Are you keeping His commands?

April 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you love me, keep my commands.
(John 14:15 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are the last three words extremely difficult to achieve?

If you truly profess a faith in Jesus, then you should truly love Jesus for who He is and for what He has done, but human nature always creeps into the picture!

Ever since the fall from grace, human nature has been incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. We always miss the mark. We always sin. Even after the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross, we are incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. But, if you truly stop to think about this, that is exactly why we were given the gift of grace and mercy. Even after acknowledging our sinful nature, we still sin. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not make you perfect on your own merit. It makes you perfect because you have exchanged your imperfections and sin for His perfection and righteousness in the eyes of God.

What does change is the desire to keep His commands!

What does change is the understanding that you will constantly fail.

What does change is your realization that He died to save you from the consequences of your sins.

What does change is your sinful, selfish attitude to a thankful, loving attitude.

What does change is your desire to strive to follow Him in all that you do.

Keeping His commands is not easy. If it were easy, Jesus would not have come into this world to die for our sins. What is easier is repenting when we fall short. What is easier is having a thankful heart for His grace and mercy. As I stated, keeping His commands is not easy, but striving to follow Jesus is the ultimate sign of your love for Him.

Are you keeping His commands?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to do for the Lord?

March 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

I read this passage and I realized that this type of willingness requires a strength of faith, and then I realized that we choose to have that strength through the things that we do. We can cower in fear or we can realize where our strength truly comes from and step boldly into that strength.

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))

When we choose to put on the full armor of God, we choose to embrace that strength. We choose to side with the God of creation. We choose to accept His authority and His protection. When we realize that His strength is imparted to us when we are doing His Will, what reason would we have for not stepping out in faith and saying, “Here am I. Send me!”

Are you willing to step out in faith and go where He sends and do what He asks?

Think about that for just a moment.

The Lord has freely given each of us so very much. We should be so thankful that we are delighted to do His will. We should be eager in our zeal for the Lord. Sadly, too many of us think only of our own comfort zones. We think only of the sacrifices that we would be called to make. What would our world, what would our salvation be if Jesus had thought only of His comfort?

Is there something that constantly tugs at your spirit that you know is from the Lord? Do you need to slow down long enough to listen to what the Lord is saying? Do you need to listen to that still, small voice? Do you need to respond?

What are you willing to do for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What victory does your faith desire?

March 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
(1 John 5:4 (NIV))

What type of faith do you possess?

Do you look upon the Bible as God’s Word as it relates to what He has done in the past as an example of how you should live your life in the present?

If you answered yes to this question, you are correct, but is it possible that you have overlooked the fact that the Bible unfolds God’s plans for humanity from creation to the fall, from perfection to sin, from hopelessness to redemption, from crucifixion to resurrection, from ascension to return, from belief to redemption, and from rejection to glorious return? God’s Word is so much more than stories to set examples for your lives. If you read the Bible and come away with an understanding that it is only for improving your life in this world, you are missing out on God’s plans for redeeming the fallen and defeating the enemy once and for all. It is true that He sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice to redeem us from the consequences of sin and death, but He has also unfolded a plan to restore perfection to His creation once and for all!

Are you aware that about twenty percent of the Bible is prophecy?

We read the prophecies that point to Jesus and we often ask ourselves how those people could have been so blind to what was unfolding? How could they have not recognized that Jesus was the Messiah whom they longed for? We see in hindsight that Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy about His first coming. We can look back on that and feel that we have proof that it happened, yet, we fail to see the prophecies that God is unfolding right before our eyes! We have been told what to look for in the time of the end, but how many believers are paying attention to the events in this world? Are we becoming just like the generation that was told what to look for when Jesus came? Are we guilty of being just as blind to what God is unfolding today?

Do you possess a faith to look beyond your personal life and realize that God is still unfolding things according to His purpose right before your eyes?

As believers, we look to Jesus as a guarantee of salvation from an eternity in hell. But, do you look to Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords who is doing the will of the Father? Do you have the faith to realize that God’s plans are unfolding and rejoice as things unfold in anticipation of the final outcome? Do you long to be in His presence or do you long to return to the worldly normal?

What victory does your faith desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to obey God?

March 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
(Acts 5:29 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, do you believe that this is still true?

When you have governments telling people that the churches must close, is this still true?

