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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Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you trying to do things your way?

March 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
    “No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(John 21:4-6 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself an expert in what you do?

Think about that question for a moment.

How willing are you to take the advice of someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do? How willing are you to even consider doing something differently than what you are accustomed to?

Now, is there something in your life that you are struggling with because you know that God is leading you in a certain direction, but you feel that you are constantly encountering roadblocks and obstacles? Have you stopped to consider that you are trying to fulfill your calling using your own strengths and plans? Perhaps you simply need to step back and accept the advice from someone else.

That is exactly what the disciples did, not only in this story, but in other stories as well.

Every time that they attempted to do something without Jesus, it did not go as planned. When they allowed Jesus to guide, things vastly improved. Fortunately for those who can claim spiritual descendancy to the disciples, they allowed someone else to lead them. They soon realized that they could not do it on their own. They needed Jesus.

What in your life is in need of the guidance that Jesus can give? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it your calling? Is it a ministry that He is longing to use to spread the Gospel? Listen to that still, small voice. I think that you know the one. It is the one that says “Throw your net on the right side of the boat. . . ” It is the one that sounds foolish, but you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. It is the one that is calling you to trust in something besides your own so-called expertise.

I once heard a story about how a revival got started. To summarize, many people got together to pray that a revival would start in their town. They met regularly, but with no results. Finally, someone asked after a rather lengthy prayer meeting if anyone felt anything. No one answered. This went on for several more prayer meetings, and still no one answered. Finally, at still another prayer meeting, someone reluctantly said that they felt that they were supposed to hit the table. They said that they had felt this way almost since the beginning of their prayer group, but they felt that it was foolish and didn’t mention it. Finally, they broke down and did what they felt they were being told to do. They hit the table.

Can you guess what happened?

Are you ignoring something because you feel that it is foolish? God is not calling the equipped. He is equipping the called. It is up to each of us to answer that call. He will call you in ways that you may think are foolish.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
       declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

Are you trying to do things your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fully charged?

September 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
(Luke 9:1 (NIV))

It is human nature to seek power. It seems that everyone wants to be in charge. If you don’t believe this simple truth, just look at a family with more than one child. There will always be bickering between the children as to which child has the final say. If you had brothers or sisters, you know how true this can be. If you have more than one child, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you will!

Even the disciples who walked with Jesus tried to play the power game with each other. If you simply look at the details of the Passover meal in the upper room, you see that there was a power play to see who would sit at the highest place. Sadly, they got it all wrong. Fortunately, they soon realized that the power they truly were seeking was equally theirs through the power and authority that was given to them by the Holy Spirit. They grew up Jewish and could recite the Torah. They knew God’s Word. They recognized the power of God’s Word. They walked with Jesus. They had seen firsthand the miracles that the power of God was able to do. All that they needed was the power of the Holy Spirit to fill them and enable them.

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))

Jesus knew from the very first time that He called each of the disciples that He would need to equip them for the time when He returned to the Father. He opened up their eyes and their hearts to the Father. He gave them true insight into the Word. He taught them how to utilize the power of God. He prepared them for the Holy Spirit. Once the power of the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they were fully equipped, they were fully charged in the power of God. They changed the world!

We may not be able to physically walk with Jesus, but we still have God’s Word. We still have the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus and we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit if we will only embrace it. It takes all three to truly embrace the Lord, for God is three in One – God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, you could even look at them as God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the empowerer. You are alive because of God the Father. You are redeemed because of Jesus. Have you fully embraced the power that is yours through the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to change your part of the world?

Are you fully charged?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is all of God’s Word important to you?

August 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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

Several years ago someone wrote and published a book by the title of “Life’s Little Instruction Book.” It sold a considerable number of copies. What I wonder is where did they get their instructions from?

This book, of course, was not the definitive answer book to all of life’s questions or problems. There is a book, though, that is!

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he stated a truth that many have taken to heart throughout the years. The Scriptures, or what we call the Bible, is God inspired and is there for our use to teach us, correct us and train us in righteousness.

There are two types of people in this world. There are those that accept God’s “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” and those who reject them. True, there are varying degrees of acceptance, and even different interpretations of the Scriptures, but it still comes down to whether you accept them or not. Another issue that hinges on this acceptance is whether you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you do not, then your Scripture stops half way through the lessons.

Do you accept the whole instruction book, or do you pick and choose what you will follow?

Is all of God’s Word important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thoroughly equipped?

May 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

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))

Do you have a favorite scripture passage? This passage is what many people refer to as a life verse and, if you are like me, it comes to mind many times a day. Most people have many different scripture passages that they also cling to for various reasons. These passages are important, but I have a serious question for you.

Are there passages of scripture, and perhaps even whole books within the Bible, that you find difficult to understand or that you even completely avoid? How can you put on the full armor of God if you ignore part of His Word? It can be very similar to the concept of being partially dressed for battle.

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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV))

How well equipped would a soldier be if they only picked up a sword? How well equipped would a soldier be if they only grabbed their helmet? Even with today’s military weaponry, a soldier is not fully equipped with just a pistol!

How well equipped are we if we fail to read and follow some of God’s Word? What happens if I only choose to read the following passage?

