Be like Mary and do not be afraid of that calling!

December 16, 2022


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
(Luke 1:30 (NIV))

Have you ever felt that you were being led by God to do something and your fear held you back?

I realize that none of us have ever had an experience like Mary did, but think about her fear. Think about her doubt. Think about her societal uncertainty.

Then, think about her faith!

God’s eternal plan of salvation all hinged on the faith of a teenage girl who would be called to be obedient at an age that we, today, think is too immature to make rational decisions. What if your thirteen or fourteen year old daughter or granddaughter was asked to do what Mary did? Would she have the faith to see it through? Would you have the faith to walk through it with her and her young husband?

Oh, to have the faith that Mary had. Oh, to have the willing and obedient nature that Mary had.

I realize that Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we must remember that God’s plan called for an immaculate conception and a virgin birth. God’s plan called for an unwavering faith from the one who would give birth to the Messiah. In other words, God chooses to work His plan through those who have the faith to rely on Him and to trust in Him. Mary was the quintessential example of such faith and trust. Her obedience was the tool through which God was able to bring salvation to a lost and sinful world.

She stepped out in faith and all of humanity now has the promise of salvation fulfilled through Jesus.

We may not be called to be the one to do great things. We may be the one called to simply bring the good news to someone who will. That one act may be the great thing that God has called us to do.

Be like Mary and do not be afraid of that calling!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Lord, give me faith to walk on water!

October 10, 2022


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:31 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus, then you know the story of Peter and his attempt to go to Jesus by walking on the water. We like to point out that Peter’s faith failed him and that he began to sink, however, I think that we are focusing on the wrong thing. Recently, I had someone point out to me that his faith was stronger than that of the other eleven, for they never even thought of going to Jesus. They never thought of stepping out of the boat to put their faith to the test. Only Peter took the step of faith and only Peter was willing to risk everything for his faith.

What type of faith do you have?

What type of faith do you want?

Are you willing to step out and trust the Lord when He calls you to something, or will you be like the eleven and simply sit by and watch as others take that step?

There is one thing that I do want to clarify. Jesus did not call the eleven to walk on water. He only called the one who desired to go to Him. He only called Peter, and Peter responded. The other eleven were comfortable where they were. They did not want to put themselves in danger. They did not ask Jesus to call them to do something different from what they already knew. To put this in perspective, they were perfectly happy in what we like to call their comfort zones.

Are you happy in your comfort zone? Are you content to simply live you life not knowing what the Lord has called you to do?

I wrote the following several years ago as a much longer piece. The following shorter segment has often become my prayer. I am only human. Sometimes I falter and miss what I am being called to and other times I take that step of faith. Still, I keep these words front and center. I keep praying to be able to fulfill them all of the time.

Give me faith to walk on water
To overcome my fears
To rest in the truth
That You are always near
Give me faith to trust Your greatness
To truly know Your heart
Give me faith to walk on water
If that’s where You are
© 2016 Dennis J. Smock

Looking around at the world today, I know one thing. I want more of Jesus! I want to be like Peter and take that step of faith.

Lord, give me faith to walk on water!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you been placing your trust in the Lord?

July 20, 2020


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
(Psalms 20:7 (NIV))

It is so easy to say that we trust in the name of the Lord when everything is going as we want it to go.

How is your trust in God now?

Do you still trust in the Lord like you have in the past?

It is human nature to get discouraged when things look bad, but we must remember that we aren’t supposed to look at this sinful, fallen world through eyes that have a human perspective. If we look at the world in this manner, all we will ever see is gloom, despair and agony. This is not what Jesus died on the cross to allow us to see! He gave us the ability to see grace and mercy as it is unfolding according to God’s plan. What began on the cross is not the complete picture. It is true that through the Blood of Jesus we can proclaim Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but there is more. That victory is on the personal level, and I am truly eternally thankful for that victory, but there is more than just what Jesus did for us on the personal level. All too often we fail to recognize the big picture as it applies to the whole world.

Do you long for the day when the enemy will be bound and all who call evil good will no longer be able to do so? God’s ultimate plan that bought us salvation is the same plan that will bring this about. That plan is not completed, yet! We have been told that certain things will need to happen, and many believe that what we are seeing is part of that plan unfolding. We may not know all the details. We may not know when everything will unfold, but there is one thing that we should know.

