What is it that you do?

August 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Are you content to hear a twenty minute sermon once a week and then profess to know how God desires for you to live?

If you want to learn how to be a better musician, you practice your instrument often. If you want to be a better tennis player, you practice and play often. If you want to run a marathon, you train and you run often. If you want to be good at your job, you go to school to learn the details about your chosen profession. Why do we think that we can do any different when it comes to living our lives according to God’s Word? Why do we think that we’ve got this “Christianity thing” down pat when we can’t even go one minute without failing miserably at putting our faith into action?

James tells us to do what the Word says, but how many of us actually spend enough time alone in God’s Word to know what it says? How many of us truly understand the concept of taking up our cross daily and following Him daily?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t do what His Word says, if we don’t take up our cross daily, if we don’t follow Him daily, are we doing anything more than giving lip service to something that we truly don’t understand? Are we guilty of simply being a poser?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I long to hear completely different words when I stand before Jesus!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

We know that only by professing a faith in Jesus will we be saved. Works will not do it. Associating with someone who professes a faith will not do it. Only by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will bring you the gift of salvation, but we are called to put our faith into action. We are called to live according to God’s Word. We are called to emulate Jesus in all that we do. We are called to walk with Jesus and imitate what we see in Him. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then our heart should desire to do what He calls us to do, but we must do it only as He directs. It is so easy to see things that we think we should be doing and go off and do them without Jesus in our lives. If you consider Jesus in context to the passage from James, it bring clarity. Jesus was God with us, yet, He didn’t do what He wanted to do. He only did what God’s Word instructed.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

What is it that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How good are you at denying yourself?

April 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Everything has a cost!

It all comes down to what you are willing to do, what you are willing to pay in order to possess what you desire.

We think of this when we save for a down-payment on a house or a car. We think of this when we schedule a once in a lifetime trip. We think of this when we pursue a career, but have you truly thought of this concept as relevant when applied to following Jesus?

We should!

All of the things that we think of sacrificing for in this world are fleeting. Moth and rust will eventually take anything that we achieve and make it worthless, yet we spend so much time and effort on these things while we ignore the things that have eternal value. We think that following Jesus is easy. We think that following Jesus is something we do when all other things are completed. In other words, Jesus is not our priority. We should be willing to do as Jesus asked the rich young man.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Matthew 19:21 (NIV))

Sadly, too many of us respond in just the same way that the rich young man responded.

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:22 (NIV))

We are not willing to give up our possessions and our priorities. We still focus on me, myself, and I. With that in mind, I want to ask you one simple question.

How good are you at denying yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you say that Jesus is?

October 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

     At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
     But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
(John 10:19-21 (NIV))

It is interesting that all throughout history people have been so divided by Jesus. You either acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior or you vehemently deny Him and claim Him to be insane. It happened when He walked the earth. It happens to this day.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV))

One day soon, everyone will know exactly who He is. One day soon, those who claim His Lordship will rejoice. One day soon, those who claim Him to be insane will weep.

Why are the hearts of some people closed to the idea that Jesus is the Son of God? Do they reject God or do they reject the idea that God came to earth as one of us? If they reject God, then we must pray for them, for they are truly lost. If they reject the idea of God coming to earth, then they don’t understand the very nature of God. Too many people see God as the ultimate in corporal punishment and not the ultimate in grace and mercy. Only grace and mercy would be willing to live, suffer and die as one of us.

How do you see God? That will play a big part in how you see Jesus. Is Jesus a man possessed by a demon or does He have all authority over everything, including demons?

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you capable of waiting?

July 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There is something about human nature that doesn’t like to wait!

Do you have the patience to wait? Do you know of anyone who has the patience to wait? Have you ever thought about this passage in that context?

God uses things that are contrary to the sinful, fallen world to bring people to Him, and this is no different. Since waiting goes against human nature especially since the fall from grace, perhaps God uses the concept of waiting to teach us and to explore our hearts. He uses waiting to see if we are willing to go against our sinful nature. Let’s face facts. Waiting is not easy! Is God using this to see who is willing to go the extra mile and deny themselves in order to spend time with Him?

