Is your faith strong enough for this?

January 16, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
(Matthew 5:44 (NIV))

This goes against everything that our sinful human nature desires!

We instinctively only love those who love us in return. We only want to pray for those whom we love, yet, we are called to break with our sinful human nature and do what we don’t desire to do.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on why we are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us? Perhaps the answer is so simple that we don’t want to see it.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

If you have come to the realization that our enemies are part of the world that God loves, then you begin to understand why we are called to love our enemies. God loves them just as He loves you and I. In fact, the only difference in God’s eyes are whether they have accepted the gift of grace freely given through the cross. The cross is the ultimate example of love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

If you stop to consider that you were once an enemy of God, then you realize that God showed you love when you were His enemy. As the Body of Christ, we are called to do the very same thing. We are called to show love to those who are our enemies, for it is through love and prayer that an enemy is lost and a friend is won. This takes a faith that goes far beyond what our sinful human nature can comprehend. It takes a faith firmly grounded in God’s word and in His promises. It takes a faith strong enough to realize that through God’s love anything is possible, even turning an enemy into a brother or sister in Christ! Do you possess a faith strong enough to surrender to God’s Will as He calls you to embrace your enemies with love?

Today’s society is uncertain. Evil is called good and good is called evil. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know one thing – Jesus will come again! When He walked the earth, He called people to repent. He called them to this action out of love. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have shown a faith strong enough to accept that gift. Now, we are called to show a faith strong enough to share that gift even with our enemies.

Is your faith strong enough for this?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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))

I have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your life currently look like?

January 5, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

What do you do when something gets old?

If you are like most people, you hold on to things until they are no longer of value. It is at this point that you decide to throw away the old things, the trash, and replace them with something new.

What happens when the old things have more value to you than is obvious from the current state of the objects?

Think about that last question in relation to antique cars that are lovingly restored. What about antique furniture or very rare musical instruments? In the eyes of the right person, even old, dilapidated things have value and are worth restoring to new condition. This is how our Father sees each of us. In His eyes, we are worth so much more than we are worth in our own eyes. He has freely given each of us a way to be restored. God’s plan for restoration does not leave us in our sinful, fallen state. All that we have to do to be restored is to accept the offer freely given through the cross of Jesus Christ!

Do you long to be a new creation?

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.

If you can honestly profess this and claim it as your own, then you are a new creation in the eyes of God. The old has gone! The new is here!

What does your life currently look like?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

December 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

I realize that I used this passage yesterday, but it is such a wonderful and truthful passage of grace, hope and love. It is one in which God sent His Son to redeem the world.

He first proclaimed this great news to shepherds.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

As time progressed, Jesus fulfilled God’s purpose for His time on earth! It is such a simple, yet profound plan. God’s plan is based on love and restoration of a sinful, fallen creation.

Nothing is left to say, except one critical statement.

Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

December 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV))

This merits repeating!

This may sound like a silly question, but what is it that we celebrate at Christmas?

Is it the denominational differences that we, humanity, have placed as barriers between ourselves? Is it how we profess our faith? Is it how we sing praises? Is it the color of the skin of the congregation?

Or is it the birth of Jesus?

I often wonder what Jesus would say of He were to come to earth and give us a report card update on how we are doing? Would he commend us or condemn us?

Personally, I believe that we would most likely get a mixed review. One in which we would receive severe judgment for the way that we have allowed the Gospel to be removed from society. I believe that we would be held accountable for the way that we still segregate the Body of Christ I believe that we would also be held accountable for not doing enough to share the Gospel, for it is a gift to everyone, and not just those who look, act and think like us.

It is for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

In other words, it is for those who may not be like you. It is also for those who may be just like you. Think about that last statement. I know that if I found someone “just like me,” I would pray for them continuously, for I know the sins that they would be fighting.

We, as the Body of Christ, come from many different backgrounds. We must prevent these differences from separating us from the rest of the Body of Christ, and from Jesus. We come from many different traditions. Traditions are a funny thing. A tradition is simply a routine way of doing something. They are man-made and must not get in our way of rejoicing with each other about the birth of Jesus.

