Are you willing to answer the call?

January 19, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Matthew 9:38 (NIV))

Have you truly stopped and given this passage thought?

Let me explain my question.

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we have been given instructions. We have been given a job assignment that is supposed to be our primary task as believers in Jesus.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

In other words, we are supposed to be working the harvest field!

If we ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers, we are asking Him to send us! The most important question that we must then ask ourselves is how will we answer. Will we be as willing to go as Isaiah was?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

It is said that God loves a cheerful giver. That is true for so much more than just our finances. It involves our time! God longs for us to be willing to work the harvest field. He longs for us to tell others about the amazing grace that is available to anyone who will simply repent and receive. Are you willing to give of your time so that others may know of God’s great love? Are you willing to share the Gospel to a world desperately in need of salvation? Are you willing to work the harvest? Are you willing to put yourself out there in a world that is becoming more and more hateful of anything to do with the Gospel, with Jesus?

Are you willing to answer the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you sharing forgiveness with others?

December 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
(John 20:23 (NIV))

These words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection. They had just received the Holy Spirit and were being sent out into the world to spread the Gospel. We are called to do the very same thing!

But, . . .

Did you realize that this power was given to the disciples? Did you realize that as believers in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we are supposed to have this very same power. To clarify, we can’t simply walk down the road telling people that their sins are forgiven. They have to take action toward wanting to be forgiven. What we do have is the power to tell people about the redeeming grace that is freely given to all who believe. When they repent and profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we have the authority and power to confirm that their decision has indeed resulted in the forgiveness of their sins!

In all of the Old Testament, not a single person had the power and authority to forgive sins. In fact, if these words were spoken, people where accused of blasphemy. Even when Jesus walked the earth, He was accused accordingly.

“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
(Mark 2:7 (NIV))

Think about that.

Who can forgive sins but God alone?

There is so much truth in these words, but the truth was spoken out of misunderstanding, out of arrogance and ignorance. To be honest with you, if I had lived at that time and raised in that tradition, I would probably think the very same thing. They never imagined that the man who was saying your sins are forgiven was truly God among us. Little did they know that a birth about thirty years earlier saw the Lord step into His creation to offer forgiveness of sins. That birth forever changed human history, in fact, it is said that it divided history. As we look forward to Christmas, we must remember that it is not about some jolly fat man bringing presents. It is not about family and friends. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Only through that birth and His obedience to the cross, we have forgiveness. The best thing about that forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you accept it, you can offer it to others and the value never decreases.

Are you sharing forgiveness with others?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand?

November 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
(John 13:7 (NIV))

You may not recognize this passage immediately, but think about Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room. Peter was about to rebuke Jesus for washing his feet. It is true that Peter did not understand what Jesus was doing. In fact, most people don’t fully grasp the symbolism of this action. It was a hint of a much bigger “washing” that Jesus was about to undertake.

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
(John 13:8-9 (NIV))

Thankfully, Peter realized what was going on and fully embraced it. In fact, he wanted more!

Think about that for a moment.

Do you want more of what Jesus came to offer? Do you want to be washed white as snow? Do you want to stand before the Lord and hear Him say, Well done, good and faithful servant”? Do you want to know Jesus intimately?

It all starts with a simple act. It all starts with us allowing Jesus to wash us clean!

What Jesus did in the Upper Room symbolizes what He does for all of us if we will simply 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. 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))

We, as sinful humanity, can be washed clean of our sins simply by believing in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. That is the most powerful cleansing that we will ever experience. This is the plan as spoken of in Isaiah. This is the plan that settles God’s redemption of those who believe.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
     says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
     they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
     they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NIV))

I believe that Peter understood this connection.

Do you understand?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What did Jesus teach?

October 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

When Jesus walked the earth, did He spend His time forming social justice rallies? Did He spend His time plotting the overthrow of the Romans? Did He spend His time organizing food pantries? Did He spend His time organizing environmental cleanups?

No!

He spent His time doing something far more important! In His own words, He told us exactly why He came and what He was doing.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

He was fulfilling the task set before Him by His Father.

