Have you found refuge and rest in the Lord?

February 3, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
     than to trust in man.
(Psalms 118:8 (NIV))

Whom do you trust?

If you had the opportunity to choose between someone who would let you down or someone who would always be there for you, where would you place your trust? I know who I would go with, for certainty is a nice thing to have. Certainty that you will always be able to turn to someone whom you can trust. He will never leave you or disappoint you. He will always be there for you.

Unfortunately, there is no single human alive who can ever fill that promise. Even your mother will let you down at several times in your life. She will not mean to, but, it is only human nature. If this is the case, then why do so many people place their trust in other people or in man-made institutions? Why do we continually think that we will find what we seek, what we truly need, in humanity?

Only God is worthy of our trust and only He is a sound place of refuge. We can run to Him any time and He will be there for us. He is always the same. He is never changing. He is truth and righteousness personified. He cannot fail, for it is not in His nature.

He only has one condition for us to find this eternal refuge and rest. Simply place your faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and you will know refuge and the peace that passes understanding.

When you look at the world, are you anxious and stressed? When you look at the world, are your tormented and fearful? The Lord is our only place of refuge. He is our only place of trust. He is our only place of true rest no matter what the world may send our way.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Have you found refuge and rest in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Only through the atoning blood of Jesus!

February 2, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(Hebrews 10:3-4 (NIV))

With all of the talk about the Temple Mount and the building of the Third Temple, as followers of Jesus, we must remember that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice!

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(Hebrews 10:10 (NIV))

We do not worship in a temple. We worship in spirit and in truth. We do not make sacrifices to atone for our sins. Jesus paid the price once for all. We do not need to sacrifice bulls or goats. All that we have to do is sacrifice our sinful pride and accept the gift of salvation freely given through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross! Through His sacrifice we can have our sins washed white as snow! We can be made holy and righteous by the Blood of Jesus!

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
(Hebrews 10:14 (NIV))

We have been purchased!

We have been redeemed!

We have been made sons and daughters of God through the amazing grace freely given at the cross.

Are you a son or daughter of God? If you have not made this profession of faith, it is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

Only through the atoning blood of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does Jesus know you?

January 26, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 15:20 (NIV))

With this statement from Jesus, nothing could be clearer!

That only leaves the obvious next question.

Are you doing the will of the Father?

This requires a complete surrender to the Lord and an understanding of what His Will is in order to answer truthfully. Perhaps it is better to ask if it is your desire to do the will of the Father, for even after professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will falter in your walk of faith. You will inadvertently give in to your sinful human nature even though you desire to live a righteous life. Even Paul had these moments.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

Do you truly desire to do the will of the Father?

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a savior. You have realized that you are not capable of perfection in the eyes of God, but through Jesus, God sees you as He sees Jesus. He sees a spotless, sinless person. With that in mind, I venture to say that one of the most important parts of doing the will of the Father is accepting the grace and mercy that He freely offers through the cross of Jesus. Since God does not wish for anyone to perish, it is His will that you accept the grace and mercy given through Jesus.

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))

How does Jesus know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Choose wisdom. Choose life!

January 23, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

If you haven’t figured this out, the narrow gate is Jesus. It also represents the wisdom to select Jesus and to stay focused on Jesus in all that you do!

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is thought to be a one time salvation occurrence. To be honest with you, accepting the salvation freely given through the cross is a one time occurrence, but it takes a lifetime of dedication to follow Jesus in all that you do. Too many people fail to grow in their faith. They fail to get to know the Word of God. They fail to realize that there is so much more that God wants them to know than Jesus saves. There is wisdom and truth in God’s Word that is designed to teach us how to walk in His light in all that we do.

Do you want that wisdom?

Do you want the wisdom that leads to righteousness and salvation? Do you want the wisdom that leads to a strong faith? Do you want the wisdom that leads to maturity in Christ? Do you want the wisdom that leads to life everlasting?

I don’t know about you, but all of these things are things are what I long for!

Have you taken a serious look at your life and your priorities? Do you long for the things of God or are you still so focused on the things of this world that you miss Jesus in all that you do?

The decision is entirely yours!

Choose wisdom. Choose life!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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.
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Is your faith strong enough for this?

January 16, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
(Matthew 5:44 (NIV))

This goes against everything that our sinful human nature desires!