Think about that from the standpoint that humanity likes instant gratification!

I am sure that when you were growing up, you were constantly told, “Good things come to those who wait.” What better thing is there than the Lord, our God? Is He worth waiting for? Is He worth going against the world in order to receive Him? What do we receive when we what for the Lord? We come away with a wonderful understanding of who He is. We come away with a thankful heart because of what He has done. We receive an eternity in His presence! I find these to be the ultimate good that I long for while I wait for the Lord.

Are you capable of waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

June 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
      which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:11-12 (NIV))

Can you imagine the boldness that it took for Peter to proclaim these words to the Sanhedrin?

Can you imagine the shock that the members of the Sanhedrin felt when they heard these words? From their human perspective, I fully understand why they told Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They were the authority and they did not want their authority to be replaced with the authority and power that Jesus gives!

I have two questions for each of us to consider.

Would we boldly proclaim Jesus under these type of conditions?

Would we resort to an unsuccessful attempt to stifle the power of Jesus?

The reason that I ask these two questions is based on the current events and trends in this world. If we are pulled in front of a governing body and given an ultimatum to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus, would we stand firm or would we surrender? What if we are told we will be killed if we don’t stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus?

If the tide turns further away from good and toward evil, will we be able to stand firm or will we give in to the point where we find ourselves telling others to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus?

How strong is your faith?

How firmly will you stand? Will you deny Jesus?

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:33 (NKJV))

Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you take up your cross if it means your life?

May 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Do you think of yourself as a disciple of Jesus?

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus likes to think that they are a disciple, but are we, are you, ready to truly take up our cross?

Each one of us will face a different path as we walk out our lives in faith. It is possible that no two individuals will carry the exact same burden when they carry their cross, but we do know that all of us carry something through life. We either choose to carry our cross or we carry the weight of the sin that we refuse to let go of. It is a choice that each of us must make.

Do you want to be a disciple of Jesus?

If the answer is yes, then that requires repenting of your sins and picking up the weight of your cross as you follow Jesus. Following Jesus is not an easy thing to do. You have changed, but the world around you has not. You have changed, but your friends will still try to get you to fall back into the very same sins that you want to leave behind. Following Jesus may mean that you lose friends. It may mean that you become alienated from family. It may mean a job loss, but it will mean so much more!

Believing in and following Jesus is the only way to the Father and all of the blessings that are promised.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Each of us have a decision to make. What are we willing to lose when we take up our cross and follow Jesus?

Will you take up your cross if it means your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ashamed of the power of the Gospel?

May 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

How strong is your faith?

I realize that this sounds like a strange question to be asking someone who is reading something that is based on scripture. I have found that the simpler the questions are concerning spiritual matters, the more difficult that they seem to be to answer. The simple questions seem to require an in-depth look at yourself and most people are afraid of what they will see within themselves. So, with this stated, I want to ask once again, how strong is your faith? What do you see within yourself?

If you were told to deny Jesus or die, what would you do?

If you were told to bow down and worship a statue, what would you do?

If you were told to lie in order to preserve your life, what would you do?

If you were told to take a mark or lose your head, what would you do?

All of us see things going on in the world and we wonder if we are drawing closer to the time of the end when everything that God calls good is called evil and everything that God calls evil is called good. Do you have the strength of faith to hold fast to the goodness and truth that is the Lord even when all around you is proclaiming evil? Think about that for a moment. Consider how rapidly things have changed. Are you prepared to stand firm?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

Is your armor on?

We have been basically told that we cannot go to church. We have been told that we must wear a mask in public. We have been told that we must maintain social distancing. Now, we are being told that there is a plan to require a traceable vaccine in order to be able to resume “normal” life. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like the freedom that we have through the Blood of Jesus. In fact, it sounds like it is an attempt to control those who don’t know Jesus. Myself and countless others may be wrong, but do you want to gamble your eternity if what is happening is as it appears? Some may call this conspiracy theory, but for those who know God’s Word, it is all laid out. Study God’s Word. Look around you!