I once heard someone tell a story about a young bride who, after getting married, wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband. She bought the needed pot and the roast. She then called her mother to get instructions. After listening to her mother, she asked a very serious question. “Why did you always cut off the end of the roast? I want to do it exactly like you.” Her mother’s response was that she cut the roast because her pot was too small. It appears that not all traditions are ones that we need to continue.

Since we are all one in Christ Jesus, what “traditions” do we allow to keep us separated? If we are all sons of God through faith in Christ, why do we often treat our brothers and sisters like we do? I can hear some of you thinking that this is what brothers and sisters do. I honestly hope that the Body of Christ does not act like natural brothers and sisters. We should show the world a different side.

“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))

Can the world tell that you are a disciple of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be led astray!

November 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
(Matthew 24:5 (ESV))

Have you ever stopped to count the number of people in your lifetime who have claimed to be a messiah, if not the messiah?

From the likes of Jim Jones to David Koresh, we have seen many people who claim to be from God. Some people have even made statements about political leaders being the messiah. One even went so far where his followers called him their lord and savior on a nationally televised event. And now, recent events in Israel have rabbis saying that their messiah is alive and that they are now meeting with him.

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you know that all of these individuals are not the real thing. There is only one Messiah, and His name is Jesus! He was born of a virgin. He taught. He performed so many miracles that they couldn’t all be recorded. He willingly went to the cross to die for our sins. On the third day, He was resurrected and walked among us once again. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, and to all who will believe in Him, He intercedes for us and gives us eternal life in the presence of the Father. He will come again!

Are you ready to recognize the one true Messiah?

Will you be able to stand firm when others are being lead astray?

For those of you who are married, if you are put in a room full of people who claim to be your spouse, how do you recognize the true person that you are married to?

I realize that the answer to that last question is rather obvious, but I felt that it needed to be asked. The same way that we recognize our spouse is also the same way that we will recognize Jesus. Familiarity! This familiarity only comes from spending time together. It only comes from a familiarity that comes from an intimacy, a closeness, that is only found in that one relationship. It is found in no one else!

We know that Jesus will tell those who have not built that relationship to get away because He never knew them. I venture to say that this intimacy can go in the other direction. Put these false messiahs to the test, and don’t be afraid to tell them to get away because you don’t know them. This will require that you get to know Jesus and He gets to know you. Spend time in His Word. Spend time in prayer. Gather with other believers who are also seeking that intimacy with the Lord.

Can you recognize Jesus?

Don’t be led astray!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you look for help?

October 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 (NIV))

So many people today are so dismissive of anything coming from the Lord if they admit that the Lord exists at all.

How about you?

What is your outlook, your attitude toward the Lord?

With all that is going on in the world, do you deny God, do you blame God, or do you look to God for help?

Hopefully, you are not part of the group that denies the Lord, for denial is not an excuse for sin. For those who blame God, their arrogance and self-centeredness have condemned them. For those of us who look to the Lord, we admit our sinful nature. We understand that the world is not our home. We know that this world will never be perfect because of sin. We know that all of humanity’s attempts will end in disaster. We know beyond any doubt that there is only one hope for this world and His name is Jesus!

When the earth quakes and the waves roll, lift up your eyes!

When the rain falls and the mud slides, lift up your eyes!

When the enemy surrounds you on all sides, lift up your eyes!

The Lord is your help! Only He has the power and authority to fulfill all that He has promised.

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))

When it looks as if God’s promises will not be fulfilled, lift up your eyes. He never fails. He is our only source of true help, hope and love!

Where do you look for help?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Everything is pointing to Jesus!

September 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
(Colossians 2:17 (NIV))

With this sentence, Paul was telling the church at Colossae that all of the things in this world all point to Jesus. He had just stated that they were not to be judged based on human traditions or on limited human understandings of the things that God had put in place, for these things that God has put in place are all pointing to Jesus.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
(Colossians 2:16 (NIV))

Do we, as the “modern” church, believe that everything that God has ordained points to Jesus? Do we truly understand how the Jewish festivals are all foreshadows of events that have been or will be fulfilled by the Lord on the exact day that the festival represents? We are told that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are far above our ways. If God can make a bright star appear at the birth of Jesus, why do we fail to recognize that He can do amazing things again? If God can give us the perfect Passover lamb at Passover, and then raise Him from the dead on the feast of First Fruits, why do we think that the rest of God’s holy days will not bring the same powerful results? Why do we think that God is not following His timing according to His planned festivals? Why do we think that God is not following His timing as we see and often fail to even recognize the events that are happening all around the world, and at a rate that is ever increasing in frequency and intensity?