We instinctively only love those who love us in return. We only want to pray for those whom we love, yet, we are called to break with our sinful human nature and do what we don’t desire to do.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on why we are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us? Perhaps the answer is so simple that we don’t want to see it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

If you have come to the realization that our enemies are part of the world that God loves, then you begin to understand why we are called to love our enemies. God loves them just as He loves you and I. In fact, the only difference in God’s eyes are whether they have accepted the gift of grace freely given through the cross. The cross is the ultimate example of love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

If you stop to consider that you were once an enemy of God, then you realize that God showed you love when you were His enemy. As the Body of Christ, we are called to do the very same thing. We are called to show love to those who are our enemies, for it is through love and prayer that an enemy is lost and a friend is won. This takes a faith that goes far beyond what our sinful human nature can comprehend. It takes a faith firmly grounded in God’s word and in His promises. It takes a faith strong enough to realize that through God’s love anything is possible, even turning an enemy into a brother or sister in Christ! Do you possess a faith strong enough to surrender to God’s Will as He calls you to embrace your enemies with love?

Today’s society is uncertain. Evil is called good and good is called evil. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know one thing – Jesus will come again! When He walked the earth, He called people to repent. He called them to this action out of love. If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have shown a faith strong enough to accept that gift. Now, we are called to show a faith strong enough to share that gift even with our enemies.

Is your faith strong enough for this?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you in danger of becoming lukewarm?

January 6, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

We know that this is the message to the church in Laodicea. When we think of this passage, we instantly think about a faith that is neither hot, nor is it cold. They do not possess a faith that is on fire, yet they don’t possess a faith that is nonexistent. They are somewhere in the middle.

They believe in Jesus, but they believe in the power of their wealth and self sufficiency more!

Don’t be so self sufficient that you become lukewarm!

Did that last statement catch you off guard?

Think about that for a moment. Are you more concerned about your house and cars than you are about your faith in Jesus? Do you pay more attention to the things that make you money than you do to the One who brought you salvation? Do you think that your lifestyle is because of the things that you have done? Have you relegated God to be a distant second, or even lower, in your priorities? When things look bad, do you look to your own understanding to get you onto a firmer foundation, or do you turn to the Lord in prayer?

Professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is a choice!

It is a choice I pray that everyone will make.

Becoming lukewarm is also a choice, and it is a choice of neglect. It happens when you neglect to spend time daily in His Word and in prayer. It happens when you neglect to place God above all other gods. It happens when you neglect to love the Creator more than the creation. It happens when you neglect to realize that faith must be nurtured, and, as a result, you become so comfortable in your faith that you think that you have it made! It comes when you neglect to realize that you cannot handle anything that the world sends your way. It comes when you neglect to realize that your self sufficiency means absolutely nothing.

Are you in danger of becoming lukewarm?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is a bed fit for a king!

December 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7 (ESV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior knows the story of His lowly birth.

To be honest with you, I am still amazed that He stepped out of heaven to become one of us. How many kings would give up their throne? How many kings would exchange places with the least of their kingdom? How many kings would willingly walk among their people as one of them, only to willingly die so that their people might live?

God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is beyond comprehension, yet, it still happened. It all began with a single birth that the world didn’t even notice, and today, over two thousand years since that birth, that single birth has been used to divide time. It has been used to bring grace and salvation. It has also been used to bring division between those who do not believe and those who do.

Never before or since has a single birth been so crucial to all of humanity!

To those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas, for His birth was the beginning of God’s plan to bring about salvation. It is when our Lord stepped out of heaven and went to sleep as a baby in a manger. No bed has ever performed such an important role, for this feeding trough, this manger, became the bed for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Have you ever thought of the manger in this manner? Have you ever given thought to how a lowly animal feeding trough became the symbol of the birth of Jesus? The manger now symbolizes new beginnings. It symbolizes grace and mercy. More importantly, it symbolizes God’s love for us.

It is a bed fit for a king!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be like Mary and do not be afraid of that calling!

December 16, 2022

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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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Have you been redeemed?

December 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV))

In just a few days, we will experience what believers in Jesus have set aside as the day to celebrate the fullness of time! We will celebrate the promise fulfilled of God sending us His Son to redeem us from the bondage of sin and death. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been helpless, hopeless and lost. We were condemned to eternal separation from the One who created us to be in relationship with Him.

But, God . . .

I love the “But, God” moments!

He sent Jesus to redeem us. He sent Jesus to free us. He sent Jesus to show us His love.

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))

This is why we celebrate Christmas. This is why we have faith. This is why we are no longer helpless, hopeless and lost. Because God saw that the fullness of time had come, all who call upon the name of Jesus are now joyful, hopeful and found in the loving arms of the Father. This gift is for all who will believe. It is as simple as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

God’s fullness of time means that we have been given the greatest gift of all. We have been given grace. We have been given mercy. We have been given salvation!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

Have you received the greatest gift of all time?

Have you been redeemed?

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