Be very careful not to lose your focus!

July 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
(1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV))

How secure are you in your faith? How confident are you that you can resist temptation? Are you capable of standing firm in the face of the sin that used to hold you captive?

When answering these questions, it is essential that you don’t forget that you are human and have inherited a sinful, fallen nature. It is a nature that is hard to overcome on your own. Even if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it is still possible to fall back into the very sins that you seek forgiveness for. It takes discipline. It takes focus. It takes the grace and mercy that was freely given through Jesus!

No one is perfect. We may desire to walk in the confidence that we will always do what Jesus calls us to do, but we are only capable of claiming our righteousness because Jesus is righteous. Without Jesus, we are nothing.

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))

Walking with Jesus takes effort. It is not easy.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

The wide gate and the broad road are easier to travel than the narrow road and the small gate. Think of the difference between an interstate highway and a narrow and winding country road. Which is easier to travel on? Which gets you there faster? Which has the twists and turns that build your driving skills? Which holds surprise blessings along the way? If you are traveling the narrow road, you must maintain your focus or you can find yourself in danger of running off of the road. An interstate highway leads you rapidly to where you think you want to go, but is it truly the best way to go? It takes you on a journey that bypasses all of the great things that you would encounter if you focused on traveling the narrow road.

I realize that I took a small detour with the driving comparison. This is a prime example of just how easy it is to fall for a diversion. It shows us just how easy it is to lose our focus.

Be very careful not to lose your focus!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident in your blessings?

July 7, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
(Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV))

We all have things that we feel confident about. For some of us, it may be our bank accounts. For others, it may be our health. Some are even confident in their social standing, but it is evident where we truly need to place our confidence, where we need to place our treasure.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Think about these two passages in relationship to each other. Do you treasure your relationship with the Lord? Is it possible for anyone to destroy that relationship or to steal that relationship? Is the Lord your treasure? Does the Lord have your heart?

If you truly trust in the Lord and are confident in that trust, then you are truly blessed. You are at peace with the Lord and yourself. Nothing that the world can send your way will shake you.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Being able to trust in the Lord is the biggest blessing that you can ever have.

Are you confident in your blessings?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident and assured?

April 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

With all of the things that are going on in the world, how is your faith holding up? Are you confident and assured even after seeing the events in the news every day?

Do you find yourself getting fearful? Do you find yourself getting anxious?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV))

When I see the events of the world, I find myself running the full gamut of emotions, but not in the ways that you might think. I find myself getting fearful, but not for events, but for the people who have been blinded by the world. I find myself getting anxious for these same people in realization that time to accept Jesus is running short. I find myself feeling sorry for the very people who call the followers of Jesus close-minded and bigoted.

About a year ago, I ended up in an emergency room trauma unit. Thankfully I have recovered, but looking back, I had a peace. I had a confidence. I was assured that no matter what happened, I was in God’s hands. How many people can say that when times are good? How many people can say that when times are bad? How many people will be able to say this as the events of this world unfold before us?

Are you confident that Jesus is the Son of God?

Are you confident that your faith has been placed in the only one who can save us?

Are you confident of your salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus?

Are you confident that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you place your trust?

July 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalms 20:7 (NIV))

Events over the next few weeks are focusing on the political aspects of our nation’s life. I have come to hate the way that this process seems to have degenerated into something far less than civil. We used to be able to agree to disagree when we have differences of opinions, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

What would Jesus think of our political process? What would He have to say about both parties and what they stand for? What do you believe that Jesus is thinking when He looks at us as we place our hope and trust in a political party and an individual to lead us?

I glanced at the television for a few brief times today and I found myself thinking about Psalms 20:7. We must remember that no matter what the outcome, God is in control. There is a bigger picture that we do not see. With that in mind, we, as the Body of Christ, must be sure that we place our trust in the name of the Lord our God. We must also pray for discernment and wisdom so that we may respond as God wishes for us to respond. I know that we all pray for God to have mercy on us as a nation. Have you ever stopped to think that His mercy may come in the form of someone whom He has called to fulfill His purpose?

I have hope for this country and the world, but I have a confident faith in Jesus! Things of this world will fail us, but Jesus will never fail us.

Where do you place your trust?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

June 16, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
(Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV))

. . . by observing the law no one will be justified.

If God calls for us to observe His laws, many people don’t understand why we cannot be justified if we observe His laws. Sadly, humanity is a fallen creation and we are not capable of perfection. God’s laws require perfection. No matter how hard we may try, we will fail miserably. We will miss the mark. We will sin!

It takes a confident person to admit that they are less than perfect. It takes a confident person to admit that they need help. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset that reminds me of my daughter when she was two years old. I am sure you know what I am talking about. I can still hear her saying, “I do it!”

“I do it!”

Except for the grammatical errors, every one of us has been guilty of saying something similar to this. We think that we are capable of much more than we truly are. We don’t like to admit that we lack the ability to do anything.

I know that it is human nature to learn from our mistakes, but do we really learn if we fail to acknowledge that we make mistakes? I often wonder what the scene is in heaven and if God is shaking His head in disbelief as He watches us. I picture the same scene as Jesus points out someone who has accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “See that one who is acting like a stubborn child. He has placed his faith in me. He is mine! He may fail, but since he has accepted me, he will eventually learn to do the right things.”

