Are you truly prepared?

August 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 (NIV))

Can you truly say that you have placed your hope in Jesus?

Can you explain why you answered as you did?

Two simple questions, but do they have simple answers? Hopefully, you can say a resounding “Yes” to the first question. This question is the most important for you, for it determines your salvation status with God. God sees your heart and He knows if this is true. He also knows your reasons without you having to put them into words. But, that does not mean that we are off the hook when it comes to being able to explain why we answered as we did to the first question!

Think about that. If God knows our heart, then who are we giving an answer to?

If you read the passage again, you see that we are to be prepared to give an answer to everyone. In essence, our answer is our testimony. It is our witness. It is the story of how the Lord has saved us told in such a way that it draws others to Jesus!

We are to share the Gospel. We are to share Jesus in such a way that it is personal, after all, Jesus doesn’t save us by nation, or by state, or by city. He saves us individually, one heart and one life at a time. We must be prepared to share Jesus in such a way that others can understand what He has done for us, He can do similar for them.

Are you truly prepared?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

August 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV))

It seems like anyone and everyone can quote this passage, even if they don’t know any other passages. Sadly, we appear to be seeing the truth behind these words unfolding right before us.

Just what is training?

In essence, the concept of training implies the teaching of discipline and the importance of following that discipline. Instilling self-discipline into the life of someone starts early in childhood. For example, I am sure that most of you were told at some point early in your life that you were old enough that your wants won’t hurt you. In other words, you had been taught that just because you want something doesn’t mean that it will happen no matter how big of a temper tantrum you may throw. Usually, this statement resulted in the application of a different passage.

He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
(Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV))

Am I the only one who sees a direct correlation between training and discipline?

It appears that we are seeing what happens when children who are not disciplined grow up and still act like spoiled brats. Parents who raised their children to think that they can do no wrong have committed a great disservice to their children, to society and to the Lord! Perhaps Proverbs 22:6 could be paraphrased in this manner.

Discipline a child when he does wrong and when he grows up, he will have learned how to behave.

Sadly, no matter what translation you may quote or how you choose to paraphrase this passage, the results of not applying this Godly principle are a lack of discipline and a total lack of respect for anything that is contrary to someone’s feelings. Discipline teaches that feelings can be manipulated. Truth is always the truth. Discipline teaches to seek the truth beyond the feelings.

Are we seeing a lack of Godly training in the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have not been forsaken!

April 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

As I sit here tonight, I am feeling like many people are probably feeling right now. I’m tired of the isolation. Even churches have gone to live feeds. I’m tired of the inability to socialize. I’m tired of the lack of basic essential supplies in many stores. I’m tired of not knowing how long this will last.

I’m tired of the uncertainty!

Does that sound like you?

Are you tired of all that is going on, or have you grown anxious because of the uncertainty? Perhaps I could even say that many people are borderline fearful. Is there a difference between being tired of a circumstance and being anxious or fearful because of a circumstance? Being tired of something implies that you wish it would go away. I find it interesting that many dictionaries will define the word anxious as an extreme uneasiness or fear and the word fear is defined as an unpleasant anticipation of danger. In essence, do you wish that the current circumstances in the world would go away or do you feel an unpleasant anticipation of danger because of the circumstances?

Depending on the translation and the wording, God tells us to “fear not” or “do not be afraid” 365 times. He knows human nature. He knows that we are creatures of comfort and creatures of habit. He also knows our hearts. He knows what causes fear in our minds and in our hearts. He also knows how to give us peace!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

I have one more thing for your consideration in 1 Peter 5:7, and that is the word “cast.” When you place something, it implies a careful movement into a new position. The word cast implies that you are throwing something away from you and to a new place. You are throwing you anxiety away from you. You are willfully and purposefully taking your anxiety and trading it for His peace! Does this sound like instructions from someone who doesn’t care about us? He is telling us to turn to Him and cast our anxiety onto Him. He does not wish for us to go through these tribulations alone.

In the days ahead, stop and pray for the Lord to take away your anxieties and give you His peace!

We have not been forsaken!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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At once!

January 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At once they left their nets and followed him.
(Matthew 4:20 (NIV))

When was the last time that you reacted immediately to a situation?

