Are your heart and mind guarded by the peace of God?

May 6, 2020


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

With everything that has been happening and is happening in the world, what is the state of your heart and mind?

We have all seen the news. We have all seen the shortages at the grocery stores. We have all seen far more than we care to want to experience, yet, some people are at peace while others are experiencing panic and much worse. Where do you fall in this wide array of responses? Are you at peace during all of this?

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))

Think about that for a moment. The whole world has been having trouble. Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome the trouble. He brings peace in the midst of trouble to all who proclaim His name as their personal Lord and Savior. This doesn’t mean that the trouble goes away. It does mean that we get a better understanding of the world and its troubles. We realize that this world is not our home and that we have something so much better to look forward to. Think about this concept in this context. You are going on vacation to your favorite place in all of the world. Along the way, you end up sitting in some traffic. Does the traffic make you take your eyes off of your destination and the joy that you will experience once you have arrived at your destination? Since the promises of God are so much better than any earthly vacation that we may take, our joy should be so much greater. All that we have to do is keep our eyes on Jesus, after all, we have God’s promises of paradise for those who believe.

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))

I don’t know about you, but the promise of eternal life gives me complete peace. Please don’t misunderstand me. I sometimes worry. That is human nature, but I have a Savior who helps me overcome human nature. All that any of us need to do is take our eyes off of the world and forever place them on Jesus and the peace of God will continually amaze each and every one of us.

Are your heart and mind guarded by the peace of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you earnestly seek Godly discipline?

July 25, 2019


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
(Revelation 3:19 (NIV))

We are told that we will pass through the refiners fire to burn away all of the dross from our lives. Godly discipline is a preparation for that refinement. Without discipline, we do not know what we are doing wrong or what we are doing right.

Consider driving a car. You do not get into a car and press on the accelerator and expect to get to your destination without making constant adjustments in your direction with the steering wheel. The steering wheel is similar to Godly discipline. If you are focused on your goal and God is in control of your life, then He will steer you to where He wants you to go. You may hit the occasional pothole and stray close to the white line, or, sometimes, you may even cross the line or run off of the road. Even when this happens, God is directing you to where He is calling you to go just as a good driver does not allow the car to control where he goes. He controls the car. The driver knows where he is going to take the car and how he is going to get there. The car doesn’t have a clue as to what lies ahead.

Does that sound familiar? We are the cars. God is the driver. He knows where we are going and He will make disciplinary corrections in our course to arrive at the destination. The only difference is that we have a choice in whether we allow God to direct and discipline our lives. We make that decision when we ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior. When we do this, we relinquish control of our lives to God.

Let’s take the car analogy one step further. The word “repent” means a turning away or a change of course. If we repent, then we are allowing God to discipline us and prepare us for what He desires for us.

Do you earnestly seek Godly discipline in your life, or do you wander aimlessly through this world?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How do you want to live?

May 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For we live by faith, not by sight.
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV))

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to find that the power was out? As you lay there contemplating your next move, you decide to go ahead and get up knowing all too well that you will probably end up stubbing a toe or two. As you gingerly move to your destination, you start to realize that you are so familiar with the path that subconsciously you know how many steps to take in each direction. You can’t see a thing, but you find yourself at your destination completely unscathed. You have placed your trust in something besides what you can see.

Living a life where you decide to follow Jesus is a situation that is not too dissimilar to what I just described.

When we first believe, we step out all too gingerly not sure of our footing as we move forward. With each step that we take where Jesus leads, we begin to understand that our footing is on solid ground as long as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Just as in the situation previously described, we begin to trust. We begin to have faith that we will make it if we simply do not lose our focus. Walking by faith requires a focus. We may not see where Jesus is leading, but if we focus on Him and place all of our trust in Him, then we build the faith to walk where He leads even though we may not see where He leads.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life knowing that I can see the end from the beginning. I want to live my life having the faith that if I step out when God calls, then each step will lead to where He wants me to be.

How do you want to live?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Let God fill you with His Spirit in the coming year!

December 31, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

With the new year rapidly approaching, what are we going to fill ourselves with?

Society looks at the new year as a chance to make a clean start. We make resolutions about things that we plan on doing differently. We tell ourselves and others that we will lose weight, that we will exercise, that we will go to church more, that we will . . .

I could go on and on and list the things that we say we are going to do. Have you ever stopped to think that what we say we are going to do is comparable to the new wine and that we are the old wineskins? We cannot handle the new things without changing ourselves first. It is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of priorities.

