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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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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Are you enduring and watching?

September 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
(Revelation 3:10 (NIV))

Enduring patiently!

In today’s world, those two words seem like an oxymoron. The whole world has endured some very strange things over the last several years. I have lost track of the number of times that I have heard people say that they wish things would return to the way that they used to be, and SOON! For those who wish this to happen, I honestly believe that what we used to know as normal will never return. What we now know is only the beginning, and what is before us is something that we, as believers in Jesus, do not want to see.

I have one very important question for you.

Are you longing to be in the presence of the Lord?

We know that He promised to prepare a place for us and that He will return. We know that those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will be saved from the test that the inhabitants of this earth will face. There is some disagreement on timing, but we know that the Lord will snatch away those who believe in Him so that they do not face the test. That does not simply mean that we go about our lives as if blind to the events in this world, especially when they align with what we have been told in God’s Word. We are to pay attention. We are to watch and be aware. Things are transpiring in what many are saying is a convergence of prophetic events all leading to either being in the presence of the Lord or being left on this world without the Holy Spirit to hold back the enemy.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:36 (NIV))

I find it disheartening that most pastors in the denominational churches are not saying anything about world events. They are not teaching on God’s plans that appear to be unfolding right before our eyes. They are not telling people to watch for the Lord! At best, many are simply doing verse by verse teachings about how to live in this world. Don’t get me wrong. We need to know that, but we also need to know what God has planned. We know what He saw when He looked at the earth’s corruption in Genesis.

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.
(Genesis 6:12 (NIV))

What does He see when He looks at the earth today?

Are people calling good evil and evil good? Are there wars and rumors of wars? Are there drastic weather issues all around the world? Are there higher prices and shortages? Are there people who openly blaspheme God? Is our corruption equal to or greater than in the days of Noah?

With all of these things, and much, much more, what do you think that God sees when He looks at the earth today?

I don’t profess to know what will happen next. All that I do know, as someone who professes a faith in Jesus, is that I have an assignment to share the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus. I also know that I have a responsibility to keep watch and recognize the signs. I have a responsibility to alert others to what I see. I also know that I may be wrong, but it is better to watch and warn and things not happen than to watch and not warn and things do happen.

We don’t know God’s exact timing, but we must be diligent. We must endure and we must watch in anticipation of meeting Jesus!

Are you enduring and watching?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you like the sound of trumpets?

August 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV))

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

When we think of trumpets, we have a tendency to think of jazz music or big band swing, but do you realize that God has used the sound of a trumpet as a way to announce things of great importance to His people? The sound of a trumpet cuts through any other sound. It rises above the noise of the world and boldly proclaims to listen. It boldly proclaims to pay attention. It boldly announces that something is coming!

In this passage, the sound of the trumpet is announcing that those who have professed a faith in Jesus will arise from the dead. That, in and of itself is amazing, but there is more. There is something even more amazing. There is something that only the all powerful Lord God could make happen!

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV))

To many people, the sound of a trumpet is shrill and harsh, but it is rapidly becoming the instrument that I long to hear above the din of the world! I long to hear the trumpet call of God, for I believe, . . . No! I know beyond any doubt exactly what that will mean! I know that when I hear the trumpet call of God, these events will rapidly take place and the desire to be with the Lord will instantly come true. Does that explain why I like the sound of trumpets?

What about you?

Do you like the sound of trumpets?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you waiting patiently?

July 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV))

This passage stirs up controversy!

What do you interpret this passage to be talking about? Do you see this as an indication of what has become known as the Rapture? I realize that some people say that this word is not in this passage and not in the Bible at all. Some believe that the Rapture is a concept that was first introduced only about one hundred years ago. If you look at the original Greek from two thousand years ago, the word that is used is harpazo and it literally means catching away. Still, I understand that many people are leery of believing in something that is not that clearly defined or explained.

I ran across something today that I have read many times over, yet, something clicked today that I had never paid attention to before.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
(Revelation 3:10 (NIV))

In this letter to the church in Philadelphia, John was instructed to tell them that Jesus knew their deeds were true to the Gospel and that they waited and endured the world while staying focused on Jesus. John also wrote what the reward would be for fulfilling this command. Jesus had John tell them that they would be kept from facing the hour of trial that is coming to the whole earth!