Do you have the faith to be justified by Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful that you are not like others?

June 15, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

Are you confident in your righteousness?

Based on the fact that we are all sinners, it is a false confidence.

Do you feel that everything that you say and do is in the will of God?

Make sure that when you answer that question no one is near you. We wouldn’t want them to suffer residual effects from the proverbial lightning strike.

It is so easy to fall into the trap that makes us think that our sins are not as bad as everyone else’s. It is so easy to fall into the trap of being judgmental. It is not our place to judge. It is our place to lead people to Jesus. If we try to judge and condemn, do you think we will have much of an influence on them for Jesus?

We are to lead sinners to Jesus. It is not our job to clean them up, after all, we are still dirty from our own sin. It is Jesus who will offer them salvation and through the Holy Spirit, He will begin to work in their lives just as He has worked in ours.

We have a tendency to look down on certain sin while our favorite sins we brush over. In the eyes of God, sin is sin. We are no better than those whom we look down upon. The only difference, and I say this with a prayerful heart, is that the Body of Christ has accepted the gift of salvation. We are not perfect in our salvation, for we sin daily. It is the attitude that matters. We strive to follow after God’s own heart and not rebel against it.

In this time in which we live, we have many opportunities to either offer a hand in grace or offer a fist in rebellion and hate. Think about the fact that Jesus never told the sinners to follow Him and continue in their sin. He told them, or should I say that He told all of us, to go and sin no more.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God will not abandon us, but He will complete us!

March 4, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
(Isaiah 14:27 (NIV))

In other words, if God has set something in motion, then nothing will stop Him from seeing it through to completion!

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:6 (NIV))

If you have answered God’s call upon your life, then He has begun a good work. He has purposed you. He has called you, and according to His own Word, He will not turn His back on you. He will not fail to carry you through to completion.

Don’t you just love the promises of God?

I know that I do!

God’s Word confirms His promises. It verifies the truth that is itself. If God has promised, then God has started, and if God has started, He will complete what He has started.

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the day when I will be complete in the eyes of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What type of faith do you possess?

March 2, 2016

I realize that this is one pulled from my archives, but this seemed like a natural follow through after the topic yesterday that asked “What is faith?”

~~~

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

Faith!

It has been defined as “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. ”

It has also been defined as “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing.”

In the case of faith in God, it appears that both definitions can be combined. This combined definition of faith results from the fact that God cannot be seen. Remember Moses when he spoke to God. He was told that he could not look upon the Glory that is God without dying. For that reason, and many others, man cannot see God. In the eyes of the society in which we live, “seeing is believing.” Even one of Jesus’ disciples displayed a lack of faith after Jesus’ resurrection.

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(John 20:24-25)

Seeing something is a good reason to believe. Yet, many things in this life that cannot be seen are much more real and true than what we can see. Thomas was allowed the opportunity to not only see, but to feel the wounds just as he had stated.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)

What type of faith do you possess? Is it one of “seeing is believing,” or do you believe because something inside of you tells you that God is real and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for your sins?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is faith?

March 1, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.
(Hebrews 11:1-2 (NLT))

What is faith?

Perhaps I should ask it in this manner: What is faith to you?

If you are like me, faith has always been a vague concept where you probably confused faith with a wish. There is a very big difference, or at least there should be.

When you wish for something to happen, in most cases you realize that it is a long shot and will probably never happen. People make wishes all of the time such as “I wish I could win the lottery!” I want you to be honest with yourself and tell yourself what you think the odds are of this ever happening to you. They are probably astronomically high.

If a wish is what people think of when they think of faith, then what is the real meaning of faith?

Do you have faith that you will wake up in the morning, or is that still a wish?

Do you have faith that you can retire when you reach 65, or is that still a wish?

Do you have faith that the sun will rise in the morning?

What is it that you have faith in? What in your life are you confident beyond all doubt that it will happen? Is there anything in this physical life that you are confident of?

Besides my faith in God, I can say that I have faith in myself. I know beyond all doubt that I will fail to live up to my standards and, more importantly, I will fail to live up to the righteous standards that God has established for everyone who has or will ever live. I have faith that I will fail my God. I also have faith that God sent His Son, Jesus, to save me from my failures, my sins, and all that I have to do is accept the gift that was freely given on the cross!

I am so overwhelmingly glad that my faith in the redeeming power of Jesus is ultimately far greater than the faith that I have in my failure. I have faith that the redeeming blood of Jesus has saved me and I will see Him face to face.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 29, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

for we walk by faith, not by sight
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NAS))

When things in this world look like they can’t get any worse, do you give up or do you walk confident in the promises that God has given?

When it seems that the whole world has gone crazy, do you hold fast to the truth or do you through your hands up in frustration?

When you are ridiculed for your faith in Jesus, do you make excuses or do you cling tightly to Jesus?

It is a matter of priorities!

It is a matter of trust!

It is a matter of faith!

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the things that are going on in the world. I see people every day who are literally on the edge of giving up or who have given up. All of this is due to the fact that they are looking at the world through physical eyes. That is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to focus on what we can see. He knows that if we focus on what we can see, then we will soon forget the promises that God has made and we will give up on God.

Remember these words when you are walking through difficult times.

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.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

Walk by faith and keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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