If you go into an activity to lose weight and get in shape and you try to start full throttle, it usually doesn’t last long. We must start slowly and build up to what we long to do. The same is true of our spirituality and our relationship with Jesus. We must learn to crawl before we can walk. We must learn to walk before we can run. To use the concept that we are familiar with, we must be fed milk until we are mature enough for solid food.

Walking with Jesus, just like anything in this life, is not an activity that we can achieve perfection instantly. We will stumble. We will fall, and we will all have times when we will think that Jesus must really be shaking His head because of all of our failures.

Don’t give up!

A life spent walking with Jesus is just that. It is a life long event. It is a journey and not a destination. You can’t simply arrive at a point where you are perfect in your walk. You will be made new every single day of your life. You will be filled with new wine as your old wineskin is made anew.

I pray that we go in to this new year with the attitude that we will stand firm and stay the course that is laid out before us.

I like the way that Paul described it as a race and that he was in it to win it!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you answering the call to repent?

February 13, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
(1 John 3:4-6 (NIV))


Do you realize what this means?

Think about your life and the things that you do out of habit. Think about what Paul wrote.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-20 (NIV))

Are there things that you do not want to do, yet you find yourself still doing them? Do you repent and ask for forgiveness after you do them? Are you sincere in your repentance?

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
(Matthew 26:41 (NIV))

How do we balance a willing spirit with weak flesh? How do we stop the body from causing us to sin when our spirit seeks to be without sin? How do we balance faith in Jesus with what we must endure in the physical world?

How often do you correct your course when you are driving a car? You don’t simply get in the car and sit back and wait to arrive at your destination. You are not a passenger in a taxi cab. You must make continuous adjustments to your course of travel. Following Jesus is the same! We don’t simply decide to follow Jesus and then just sit back and end up at our destination. We must continuously make course adjustments all along the way. These course adjustments are what allows us to grow in our faith. We must desire them. We must recognize the need for them. We must be willing to abandon the things that Jesus is telling us that we must leave behind. We must be willing to turn when Jesus tells us to turn.

We will all sin for we are only human. It is the desire to leave our life of sin and follow Jesus that makes us His disciples. It is our willingness to repent when we fall that shows Jesus our heart. Take a look at the three times that Peter denied Jesus. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and He called Peter to repentance. He is calling each of us to repentance for the times that we sin.

Are you answering the call to repent?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Keep your eyes on Jesus and do not swerve!

February 20, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:23-27 (NIV))

Do not swerve to the right or the left!

What happens when we swerve? We miss the gate!

“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))

Think of that from a physical perspective. What happens when you get behind the wheel of a car? You have a destination in mind and you have a plan for getting to that destination. Now consider that, for whatever the reason may be, you are distracted and begin swerving. A small deviation can be corrected if caught in time, but left unchecked, the deviation becomes a major problem. This problem is amplified the longer it is left uncorrected. Soon, you find yourself either lost, in a wreck, in the back of an ambulance, in the back of a police car, or dead.

All of this simply because you were not able to stay on course.

You swerved!

Your spiritual walk is no different than your physical life. Things will distract you. Things will make you swerve. What happens is up to you. If you make corrections when you swerve – repent – and turn back to the correct path, you will reach your destination. If you lose focus of where you are going and allow the distractions to become your focus, then you will miss your destination.

This requires faith. It requires commitment. It requires the ability to admit that you are not perfect and need a savior.

“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))

Keep your eyes on Jesus and do not swerve!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know your destination?

July 26, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You know the way to the place where I am going.
(John 14:4 (NIV))

If you heard these words, would you know the destination?

We have the fortunate perspective of time on our side, so I hope and pray that each of us would know the destination that is being spoken of.

What about the people that you see on a daily basis? Does the man in the drive thru where you buy your coffee know of the destination? Does your favorite bank teller know? What about the police officers that patrol near your office? What about the postal employees that deliver your mail? What about the people who teach your children? Do any of them know of the destination that Jesus speaks of?

More importantly, if they don’t, have YOU told them?

God’s grace and mercy is not for a select few. It is for everyone.

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

If salvation, grace and mercy are for everyone, what gives us the right to keep it from someone? What gives us the right to be selfish with a gift that we did not give and we have received through mercy even when we did not deserve it? We must realize that there is more than ample supply for every single person who has or will ever live? God’s grace is limitless.

Slow down and listen to God. Listen to His gentle nudgings. He is asking us to tell someone of the place that Jesus spoke of. He is telling us to invite them along.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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