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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Are you filled with great boldness?

April 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
(Acts 4:29 (NIV))

How strong is your faith?

Are you willing to stand against those who ridicule you because of your faith? Are you willing to speak the truth even when the truth is not popular? Are you willing to risk everything you have in order to speak the Word of God into a dark and dying world?

Or, are you like most people and too timid to speak up for what you profess to believe?

I know that I may make some people mad with that last question, but we all need to stop and ask ourselves this on a regular basis. If we are not willing to speak the truth of God’s Word, then are we fulfilling the task that we have been given?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Do you see anything in this passage that looks as if the Body of Christ is timid?

Why should we be?

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

If we are timid in our faith, is it really faith?

Are you sure of the things that Jesus has done? Are you certain of the salvation that you have been given? If you had been given a mansion, you would tell everyone that you encounter about the great gift that someone gave you. What God has given each of us through the shed blood of Jesus is far greater than any earthly mansion, yet we fail to tell anyone about it. Why are we willing to be bold in certain things while we become timid when we are talking about our faith?

I know that there are those who will profess a faith in Jesus because it makes them feel good, but this is not what Jesus promised.

“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 promised peace through the troubles that He knew we would face. It takes a boldness to face the world and proclaim the truth!

Are you filled with great boldness?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a visual person?

February 9, 2016

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?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sure of your hope in Jesus?

November 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

What do you have faith in?

Do you have faith that you will live to see tomorrow?

Do you have faith in the money in your bank account?

Do you have faith in your job?

Do you have faith in your family?

Do you have faith in your government?

In other words, are you sure of these things? Are you certain that you will see tomorrow? Are you certain that the money you have will be worth anything? Are you certain that you will have a job tomorrow? Are you certain that your family will not let you down? Are you certain that your government has your best interests at heart?

I don’t know about you, but I am only certain about one thing in this life. I pray that everything else will be okay, but I know with certainty that something will happen and I will be disappointed somewhere along the line.

I will never be disappointed in Jesus!

I am sure of the hope that I have placed in Him. I am certain that all of God’s promises are “Yes” through Jesus! I place my faith one thousand percent with Jesus.

Are you sure of your hope in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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When we focus on the goal, the journey becomes easier!

November 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let this encourage God’s holy people to endure persecution patiently and remain firm to the end, obeying his commands and trusting in Jesus.
(Revelation 14:12 (NLT))

Are you a patient person?

Can you endure to the end?

If you are like me, it is difficult to do at times. Human nature does not like to be patient and it does not like to endure. Human nature likes to be comfortable and, to be honest with you, patience and endurance are not things that make us comfortable.

Are we able to overcome this desire for comfort?

Are we able to overcome this desire for instant gratification?

It takes faith. It takes hope!

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

I can almost hear what some of you are thinking, but the faith and the hope is not placed in ourselves. We are to place our faith and our hope in Jesus! We are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

When we focus on the goal, the journey becomes easier!

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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The keys to the kingdom

May 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:22-23 (NIV))

Who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to that single question carries more hope and faith than just about any other answer to any other question ever conceived. No matter how you answer, you are placing your faith in your understanding of God and His creation. Even if you do not believe that God exists, you are placing all of your faith in your answer. Your very being hinges upon your faith in something.

Faith is such a peculiar character trait.

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

There is a void in each of our lives. That void is designed to be filled by God. Since sin came into this world, many things have been used to try and fill that void. Some use power. Some use wealth. Some use lust. Some even try to use God to fill that void. Everyone has faith that what they use will fill the void. Nothing can fill that void while we are still sinners. God cannot associate with sin. He cannot fill us when we are sinners. To this end, those who seek God without seeking salvation cannot find God. Salvation is available only through Jesus.

To those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior, we place our faith in the Biblical account of all of creation and God’s plan for redemption. Through this plan, we are given it all. We are given grace and mercy. We are given the atoning blood. We are given the Holy Spirit, and we are given God the Father.