When you have people saying anything is valid except professing a faith in Jesus, is this still true?

I am sure that I could keep finding examples where some form of human organization is telling us that we must obey them and not obey God. I used to believe that the time was coming that we would be called to make a decision, but now I believe that the time is here!

If you are told to stop worshipping Jesus, who do you obey?

If you are told to stay away from church or get arrested, who would you obey?

If you are told to swear your allegiance to an evil, authoritarian government, who would you obey?

What is your decision?

It is time to pray for discernment and understanding of God’s Will. We must dive deeper into God’s Word and seek His truth. We must see the world through God’s eyes and stand against anything that He calls evil.

Are you prepared to obey God?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Faith requires a willingness to action!

February 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

No soldier in history has ever won a battle by not being prepared to face the enemy. We are in a battle. We either choose to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior, or we reject Him. By rejecting Him, we have allowed the enemy to have victory.

Even if we accept the gift that God has given us, we must be prepared to face the attacks of the enemy. A good soldier will ready his weapons and his body for combat.

We are in spiritual combat. How do we prepare ourselves for this combat? By embracing the sword that is the Word of God. The more that we read and study, the more that we will be prepared to determine what is from God and what is from the enemy.

Soldiers have instructions on how to maintain and use their physical weapons. We also have instructions on how to use our spiritual weapons. Read the Bible and meditate on the meanings that the words have even today, for God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Are you strong in the Lord? Are you prepared?

Faith requires a willingness to action!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does praying in the Spirit mean seeking His Spirit first?

January 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
(Ephesians 6:18 (NIV))

Do you understand what it means to pray in the Spirit?

Most people understand that it is the grownings of their spirit beyond what human words can convey. It is a gut-wrenching desire for God to move in a situation and in a way that is beyond human understanding and ability. But is there more to praying in the Spirit than what we usually think?

What is it in our spirit that makes us understand that what is bothering us also bothers God?

Have we grown so close to the Lord that we know His desires better than we know our own? Have we come to the point in our faith that we have turned over our burdens to the Lord? Have we laid them at the foot of the cross in complete surrender?

I am beginning to think, I am beginning to understand, that in order to pray in the Spirit we must earnestly seek His Spirit and His Will. Without that understanding, without seeking His Spirit to begin with, how does our spirit know how to approach God in this manner? How does our spirit know how to communicate in this manner? I realize that many people believe that we were created with a God-shaped hole that we are constantly trying to fill with things of this world. We must learn to prioritize this and fill it with God. By so doing, we replace the world with His Spirit and His Spirit instructs our spirit. I firmly believe that we truly learn to pray in the Spirit when His Spirit lives in us and is guiding us.

Have you ever prayed in the Spirit?

What did it feel like in your spirit? Did you feel a closeness to the Lord that you don’t experience all the time? Was it the proverbial mountaintop experience? Did you come away with a deeper understanding of God’s heart? Did it leave you longing for more of this closeness with His Spirit? Did you find yourself making time so that you could be in His presence more often?

I truly believe that we were created to be in communication with God in this manner. I have one more question to ask. I know how I choose to answer.

Does praying in the Spirit mean seeking His Spirit first?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t let the world make you lukewarm!

January 21, 2021

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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))

Hot water has many uses. Cold water has many uses. When you drink coffee or iced tea, if the temperature is not what it should be, you make a face and quickly spit it out.

What if we paraphrased this passage with another term that is used quite often to apply to this concept?

Because you are middle of the road, neither fully committed nor fully opposed to God,…

Another paraphrased example might read like the following.

Because you are unenthusiastic, nether rejoicing or rebelling,…

Does these put this passage into a different perspective? Perhaps we need to add one more phrase to the mix. Lukewarm can also mean half-hearted.

Are you fully committed to the Lord, or is your love for God only half-hearted?

Do you see things in this world that you know go against what is in God’s Word and look on it with indifference? Do you accept certain sins as okay because you practice them or because you know someone who does? Do you accept the truth that Jesus came to bring salvation but ignore the fact that He calls us to repentance? There are many more comparative scenarios that I could present, but I think that you grasp the concept. Each of these are examples of being middle of the road, of being lukewarm. We embrace the concepts, but we are afraid to commit because we might offend someone. We go only so far and no further. We make a profession of faith but fail to live our lives the way that we have been instructed to.

