Are you comfortable in this world?

June 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:9 (NIV))

I want to get something straight. I want it to be known by anyone and everyone who sees me.

This world is not my home!

I may live in it, but I do not like the things of this world. My focus is on Jesus! I cling to the words from what Jesus prayed for His disciples while in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
(John 17:14-18 (NIV))

In other words, we, as the Body of Christ, are to occupy until we are called home. We are to spread the Gospel. We are to pray. We are to be salt and light in this earth, but we are not to get comfortable here. We are called to not be content in a sinful, fallen world. We are called to not find our security in this sinful, fallen world. The only place that we, as the Body of Christ, should be comfortable is in the will of the Lord.

The world has many things that can be used to distract us. We must be on our guard against the distractions of the enemy and focus solely on Jesus. He is our true source of all comfort!

Are you comfortable in this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

January 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What have you been taught about Jesus? In particular, what have you been taught about the reason that He came into this world?

Did He come to be a social justice warrior? Did He come to advocate for the poor? Did He come to spread peace and love, or did He come to call a lost and sinful humanity to repentance?

I realize that Jesus did many things when He walked this earth, and many of those things can be classified as falling into these categories that I listed, but they were all ways to reach the lost. Did Jesus teach on being just and fair in our dealings with each other? I can point out many situations where He did just that. He pointed out our sinful nature in these matters and asked us to seek God and follow His commands. Not following God’s commands is a sin. Jesus was telling us to repent and follow Him. Did Jesus teach on helping the poor? If you look back at Old Testament laws, that was already in place. A landowner was not supposed to harvest all the way to the corners of his fields. This was to be left for the poor. In other words, love your neighbor as yourself. Not doing so is a sin. Jesus was calling us to repent of our sin. When asked what the greatest commandments are, He responded that you are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The example that He gave involved a Samaritan man. In the culture of the day, Jewish people hated the Samaritans. In other words, Jesus was telling us to repent of our sin of hatred.

What is your definition of being lost? According to God, being lost is being a sinner.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

And being a sinner has drastic consequences!

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

Jesus walked among us telling us to live according to what God had planned. He called us to repent of our shortcomings, our sins, and to turn to God in all things. He used every situation that He was in as a teachable moment to drive this home. Repent in your dealings with others. Repent of your treatment of the poor. It is possible to do these things yet still miss out on the only reason that Jesus came. All of these can be labeled as works of the flesh if we do not have a repentant heart and a desire to follow Jesus in all that we do. A repentant heart is a result of the most important aspect of why Jesus came. Jesus calls us to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. When we do this, our desires change. Our actions are no longer selfish in nature. We see ourselves and others as God sees them.

We are called to also seek and save the lost by sharing Jesus with them.

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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

Sadly, I believe that we, as the church, have missed the mark. We share Jesus only when we are comfortable, and we don’t emphasize where Jesus tells us to teach people to obey everything that He has commanded. We sugar coat it, and as a result, we see people developing incorrect images of Jesus. I know that this hasn’t been a saying in several years, but we must pay attention to “What Would Jesus Do?” According to the words recorded in Luke, Jesus clearly said that He came to seek and save the lost!

Are you sharing the true Jesus with others?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you longing for your new residence?

June 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:2-3 (NIV))

Are you comfortable in your current place of residence? Would you be upset if you were asked to move? Would you be upset if you were given a glorious mansion for your residence?

I am certain that this passage brings to mind certain things for each of us. We all have our vision of heaven and what the Lord is preparing for us, but whatever you are thinking of will be nothing in comparison to what awaits us. We don’t have the ability to fully comprehend all that the Lord has in store for us. Whatever we think, whatever we dream of, will only be a faint shadow of what truly will be.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV))

No matter what each of us envision heaven to be like and what our new residences will be like, there is one thing that we can all rest assured of. We will forever be in the glorious presence of the Lord. That single fact is enough to desire a new forever home. All of the promises about many rooms and streets paved with gold will pale in comparison to the glorious presence of the Lord. Our new residences will be forever in His presence! With this single truth, I can understand why the psalmist wrote these words.