Have you ever longed for a new car? You can test drive what you want. You can look at them at the dealer. You can sit in one, but it does not mean that it is yours. You have to take possession of the car. You have to have the keys! Trying to take possession of a new car without taking possession of the keys will get you nowhere. Take possession of the gift that is Jesus. He is the key to having God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Who is the liar? Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He was crucified, dead and buried. He arose on the third day. Thousands of people saw Him after His resurrection. They saw Him ascend into heaven. Is Jesus the Christ? Is He your Savior? Is He your key to God?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that God will provide?

May 16, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
(Genesis 22:14 (NIV))

Do you believe that God will provide?

In the midst of the turmoil and uncertainty in this world, do you believe that God will provide for your needs?

In the midst of the despair and heartbreak over a failed marriage, do you believe that God will provide?

Do your circumstances overwhelm you to the point where you simply can’t believe that God could possibly do anything to help you?

Abraham was probably at this point. Think about that statement and the rest of the story. God had told Abraham to go and sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham had waited for a very long lifetime to be a father. He was a very old man. Isaac was probably his pride and joy. Abraham truly loved Isaac. Imagine how he felt when God told him to go and sacrifice his son. How desperate do you think that Abraham felt at this point?

Still, Abraham exhibited something that I would have a problem showing under those circumstances. His obedience was unshakable. His faith was unwavering. I would have a big problem with obeying a command like this. Still, we must learn from Abraham. In the midst of what seemed like an impossible situation, God provided just what was needed. He did not provide it early. He did not provide it late. He was just in time. God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as many as the stars. Abraham had faith that God would fulfill His promises.

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

On the days that seem darkest, do you have the faith to know beyond any doubts that God will provide? When you feel that you have no possible way to change your circumstances, God will provide. Remember Abraham. Remember his faith. Remember God’s response. You are not alone. God is with you.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Combine it with faith!

September 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
(Hebrews 4:1-2 (NIV))

Combine it with faith!

In other words, hearing and believing are two very different things.

Think back on your life. I am sure that there are many things that you have heard in your life that you did not believe. It would probably be safe to say that the first time that you heard the Gospel, you did not believe it either.

What makes someone accept something and make that leap from hearing to believing?

Some call it a sixth sense. Some call it a feeling. Some simply cannot put a name to it or even describe why they make that leap from hearing to believing.

Why do we have faith?

To many people, they find faith an absurd notion, especially when you consider that it means a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

I like Paul’s definition.

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

What do we receive by faith?

Have you ever wavered in your faith?

Do you think that it is possible to lose your faith?

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV))

I find it compelling how many parables are told in which faith is compared to a seed. God is definitely trying to drive home His point that we must nurture our faith. We can hear and a small “seed” of belief is planted. We can allow that seed of faith to grow through our actions or we can allow that seed to die through our actions.

Have you heard?

Do you believe?

Has your belief turned into a strong faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Blessed because of our faith

August 8, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 (NIV))

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are very well aware of what is going on with how the Body of Christ has been coming under attack from many different sides.

Christians are being labeled as hateful and bigoted. We are being ridiculed in the media at every opportunity that they get. Any show of faith is considered a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. And, I honestly believe that it may get worse.

Are you willing to stand up for your faith?

Are you willing to face persecution for what you believe?

Are you willing to boldly proclaim that Jesus is Lord of all even in the midst of the enemy?

I pray that we may never really face this scenario, but I also pray that if we do, each person who calls upon Jesus as Lord and Savior will not renounce His name.

Faith is a funny thing. When tragedy happens, those who did not have it suddenly find that they need it. I hope that the opposite is not true. When persecution happens, will those who profess a faith in Jesus suddenly find themselves rethinking their position.

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

Is it time for a faith checkup?

Are you sure of what you hope for?

Are you certain of what you do not see?

I pray that no matter what we may face in life, that we, as the Body of Christ, face it with unwavering faith. I pray that we will be called blessed because of our faith.

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