Do you trust in God’s plans?

January 18, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Did you have your life planned out?

How did that work out for you?

Almost everyone quotes this passage when they think of the blessings of God in their lives, but almost everyone fails to recognize one key piece of information about this passage. They forget the context in which it was delivered!

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
(Jeremiah 29:10 (NIV))

Years prior to these words being recorded, most of the people in Jerusalem were taken into captivity and taken to Babylon. God’s timing was to have the descendants leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem. God spoke these words to the complete group of people who would be fulfilling His will by returning to Jerusalem, by returning to the city that God loves. It was God’s desire to prosper them so that they would not only have a hope and a future, but to be able to give a hope and a future to all of humanity through what would eventually transpire in and around Jerusalem.

I find it saddening that today’s prosperity oriented mindset reads these words and takes what God said to His people in exile and turns it into a promise to make us rich.

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

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

God had a plan to give us hope even when we were condemned in our sin and even when we were without hope. If we are all sinners and we deserve death, what type of a future do we have? God realized this and set things in motion to give us hope and a future. God knew that in order to fulfill His promises for this hope and future, He had to move the people back to Jerusalem. He had to set the plans in motion that would bring Jesus into the world. God’s plan was to give everyone a hope of overcoming death and a future in His presence.

Do you trust in God’s plans?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do others see in you?

January 15, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

Each of us have a spark of something that we let the world see. For far too many, that spark is something far less than what it should be. They show the world anger, greed, deceit, lust, envy and much worse. They show the worst possible traits that humanity can possess. Does this sound like a group of people that you would want to associate with? I believe that I can safely say that most of us would not want anything to do with people who possess these traits.

The sad thing about human nature is that we all can exhibit these traits at any time of our lives!

When was the last time that you felt anger? When was the last time that you deceived someone, even if it was just the proverbial little white lie? When was the last time that you looked at something or someone and had thoughts that you weren’t proud of? When was the last time that you saw the things that others have and wished that you had them?

The question that we all need to ask ourselves is a simple one.

What do others see in me?

Do they see the sinful sparks that can ignite an all consuming fire of destruction or do they see the light of Jesus?

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
(Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV))

If you have allowed the light of Jesus to have a place in your heart, don’t hide it under the destructive sinful nature that we all share. Allow the light to shine! Allow the light to break through the bondage of sin and death. Let the light shine so that others may see it and be drawn to it!

What do others see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What reward do you deserve?

January 8, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
(Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV))

Do you ever search your heart and examine your own mind?

Self-examination can be painful!

No one likes to admit their shortcomings, their faults and the sinful nature that holds them captive. Even though we may have professed that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we still face the issues that we did before this profession. The only difference is that we have acknowledged that we cannot face them on our own. We are to turn to Jesus constantly to help us.

With that in mind, what are your thoughts? What are your deeds? Are they focused on the sinful nature or have you replaced them with thoughts of Jesus?

Without Jesus, none of us deserve anything.

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

Without Jesus, we are lost to our sin and will reap the fullness of what we deserve.

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

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your heart should be filled with the things that Jesus desires for you. It should be filled with the things that God desires. We should be like David who was known to be a man after God’s own heart.

When the Lord searches your heart, what will He find?

What reward do you deserve?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are your thoughts?

December 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
(Romans 12:3 (NIV))

Sadly, it is human nature to think more highly of ourselves than we should.

Is this something that you are guilty of at times?

Have you ever looked at someone and thought to yourself that you were glad that you didn’t have their particular sin to deal with? Do you realize that this is exactly what Romans warns against? We have a tendency to place ourselves above others. We think that our sins are nothing compared to the sins of others.

God looks at this much differently than we do.

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))

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

We are all guilty of sin. Not a one of us is righteous on our own. All of us have earned something that none of us want to collect.

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

As we move from the time that we celebrate as the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into a new year, all of us need to take the time to reflect on what God has given us. Have we accepted that gift? Have we realized that we are no better than anyone else? Have we learned to control our selfish thoughts? Have we learned to stop thinking of ourselves more highly than we should?

What are your thoughts?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Would you like to deny death its victory?

November 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV))

Have you ever faced something that you knew was an inevitability?

There is an old saying that only two things are certain – death and taxes, and I would probably be able to say that around April of each year they may appear to be the same thing. I think it is human nature to fear anything that requires us to give up something, especially when we know that we will never get it back. In death, we give up our life thinking that we will never get it back. With taxes, we give up our money knowing that it is long gone.

I love the perspective that Jesus gave us about taxes.

“Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
(Luke 20:24-25 (NIV))

Through these words, Jesus let us know that money is a man-made thing and in God’s grand scheme of things, it is not important. Jesus told us to give to man what man has created. In that same logic, we are to give to God what God has created! Am I off base with this concept, for God created life? God did not create death. Death came about as a result of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. From that time to the present, death has become a part of life. Up until the time that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to live and to die as an atoning sacrifice, humanity had no hope of anything beyond the grave. Satan appeared to have won, but God had a better plan. God’s plan made it possible to escape the ultimate consequences of a physical death brought about by sin. Through God’s plan of redemption and grace, we can spend eternity in God’s presence in paradise! All that we have to do is profess Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Would you like to deny death its victory?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

November 27, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalms 103:13 (NIV))

How many times, as a child, did you do something terribly wrong? You knew that you were going to be in BIG trouble! You knew that there was going to be punishment for your actions. Many times you did receive punishment for what you had done. Think back and take a look at what you did and what you received in return.

Chances are that the punishment was far less serious than the action really deserved. Your earthly father had compassion on you and tempered the punishment with love. Our heavenly Father is far more compassionate than any person can ever be. No matter what you have done in your life, it can all be forgiven through one simple act of faith.

Profess the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and the severe punishment for your sins is wiped away. You may still suffer the immediate consequences of your actions, but the long term consequences of sin are no longer to be applied to you. The wages of sin is death. God, through His compassion, has given us a way to escape what is rightfully ours to face.

Have you accepted God’s compassion for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful for the peace of Christ?

October 12, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are a member of Christ’s one body?

Think about that concept for a moment and then truthfully answer the following questions.

Have you ever caused unrest or anger among other believers?

Have you ever held a grudge against someone in the Body of Christ for what had taken place in the past?

Have you refused to forgive someone who is a member of the Body of Christ?

I am not sure how you define peace, but if you have answered yes to any of these, it does not sound like the peace of Christ! Too many people define peace as the absence of conflict. If you stop to think about the complete range of emotions and events that just come short of conflict, we have opened ourselves up to a vast array of sinful behavior that is in no way related to the peace of Christ. In fact, we are told exactly how this will be treated.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
(1 John 3:14-15 (NIV))

How do we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts?

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV))

In essence, we are to love each member of the Body of Christ as if they were us for we are all members of the one body.

Does the peace of Christ rule in your heart?

Are you thankful for the peace of Christ?

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