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))

He was calling people to repent and to believe in Him. He was offering redemption and mercy that allows people to have eternal life. We are told to go and make disciples of all nations. Are we doing that? Are we reaching out to the lost with the love of Jesus and offering them the greatest gift of all?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Are we doing what Jesus did? Are we seeking the lost? Have we become too afraid of the consequences of sharing the Gospel? Think about that question in relation to what Jesus told us.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:21-22 (NIV))

Have we, the modern church, watered down the teachings of Jesus to the point where we no longer know what He taught?

With this in mind, I have but one more question to ask.

What did Jesus teach?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must occupy until He returns!

October 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
(Luke 19:13 (ESV))

Engage in business until I come!

If you read this parable and miss that the master is Jesus, then engage in business means just that. However, if you make the connection that Jesus is telling His disciples that He will be leaving, then you understand that engaging in His business is telling the world about the grace and mercy that is only found through Himself. Another translation puts it this way.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
(Luke 19:13 (KJV))

As followers of Jesus, we are to occupy until He comes. This translation brings to the table a different, more emphatic instruction set for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We are to occupy this world. When I read this translation, my mind automatically thinks of an occupying army. They do what they are commanded and do not fear the consequences, for they have an authority that is not native to the land that they answer to. They are to carry out the instructions that they have been given. As the Body of Christ, we have been given instructions that we are to perform until His return.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

The church, the Body of Christ, is an occupying army. We are instructed to take captive those who are currently not following Jesus. We are instructed to share the Gospel of salvation with a sinful and dying world. We are to rebuke the enemy. We are instructed to bind the power of the enemy and to show people how they can break the chains of bondage to sin.

The translations that refer to engaging in business don’t paint the complete picture in my mind. Most people think of buying and selling and making a profit when you mention business. I am not capable of reading this passage in the original language, so I have to rely on the people who have performed the translations. Word choice can make a big difference. I know that it does for me.

What about you?

What translation conveys this passage in the best way, the most understandable way, for you?

No matter which translation you choose, we are called to be doing the work that Jesus instructed us to do until He returns. Many people, myself included, believe that recent world events indicate that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. We are called to be His light in a dark and dying world. We are called to share the Gospel into the lives of sinners in need of a Savior. We are called to be about His business!

Are you performing the duties that we have been given?

We must occupy until He returns!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where am I in the harvest?

October 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV))

There is one thing about a harvest that most people fail to realize. Eventually, anything and everything that can be harvested has been brought in and the rest is either plowed under or burned. In other words, the harvest will come to an end!

This is true of a physical harvest as well as a spiritual harvest. You can only pick so many apples before all of the good ones are taken. You can only pick so many ears of corn before all that is left is only worthy of feeding to the pigs. You can harvest only the wheat that is ready before you end up with chaff. Eventually, what is being harvested is all taken!

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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are part of that harvest. It doesn’t end there. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, so He has an assignment for you and for I. We are also called to work the harvest, but we know that God has hardened the hearts of those who only desire their sinful nature. We know that He has given them a delusional spirit because of their desires. They have rebelled against God for so long that He has given them exactly what they wanted. We know that in the end days, both the wheat and the weeds will grow up evenly. We know that at harvest time, the wheat will be brought into the barn and the weeds and chaff will be burned. This can only happen when the harvest is complete. This can only happen when the Lord of the harvest looks upon the harvest field, the earth, and sees that the harvest is complete.

Many people believe that the harvest is rapidly coming to an end. Once that end arrives, the field will be completely stripped of the wheat that was gathered during the harvest. Farmers throughout history have burned off the stubble and the chaff after a harvest. They have collected what was offered up and they have burned the rest to dispose of it. If we, as sinful humanity, are the harvest field, why would anyone choose to be left behind? Why would anyone choose to face the fires?

You need to ask yourself one very important question.

Where am I in the harvest?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Going into all the world!

September 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

Please bear with me while I do two things that I hate to do.

1. Toot my own horn, sorta!
In all honesty, I am tooting God’s horn for what He has done through me.
2. Ask for help.
This ministry has been a passion of mine and it is not done for the money.
Unfortuantely, there are expenses.

Daily Living Ministries exists to allow people to stop and reflect on their relationship with the Lord and how to live out that relationship in this world.