The hour of trial.

The time of trouble.

Tribulation.

All of these speak of the same period of time in God’s plan.

According to what Jesus told John to write, those who patiently endure will not go through this.

Are you waiting patiently?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do these words echo your heart?

July 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.
(Psalms 73:25-28 (NIV))

Have you told anyone about what God has done?

If you are like most people, you probably are more willing to tell what He has done specifically for you. No matter who the recipient of God’s actions may be, have you told someone of the greatness of God?

How can we fulfill the command from Jesus if we don’t tell anyone?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

In order to preach the good news, we must be willing to tell of God’s deeds, for it is those deeds that have allowed us to be saved. We have no other recourse to salvation. We have no other means by which we can be saved.

David wrote about this, for he had experienced the abundance of God firsthand. He was willing to tell others about what God has done for him. He was willing to tell of God’s deeds even before God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our salvation. Now, we have an even greater message to tell about.

Are you telling others about what God has done for you?

Do these words echo your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We must treat others as Jesus would?

May 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:14-17 (NIV))

Think about this passage. What does it mean to you to have the Son of God call you friend?

I can’t think of anything that has a more important meaning to my life, for a friend will do anything to help. A true friend does everything out of love with no regard for what they get in return. This is exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross. He paid the ultimate price out of love with no regard to what He had to face. It is true that He faced fear before His physical death, yet He did not stray from His task. He knew that those who would call Him friend depended upon Him to save them.

Do you think that a master would do something like this for a servant? A servant is there to serve the master. The master usually cares little about the life of the servant. There is no love involved in this type of a relationship.

Do you see Jesus as a friend? Do you see others as Jesus sees them?

He desires everyone to come to Him. If this is true, then we must be the friends that Jesus is. We must show the same love to others that He has shown to us.

We must treat others as Jesus would?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you heard the Lord say to get moving?

May 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
(Exodus 14:15 (NIV))

God spoke these words to Moses when the Egyptians were pursuing them and had them cornered at the sea. To the Israelites, it looked like they had two choices – die at the hands of Pharaoh’s army or die in the sea.

God had other plans!

The Israelites were looking at their situation through worldly eyes. Many of them even vocalized their lack of faith.

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
(Exodus 14:11 (NIV))

It is human nature to see the worst in a situation. It is hope that allows us to see the best in the very same situations. It is faith that allows us to take action on our hope and have results that astound the world. In this story, the Israelites overcame their worldly viewpoint and literally stepped out in faith and gave us a glimpse into the majesty and power that God has over His creation. Without their faith and this story, we may not realize that God controls His creation.

It took faith! It also took a direct command from God to Moses to get the people moving.

Do you have that type of faith?

Have you heard the Lord say to get moving?

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 is the condition of your heart?

January 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The LORD detests men of perverse heart
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
(Proverbs 11:20 (NIV))

Have we become a people of perverse hearts? Do we accept what the world calls okay even though God’s Word tells us that it is not okay? Do we have a desire to intentionally disobey God’s Word? How can we truly call ourselves part of the Body of Christ when we do not do what He tells us to do? Basically, how can we ignore the fact that we are not obeying His command to go and sin no more as He told the woman caught in adultery?

When we have perverse hearts, we think that we can do whatever we want. We think that God will overlook what we do. Sadly, many in today’s church and in the non-believing world think this is how God works. Proverbs 11:20 tells us differently.

But wait!

Didn’t Jesus come to forgive our sins?

Jesus did come to offer us grace and mercy. The key word is offer. We have to accept that offer and accept the terms that go with that offer. We are to repent. Just like what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, we are to go and sin no more. He did not tell us that to get salvation we turn to Him and beg for forgiveness and then keep on deliberately sinning. Too many people falsely believe that believing in Jesus will earn them salvation no matter what they do from that point on. Jesus told us that He would tell these type of people to get away from Him because He never knew them.

With so many passages telling us that we are to turn away from our sin, how can anyone honestly believe that Jesus condones a perverse heart? How can we believe that people who simply give lip service to Jesus will actually see the salvation and grace that they think they will get?

Jesus did not come into this world, live as one of us, teach us, and die on the cross so that we can continue in our sin. We have to have a change of heart. We have to accept all conditions of the offer of grace.

What is the condition of your heart?

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