If you are like me, this probably doesn’t happen very often if at all. To be honest with you, most days I have trouble deciding what I want for dinner.

Each one of us who profess a faith in Jesus did not come to this decision as quickly as Peter and Andrew did. We had heard of Jesus most of our lives before we came to the decision to give our hearts to Jesus. Could we have and would we have been so quick to follow Jesus if He had appeared to us at our work and told us to follow Him? Would we have believed Him? Would we have left the comfort of what we knew and in an instant make a decision to leave it all behind and follow who in essence was a complete stranger? From a logical perspective, this sounds like lunacy. From a worldly perspective, it sounds like lunacy, but from a Godly perspective, it sounds like redemption, grace and salvation!

I have often wondered how I would have reacted if I were Peter or Andrew. Would I have been able to take that leap of faith? Would I have recognized that moment in time that would change my eternity? Would I have been able to place my trust in Jesus so quickly?

Think about that with respect to your life and how you came to faith in Jesus. Was it a well thought out decision or was it a quick and bold move? No matter how quickly the decision was made, the important truth is that you did make that decision. Even so, I want to give you something to think about. Peter gave his commitment “at once.” We do know that Peter was sometimes quick to do things, such as stepping out of the boat to walk on water. We also know that Peter vowed to never abandon Jesus, yet he denied Him three times. We also know that Jesus restored and forgave him. Perhaps Jesus saw something in Peter that is something that we should be willing to take hold of. Peter was willing to place his faith in Jesus even if he didn’t understand. He made the commitment and then relied on Jesus to see him through. We rely on our intellect to come to the decision and then we rely on our intellect to determine how we react. Is this really faith?

Are we able to decide at once to follow Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you put behind you?

March 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Maturity is something that many of us try to avoid. We have a tendency to fear responsibility and we have a tendency to think of maturity and responsibility as being one and the same. In all honesty, they are closely related, but it is possible to be responsible without actually being mature. In essence, maturity can be considered full development while responsibility often refers to accountability. A good example of this is a child who always cleans their room. They are definitely not mature, but they are responsible in certain aspects of their life.

Human nature tells us that we don’t like to be held accountable. All that you have to do is look at Adam and Eve after being tempted into eating the fruit. When God approached them about what happened, blame was placed elsewhere. They failed to take the responsibility for what happened.

If you look at maturity as the ability to recognize sin and responsibility as the accountability to stay away from sin, then we start to get a clearer picture of this passage.

A child will think, say and do things that are less than desirable. Hopefully, as the child gets older, they recognize the childish nature and desire to take on a more mature nature. They decide to leave the old, childish nature behind them in a similar manner to how a person who repents leaves the old, sinful nature behind them. They step closer to maturity by selecting to put things behind them and move forward without that baggage.

What have you put behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you able to love in this manner?

October 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:2 (NIV))

Excuse the language, but have you ever simply wanted to say, “You idiot!” when dealing with certain people?

Be honest with yourself. You probably had someone pop into your mind when you read that question. Honestly, there are just some people that rub us the wrong way even if we try to not let them bother us. But, do they actually make you lose control or is it entirely up to you how you react?

It is said that love is a choice. We can choose to love even when the person is less than lovable. We can choose to be humble and gentle in our responses even when we are intentionally being provoked. We can choose to be patient even in situations where our patience is being put to the ultimate test. We can choose to bear with one another in love because there will be times when we are less than lovable and we will want someone to love us! If you actually stop to think about human reactions, they can all come down to a simple matter of ego and pride. In essence, our reactions are nothing more than our inner attitudes toward others. We think that we know more, or are better qualified to undertake a task. As already stated, love is a choice. It is only one of many, but it is the correct choice.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
(Philippians 2:3 (NIV))

How do you value others?

Are you able to humble yourself even in the midst of people who are able to press all of your buttons?

Are you able to love in this manner?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who knows you?

October 26, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 (NIV))

The world will not recognize us, for it did not recognize Jesus when He came.

In much the same way a mother recognizes her young, the world recognizes those who belong to it. Does a mother cow accept a puppy? Does a kitten find a home with a dog? The same is true of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They will not be accepted by the world! They may face rejection and tribulation for they have, in essence, turned their backs on the ways of the world and have focused on the ways of God.