If we have proclaimed Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we should know without a doubt one important fact.

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))

If you have read God’s Word, you know that He wins. That is promised. It is also promised that those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. When faced with this truth and all that is going on in the world, where do you place your faith?

Have you been placing your trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is the Lord your shepherd?

December 2, 2019


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
(Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV))

Have you ever truly looked at this passage in language that can make the Lord’s love personal? What if we paraphrase this passage to help us understand the personal relationship that the Lord desires with each of us and just what He will do for us when we accept His grace and mercy?

If I place my trust in Him, the Lord will be my personal shepherd and guide.
He will provide for all that I need.
He will give me peace and rest.
He will provide direction for my life.
He will provide complete restoration.
He will remove all fear and doubt.
He will provide comfort.
He will sustain us through the troubles of this world.
He will anoint us and bless us because we have placed our faith and trust in Him.
He will pour out His goodness and His love on us as we strive to follow Him.
He will provide us an eternal, permanent residence with Himself where all of the things previously mentioned will continue for all eternity!

I realize that this may sound like prosperity preaching, but it is far from that. What the Lord has promised us is mercy and grace. Through the gift of His Son Jesus, each of us have the opportunity to receive this wonderful gift and all of the blessings that have been promised. These gifts are not for the greedy, for all can possess them equally. These gifts are not for the cynic, for anyone who is a cynic has a hardened heart. These gifts are simply for anyone who will allow the Lord to soften their heart and show them that what they seek is only available through Him.

Do the things that David wrote of in this passage sound like something that you desire? All that you have to do is ask the Lord to be your shepherd!

Is the Lord your shepherd?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is there any doubt as to what will happen?

November 21, 2019


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
(Joshua 23:14 (NIV))

When somebody looks at how something performs, they look at what they refer to as their “track record”. Nothing or no one ever has a track record that is perfect, except God. With God, all promises He makes will be kept. When choosing sides, isn’t it wise to choose a perfect track record. You know that He will not lose, and therefore, you will not lose. Better yet, you will win. It is the goal of everyone to be on the winning side. We have God. We have God’s track record. We have God’s Word. We know what He has done in the past, and we have a written record of what He will do in the future.

Is there any doubt as to what will happen?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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When you focus on praising the Lord, you don’t need to worry!

August 21, 2019


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6 (NIV))

Do you worry? Are you anxious about things in your life that just seem to overwhelm you? Do you spend more time worrying about the what-ifs instead of praying to the one who can provide peace? What is it about our human nature that makes us worry about everything? I would venture to say that some of us even worry about whether our salvation is real because we may not feel saved at times.





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))

Why do we feel that we need to worry? Jesus told us that we would have troubles, but we can fully trust in Him to see us through our troubles. Think about that from this perspective. When we worry, when we are anxious, we say that we doubt Jesus. We say that we don’t think that He will fulfill His promises to overcome the world. Does this put a fresh and different perspective on worry and anxiousness? Does it make you want to stop and pray instead of worrying? Let’s take this one step further and offer up thankful prayers for what the Lord has already done for us. We should also prayerfully look forward to what He is doing for us in the moment and in what is to come.

When you focus on praising the Lord, you don’t need to worry!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do people you know see Jesus in you?

July 17, 2019


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
(Matthew 13:57-58 (NIV))

Carefully consider the words written above. How true these words have proven to be throughout history. Jesus knew that He would not be embraced in His own hometown, for they did not see Him as the Messiah, but as the little boy that they watched grow up. In other words, familiarity brought about doubt.

Let’s consider another possible meaning of these words. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, He comes to live there. He is basically making our heart His home. If we do not honor Him as our Lord and Savior, Jesus is without honor in the very place that He longs to be in residence. He longs to reside in our hearts to guide us and to teach us. If we do not honor him once we accept Him, He will not be able to do what He longs to do. He will not be able to guide us and mature us into His image. He will have encountered a luke-warm heart – a heart that gives an invitation and then locks itself away once the invitation is accepted.

If we have asked Him into our heart, He will not truly be rejected. He will simply not be fully embraced. People can possess a faith in Jesus and yet not understand all that He desires to do. It is sad that these people do not fully receive what Jesus came to give.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

How can we have life in Jesus to the full if we do not allow Him to do what He can do? How can He do these things if we do not allow Him into our hearts completely?