Better is one day in your courts
     than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
     than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(Psalms 84:10 (NIV))

Being in the Lord’s presence is where I long to be.

Are you longing for your new residence?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted the call to obedience?

May 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
(Romans 1:5 (NIV))

A heavy price has been paid for you to receive the call!

Ever since the call first went out, the world and all the powers that control it have tirelessly fought anyone who chooses to bring the call, to accept the call, or to forward it on. The enemy declared that it had won when it was able to place Jesus in the grave, but they did not count on the third day! The world did all that it could to persecute those who accepted the call, but then Jesus called Saul to reach the Gentiles and Saul, through a rebirth, became Paul. The world did all that it could to condemn Paul and throw him in prison in order to stop the call. The prison guards received salvation! The world did all that it could to eradicate the call by sending Christians into the colosseum. The church flourished and more people answered the call!

All around the world today, people who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are facing persecution and death because they have answered the call. They have declared that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They have declared that Jesus is part of the Trinity. They have declared that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. To put it simply, they have replied “I believe” to the one question that can change your eternity. They have declared that they believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and just like the price that has been paid throughout the church age, many are paying the ultimate, heavy price today.

Do you feel comfortable in your faith in Jesus?

Do you avoid letting people know that you are a Christian?

Do you fear reprisals for your confession of Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

I was recently reminded that the Body of Christ, the church, is a family that we choose to belong to. If you have made that choice and answered the call, are you one hundred percent certain that you will be obedient in your faith no matter what the world may try to do? Keep in mind that the world’s outlook on Jesus is rapidly changing and your obedience may have drastic worldly consequences. I pray that I am able to be obedient, for I would rather be judged by a sinful world and found guilty of being righteous in the eyes of God, then be judged by a righteous God and found guilty of being sinful.

Are you prepared?

Have you accepted the call to obedience?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you recognized?

July 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Have you ever seen an apple tree bear peaches? Have you ever seen an orange tree bear bananas? In the physical world, if we ever saw anything like this, we would think that we have gone utterly insane. These types of things just don’t happen. We are so used to seeing things a certain way that we know that certain things will never happen. Matthew understood this. He even took this concept one step further and explained that good fruit does not come from plants that we know to be bad. He referenced plants that most people cut down, dig up or burn. How could anything good ever come from something like this?

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
(Matthew 7:16-18 (NIV))

The very same concept is also true in the spiritual as well. It seems as if everyone knows one or two people who just can’t seem to do anything good. Their whole demeanor just ruminates with a foreboding sense that is not comfortable to be around. They display everything that is opposite of the fruit that we are told is good.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV))

Fruit is the means of reproducing in kind the very thing that produced the fruit. It carries the seed that will grow another plant like the one that it came from. When we think of fruit in the physical world, we think of something that is sweet and succulent to eat. Think of this in terms of the fruit of the Spirit. When we partake of the fruit of the Spirit, we soon begin to grow and mature with that very fruit becoming evident in our lives. The more love, joy and peace that you partake of, the more love, joy and peace that you bear.

Take a serious look at your life. Do you produce love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, or do you produce something completely different? How do you think that others see what you produce?

How are you recognized?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom have you been asking?

July 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.
(James 4:2 (NLT))

Jesus came into this world in order to allow us direct access to God, yet, how many of us never approach Him?

Don’t think that I am only talking about those who are not believers. How many of the body of believers go to God in prayer on a regular basis? I hate to say it, but the number of us who approach God on a daily basis is probably a lot smaller than God desires for it to be.

People have a tendency to think that what they desire is insignificant and far less important to God than everyone else’s problems. We are too timid to approach God and reveal our hearts to Him. What we fail to remember is that He knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to approach God because we will actually discover the true person that God created us to be. He gave each of us a unique life, a life that He created. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God, yet we treat ourselves as trash. We have become more comfortable believing the lies of the enemy and living within these lies than we are with opening up to God, the Father, the Creator of each of us. We believe a liar and a thief. We do not believe our Lord.

The body of believers needs to firmly and boldly take possession of what God has for us, for if we don’t take possession of it, the enemy will rob us of it. All we have to do is ask God to give us what He has planned for us from the beginning of time.

