Are you prepared to stand firm?

September 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
(Matthew 24:9 (NIV))

I realize that this sounds harsh and extreme. We look to Jesus to save us from our sin, but do we really accept the fact that we will face persecution, that we will face troubles and death? Is this what you signed up for when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Where else do we have to go?

Hopefully, you answer as Peter did.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
(John 6:68-69 (NIV))

The world is in a mess and getting worse every day. We cannot trust in man’s governments. We cannot trust in man’s wisdom. Anything in this world is corrupt and only produces more corruption. Anyone who professes a faith in Jesus is proclaiming that they do not trust anything of this world and that they only trust in Jesus. As a result of this proclamation of faith, the enemy is closing in. The world hates those who love Jesus.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

I am sure that you have heard the saying that it is better to be judged by the world than to be judged by God. The world’s judgment is temporary. God’s judgment is eternal. No matter what the world may send our way, we are to stay focused on Jesus. We are to do what Paul strived to do.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

Is the world better than the prize that we long for? Is the trouble that we may face worth it if we can see Jesus face to face? Is the hatred and the scorn of the world counted as joy because we are holding fast to the hope that we have in Jesus? I realize that many people who profess a faith in Jesus believe that we will not see this persecution because we will be raptured before it begins. I once had a preacher who would say that we should pray for pre-tribulation rapture, but we should prepare for post. I don’t want to get into a theological debate about when, but I do want to ask one simple question based on that statement about being prepared. Is your faith strong enough to stand firm no matter what you may face? We are told that many will turn away because of this persecution.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
(Matthew 24:10 (NIV))

Are you prepared to stand firm?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There are no exceptions!

August 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Yes, all truly does mean all. It literally means everyone. There are no exceptions! Every newborn baby to the oldest person alive all fall under this category simply because of humanity’s sinful, fallen nature. This is the only time that I agree with the statement that we were born this way, for we are all born as sinners in need of a savior.

There are consequences for our sin!

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

But, God. . .

Our loving heavenly Father has a plan of redemption. He has a gift that is freely given to all who will simply accept. No amount of money can purchase this gift. No amount of work can earn this gift. This gift is of immeasurable value, yet it is freely given. That is why believers cling to the next truth that comes after the explanation that we are all sinners.

and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

We are all justified!

I once had someone tell me a good definition of justified and I have remembered it to this day. “Just if I’d” never sinned! We may all fall short of the glory of God because of our sinful nature, but because of the gift of grace freely given through the cross, we can all claim that redemption and be restored “just if I’d” never sinned. There is one important thing to pay attention to. Just as all have sinned, all are justified. We were all born into sin, and we can all be born again completely justified. It is your choice.

There are no exceptions!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

March 25, 2021

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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))

Are you ready to accept your wages? Perhaps I should ask that another way. Are you ready to pay the price of your wages that you have earned?

I realize that this doesn’t sound very nice, but it is the truth. We argue over minimum wage, but we fail to ever mention the wage that every single one of us owes because of our sinful nature. There is a price to pay for our sin, yet far too many people ignore the fact as if they don’t even care about the consequences of their sinful nature.

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

but…

There is hope!

There is grace!

There is mercy!

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 a common misconception that God rejects people and sends them to hell. On the contrary, they send themselves there because they reject God and His free offer of grace and mercy. With that statement of truth, it becomes important that each and every person take a serious look at their lives and stop rejecting the loving God that created them and is trying to redeem them from the consequences of sin, from the wages of sin.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Time is short! Nothing is guaranteed.

What if you are the type of person who tells yourself that I will take care of my salvation tomorrow and tomorrow never comes? If that were to happen, are you prepared for the consequences? Are you prepared to discover that you could have avoided the consequences by simply accepting God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus?

Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to walk through the valley with the Lord?

March 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(Psalms 23:4 (NIV))

I recently had an interesting revelation about this passage from of all people, Mr. T.

I remember watching something on television many years ago and he was preaching.

He brought a very valid point about this passage. We all walk through the valley at some time in our lives. We do not walk in the valley. God does not leave us in the valley, He walks with us through the valley. He strengthens us during our walk so that we may grow and mature in our faith. When we are “in” something, that indicates that we are there for a long time, and perhaps, even permanently. When we go “through” something, the word denotes an action that is temporary and will come to an end.

Re-read Psalms 23:4.

God will not leave you in the valley if you call upon the name of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He will walk with you and lead you through that valley to salvation. He will then use your experience in that valley to reach out to others who are still there. Remember that we are supposed to be ministers to each other. We minister best when we have the experience to be able to relate to others.

Allow God to walk you through your valleys, and then allow God to use you to walk with others through theirs. Keep your eyes on Jesus and walk where He leads you, for He will not lead you wrong. He will lead you where He needs you in order to be in ministry to others.

Do not fear where God leads you, for He will not lead you into anything that will lead to eternal harm.

Are you ready to walk through the valley with the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

December 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

If you had to proclaim the birth of a baby in your family, you would be joyful. You would exude enthusiasm. You would rejoice in the fact that God has blessed you with a new life to share. It would be an extremely happy occasion. Unfortunately, though, that baby would be born with the very same curse that we all face. That baby would be bound by the law of sin and death.

Now, consider that a baby was born into the family two thousand years ago. This baby was no ordinary baby. I am sure that He brought joy to the lives of those whom He called His family, but He was so much more. He came into this world to be a part of the family of each and every single person who has ever lived. This baby came into the world to bring great joy. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. Unlike everybody who was born under the law of sin and death, Jesus came into the world sin free. He grew up sin free and He remained sin free even to obedience that called Him to die on the cross. Through Jesus, we truly have grace and mercy. Through the baby Jesus, we truly have something to rejoice about. The infant that came into this world symbolizes a rebirth of our human natures.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found rest?