We must choose!

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Now is not the time to be timid!

Now is not the time to be ashamed of the Gospel.

Are you ashamed of the power of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the Lord know you?

February 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Do you believe that it is acceptable in the eyes of God to profess a faith in Jesus and then be unwilling to give up your favorite sin?

Think about that in context of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus told her to leave her life of sin.

Think about that in context of the rich young ruler. Jesus told him to sell all he had and give everything to the poor and then follow Him. Jesus knew the rich man’s heart. He knew exactly the sin that the rich man wouldn’t give up.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t deny ourselves the sins that we love and deny our sinful nature, then Jesus is going to deny us. We must sacrifice ourselves daily to what we desire and carry the cross that Jesus carried. He did what God called Him to do! We are to follow His example. At no point in His life did He sin, nor did He ever tell someone to continue sinning. If we are truly following Jesus, then we are truly spending time in His presence. We will desire to give up our sins. I realize that even the best of intentions will have pitfalls, but we are called to repent. We are called to change our lives to reflect Jesus in all that we do. We are called to be the light of the world, but not on our own. We are to reflect the light of Jesus. If we choose to cling to our sin, we are not filled with the light. It is a choice. We can choose Jesus or we can choose sin.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
(Matthew 6:24 (NKJV))

I chose this translation for this passage due to the use of the word “mammon.” It means riches. You cannot serve the riches of this world, whether they are money, lust or power, and still serve God. We must make a decision to walk away from our sins and follow Jesus. We will slip. We will falter, but if we seek forgiveness for these slips, and continue to strive to follow Jesus, then the Lord sees our heart. If we refuse to give up our sins, the Lord sees this as well. He cannot save someone who is unwilling to be saved.

If you realize that God cannot associate with sin and you aren’t willing to give up your sin, the resulting conclusion is obvious.

Will the Lord know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

January 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

Ouch !!!

Have we been rejoicing or groaning?

Think about the implications of that simple question.

Have we lost track of the principles upon which we were founded? Have we grown so accustom to looking out for only ourselves, that we forget that what we do has an affect on others? Have we allowed wickedness to replace righteousness? Do we look upon sin as something that is wrong, or do we look upon sin as an alternative lifestyle? Do we see those around us as individuals whom God created, or do we simply see someone who is an obstacle in our way?

I could go on and on with these types of questions, but I hope you understand my point.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
  who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
  who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    but deny justice to the innocent.
(Isaiah 5:20-23 (NIV))

Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me.

Fortunately, God allows us to turn away from our sin and return to Him.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV))

The heavens may not be shut so that there is no rain, but I think I see the telltale signs of a different type of locust. This locust devours just like the type referred to in this passage, and just like we are told, if we will humbly turn to God in prayer, and turn toward Him, He will heal our land.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of groaning. Join me in prayer! Let’s continue to turn to God in righteousness!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

August 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV))

Have you ever been in a situation in which you honestly hoped that the subject of Jesus did not come up? I don’t know if that is the same as actually denying Jesus before men, but it is too close for comfort.

This is a tough saying to deal with, for everyone probably has times when they at least thought about it. Only when your faith has matured do you face the question with a more stable attitude. Even so, everyone likes to think that they would not deny Jesus before men, that they would die rather than deny Him. I pray that this is true, yet no one really can say for certain until they are actually in that situation.

Faith is a strong thing if it is firmly rooted in God’s Word. Self preservation is also a strong thing, and unless faith is stronger, self preservation will win. How can you strengthen faith? Faith is very much like a muscle in that if you do not use it, it atrophies. If you practice acts of faith, your faith will increase.

Do not let your faith “muscle” atrophy from lack of use. If it does, the results may be denial. You will deny God and He will deny you.

Will you confess or deny Jesus before men?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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