I don’t proclaim that God wishes to financially bless us, for each person is unique and each person will be blessed by God according to God’s desires. What I do profess is that each of us is living well below what God has created for us. We do not have all that He desires for us because we have accepted the lies of the enemy. We have not asked God for His full truth. In other words, we get what we ask for! Perhaps we aren’t even asking the right person.

Whom have you been asking?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we capable of such sincere praise?

June 5, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

I wish that we would learn to stand firm in this truth!

Today, we look at the Lord much differently than Hannah did when she spoke these words. Hannah had been fervently praying for a son. After being barren for a long time, the Lord granted her prayer and she gave birth to Samuel. When she presented Samuel to the Lord, she was overjoyed. She gave thanks and praise exactly where it was due!

This brings to mind two distinct questions.

1. Do we fervently pray for what is burdening our hearts?

Most of the time we utter a few words, but do we seriously pray as if our very heart, our very soul, would explode if what we seek is not granted? Do we feel the anguish that comes with what truly burdens our hearts, or do we only think that it is important? Do we quickly move on when what we pray for is not answered in a few days?

2. Do we truly praise the Lord when our prayers are answered?

Do we give thanks and praise for the outcome, or do we quickly forget our requests to the Lord? Do we look at the outcome as if it just happened without intervention from the Lord? Do we turn away from the Lord or do we turn to the Lord and lift up His name in praise?

Has the Lord lifted you up from a very serious situation? Has the Lord provided relief from your burden? Did you praise the Lord for all that He had done? The worse the situations that we find ourselves in, the greater the opportunity to praise the Lord. Perhaps that is why that history supports the notion that the church experiences more growth when it is being persecuted. People have a tendency to draw close to God when they are facing persecution and burdens. With this in mind, have we, the Body of Christ, become too soft and too comfortable in our lives that we fail to feel the need to pray or praise with all of our being?

Are we capable of such sincere praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been made a part of the family?

April 3, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 2:11 (NIV))

Did you fully grasp the meaning behind these words in this passage?

It is commonly stated that those who believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are part of the family of God, but has this concept truly taken hold of your life? It is human nature to say things so much that we soon begin to miss the true meaning of the words and the concepts because we begin to take things for granted. Sadly, it is human nature to become so familiar with something, that the excitement starts to fade!

For those of you who are married, I wish to present an example of what I am talking about. When you first said the words “I love you” to your spouse, there was a very strong emotion that was tied to those words. As the years progressed, you may say the same words, but there is a familiarity that is there. The meaning behind the words has slightly shifted in the relationship. The relationship is strong, but the words no longer convey the same strong emotion. Does your heart still race at the sound of their voice? Do you long for the times that you will be together? Or, do you simply sit on the couch and quietly enjoy each other’s company? Are you comfortable in your relationship? Are you confident of your standing in that relationship?

When you fist accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, how was your excitement level? How is it now? Are you still overwhelmed to be called a child of God, or have you grown so accustom to that concept that you don’t get excited about it anymore? Do you fidget and stammer for words when you pray or is there a comfort zone that has developed, just like there is a comfort zone in a healthy earthly family? Do you feel that you can know the Lord so well that He does truly feel like a brother?

Have you been made a part of the family?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t hide from the light!

February 13, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
(John 1:9 (NIV))

Do you fear change?

Some people are so terrified by change that they do everything within their power to avoid change. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that makes people fear change. It is said that we are much more comfortable living in the sin that we know than in taking the step of faith and repenting of our sin and living under grace.

Human nature is a strange thing. Too many of us would rather cower and hide in the darkness of our sins than to step into the light and embrace grace through the atoning blood of Jesus! If you are human, and the last I checked if you are capable of reading this then you qualify, you need to come into the light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Have you stepped into the light?

Have you embraced the grace and mercy freely given?

Have you asked for forgiveness?

Have you repented?

Do you have the light of life?

I know that this is an extremely huge change. Don’t fear the change that brings mercy and grace.

Don’t hide from the light!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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