I am certain that each and every single person reading this has been on a job interview. How many times have you left an interview wondering if the person conducting the interview even listened to anything that you were saying? You were invited to come in and meet with the person conducting the interview, but they could have been so engrossed in their own agenda that they never truly understand what is being offered in your experiences and capabilities.

Think about that for a moment.

Did the people of His hometown truly understand what was being offered? Do you think that Jesus was truly rejected by His hometown, or was He simply not fully embraced for who He truly is and what He came to give? If Jesus is not fully embraced as Lord and Savior, He will not force people to seek miracles? How can He force them to see miracles in what He brings? He will not do many miracles, for He does not work where faith is lacking. Just as the person who was conducting the interview did not get to see all that you had to offer, those who do not fully embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior will not see all the Jesus has to offer.

Is Jesus working miracles in your life? Is your faith strong enough to allow the miracles to happen? Is Jesus honored in your heart? Do others see the miracles that Jesus is performing through you? Do people you know see Jesus in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are the reasons for what you seek?

October 16, 2018


Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
(Matthew 16:1-4 (NIV))

Ouch !

I often wonder how Jesus would have answered if they had come honestly seeking the truth instead of seeking to test him. They were asking for a sign to prove to them who He is. They came in their doubt. How would Jesus have reacted if they had honestly came in faith?

Think about that and then think of the following story told in Matthew.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one,`Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.”
(Matthew 8:8-9 (NIV))

What was the difference in attitude of the people coming to Jesus? What was Jesus’ reaction in both cases?

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
(Matthew 8:13 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think that the way that we approach Jesus actually makes a difference? Have you ever approached Jesus and then later realized that you were testing Him, and not approaching Him in faith?

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus seeking a miracle so that they could test him and then decide whether to believe. The centurion came to Jesus seeking a miracle because he believed.

Jesus could see within their hearts. He knew the reasons behind their requests. It was, and still is, a matter of priorities and faith.

What are the reasons for what you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your belief clouded by doubt?

November 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6 (NIV))

Why would anyone bother to ask for something if they didn’t believe that it could be attained?

Why would you ask and then vacillate, or waiver, about what you just asked for?

Think about this concept in the following contexts. From a man’s perspective, how would the following scenarios play out in relationship to the two questions above? Would you ask someone to marry you if you didn’t believe that it could happen? What if you asked someone to marry you and then immediately responded with something like, “Never mind! I didn’t mean it!”? Now, suppose that you then asked again and then changed your mind again.

The first scenario shows your lack of faith while the second scenario shows your lack of decisiveness. Both scenarios reflect negatively on you.

Think about this in terms of asking for something from God.

Why ask God for something if you don’t believe that He can or will do it? We have a tendency to place God in a box of our own design and by so doing, we limit Him to our understanding. If God spoke everything into existence, what makes you think that He is limited in His response to you?

Why ask God for something if you can’t decide what you want to ask Him? We are told that we should approach God with confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
(Ephesians 3:12 (NIV))

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

With this in mind, let’s take this one step further. When we approach God in confidence, we are told that this is the very definition of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

We must rest assuredly on the promises that we have been given. We must have faith that when we seek God’s will and when we ask for something in confidence according to His will, that it will be done. We must not be clouded in doubt?

Is your belief clouded by doubt?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

May 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
(John 14:1-4 (NIV))

This passage presents several questions for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Your answers may surprise you!

First, I need to lay a little ground work. If you are familiar with traditional Jewish weddings, once the bride was betrothed, or engaged, the bridegroom would then go back to his father’s house and start to build or prepare a room for he and his bride. When the room was finished, he would come for his bride. This is reflected in the parable of the lamps and the oil. No one knew the day or the hour the bridegroom would come for his bride. She simply knew that at some point in time, he would return for her.

Does this sound familiar? It sounds identical to the promises that Jesus made to His bride, the body of believers.

Do you trust in God?

Do you trust in Jesus?

Do you firmly believe that Jesus is preparing a place for you?

Do you know beyond doubt that Jesus will return for you?

I want you to think about the following passage and what it has to say in regard to those who are not ready.

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
(Matthew 25:10-12 (NIV))

One last and very important question for you!

If you believe and answered “Yes” to the previous questions, and you are not ready, what does that tell you will happen?

Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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