Think about this again from the original lukewarm reference. Have we become the cup of hot coffee that is no longer hot? Have we become the glass of cold iced tea that has become warm? We are not living up to our calling. We are not pointing people to Jesus. All that we are doing is occasionally giving lip service to God and thinking that this is enough.

What is enough?

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.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

When was the last time that you lead someone to Jesus?

When was the last time that you baptized someone?

When was the last time that you taught someone, yourself included, to obey everything that Jesus taught?

The more that I understand, the less that I want the Lord to see me as lukewarm. We must take a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Lord. We must be prepared to suffer the consequences in this world when we do take that stand. This world is not our home.

Don’t let the world make you lukewarm!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must stand firm against the world and seek righteousness!

January 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 (NIV))

This may sound like a strange question, but are you willing to be blessed?

Most people long to be blessed. They long for the easy life. They long for financial freedom. They long for everything good that they think should be theirs, but are they willing to pay a price for this blessing? In the physical world, if you want something, you usually have to give up something else in order to achieve your goal. If you want a successful business or career, you have to be willing to give up time with your family, or possibly give up your family. Is that a fair trade? If you want fame, you usually have to give up true friendships and relationships. What happens after the fame is gone?

Does the same concept apply in the spiritual realm?

If you seek worldly things, you give up spiritual truth. If you focus on spiritual and Godly righteousness, then you give up worldly things. Doing this usually draws attention to yourself. The world sees that you want no part of what it has to offer and you will soon start facing ridicule. If you stay true to your course, then the ridicule will grow and soon people will torment you for your faith, especially if you are open about it.

The world will only attack those who do not belong to it!

Do you belong to the world? Do you seek the things that this world has to offer or do you seek the things that only the Lord can assuredly give?

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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

Is righteousness your treasure?

Is God’s Word your treasure?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then He, along with righteousness and God’s Word are your treasure. If this is truly what you treasure, then be prepared for the earthly consequences.

“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))

We must hold fast to the One in whom we place our faith. We must stand firm against the world and seek righteousness!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

December 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
      for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
(Psalms 112:4 (NIV))

How would you classify the current year as it is quickly coming to a close?

If you are like most people, I am sure that you will say that it has been something extremely out of the ordinary.

Everyone in the world has been inundated with panic, shortages and quarantine just to skim the surface. It has definitely been an interesting and, dare I say, a dark period of time. Large cities look as if they are desolate. Whole countries are on lock down, and worldwide social and political strife seems to be the normal modus operandi for the last several months. On the surface, things are not looking good.

But,…

Has you faith increased?

Have you found renewed hope?

Do you still find joy in the the simple things of life?

Have you become closer to your family?

Have you drawn closer to the Lord?

I have heard many people say that they feel that God is using this time in history to draw people into a closer relationship with Him. Many of the distractions are no longer an option. The hectic pace of our lives has slowed considerably, and this has allowed people to search for meaning. Many people are turning to God’s Word and turning to prayer.

Have you found a renewed desire to draw closer to the Lord?

Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Something to remember as we face a new year!

December 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

Do you worry about the events transpiring in this nation and in the world?

Does the uncertainty of a new year bring fear or do you trust completely in the Lord as His timeline unfolds?

I have seen many different points of view being offered as the last year unfolded. I am seeing many different points of view being offer up as to what to expect in the coming year and beyond. If you pay attention to the world, you will probably find yourself fearful. But, if you place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have professed that your hope is not of this world. You have professed that you are living in this world, but you are not of this world.

What do you see coming in the new year? Perhaps I should ask what do you hope to see in the new year? Do you expect to see the world return to a state of normalcy similar to what it was just a few short months ago? From what I have been reading and studying, I honestly do not believe that this world will ever again see what we had previously come to know as normal.

If you are a student of God’s Word, then you should be a student of prophecy, for it is estimated that approximately one forth of the Bible is prophecy. Many of the prophecies have already come to fulfillment. Others are being fulfilled right before our eyes. To be honest with you, there are things that have been unfolding and are continuing to unfold that I honestly don’t think can be reversed or even stopped. Does this cause fear? Are you discouraged by the current state of the world? Are you looking at this world from your perspective or from God’s perspective? If we place our trust in the Lord, then why do we fear what is to come?

We know the outcome!

If we truly profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and we know the outcome of all things, then what do we have to fear! Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

Something to remember as we face a new year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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