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
(Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV))

What happens with birth pains?

They increase in frequency and intensity!

Does this sound familiar?

We are told that no man knows the hour or the day, but that we can recognize the season. If you stopped your daily life long enough to sit and watch, to sit and wait on the Lord, what do you think that you would recognize? Would you see birth pains? Would you see everything increasing in frequency and intensity? Would you see that everything is converging on one promise, on one person, on one Lord and Savior? I honestly believe that now, more than ever, what Paul wrote to the church at Colossae is closer than we may realize.

Are you looking to where everything is pointing?

Everything is pointing to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you set your mind on Jesus?

September 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
(Colossians 3:2 (NIV))

Unlike any other time in human history, now is the time to look up!

Do the things of this world have you worried? Look up!

No matter what the news may say and no matter what they do not say, we have a mighty God who is in control. We have a mighty Savior who, in the eyes of the world, has done the unthinkable. He willingly died to save us from our sins. All that we have to do is believe in Him! We have the promises that God has given, and they are many! Not only do we have the promises that foretold of Jesus, we also have the promises that foretell of His return.

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))

Think about that for a moment. If God cannot associate with sin, then we know that He is not capable of committing a sin. He is not capable of telling a lie. Because He is not capable of lying, we know that every single word that proceeds from His mouth is truth. In other words, if He said it, it WILL happen just as He said. The sad thing is that we, as sinful, fallen humanity have a hard time comprehending that there is someone who is always truthful no matter what the situation. Even those who always try to tell the truth will find themselves slipping up and twisting things unintentionally. In other words, we lie even when we don’t want to!

We must focus on the perfect image of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Only when we keep our focus in this direction are we capable of discerning the truth from the lies of the enemy, and right now, the enemy is on a rampage! Every single day I learn more and more about the things that are unfolding in this world. I learn of things that, if I didn’t keep my eyes focused on Jesus, would scare me to death. Troubles are increasing exponentially. I also learn of things that have me fascinated because God is unfolding things just as He foretold. The troubles in this world may be increasing exponentially, but we must take heart, for the things of God are falling into place exponentially as well. Things are happening so fast that many people are saying that something major is going to happen by the end of this month. I don’t claim to be a prophet, nor do I claim to know the hour or the day, but I do recognize the season that we are in. I do recognize the need for repentance. I do recognize the need to set our minds on things above, for they are eternal. The things of this world are fleeting and can change in the twinkling of an eye.

No matter what may happen in this world, we must look to Jesus!

No matter what the enemy may do, we must remember that we have a risen Savior who has overcome the enemy.

No matter what may happen in this world, we know who wins.

Have you set your mind on the winner?

Have you set your mind on Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What will you gain when you die?

August 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

I haven’t written about this passage much before, but today I was going through my files and this particular passage and devotional caught my attention. I found myself reading it and I believe that someone needs to hear this at this point in their life.

I want you to carefully reread these words from this passage. Do they have a sound that is contrary to what we, as a society, tend to think about this world, life and “religion?”

Most people think of Jesus as a safety net for when we die, not as a way in which we can live in freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We are told that Jesus gives us life to the full, yet, we ignore Him until we face dying. Isn’t it just like human nature to have our priorities turned around. We look to the promise of life when we are dying and look to sin and death when we are alive. For those who understand the truth behind these words, life is better with Jesus. There is hope. There is peace and there is grace.

Without Jesus, death is to be feared. We end up eternally separated from God and eternally cast away with Satan. With Jesus, death is not to be feared, for we will see the reward for our faith. We will walk with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will be eternally at peace and in God’s presence. When we look at it like this, death for a believer is gain. It is not to be feared. It is a reward for our faith and our priorities in this life. We have all heard that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. If we are present with the Lord at our death, then we have “gained” eternal life through grace and mercy. This is truly gain.

What will you gain when you die?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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