November 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:7-9 (NIV))

The Lord gives us rest. In a world where uncertainty is the way, one thing is certain. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we rest in His presence, then we can truly be at rest.

God is in control!

With everything that is going on in this world this year, this is very comforting. It is very reassuring to know that the Creator of all things is still in complete control. Even when it seems like the world is in total chaos, He is in complete control. It is all part of His plan. It is unfolding just as He told us that it would so that we would be aware of what is going on.

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
(John 14:29 (NIV))

Do you believe?

With everything that is happening in the world, do you believe?

With good being called evil and evil being called good, do you believe?

Belief and faith go hand in hand. By placing our faith in Him, all the worldly matters no longer are important. We rest in the knowledge that God will guide us in His will and if we keep focused on Him, He will guide our paths so that no matter what the world sends our way, we can have peace and rest in Him.

Have you found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Share the good news!

October 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you obey the law?

Do you always drive the speed limit? Do you ever throw something from your car? Do you sometimes cross busy streets in places other than the crosswalks? If you do any of these, then you do not obey the laws one hundred percent of the time.

If you are ever caught doing any of these things, then there will be a penalty to pay.

Do you obey God’s laws?

Have you ever murdered? Probably not.

Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Many of us probably have done so out of frustration or anger.

Have you ever committed adultery? Hopefully not.

Have you ever stolen anything? Probably. Even an ink pen on accident could be considered stealing. It did not belong to you and you left with it.

What type of penalties would you expect for any of these breaches of God’s law?

Think of the worst possible penalty that could be paid and that is exactly what Jesus paid on the cross for each of us. He willingly paid the penalty for all of the things that we have done or ever will do. He paid the price for the law of sin and death so that we could claim freedom from its hold on us. Through Jesus, we can claim that our penalties have been paid in full. All that we have to do is accept this grace and mercy.

We will still slip up and break God’s laws just like we break human laws, but we can be forgiven for these transgressions. It is a matter of the heart. We must long to do what God desires us to do. If this is our true heart, then God will see and forgive through the atoning blood of Jesus.

We are free from the law of sin and death! Share the good news!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you fully rely on the Lord?

October 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(Psalms 23:4 (ESV))

Has this year felt like this valley to you?

In the face of everything that is going on in the world and with the near misses that we see coming at the world, it is easy to find yourself fearful. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how people who don’t trust in Jesus are making it. Lies abound, and we all know who is the father of lies. Fear abounds. If you don’t believe me, simply walk into a grocery store without a mask. You will see those who are wearing a mask stop and look at you like you have two heads. Most will do all that they can do to stay away from you. Anger and violence abound. Depending on the angle of the cameras reporting these instances, they are either peaceful protesters or they are full blown riots. Usually, it is the very same event being portrayed.

Evil is running rampant. Common sense, mutual respect and decency appear to no longer exist. Child trafficking is taking place. It is not safe for women with small children to be out. Arrogance seems to control the day. People will look you in the eye and tell you that they never did something while there is recorded footage of them doing what they vehemently deny.

Thankfully, we have a place of refuge in the midst of all of this chaos and evil. We can turn to the Lord for He is the Good Shepherd. His rod is a weapon of defense against the evils that surround us. His staff is a tool of rescue. It is used to lead and guide us through the evils of this world.

Do you trust in the Lord to protect you? Do you trust in the Lord to be your place of refuge? For those who love the Lord, we have been promised this and so much more.

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))

Do you fully rely on the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your mind governed?

September 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:6-7 (NIV))

In case you were thinking this, no, it is not possible to be governed by both!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Before I am accused of mixing scripture passages and meanings, it is important to understand that the love of money serves the flesh. It is the ultimate worldly and fleshly control on the human mind. It is the embodiment of lust, power and ego. When your mind is governed by the things of this physical world, it seeks carnal satisfaction. It seeks sin!

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

We must strive to overcome human nature and focus on Jesus. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we falter, and we will, we must recognize our failures, repent and return to the Lord. We must desire to possess true peace as only it can be found in the Lord.

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

We have all seen what happens in this world when government is bad. People suffer. We have also seen what happens in this world when government tries to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. We have our own personal election each and every moment of every day. We can choose to be governed by the flesh and suffer the consequences, or we can choose to be governed by the Spirit and find peace.

How is your mind governed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We need to live each day two ways!

September 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Have we forgotten this promise?

Too many people who profess a faith in Jesus look to Him as their Savior when they die and face eternity. This is a true depiction, but there is more. We are told that He will return at some point in history and those who are looking for Him will see Him return in the same way that He left.

Have you accepted this aspect of Jesus?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

In other words, we can’t pick and choose what we believe and ignore the rest. We must accept the fact that He will return one day and it may be before we die!

Why do so many people who profess a faith in Jesus live as if He is not going to return? Why do so many ignore the promise that He will be seen again on this side of heaven? We, as the Body of Christ, seem to have the eternal aspects of our relationship with Jesus well in hand, after all, Jesus saves us from the one thing that we all fear. He offers eternal salvation which overcomes the fear of the unknown, the fear of death. But what about the authority of Jesus in this world and His return to defeat the enemy and establish that authority? Why do we ignore, why do we forget about that aspect of Jesus?

Do you look for His return? Do you long for Jesus to return for His church? Do you look up and pray to see His glory and majesty?

I am thankful that we have the assurance of our eternal salvation for when we face death, but I am also extremely thankful for the promise that Jesus will return. We live each day of our lives thankful for the one, but I offer that it is time that we learn to live in anticipation of the other. We must not surrender the one in order to accept the other.

We need to live each day two ways!

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