do you have a consistent time that you set aside for God’s Word and for prayer? It is said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. If that is true, then if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should be hopelessly devoted to the One who loves us enough to save us from our sins. We should be hopelessly devoted to getting to know our Lord and Savior. We should be devoted to the apostles’ teaching. We should be devoted to fellowship with other believers. We should break bread with other believers, and we should pray individually and collectively.

Today, if someone is totally devoted to Jesus, if they do these things, people call them various different names including Bible thumper. Do you care what people call you? Do you care what the world thinks of you or do you long to be like Paul?

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
(1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV))

Are you fully devoted to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have an attitude of true thankfulness to God?

November 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These things I remember
      as I pour out my soul:
   how I used to go with the multitude,
      leading the procession to the house of God,
   with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
      among the festive throng.
(Psalms 42:4 (NIV))

David gave God thanks for all that God had given to him. With the upcoming holiday that we celebrate as a nation, we must not forget that giving thanks to God goes back farther than the Pilgrims. People have been thankful to God for centuries. In our day and time, giving thanks has turned into just another excuse to take a day off from work and relax. On this upcoming Thanksgiving Day, let us truly be thankful for all that God has bestowed upon us even though we are not worthy of any of it.

Let Thanksgiving Day be the start of a new attitude. An attitude of true thankfulness to God.

Do you have an attitude of true thankfulness to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God is still in control!

December 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
(Luke 15:25 (NIV))

I realize that this doesn’t sound like a passage that has anything to do with the Christmas season, but I think that we all need to be reminded of this, especially with the events of this last year. In fact, I honestly believe that it fits in perfectly as a reminder of what God has done for us.

We have had a year like no other. Who knows what the future holds in store for us until Jesus returns? I don’t want to get into the theology of the Rapture and when it will happen. All I want to do is remind everyone of the promises that have been fulfilled by God when He sent His Son Jesus into the world. That arrival, that promise fulfilled is what we celebrate. It is what we hold fast to. It is a joyous occasion. It is a joyous reminder that if God promises, then He will keep His promises.

Are you worried about the world?

Leave at the feet of Jesus!

Are you worried about your job?

Leave it at the feet of Jesus!

If you are worried about anything, you can leave it at the feet of Jesus!

No matter what we may face, we must remember what God has done for us. We must remember that He is not finished yet. We must remember one very important thing!

God is still in control!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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True freedom is being released from darkness!

July 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
      because the LORD has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim freedom for the captives
      and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

How do you define freedom?

July 4th is the day that we, as a nation, celebrate our freedom, but does freedom go deeper than what we have defined in our Declaration of Independence?

What can we, as humanity, be held captive by?

There is tyranny. There is political oppression. There is physical confinement. There is addiction. I am certain that if we try hard enough that we can come up with other things that are capable of holding us captive.

What about fear? What about death? What about the fear of death?

We can celebrate our freedoms that were signed into existence July 4, 1776, and we should rejoice over those freedoms, but there is another freedom that is far more important.

Humanity was condemned by the laws of sin and death, for we had sinned against God. In our sin, all were condemned to be captives of death. All were prisoners of a life that offered no escape from the consequences of this sin. We were, to use a line from a movie, “dead men walking.” We had no hope.

God had another plan!

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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus came into the world to offer us grace and mercy. His willingness to go to the cross for us paved the way for His resurrection. His resurrection gives freedom to all who will profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

July 4th is an important date in our history, for it gave us freedoms that no other government had ever granted to its citizens. No matter how great these freedoms may be, they pale in comparison to the freedom that was given to us through the cross. As you celebrate with family and friends, don’t forget where true freedom comes from. It is not through a man-made declaration written in ink. It is from a God ordained declaration written in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is a declaration that was validated at the resurrection. It is a declaration that has no specific date. It is a declaration that each of us must accept for ourselves.

Only this declaration offers what no other can offer.

True freedom is being released from darkness!

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