Be still, and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I would miss out on so much, including the command to share what I know.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

God’s Word is precious. It is of great value. We must equip ourselves by embracing all of it.

Are you thoroughly equipped?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

June 5, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 (NIV))

Do you believe that you have been called by God to follow Jesus?

Think about your answer before you just randomly say something.

There are those who believe that God had preselected those whom He wanted to save. To be honest with you, according to 2 Peter 3:9, there is some truth to that. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved, so, with this in mind, we are all preselected to be saved.

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 we are all preselected, how then can we be called a chosen people and a royal priesthood?

Belief in Jesus, like anything else, has a demographic. You have those who will respond and then you have those who are slow to respond. The sad thing is that there are also those who will never respond. Those who have responded are called to witness to those who have not responded. God has always equipped those whom He calls to spread the Gospel.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4 (NIV))

This calling sets us apart from the rest of the world. Just as the Holy Spirit came to the early church to equip them for the task at hand, the Holy Spirit will also equip you and I for the task at hand. Sadly, too many people who profess a faith in Jesus seem to have lost touch with the power that was given to the Body of Christ. We have been called to be the salt and the light, but have we become just like the world that we are supposed to be telling about Jesus?

Have you answered God’s call to be set apart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you really lack for anything in order to spread the Gospel?

January 25, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV))

Do you have all that you need?

Before you answer that question, step back and take a look at your life from both a worldly point of view and then a spiritual point of view. Hopefully, you recognize that the things that you think you need in the physical world are not needs. They are wants.

Has God blessed you with a family? Has He blessed you with a place to sleep and a place to call home? From a worldly perspective, all of us think that we need a bigger house and better cars. We all think that we need more money, but in all reality, what would we do with these things? The more worldly things we have, the more that we think we need to have. We all think that we would be more generous if we had an abundance. Ironically, studies have shown that this is not the case. It is true that there are always exceptions, but for the most part, people who have more are less willing to give freely. They get tied down and bound to their worldly possessions.

Take a look at your life from God’s perspective!

What do you see?

I bet that your understanding of needs are much different if you will only allow yourself to see things from God’s perspective.

Do you have a heart filled with love and compassion for your fellow man? Do you need to fellowship with others?

Do you have a love for God and His Word? Do you need God and His Word? Do you need to share His Word? Do you need to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

All that you truly need is God. If He is your priority, all of your other needs will be met. Don’t get me wrong and take this to mean that I believe that God will take care of us all in the same manner. God will use us where we are to reach out to those around us. He is not going to place all members of the Body of Christ in a single, upscale subdivision and ignore the rest of the world! He needs to have people in all walks of life to be able to minister.

There is an old saying to grow where God plants you. You have been equipped with all that you need to abound in good works where you are.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is the Body of Christ declaring to the nations?

June 5, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
(Psalms 96:3 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the so-called Body of Christ, just what are we declaring to the nations?

One group claims that the Bible is outdated and doesn’t apply to today’s society. Another group claims that certain sins are no longer sin. Another group has rewritten the Bible to call God the same name as the Muslim god and they have referred to Jesus only as a prophet. Another group is now claiming that the Bible has it wrong when everyone calls God Father. They want everyone to refer to God as a she.

And then there is the group that holds fast to the truth that has always been. The Bible is God’s Word dictated to man and recorded for all to use. This group clings to the promises of God and to the truth found in the following passage.

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

I don’t know about you, but this passage instructs me to believe, and not alter, the passages that call God our Father. I also believe that this passage instructs me to believe if a sin is called an abomination in the eyes of God, then no matter what society may say, it is a sin. I firmly believe that the Bible tells me that God has many names, and I have still to find where it calls Him by the name of the Muslim god. I also firmly believe that because the Bible calls Jesus the Son of God, He is not simply a prophet or a good man.

Are we seeing something unfold before our very eyes just as Jesus told us?

At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
(Matthew 24:23-25 (NIV))

Man cannot change God and God’s Word. That is a sin. We may not like some things that are in the Bible because they hit a little too close to home, but that does not mean that we can simply ignore them or change them. If God did not condemn sin, then why do people try so hard to say that what they do is okay? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross if God will embrace us as sinners?

Think about that!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What good is the church if we condone sin?

April 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

I just saw something that made me wonder what is going on with people in this world!

To be more specific, what I saw makes me wonder if some churches even believe in the Gospel anymore.

I am certain that you are aware of the debate about homosexual marriage. Let’s take that one step further and completely stop focusing on sin in church! That is the very report that I just saw. A pastor has decided for himself that the church focuses too much on sin and salvation.

That is the very reason for the church!

The Body of Christ is called to be the church. We are to let people know about sin and God’s plan for salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus. The job of the church is to preach the good news. How can we tell people that they can be saved from their sin if we don’t tell them about sin?

Jesus did not come to make everybody feel good about themselves. He did not come to bring social justice. He did not come to promise earthly prosperity to those who follow him. Jesus came into this world to live a sinless, perfect life. He came to offer himself up as the sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. He died so that He could be resurrected and sit at the right hand of God, the Father.

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))

We must be aware of the false teachers. We must be aware of the lies from the enemy. We must be aware of the thief that has found his way into the pulpits. We must test everything that we hear against the Word of God. We cannot pick and choose what we believe and what we ignore.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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