Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Do you flatter God in all that you do?

August 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
(Ephesians 5:1 (ESV))

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is so, do you flatter God when you say a few choice words that you know you shouldn’t say? Do you flatter God when you simply think those words? Do you flatter God when you are less than honest with your spouse or children? Do you flatter God when you have business dealings that are less than honest?

Do you flatter God when…

Each of us have things in our lives that are less than desirable. We imitate those that we are around. We tell off-color jokes because we know that they will get a laugh. We change our behavior to match the groups of people that we are with. The only thing that any of this imitates is the world. Is that truly what you desire to have visible to those around you, and is that what you want God to see when He looks at you?

If “Christian” means “little Christ,” are we truly living up to that name? Are we imitating Jesus or are we simply mocking Him with our words while our actions say something different? Is there anything in your life that is less than Christlike? We know that when Jesus walked the earth, He imitated the Father.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, 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))

By imitating Jesus, we are also imitating the Father.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

We are told to imitate what is good. Jesus clearly states that only God is good, so we are to imitate God.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, do you flatter God in all that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you received and believed?

December 7, 2020

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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))

Have you been given this gift?

Perhaps I should ask this in a different manner for this gift is freely given to all, but it takes a willingness to receive the gift. You must ask to receive it in order for the gift to be given. This requires that you humble yourself to the point of recognizing that you are a sinner in need of the gift of a savior. This recognition opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could imagine. It opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could ever do for themselves, for we are all sinners by nature.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

The gift is offered to everyone who will accept!

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-24 (NIV))

Nothing in this life is a sure thing. The old saying that we may be hit by a bus is so true. We never know what tomorrow will bring. If tomorrow finds you no longer on this earth, can you say with confidence that you will be with Jesus? Can you say with confidence that you will be recognized as a child of God? It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! It is as easy 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 made it so simple to receive and believe! Have you received and believed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you fully rely on the Lord?

October 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 (ESV))

Has this year felt like this valley to you?

In the face of everything that is going on in the world and with the near misses that we see coming at the world, it is easy to find yourself fearful. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how people who don’t trust in Jesus are making it. Lies abound, and we all know who is the father of lies. Fear abounds. If you don’t believe me, simply walk into a grocery store without a mask. You will see those who are wearing a mask stop and look at you like you have two heads. Most will do all that they can do to stay away from you. Anger and violence abound. Depending on the angle of the cameras reporting these instances, they are either peaceful protesters or they are full blown riots. Usually, it is the very same event being portrayed.

Evil is running rampant. Common sense, mutual respect and decency appear to no longer exist. Child trafficking is taking place. It is not safe for women with small children to be out. Arrogance seems to control the day. People will look you in the eye and tell you that they never did something while there is recorded footage of them doing what they vehemently deny.

Thankfully, we have a place of refuge in the midst of all of this chaos and evil. We can turn to the Lord for He is the Good Shepherd. His rod is a weapon of defense against the evils that surround us. His staff is a tool of rescue. It is used to lead and guide us through the evils of this world.

Do you trust in the Lord to protect you? Do you trust in the Lord to be your place of refuge? For those who love the Lord, we have been promised this and so much more.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Do you fully rely on the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you a member of God’s household?

August 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
(Ephesians 2:19 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

When darkness falls and the doors to the home are locked, who remains inside the home when the homeowner turns out the lights? Who relies on the head of the household to provide security and rest?

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen someone who had the lives of family and friends under the safety of their roof leave doors unlocked so that the enemy could attack. By professing a faith in Jesus, we have been welcomed into the household of God. We have been given not only grace and mercy. We have been given a home that is far more secure than anything we can ever imagine. This world is not our home! We must never forget that we are only passing through on our way to a place that the Lord has prepared for us. We are to be citizens of heaven and we are to be called children of God. Human nature is sinful, but most of us love and provide for our children. How much more will the Lord do for us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to truly think about what actually happens when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? I realize that there is so much more, but the symbolism of these are represented very eloquently in Ephesians 2:19.

We trade being foreigners and strangers with God to being His children.

We trade being children of sin to being foreigners and strangers to the sinful world.

With all that is happening in this world, we must remember to not be a stranger to God. Are you a member of God’s household?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

August 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV))

It seems like anyone and everyone can quote this passage, even if they don’t know any other passages. Sadly, we appear to be seeing the truth behind these words unfolding right before us.

Just what is training?

In essence, the concept of training implies the teaching of discipline and the importance of following that discipline. Instilling self-discipline into the life of someone starts early in childhood. For example, I am sure that most of you were told at some point early in your life that you were old enough that your wants won’t hurt you. In other words, you had been taught that just because you want something doesn’t mean that it will happen no matter how big of a temper tantrum you may throw. Usually, this statement resulted in the application of a different passage.