This year, like the last several years, has been interesting. I am seeing more people being reached, with the latest country count showing in blue in the Google Analytics image map above. Many of these visitors are coming from countries where expressing a faith in Jesus can bring severe persecution and even death. This map only reflects the visitors to the main web site. It does not take into account these emails, the backup blog site, or the social media platforms that these devotional are shared on.

Daily Living Ministries is a small ministry that is having an impact. The budget is small, but the impact far exceeds the money spent.

However, recent events have presented an opportunity. A storm managed to take out the computer that belongs to the ministry. This computer was on a battery backup, but it still managed to make it nonfunctional. I have an automated backup system, so nothing was lost. I just don’t have complete access to my 25 years of notes since I don’t have a computer with enough capacity to restore the backup. I have been able to hobble together the very basics to keep writing and sending the devotionals, but nothing else.

Lord, You are faithful. Help me to be faithful. Help me to be obedient!

It is my prayer, Lord, that you draw me closer to you! I only want to know your heart.

Lord, if you don’t lead me to it, I don’t want to do it!

If you have been touched by Daily Living Ministries, please reply and let me know.

I also prayerfully ask that if you can contribute to assist with the unexpected expenses, please help to keep Daily Living Ministries going into all the world!

In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Dennis Smock

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

June 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

Do you treat Jesus as if He has all authority in heaven and on earth, or do you treat Him as your personal servant – a servant who bows to your authority?

Sadly enough, too many people treat Jesus as their personal servant. They treat Him as if His only reason for existence was to take care of their every whim and desire. They have no understanding of who Jesus truly is and, therefore, they have no desire to do what He asks of us. They simply expect Him to do what they ask of Him. They will not relinquish the authority.

Who has authority in your life?

Do you follow Jesus or do you expect Him to follow you?

Do you tell others about Jesus and what He has done in your life, or do you tell others about “your” accomplishments and never mention Jesus?

Do others see Jesus in you, or do they express astonishment when someone tells them that you are a Christian?

Do you make disciples for Jesus or do you have to be reminded that you are a disciple?

Do you follow His teachings, or do you only acknowledge them for an hour on Sunday?

I know that these are tough questions, but they are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves. It is so easy to begin to believe that we are the ones in charge of our lives.

We have no authority.

Can we, by our own doing, extend the number of our days? Can we create life out of nothing? Can we stop the sun from rising or the winds from blowing?

If we are to truly fulfill the task that Jesus gave us in this passage, we must recognize that He is in authority and not us. He is not ours. We are His. I know that I have failed many times, but it is my desire to place Jesus in authority. I do not want to stand before Him and hear Him say that he does not know me.

Lord, help us to surrender all authority to you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you still salty?

October 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
(Matthew 5:13 (NIV))

No one wants to be discarded, to be thrown out. It is human nature to walk away from something if we think we are going to be let go, terminated or thrown out. Chalk it up to pride, but we do this because we want to convince ourselves that it was our idea to leave or change directions. We are not willing to admit that we have failed and that we are no longer good at something. We try to turn the tables so that it looks like we still have the upper hand.

Do you know anyone who has ever done this?

Are you that person?

No one is perfect in this fallen world. There will be times that we all face circumstances just like the ones described above, but there is one endeavor that we do not want to be discarded from, let go from or thrown out from. We do not want to lose our zeal for the mission that we have been given.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We are to go and make disciples. We are to reflect the light of Jesus to a dark and sinful world. We are to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. We are to share God’s plan for having an abundant life both here on this earth as well as in eternity. We are to add the “salt” that adds flavor, that adds hope to a world that has lost all hope. If we, as members of the Body of Christ, lose that hope, then what good can we do? We can’t share what we no longer have. We will have become just like the darkened world that has lost all hope.

The phrase, “Once saved, always saved,” comes to mind in relation to people losing their saltiness. If we can lose our saltiness, our hope, our faith, and be thrown out and trampled underfoot, then what does that mean in relation to salvation? Suffice it to say that this is a topic for many more words and discussions than what can be easily conveyed here. It is something that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must stop and take a serious look at with respect to their life, their faith, their hope, and, of course, their saltiness.

Are you still salty?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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