Take a serious look at where you would be accepted. Do you find yourself still partaking of the world in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to know that you are a child of God? The old saying “You are what you eat” is true in the spiritual world as well. If you “eat” of the world, then the world is a part of you and you cannot leave it behind. If you “eat” of the things of God, then righteousness is a part of you, and the world is only something that you are passing through.

It has been said that it takes a thief to know a thief. If that implies that only those with similar thoughts can be recognized and accepted, then where would you be recognized and accepted? Would you be of the world, or would you be of God?

Who knows you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What flows from within you?

September 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
(John 7:38 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to look at your reflection in the mirror?

If you are like most people, you do this several times a day. Some are deliberate and some are purely by accident as you pass in front of a mirror or some other object that reflects your appearance. Are you happy with what you see reflected? Are you happy with what you see coming from your physical reflection?

Let’s take this one step further! Have you ever stopped to look at your spiritual reflection?

Sadly, most people don’t really take this serious of a look at themselves. Most people are superficial when it comes to spiritual matters. I hate to say this, but far too many people who own a Bible have not ever read all of it. Most of us tend to get things moving and then wonder why there are problems with our lives. We fail to look to the Creator. We fail to believe what has been recorded. We fail to focus on the things of God’s Word while we focus on the things of this world. This approach is, in essence, similar to buying a car and driving it without looking at the owners manual to see what needs to be done to make sure the car runs the way that it should.

Humanity was designed to be in fellowship with God. We had eternity with God. We had life beyond all understanding, but we broke that fellowship in the Garden of Eden. Jesus renewed that possibility for fellowship. He renewed the ability to spend eternity with God. He renewed the ability to have life beyond all understanding. This gift came with a price that Jesus willingly paid. All we have to do is 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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Living water renews! Living water restores! There is only one source for such a powerful element and that is belief in Jesus! If you believe, then true belief calls for you to share the source with all who are in need of it. Do you truly believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Is it visible to others?

What flows from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Praise the light of Jesus!

August 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (KJV))

When this was written, people did not have a grasp of the concept that the sun never sets on God’s creation. They did not know that it is always daylight somewhere in the world. Also, when this was written, people lived their lives around the sun. Unlike today, people basically spent every daylight hour up and about their lives. To them, the sun was the day. In essence, this verse instructed people to praise God every waking hour of the day of their lives!

In our society, the sun no longer determines our daily lives as it did when David wrote this. These words still need to be looked upon as instructions to praise God every waking hour of our lives and not just during the daylight hours, especially if you think about the passages that tell us that most sin occurs in the dark.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
(1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 (NIV))

Do not stray from your path into the darkness. Stay in the light. Remember that there is always light in the darkness. That light is Jesus Christ. Turn towards Him and keep focused on Him in all that you do.

Praise the light of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What’s in your heart?

April 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
(Psalms 119:11 (NIV))

Everybody has something that they hide away. Some people will keep just about anything hidden in their hearts only to be let out when they think that no one is paying attention or when no one that they know will see. It is sad to see what some people will hide away. Greed, envy, lust and pride are just a few of the things that people will hide in order to avoid people seeing their sinful nature.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I find it disheartening that what people hide in their hearts is actually what they treasure. How can anybody treasure greed, envy, lust or pride? In essence, I suppose that all of these actually reflect three people – me, myself and I! If you get right to the point, most things that people hide in their hearts are all centered around what they treasure most – themselves. Everything else is simply how to make themselves feel more important or superior to others. They simply try to fill the selfish void with worldly things.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV))

Human history is full of stories of how people have filled their hearts with the wrong things. We see how they sought to secure the worldly things to make the outward appearances match the inner desires. Some people have taken this to extremes with wars to expand kingdoms. Others are less domineering, yet, they still focus on the worldly that thief, moth and rust can take.

There is something so much better to hide in your heart!

Do you seek after God’s Word? Do you desire to fill your life with obedience to the Lord? Do you treasure every word that has been recorded in God’s Word? Do you love the truth? Do you hide God’s word in your heart? Think about that in relationship to the following passage.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus is the Word made flesh!

Do you hide Jesus in your heart?

What’s in your heart?

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