He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
(Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV))

Am I the only one who sees a direct correlation between training and discipline?

It appears that we are seeing what happens when children who are not disciplined grow up and still act like spoiled brats. Parents who raised their children to think that they can do no wrong have committed a great disservice to their children, to society and to the Lord! Perhaps Proverbs 22:6 could be paraphrased in this manner.

Discipline a child when he does wrong and when he grows up, he will have learned how to behave.

Sadly, no matter what translation you may quote or how you choose to paraphrase this passage, the results of not applying this Godly principle are a lack of discipline and a total lack of respect for anything that is contrary to someone’s feelings. Discipline teaches that feelings can be manipulated. Truth is always the truth. Discipline teaches to seek the truth beyond the feelings.

Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready for His coming?

April 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
(1 John 2:28 (NIV))

I want to ask a question and I pray that you will be honest with yourself in this question and all questions that I ask.

With all that is going on in the world right now, have you found yourself asking if this is an indication of the soon return of Jesus?

To be honest with you, I have seen many people who would have never posted anything about this topic before who are now asking similar questions to what I just asked. This has many people thinking about God and what He has in store for us in the coming days, weeks, months and potentially years. What are your thoughts? What worries you or scares you the most? Are you worried or do you have a peace that baffles your family and friends?

If we have professed a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should not worry. We should not fear! We should be longing for His return. We should be focused on doing all that He has called us to do and not focused on the things of this world.

If we are fearful as the events unfold before us, what does that say about our faith and trust in Jesus? If we are more concerned with thoughts such as “What will we do?”, then we should be ashamed of our lack of faith. We can look at the world and be overwhelmed and worried, or we can look at Jesus and be at peace. It is a matter of attitude and priorities. If we focus on the world, we are not focused on Jesus. We are not ready to stand before Him as one of His! If we focus on Jesus, there is nothing that can happen in this world that will sway our faith. In fact, when we focus on Jesus we are preparing for His return.

Are you ready for His coming?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do we love each other enough to fulfill the law?

February 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(Romans 13:9-10 (NIV))

I hate to say this, but there are people who populate the pews of many churches throughout this world who harm other believers on a regular basis. What does that say about the way that we have faithfully taught what Jesus has commanded us to teach? It is easy to blame the people who harm others, but it is not so easy to take upon yourself the responsibility for their actions.

Should we bear the burden of the responsibility of the actions of other members of the Body of Christ?

I think that we are taught that we do!

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 (NIV))

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
(Romans 12:10 (NIV))

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
(Galatians 5:13-15 (NIV))

If members of the Body have not been taught how to stop doing harm, then the Body has not properly fed them the Word of God. They have not been nourished to the point where they know what is Godly and righteous. They have not been allowed to mature in their faith.

Suppose parents have a child and this child starts to eat solid food. As soon as the child starts to eat, the parents do not turn this child loose and tell him to prepare his own meals. The child must be taught what to eat, what is good for them, and what is bad. All of this must happen before the child can be entrusted to prepare his own meals.

Perhaps the church is guilty of being this neglectful parent. We expect people to intuitively know what God wants them to do, what they are to read and study, and how they are supposed to live. We have not taught them how to not be harmful to others. We have not taught them how to love one another.

What have you taught your “children” in the faith? Do we love each other enough to fulfill the law?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you hear?

January 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.
(John 8:47 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world thinks, God does speak to us if we only know how to listen.

Just like in any relationship, we have to know the heart of the other person. We have to know them on a deeper level than just a casual acquaintance. We must be able to pick up on subtle intents based on our knowledge of the person. For all of the married men who are reading this, I am sure that a subtle roll of the eyes by your wife carries a meaning that only you understand. With this as an example, perhaps it is easy to understand that intimacy with someone means that not all communications are with words. Sometimes we are able to “hear” things because we know someone so well that we can understand things that others would not pick up on.

Does God always speak in an audible voice?

If we have accepted His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, we can be called His children. That is God reaching out to us in love. If we spend time with His Word, we know His heart. That is us reaching out to God in love. We draw closer to Him and we begin to know what breaks His heart and what bring Him joy. We begin to recognize the subtle differences in us as we mature in our faith and our relationship with the Lord. We feel peace and joy when we walk with Him and we feel anxiety and sorrow when we stray.

We have also been given the Holy Spirit to guide us. That is God walking with us in love. He is that still, small voice that lives in us to teach us how to walk with the Lord in a relationship as a loving Father and His child.

There are so many ways that we are able to hear what God says. We just have to be open to hearing and be willing to respond. We must desire a relationship with God in order to hear Him.

Do you desire that relationship?

What do you hear?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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